Rating/Warnings: PG for Chinen worrying his most important bandmates.
Summary: Takaki has forgotten something, but he isn't sure what.
AN: For 26 Birthday Kisses, Kiss Four: Kiss and Make It Better.
First Kiss | Good Luck Kiss | Drunk Kiss | Kiss and Make It Better | On-Screen Kiss | Morning After Kiss | True Love's Kiss | Goodbye Kiss | Good Morning Kiss | Surprise Kiss | Meltykiss | Goodnight Kiss | French Kiss | Congratulations Kiss | Sealed With a Kiss | Hello Kiss | Kiss Under the Mistletoe | I Forgive You Kiss | Birthday Kiss | Blown Kiss | Kiss on the Forehead | Kiss on the Hand | Kiss on the Cheek | I'm Sorry Kiss | New Year's Kiss | Welcome Home Kiss
Kiss Four: Take You For Granted
One afternoon, during an otherwise insignificant dance practice, Takaki realizes that something is missing. Something important. But he can't figure out right away what that something is.
He glances around; his water bottle is off to the side, along with his towel. Inoo is wearing his extra sweatshirt, and Yuto and Yamada are sharing his iPod while they take a little break. Takaki thinks harder.
He remembered to eat breakfast this morning, he knows. And he's wearing clean underwear. He runs his tongue over his teeth to establish that he brushed them, and he even raises his arms in a stretch so that he can perform a super-stealthy sniff of his armpits.
"Did you forget deodorant again?" Arioka wants to know, and Takaki drops his arms with a scowl. After a second, Arioka adds, "Where's Chinen?"
"AH!" Takaki exclaims, ignoring Arioka's sideways glance, because that's exactly what's missing. Takaki glances around, counting off groupmates in his head (he's just thankful they haven't added anybody else because he'd have to start taking off his shoes), and comes to the conclusion that Arioka is right: Takaki's usual 148 cm shadow is nowhere to be found.
Yuto and Yamada shake their heads when Takaki asks if they've seen Chinen. Yabu is re-explaining a dance step to Morimoto and Inoo, and Takaki not only knows better than to interrupt that to ask anything even if the building is on fire, but he also knows that Yabu won't have noticed anything else anyway.
Hikaru is doing some flaily thing by himself which Takaki fervently hopes is just part of another one of his silent skits.
"Um," someone clears their throat behind Takaki, and he turns to find Okamoto.
"Kei-chan!" Takaki smiles. "I forgot about you back there."
Okamoto looks long-suffering for a moment before he shakes it off, then says, "If you're looking for Chinen-kun, he went off that way a bit ago." Okamoto points out one of the doors of the practice room, and Takaki thanks him before heading off to find his missing shadow.
In the corridor, Takaki looks left then right before picking a direction at random. He wanders a few hallways without any luck, sighing at how the whole building is nothing but a maze of mirrors and dead ends.
He's thinking about giving up and going back when he hears a soft sigh just as he passes another practice room, this one dark, but with the door ajar.
When he sticks his head in the door, sure enough, there is Chinen, sitting alone on a pile of dance mats that are stacked up. Takaki is about to call out a cheerful "I found you!" when he notices Chinen's slumped shoulders and the way he cradling one of his wrists in his lap. Chinen looks small, Takaki thinks, startled by it because Chinen's personality is so big that you don't notice it usually, how small he really is. It's that more than anything that makes Takaki enter the room with quiet steps.
"Chinen?" Takaki says when he's close enough to almost reach out and touch him, and Chinen startles, jumping a few inches and looking up with wide eyes. "Did you hurt your wrist?"
"No!" Chinen answers, giving Takaki the biggest, fakest smile that Takaki has ever seen. "It's nothing! We should go back to practice before Yabu-kun misses us!"
But when Chinen tries to hop off the mats, he puts his hands down to push himself off without thinking, and then hisses when he puts pressure on his wrist. Takaki sits down next to him, frowning.
"Let me see it?" he asks, gently, but Chinen bites his lip and shakes his head. "Come on. I won't hurt you, promise."
He takes Chinen's wrist without waiting for a response, and Chinen's shoulders slump even lower. "Don't," Chinen tries to protest when Takaki goes to push back the sleeve of his sweatshirt, but Takaki ignores him.
Takaki's breath catches when he see the four long, thin, bruises rising around Chinen's wrist.
"Chinen," he says carefully, "what happened?"
"I fell," Chinen says dully, staring at the ground.
"You did not," Takaki snaps, and the rise of his voice makes Chinen flinch away. Takaki feels immediately awful and takes a breath. When he speaks again, he keeps his voice low and soothing. "Chinen, don't lie. Tell me what happened."
"It was just some guys," Chinen mumbled, giving a little whine when Takaki poked the edges of the bruises. "We were just fooling around it. It's no big deal."
Takaki gives a little sigh. He knows Chinen is still lying, that sometimes some of the older boys shove Chinen around a bit if they can catch him alone. They're just jealous, but that doesn't give them the right to hurt Chinen!
"I don't think it's sprained, just bruised," Takaki announces. "But we should have it checked out. And get one of us to go with you when you leave like that, okay? Don't wander around alone!"
"I can take care of myself!" Chinen starts to protest hotly, finally looking up, but Takaki lifts Chinen's hand up to put a warm kiss in the middle of his wrist, silencing him.
"I'm just worried about Chinen," he says, making sure to hold Chinen's gaze so he can't look away, so that he understands he's serious. "Chinen shouldn't worry his most important bandmates, ne?"
Chinen's glare softens. "Okay," he says softly, then adds, "Oof," when Takaki hugs him tightly. But after a few seconds, Chinen's shoulders lose their tension and he hugs Takaki back, his injured wrist caught in between them.
And as he piggybacks Chinen back to practice, Chinen's arms tight around Takaki's neck, jogging so quickly that Chinen's giggles are breathless in his ear, Takaki vows that he won't misplace his most important shadow ever again.