Time Enough

 

Note: This is based on the drama CD track 'In the Park', wherein Yata mentions that he's competing in a skateboard competition and asks Fushimi if he'll come watch.

 

From the second that the door swung shut behind him, Fushimi was already tempted to turn and walk right back out. He could hear the sound of clapping and a few scattered cheers as the announcer called out some of the tricks - the setup wasn't that large.

Truthfully, he hadn't known a facility like this existed in Tokyo.

Now that he was inside, he could see the wide arena where one of the participants - not Misaki, thankfully - was making use of the ramps, the railings, and the curved sides that sloped up to where the audience was standing. The announcing voice was enthusiastically pointing out technique and tricks as they were happening, but Fushimi wasn't overly concerned with that. He wandered over to the top of the stairs that led down through the crowd - which, while not exactly overflowing with people, wasn't insultingly small, either - and stopped near the back of the audience.

The arena was in full view, but it was unlikely that he'd be picked out of the crowd, and that was fine. Misaki didn't need to know he'd come at all. Hadn't he said he'd be too busy?

And despite that, Misaki had still reminded him of the exact date and time no less than three times - "just in case" - which was kind of annoying, but also a little bit satisfying in some way. Misaki had grinned and shrugged it off each time Fushimi had told him it wouldn't happen, but he'd still bring it up again the next time they saw each other. No doubt various members of Homra were here somewhere, so it wasn't like Misaki lacked support, but the fact that he'd clearly wanted Fushimi there was gratifying.

Well. He was there. Sort of.

"Saruhiko." He glanced up, startled - and then had to turn his eyes downward instead, to meet Anna's calm gaze. "Misaki will be happy that you came," she said, once she had his attention.

This was a somewhat unwelcome development. Fushimi stared back at her, nonplussed. "... I guess."

"Come on." She reached out to take hold of his hand, offering a tiny, hopeful smile, and he couldn't bring himself to pull it back. "The rest of us are watching near the front."

It was completely unfair how she was able to do that. Fushimi allowed himself to be tugged forward and down the stairs leading to the cutoff between the arena and the audience viewing area, resigned to the inevitable headache. He'd already spotted Kusanagi, Kamamoto, and two other Homra members (his brain supplied the name 'Bandou' for one; the other evidently hadn't been around during his short-lived time in the red clan) along the railing at the bottom.

This is going to be annoying...

Kusanagi offered him a smile and a knowing look, which Fushimi responded to by clicking his tongue and turning his gaze towards the arena. The new position definitely gave him a better look, but he wasn't sure if he was happy about that. Anna hadn't let go of his hand, though, so it was probably too late to turn back now.

"The next competitor, Yata Misaki!"

That was enough to get his attention; Fushimi glanced around the outside edge of the arena until he found the small stand where the contestants entered. Misaki was just stepping up, his skateboard in his hand and his eyes already skirting around the audience. The grin on his face was a blend of excitement and stupid confidence, with just the slightest hint of anxiety around the edges.

"You can do it, Yata-san!" Kamamoto bellowed, in sharp contrast to the polite applause around them, and a faint fluttering of panic stirred in Fushimi's chest just before Misaki's gaze turned sharply in their direction, raising his hand in an automatic wave as he took in his friends. And then his eyes drifted over and found Fushimi's.

Something in Fushimi's stomach seemed to do a little flip when their gazes locked - Misaki's eyes widened slightly, and then his entire face seemed to light up, as if someone had announced that his birthday had come early. He was positively beaming as he stared back, eyes almost seeming to shine.

If anything, the fluttering feeling from earlier got worse, but it didn't seem so much like panic any more.

It felt like their gazes locked for a very long time, but it couldn't have been more than a second or two, because no one else seemed to be acting like anything out of the ordinary had happened when Misaki turned back towards the arena, eyes narrowing in concentration as he kicked off from his starting position.

