Disclaimer: I do not own them.
I guess I only really have myself to blame. How could I have missed all those signs? How could I not know? How could I not realize how desperately unhappy he was? Why didn’t I ever look any deeper then the surface? I can’t even recall a time when I know for certain that he was truly happy? How did I let my best friend become a total stranger?
They say that with age comes wisdom. They say with age comes maturity. Wisdom and maturity you gain though your collective experiences. I am a senpai; I know that there are those that look up to me for advice, for guidance. I’m supposed to have the answers. But I don’t. I’ve seen a lot of things; done a lot of things and experienced far more then I had ever dreamed possible.
But I’m still immature at times.
And I would never describe myself as wise.
Sometimes I see a look in his eyes that is just so lost. It’s like his searching in the dark, going in circles, unable to reach out and find the light switch. I wanted to go to him and put my hand on his shoulder. I wanted to go to him and tell him it would be ok.
And yet, I couldn’t. I couldn’t find the courage. I couldn’t find my words. So I just watched instead. I watched him struggle to find himself in the dark. I watched him struggle to paint a smile on his face.
I was running late again. It seems like lately all I’ve been doing is rushing from one place to another. I stumbled into the change rooms and all but fell against my locker in my haste to open it. I could hear the many conversations and boisterous-ness of my fellow juniors around me but I paid them no mind. The noise you get used to after a while. You learn to block it out.
Almost as if a bell had tolled signally the end of break at the start of a new class; the locker room started to empty, the boys filing out on their way to the various practice rooms. I still only had one sock and some pants on.
I was late.
That was when I saw it; the look.
Most people think I live in my own world but even I was not completely oblivious. I wondered, though, for how long that ‘look’ had been in existence. I wondered just how many times I had seen it and never really saw it for what it was.
That ‘look’ between the two of them - between Nikaido and Senga…from Nikaido…to Senga.
That look of love.
I’d like to think that I’m the kind of person who is approachable. I’m not charismatic, I don’t demand or commend attention and I’m not unruly. I’d like to think that I’m sensible and responsible. I was happy when he opened up to me those couple of times. He’s the kind of person that bottles up his deepest hurts and his fears. He’s a little bit of a contradiction. He makes friends so easily but he is the kind of person that will tell you exactly what he thinks if you upset him. His temper is quick but his smile is beguiling and his penance is real. He is one of the most honest people I know and yet I feel like he has this huge secret that he hides from everyone.
A secret he himself tries to hide from.
It is something so desperately real and right under the surface that it scares him.
I watch him, sometimes, with Senga and I feel like kicking myself for not realizing it sooner. It is right there. He hides it well but every so often his expression softens and his eyes take on this look that I can’t find the right words to describe and he smiles. It isn’t a smirk or one of the smiles he plasters on his face for the camera. It isn’t wide and bright. It’s just a smile.
It’s just Nikaido in love.
I dote on Senga. I tease him but I’m fond of him too. He's naive and adorable. He says whatever is in his head and never really realizes just how deeply it can affect those around him. He never means any harm. Senga is far too trusting and far, far too nice to ever say anything with ill intent.
I'll never forget that day though. The day I saw him break Nikaido's heart.
He had rushed into the change rooms that day, wearing his biggest, brightest smile. When you see Senga with that smile you can't help but smile as well. However, at those first few words tumbled from his lips i felt my heart seize and my gaze flew to Nikaido's face. I had never ever seen anyone’s expression crumble so fast. His smile slipped right of his face. His eyes went dull, his shoulders slumped.
I could have hit Senga for being so insensitive.
How could he talk about the girl he likes in front of Nikaido? Although, I guess it isn't really Senga's fault. He is oblivious by nature. He will never know how Nikaido feels until the day Nikaido himself tells him.
I know Nikaido loves Senga.
However, it isn't my place to say anything. Nikaido doesn't want anyone to know how he feels. You can tell by the shaky smile he's endeavoring to embrace now in the face of Senga's words. I thought perhaps I should try to catch Nikaido's eye, to comfort him, but Nika's a proud person. If he comes to me, I will listen. I'm right here, waiting in the wings, ready to hand him the scotch tape so he can mend his broken heart.
I always wondered how it would all play out. For months, for years that tension had been building, bubbling up under the surface. It was only a matter of time before it all came rushing out into the open. It would only be a matter of time before Nikaido was lain bare, stripped of all his defenses; his laughter, his silences.
I prayed that when that time came Senga would see everything just as it was and not be blinded by the way that he thought things were. I wish them happiness.
I pray that Nikaido can finally tell Senga exactly what he feels inside. I hope he tells him everything, his frustration, his fears, his tears, his sadness, his love. I hope that Senga doesn’t say something insensitive by accident because for all Nikaido’s bravado he is far more sensitive that he would let any one believe.
I pray that this inevitable day happens soon.
