Daiki hadn’t even thought about what exactly to say when he walked off. He just knew that he had to do and say something to Jun.
Ever since it became clear that Jun and Takumi would make it in time for important parts of the musical, ever since Jun stepped behind the stage, eyes slightly red from crying but a shy and sweet smile on her face, he had known.
Had known what became clearer and clearer to him during the last month in the committee, every single time she excitedly typed messages directed at him or someone else in her phone and every time she basically lost it whenever Takumi sat down at the piano to play some musical number and put her own words into songs. Every time he was allowed to read the weird but beautiful story she came up with, a story that was so obviously in some ways based on events in her own life that he couldn't stop thinking about it. A story so personal that she was still ready to put out into the world.
He had known he needed to talk to her about- whatever the hell he was feeling every time he sat next to her in Takumi’s music room, every time he was able to look at her when he let the girls have the couch and sat down on the ground. Every time they met up on the roof to go over something for the musical and he ended up enjoying every single minute.
He knew it every time he walked with her to the bus station or brought her home, with Jun having her phone constantly ready in her hands, in case she wanted to talk back to him.
Which was almost always.
He stopped counting how often she stumbled over her own fingers because she was in a hurry to text her answers or comments out, seemingly afraid of taking too long. Well aware that he often came across as dismissive and gruff – when only half of the time he did that on purpose – he tried hard to control his face when around her.
In the past he hardly paid attention to the mute girl in his class, which was one thing. Hurting her with his thoughtless words or bored face as he once had in front of the class was something else. Something he didn’t ever want to repeat. Not even by accident. What he wanted was for Jun to know that no matter how long she took to answer him or to ask him something, he’d wait.
It was less of a chore than he expected.
To be frank, it was like nothing he expected.
She always seemed to take their conversations so seriously while still managing to keep the atmosphere between them as light as snow. Sure, she’d stumble over some of his replies, crack the dumbest jokes he’d ever heard, just to take them back a second later, too afraid that she accidently offended him. But when he laughed it off, softly nudging her with his elbow and told her that it was just fine, she’d smile her pleased little smile into her scarf and his heart missed a beat.
Jun was something else.
And she was so much more curious than he ever gave her credit for. Nobody else except for Itsuki had ever been this interested in his opinions and thoughts, be it about her story, the musical or what happened in school and in his life. He’s not even sure he ever talked as much to anyone else as with Jun, as one-sided as it must seem for an outsider.
Whenever he waved her goodbye as she stepped into the bus, with her waving back, a big grin on her face, it took his cheeks forever to return to their natural colour. It didn’t help that as soon as the doors of the bus closed and Jun took a seat, she’d take the time to write out her “Bye!! See you tomorrow! 😊 ❤”.
In fact, most of the time he stood there at the bus station, his phone in his hand, waiting for her text.
It was ridiculous. If you had told him a month ago that he’d wait for her text like some lovesick puppy, he would have made a face and probably asked who the hell “Jun” was. Now, he’s so busy thinking of how freaking cute she is that he considers himself lucky when he's not tripping over his own feet while walking next to her.
It’s not like he’s weird about it. He’s still a functioning human being, more or less at least, the same he’s ever been. A bit more talkative now maybe. Able to apologise to people he offended. Able to ask what someone else needs. And he has found more friends than he ever thought he’d need. Found them in places he never even thought of looking before.
He’s happy that Jun considers him a friend.
And yet, when she stepped into the hall with a straight back, her eyes concentrated on the stage, singing with such a certainty he’s never seen before, not in her, not in anyone – he’s star struck.
When he stands next to her – dressed as a freaking egg – and looks at her out of the corner of his eye as they perform their last song together, the tears on her face are clear as day. He doesn’t know what happened between her and Takumi, doesn’t know where he found her or what’s been said or done, but he sees how she keeps smiling. How she doesn’t mind her tears, how she keeps singing on and he knows that this entire music is about her, is about Takumi, everyone with eyes can see that.
But it just hits him that what he’s allowed to watch, what he is allowed to be part of is so personal in a way he can only begin to understand. And the only thing he knows is that he wants to keep being a part of it. Of Jun’s life, of her every day, of this.
And he’d keep being her friend if this is what she wants from him, hell, he’d be lucky. But he can’t help but crave for more. For Jun’s eyes to set on him in the same way they’re setting on Takumi. For him to know where she hides when she feels bad.
He’s not jealous of Takumi. It surprises himself actually, the way he’s just – thankful. For Takumi to be there for Jun, supporting her when no one else would, himself included. For allowing him to make room for himself in her life. Maybe even allow himself room to grow as a person because he definitely needed someone to talk sense into him.
So, when everyone is busy taking down what they built up for the musical, when he sees that Jun is done talking to her mother (actually talking to her), and they’re all finally rid of their costumes he doesn’t hesitate when he overhears Takumi and Natsuki. When he sees Jun carrying more than she should.
It’s now or never, he decides.
“I think I’m in love with you, Jun.”
He’s always been pretty straight forward. Too much, more often not than not.
Up until this point he hadn’t even taken the time to feel nervous about his confession, it had just been something that he had known he needed to do, needed to get out. But when Jun stands in front of him, eyes going wide, bags falling out of her hands, all the feelings hit him like a freight train.