Fushimi's knowledge of skateboarding was peripheral - he didn't know the names of the moves or any of the techniques - but it wasn't difficult to appreciate the level of dexterity that went into the various flips, jumps, and twirls. Misaki's movements were quick and smooth, almost effortless, and somehow watching him coast around the arena - sliding along railings, flipping over ramps, and picking up so much air on his jumps that it almost looked unnatural - was hypnotic. The voice of the announcer and the chatter from the crowd seemed to dull out into a vague buzzing as Fushimi's vision narrowed out to the one important thing in its range. The motions of Misaki's body were mesmerizing.

Misaki was mesmerizing, especially now, shining so brightly that Fushimi could barely stand to look at him - but he couldn't bring himself to look away, either.

The routine seemed to be coming close to an end. Misaki rolled off the opposite side of the arena and towards their end, picking up speed; when he crested the top, near their section of the railing, he flipped over, and Fushimi caught a glimpse of his grin, wild and exhilarated. The moment almost seemed to freeze right there, with Misaki so close and so brilliant but completely untouchable, and something clenched painfully in Fushimi's chest.

And then he was falling back down, landing with apparent ease on his board and coasting back down the curved wall back to the arena.

Fushimi became aware that he was holding his breath, and released it in a rush, vaguely shaken.

Stupid. He made an effort to even out his breathing, sliding his free hand into his pocket to hide any possible trembling and watching as Misaki continued with the rest of his routine. It wasn't like this was anything special. None of the tricks that had been done so far were anything Fushimi hadn't seen before, although the times that they had made contact during their years of separation hadn't left a lot of room for casual observation.

Why was he reacting so strongly to a few skateboarding tricks?

The situation had changed in some significant way, and he wasn't sure if it was the newly repaired relationship between them, the fact that this was a competition and - in that vein - a show being put on, or just a delayed reaction to the big stupid grin that had spread on Misaki's face when their eyes had met.

This kind of stuff is really annoying to deal with...

"Yata's worked really hard on this," Kusanagi commented from beside him; when Fushimi flickered a brief glance in his direction, he was watching the arena with a bit of a wry smile. "He didn't say it, but I think he was hoping you'd come to see him compete."

"Misaki looked like he was really happy," Anna agreed, and her hand slipped from Fushimi's; even without turning, he could see her at the edge of his vision, setting both hands on the railing and leaning closer.

That's obvious, right? He didn't respond, still following Misaki with his eyes and frowning against the anxious elation bubbling up within him.

It was obvious, but apparently that didn't stop it from affecting him.

The routine came to a close without too much ceremony; Misaki did a final spin and waved at the audience, grinning carelessly. He paused to pump his fist in the general direction of the small Homra group, eyes shifting naturally to meet Fushimi's for just a second and grin widening with a kind of fierce elation. It felt like there was some charge in that brief exchange - a hint of something electric passing between them - but Fushimi couldn't quite place its source or meaning. When Misaki kicked off again to return to the starting block and make way for the next competitor, he could still feel his heart thrumming against his chest, as if he was the one who had just performed.

What kind of sense does that make?

The answer was 'none', which was irritating. Fushimi clicked his tongue and took a step back from the railing, wrenching his gaze from Misaki's retreating back and turning to make his own getaway. He half-expected someone to ask where he was going - or for Anna to grab onto him again, maybe - but a quick glance over his shoulder revealed that either no one had noticed he'd left or they didn't think it was particularly important.

Somehow, that was kind of irritating too.

Honestly, Fushimi wasn't really sure why he felt the need to leave; he was certain Misaki was going to come rushing over as soon as he was able to, but with the way things were between them, there was no reason for that to be alarming in any way. Still, he took the steps back up at a brisk pace, heart still racing and uncomfortably aware of a sort of confused but insistent need to get out and be alone. He wasn't sure what to make of it - didn't know what was going on in his head right in that moment.

If he shut his eyes, he could see the face Misaki had made when their eyes had first met; the way his eyes had widened and wavered, smile expanding almost impossibly - as if seeing Fushimi was the best thing he could've imagined in that moment. A rush of something like longing struck him, rising up as a painful lump at the back of his throat, and he had to swallow mutliple times to force it down.

There's no use reading too much into something like that.

He'd just reached the door, one hand extended to push it open, when he heard the rushed footsteps behind him, and that familiar voice called out, "Saruhiko!"