I almost die every time when I feel Kitayama’s eyes on me. His gaze was heavy but I was too afraid to turn and enquire because I felt like I already knew what it was that he wanted to say. There have been many instances over the past few months in which I have felt Kitayama’s gaze on me, silently urging me to step up and take that final step. I was afraid though.
It seemed like I was always afraid.
They all seem to know. Everything I tried to hide – they know it all. I guess I’m just not very good at lying, not even to myself. I’m still as much in love with him as I was last week, last month, a year ago…and he is still just as oblivious to my feelings as ever.
I was lying on a bench in the deserted change rooms after practice one evening when I heard to door slide open. I turned my head to see who it was and almost rolled right off the chair in my surprise.
“Yokoo said you had something you needed to tell me.”
I felt my jaw drop. So that was how it was going to be. They were trying to force my hand. I didn’t want to lose what I had with Senga. This; whatever it was that he had – it was better then nothing at all.
“Tell you something…?”
“Uh, yeah. Ah, Nika, are you ok?”
“Am I ok?”
I scoffed. I could feel the pressure building inside me. I could feel my throat tightening. I could feel that knowing sting behind my eyes as they started to well with tears.
“I’m not ok. I haven’t been in a long time.”
I turned away from him I didn’t want to see his face as he registered my harsh sound tone.
His voice was soft but his tone reflected his hurt.
“I’m tired Senga. I am so tired of pretending that everything is ok because its not. Everything is so far from being ok and I’m tired of trying to smile when all I want to do is cry. I’m frustrated that I can’t say exactly how I feel because I can’t find the words. It is so tiring, getting up each day, knowing that every thing is as it was yesterday.”
“Everyone knows. I tried to hide it. I thought I was doing a pretty decent job of hiding it but still everyone knows; everyone…except you.”
“You just never see, do you?”
“Although I guess that is what makes you, you. You wouldn’t be Senga is you were intuitive.”
Senga looked lost. I figured that was ok though. I’ve been lost since I met him.
“Everything!” I yelled at him before I turned on my heel and stomped out.
I stared after him as he stormed from the room. I got the feeling that Nikaido had just told me something very important but somehow I had failed to understand the meaning.
“That didn’t go as well as I had hoped.”
I jerked at the sound of Yokoo’s voice.
“I forgot to take into account how stubborn he is.”
“What? Will you please just tell me what is going on?”
“Nikaido is unhappy. He’s been unhappy for a very long time. He doesn’t know how to talk to you about it. All of us, we could see it, but you couldn’t. You’re his best friend. That just makes him even more unhappy – that you couldn’t tell. Think back Senga, when was the last time that you know Nika was truly happy? Can you recall a time? Because I sure can’t. He’s hurting and he wants you to fix it because you’re his best friend. You are supposed to be able to see these things.”
My eyes widened. Nika-chan was unhappy? Why didn’t he just tell me? Why didn’t I see it?
“You know why you didn’t see it Senga.”
I stayed silent. It wasn’t a question.
“Because you just accepted everything he presented to you. You never bothered to look any deeper.”
I didn’t wait to hear anymore. I ran from that locker room with my head pounding and my heart racing.
How could I have missed all those signs? How could I not know? How could I not realize how desperately unhappy he was? Why didn’t I ever look any deeper then the surface? How did I let my best friend become a total stranger?
I turned up on Nikaido’s doorstep later that evening unannounced. His eyes widened in a barely perceptive manner but he left me pass into his apartment. I sat opposite him on the couch and I said nothing, I just watched him. I took in his slumped shoulders and the hooded guarded look in his eyes. He seemed tired…defeated. Not at all like the Nikaido I knew.
…though I knew.
“Senga…what is it that you…”
“Tell me properly.”
“Eh?” his lips quirked in confusion.
I didn’t say anything else. I just waited.
“Tell you what?”
“Tell me properly,” I repeated.
“Please don’t do this…” he whispered.
“Tell me properly.”
“I love you.”
Those words were so softly spoken but I heard them anyway.
“I am so in love with you.”
Nikaido stood then, from the couch and turned from me and made his way into his small kitchen. I sat there on that sofa with a big grin on my face before I realized that I demanded Nikaido to tell me his feelings and then let him walk away without a word.
The moment I stepped into that kitchen I could almost taste the tears in the air. I felt like the biggest jerk in the entire world. He tensed when he heard me enter the room but I still made my way over to him. I came right up behind him and saw him shiver at the proximity.
I wanted to reach out and touch him and so I did.
I placed my open palm over his clenched fist and I rested my cheek against his shoulder blade.
“I’m sorry I never noticed Nika.”
His body relaxed against mine and I laced my fingers with him, interlocking our hands.
“I don’t know if I can make you happy Nika. But I want to try. Being beside you makes me happy.”
I felt him sigh against my back. I felt like crying again.
Just by being by your side, I’ve never been happier.
A/N: I hope it isn’t too confusing. POV changes jump. Each member of Kisumai has a part. I wrote the middle ones with specific people in mind but you can chose whomever you like.