The rest of the day flew by in a moment, yet what felt like five minutes, had actually been a little over three hours. Just for the fun of it, Dan opted to remain in his skates on the way back to the Echizen residence. He'd glide alongside Ryoma at a slow, easy pace; almost walking, for the most part, as he wanted to keep their fingers twined. Even such a simple thing as walking at sunset was something Dan loved to do, when in good company.
Dan followed Ryoma in after removing his skates, and left his shoes next to them. He liked the idea that they had the place to themselves for once, as it'd been quite a while. Dealing with Echizen Nanjirou certainly wasn't something Dan enjoyed doing; he definitely understood Ryoma's feelings on that. Dan had had his fair share of interesting personalities that he'd had to deal with (deal, tolerate, it's all the same), no question about that, but Nanjirou was probably the most annoying "grown-up" Dan ever met. Thus, he was rather thankful that the former-pro wasn't around.
"Yeah, I am, actually." Dan grinned at the envelope.
Ryoma's mother, on the other hand, was quite a different story.
"What do you think we should get?" Dan asked, mulling over his own ideas in his head. "You know me, so suggest away~"
Ryoma considered the options a moment. “Well, there’s a pretty good Chinese place around here that delivers…” Nanako had liked it a lot, and even after she’d left, the family had occasionally ordered from the restaurant. It was close, and decently priced, and pretty authentic from what Ryoma could tell. “We gotta menu in the kitchen,” Ryoma said, leading the other into the other room and pulling out the menu, glancing it over. “Just tell me what you want.” He pulled out his phone and punched the number in.
Once the order was placed, Ryoma fished around in the fridge for two cans of Ponta and led the other into the living room, plopping down on the couch and holding one can out to Dan, indicating that he should sit beside Ryoma. The food wouldn’t be too long, but long enough that they might as well get comfortable in the meantime. “So, you wanna watch a movie?” It was just a suggestion, really, since they’d discussed the possibility the other day. They didn’t have to – there were plenty of other things to do.
Dan took the Ponta and took a seat, immediately sinking into the couch. The idea of a movie lingered around in his mind a bit. At the time of talking about what he and Ryoma could do on their date, a movie had seemed like a good plan. However, now that they were waiting for their dinner to arrive, Dan wasn't sure if he cared much about watching one. After all, he just returned a day or so ago from being away for two weeks; he relaxed for a sufficient amount of time, after that. Honestly, the main thing Dan wanted to do, was to hang out with Ryoma. Not that they weren't spending time together already, but a movie kind of defeated the purpose, since you shouldn't exactly talk.
"Maybe later," he finally replied. Dan took a sip from his soda before leaning back a little, his body shifting more so he could face Ryoma. "I'd rather talk, y'know. Not that we haven't been doing that a lot, lately, but..." Dan just shrugged a little, a smile tugging on his lips. "Well, you know. Two weeks was so long~" Yeah, yeah. Both of them kept saying similar things, as to Dan's vacation feeling more like two months, rather than the aforementioned. But, still!
Dan's smile lingered, his eyes fixed upon the can within his hand. His right hand shifted over the couch, fingers finding one of Ryoma's hand, where he loosely tangled them. Upon doing so, his gaze drifted back to Ryoma's, and Dan gave another smile. He wasn't quite sure what he was going to say at that moment, but it wasn't as though such things were important, that very minute.
“Unless, though, you want to watch one?” He added, suddenly.
Ryoma shook his head; “Nah, I could go either way.” He was just as happy, if not more so, to spend the next few hours talking to Dan. “Two weeks is a long time,” he agreed – he’d never have thought it, but time passed much differently when you were waiting to spend time with someone at the other end. “I don’t mind just talking.” He squeezed Dan’s hand, then used his grip to pull the other a little closer and lean against him a little, content to share warmth like this. He rubbed one thumb along Dan’s palm, starting up a gentle massage along his hand and the inside of his wrist – certainly not the massage Dan’d put off ‘till later, but every little bit helped.
“So, what’re your plans for the rest of the summer?” he finally asked – past the family trip, he hadn’t been entirely sure what Dan had wanted to do with his free time; Ryoma had planned to practice every spare moment he had, and he’d done that so far. But aside from working and practice, he didn’t have any plans. “We should do stuff. Y’know. Like go to the beach or something.” He hadn’t been in a long while, and that sounded like a good idea for something that they could do together. “Unless we’re just gonna spend all our free time in the café,” he said, grinning softly – there certainly had been breaks when they’d done just that.
