Shizuo had an odd habit that Izaya realized only once it was too late.
He never asked Izaya to move.
Not that Izaya was ever in the way often (because Izaya was usually the one busying himself around,) but Shizuo had never asked ‘can you move aside for a bit?’
If he needed to get past him, he’d just wait until Izaya realized he was in the way to step aside.
If he needed the pillow Izaya was using, he’d just stare at him.
If he needed something Izaya was sitting on, he’d try to slowly pull at it until Izaya snapped at him to cut it out.
It had surprised Shizuo but he scratched the back of his head and mumbled an apology and was quick to take the small ruler that he needed to return to Akane.
And from then on, Shizuo’s odd habit was resolved. It wasn’t as if the habit was that awful of one to have; rather, Izaya just hated feeling like he was in the way and the fact that Shizuo wouldn’t tell him and just leave him in that position made him more annoyed. He could handle Shizuo’s cigarette ashes dusting his cheeks occasionally when his head was in Shizuo’s lap. He could handle Shizuo’s milk overtaking half the refrigerator. And he could even handle the blond’s inherent messiness, the way clothes were strewn about and everywhere.
But being in the way for longer than needed, Izaya couldn’t handle.
The next time Shizuo needed something, Izaya could see him approaching from the edge of the room and pretended to continue reading, waiting for him to ask. But instead of words, Izaya felt strong arms slip under his knees and shoulder, picking him up.
Red eyes were wide and the book was raised suddenly to cover his face as he was placed in another couch and picked up again to be returned to his original position after a bit.
“Is that better?” Shizuo asked, not noticing Izaya’s blush.
Yooooo lolimoog! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! ❤ You are a tremendous inspiration to me & I am so glad to have been able to get to know you (Even though I may not be super talkative - heh.) I hope you have a wonderful birthday today, and on every birthday yet to come. ❤❤❤
HI OKAY I LEGIT HAD THE CRAZIEST DAY ANYWAY I JUST GOT HOME and after eating a lot of food the first thing I did was run to my computer to post this I’m super sorry it’s so late at night. Anyway…
Happy birthday Bella (bellalou5)!!!! I sat down to write you a Percabeth birthday fic and somehow an angsty solangelo came out of it so??? I really hope you like it and that you have a wonderful birthday because you are super awesome. Everyone go follow her because she is pretty fine, if I do say so myself.
Welcome to being 17; it’s the same as being 16 except a year older :)
(Title creds to Passenger)
It’s Nico’s first night in the hospital that the panic attack happens.
@coolthingtrash HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY!!! i might not have access to wifi on your birthday so I decided to post this early (almost two weeks early lmao). Thank you for being such a cool kind supportive friend and for putting up with my slow replies and for always encouraging me when i feel like my writing isn’t good enough!! I hope your exams go super well and that you have an awesome birthday and another wonderful year!!!
Also your edits are awesome and your colouring is super pretty and I think you’re really amazing!! Thank you so much for being my friend!!! :’)
This is war.
This is war, people kill, people fight and kill and fight and kill and die and die and die. Sakamoto is fifteen and this is war and he’s tired, always tired, laughter and smiles wearing thin. He’s forgotten how many graves he’s dug, forgotten how it feels to not be in pain. He’s forgotten what it’s like to not ache, all the way through your skin and muscle and bone and down to the very core of your soul.
He’s forgotten how many friends he’s watched die.
Sometime during the war, Sakamoto finds a camera.
Sometimes, when he’s finished haggling for extra supplies, Sakamoto asks for a roll of film from the suppliers like an afterthought. He takes photos, all the time, of tired faces and smiles and frowns and people, always, always people.
“Why?” Takasugi demands, like an interrogation with crossed arms and a scowl. Except it’s not, not really. Sometimes Sakamoto jokes that Takasugi’s forgotten how to smile, and sometimes when the battles get long and bad and bloody he thinks that it might be true.
Sakamoto smiles, tired and worn. That’s why, he thinks.
Because Takasugi’s eyes are sharp and hard and Katsura has gone still and stony and Gintoki lets himself turn into a demon, time and time again, to keep their friends safe. Because sometimes when they’re standing in a mass grave with blood on their hands and blood on their faces and blood in their hearts, Sakamoto is afraid that they’ve forgotten how to smile.
