title: From Now On
pairing: Matsumura Hokuto/Kikuchi Fuma
word count: 3,105
author's note: I love these two and their stupid teenage romance ♥
summary: And Fuma says, "Promise me we'll always be like this, every Christmas, from now on?"
Their first Christmas together is short and sweet, and despite the fact that it's not really "their first Christmas together" in all honestly, they'll still remember it that way in the future, fondly, warmly. In actuality, it's all of their first Christmas together, their first Christmas as B.I.Shadow, a unit, their unit. To celebrate, Nakajima's parents let him use their apartment to throw a party, and so they all come together for chicken and cake and presents with eager anticipation trembling in their hands and their smiles. This is what groups do, after all, this is because they're a unit now, will be together from now on, and the joy is practically too much to contain as they each show up to Nakajima's one by one with pink cheeks and shining eyes, a neatly wrapped gift clutched between their gloved hands or tucked into their bags like three miniature Santa Clauses in disguise. Nakajima welcomes them all in like a generous smile and a certain flair to his motions, because, it seems, he likes being at the top (and despite the fact that Kouchi is older, Nakajima just has so much more experience that he's a shoo-in, really). But it's not offensive now, not, certainly, as much as his strutting will be in the future, and so they all smile and tumble inside and ooh and ah at this decoration that Nakajima hung or that fancy food item that Nakajima's mother prepared before ending up piled together in the living room with laughter on their breath and warmth both permeating through their thick sweaters from Nakajima's family's fancy new air conditioning unit and radiating from their little hearts.
They eat, eventually, homemade chicken and salad and cake, and they play stupid games and tell jokes and talk and talk and talk until they're practically worn out despite the fact that the night is still young. But eventually, it's time for gifts; Nakajima had arranged a secret santa for them a few weeks back, and while with only four, it's slightly less than secret, it's the thought that counts, really. Hokuto was fairly certain he had sorted out who was buying for who long before the party based solely on his groupmates' comments about shopping and wrapping and preparing, and it turns out, he's correct, by-and-large. Kouchi buys for Nakajima, a knit hat with a banana pattern probably intended for girls but with which Nakajima seems highly pleased, Nakajima buys for Hokuto, a set of hair products which, much to Hokuto's annoyance, Nakajima teasingly informs him is to make him even more fashionable. Fuma buys for Kouchi, a pair of headphones, so that he can get more acquainted with Johnny's, Fuma explains, thoughtful as he is, and Kouchi laughs, too. And then Hokuto buys for Fuma, beautiful Fuma, sweet Fuma, wonderful Fuma.
It had taken him ages to figure out what to get, of course; Hokuto is always one to think things through, before making the best choice, but when the end goal is to buy something both fitting and impressive for Fuma, he's at a loss. He considers all sorts of things relevant to Fuma's hobbies, aprons and CDs and headphones, but none of them seem good enough, none of them seem just right. After all, this isn't a gift for a friend or a relative, this is a gift for someone special-- that special someone--and Hokuto doesn't want to mess it up, even if Fuma doesn't know just how special Hokuto thinks he is yet. But Christmas is a time for romance, and so, Hokuto feels, so much is riding on this that he has to find something perfect.
Eventually, he decides on a necklace. He isn't sure why, really, when Fuma hasn't really ever shown huge interest in fashion or jewelry; that's Hokuto's thing, and sometime Kouchi's these days, too, not Fuma's. But yet, something about the necklace-- a simple string of blue and yellow glass beads-- jumps out at Hokuto; perhaps because they're bright and beautiful, like Fuma, or perhaps because some part of Hokuto knows that jewelry is a romantic choice, jewelry is what boyfriends buy for their significant others. Hokuto isn't anyone's boyfriend, but it's Christmas, and he wants to be.
And so at the party, Kouchi gives to Nakajima and Fuma gives to Kouchi and Nakajima gives to Hokuto… and last but not least, Hokuto gives to Fuma, a small box tied up in ribbons and red paper. Fuma appears to hold his breath as he opens the box, and Hokuto holds his breath too, holds it until Fuma peaks inside and lets out a quiet squeak, his eyes lighting up. "It's-- it's wonderful!" he breathes, fumbling with the paper and withdrawing the necklace from the box and urging Kouchi to put it on him, and Hokuto thinks, even if this isn't perfect, it seems pretty darn right.
But later, when Nakajima and Kouchi slyly elbow Hokuto and Fuma closer to one another before darting off to the next room with a last teasing comment about how there may or may not be mistletoe hung above where Hokuto and Fuma sit on the couch, Hokuto begins to think that maybe this might just be perfect, after all.
Their second Christmas together is a whirlwind of lights and romance and excitement; it's their first Christmas date, their first Christmas as a couple, and so, of course, everything is new and exciting and must, Hokuto thinks, be perfect. Fuma may be the older of the two of them, but Hokuto has never wanted anything but to take care of him, to make things right for him, and Fuma doesn't seem to mind, and so Hokuto finds himself doing the planning, and, as a result, particularly stressed leading up to Christmas. After all, he has reservations to make and gifts to buy and plans to arrange and packages to wrap, and while sometimes, he wonders if he's going overboard, something deep inside of him, the part of him that knows his love for Fuma is far stronger than any other feeling he could possibly have, knows that this is worth it, this is all worth it just to see Fuma smile.
