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i'm glad there is you

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In the beginning, Adachi suspected Kurosawa started hanging out with him out of pity, the popular boy was too nice for it to be a mean prank and maybe he noticed when Adachi suddenly began to sit alone at lunch at the beginning of their final year. For the past few years, he and Tsuge would sit together and be in their own little world, but Tsuge’s family moved away in the summer, and so Tsuge then had to switch schools. It was hard saying goodbye, and even though the pair texted every single day, that didn’t make the absence of his friend make him feel any less lonely. 

He did notice that while Kurosawa had always been incredibly kind to him, he started to go out of his way for Adachi. He would always jump at the chance to be Adachi’s partner for school projects and always do his fair portion of the work, going as far as inviting him over to work together. Adachi never accepted at first, not wanting to be a burden, and sometimes he’d think he could see a disappointed look flash across the other’s face before it was replaced by his usual handsome smile. He always thought it was just his eyes playing tricks on him, maybe he was too hopeful. Kurosawa was just his classmate, nothing more.

It was a month and a half into the year when Kurosawa suddenly sat himself across from Adachi during lunch period, startling him so much that he nearly flung his manga in the air. Kurosawa smiled his blinding smile, commenting on how he had never met someone who knew about Ragna Crimson too. Adachi couldn’t help but feel even more confounded, the thought of him and Kurosawa having anything in common besides being in the same class was nearly unbelievable, but here was Kurosawa himself talking to Adachi about his theories and thoughts on the different plotlines of his favorite series. Even more surprising was that Adachi soon began to respond with equal enthusiasm, sparking a conversation that lasted the whole lunch period and extending into the end of the day when Kurosawa asked him if they could walk home together to continue their conversation. It wasn’t until after a few weeks of this routine that Adachi realized Kurosawa lived in a completely different direction. 

From then on, they had lunch together every day. Kurosawa’s friends eventually started joining them too, including Fujisaki, a classmate of theirs that had always been amiable towards Adachi, and sometimes Rokkaku, their overly enthusiastic junior that seemed to follow them wherever they went when he wasn’t with his dance club. He knew they seemed like an incredibly strange group, and he got the feeling sometimes that he should be the odd one out of all his new friends, but for the first time in months, Adachi felt like he belonged.

Adachi became closest to Kurosawa most of all. They often spent time together after school going to each other’s houses or having lunch at Adachi’s favorite rice ball stand on the weekends. If Kurosawa brought his homecooked food for their group he would always add something to Adachi’s bento, whether it be an octopus sausage or sweet tamagoyaki. Kurosawa would always smile the brightest at Adachi’s praise.

Adachi only wishes that smile didn’t make his heart feel unbearably full. He wishes he hadn’t fallen so fast.

 


 

The morning of their first snow day of the year, he figures he shouldn’t feel as surprised to see Kurosawa at his doorstep as he does. This is hardly the first time he's showed up to his home solely to spend a bit of time with Adachi, but seeing him bundled up in a long, black winter coat and his cheeks ruddy from the cold, all to come see him of all people makes him overwhelmingly happy. 

“Adachi!” he exclaims,  already grinning at the sight of him when Adachi opens the door. “Are you free today?”

“I, uh, what?” It was hard for Adachi to keep up, clearly, Kurosawa was fully awake after his trek, but Adachi had only just woken up to the sound of knocking at his front door. He was still in his pajama bottoms, a long-faded tee shirt that used to be his dad’s, and his hair, already usually messy as it is, was surely a sight to see. He found himself quickly becoming alert as soon as Kurosawa’s smile began to fade, however.

“Ah, sorry, I should’ve texted you. I just wasn’t sure if you’d want to if I didn’t come myself, but that’s pretty rude isn’t it?” he laughs, masking his self-consciousness, a practice he adopted to make others feel comfortable with his own failings. Adachi hated that he felt like he had to do that. “Sorry, we can hang out some other time if you want?”

