pairings: Daiken/Hiroto (Matsumura Hokuto/Morimoto Shintaro's characters from Shounentachi)
warnings: Major spoilers for the end of the movie!! This also deals with character death, so if that might be upsetting to you, please proceed with caution!
word count: 1,525
author's note: I was not expecting to love the stupid Shounentachi movie as much as I did. I really enjoyed Hokuto and Shintaro's characters' goofy flirting on screen, but I wasn't actually expecting them to be the first pairing I wrote fic of from the movie. This was written for Shiritori @ writetomyheart!
Morning will come for them soon enough, Daiken tells himself as he methodically lays out his futon for the night; tomorrow, life will go on as it always does. It's strangely simple to think about, despite the fact that, for all intents and purposes, he ought to be falling apart right now, and the lack of emotion inside him is almost scary as his mind methodically looks for balance when everything has been thrown so far into a tailspin. Tomorrow morning, they'll wake up, the three of them together in their little cell-- no, wait, Jouhouya had been taken away to the infirmary after, back inside under the bright fluorescent lights, they'd discovered somewhere along the way, he'd managed to cut his hand open on one of the barbed wire fences. The two of them, then, will wake up tomorrow morning at the sound of the bell, and they'll get ready for the day just like they have every other day and just like they will for every day in the future until their date of release. The door will be unlocked, and they'll be shepherded by the guards to breakfast where they'll eat in silence as they do every morning, sitting together at their little table with Joe and Egao and Jouhouya and Jun--
No, not Jun. Not Jun ever again, because Jun is dead.
And somehow, slowly, despite the fact that he'd seen Jun fall to his death with his own eyes, despite the fact that he'd watched his lifeless body be carried away to the ambulance, despite the fact that he'd already spoken the words himself to the others, "he's dead," just like that, it's the logical realization that Jun will never join them in their daily lives again, not tomorrow, not the next day, not any day, ever that gets to him. Jun will never eat with them again in the dining hall, will never work together with them in the factory, will never sit in the corner and sketch in his notebook or goof around with them outside or sit on the tire swing again. Jun will never released, will never live on the outside again. "Jun is dead" is too philosophical, too abstract to for him to process right now, but "Jun is gone from their lives forever"... that's both too much and too little at the same time, and it feels like someone has dumped water over his head as he lays in his futon staring at the ceiling in the darkness.
But somehow, in that moment of awakening, the first thing that enters is mind is the sound of crying. He's in such a daze that he hadn't noticed it before; so distanced from reality that the existence of another human in the room with him had somehow escaped him for the past few minutes. Slowly, robotically, he rolls to his side towards the sound, and there, jumbled limply in a tangle of his futon that he hadn't bothered (or perhaps been able) to lay out properly, is Hiroto.
Hiroto. In a jolt, the moments after Jun's death flash past Daiken's eyes again, and he remembers the look of shock and confusion and perhaps some willful ignorance on Hiroto's face as he watched helplessly as Jun's body had been taken away, begging someone to tell him what's going on. "What happened? He's going to be okay, right? They can fix him at the hospital, right?? What happened to Jun??" he'd nagged again and again, the same questions on repeat, like a child-- and he is a child in some ways, everyone's little brother, which perhaps is why none of them had been able to answer. Even as the guards had ushered them back inside, back to their cells, no one had had the heart to reply to Hiroto's plaintive inquiries even as his voice grew more desperate in tone, until Daiken hadn't been able to handle it anyone, and had somehow managed to grind out what even the grown-ass adult guards hadn't been able to break to Hiroto: "He's dead. Jun is dead."
The look on Hiroto's face had been crushing, and perhaps not wanting to face that reality is what had sent Daiken back into his inward-facing daze, what had made it such that he has only just suddenly once again been reminded of Hiroto's existence. But while his face is hidden in the blankets, just the sound of the quiet but unrelenting sobs wringing through him is enough to feel like a shot directly through Daiken's heart.
Because this isn't just "the other human in the room with him," this is Hiroto. The person who had changed Daiken's life so drastically for the better since he'd come to this place, the person who had shown him compassion and empathy that he hadn't even been able to spare himself when he was finally able to open up about the reason he'd been sent to prison, the most earnest, most caring, purest person Daiken has ever met in his entire 20 years of existence. And not only that-- Hiroto is the person who he'd finally admitted, albeit only to himself, that he loves, the person he's willing to do almost anything to be with once they're released, the most precious person in the whole world that Daiken would giveanything to protect. And here he is, laying all alone, crying to himself, and Daiken was too caught up in his own feelings to notice.
Maybe it's because Daiken needs to feel in control and able to help and support those around him to feel calm, or maybe it's just because it's Hiroto, but for whatever the reason, somehow, that knowledge is what allows him to put the thought of Jun's death on the back burner at least for the immediate. He thinks he ought to say something, but what is there to say? He can't explain what's happened, he can't fix what's tearing Hiroto apart right now, and he certainly can't undo Jun's death. He feels helpless, and so he does the only thing he knows how to do-- he gathers Hiroto into his arms and pulls him as close as he can, holds him as tightly as he can, as if he could somehow squeeze the pain and the sadness out of his body.
Maybe that's a weird thing to do, and maybe it's a little bit for himself, his own comfort, as well, but he can't help it. Hiroto is the most precious thing in his life, and everything they've been through tonight, he can't bring himself to do anything besides hold on. "I love you so much, I'll protect you forever, I'll do anything for you," he wants to say, but there are a thousand reasons why he can't and so instead, he just holds onto Hiroto as if both of their lives depend on it.
He's not sure how long they're like that, seconds or minutes or hours, but he doesn't care. The night seems infinite, like it'll swallow them up if they're not careful, the same way it had swallowed up Jun without so much as a warning, and so Daiken holds on tight. But it seems like perhaps Hiroto feels the same way; he goes limp in Daiken's arms, clinging to Daiken's pajama shirt weakly, and it breaks Daiken's heart to feel him this way when he's usually so exuberant and strong and full of life. After a little while, he dares to lift an arm to place it against the back of Hiroto's head, gently stroking his hair and cradling Hiroto against his shoulder as much as possible. Jun might be gone, but Hiroto is here, now, and somehow, that fact is grounding when it has felt this whole time as if the world is spinning.
Eventually, Hiroto's crying slows down a little, the sobs giving way for quieter tears soaking through the shoulder of Daiken's prison-issued pajama top, but Daiken doesn't let go, doesn't want to ever let go, not even when morning comes. In this moment when everything else seems to have fallen apart and nothing seems certain, holding on to Hiroto feels like everything. But Daiken knows, in the back of his mind, that that's not realistic, that of course, their lives will continue as ever from tomorrow and they'll have to get up and get dressed and follow the same routine as always, and so he tries to hold on as tightly as he can now, tries to make it count.
"...don't let go," Hiroto whimpers at length, almost a whisper, muffled into Daiken's shoulder, and it feels like another shot through his chest to hear Hiroto sound that way. But he already knows his answer without even thinking, and so, "Never," he responds as definitively as he knows how, "I won't ever let go."
He isn't sure what he's expecting, but he feels Hiroto's body relax ever so slightly against his own, he knows, even more than he already knew. Morning will come for them soon enough, but at least metaphorically if not physically, Daiken will hold on to Hiroto forever, come what may.