dusk037: (*pensive*)
[personal profile] dusk037
Title: Your Song (this one’s for you)
Pairing/Characters: B.A.D (Kiriyama Akito/Nakama Junta); cameo by Hamada Takahiro
Rating: G
Warnings: Mermaids; inspired by (and liberties taken from) Mousi’s very own mermaid AU. Slight angst? Only because of the potential for it.
Word Count: 2000~
Notes: For [livejournal.com profile] lilly0 in [livejournal.com profile] je_wakamono. Dear recipient, I apologize if there are elements of this fic that aren’t to your tastes (because they really can’t be helped), but hopefully you’ll still find something to enjoy in this. Thank you for your endless patience, mod-san (I’m sorry I’m so bad at B.A.D fic). Also, my utmost gratitude to Naya-tan, for (unwittingly) looking it over and encouraging me. ♥ Title (and summary) shamelessly taken from the ‘70s song by Sir Elton John.
Summary: “So excuse me forgetting but these things I do; You see I've forgotten if they're green or they're blues”

It’s bright and warm with the sun just beginning to shine in the early morning sky, but the air blown in from the sea is still cool enough for a walk to be perfectly comfortable. Junta stretches as he breathes in and lets out an exhale when he relaxes his posture, eyes on the vast stretch of sea―appreciative of the view he never gets from the city. The breeze brings in a wave of nostalgia―of seawater in his hair and a beautiful siren song leading him farther out into the open ocean―he shakes his head as if to clear it, the memories unbidden and indistinct.

Junta starts walking again, away from the lure of the sea breeze and the vague memory of that siren song, this time into a more populated part of the town. He keeps walking until he reaches a corner shop, coming straight inside, unable to resist the scent of coffee and freshly baked bread.

The bell rings as he pushes the door open, making his way into the cafe. Behind the bar, he sees the shop’s manager talking animatedly to his coworker, an unfamiliar face Junta had been curious about since the man began working at the coffee shop a few months back.

The sound Junta made alerts the two men to his presence; the shop manager excuses himself and turns to where the door is, business smile in place; while the other positions himself at the preparation area.

“Welcome,” Hamada, who also happens to be Junta’s best friend, greets. “What can we brew for you?”

“You know it makes me cringe when you use that tone with me, Hama-chan,” Junta greets back with a slight grimace, even though his eyes show fondness.

“Force of habit, sorry, Junta.” Hamada manages to sound sheepish, but then his smile shifts― dialing down into a more casual, but nonetheless genuine, one. “The usual, then?”

“Yes,” Junta responds, preparing the amount he has to pay. Hamada rings up Junta’s order, turning to the one manning the coffee machine. Junta follows Hamada’s gaze, watching as the other man brews the coffee and blends it into his drink. He hasn’t had the chance to talk to the man, who seemed to prefer preparing anything and everything the customers need without actually interacting with them.

“You know, I can introduce you,” Hamada whispers conspiratorially.

Junta chuckles. “You know me so well, Hama-chan.”

“It isn’t that hard to tell how smitten you are. In fact, if you stare some more, he might just combust spontaneously,” Hamada jokes. That earns him a glare laced with a threat promise of more for later, the best that Junta can do without compromising his best friend’s position at work.

Hamada looks away first, only because the helper is by his side, handing him Junta’s order. The other man quickly goes back to work as soon as the coffee is out of his hands.

It makes Junta suppress a giggle, the tension between them dissipating completely just as quickly as it came. “Maybe some other time?” Junta says in reply to Hamada’s prior statement, playing it safe and maybe taking his time to ready himself. He takes a sip of his blended drink and smiles. “Thanks for your hard work,” he says to both shop workers, taking his leave.

The next day finds Junta face to face with Hamada’s helper, currently manning the counter. His eyebrows rise a notch, but he quickly schools his expression into something more neutral, hiding his surprise with a small smile.

“Good morning,” the man says, looking for all the world like he’d rather be swallowed by the ground than talk to anyone.

It’s the first time Junta heard him speak in all the weeks he’d been visiting, the sound of it surprisingly pleasant despite the man’s conscious effort to keep it muted. He can’t even bring himself to be offended by the other man’s long-suffering expression; instead, Junta finds himself smiling a little wider, wanting to hear more of it and wondering about the possibilities of hearing him speak with his full voice. He could imagine how nice it must sound to hear him laugh, loud and clear and so full of life. Junta doesn’t reveal any of these thoughts, though, returning the man’s greeting and ordering his usual―iced coffee and milk with a touch of chocolate.

Junta moves to a chair after his purchase, sitting down so he can freely watch people, paying special attention to the one preparing his drink. He belatedly realizes that he didn’t even get to ask about Hamada’s absence, distracted as he was with the novelty of hearing the other man’s voice.

“Mocha frappe for Junta,” someone calls out.

Junta rises from his seat to retrieve his coffee, no longer surprised but still very much pleased to hear that voice. He especially likes to hear his name from those lips, and suddenly― “Please go out with me.”

The man blinks, coffee blend half-forgotten between them as the silence stretches on for what seems like an eternity. Finally, dumbfounded though he was, he responds with a low, “Yes.”

Junta beams, relief washing over him. He takes the cup, eyes locked on the other man’s face, and if their fingers brushed during the exchange, it’s just accidental and has totally nothing to do with his excitement.

Hamada returns to the frontline with a curious look in his face, looking between his best friend and his co-worker before clearing his throat. The two of them spring apart, thankfully without incident (because he knows Junta is hopelessly clumsy), and if he noticed the strange tension between them, he refrains from commenting. He watches Junta return to his seat, and then he turns to his co-worker to express his thanks. “Thanks for covering for me, really. I just had to take that call.”