And in the end, it is, it's worth every second of the preparation. Hokuto meets Fuma at the train station at half-past six dressed to the nines in the most fashionable outfit he has, long hair tied back in a ponytail at the nape of his neck and bag slung over his shoulder. He's planned it all to look careless, effortless, but, of course, he's spent hours in front of the mirror perfecting his clothes, his hair, his stance-- everything must be perfect for Fuma. Because Fuma is perfect in and of himself, half-running up to Hokuto as if he can't quite hold back his excitement, Hokuto's Christmas gift from the year previous around his neck and a smile on his face. You're beautiful is all Hokuto can think, and so after a brief greeting, he says it, just loud enough for Fuma to hear amongst the crowds waiting for their trains, Hokuto's lips practically touching Fuma's cheek. Fuma blushes a brilliant shade of red as a result, but it's all the more beautiful to Hokuto.
But they can only dally for so long, they have a seven reservation at a modestly nice restaurant in Shinjuku, because Hokuto can only afford so much, and because they're only fifteen. They have years, Hokuto thinks, years and years ahead of them from now on to go to all the nicest restaurants in Tokyo, and so, for now, a small Italian place with home-made pizza and pasta is enough. And really, what Hokuto thinks hardly matters; the place is decorated for Christmas, with wreathes and tinsel and miniature trees in the corners and candles on each table, and Fuma is utterly taken with it all, his eyes lighting up as soon as they're through the door, and that's what's important, Hokuto thinks. Fuma really is beautiful, is always beautiful, but Hokuto bites his tongue this time for fear that if he says it too many times, it will begin to seem insincere.
The food at the restaurant is almost as good as the atmosphere (though Hokuto thinks, he's far less qualified to judge cuisine than romance given his areas of expertise), and Fuma clearly enjoys his pasta, eating eagerly until he seemingly realizes that perhaps he's eating too fast and blushes, looking up at Hokuto sheepishly. For his part, Hokuto can barely taste his food for the fact that all of his senses are caught up in enjoying Fuma; Fuma is everything to him, fills up everything around him, and Hokuto has eyes for nothing else. Perhaps it's a little weird, but really, who can fault Hokuto when everything about Fuma is so perfect in every way, everything from his pretty face all the way down to how earnestly he looks up at Hokuto and smiles back at him. Fuma could have the worst table manners in the world and Hokuto would still think he was perfect; being enthusiastic about good food is hardly something for which Hokuto would fault him, and "I'm glad you like it," he expresses, slipping a hand across the table to hold Fuma's in his own, "You're cute."
Somehow, Fuma manages to finish his meal despite his blush and frenzied glee at Hokuto's touch, and Hokuto goes through the motions as well, high on the sense of satisfaction that really and truly, he can make Fuma this happy. After their meal, they order the special Christmas desert, naturally, but before their cake comes, Hokuto hopes he can make Fuma the happiest yet. Reaching into his bag, he withdraws the little parcel he's wrapped and brought along, dressed up in a fancy box from the jewelry boutique and finished off with a large ribbon. All the way here, he's been hugely paranoid that somehow, it's lept from his bag and made a break for it, and so somehow, there's a huge sense of relief. But at the same time, of course, this is a big deal; essentially, this is the main event, and there's so much anticipation in what Fuma's response will be that it practically feels like Hokuto's heart stops beating in his chest as he presses the box into Fuma's hand and says quietly, "This is for you."
Fuma's hands are trembling as he peels off the tape and opens the box, and, Hokuto prays, hopefully this will be what he wanted, hopefully this won't disappoint. It feels like years, but when Fuma finally gets the box open, the world stands still for a moment as he studies the contents in awe, and Hokuto can't read his expression, can't discern if the necklace that's inside, a small red rhinestone heart pendant on a silver chain, has left him so happy he's at a loss for words or completely underwhelmed.
But then Fuma begins to cry, his smile wider than Hokuto thought humanly possible as he mouths, "I love you"-- perhaps he's so overwhelmed he can't find his voice, or perhaps he's suddenly remembered discretion, since, after all, they are Johnny's, but Hokuto can read the message plain and simple, and he feels as if his heart is going to explode right out of his chest, because Fuma is perfect, this night is perfect. Nothing, he thinks, could make him happier than this, could make him happier than making the boy he loves happy.
When he opens his gift from Fuma, a small parcel with a pair of gloves that Fuma sheepishly admits to having bought for himself, as well, and a container of homemade cookies, though, it's a close second.