“No! No, that’s not it, you just surprised me a little.” Adachi tried his best to give him a reassuring smile. It seemed to work because a smile of his own, this time genuine, appeared on Kurosawa’s face. He opened the front door all the way, stepping aside to make room for Kurosawa to enter. “Come in. You’re going to get sick if you stay out there too long. I’ll get ready real quick, I don’t have anything to do today.”

 


 

The first place Kurosawa took him to was a cozy café downtown. The interior was bathed in warm lighting and the welcoming aura felt like a sanctuary. In breathless laughter, they had raced on the heated sidewalk all the way from the bus stop to fend off the bracing cold. Still a bit giddy, they sat down at one of the cushioned red booths after ordering their hot chocolates and a plateful of warm pastries for breakfast.

“I can’t believe that sweet angel Adachi is a cheater. Rokkaku is going to be devastated when he hears about how his role model got a head start by telling me my boot laces were untied.” Kurosawa teased. 

“It’s not my fault you didn’t remember your boots don’t even have laces. And I told you to stop calling me that.” Despite himself, Adachi couldn’t help but laugh with him. He loved how gullible the other could be and if he was being completely honest with himself, he kind of liked the embarrassing nickname their friend group had given him. Especially when it was coming out of Kurosawa’s mouth. He tried to fool himself that the warm feeling he felt at it was caused by the heat of his hot chocolate.

“You’re merciless, Adachi.”

 


 

Later in the afternoon, after a long day of exploring the various bookstores in the area, they found their way to the public park they often went to together. It was empty besides for a few parents accompanying their kids to make snow angels and snowmen together, and even fewer people that were just milling about, enjoying the quiet peacefulness of winter. It had warmed up a bit since the morning and being outside for a longer period of time was tolerable at this point. They sat down shoulder-to-shoulder at their usual spots on their favorite bench, set apart from the open area of the park where Adachi and Kurosawa didn’t have to be wary of being seen by people they knew. They could relax and be themselves together, not fearing being interrupted by someone from Kurosawa’s fan club and Adachi not being afraid to laugh too loud. 

“Only you would think that a snow day is a perfect day to go outside,” Adachi remarked. It wasn’t a complaint, more an observation than anything else. Most years, he’d stay inside and play video games, maybe draw at some point. He figured most people would think to stay inside too. He couldn’t help but feel glad, however, that Kurosawa took the initiative to suggest they do what Kurosawa wanted to do. When they first began to hang out, Kurosawa would always ask Adachi what he wanted, making sure that Adachi was having a good time in every aspect. It took him some time, along with Adachi’s reassurance, to be comfortable enough with proposing his own wishes. 

“Only you would agree to go out with me.” Kurosawa pointed out with a kind-hearted smile. Adachi knew he wasn’t wrong. “But I didn’t really want to ask anyone else though, I wouldn’t have done anything today if you didn’t want to.” He admitted. “It wouldn’t be as fun with anyone else.”

Adachi wished Kurosawa wouldn’t say things like that so easily. It only made his heart feel heavier. Hoping to conceal the cause of the warmth he felt quickly grow on his face for the cold, he brought his hands up to his face to blow on them. “I wouldn’t mind doing this again. But next time, give me a warning so I don’t forget my gloves again.”

Kurosawa smiled brightly at the implication of a ‘next time’. Before Adachi realized what he was doing, Kurosawa was taking off his gloves. “Here, let me see,” Kurosawa held Adachi’s hands in his, enveloping them with his warmth. “I’ll give you mine and we can pass by the shop later. You should start being more careful though. You always forget to bring a scarf even on school days. You were worried about me getting sick but what am I going to do if I’m stuck by myself at school without you?” He had a joking tone to his voice, but Adachi knew him well enough to know that there was some truth behind his words. Kurosawa had told him before that nobody knows him the way Adachi does. Selfishly, Adachi wanted to know him more. He wanted to know everything there is to know about Kurosawa, all his strengths, and all his faults. What makes him happy and what makes him angry. He wanted to memorize all of Kurosawa’s favorite things and the lines on the palms of his hands. It felt like his hands were made to be held by Kurosawa’s.

“You’re the only person that makes me feel like myself.”

 

All of a sudden, it was all too much.

