Request #4: Can you write about sarumi's trip to the hot springs after Picking Up The Pieces?


Yata had to admit that when he'd tried to imagine how the evening would go on a trip to a hot springs resort with his boyfriend, it definitely hadn't included half-dragging said boyfriend - who was drunk as fuck and could barely keep himself upright, much less walk - back to their room.

It might've helped if he'd had enough memories back to know that Saruhiko was a huge lightweight and couldn't handle more than half a glass of alcohol.

... Of course, he could've just listened in the first place when Saruhiko said he wasn't drinking, instead of 'forgetting' to mention that the drink he'd ordered him had vodka in it, but that wouldn't have been an issue if he'd had the damn memories, so whatever, not his fault.

"Misaki~" Saruhiko had tilted his head to mumble that into his ear, which probably would've been sexy if it hadn't come with a huge whiff of alcohol breath on his face.

Yata grimaced. I'm not drunk enough for this, goddamnit. "What?"

"Where're we goin?" The words came out only slightly slurred, which was an improvement over how he'd been speaking twenty minutes ago (basically just incoherent muttering that may or may not have been an actual human language).

"Back to our room." It was still early - only about 9pm - but he'd spent the last half hour forcing his drunken boyfriend to drink as much water as he could stomach, and he was really hoping there'd be no puking. He figured the sooner he had him safely passed out on the futon in their room, the better.

What a waste, though. The outdoor baths were open until 11pm, and it was a really clear night out. They'd already been in once before going for drinks, but hell, it was a vacation, and soaking in a hot spring while watching the stars was sort of romantic, right? If they were lucky, most of the other guests would still be drinking, and the ones who had similar ideas would probably be in the mixed baths, so they might've even got the men's section to themselves.

Also, afterwards, in the room... maybe, sort of... well... he'd read a few manga and stuff, and... it might've been fun to try - try being quiet while...

Yeah, anyway. It wasn't happening now.

"Why?" That almost sounded like Saruhiko's usual drawl, just way more exaggerated and drawn-out. He suddenly squirmed in Yata's hold and planted his feet, almost firmly enough to trip them both up. "We're atta hotsprinnnngs, mm, Misaki? Less go in."

"Hah? No way." Yata made an attempt to drag them forward again, and because Saruhiko kept his feet planted, it caused him to stumble and nearly fall, the arm around his neck now anchoring him to the excess weight that was his boyfriend. "Ow! Goddamnit, Saru, you're drunk - we're not going in the hot spring, okay? Just come on back to the room."

"S'Fiiiine." Saruhiko smiled lazily up from where he was hanging off of Yata - at an awkward angle, too, considering the difference in their heights. He did look a lot more alert than he had before he'd had four glasses of water forced down his throat, but still...

"It's not fucking fine." There were rules about it, right? And it wasn't good for you, was it? Sure, most people ignored that and went in anyway, but they were just sort of drunk, not unable to walk without help drunk. "The way you are right now, you'd probably pass out and drown or something."

"Heeeh." That hazy little smile was still there, blue eyes somehow clearly meeting Yata's behind the glasses perched crookedly on his nose. "Youuu wouldn't let me drowwwwn... right, Mi~sa~ki~?""

He was definitely not slurring as much, but somehow, this was more annoying. Yata scowled back, not bothering to answer that. Don't fucking tempt me. "Why would I want to go in the hot spring just to look after you the whole time?"

"But." Saruhiko used Yata's shoulder to lever himself up until he was standing straight - somewhat wobbly and with a hand still braced against his partner, but still. His smile had turned a bit wistful, somehow, and his next words were clear. "You always look after me."

That touched off a nice little rush of emotion, right there. Yata stared back at his boyfriend for a long moment, torn between common sense and a sudden, irrational want, and then finally sighed, resigned. "All right, all right, we'll go to the stupid hot spring."

Saruhiko made a self-satisfied sounding hum, smile widening and eyes narrowing, looking somewhat like a very drunk cat that just got into a whole jug of cream. Yata couldn't help feeling a bit apprehensive at that.

I'm going to regret this later, aren't I?

As it turned out, though, he didn't.

The walk to the bathing station by the men's bath seemed to sober Saruhiko up to some degree; he was able to remove his own clothing and wash himself, at least, and he was walking on his own despite his obvious lack of focus, so maybe it wasn't so bad. By the time Yata was lowering himself into the water with an appreciative sigh, he was mostly feeling all right about the idea - even a little glad.

He watched through half-slitted eyes as Saruhiko entered the bath in that way-too-overly-careful way that marked him as obviously drunk, ready to jump up and grab him if necessary, but it ended up being fine. His boyfriend settled in beside him - too close, actually, considering this was a public bath - with another of those pleased hums, shutting his eyes.

Okay, this is actually pretty nice. Yata tipped his head back, gazing up at the sky as comfortable heat surrounded him. Like he'd thought, it was a clear night and outside of the city, the stars were way more bright. In the silence of the empty outdoor bath, he could hear the chirping noises of various insects, and the air was crisp and cool - a nice contrast to the water.

And then there was Saruhiko, right by his side - the way it was always supposed to be.

... Okay, he wasn't always supposed to be drunk, but still.


He almost didn't hear his name being called, it was so quiet. Yata tilted his head to the side, but Saruhiko still had his eyes closed, facing forward. His profile was outlined in shadows, highlighted by the faint glow of the safety lights around the edges of the outdoor bath, and somehow even now his expression was unreadable. "What?"