Their third Christmas together would be their fourth, if it wasn't for the Christmas that they spent apart in-between. They don't talk about that, though, they don't talk about any of it, the bad things that drove them apart or just how much the separation hurt. Things between them are moving towards a new normal; despite the fact that it's still touchy that Fuma is debuted and Hokuto is not, they talk about work, about fun things they've done recently with new groupmates and old friends, about performing, and school, and everything in between, and finally, they're starting to be able to do it all without flinching. And besides, Christmas is hardly a time for anything like that, Christmas is a time for love, and even if the world fell apart tomorrow (fell apart more than it did the September previous when Fuma's debut was announced), if there's one thing Hokuto has learned, it's that no matter what, he loves Fuma more than anything else in the world. He can endure anything, he thinks, with Fuma by his side.
And so Christmas is a time to convey that, Christmas is a time to show Fuma how much he loves him, and much more than the giddy, bubbling attraction of their childhood, more than the planned romanticism of their earlier dates, what matters now to Hokuto is that he can show Fuma just how strongly, how intensely he loves him, with every fiber of his being. Surprises seem too cliche now, all the gimmicks that Hokuto has used to please Fuma in the past seem too fake. He doesn't just want to make Fuma smile for a few moments, doesn't just want to hear him squeal in delight or watch his eyes widen in surprise, he wants to impress, somehow, upon him that he's everything, everything to Hokuto, but with none of his usual ideas to fall back on, he isn't exactly sure how.
In the end, he ends up taking Fuma to dinner at a little nabe place close to his family's apartment. It feels a little silly, going to nabe on Christmas; Japanese food doesn't exactly have a Christmasy feel, and the restaurant is nice and warm and homey feeling, well lit and cheery and hardly romantic, but Hokuto chooses it because it's the place where they had their first date, or at least, the first date where Hokuto took Fuma someplace for dinner and they ate and talked and held hands on the way back and kissed at the train station before going their separate ways, the simple sort of date Hokuto loves, missed so badly during their year apart. And so maybe it's a little silly, but he takes Fuma back for Christmas, because he doesn't know how better to say I love you, I treasure every evening, every hour, every moment I spend, every memory I make with you…
But Fuma seems to understand, a little, at least, if the way his smile grows and he presses closer, leaning his head against Hokuto's shoulder as they approach the restaurant is any indication, and dinner goes swimmingly, all smiles and stories and warm words, none of the awkwardness that sometimes still lingers when their conversations draw too close to something that's still hurting one or the other of them. And then after dinner, it's time to see illuminations, because, Hokuto thinks, it's fitting, just the two of them, walking, talking, looking at the lights. He doesn't want it to become the two of them doing something incidentally at the same time; of course, everything he does with Fuma is fun, but Christmas is about them, not movies or ice skating or shopping, and he doesn't want anything too complicated to take away from that.
And besides, walking together just the two of them gives him plenty of opportunities to slow or linger or point something out in the lights, distancing them from the people around them. He doesn't want any eavesdroppers or onlookers, after all, when he gives his present; this is about them, and even if it's only in passing, he doesn't want to share this moment with anyone but Fuma. And so, as they walk hand in hand along the sidewalk, finally, Hokuto slows to a stop and withdraws a small box from his pocket, smiling at Fuma as he places it in Fuma's palm. "Merry Christmas," he whispers, and it looks as if Fuma is already on the verge of tears even before opening the box. Hokuto doesn't want to make him cry (has seen him cry far too much recently), and so he leans in to press a fleeting kiss to Fuma's cheek before encouraging him gently to open the gift.
Inside is a little silver ring, just big enough to fit on Fuma's pinky, and when Hokuto helpfully places it there, Fuma begins to cry despite everything, cheeks pink and a smile growing wide on his face. "Thank you--" he gasps, overwhelmed, as if he was afraid that things wouldn't have gone back to normal to this extent, and so Hokuto hurries to explain, because the last thing he ever, ever wants is for Fuma to worry. "It's not much," he disclaims, "but… no matter what's happened, no matter what's going to happen, I always want you by my side. No matter what." And maybe that's a little overdramatic, but he means it, every word.
Once Fuma gets over his tears and presents Hokuto with his gift (a very fashionable scarf), they walk again, hand in hand once more, their fingers warm together even without gloves. The conversation dwindles, but the silence feels right now, after Hokuto has said what's in his heart, what's always on his mind, and Fuma seems contented, too, humming softly every once in a while and pressing close to Hokuto's side. Eventually, they find a bench and sit, and as they lean into one another perhaps a little more than is strictly responsible for two relatively famous individuals, Fuma takes Hokuto's hand into both of his own and nuzzles close into the crook of his neck and says, "Promise me we'll always be like this, every Christmas, from now on?"
The words cause a small burst of warmth to spread through Hokuto's chest, out into every inch of his body, and before he can even really think of an answer, he can feel himself smiling, his free hand wrapping around Fuma's waist and pulling him closer still. But, "No," he responds, his smile only growing at the thought, "Every winter that I've had you with me for another year, Christmas will get better and better." And perhaps even more than the way Fuma's face lights up with delight at the words, even more beautiful than the illuminations surrounding them, Hokuto is comforted by the fact that he really and truly believes them.