Because he is sick of it, of making friends and watching them die and forgetting what they looked like, of feeling panic rise hot and heavy in his gut and throat to choke him because he can’t remember their smiles, their eyes- because he knows in theory that Shinta’s hair looked like a drowned cat when wet and a pissed off hedgehog when dry, that Yamamoto’s eyes were the softest brown and Daisuke’s smiles warmed the whole camp, but he can’t remember. And it’s exhausting, it’s sickening, he’s a horrible awful person who forgot the faces of friends, comrades - he owed some of them his life, he owed them so much, and then they died and he forgot their smiles their eyes their laughs-
-because it is despicable and disgusting and because he is so tired, so damn tired, of watching everything slip through shaking fingers. He wants something that he can hold on to - something that lasts.
He wants to remember how people look living instead of dead.
Sakamoto laughs, rubs his head. “Because,” he says, “it’s pretty neat! And ya all have really pretty faces! C'mon, say cheese!”
Takasugi scowls. Sakamoto snaps the picture anyway, for the speck of light in green eyes that disappears whenever bodies are brought into the camp. For the hint of a grin playing around the scowl that you can only see if you look hard enough. He laughs again and holds the camera tight.
In another world, he’d maybe have liked to be a photographer. He likes this- likes having their faces in his pocket so that he never forgets them, so that he doesn’t have to worry that one day he’ll look back and-
-he’s forgotten before, and panic rises like a wild, desperate animal to scratch at his heart and chest and he can’t breathe; but on the table there is a picture of his friends, of Gintoki grinning evilly as he dumps mud down Takasugi’s shirt and Takasugi yelling furiously, hand reaching for his blade, Katsura with those comic-book wide eyes reaching out a hand to stop them as the soldiers laugh by his sides; and the picture is a little blurry because Sakamoto was laughing so hard that he could barely breathe, fingers clicking absently without eyes to guide him because they were squinted shut in joy. Something loosens in his chest because these faces, these faces he won’t forget.
He stares at the picture for a long moment, drinking in that moment of perfect, breathless joy. A smiles curls across his face as he takes it reverently into his hand and slips it into his pocket; clutches the camera a little closer and remembers to breathe.
A year later, they’re all tired and worn and half-starved. Hundreds of their men are dead and they hurt, they ache down to their very bones.
They’re shaking from exhaustion and grief when they collapse in a pile in a corner of the camp, Katsura’s head on Gintoki’s shoulder and Gintoki’s head in the crook of Sakamoto’s neck and Takasugi’s head in Sakamoto’s lap.
Sakamoto’s hands are shaking when he takes the photo, and he suspects that there’s blood on the camera lens. He shoves the polaroid into his pocket to develop anyway.
One more photo: they’ve just defeated the Enmi and they’re bloody and laughing and adrenaline-shaky. Sakamoto ropes a soldier into taking a photo for them and beams for the camera, spitting out a clump of Zura’s matted hair.
The camera and Sakamoto’s pictures are in their base when the Amanto raze it to the ground. Sakamoto throws himself towards the burning wreckage, searching for survivors, and has to be dragged out by a stony-faced Gintoki and a snarling Takasugi. Somewhere in the distance, Katsura is detonating bombs.
The battle lasts three long, bloody days. In those three days, Sakamoto sleeps for six hours and eats three meals, which is better than Gintoki and Takasugi, who sleep for maybe four hours and eat one hardtack each. They’re in camp for maybe ten hours between them.
Katsura is on the battlefield half the time, planning the other half. He eats when Sakamoto shoves water and rations into his hands, still hunched over a map with bloody hands and a wild, desperate look in his eyes. Sakamoto can see the panic clawing at his throat, at his lungs, shaking him apart.
That’s the impressive thing about them, Katsura and Gintoki and Takasugi. The world is tearing them apart, limb from limb, dragging the air from their bruised lungs, but they keep fighting. Sakamoto laughs and picks up his sword in shaking hands.
He’s lost all his photos but three.
He’s twenty and the war is over and space is sometimes very cold.
Sakamoto flips through his photos. One of them is blurry, the other has a weird blotch on it because there was blood on the camera lens. The last one is the one taken by the recruit after the Enmi.
Something to hold on to, he thinks, and grips them tight.
Twenty-seven and Gintoki has acquired children and whoa, who expected that?
Sakamoto laughs and laughs and laughs. Gintoki scowls and leaves on a job and Sakamoto is delighted to be left alone with Gintoki’s young impressionable children, thank you very much.
Kagura demands embarrassing childhood pictures, and Sakamoto’s breath catches in his throat. He smiles anyway, big and broad, because everyone knows that a good merchant is also a good actor.
“Of course,” he says. “I don’t have them now, though, I’ll bring them next time, ahaha!”
The next time he visits, he brings the pictures with him.
“Whoa,” Kagura says, peering at the pictures. “You and Gin-chan and Zura were so thin then.”