"Ah, probably not too much. I have to watch Kairi for a week while my parents are away, which is the first week of August or something." Dan recalled aloud before saying, "Mom already said that I'm welcome to have a friend over, if I want - so long as I don't invite the entire neighborhood. I was thinking of asking you, though, which I bet she knew already. But! That's beside the point." Dan flashed a grin to Ryoma; a knowing one that teased him. "I'm sure Kairi would love~ to have her prince come over to stay for a few days~" A snicker fell past Dan's lips. His sister, actually, asked Dan if he was going to have Ryoma over, before her brother even brought up the plan to their mother. Seeing how excited she became, even when Dan merely said Ryoma's name, was highly amusing. ...a little on the odd, and probably creepy side, but Dan couldn't exactly deny that he knew how she felt at times.
Dan leaned into Ryoma, snuggled up close in the time before their food arrived. The simple gestures always meant more than Dan could put into words. A fleeting smile, a hug that lasted for a few seconds longer than usual; like right now, when Ryoma applied gentle pressure to Dan's hand, lightly caressing it. Dan almost found it strange, although it wasn't because he never received affection. In fact, Dan had always been surrounded by people who loved and cared for him, even doted upon as he grew up. However, such affection could take on various meanings, and for Dan to be on the receiving end of them, romantically, it felt - simply put - odd. Very nice, and more than welcome, but odd. As he'd been with Akutsu for the longest amount of time, compared to short-lived relationships before that, Dan grew accustomed to being the one who gave the affection, and only receive bits of it here and there, in return. Dan never complained, either, because he knew that was Akutsu's way of being. In some sense, Dan was thankful; now, even after the couple of years, Dan knew how very precious a simple touch, look, or sign of affection could be.
Despite being young, Dan knew that his ever-growing relationship with Ryoma was going to be different, it'd be strong, no matter what.
"We definitely need to do lots of stuff together, though," Dan agreed. "I...Well, if you want... I can help you train, too!" He smiled sheepishly, obviously excited for Ryoma's blossoming career (it was inevitable, after all). "I don't think I'm gonna have a whole lot of time to actually try to be on the university's team, so being able to play with you, or just...anyone, I guess, who wants to play... would be really great."
Almost as soon as Dan finished talking, the doorbell rang.
Ryoma didn’t want to get up – but he had to, they’d ordered the food after all. “Be right back,” he said quietly, slipping away from Dan and answering the door, paying for the food and bringing it right back into the living room – it was in containers, so they wouldn’t need plates, and there were two pairs of wooden chopsticks already in the bag. He set it on the table, sitting down again beside Dan, and pulled the food out, dividing it.
“So you think I’d actually survive a week with your sister?” he asked, shooting Dan a small grin as he opened the first container of food, testing a piece before shoveling another bite into his mouth. “Or are you two gonna come up with some intricate plan about how you’re gonna share me?” He was joking, of course, he hadn’t meant it to be self-centered; but he knew just how much Kairi would probably enjoy a week of sharing a roof. It was probably at least as much as he’d enjoy sharing a roof with Dan.
“I c’n come, f’you want me, though,” he finally said seriously, quietly, watching Dan take his first few bites. August wouldn’t be too much of a problem – he wasn’t entered in any tournaments that month as far as he knew, and he could train just as well from Dan’s house as his own. “An’ you can train with me anytime you want,” he added, smile softer this time. “Seriously, whenever. Even during the school year, f’you have the time.” Dan would probably be much busier with classes than Ryoma was, since one of them would be a full-time student and the other would not. But if Ryoma knew Dan at all, he knew the other’d make the time to do something if he really wanted to. He settled back against the couch back, food in hand, and took a few more bites. “We’ll think of other stuff to do, too, over the summer. Whatever you want, pretty much.” Dan knew what he liked, and might even get him to try one or two new things over the course of the summer. He always had just the right amount of persistence – he prodded when it was okay to prod, and let things go when it was all right to let them go. Precious few other people Ryoma had met had that unique quality, and it was one he liked quite a lot about his best friend.
"You were able to put up with me for these six years so far, I'm positive you can deal with her," Dan grinned. He knew that Ryoma, already, was good when Kairi had her bouts of treating him as though he was one of those pop-star idols. Maybe it had something to do with how Ryoma was treated back in junior and senior high; with all of those girls (and sometimes guys as well - Dan obviously knew) shamelessly squealing and expressing their love for Ryoma, it'd be a surprise if he wasn't used to it by now. But still, Dan found his sister's ways amusing, and, more often than not, endearing. He and Kairi were curiously similar, despite their 6 year difference in age.
If Ryoma were able to stay over, though, Dan already knew that it'd be one crazy week. He especially looked forward to having time alone with Ryoma. Kairi, like Dan, was fiercely independent; if there was something she was able to do on her own, she would go out on a limp in order to accomplish the task without any help. With that knowledge alone, Dan was anxious. Even though Dan already did his best to spend as much time with Ryoma as he could, time alone was something different. Even their date, tonight, which left them alone, was special. Until one of them moved out on their own, having the entire house to themselves wasn't something that Dan was going to waste.
