AU where people are tied together with red strings connecting their wrists. I didn't really work out whether that happens to everybody or just Hokuto/Taiga.
start words from Perfect.
Perfect was overrated anyway, Hokuto told himself, swallowing a sigh. The whole reason he'd done the paper and submitted it early was so that he'd be sure to be free when Taiga finally had a day off, not so that his professor would send it back with a dozen ways to improve it.
He could just ignore the suggestions. But he wouldn't, and they both knew it.
"I'm really sorry," Hokuto said again, wincing when Taiga looked up from his phone to eye him sharply.
"Stop apologizing, I already said I wasn't mad at you," Taiga told him. Hokuto knew that it was both true and false; Taiga wasn't exactly mad at him, but the tight circle of their string digging into his wrist meant that Taiga was mad. After four years, he knew what all the small sensations meant, from the tugging that meant Taiga was thinking about him to the glowing warmth of Taiga being turned on to the tightness of the string being pulled taut when Taiga needed him and they were too far apart. Hokuto knew Taiga felt those same things, since sometimes he complained that Hokuto pulled too hard, too tight.
They both knew there was nothing Hokuto could do about it. Honestly when the red string had appeared around both of their wrists, Hokuto could have hardly thought of a worse match for him than Taiga. At seventeen Hokuto had needed a lot of reassurance, and mostly gotten Taiga's sharp tongue instead. It had been a rough start, the intensity of liking someone and the exhaustion of that person being as difficult as Taiga. Taiga told him frequently that it wasn't like Hokuto was low-care either. They had more than one fight where they both said terrible things, both wished they'd gotten stuck with somebody else, anybody else.
Their string stayed right where it was, though, and even when it hurt, Hokuto found reassurance in that. Taiga couldn't disappear, not really, and it was impossible to think that he didn't care about Hokuto when Taiga's end of the string was pulling so hard Hokuto's hand was all pins and needles. Gradually they figured each other out a little better, and the time spent growing up hadn't hurt either. There were still times that Hokuto felt like the string wasn't wrapped around his wrist but his entire body, binding him too tight to breathe, but there were a lot more times when Hokuto could twine the dangling length of it in and out between his fingers and make a fist warm from Taiga's affection.
"I'll work on it tonight," Hokuto promised. "Maybe I can—"
"Don't be a moron, we aren't getting out of here for hours yet." Taiga shrugged him off. "I should be resting tomorrow anyway. It's not a big deal."
"It is," Hokuto said quietly. Three years ago he would have swallowed that feeling for the sake of ending the argument, but now he knew himself better than that. "It is a big deal. We haven't been alone in weeks. I miss you."
"I can't help that." Taiga bristled, eyes sparking. "You're lucky they even gave me time for Summer Station—" He cut off with an angry huff of air. "We're both busy. Get over it."
Hokuto held out his arms and waited. Taiga rolled his eyes but stepped in to hug him tightly. It wasn't exactly what Hokuto needed and it didn't last nearly long enough, but nothing was perfect, Hokuto reminded himself.
Especially not his paper, he sighed to himself. It was nearly midnight by the time he was sitting at his desk, hair still damp from the bath and muscles begging him to just crawl into bed already. Heaving a sigh, Hokuto tried to focus and at least knock out a few of the easier changes. The first tug at his wrist made Hokuto smile a little but he barely spared it a glance. The second made him pause in the middle of typing a word, and the third was more of a sustained pull.
Picking up his phone, Hokuto was just about to mail Taiga to ask if everything was all right when it buzzed in his hand. Taiga's mail asked if Hokuto was still awake.
[Yes, I'm working for a while.] Hokuto smiled as the tugging on his wrist intensified briefly. [Want me to call?]
Hokuto was puzzled when he didn't get an answer back, but shrugged it off after a minute, assuming Taiga had fallen asleep. Sitting the phone next to his laptop in plain sight, Hokuto went back to his paper. He was involved enough to jump a little when his phone buzzed again a half hour later.
[come down and let me in] the mail said, and Hokuto blinked at it twice before standing up and padding downstairs. When he opened the front door, Taiga was standing in front of it, wearing a duffel bag and a disgruntled expression.
Hokuto didn't bother trying to hide his amusement. "Really?"
"I couldn't sleep. My dad drove me. Just let me in."
They were quiet on the way up the stairs, mindful of Hokuto's sleeping family, and there wasn't any discussion necessary about what Taiga was doing there anyway. Hokuto could already feel the warmth curling around his wrist, as surely as if Taiga had his fingers wrapped around it instead. Door shut behind them, Taiga stripped off his sweatshirt and crawled into bed while Hokuto made sure his work was saved and shut the lid of his laptop. Turning around, Hokuto paused just to enjoy the sight of Taiga sprawled across his bed, pale skin looking warm and inviting in the yellow light from his bedside lamp.
Taiga narrowed his eyes, lifted his arm to wind the string trailing from his wrist around his hand a few times, and yanked. Hokuto knew what that meant all right. And if there were times their string dug too tightly into his skin, Hokuto could forget about that easily when it looped in a hot line over his back, his mouth busy and Taiga's hand tight in his hair, when Taiga rolled them over suddenly, tangling them hopelessly.
A few weeks later found them just as busy but at least together more of the time, talking about what to do for their Summer Station duet. Hokuto watched idly as Taiga rested his chin on one hand, the other twisting loops of their string around his finger over and over.
"Let's do it about this," Hokuto said suddenly, lifting his own hand to tug and making the loops unravel from Taiga's finger. Taiga raised an eyebrow. "Unless that's too…you know, us. And we'll have to use something they can actually see, like a rope or…a chain, that's better."
"Won't that look a little worrisome, us chaining each other up?" Taiga asked. His mouth quirked up in one of those creepy smiles that always made Hokuto shiver hopefully. "They'll think it's some kind of metaphor."
"Yeah, well," Hokuto said cheerfully, deciding he definitely had to make this happen. "Nothing's perfect anyway."