caterpillar eyebrows!

I love how only now people are noticing the Junkenstein costume has no eyebrows when...

this abomination has been terrorizing us with his lack of eyebrows for too long now

Vibrant

Takahiro is five years old when he meets his first friend.

He has messy black hair, a really chubby face, and caterpillars for eyebrows.

He made sure he told him so, and the boy looked affronted until he looked at Takahiro and saw his eyebrows. Or lack thereof.

“No wonder you want to be friends with me,” the boy told him. “You’re trying to take some of mine, aren’t you?”

“No, why would I want caterpillars on my face?”

“You’re just jealous,” the boy snickers. He grabs Takahiro’s hand and pumps it enthusiastically, telling him, “I’m Issei. What’s your name?”

“Takahiro.” He pulls his arm away and shakes feeling back into it, scowling at his new friend. “Why’d you shake my arm like that for?”

Issei shrugs. “Tou-san does it with some of his work friends sometimes. I thought it looked cool.”

“You’re supposed to bow in greeting to people.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.”

x.x.x.x.x

They do everything together, school and homework and play, and Takahiro wonders why he never made friends before. Having a friend is fun.

His mother frowns a little every time he says he’s going out to play with Issei, but she doesn’t complain. She does ask him to have Issei over, but the other boy always makes excuses not to go.

Takahiro wonders why, but that’s put out of mind the moment they start playing.

He wishes time would last forever, because Issei is the bestest friend ever, and he doesn’t want to stop playing.

x.x.x.x.x

The year he enters middle school, Issei disappears.

Takahiro never found out where he moved to.

(Did he really move though? Why didn’t he tell Takahiro? How could he just disappear?)

He was sad for a long time, and wrote him long letters that he never sends, because where would he send it to?

The letters go in a box under his bed, getting fuller and fuller until one day, he stops writing them.

He misses him, sometimes, but then he dreams, and remembers.

x.x.x.x.x

Hanamaki is twelve when he meets Oikawa.

He’s shy and quiet, and keeps playing with his hair nervously. Even after Hanamaki makes him laugh a few times, his hands don’t stop fidgeting, and finally, he is curious enough to ask why.

“I want to play,” he whispers. He lifts his eyes to meet Hanamaki’s, fingers curling and uncurling. “But Iwa-chan moved away and now no one will play with me.”

Hanamaki shouldn’t, he really shouldn’t ask, but Oikawa looks so sad and vulnerable–

“What do you want to play?”

Oikawa takes a small, shaky breath. “Have you heard of volleyball?”

Hanamaki hasn’t, but he’s curious, and when he prods Oikawa for answers, the boy’s eyes light up and the words start pouring out.

Hanamaki half regrets letting him talk now.

“–and then there are setters, and they push the ball up, high up for the spikers to hit them! Iwa-chan–” His words falter, and Hanamaki looks at him curiously, but he presses on, voice only a little muffled, “Iwa-chan was a spiker. But now he’s gone, and no one will hit my tosses anymore.”

Hanamaki shouldn’t, he really shouldn’t, but he doesn’t want to see his new friend sad.

“I could hit your uh, tosses?”

Oikawa perks up, eyes bright. “Would you?”

“I– I mean I guess I could, but I don’t really know how to play–”

“I’ll teach you.” Oikawa tells him firmly. “You’ll never be like Iwa-chan, because no one can be like Iwa-chan, but I’ll teach you, and we’ll be the best in Japan!”

Hanamaki is a bit taken aback.

(Just a bit.)

(Okay, a lot.)

“Shouldn’t you aim for something a little easier?”

“That is easy.” Oikawa cocks his head at him. “We’ll practice lots, and we’ll be the best there is.”

He grins suddenly, grabbing his hand and twining their pinkies together. “I promise we’ll make it to the top together.”

Hanamaki should answer to that promise, but his mind is latched on to something else.

“What about Iwa-chan?”

Oikawa’s face falls, and his fingers tighten. “He broke our promise, so he doesn’t matter anymore.”