Dan finished off the last of his orange chicken only a few minutes after the food arrived. "Good, good," he smiled. "I wouldn't want my skill to rot away, while I'm in school, after all~" Dan reached for his can of Ponta and downed the rest of it before settling back against the couch. "It'll be so weird, though. Once you're away doing tournaments and all..." He picked at the can-tab until it popped off and plunked into the empty container.
An idea of "stowing away" with Ryoma came to Dan's mind several times. Ryoma's tennis career was already booming; it had been, before Dan even knew him. Dan wasn't sure how he was going to handle himself, once Ryoma began traveling. School was important to Dan, but at the same time, the prospect of being a sort-of manager for Ryoma sounded awfully appealing. But...what of the career he wanted to pursue? Even school itself, for that matter; Dan had a long road ahead of him, and it definitely wasn't the same as Ryoma's. Far from it.
The thought made Dan frown. His attraction towards Ryoma began easily enough; A simple admiration for the boy who was a prodigy in the junior tennis world. What came next, over a few simple years, however, was nothing short of head-first dive into icy waters, the impact startling Dan. They avoided being together for so long; too long, in Dan's book. He wasn't about to let his thoughts focus on Ryoma being away.
Silently, Dan snuggled close to Ryoma; as close as he possibly could get, without sitting on his lap, or disrupting Ryoma while he ate. ". . ."
“Mm,” Ryoma agreed – he could deal with Kairi, yes. She was mostly harmless, really (just proved that she was related to Dan, that she could fangirl so completely and still be mostly harmless), and she had a decent mind, when it was trained on things other than himself. He’d managed to get a conversation or two out of her in the past, and if Dan was there to help, well, it wouldn’t be so bad. Not at all, he thought, as Dan finished his food and proceeded to snuggle close; he made Ryoma’s side pleasantly warm, and it was very nice. He just gave the other a grin, shoveling the last of his food into his mouth.
“You won’t get bad,” he said, of the tennis – “You’re too good at practicing f’r that.” And it was true – if Dan wanted to keep a practice schedule, he would. He was reliable like that, even to himself, and it was definitely not a bad thing. Ryoma put the empty container and his chopsticks on the table, leaning back into the couch – and Dan. He sighed contentedly, closing his eyes a moment and snaking a hand down to meet with Dan’s; he wanted to pull the other boy closer, but he really was about as close as he could get. But somehow it was still only barely enough.
“You want anything else to drink?” he finally asked, opening his eyes and glancing at Dan. He figured if anyone was getting up, it should be now, before they got far too comfortable to want to move again. It wasn’t really a problem, per se, but it was amusingly inconvenient. Not that he’d trade the feeling for the world. Ryoma was feeling comfortable and warm – almost like he’d had something to drink, like the few times he’d had his father’s beer, but this was different. A little less tingly. Though tingly wouldn’t hurt, he supposed. He wondered what Dan’d think of that. “Dad’s got plenty of stuff.” It was just a suggestion, he’d be fine either way, but it was kind of… nice to consider it. After the “sweeter than cake” incident, Ryoma had been very, very careful never to get even the least bit tipsy around Dan. It hadn’t seemed worth it. But now things were different, that was for sure.
"Sure. He drinks enough of it as-is, so why not." Dan grinned and gave Ryoma's hand a squeeze. He rose from the couch a few moments later, only after pulling away from Ryoma reluctantly. He'd been the one to order the food, as well as get up to pay for it, so it was only kind to return the favor to Ryoma by heading to the kitchen.
The sight of the Echizen's refrigerator never failed to amuse Dan; at least four varieties of beer sat on the bottom shelf, and Dan knew there was hard liquor in one of the cabinets. Dan grabbed a half empty case of beer, and turned to go back.
"I think...that was the most I've ever seen your Dad stock," Dan snickered. He handed one of the bottles to Ryoma after taking one for himself, and returned to Ryoma's side. It was amusing, in ways, to think about their relationship, and how alcohol seemed to play a role in it, one way or another. Memories of Nakano's wedding came to him, especially. The champagne, the kiss... none of it was supposed to happen, but it had, regardless. It was the first time Dan had seen Ryoma so bubbly. It was rather awkward, to be honest, but amusing, nonetheless.
Using a bit of his shirt, Dan popped the cap off his bottle and downed a long sip.
Ryoma waited (mostly) patiently for Dan to return, eyeing the case he brought with him and accepting the proffered bottle. He fiddled with the cap a moment before following suit, using the hem of his shirt to get it off and placing the cap on the table before taking a slow sip. “Dad’s always getting more before he even drinks the stuff he has,” he said, making a bit of a face and taking a second sip. The first mouthful was never very good, but it tended to get better the more he drank. He was never sure if it was because he got used to it, or he stopped caring, but whatever the reason, the next few drinks were better than the first, and that was all that mattered.