A tiny smile curled at the corners of Saruhiko's mouth. "Nothing."

Yata wasn't entirely sure if that bit of weirdness came from him being drunk or if it was just the usual. "Heh. Okay." He leaned over to bump his shoulder against his boyfriend's, getting a little bit of a kick from the smooth brush of wet naked skin against his. "You're pretty weird, you know that?"

"Mm." Saruhiko still didn't open his eyes or turn his head, but the smile hadn't gone away.

Wonder if he'll remember this tomorrow. It was kind of odd to think about it that way, considering how long he'd gone through the reversed situation. A lot more extreme in his case; all Saruhiko would miss out on would be a quiet night in the hot spring, not an entire year of building up a relationship.

Well, I did get it all back, in the end. Stronger than before, even - at least, it felt that way.

Fingers curled around his left hand suddenly, jarring him from that thought. Yata jerked a little, snapping his head back to stare at Saruhiko, who looked serenely unaffected. "Oi, Saru! This is a public bath, idiot, don't just - "

"What? We're alone, aren't we?" The words were drawn out to an exaggerated degree; when Saruhiko finally turned his head, opening his eyes to return Yata's stare, his gaze was still hazy-looking. "Isn't it fine?"

"Th-That's not the point!" Seriously, the point was that he was going to have a fucking heart attack; since when did they do public affection? Were they 'out'? They'd never actualy discussed it - at least, not in any of the memories he'd gotten back. His family and most of Homra seemed to know, at least, but that didn't mean... yeah. Fuck. It wasn't like they'd gone out together a whole hell of a lot since he'd recovered. Hell, he couldn't even remember casually holding hands in private. He shot an anxious look back towards the entrance to the bathing station. "Anyone could just walk out here and - "

"So what? They won't see." Saruhiko's fingers tightened around his, as if he was afraid Yata would pull away from him. "I want to be closer to you," he mumbled, his tone somewhere between a more familiar annoyance and a kind of petulant discontent. "Who cares about 'anyone'? They don't matter."

Yeah, except that this is really fucking embarrassing! Yata could feel his cheeks burning, but he couldn't think of a good way to respond to that. Had he just been okay with this before? Somehow, he got the feeling it was a non-issue most of the time, and Saruhiko being drunk had awoken some kind of weird, clingy alternate personality. He wasn't sure if he'd even be able to handle this in a private place, much less a spot where just anyone could walk in on them.

Saruhiko's mouth edged up into another odd little smile; his eyes went lidded. "You're blushing," he pointed out, as if he was making the winning point of an argument, and leaned into Yata's personal space even more. "Mi~sa~ki~"

"Sh-Shut up, idiot!" As flustered as he was, though, somehow the idea of pulling away and putting some distance between them was even less appealing. Saruhiko was open and relaxed and affectionate, and... shit. Normally, even when they were alone, Yata still sometimes felt like his boyfriend kept up a few barriors.

As inconvenient and embarrassing as this was, some hungry, insistent part of him just... wanted more.

"I won't." Saruhiko's face tipped in close to his, and Yata found himself shutting his eyes involuntarily, not even minding the scent of alcohol so much as their lips brushed. It was soft and brief, an echo of the very first time Saruhiko had ever kissed him - and it might as well have been, the way his heart was pounding away against his chest.

It just about stopped beating altogether in the next second, though, because Saruhiko pulled back, looked him straight in the eye, and with perfect, unsmiling seriousness, mumbled out, "I love you, Misaki."

For an impossibly long moment, everything seemed to freeze.

The heat from the water was getting to him, Yata decided vaguely. Maybe he'd had one too many drinks himself. But that stupid, impossible sentence was ringing around and around in his head, in Saruhiko's voice - I love you, Misaki - I love you, Misaki - I love you, Misaki - like some fucking recording playing on repeat. Like it was real. Like he'd really heard it. Like Saruhiko had really said it.

Saruhiko. Had really. Said... it...

The world spun back into focus, clarity smacking him in the face. Yata let out the breath he'd been involuntarily holding, and blinked several times in rapid succession. "What," he croaked, and had to clear his throat, trying again. "What did you just - ?"

"Misaki." That voice didn't sound soft, or relaxed. In fact, it sounded sick. And, now that he was really looking, he could see that Saruhiko's face had started to turn a little grey. "I think I'm going to - "

"AH!" That was enough to spring him into action; Yata leapt off of his seat, grabbing his boyfriend's arm hastily and looping his own arm under him to lift him out of the water. "Fuck! Get up, idiot, come on!"

About five seconds and an impressive amount of swearing later, Saruhiko was hunched miserably over by the neatly trimmed bushes, emptying pretty much everything that had been in his stomach while Yata awkwardly rubbed his back.

At least they'd managed to make it out of the water...

He... really said it, right? I wasn't just hearing things. He could still hear the words in his head, clear as day, and even thinking about it made his face burn. At a time like this...

Honestly, he wasn't sure if he was elated or furious.

"You bastard," he muttered, under his breath. "Say it to me when you're fucking sober."

Saruhiko's heaving had subsided; he glanced back over his shoulder with tired, glazed-looking eyes. "... what?"

"Never mind." Yata let out an aggrieved sigh, then offered his boyfriend a rueful smile. "Let's just go back to our room."

If there was any justice in this world, the hangover tomorrow would be terrible.