A deep breath, a hardening of his eyes.

“I’m making a new promise with you, Makki, so just accept me, okay?”

“…alright.” Hanamaki wonders why he accepts his defeat so easily.

“Wait, ‘Makki’?”

x.x.x.x.x

They don’t make it to the top.

Not in their first year, or their second, or their third.

By the time they part for high school, they don’t really talk anymore.

x.x.x.x.x

Hanamaki is sixteen when he joins the volleyball team, and meets Iwaizumi.

He’s short, but hits a mean spike, quick and powerful.

Hanamaki decides he likes him.

After their first practice, he approaches him, but it is he who speaks first.

“Have you played with someone called Oikawa before?”

Hanamaki startles, because how did he know?

Iwaizumi laughs at his shock. “We used to play together. Your play style reminds me of how I’d hit his tosses. They were so easy to hit.”

“They are.” He shocks himself by speaking up. “He was the one who taught me volleyball.”

Iwaizumi looks amused. “Funny, he did that to me too. Does he still give people weird nicknames?”

“I think they’re cute.”

“You’re nuts.”

Hanamaki thinks he must be, with the next words that fall out of his mouth.

“Well, Iwa-chan, that’s your loss.”

Iwaizumi’s face distorts into one of horror, and promptly throws a volleyball at him. Hanamaki catches it with ease, smiling to himself at the answered question.

It’s not hard to be his friend after that.

Hanamaki wonders if he’ll be able to keep this one friend.

Third time’s the charm, right?

x.x.x.x.x

No. Not really.

They’re friends, but not close outside of the court, and by the time they graduate and Hanamaki chooses a university far, far away, they don’t speak anymore.

He wonders what it is about himself that makes him keep losing friends.

x.x.x.x.x

College is a bore most days, but his roommate is quiet and nice, and though his words are too harsh sometimes, he knows he doesn’t mean to be malicious.

It hurts, though.

“Ushijima, please. I’m trying to be cordial here.”

“And I do not see the issue. Why do you not talk to your classmates if you want to befriend them?” His face is as impassive as ever, though his brows are slightly furrowed in confusion.

Hanamaki hesitates. “I– I’m not good at making friends.”

“You are on good terms with your classmates.”

“Being on good terms does not mean they are friends!” He takes a deep breath, exhales it slowly. “I haven’t had a single friend stick with me for long. Issei, Oikawa, Iwaizumi – they’re all gone.

Ushijima’s frown deepens a little. “I do not recognise any of those names.”

“Well, I wouldn’t expect you to,” he tells him archly. “Oikawa’s a pretty good setter though, surely you’ve played against him before?”

Ushijima gives him a weird look. “I do not recall facing an Oikawa on court before.”

Now Hanamaki’s getting mad, because fine, even if he had lost contact with Oikawa years before, he’s still an awesome setter and he respects his skill and dedication. “Come on, Ushijima, you’re not that dense–”

“But I have truly never faced Oikawa on court before. I remember strong opponents. I was in Shiratorizawa,” Ushijima reminds, as though Hanamaki could forget that fact.

“I know, geez! Alright, here, why don’t I google him for you, and we’ll see if it rings any bells.”

He grabs his laptop, and Ushijima seats himself on the bed next to him, patiently waiting as Hanamaki throws Oikawa’s name into the search browser.

Hanamaki scans the search results, puzzled when he sees nothing. That’s odd.

He tries again, this time with the added word of volleyball, and the search churns out results with a name now, but with nothing he expects.

He gapes, while Ushijima peers over his shoulder and makes a mild sound of surprise. “Oh. Oikawa.”

Ushijima moves Hanamaki’s limp hand away, and  clicks on the first result.

Hanamaki stares, eyes reading, but not comprehending what he sees.

Promising Teen Severely Injured In Match

Oikawa Tooru (captain, setter) of Kitagawa Daiichi was taken out of the third match of the preliminary matches today, after collapsing on the court. Paramedics were called to the scene, and while it is unconfirmed what injury he has sustained, it is apparent that he will not be continuing the rest of the season.