He shrugged and gave Dan a small, mischievous grin. “Guess we’ll have to help him out with his overstocking problem.” He and Dan could probably get through quite a few bottles, if they really set out to do it, though that didn’t really seem to be the goal of tonight. They’d probably get through a couple each, though not just because they were trying to drink it all or get drunk. Which was probably better, in Ryoma’s opinion.
Taking another sip, he settled back and, after a moment, beckoned to Dan to come closer – he didn’t care if the other snuggled up now, he wasn’t eating and holding a bottle wasn’t exactly something that required all his attention. It was so nice to be able to spend time together like this without having to worry about anything else. And besides, “F’I say anything stupid, at least it won’t matter anymore,” he joked quietly, as the other moved closer. “But f’I get sappy or somethin’, it’s your fault.”
"And why would it be my fault?" A mock-pout crossed Dan's face in response, batting his eyelashes for extra affect. However, a cheerful giggle passed his lips soon after. Dan took another drink from his bottle as he sat right up against Ryoma's side. In all honesty, Dan was hoping that he and Ryoma would avoid any kind of inebriation. Of course, Dan clearly remembered what types of things happened in the past, but it wasn't just that. If anything were to happen on the date, especially those having to do with intimacy, Dan didn't want his and Ryoma's actions to be the fault of alcohol.
The beer wasn't anything special, but Dan certainly enjoyed it more than a few other kinds he'd tasted before. His bottle was half empty already, as a matter of fact. The case on the table held three more bottles; if Dan knew anything about his alcohol tolerance (as well as Ryoma's), the most they would be, by the end of two bottles each, would be on the tipsy side. Then again, Dan also knew how Ryoma didn't drink much at all. The thought of it reminded Dan himself to not ask Yuuki for hard-lemonade anymore; he got into the habit of such, late freshman year of high school. (And honestly, he was shocked that she continued to share it.) At least Dan never bothered to attempt getting a fake ID, like a few of his acquaintances had; he didn't have the need for alcohol that badly.
"Stupid, however..." Dan added after several moments of silenced wandered by. He took another long sip and then rest his head on Ryoma's shoulder. "I think maybe it was stupid of us both. To have waited this long, y'know..." Dan's voice grew soft. His eyebrows furrowed for a moment as he thought, never realizing that his cheeks felt warm. ...Why hadn't he decided to tell Ryoma, back when they were seniors?
“… Yeah,” Ryoma had to agree, softly, trying to shove how much he was enjoying Dan leaning against him like this to the back of his mind as more important things surfaced. ‘I just… well, I was never sure if I should even tell you.” It seemed like such a silly worry, now, in retrospect, but it had been on Ryoma’s mind for years and so it wasn’t the little thing it seemed to be now that he actually had what he wanted. “I mean, you were so happy with Akutsu.” It had been no secret how much Dan loved Akutsu, even after they’d broken up. “An the whole… with Akaya…” Maybe it had been more of a secret, but Ryoma really had cared about Akaya. A lot. His idea of a relationship had been – and still was, for the most part – pretty straightforward. You went out with someone because you liked them. And if you liked them, you did whatever you could to make them happy and take care of them. Because that was just the way it worked.
He sighed and shook his head a little; stupid was definitely the right word, but he supposed there was no changing that. “Well, not gonna let that stop us. We’ll make up for lost time.” He grinned down at the other, suddenly realizing… “You’re blushing.” Not that Dan hadn’t done it any number of times before, but still. It was never anything but cute. He couldn’t help but nuzzle the other’s warm cheek gently. “…Speaking of stupid,” he said quietly, cheek-to-cheek with Dan. “I gotta stupid question.” He paused, pulling back a little. “C’n I call you Taichi?” He wasn’t in the habit of calling anyone by their first name, especially without a ‘san’ or ‘sempai’ after it, but he’d called Akaya that because the other had asked. He wasn’t sure if Dan would ask – or even if Dan wanted him to call him Taichi or not – but, well. Thus the stupid question. He supposed Dan wouldn’t mind too much, though – and he’d certainly be honest. And Ryoma would do whatever the other liked.
Ah, yeah.. Akaya. Dan genuinely had nothing against Ryoma's former boyfriend. Well, maybe a little. He remembered back in junior high what was said about Rikkaidai's junior ace, and certainly the violent habits he had, when pushed to far in a game. That side of Kirihara Akaya wasn't very nice. Otherwise, Dan was okay with him. Nevertheless, 'difficult' wouldn't come close to describing Dan's feelings, when it came to Kirihara and Ryoma dating. At the time, that is. Dan hadn't expected to fall so hard for Ryoma, after all - especially so soon.
