Keito did not have anything to worry about when he wakes up. Or at least that’s what he thought for all of about two seconds before he realizes some important things that are very worrying: one, his whole face hurts; two, he’s on the couch of his living room and he doesn’t remember how he got there; and three, Chinen is actually sitting in a nearby chair casually reading a magazine.
Chinen. Chinen. The guy who is the subject of his unrelenting crush. Sitting in his living room for some reason.
Keito is confused.
“Welcome back to the land of the living,” Chinen greets him with a joke once he realizes Keito is awake.
“Hi?” Keito manages to slur out. His face is still sore from the surgery. He wonders vaguely if the dentist performed the procedure with a hammer and if Yamada remembered to pick up his pain medication.
“Ryosuke got a call about doing some extra drama filming or something,” Chinen explains as he hops up from the chair and breezes into the kitchen. Keito’s eyes follow him as he continues speaking. “So I told him I’d stay for a while and make sure you’re okay.” He returns with Keito’s medicine. “How are you feeling?”
Keito blinks because he’s still pretty confused and unsure about how he’s supposed to react in this situation. “Uh… okay I guess?” He gingerly pokes his jawline, trying to get a feel for the differences after the surgery. “So why are you here again?” he asks, tilting his head in confusion, which he quickly realizes is a mistake as a wave of dizziness washes over him.
Chinen’s lips curl up into a mischievous smile, like he knows something secret and he’s deciding whether he should share or not. “I didn’t know Ryosuke was taking you home from the dentist when I called to ask him for a ride to the store earlier,” he begins to explain while he rummages around in his bag for something. “But he happily stopped and picked me up too. Ah-ha!” The interjection of joy is in response to finding the hand-held digital camera he had stashed away in his bag. “I think this is something you’d like to see. Then it’ll make sense.”
Chinen cozies up to Keito on the couch and quickly presses a few buttons on his camera. Just a few seconds later, a video begins to play and Keito says nothing as he watches what Chinen had recorded in the backseat of Yamada’s car earlier. It’s weird to see his own face and not have any memory of what he’d done. Hopefully nothing too embarrassing.
“How did the surgery go?” Chinen’s voice asks from somewhere offscreen. Keito has a goofy, distracted grin on his face and it takes him a moment to notice that Chinen is talking to him. They’re both sitting in the backseat of the car.
“They took my teeth out!” Keito answers as if he only just realized it. “I’m gonna make them into a necklace. That’d be cool.” Clearly he was still under the influence of the anesthesia. He giggles as he presses his face close to the car window.
“Don’t leave smudges on my window,” Yamada’s voice scolds him.
Keito wonders how Yamada can see him while driving, but then the footage continues and he can hear the sound of the car door opening and he realizes that the car is in park and they’re at the store.
“Where’s Yama-chan going?” Keito asks. “Is he abandoning us? Is it because I smudged the window?”
“He’s just getting your pain medication,” Chinen explains.
“But I feel fiiiiiiiine,” Keito says with a giggle. He spaces out for a moment while Chinen giggles too. Then he suddenly looks really serious. “What if Ryosuke doesn’t come back? What if he runs away to join the circus?”
Chinen laughs out loud. “The circus? Would he be any good?”
“Oh yes,” Keito nods. “He’d be the most famous and shortest lion tamer of them all.”
Chinen snorts and the camera footage jerks for a moment until his laughter dies down. “I’m going to tell him you said that.”
Keito shakes his head. “Noooooooo, it’s a secret.” He raises one finger to put to his lips like he’s making a shushing noise, but his coordination is off and he doesn’t realize his finger is in front of his cheek.
“Wow, I was really out of it,” he says. It was so weird to watch, but funny nonetheless.
“Oh it gets better,” Chinen reassures him.
“I can keep a secret,” Chinen laughs.
Keito looks around the car and out the window again before returning back to Chinen. “I know another secret. You wanna hear?”
Keito leans forward. “I love you,” he says in a singsong voice. “I love you Chinen Yuri.”
Suddenly watching this video isn’t funny anymore and Keito is painfully aware of how close Chinen is sitting beside him. Close enough that he can match the timing of Chinen’s even breathing.
“You love me?” Chinen repeats. It’s an honest question, not like he’s playing along with a joke like he was earlier.
“Yep,” Keito nods as though he’d just said something routine like the color of the sky is blue. “I love you but it’s a secret. I can’t tell you. Just like the main characters in all those shoujo manga that Yama-chan says he doesn’t read.” He grins because it’s true. “I want to kiss you right now but I can’t feel my lips.” He gets distracted poking his face with his fingers.
The car door opens and Yamada climbs back inside.
“How was the circus?” Keito shouts.
And that’s where the video ends. Chinen turns the camera back off and places it in his lap. “So… is that true?”
“That Ryosuke would be a good lion tamer? Yeah I think so.” Keito resorts to the easy joke because he doesn’t want to think about how hard his heart was pounding. Chinen slaps the back of his head for this answer. Keito knows he deserved that.
“You know what I mean,” Chinen says. His cheerful attitude from earlier had disappeared and had been replaced by a seriousness, a hesitation, and maybe… a hopefulness?
Just say it, Keito tells himself. There was no denying it anyway. He’d already done it once even if he couldn’t remember.
“Yeah,” he admits. It feels a bit freeing. “I’m in love with you.” He doesn’t know where he’s supposed to look. “Sorry,” he adds just for good measure.
This time Chinen punches his shoulder. “Don’t apologize for love.”
Keito doesn’t know if this is a good reaction or a bad one. “Well I’m sorry it wasn’t a very romantic confession. I didn’t know how to tell you so I just had decided not to.”
“But I’m telling you now,” Keito tries to defend himself.
Chinen’s grin is back again. The usual bright one that makes Keito feel like he’s floating on air when he sees it. “I think you have more wisdom without your wisdom teeth.”
Keito blinks. “I don’t know if you’re insulting me or complimenting me.”
The grin morphs into a smirk. “We can discuss the subject over dinner. That is, when you can eat solid foods again.”
“Like a date?”
And then Chinen presses a light kiss to his cheek before he hops up from the couch. “I’m going to head home now because you need to rest. Ryosuke left you a crap ton of strawberry yogurt in the fridge so eat that if you get hungry. And call me later tonight.” Chinen moves like a whirlwind, not giving Keito the chance to really react. He’s still sort of in a daze from the kiss and all he can manage to do is place his hand over the spot that tingles a little, although he’s not quite sure whether that’s from the numbness wearing off or not.
It takes a few minutes for everything to sink in and then Keito starts laughing. He can’t help it. For weeks, he’d been avoiding the confession and now suddenly everything is out in the open. It actually does feel like a plot twist in a shoujo manga. But now that it’s over and done with, he feels better. He really should have said something much earlier.
Keito stands up and stretches before rubbing his face again. Yogurt sounded like a good idea while the pain medication was starting to kick in.
He laughs once more as he walks to the kitchen. He guesses that this will make a good story to tell at parties someday.
Time for kira_shadow!