UPDATE: Oikawa’s right knee appears to have been dislocated, and all supporting ligaments are torn. His overall condition seems to be poor, and it is unknown if he will recover.

Ushijima sighs, breaking him from his stupor. “I remember him now. He was a good setter. If he had taken care of himself better, he would have been a good asset to Shiratorizawa.”

Hanamaki whirls on him and snaps, “It’s not all about Shiratorizawa! Oikawa was injured, and I didn’t know?” His voice breaks towards the end, and he looks at his screen woefully. “How did I not know?”

“You were on the team with him?”

“Yes, of course!”

“Then there should be a picture somewhere.”

Hanamaki wants to scream at him but then his words register. “You’re right.”

They trawl through the internet, finally finding one of Kitagawa Daiichi when Oikawa was still on the team. Hanamaki scans it eagerly, but while Oikawa is there, he doesn’t see himself in the picture.

“You’re not in the picture.”

“I noticed, thanks, Ushijima.”

“Perhaps you were absent on that day?”

“No. I’m never absent, I never miss practice.” The words ring hollowly in the room, leaving a sour taste in his mouth.

But where is he in the picture?

He doesn’t realise he’s trembling until Ushijima puts a hand on his shoulder. “Hanamaki, perhaps you were imagining it. There is no evidence of you being on the volleyball team.”

“No, that’s not possible. I have to be. I was. I know I was. I was on the team in high school too.”

“Perhaps we should search for your high school team?”

Hanamaki is already there, Aoba Jousai Volleyball Club typed into the search bar and pictures pulled up. But as he scans each picture, he still doesn’t find himself, still doesn’t spot the pink tinge of his hair in any photo.

“Hanamaki, do you recall any teammates from your time at high school?”

Teammates, teammates.

“Iwaizumi.”

Ushijima makes a surprised sound. “I know him. He is a strong player.”

“He is. But where am I in this photo?!”

He isn’t.

“You aren’t.” Ushijima says, prying his hands off the laptop and shutting its cover with a click. “Would you come with me for a moment?”

“To where? For what?”

He isn’t panicking, no, he isn’t. So his breathing is a little fast, but he can slow it down – in, one two three, out, one two three, in–

“To the gym. Shall we practice some drills?”

Yes, okay, volleyball sounds like a good idea right now.

He gets up and follows Ushijima.

x.x.x.x.x

The gym is curiously empty when they get there, and Hanamaki realises he forgot his volleyball shoes. Ushijima waves it off, setting his phone and water bottle on the bench. “We will not be here for long. If it is alright with you, I asked a friend of mine to come along.”

“What? Who?”

Ushijima regards him for a second, then shakes his head. “You would not know him. But he is a setter and can help us with spiking drills.”

Hanamaki nods, and they begin their drills.

After the tenth ball that he has failed to receive, Hanamaki’s nails dig into his palms in frustration. Surely it hadn’t been that long since he last played?

Ushijima regards him carefully, then tosses him the ball.

(He pretends he didn’t fumble as he caught it.)

“Sorry for the intrusion.”

He turns to see a light-haired guy (with dyed tips?) finish putting on his shoes and walk over to them. He greets Ushijima softly, then raises his hand in a half-wave. “Nice to meet you. I’m Semi.”

Hanamaki vaguely remembers him. “Shiratorizawa’s pinch server?”

Semi nods. “I’ll set for you guys in a minute, let me get warmed up.”

He leaves to run laps, and Ushijima gestures for Hanamaki to throw the ball.

He receives it perfectly, and Hanamaki can almost return the ball this time.

By the time Semi returns, he can receive the balls decently if they fall near him, but anything too far off and he scrambles to get it. Hanamaki takes a short break, cursing to himself as he drinks. He still can’t fathom why his skills are suddenly so bad.

Ushijima gets to spike first, the ball set in a perfectly high arc that gives him ample time to jump. Their lone ball rolls to a stop by Hanamaki’s feet when Ushijima passes it back to him, and Semi eyes him expectantly as he tosses the ball towards him.