“Ahaha, are ya calling us fat now? That’s rude, ya know, Kintoki’s put on a few parfaits an’ all, but still-”
Kagura can see through it, though. She’s grown far too much like Gintoki (Sakamoto is certain it scares the shit out of Gintoki, because Gintoki is an idiot), and her mouth has curled into a unhappy little frown as she tilts the picture to one side. “Not like that,” she says, “really thin.”
Yeah,“ Sakamoto says, grinning even as he feels something twist inside him, sharp and painful. "There was a food shortage, ahaha!”
Kagura’s eyebrows have drawn together in something like a scowl, and she looks so damn much like Gintoki that Sakamoto doesn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. “You guys are stupid,” she declares.
Sakamoto looks over at the picture - the one clear picture he has - and knows that she has seen the dark blood splattered on Gintoki’s clothes and skin, the way his cheekbones are too sharp and his too-large clothes hang off his bony frame; the way Katsura’s eyes are something dark and sharp even as he pushes Sakamoto away with one arm, the other in a ragged imitation of a cast. He doesn’t see what she sees in him, except for maybe the slight looseness of his clothes - his smile should have hidden the protrusion of his cheekbones, the tiredness in his eyes.
It had been a bad time. The plague and the Enmi and their dying men, white hair and milky eyes and bone-thin limbs, dead in three days because they had no treatment, not on the battlefield, not in war. Gintoki had a ragged, bloodstained bandage around one arm and gauze peeking out beneath the collar of his gi, and Katsura’s face was too pale, blood-crusted and drawn. Takasugi’s hands shook for days, and he was favoring his left leg. His right was wrapped tight in bandages-
“That’s the guy who tried to kill us!” Kagura points at Takasugi. Sakamoto laughs to cover up the sickness in his belly. So Gintoki never told them that Bakasugi was his friend. Sakamoto’s not surprised, not really.
“He was Kintoki and Zura’s best friend,” he says, and Kagura just looks at the picture for a long, long moment.
“Oh,” she says, far too much understanding in her voice. Sakamoto wonders what it is that she’s seen, that she understands the change from friend to enemy so well. “Gin-chan’s an idiot. Shinpachi!”
Shinpachi pops his head in, glasses slipping off his nose, a broom in hand. “What’s wrong, Kagura-chan-” Kagura holds the picture out to him. “What’s this?”
“Gin-chan and his old friends,” Kagura says. She crosses her arms and looks at Shinpachi. “Remember that time with the crazy sword and the boats? The green-eyed guy who tried to kill me?”
Shinpachi is smart, is quicksilver brilliant in a way that reminds Sakamoto very much of Katsura. His eyes widen, and he puts the pieces together so fast. “Him?”
“That bastard with green eyes!” Kagura nods. “He was Gin-chan’s friend, and Gin-chan didn’t even tell us.”
Shinpachi looks up, eyes angry and worried and hurt and dark in a way Sakamoto recognises from the war. He looks back down at the picture and his fringe falls to hide his face, but Sakamoto knows what expression he’s making. Sakamoto’s seen it a thousand times before.
Kagura scowls. “Gin-chan almost let us kill his friend!”
They worried for Gintoki, instead of feeling betrayed. Sakamoto knew, of course, but the confirmation fills his heart and chest with something soft and warm.
Kintoki’s found good kids.
“Ahaha, ya probably couldn’t kill Bakasugi. He’s like a cockroach, ahahaha.”
“What did you say, you stupid mop head-”
“Ahaha, Kagura-chan, you’re like Mutsu!”
Shinpachi just frowns at the picture for a very long time.
So Sakamoto isn’t surprised that dinner is incredible, dishes and dishes of food spread across the table, or that Otose and Tama and Catherine are invited to join.
Gintoki is, though, part because he has no idea what the kids saw and part because he’s an idiot; and when he steps into the house with his shopping bags, his eyes go wide and blank with shock.
Kagura screeches a battle cry and tackles him, and everyone congregates around his fallen body to stare down at his confused face. Otose nags him about something and Catherine huffs that she’s only here for the free food, and Shinpachi grins Gintoki’s smile, big and wide, and says, “Welcome home!”
Sakamoto laughs and reaches out, pulling Gintoki easily to his feet. He watches a warm, quiet joy smooth out the confusion on Gintoki’s face, and his fingers itch for a camera.
He wonders if this can last.
Mutsu picks him up at midnight. Sakamoto laughs and laughs and laughs and announces an impromptu crew-wide star-gazing event. Space is sometimes very cold, but stars are bigger and brighter in the black void.
There, surrounded by his vice-captain and friends, by warm smiles and bright eyes and brilliant laughs, Sakamoto smiles.