“It’s fine, it wasn’t that busy,” he says with a smile, relieved that he can return to the sole focus of his work.

“Oh, did I interrupt something, then?” Hamada prods, subtly pointing out to Junta.

The answering blush is enough for Hamada, and then he leaves the other man to his own devices to entertain a sudden influx of customers.

“Let’s meet when you finish with your shift…?” Junta asks, calling out to him before leaving the shop. “So we can plan.”

“Akito,” he supplies. “That’s my name. And yes―see you later, then.”

At the counter, Hamada’s eyebrow rises to near his hairline at the exchange; the slow grin making its way on his face and the significant look he gives Junta is louder than any other word he might have been able to come up with.

Junta catches Hamada’s gaze, returning it with a victorious (if a little shy) smile, the glow in his eyes cute but not at all unwelcome. “Thank you for your hard work,” he tells them both, and finally takes his leave.

They meet a few days later, on a day when Akito’s shift ended some time before sunset. Waiting at the bus stop a few blocks away from the coffee shop is made a lot more bearable with the sun on its way down, and Junta looks at his watch. He flips his wrist so he can see the screen of his smart phone, displaying the conversation thread between him and Akito. The last message he read was five minutes ago, a simple, ‘I’ll be there in a few’ made interesting (or annoying, depending on who or when or where you’d ask) by an emoji of a pouty-faced pig.

Junta stands up when he sees Akito running, raising his hand in a small wave―I’m here and hello.

“Did you wait for long?” Akito asks when he’s almost within Junta’s personal space, plopping down the bench to wait for the next bus.

Junta shakes his head no and follows suit, sitting beside Akito and leaning on him until they’re shoulder to shoulder. He’s surprised to find himself already warmed up to Akito’s informal ways, and even more surprised that he is happy just being with him like this―warm, safe, and familiar. He didn’t feel the need to fill the silence with mundane small talk, comfortable in the other man’s presence, and by the looks of it, the feeling is mutual.

“You know what,” Junta says as the bus comes to a stop and a number of people alight. “I want to go to the beach, there’s something I want to show you. How about we ditch this bus stop and take a walk there?”

Akito is quiet, the look on his face strangely conveying nothing and everything as he eventually nods his assent. The bus leaves as they walk in the opposite direction.

“Are you okay, though?” Junta asks, stopping to take a good look at Akito; they’re almost at the place where Junta wants them to be. “You seem… off.”

“I’m okay,” Akito says, even though his paling face and sluggish steps say otherwise. “Don’t worry,” he tells Junta. “I’m just …tired.”

“I wish we’d set out when you were on a proper day off,” Junta sounds genuinely apologetic, and his next words are actually sad, “but I’d already be back in the city at the earliest possible day you can have it.”

“It can’t be helped,” Akito says back. “I chose this day, too, right? Don’t be too hard on yourself.” He gives Junta a reassuring smile, one that Junta immediately returns, and this time he leads the way.

“You said you wanted to show me something,” Akito begins when they reach their destination, an alcove in a secluded area of the beach. “Thank you for giving me the perfect opportunity, too.” He sits down and motions for Junta to do the same.

“When you suggested we go elsewhere, I knew it was all right to tell you,” Akito says, almost wistfully, looking far out to the sea. “This might be the last chance I’ll get, otherwise.”

“What do you mean, and why is this the last chance?” Junta asks when he’s settled on the sand.

Akito says nothing, just directs his gaze out to the sea where the sun is glowing a bright shade of orange, and begins humming a tune. He sings quietly at first, barely heard over the breeze and the calm waves; it was similar to the way he talked when Junta first heard him speak, rich and pleasant to the ears despite being consciously muted.

The song slowly gains ground, Akito’s voice reaching heights beyond what is humanly possible, and Junta finds himself awash with reverence, mouth working open and then, at a loss for words, he just closes them. He allows himself to just feel, every note that pours out from Akito’s lips, from his entire being, simply working its magic over Junta.

He’s suddenly reminded of that vague memory of a siren song, and then everything clicks―clarity filling the gaps he’d been missing out on. He’d been swimming leisurely, but for some odd stroke of misfortune he drifted too far out and nearly drowned because of post-panic exhaustion. In the space between all of that, Junta heard a song―and it’s that same tune he’s hearing Akito sing at this very moment, only right now it’s laced with a deep sadness.

“You saved me,” Junta blurts out. Akito stops mid-note, some color returning to his cheeks and hope bubbling in his chest at Junta’s words.

“Your song,” Junta continues in awe, “it calmed me. Then you, you were that siren. You didn’t let me die.”

“Of course I didn’t,” Akito says, almost indignant. “I could’ve eaten you, but I didn’t. And then you showed me an entirely different way of life the more I got to know you.”

“How long have you been staying here without your tail, and how long have you been waiting for me to come to?”

“Well, that’s…” Akito begins. “Long enough to become an expert barista? Long enough for me to almost lose the motivation to continue, too, even though Hama-chan has been taking good care of me.”

“Thank god for that,” Junta says. He might have been a little jealous that Hama-chan got to be in Akito’s presence as a human for longer than he does, but he tries his hardest not to let vitriol bleed into his words. “I’m sorry,” he says after a brief reprieve, because he didn’t know how else to continue.

“Don’t be,” Akito hushes him. “It’s okay.”

Junta’s hand makes its way up Akito’s head, fingers threading through the short strands, and Akito is leaning into his touch, a strange yet comforting energy enveloping them both.

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