"I wanted to tell you last year," Dan smiled a little, almost wistfully. "I wanted to say it a long time ago, actually. I ..guess, maybe even when you were dating Kirihara-senpai, but that wouldn't've been right. It wouldn't've been very nice, either. I mean, especially if you liked me at that time, too, since being with one person but liking another, at once, isn’t always fun. So I just shut up about the whole thing. B-but it was really difficult at times, so that's why I distanced myself from you every now and then, so I wouldn't get t-"
Dan clamped a hand over his mouth before rambling any further, which was a habit that had been with him ever since he was a grade-schooler. Speaking fast, and often too much information, when he felt hesitant, or at times, embarrassed. It was odd to have done so around Ryoma; Dan was surprised.
"Huh?" Dan's eyes widened a little before the question registered. His cheeks darkened on cue, it seemed. "A-aah, yeah... Of course you can..." Dan smiled brightly. The only people who ever used his first name, aside from his family, were Akutsu, Sengoku, and, at times, Minami. Then again, Akutsu called him Taichi by default, most of the time. The other two, Dan considered like family. Ryoma was a special case, indeed.
Downing the rest of his bottle, Dan sat forward to place it on the table. Upon leaning back, he took hold of Ryoma's free hand; his cheeks still a dark rosy hue.
Ryoma blinked – he… shit, he hadn’t known Dan had liked him for that long…. But… well, there was nothing for it, now. Maybe they really had been stupid, after all. He blinked again when Dan slapped a hand over his mouth – it was kind of funny and kind of curious all at once, and he couldn’t help the smile that slipped out. But now, thinking about Dan’s words… it… made a lot of sense. There had been more than one occasion when Dan had just… acted strangely, more distant, for a while, with no visible explanation. Ryoma felt his cheeks darken himself, as he thought about how… well. He’d never been able to figure it out, but now, thinking that it was because Dan had liked…
And now Dan was blushing, harder, as he put his bottle down, and Ryoma squeezed the fingers in his, leaning closer, keeping his nearly-empty bottle out of the way with his other hand. “… Really. M’sorry. For anything I did to make stuff hard. Seriously.” He knew what it was like, after all, and he wouldn’t wish that on anyone else. He brushed one of Dan’s ruddy cheeks with his lips, smiling softly. “I’ll make it up to you.” He pulled back, smile widening. “Taichi.” The name… felt a bit odd, in his mouth – he’d barely ever thought of Dan as anything but, and never considered calling the other by his first name, even though that was not the case from the other’s perspective. But he could get used to this, he thought, very easily. “Just tell me, f’you ever think of something.”
Dan felt as his breath hitched within his throat; the soft kiss, Ryoma's hand squeezing Dan's own, the promises. Dan still felt as though something was... off, in a way. As though, at the very next moment, Ryoma would offer harsh words, or do something Akutsu would've done. Dan was over him, as it was clearly true, but ever so often, those memories and images rose to the surface. Dan didn't pay attention when it happened, but the old thoughts were still there regardless.
"You don't need to," he offered a smile. "You...You don't owe me anything... I already..." Dan exhaled quietly, wondering partially if he had the right words, or even if it was too early so say something of the like. He watched Ryoma silently, just for a moment before directing his gaze to their laced fingers, to Ryoma's slightly flushed cheeks - and smiled. Cute! Hee~ Dan leaned in to return the nuzzle and kiss to Ryoma's cheeks. "...I already have what I want." Spoken softer than before, Dan's cheeks continued to burn; he smiled through it all.
Ryoma was not one to color at a compliment, but even he felt his cheeks grow even warmer at Dan’s whispered words. “… I do too,” he murmured, before taking advantage of their proximity to wrap his other hand around Dan’s back and pull him nearly onto his lap and kiss him, softly, tentatively, on the lips for a brief instant before pulling back just barely a few inches. “An’ I’m keepin’ it until it doesn’t want me anymore.”
His head was reeling, slightly, though it couldn’t be from the alcohol – he hadn’t even finished a bottle, but it felt like he’d had two or three at least. It was as if Dan himself were intoxicating, and much more so than the beer. He took a few deep breaths, just watching Dan, studying his features before leaning over to rest one cheek on the other boy’s shoulder. “I hope that’s not for a long time,” he added, softly, just breathing in Dan’s scent and closing his eyes for a moment, forgetting everything else. “A really, really long time.” Because he wanted to stay close like this forever, never mind the utter impossibility of such a thing. But being close to Dan was the best thing he’d felt in a long, long time. And he didn’t ever want to give that feeling up, now that he had it.
It was so different from being with Akaya – Akaya always wanted something, and knew it, and went after it. Not much unlike Ryoma, really, only when it came to relationships that character trait seemed to die, because he knew what he wanted, only he didn’t always know if it was the right time or what the best way to go about it was. But he and Dan seemed to be doing all right so far, so he was content to let whatever happen happen, and they’d figure out the pacing along the way. He was sure of that.