He runs and jumps, but the ball flies over his head.

“You jumped too early.”

“I know,” he grits out, retrieving the ball and moving back to the court. “One more.”

He jumps too close to the net the second time. His fingers scrape past the ball on the third. He touches the ball on the fourth, but it hits the net.

Hanamaki’s fingernails would be drawing blood by now, if only they weren’t so short.

He sees Ushijima and Semi speaking in low tones as he retrieves the ball, and sincerely hopes they aren’t judging him too badly for suddenly being a complete amateur.

By the time he returns, Semi looks grim, and even stoic Ushijima looks a little discomfited. Hanamaki stops and frowns at them. “What?”

Semi sighs. “Hanamaki-san. You say you started playing volleyball in middle school, right?”

“That’s right.”

“Well, as it stands, your skills are on par with someone who just started playing volleyball.” The setter’s eyes are confused, his mouth set in a deep frown. “Neither Wakatoshi nor I remember seeing you on any court at all. We have also played Aoba Jousai multiple times for us to know if you were on the team. Are you certain you have been playing volleyball for so long?”

“Of course!” Hanamaki insists. Of course.

He remembers everything – the hectic practices, the feel of receiving a ball, the satisfying heft of the ball in his hand right before he smashes it. He remembers the sweat dripping down, the squeak of shoes on the wood floor, the faces of his teammates after they lost.

But the longer he looks at Ushijima’s mildly worried face and Semi’s frustrated one, the further the memories go from him, fading and slipping through his fingers like water.

But… Weren’t they real?

Oikawa and Iwaizumi were real. They are real. It happened. All of it had to have happened.

An idea begins to form, little tendrils weaving themselves together.

They’ll remember me. They should remember me.

He turns away and picks up his phone, scrolling through his contacts. He hears a frustrated conversation behind him, but ignores it, fingers growing panicked as he doesn’t find the names he’s looking for.

Iwaizumi? Oikawa? No, no, no. Not it, not it, not it.

Where are their names?

…where?

A phone is held out to him, a call already in progress. He looks up, connecting the phone to the face.

Ushijima sighs and presses the phone to his ear. “Speak to him.”

Hanamaki hesitantly places his hand over Ushijima’s to steady the phone. “Hello?”

“Hello? Who am I speaking to?”

“Iwaizumi?” That’s his voice, right? It is? It’s Iwaizumi?

“I think that’s my name, not yours. Who are you?”

“I’m Hanamaki.” Don’t you remember me?

“Sorry, Hanamaki-san, why are you looking for me? I don’t recall ever meeting you before?”

Hanamaki feels Ushijima’s fingers tighten, and realise his hand has grown limp. He adjusts his grip, fingers squeezing the other’s desperately. “We were on the volleyball team together?”

“I don’t think so? I’m very sorry, Hanamaki-san. I wish I could help, but I have really never met you before.”

“I’m– Um, sorry. For. Um. Wasting your time.” Hanamaki feels lightheaded.

“That’s all right. I’m sorry I couldn’t help. I hope you’ll have a good day.”

The line clicks off, and Hanamaki peels his hand and face away, panic tearing through his chest.

He doesn’t remember me? But we spoke, I know we have, I have talked to him before…

Haven’t I?

Haven’t I?

“Hanamaki, breathe.”

“Maybe we should ask his parents about this?”

About what?

There’s nothing wrong with me.

He realises he’s in a ball on the floor, curled up and panting into his hands. There’s light murmuring above him, but he pays it no mind, not until there’s a hand on his back and his phone in front of him.

“It’s your mother.”

“Kaa-san?” His voice is a croak – but why? He hasn’t been screaming, he hasn’t been crying – oh, is he crying?

“Takahiro,” she sighs. “What have you gotten into now?”

“I didn’t do anything!” He protests, but then bites on his lip, because what if that had been it? That he hadn’t done anything?

“Hanamaki-san,” Semi begins – Hanamaki wonders why he’s still here, it’s not his problem, after all – “Does, um, Hanamaki-kun have any medical conditions?”

