title: Support Line
pairing: Matsumura Hokuto/Kikuchi Fuma
word count: 1,314
author's note: For shiritori over at writetomyheart~
summary: Hokuto has never been good at finding the right words.
A choked sob is the first thing that Hokuto hears on the other end of the line when he picks up his phone, and he's disoriented. It's late, late enough that he's been sound asleep for some time now, and so checking his caller ID when he picked up hadn't exactly been his first half-asleep priority. He doesn't know who's on the other end of the line or what time it is or what's going on, and so he manages a half-coherent grunt in greeting before hoping the other person will identify himself.
All he gets is a wavering, "Hokuto…?" in response, but it's enough, enough to set Hokuto's hair on edge and having him sitting upright in bed, sleepiness falling away as adrenaline suddenly rushes through his veins. It's Fuma on the other end of the line, Fuma crying, and without knowing what's going on, what's wrong, Hokuto can't help but panic. In the admittedly short time they've known one another, he's never heard Fuma like this before, not funny Fuma, not ever-smiling Fuma, not Fuma who's always full of laugher and sunshine radiant enough to brighten Hokuto's day all day any day… And so if he sounds like this, so small and teary and unsure, something really must be wrong, something awful, and so Hokuto braces himself, mind racing through the options of what he can possibly do to help, depending on the situation. His options are limited based on the fact that he's a 14 year old third-year in middle school and therefore can't drive, can't afford a cab, and can't think of any more creative mode of transport now that the trains are all closed down for the night, but he knows he has to do something if Fuma needs him. For Fuma, he'll find a way.
But first, he realizes, he needs to assess the problem, and he fumbles with the phone, his heart racing as he tries to find the right words. He's never been good at things like this, but he cares too much about Fuma to worry about it right now, and so finally, he manages a, "What's wrong…?" His own voice sounds tight now, tight with worry, but his throat only gets tighter when he hears Fuma sniff on the other end of the line, his crying more than apparent through the phone. He doesn't reply for a minute, only cries, and with every second without a response, Hokuto's worry builds, up through his stomach into his chest, squeezing his heart and creeping into his throat until finally he's about to try to find something else to say when Fuma finally responds: "My dog-- he passed away."
And Hokuto freezes. He's known Fuma for a little more than two years now, and of course they're close, closer than normal groupmates, than normal friends, but Hokuto only knew in passing that Fuma even had a dog, and certainly hadn't known that it was old, or sick, or… or maybe it hadn't been any of those things, maybe it had been hit by a car, or--?? The endless possibilities stemming from Hokuto's own ignorance are overwhelming, and he struggles to find something to say, anything to… to do what? Hokuto has never been good at finding the right words, and so he doesn't know how… to comfort Fuma? Assure him it will be okay? In some ways, though, of course, it won't be okay, because Hokuto can't do anything, really, can't bring the dog back to life, or… or…
But before he can even find his voice, Fuma is adding, "He's always been here… ever since I was a little kid… and now he's gone…" And he sounds so lost, so broken down, so different from the Fuma Hokuto knows and loves, the Fuma who's usually the strongest of them all, and he waffles his own panic making it even harder for him to sort through his already cluttered thoughts and think of anything to say. Fuma's continued sobs and tears on the other end of the line don't make it any easier, because every moment he hesitates is another moment Fuma is suffering all alone, without any support, without the help that only Hokuto can give him, if only he knew how to give it, and the thought of Fuma that way, of Fuma hurting is finally enough to make Hokuto's mind blank with worry, and suddenly, the only words he can think of are tumbling out of his mouth: "I love you."
He isn't even sure how it happens, or how he manages to say it without even thinking, without even realizing what he's doing, but once the words are out, the deed is done, and Hokuto freezes. Fuma goes silent on the other end of the line, no more sounds of crying or breathing or anything, and for a horrifying second, Hokuto is terrified that Fuma's hung up on him. But then, after a minute that feels like a year, he hears a shaky exhale, and then a quiet, "… thank you."
He doesn't know what it means, but there's a warmth creeping back into Fuma's voice that hadn't been there a second ago, and even if logically, he can't make sense of it, Hokuto feels as if the same warmth is growing in his chest, too, and spreading fast through his limbs and all the way down to his toes and up into his cheeks. He licks his lips, his panic from earlier fading into another sort of confusion, one that feels as if his mind is full of light and warmth that makes it hard to see or think clearly, but if his love is enough to make Fuma better, even just a little bit, that's enough to give him the courage to try to sort his way through and find something that might be even close to the right way to comfort him.
But Fuma beats him to words again, adding softly, "I know you can't do anything, but… if you can just talk to me…" And that, Hokuto knows, he can do, that's much easier than trying to think of the correct words for the situation, and he nods hurriedly before realizing that Fuma can't see him over the phone. And so "Yes-- of course-- definitely," he replies, stumbling over his own words in his hurry to agree, his voice thick and awkward with emotion.
"Thank you," Fuma replies, his voice growing stronger with each response, and, Hokuto wonders belatedly, is it really because of him, is it because of his support that Fuma can come back to life this way, can find strength this way? It's an incredible thought when Fuma is the strong one, when Fuma is the best of them all and Hokuto is only the shy, awkward, quiet kid in the back of B.I.Shadow, but… but if he can help Fuma even a little, if Fuma chooses to call him at a time of crisis… well, even at a time like this, even when Hokuto is supposed to be the one making Fuma happier, Fuma makes Hokuto happier than he can ever express.
And so, with his confidence boosted, he clears the lump in his throat before adding, "Whenever you need me… no matter where you are… I'll always be here," and maybe that's cheesy, maybe it's stupid, but every inch of him means it with everything he has.
And even if he can still hear Fuma crying, even if he sniffs and coughs before laughing warmly in response, the fact that when he does manage words, they're "Thanks… and I love you, too," is more than enough for Hokuto. Even if he's awkward, even if he doesn't know the best things to say, if he can provide Fuma with even a little support, then maybe, he thinks, he isn't so awful at this after all.