neko_kirin3104: (mame_chuu)
[personal profile] neko_kirin3104

cute fat cheeks trembling
prompts: arashi discovery 2015.11.02, figured (
ohno/okada, friendship/au

Seeing the sobbing boy holding an abacus wrong-side up should’ve been enough to tell Junichi Okada to stay away. Turn around and quietly take his exit cue with neither a question nor a snotty bundle of a kid potentially hanging on his back by the end of the hour.

There’s no easier way out of situations like this, after all.

But Junichi has no dumber reason to stay—


The little boy looks up, cute fat cheeks trembling. He sniffles and roughly wipes a hand under his button nose, the only sharp feature on his dull-looking face. He’s pathetic and undeniably adorable at the same time with those pained little eyes sparkling with tears, lips twitching with his quiet little sobs of frustration.

So young, and already so burdened. The boy doesn’t look older than seven or eight. Ten at most. Then again, Junichi himself can hardly ever justify his own fifteen years, so who is he to judge, really?

The lanky teenager casually sits on the park bench beside the boy, who in turn consciously scoots a little away and frantically turns his abacus right-side up as though he’s just had an epiphany.

Junichi chuckles at this; this having already dispelled half of his own petty issues. It doesn’t do much for the slight smell of vomit that stuck to his shirt when he threw up at English class earlier this afternoon, though. But the light whiff of it he gets whenever he breathes in has stopped bothering him like the self-imposed punishment he’s meant for it to be. “Here.”

The boy stares at the wood carving in Junichi’s hand like it’s about to spring to life and tear him apart.

“Go on, take it.” Junichi says, holding it a little closer. “It’s not gonna explode or anything.”

The boy purses his lips in an incredulous pout, his boyish thick brows furrowing as he slowly sticks a finger to his nose and reaches out his free hand to reluctantly accept the gift. He turns the tiny slab of wood over in his tiny little palm, thumbing every dull and pointy edge, every slight and rounded bump, with a curiosity that’s somehow both refreshing and unnerving. “Did you make this?”

“Yes.” Junichi clears his throat, suddenly feeling exposed. He should’ve really just walked away and left his woodcarving in another bench for another kid to take freely without tearing up his already faltering sensibilities.

The boy pulls his finger out of his nose to inspect the art piece further with both hands. “What’s it supposed to be?”

“A bear?”

“Doesn’t look like one.”

“Yeah, well… It’s better than the last.”

“I wonder how that one looked like.”

“Will you just take it?” Junichi squeaks, blood shooting up to his head and taking a sudden, unexpected rest stop in his cheeks when he sees a corner of the boy’s lips curl up into a smile.

“Thank you. I like it.”

Junichi feels like he has every reason to doubt those words. But the boy sounded sincere enough that he decides to just let it warm his heart. Kindness works both ways, after all. But it only matters when both sides willingly accepts it without question. Or doubt. Or whatever else that gets in the way of a perfectly fine afternoon at the neighborhood park.

“I’m Junichi.,” he says, smiling as he watches the boy trace the kanji characters he inscribed on the bottom of his art piece. Doryoku, his favorite word. An advice to both himself and the boy to keep doing their best no matter what. Whether or not the boy can read it, hardly really matters. Junichi has a feeling the boy already understands. “You may not know me, but—”

“I know you. You bring the papers every day.”

Junichi chuckles again, the warm flush in his face already crawling to his ears. It was his mom’s idea for him to do paper routes in the morning before he goes to school, in hopes of making him less shy and less weary of people. He frankly doesn’t see the point of it when all he really does is ride his bike around town and throw rolled-up newspapers on frigid doors. He picks the abacus the boy has set between them on the bench and starts fiddling with it to distract himself. “Math, huh?”

“Yeah. I suck at it.”

“Who doesn’t?”

The boy turns to him and gives him a warmer smile, more personal; his eyes no longer sparkling with tears. His nose still looks sharp, but his face no longer looks as dull and unremarkable as it did just a couple of minutes ago. “I’m Satoshi.”

“Do you need a ride home, Satoshi-kun?”

“On your bike?”

“I didn’t bring it with me.” Junichi shrugs, smirking at how fast his new friend’s face fell from pure bliss to utter disappointment. It’s both somehow refreshing and unnerving, to say the very least. Junichi decides he likes it either way. “My back’s pretty sturdy, though. And warm, too.”

Satoshi sighs. “Okay.”

Seeing the sobbing boy holding an abacus wrong-side up should’ve been enough of an exit cue.

But if Junichi had turned away, he wouldn’t be carrying this sweet, little boy on his back right now, his chest fluttering pleasantly with each step as he mindlessly re-traces the familiar path to his own street, his own neighborhood; his disastrous day in English class already long forgotten.

As it turns out, his new friend lives in the house right across the street—

“You’re home…”

Satoshi’s head stirs lightly on his shoulder as a sleepy little whisper finds its way into his ear.

“Thank you, senpai.”

“Anytime, buddy.”

Junichi’s day couldn’t have gotten any better than this.

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February 2017


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