“No?” She sounds confused, and Hanamaki breathes a sigh of relief. “Is he panicking or anything?”

“He seems to recall untrue memories,” Ushijima puts in. “It is very confusing for us.”

There’s a long silence, before Hanamaki’s mother sighs deeply. “Oh. Yes. I recall that.”

“Would it be too much to pry? Hanamaki-kun isn’t exactly, uh, responsive, and we want to help him.”

I’m right here, is what he wants to say, but he doesn’t, his mouth is glued shut and his memories are vivid leaves falling away in an autumn breeze.

(Help him? He doesn’t need help. He’s fine. Just fine.)

“No, no. It’s fine. Takahiro just isn’t good at making friends, so he makes up his own friendships. I’m surprised to have real people talking to me over the phone. It’s definitely a first.”

Makes up…friendships?

No. No no no no no.

His friendship with Issei and Oikawa and Iwaizumi had been real – they’d talked and laughed and played together–  

Hadn’t they?

I’m sorry, Hanamaki-san.

Um, who are you?

You’re weird, go away!

Turning backs, noses scrunched up in disgust, figures getting smaller as they walk away.

No…

Eep, it’s the weirdo again!

Run, run!

Hands slapping and punching, bodies slamming into him before running away.

No one will ever be your friend!

Go away and leave us alone!

Takahiro, did you make any friends today?

His head hung, a deep blush on his cheeks. A shake for no.

A sigh, a hand tousling his hair.

You’ll make friends tomorrow.

A nod, his fists clenched as he follows her.

The next day, the same.

Did you make any friends today?

A shake, a hand running through his hair, a barely concealed look of disappointment.

Day after day after day.

She looks so tired of asking.

Takahiro, did you make any friends today?

A lie, a falsehood, a bitter curl of his tongue.

Yes.

His name is Issei.

Bright shining memories, glistening and dripping like snow. Too bright, too vivid, almost unreal.

Running around the neighbourhood with Issei.

Spiking with Oikawa.

Taking on InterHigh with Iwaizumi.

They melt away as soon as he touches them – fragile, brittle, but strangely caustic for something that shouldn’t exist.

He thinks he feels someone shaking him, thinks he hears a voice – but the world is dark now.

Everything is so dark in comparison to those bright, shining, stardrops.

“Again.”

His voice is light, a mere whisper in the wind. Yet his tone exudes of unyielding dominance – an air of someone who is used to having his way. He remains cool and unmoving, even as he feels the person next to him shift in her place.

“But I’m tired,” his partner complains, although she does slowly sit up. With a groan, she starts stretching her limbs and lets out a yawn as she stands her ground. “Let’s do it again tomorrow.”

A pause, and, “Tenten.”

Tenten releases another yawn.

“Please.”

Tenten huffs, runs a hand against her hair as a grin slowly forms. 

“Fine,” she acquiesces, giggles when she sees his mouth twitch to a smile. “You are such a brat sometimes, Neji.”

She places a hand on his cheeks, grin going wider. She takes a long, deep breath. “Kissing Lesson 101! Let’s begin!” 

—-

Hiashi calmly sips his tea as he eyes his nephew returning home from training. The boy’s hair is a mess, his forehead protector uncannily lopsided. There is a deep cut on his lower lip, and dark specks of crimson blood stain his stark-white robes.

The Hyuuga patriarch hums.

“Neji,” his nephew turns to bow at him. “Training?”

Neji nods solemnly. “Yes, sir.”

Hiashi makes his approval known with a slight tilt of his head.

“Very good,” he remarks. “Keep at it, nephew. You are making this clan very proud.”

“Of course, sir.”

“And Neji,” Hiashi calls him before he can make his escape. “Please tell Tenten-san not to bite next time.”

Neji blushes from the roots of his hair to the tips of his toes. Hiashi smartly hides his smirk by taking another sip of his tea.