Dan felt his pulse quicken with Ryoma's words, and the kiss was a completely different story. Echizen Ryoma, that was mean~! Teasing, to say the least. Dan had returned it as best he could, and stole a soft, quick one of his own, before Ryoma put his head on Dan's shoulder.
"More than just a long time," he replied quietly. A joyous, yet bashful smile decorated Dan's young face. Again, unlike how he felt with Akutsu, Dan was sure of his relationship with Ryoma, that it would last. True, feelings change over the course of time; Dan never thought he would get over Akutsu, for example. For now, though, Dan pushed all of those negative assumptions back to the very corner of his mind. He wasn't about to mull over all of the ill possibilities that could become of he and Ryoma being together. If such a time came, then so be it. Everything was perfect right now.
With only a slight shift of his head, Dan pressed a kiss to Ryoma's temple, the other's soft, dark hair tickling his nose. He stayed there for several moments, holding Ryoma as close as he could, breathing in his scent, and just Ryoma as a whole. A murmur of I love you barely made it past Dan's lips, but nothing loud enough to be heard. Despite what he felt, Dan was just a tiny bit hesitant on whether or not it was too early to say such words. Which was rather funny, he mused, given how easily he repeated them over and over to Akutsu.
“Mm,” Ryoma agreed, staying where he was a little longer (had Dan said something? It sounded like he might've, but Ryoma hadn't heard it and he supposed maybe Dan hadn't wanted him to, so he didn't ask), before finally detangling himself with a bit of a sheepish grin to glance at Dan again, downing the last bit of beer in his bottle so he could set it aside on the table. “It's prolly a good thing we didn't start a movie. We woulda missed half of it by now.” Of course, this was much better than any movie. He could watch a movie anytime.
“Not that I mind,” he said out loud, ruffling Dan's hair – which turned a bit into running his fingers through it instead, feeling the soft black locks slip through his fingers comfortably, hand lingering a little longer than it otherwise would have. Just because he and Akaya had always at least started out doing something, like playing video games or watching a movie or going to the arcade, didn't mean that was the only way to spend a date. He settled back into the couch cushions a little more, watching Dan contentedly. “But I guess we better not make plans to get through a lotta movies this summer,” he chuckled, closing his eyes a moment to stretch, arms over his head as he arched his back.
Dan couldn't help the playful snicker from falling past his lips, especially in regards to Ryoma's latter comment. He snuggled up close again, once Ryoma sat back, sighing happily. "I guess that means we should be extra sure to sit in separate rows, then, if we ever want to go see something in the theaters, no?" An impish grin took over Dan's previously content, relaxed smile; he poked Ryoma's side playfully.
"As for here, though, or at my house, I guess you're right about that. We'd have to watch it several times, if we wanted to actually get through it. Not that I wouldn't be game, though~" Then again, movies weren't the only thing that he and Ryoma could do for a date, that much was known (common sense, really). Nonetheless, it would be refreshing, and rather different from anything else Dan experienced, when it came to dating. Akutsu aside, he'd only dated a couple others in his life, but none of them had been serious; brief flings, at best. And for the most part, they usually just hung out randomly doing whatever. A 'date' consisted of having lunch together, and going to the arcade, or the basketball courts. Not much at all.
Dan glanced to the remaining bottles in the container, contemplating for a few moments before he opted not to have a second one, for the time being. Instead, he exhaled again, quiet, but happy, his gaze lazily drifting along the gentle contours of Ryoma's face, watching him.
"Ryoma's cute when he blushes, y'know. 'Specially when smiling..." Dan reached up to lightly touch Ryoma's cheek, noticing that a bit of the flush from moments before, lingered.
Ryoma wanted to mock-pout, but even a fake one wouldn’t come out when Dan’s fingers were on his cheek like that. “I’m not the cute one,” he said quietly, though he knew he was still blushing – he could feel the warmth still there, in his cheeks, but it was hard to feel anything but warm with Dan so close. “Taichi is.”
Of course, he had to admit, he was a bit used to being called cute – even if Akaya hadn’t said much out loud, Ryoma’d always been able to tell when the older boy was thinking it. Eventually, he’d figured it was inescapable, what with the difference in height – and experience – between them. But he and Dan weren’t that different height-wise, now…. Even if maybe one did still have more experience over the other. Ryoma wasn’t as completely clueless as he had been a couple of years ago.
Though he was still clueless, to a point, when it came to dealing with Dan. Akaya had always gotten annoyed when Ryoma had been… well, soft. No soft touches, no lingering kisses – Akaya liked things hard and fast and unforgiving. When he’d caught himself thinking about it, many times before, Ryoma had supposed that was how Akutsu probably treated Dan, to some extent. But… did Dan like it? Did Dan want them to be like that? It didn’t quite seem like it, but Ryoma really had no idea. He could be either – he’d been ‘trained’, as it were, to be rough, but his first instincts had always been the opposite, really – he’d realized that soft touches could be all the more mind-blowing than hard ones.