He’s never confessed his feelings to anyone before, did you even do that like this? Were you supposed to talk around about it? He’s not even sure he’s ever been in love before so who’s to say he didn’t just completely mess this up? God, is he still having some of the glitter from his stage make up on his face?
Right now, he feels like he’s part of an important game and he’s not sure if he scored or if he failed. Everything’s still possible.
Nothing happens, at least not for a couple of seconds, and that makes him gulp.
Then Jun is moving, suddenly. Frantically searching her pockets for her phone, holding it in a tight grip with shaking fingers, nearly letting it fall before opening it and starting to type away furiously.
She stops, seems to rethink her words, deletes them and then types them anew.
That repeats for about three or four times, and Daiki can only watch her with wide eyes.
Then Jun freezes. Blinks. Looks back up at him as if she only now realises he’s still there.
Her cheeks are nearly as red as his must be.
“I forgot that I can speak,” she says. She’s slowly putting her phone back down again as if not sure if she can trust her voice.
“Oh,” Daiki says. Like an idiot. “Yeah, me too.” He hadn’t even though of that. Waiting for her typed out replies, be it on her phone or her little book was something he had gotten used to during the last couple of weeks and he hadn't even questioned it.
There’s another pause, but he can’t find it in himself to call it awkward. He’s used to her silence. And he knows his feelings must come as a surprise to her.
Hell, he was surprised.
“It’s okay if you don’t feel the same,” he adds with a sincere smile. He means that. “I just- I just wanted you to know. And I hope we can still be friends if this is something you want?” He still means that but it's is somehow harder to say. The last thing he wants is for Jun to feel uncomfortable with him and he hoped he didn't make it weird between them.
He’s not sure what else to say, but he opens his mouth anyway but he doesn’t get a chance to say anything else.
“I just confessed to Takumi!” Jun practically shouts out. Her cheeks darken a bit more and Daiki can’t tell if it’s because of her words or her volume. “I-I’m sorry, I don’t know- I don’t think I know what to say to your-” She’s getting more and more quiet, the rest of her sentence ends up being mumbled under her breath.
“That’s okay,” he repeats. It’s not as if he expected her to fall into his arms. It’s not as if he didn’t know about her feelings concerning Takumi. Still, it hurts. “I already thou-”
“But thank you!” He’s not used to Jun actually talking back to him, much less interrupting him. He can only blink and look at her while she nervously pushes her phone around in her hands. “I know it’s not easy to talk about your feelings, to put them into words, to say them out loud. Even less when you’re not sure how the other person reacts to it.” She pauses. Daiki thinks because she needs to take another breath because that sure was a long sentence for her. It also gives him another moment to think about how much he adores the sound of her voice.
“And I know it hurts when you don’t get the answer that you were hoping for.” And then he gets it.
There’s a feeling in his stomach. It’s not quite pain, it’s not quite disappointment. The biggest part of it is compassion. (There's another word for it, he thinks, but he's not quite ready to admit how deep his feelings run for her already.)
Of course, Jun would understand it. Not only because she’s Jun, but because a couple of hours ago she was in his place. She admitted her feelings and she was rejected. By what he knew about his friend and judging from Jun dealing with the situation, Takami must have been kind. Nevertheless, it must have stung.
It does right now.
Jun’s sad little smile speaks more than words could ever say. Yeah, she gets it.
And that makes it easier for Daiki to smile back at her.
He takes a deep breath. Things would still be alright. They would be friends. Those weren’t empty words. Not from him, certainly not from Jun.
“I like you, Daiki,” Jun says suddenly. It’ll take a while to get used to actually hearing her speak to him, but even if she’d been talkative before, this would have still knocked him right off his feet.
Her cheeks are still pink but there is something calm about her. She stopped fidgeting with her phone and she’s looking right at him, a small thoughtful frown on her face. Like she's considering him.
Daiki knows he could pick her up without breaking a sweat, he’s practically twice her size, and still he feels vulnerable under her gaze. And he hopes that whatever she sees when she takes him in like this, will be enough. “I really like you.”
“I’ve never thought of you in that way,” Jun starts and he nods, hiding a wince. “But I- I think I'd like to try?”
He knows she says more. He hears half of it. Something about her not wanting to promise him anything, that this is very soon and very sudden, that it’ll take her some time to get used to her rejection and then some more time to even think of giving someone else a chance. And Daiki agrees to all of that, whole-heartedly.
It’s just that his heart is beating so loud that he’s afraid he can’t pay too much attention to anything else, afraid that it’ll burst out of his chest any second. Or that the stupid grin that’s taking over his face won’t ever go down.
Without missing a beat, he fills the distance between Jun and him and he takes her hands in his. Which is kinda uncomfortable with her still holding her phone but he hardly notices it.
“That’s okay,” this time he’s the one that can’t keep a normal speaking volume. Jun hardly flinches though, and Daiki hopes that this is because she’s used to him and not because she’s too startled to move. “That’s more than okay, actually. No, that makes so much sense. And that’s all I hoped for, really. Really. Thank you!”
He knows what he’s saying, he means every single thing. At the same time, if you asked him in an hour what exactly he told Jun, he wouldn’t be able to recall a word of it.
What he does remember though, is that Jun doesn’t remove his hands.
That she looks at him. Sees him.
And that she smiles.
And who knows, that might just be enough.