Fushimi stiffened in response, body responding instinctively to the sound, and felt his skin tingle, a vague fluttering of nerves spinning to life within him. He turned, torn between reluctance and anxious excitement, withdrawing his hand and facing the source directly. "You don't need to shout."

Misaki came to a halt in front of him, breathing heavy and eyes still a bit wide with residual urgency. He was flushed and noticeably sweaty, skateboard tucked under his arm and clothing disheveled. As he recovered, taking a brief instant to recollect himself as he realized Fushimi wasn't going to run, his eyes narrowed. "If I hadn't, you'd have just left, right?" He didn't wait for a response. "Why'd you run off like that? I looked up after my routine, and you weren't there - what the hell, Saruhiko?"

The reaction was more exasperated than confused - as if his retreat had been almost expected, but was still unwelcome. Fushimi clicked his tongue, frowning back. "I don't really have time - "

"You said you didn't have time to come at all, right?" Misaki challenged, his gaze set with a kind of stubborn certainty.

Somehow, that was kind of annoying. "I ended up having a little."

"And you remembered - " Misaki seemed to catch himself there, but the hard edge in his eyes softened a little, lips starting to turn up at the corners as if in hopeful anticipation. "I mean, you actually thought of coming up here to see me compete."

That expression did some more funny things to his stomach. Fushimi did his best to ignore it. "It's not like I was going to forget, since you reminded me at least once an hour."

A flash of irritation crossed Misaki's features. "I only reminded you twice. Maybe three times, max."

"It was practically every half hour."

"Screw you - it was not!" Misaki shook his head and then sighed, something of a rueful smile forming on his face. "Well, whatever, you're here." When he met Fushimi's gaze again, his eyes were bright and warm. "Thanks for coming! I was really glad to see you, y'know?"

The sincerity in that look and the tone of his voice were hard to deal with. Fushimi shrugged - a tiny, awkward bump of his shoulders. "It's not that big a deal."

"It is to me." Misaki took in a sharp breath, and then his face set stubbornly and he stepped forward so that he could reach out and take hold of Fushimi's wrist. "Come on." He half-turned, keeping his eyes on Fushimi's face as he tugged on the newly captured appendage. "If you've got time to argue with me, you've got time to stay and hear the results, right?"

There was a definite challenge in that look; even if he hadn't felt the pull of Misaki's fond smile, his competitive side wouldn't have just sat back and let that slide. Fushimi sighed. "Fine."

Misaki grinned at him briefly before turning again, and he resigned himself to his fate as he was once again dragged forward by someone he couldn't seem to properly refuse.

This was starting to become a habit...

At the top of the stairs, Misaki came to a sudden stop. He paused for a second, fingers tightening briefly on Fushimi's wrist, and then he turned his head, gaze sharp. "So." He made a show of clearing his throat, a bit awkwardly. "If I place high enough, will you come to America to watch me there?"

Is he being serious? He kind of looked like he was, but it was hard to tell, considering just how unreasonable that request was. Fushimi clicked his tongue, irritated with his own uncertainty. "You know there's no way I'd find that kind of time."

"Heh!" Another of those wry grins split Misaki's face in return; he let out a little huff of a laugh, shrugging. "Right, yeah, I know." Still, his eyes were intent. There was a brief pause, and then he took in a slow breath before adding, "Just thought I'd say, y'know... I want you there."

It was an unexpectedly raw admission. Fushimi's breath caught sharply in his throat, and for a long second, he stared back, unable to properly think, much less respond. It was such a simple thing to say, but the obvious sincerity gave it a sharper edge, and Fushimi felt the sting right through to his bones - painful and satisfying all at once.

A slow flush spread across the bridge of Misaki's nose. He blinked, seeming to snap back to reality, and then turned again, starting down the stairs abruptly. "A-Anyway, come on!"

There wasn't much he could do besides follow, with the firm grip on his wrist pulling him along and Misaki's existence drawing him in like a magnet. Fushimi could still see the edges of the blush at the tips of Misaki's ears, and somehow the fluttering in his stomach intensified in response.

This time, he found that he didn't really mind.

 

The End