=======

Wherein Neji treats everything as training. Even making out with his girlfriend. And Tenten humors him because she doesn’t really mind. Not at all.

New Year Resolution

“Ten!”

Francis looked around at all the faces, not finding those caterpillar eyebrows he knew so well.

“Nine!”

Thin lips pressing together, Francis slipped through the crowd, having to elbow a few people in the chest along the way.

“Eight!”

He flashed apologetic smiles and managed to slip inside the building.

“Seven!”

The voices were muffled as the door closed behind him. They reached “Three!” when Francis finally spotted that mop of gold exactly where he’d expected.

“Two!”

“Arthur?”

Blinking, the Englishman turned, looking briefly surprised at having been found.

“One! HAPPY NEW YEAR!”

The words were drowned out by the pops and booms of fireworks above. Arthur flinched at the noise but looked back out the window. Francis remembered hearing him say in passing that he liked watching fireworks but hated the noise.

“Too loud” was all he’d said before shaking his head and going back to his cubicle.

Some of the others liked to joke on Arthur’s sensitivity to sound by dropping things on his desk by his head and sneaking up to him just to shout in his ear. Sometimes Arthur would need to excuse himself to somewhere - anywhere - silent and recoup.

Elementary school playground bullying never ended it seemed to Francis.

He sat next to Arthur and gazed out the wide window to view the fireworks with him.

“Do you have any resolutions?” Francis asked after some minutes.

Arthur scoffed. “No one ever follows through with those.”

The smile never leaving his face, Francis said softly, “Well, I have one, and I think I shall start early.”

It looked like Arthur was about to make a crack but then thought better of it. “What’s your resolution, then?”

Francis moved closer. “To ask the man I fancy on a date.”

Eyes trained out the window, Arthur’s face burned red. “Oh?” he squeaked. He then cleared his throat, emerald eyes darting Francis’s way for a fraction of a second. “And who might that sorry bloke be?”

Francis’s smile grew. “A polished man with a bit of a rough attitude.” The smile became a smirk at how red Arthur’s face became. “But I’m not sure if he’d say yes.”

“He might,” Arthur murmured. “Might as well ask, yeah?”

“Yeah.” Francis held out a hand and felt his heart flutter in his throat when Arthur finally turned to face him and placed his hand into the Frenchman’s. “How would you like dinner tomorrow night?”

“Lovely.” Arthur said the word quickly as if to keep himself from coming up with any reasons to answer with a negative. “In the meantime… it is New Year’s…?”

“Oui, and who are we to turn down tradition?”

Arthur, other hand going to Francis’s shoulder, leaned in. Francis placed his free hand at the small of Arthur’s back and met his lips with his. Soon, they were dancing slowly, the fireworks outside firing off an irregular, staccato beat.

“Happy New Year, Arthur.”

“Happy New Year, Francis.”


STARTER CALL  »   ACCEPTING  »   IDENTIFICATION  :  @agenths  !

           ❝      s’in  the  family   ,    m’guess   ?   —  thick  eyebrows   ,   caterpillar - shaped  moustache  ?  family  genes  are  weird  though  ,  right  ?  like  …  it  makes  you  do  weird  things .  i  mean  ,  i  spent  one  whole  summer  when  i  was  thirteen  shaving  any  signs  of  armpit  hair  ‘cause  i  was  told  ,  like  ,  my  great  uncle  jericho  ,  who  looked  ridicu-fucking-lously  like  me  ,  went  insane  from  wearing  bad  deodorant  .  i  didn’t  know  why  i  didn’t  just  ,  like  ,  refuse  to  wear  any  deodorants  instead  of  shaving  but  —  you  know  .  it’s  crazy  .  kinda  like  how  stark  sorta  adopts  your  moustache  look  .  news  from  the  street  he  hates  you  ,  but  —  you  know  .  crazy  .       ❞

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Mouseyblue Face Caterpillar Eyebrows - Sims 2

textures - pooklet
alpha - mouseyblue
colours - remi and pooklet - swatch here
other info - elders go grey. made using pooklet’s eyebrow kit

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