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The Notebook I Forgot at Your House

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He doesn't really know how he’d even ended up being invited to a study session at Sakamoto’s house exactly. Kubota had reached out to his friend for help with cramming for the upcoming test, but for some reason his house was not a good place for Sakamoto to go to. Atsushi had come into the classroom then, quite by coincidence, to speak to the teacher who was in charge of remedial classes that he had to attend… and well, for some reason the smartest guy in the school had extended the invitation to him after hearing how pathetic his grades were. It was probably just pity or whatever, but Acchan wasn’t able to refuse and, god knows, he could use the help. His grades are atrocious. 

Kubota makes some excuse to meet up with them later. He's probably scared of Acchan, knowing his reputation.

So they’re walking to Sakamoto’s home together after school, but just walking home together is a completely nerve wracking experience. It was one thing for Acchan to keep cool when facing Sakamoto while his friends were around, but being alone together was a completely different story. Cool and perfect as always, the other teen did not seem at all bothered. Just two friends walking home together to study, Acchan wills himself to remember. If Sakamoto has noticed his jittery walk or most likely red face, he hasn’t reacted at all.

“H-hey, Sakamoto,” he finds himself saying, tongue tied with awkwardness.

“Yes?” The stare from behind Sakamoto’s glasses seems to see right through him. It does nothing to ease his nerves.

“Thanks for doing this,” Achhan grinds out, privately congratulating himself on remaining coherent.

“It’s not a problem. It will be a good opportunity for me to revise too,” Sakamoto replies smoothly and like that, the conversation dies again until they reach his house.

It’s a very modern building, a striking fusion of traditional Japanese and innovative architecture, as others might have said. But he’s too nervous to think straight, so he just follows Sakamoto inside and takes off his shoes in the hallway. The place isn’t that huge, but everything is so neat and well-arranged it feels spacious and intimidating.

“I’m back,” Sakamoto announces. There’s a soft shuffling noise of footsteps and a woman emerges from the nearest room. She’s tall and has long, flowing black hair. Even without the glasses the resemblance to Sakamoto is striking.

“S-sory for intruding,” Acchan barely remembers to say. The woman beams, delighted.

“You’ve brought a friend home!” she turns to Sakamoto. “Will he be staying the night?” her eyebrows rise questioningly.  Acchan tries very hard to think of this normally, but her eyes are twinkling and she looks right at him.

Sakamoto actually shifts a little.

“This is Maeda Atsushi-kun, from another class in my year. We’re having a study session,” he explains coolly. The woman ignores him.

“Well, he certainly is handsome,” she nods as though continuing a completely different conversation. She’s entirely too close and Acchan feels like his poor heart is going to explode.

“Maeda-kun’s grades could really use an improvement, so we should get to work as soon as possible,” Sakamoto continues, somewhat stubbornly now.

“Don’t be too rough with the poor boy,” the woman laughs. “I’ll bring food up in a bit, I suppose,” she adds as an afterthought. Acchan has no idea what is happening but he does remember his mother drilling good manners into him as soon as she heard he was going over to a new friend’s house.

“Thank you, Mrs Sakamoto,” he bows. The woman laughs again. He looks up, confused, but she doesn’t correct him about the surname. She just looks like he’s missing out on a joke.

“Cereza, please,” she says eventually when she's stopped laughing, tilting her head to the side.

Mother,” Sakamoto says flatly. “If Kubota-kun comes by, please send him up straight away.”

“Yes, yes~” she waves them off. Sakamoto leads Acchan upstairs. His room is somehow underwhelming, too clean and too neat to the point it almost feels unlived in. It doesn’t sit well with Acchan’s mental image of what a cool guy’s bedroom should look like, not that he’s imagined himself in Sakamoto’s room before now, definitely not. He shakes his head to clear his thoughts, it seems like Sakamoto had been speaking to him.

“That was your mom?” he finds himself asking with a nervous glance at the door. “No way, right?”

“She certainly does have a youthful appearance,” the corner of Sakamoto’s mouth twitches a little.  “What subject shall we start with?” he asks, sitting down beside Acchan at the low table in the middle of the room.

“Eh, just whatever,” he replies, trying to focus. “I mean… I barely remember any of this at all,” he gestures vaguely to the books taken out of his bag. He’s not exactly a studious type, so this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Art is just about the only subject at school he actually puts any effort into.

“Very well,” Sakamoto fixes his glasses which had begun to slide down his nose slowly, and opens one of his notebooks.

They spend a little while on comparing notes, Acchan’s are covered in scribbles and overall rather unhelpful, while Sakamoto has even indexed his by relevant topic. It’s not bad, sitting like this. Kubota’s late and probably not showing up after all, but Acchan doesn’t mind, if he gets a few stolen hours alone with Sakamoto. He’s a good tutor, and very patient with every mistake he makes. He may even be able to remember some of this later. Now if he can just not make an idiot of himself again like with his mom earlier… but after a couple of hours his eyes are only glancing over the text without taking in a single word. He just isn’t very good at studying at all. What even is kanji, Achhan thinks, flipping the page over automatically. He doesn’t even notice that Sakamoto has stopped reading and is just sitting there, looking at him.

“Are you alright?” he asks, as polite as always, but it sounds far away and muted, somehow.

He doesn’t know what does it, the sluggishness of his book-muddled brain or the close proximity or his study partner’s intent stare, but before he knows what’s happening, he finds himself kissing Sakamoto.

Where the hell did that come from?! The button he’s been keeping in his pocket feels like an incredible weight, all of a sudden. He doesn’t get to think about it anymore, because everything spirals out of focus when Sakamoto starts kissing him back. It’s different and otherworldly somehow, a pleasure unlike anything he’s ever felt before.

The door creaks open.

“Hmmm, am I interrupting something?” Sakamoto’s mom looks like Christmas has come early, a mischievous sparkle in her eyes again. “Oh my,” she covers her mouth with one hand pretentiously. "You should have told me you had such plans, son~ I'd certainly understand." 

Acchan wants to sink through the floor and disappear.

Beside him, Sakamoto is as stiff as a board and just as unreadable.

“This- well,- I,” Acchan stutters, his brain doing some sort of emergency shut down to save him from dying of embarrassment. “I should go,” he shoots off the floor, grabbing his bag with an awkward and mechanical movement.

“Yes, that may be advisable,” Sakamoto nods, also rising to his feet, while Acchan’s heart drops into his stomach. For a split second, he almost hoped he’d try to stop him from leaving… but instead he walks him out, quiet and composed.

When they are out the door, Acchan dares to risk a glance backwards. Sakamoto looks like wants to say something.

“Apologies on my mother’s behalf. She can be somewhat… intrusive, even though she means no harm,” his tone has an undertone of resignation; there’s probably a story behind all this. Acchan hates seeing him like this.

“It’s fine, I get it,” he says with a forced grin. “Mothers, right? Don’t worry about it. I’ll, uh, see you at school,” he finishes lamely, probably red from his neck right up to his ears. He turns around to leave.

“Atsushi,” Sakamoto says after him. “Perhaps, we should have a study session elsewhere next time.”

He turns around to see a smile on Sakamoto’s face, even better than the one he got back then, at WcDonalds.

They walk to his home together and at some point, their hands bump against each other. It’s only a fleeting touch, barely even that really. While Acchan is busy overthinking everything in a frenzy, Sakamoto simply takes his hand in his own.