A Khun doesn’t need love. Khun children were fed on ambition and cunning and trained to compete for their lives and their name by the time they were ten. They don’t need affection. They need strength in their limbs and lightning in their bodies and blood between their teeth.
Then Bam looks at Khun Aguero Agnis and tells him, “I didn’t have any friends. Let’s be friends with them.”
There’s something else between his teeth and he can’t decide whether he likes the taste of it, the word coming out before he can hold it in. “Fine.”
He doesn’t need the feeling of Bam’s shoulder between his fingers, but he can’t stop reaching for it. Doesn’t need this sudden warmth in his chest when Bam asks to climb the Tower with them. A Khun doesn’t need love, he tells himself, unwilling to admit he doesn’t still believe it.
Fushimi’s morning didn’t start off well. He’d never been a morning person, and someone drank the last of the readily available coffee. But then he was off on a morning assignment to retrieve something for the Captain–”a parcel of great import”, he said, but most likely no more important than coffee–so it’s not like he had time to raid his backup stash.
He was scowling when he left and by all rights, that should have been the start of a terrible day.
Instead, he bumped into Misaki. Literally.
“Hey, watch where you’re going!”
A few grumpy words turns into a halfhearted wrestling match, that nonetheless leaves Misaki flushed and breathless and staring right at Fushimi for the longest few moments of Fushimi’s week.
By mutual agreement, they brush themselves off and go their separate ways without much in the way of further comment, but the warmth stays with Fushimi for hours afterward, and it’s not such a terrible day after all.
“You want me to do the song with you?” Atsushi demanded, eyes wide.
“Of course!” Kenji shot him a radiant smile. “You’re perfect for it!”
Atsushi doubted it many times over the following days of practice before New Year’s, learning not only the drums but how to match Kenji’s tone and rhythm without tripping over his own feet and while adjusting to their outfits for the performance.
“That’s the tone we want! Let’s celebrate!” Kenji’s smile was as contagious as ever.
When finally the night came and they beat the drums in time together, Atsushi finally smiled, having caught it.
Kunikida pushed up his glasses on his nose and went over another stack of reports, marking them up with a judicious (and vicious, in Domyouji’s opinion) eye. “Crayon again?” he demanded while Domyouji made an attempt to disappear into the floor.
It was bad enough when Fushimi got on his case, because Fushimi cared more about removing the offending annoyance than correcting the one instigating it. Kunikida’s sense of order and the rules of society was far more personal.
“I’ll fix it.”
Kunikida sighed when he’d dismissed yet another member of the sword squad to fix their mission report. Somehow he always started following a wonderful, sword-bearing leader of justice and high ideals and ended up buried in minions with an allergy to well-written paperwork.
“Kunikida-kun!” a terrible, no good, very bad voice suddenly sing-songed through the space as Dazai poked his head in Kunikida’s office. “We have a case!”
Kunikida didn’t have to go take one, but he was more than ready to get out of the office Munakata had given him. “You’re writing the mission report.”
Dazai blinked, then smiled in a most disturbing way. “Of course!”
Kunikida sighed. Death, taxes, and bad mission reports they would ever have with them.
Love wasn’t the kind of word that Accelerator said. It wasn’t because he didn’t care, though he tried not to. It was because he hadn’t known love in a very, very long time.
Sometimes he thought he could almost remember it, the feeling of parents who loved him, could almost remember his name if he reached back hard enough, thought long enough. He still knew the number of characters, remembered that it was ordinary. It had been easier to discard himself and any happiness he’d once expected to be his, once it was obvious he’d never be that innocent happy child again.
“Accelerator! Misaka Misaka admonishes you to pay attention to Misaka when she’s talking to you,” a different happy child bounced onto the couch, halfway landing on top of him. She waved her arms as if she didn’t have his complete attention at this point already.
He tumbled her over on the couch to her delighted squeals and picked up a pillow with his hands, not his esper power.
Maybe it was safe now to remember love.
Kyouka’s eyes were shining beside Atsushi as they stared at all the good things offered in the stall at the festival—crepes, chazuke, warm buns with different spices and fillings. Colorful lights had been strung over stalls and the stars twinkled down on festive music and chattering crowds. It was all in all a delight.
Atsushi grimaced at his poor purse. An expensive delight.
But as Kyouka gasped softly, biting down on soft crepe and sweet warm fillings, the stars in her eyes as bright as the ones in the sky, he thought to himself that it was worth it.
Chuuya is crimson, the color of blood and destruction. Dazai runs his hand through his sleeping partner’s red hair, when he can’t protest (likely with a fist) nor think it means something it doesn’t.
It doesn’t mean friendship, but it is partnership. They share the blood, but not the wine.
Dazai is fascinated by the conundrum of Chuuya’s humanity versus his inhumanity, his equal passion for life and bloody violence. It’s a reason to keep living, to keep looking. Chuuya straddles the line between life and death more closely than even Dazai.
It’s almost odd that he never realizes it.
The asset wasn’t known for tender compassion or warmth. If he was, Nicky assumed, he wouldn’t be an asset.
But there was a certain amount of liability in being an obvious plant that disappeared at irregular intervals, always when someone of import within the country died, and there was something to be said for the traditional old standbys for covers.
Yata was frowning when he got the door to Saruhiko’s dorm open. He had Saruhiko practically slung over his shoulder and back, and there was an audible hiss of pain between Saruhiko’s teeth as Yata carefully maneuvered him through the door.
Honestly, Yata’s heart couldn’t quite decide between worried and furious. “I was fine.”