Summary: Taiga has a thing about hair, and maybe Juri does too.
AN: I am in love with Taiga's long hair and ponytail, and also this picture where Taiga is casually stroking Juri's hair. It didn't seem like this was going anywhere, so I just let it stop where it did.
Taiga has a thing about hair. Juri doesn't watch him like a creeper or anything, but they've been friends or at least co-workers for a long time now, and it's a mannerism of Taiga's that he's been noticing for a while. Taiga touches his own hair a lot, tugging on the strands near his face or twirling them around his fingers. He's always kept his hair on the long side, but now he seems to have made a conscious decision to grow it out as long as management will let him, somehow even avoiding having to cut it for drama work.
"If only your precious Fujigaya-senpai was so lucky," Juri teases, making Taiga laugh. "What, are you trying to make it up to him or something?"
"Don't be stupid," Taiga says, brushing his hair back from his face. "I just like it." His fingers linger on the strands longer than strictly necessary, not exactly like he's petting himself, but not far from it either. He's always doing that at practice, which is easily explainable at its length, pushing it back or combing it out of his face. He should just pin it back like everybody else, but Taiga never does. Now it's long enough that he could even tie it back outright, almost, but Taiga doesn't do that either.
Juri gives Taiga a hard time about it not because he cares, but because it's fun to give Taiga a hard time about anything. Always ready with a sharp tongue to people he feels comfortable with, Taiga asks why he's been watching so closely, hmm? Juri laughs and gives him a shove, tells him if he had a crush it would suck, because he hasn't seen Taiga's face for a month underneath that mop.
It's the four of them for photoshoots again this month, making Juri give a little sigh of relief in his heart. Not like photoshoot layouts are promises of anything, but he's always glad to see Shintarou, Taiga, and Kouchi's names next to his own on the schedule. Maybe they don't have a name, but they're his idiots all the same.
The clothing is casual too, even better, Juri getting a comfortable hoodie along with Kouchi, Shintarou and Taiga wearing fuzzy sweaters. Taiga's sweater is too long, spilling over his thin wrists, and Juri watches idly as Kouchi helps Taiga cuff the sleeves back, Shintarou nattering on in Juri's ear about some shit his sister did that got her grounded for a month. He seems in high spirits, and Juri can't help but laugh with him. He thinks it's hilarious when Subaru gets in trouble too, poor baby.
"Middle sibling power," he chuckles, and Shintarou fistbops him like right on, right on.
They're in the middle of the pictures, the photographer taking forever and a half fiddling with a lens, when Juri feels something brush the top of his head. It must be Taiga's fingers, since Taiga is the one standing behind him, and Juri is on the verge of asking if he has some flyaways or something when he realizes that no, Taiga is just touching his hair idly. It doesn't stop when the photographer says they're ready to go again, and Juri forces his face to show as little reaction as possible because he doesn't want Taiga to get yelled at and stop.
Why doesn't he want Taiga to stop? Juri wonders as he watches Taiga strip the sweater back over his head and tug the hair band out to ruffle his hair. Taiga redoes the ponytail that can't hold back any of the hair from his face, fingers doing the motion smoothly from recent practice, and Juri doesn't understand why he's jealous of Taiga's ponytail, of all the dumb things.
"Stare harder," Kouchi comments, just loud enough that only Juri can hear. Juri gives him a dirty look, but Kouchi just shrugs his shoulder without looking up from his phone. "I mean, if you don't plan on doing anything about it. He was just stroking your hair so that millions of fangirls will see it."
Juri frowns. "He was bored. He touches his own hair like that all the time."
"Yes, when I'm bored, I often stroke another dude's hair," Kouchi says. He grabs Shintarou as Shintarou is sauntering by and pulls him close so that Shintarou's cheek is against his shoulder. "Observe." Kouchi strokes fingers over Shintarou's hair lightly, like he's petting a cat.
"Dude, what the fuck?" Shintarou asks, taking it like he's not sure whether bolting from Kouchi's firm grip is okay, eyes looking vaguely alarmed.
"Okay, okay, you made your point," Juri grumbles. Kouchi releases Shintarou with a final pat on the head, and Shintarou lingers there a second in confusion, before continuing on his way, throwing a puzzled glance over his shoulder. "Geez, who made you group mom?"
"Who made you group crybaby?" Kouchi asks. Juri punches him in the arm and Kouchi punches back, casually grabbing Juri's shirt to put him in a headlock and knuckle Juri's hair until he whines that he gives up. "There." He gives Juri a shove forward. "Don't say I never did anything for you."
"What?" Juri asks, then grunts as he stumbles right into Taiga's back.
"Hm?" Taiga asks, turning his head to see. His mouth quirks into a half-smile when he sees Juri. "Honestly, you guys."
When Taiga reaches up to smooth Juri's roughed-up hair back into place, Juri gets what Kouchi was talking about. It feels just as good as before when Taiga's fingers are in his hair, and Juri has to struggle to keep his eyes from closing like a total creeper until Taiga gives his hair a last little pat.
"All fixed," he says. Juri gives a little whine that he hadn't meant to be out loud at all, and Taiga raises an eyebrow.
"It just, um, feels good when you…do that," Juri explains sheepishly.
"This?" Taiga brushes his fingers through Juri's hair again, more deliberately. This time Juri lets his eyes flutter shut like they want to. He feels stupid, both of them standing in the middle of the room while he has his hair stroked, but he wants Taiga to keep doing it more. "You know, if you want something, you could try asking for it."
Taiga pulls his hand away, and when Juri opens his eyes, it feels like Taiga is standing closer than he was before. Juri reaches up with both of his own hands to brush the hair around Taiga's face back out of his eyes. Taiga's hair is warm, soft because Taiga never bleaches it, and the ends tickle Juri's fingertips. Juri slides one hand back until he can circle Taiga's ponytail with his thumb and forefinger, then slides the circle of his fingers down over it, the layers sticking out and brushing his palm.
Taiga's eyes are low-lidded by the time Juri pulls his hand away. "That does feel good."
Juri smiles at Taiga shyly, still not sure exactly what he's asking for or what he wants, but Taiga smiles back, and that feels like a good start.
"Why is everybody petting everybody else?!" Shintarou demands from behind them, making Juri jump. When he looks over to glare, Shintarou is still wearing that same confused expression, still looking like he's not sure if flight might be best. "Is this a thing? I'm not legal, you know!"
Taiga and Juri exchange one glance before advancing on Shintarou, Juri wrapping arms tight around him to keep his hands at his side while Taiga musses Shintarou's hair up until he's whines piteously about age of consent.
"Shh, it doesn't count if you're tallest," Taiga soothes, and Juri's laughter drowns out Shintarou's whines.