 

Adachi jumped from the bench, pulling his hands away from Kurosawa’s as if they burned. In a way, he guessed they did. He made the mistake of looking at his friend and the heartbroken look that flashed on his face was too much to bear. 

“Kurosawa, I have to tell you something.”

“Adachi, you don’t have to say anything, I understand-” he had begun to rise from the bench too, not looking at Adachi. Adachi would do anything to never see that look again.

“Kurosawa, please listen to me!” 

Kurosawa startled and finally looked at his face, shocked at hearing the usually soft-spoken Adachi raise his voice so loudly and with so much distress. Adachi could feel his heart pounding in his throat. He had never felt so scared before, but he hated lying to Kurosawa. He didn’t know how much longer he could stand keeping this secret. Kurosawa stayed silent, and Adachi took a deep breath.

“You’ve been so nice to me. Your friendship means so much to me, I was so lonely before and now, after these past few months, I feel like I’m not alone anymore. Even when you’re not nearby, you make me feel like I’ll never be alone again.” He took one more breath, trying to find his courage somewhere in the brisk air. His fists were clenched so tightly together that he feared his nails would break skin. “I like you. I’ve liked you since the day you ate lunch with me the first time. You don’t have to feel bad for not feeling the same as I do. I’ll be okay. I just didn’t want to lie to you anymore, Kurosawa. I’m sorry.” 

The expression on Kurosawa’s face was unreadable, and he was quiet for a moment too long. Adachi braced himself for the rejection. He felt so stupid, he could lose so much, the friend group, weekends with Kurosawa, maybe Kurosawa himself, though Adachi knew if that were true it’d be because he’d be the one to put the distance there. 

 

Maybe it’d be for the best.

 

“Do you mean that?” The sudden sound of Kurosawa’s voice broke him out of his inner dialogue. 

“I do,” he murmured. 

All at once, Adachi was engulfed in Kurosawa’s arms, the other holding on to him like he was afraid he’d disappear if he let go. Adachi was startled, frozen in place. This was the last thing he expected. Kind, heartbreaking rejection, sure, but not this.

“Adachi, I like you too. I like you so much and for so long that I didn’t know what to do with it. Adachi, I’m so happy.” Although Adachi couldn’t see his face, he could hear his happiness in his voice. Once he regained his senses, he wrapped his arms around Kurosawa, hugging him back just as tightly and gripping the fabric of his coat. He felt a laugh bubble out of him, unbelieving of the fact that Kurosawa liked him back. Despite all odds, Kurosawa wanted him just as much as he wanted Kurosawa. All he could say was “Oh.”

Kurosawa pulled away a bit without letting go of him, looking at him like Adachi single-handedly made all his dreams come true. “Can I kiss you?” he asked, quietly. Adachi nodded. He had never been so sure of anything else in his life besides the fact that he wanted his first kiss to be Kurosawa Yuichi. “Yes,” he answered breathlessly.

Gently, Kurosawa pressed his lips against his. It was little more than a peck, but Adachi felt elated all the same. His lips were soft and warm despite the cold winter air. He doubted he would ever get sick of kissing him.

“We can take things slow,” Kurosawa said softly once he pulled away. “I know you haven’t had much experience, so we don’t have to rush into anything. Thank you for being brave.” Adachi would have never believed that Kurosawa’s smile could possibly be more blinding than it already was, but the taller boy kept surprising him with new revelations.

“You don’t have to thank me for anything,” he laughed, “I can’t believe you like me back, you never said anything!”

“You’re right, I’m sorry.” Kurosawa grinned. “I’ll try to be brave like you. From now on I’ll say what’s on my mind.” He kissed his forehead as an act of apology, although he was still grinning from ear to ear. “I can start now, even. You look like a rabbit with your nose all red like that. It’s cute!”

Adachi pushed his chest lightly, still laughing despite his embarrassment. “You don’t have to do that,” Kurosawa reached for his hand, laughing along like nothing else in the world mattered. Adachi was glad for it. He laced their fingers together. A perfect fit.

 

“Come on, it’s getting cold. I’ll walk you home.”