- But what was he thinking about this for? He blinked, realized he’d been blanking, staring at Dan for a too long without actually saying anything. He hid it by leaning forward for another soft, tentative kiss, while he tried to sort things out. It was hard – half of him was dying to just kiss Dan, as hard as he could, and crawl on top of him and… But the other half wasn’t quite sure what they were supposed to be doing, at this point – things had gotten so messed up with Akaya that he didn’t really know how fast or slow these things were supposed to go. It was so confusing, and it was even a bit annoying because he got the feeling that it shouldn’t be this confusing. Not with Dan.
Ryoma's apprehension was far from discreet; Dan was sure enough of that due to the distant look on his eyes. But...why so? Neither of them were new to kissing, and certainly not to each other's company. Dan wondered, with slight amusement, about what could possibly be going through Ryoma's mind that very moment.
While it wasn't a known fact to anyone but himself, back before they began dating, Dan often found himself daydreaming about what it'd be like to kiss Ryoma. ...Well, not just that, but lots of stuff (even things outside of being intimate. He'd dream about holding Ryoma in a warm hug, lingering for only a few moments longer than usual; about laughing with him as they saw a movie together. Certainly Dan hoped to beat Ryoma in tennis one day, though that wasn't quite the easiest of the lot. On the other hand, when Dan's thoughts did focus on the intimate side of their relationship, he wondered, well, just what Ryoma would be like. With Akutsu, kissing varied; gentle, fleeting, barely there... The rough, heavy ones were those Dan had grown accustomed to, though, despite the soft and sweet ones existing. And, in all honesty, Dan liked them all. There was a time and place for everything. For Ryoma, though... He never was close with Kirihara, so it was only natural that Dan be on the clueless side, when it came down to the other's personality and way of being, outside of practice. Of course there were those times when Kirihara was a violent guy, but Dan knew that was a few years back.
"Well, maybe I am, too," Dan gave a lazy smile to Ryoma. Their lips were mere inches apart, and he spoke softly, whispered, almost. "But people've been calling me that for a long while now," he wet his lips. "So I think it's only fair that you're the cute one, for now. ...Ne?" Dan barely finished his sentence, letting it fade into the air. His smile was dwindling as well; Dan's eyelids felt heavy, his breath light. He nuzzled his nose to Ryoma's before their lips met. A soft, light kiss at first; Dan wouldn't want to simply crush Ryoma right away, after all... even though the idea was awfully tempting. He did, however, add just a bit of edge into the kiss, and then shifted his body a bit, in order to wrap both arms around Ryoma's neck. In a way, it was Dan's 'OK' signal. He trusted Ryoma.
Ryoma had been about to mutter a concession when Dan leaned forward and kissed him, soft and sweet at first, but there was something underneath it and as Dan shifted to loop arms around Ryoma’s neck, any words he’d had were forgotten underneath Dan’s taste. His arms found their way around Dan’s waist, seemingly of their own volition, fingers resting at the small of the slim back as he pulled the other boy closer and all the way onto his lap, the better to slowly, carefully, deepen the kiss, hoping he was doing this right. It wasn’t like he didn’t know how to kiss like this (on the contrary, kissing Akaya had resulted in at least one person’s tongue down the other’s throat approximately 90% of the time), and it wasn’t as though he and Dan hadn’t kissed like this (because there had been one kiss, last night, that had been absolutely amazing). But somehow, Ryoma was hesitant and desperate all at once – it was just something Dan seemed to do to him, like he wanted to get closer but he needed to know it was all right, first.
Ryoma was so caught up in the kiss that he didn’t know how long it had gone on before he realized that his fingernails (though short) were digging into Dan’s back by now, and loosened his grip, brushing fingertips over the same spots lightly, as if in apology. He pulled back just a little, not quite enough for their mouths to lose contact, but enough to breathe, because he needed to right about now. He glanced up at Dan, half-sheepish, half-questioning: that had been all right, right? Or was he still doing something wrong? He was, he thought wryly, a bit out of practice. And the feeling of Dan’s body heat pressed so close against him was making his skin prickle and tingle in a way that asked for more, but he’d ignore that if necessary. He wasn’t sure how things were supposed to go, but being alone and finally together was making his head reel with the possibilities. “That good?”
Dan made no hesitation when Ryoma coaxed him onto his lap. He actually was a bit surprised that Ryoma had done so, to an extent. Not that Dan was going to complain. He shifted his body in order to fold his legs beneath himself, one to each side of Ryoma, more or less in a straddled position. The kiss at those times was a bit awkward, but Dan did his best so that it wouldn't break.
The kiss, otherwise, was addictive; although, that was certainly a given, in Dan's perspective of Ryoma. Dan gently nipped his lower lip a few times as the kiss deepened, time apparently whipping by. And when it finally broke, Dan returned Ryoma's gaze, searching it.
"Better than good," A flushed smile peeked its way onto Dan's face. He spoke in a whisper; pulse racing, his breath gradually returning. A light, bubbly chuckle passed Dan's lips, suddenly, and as he spoke again, he stole soft, playful kisses. "Don't worry so much about being 'right', if you get what I mean." The flutter of pecks and lingering kisses dwindled, then, as Dan rest his forehead to Ryoma's. He didn't want Ryoma to feel as though he needed to think about what not to do, or anything of the like. And for the record, he was just as out of so-called 'practice' as Ryoma was. Tonight, Dan decided, could be their time to make up for lost opportunities.
"...And you don't have to worry about hurting me, either," Dan laughed another soft, but amused chuckle. While it was a bit surprising to feel Ryoma's fingers digging into his skin (since it was Ryoma, after all), and even though Ryoma knew Dan best, Dan still felt better, telling him. "I'm not gonna break." Another nuzzle, and their lips met yet again. "Just... do what you think feels right. If I have any problems, I'll let you know. I promise..." and another stolen kiss, lingering.
Ryoma found himself momentarily lost in Dan’s quick, playful kisses, returning them in kind. As they broke once more, Ryoma nodded slightly, a little relieved. It was definitely nice to know that Dan wouldn’t be afraid to tell him if he didn’t like something. He knew Dan wasn’t going to break, but he didn’t want to hurt him, either. Just because Akaya’d liked things rough didn’t mean Dan did – and it didn’t mean Ryoma wanted to be rough with him, but it meant re-training himself in a way; he’d managed to train himself pretty well while he was with Akaya to give the other what he wanted, and he supposed old (and only) habits died a bit hard. “No, really. S’just an old habit.” He instead took the fingertips that were resting at Dan’s sides and ghosted them up the first few vertebrae of his spine, beneath his shirt, touch light but lingering, and craned his neck to kiss just below Dan’s jaw, softly.
“I hope my parents decide to go to lots of dinner parties this summer,” he grinned, nuzzling the other’s neck gently. He could get used to spending time with Dan like this very quickly. Though there was the end of the summer to think about, they’d work something out. He wouldn’t be away all the time, and they would be going to the same school. He was still planning on moving out, even if he wasn’t going to live in a dorm. He’d sat down and done the math a while ago, and it looked like he’d be able to afford a decent place in the city. Maybe Dan would like to help him look, he thought absently, placing a few more small kisses on the soft skin of the other’s neck. “Or I could move out earlier.”
"That'd be nice." Dan replied in a smile, before adding with a snicker, "we should give your mom some kind of reward, then, for actually getting your dad outta the house." More time alone would definitely be nice, and especially something Dan could get used to. Given Dan's younger sister, his parents often didn't get that kind of opportunity; going out alone. And when it did happen, Dan was their first choice for a babysitter. Kairi was easy enough to take care of - especially since she argued against having a sitter in the first place. To be completely alone, though, there was a difference. Dan, personally, felt that difference was nice; he preferred it, and Ryoma probably did too, knowing how giggly Kairi became when around him.
Dan's gaze met Ryoma's several moments later, the gentle kisses having momentarily closed his eyes. Moving? "That's true," Dan agreed aloud, still thinking. As far as things went, he planned to live in the dorms for his first year, and thus never seriously considered an apartment, nor moving out - except for the actual college part.
"Hmm... It's not like you'd do a whole lot of traveling in the first year, right?" Dan asked in regards to Ryoma's plans for tennis. "'Cause moving into your own place could waste money, if you're not going to be able to be in the apartment very often. At least, that's what it seems like, to me." A sheepish grin crossed Dan's face. Maybe Ryoma would dorm with him for the year? Dan wasn't so sure about the differences in cost, but the option was certainly open.
Ryoma had to laugh, softly, at that. “Yeah, well, maybe I’ll bring her a cake from work. She likes those.” And he was actually pretty sure that if he maybe actually asked, his mother might just be amused enough to consider dragging his father out more often. It was certainly worth a try. He tugged Dan a little closer with hands clasped around his back and rested his forehead against the other’s, a small grin still playing across his lips. “Nah, I don’t think I would travel too much, but I just didn’t wanna stay here, y’know?” He was sure Dan would agree, having known his father (and the trouble he could cause) all these years.
Though, from that look he was getting…. It seemed as though Dan had some ideas about that. “You got somethin’ else in mind?” Ryoma actually hadn’t even thought about staying with Dan, up until this very moment. But really… why not? There wasn’t any rule anywhere saying they couldn’t – and really, why shouldn’t they? They were best friends, if nothing else (though now, it seemed, they were very much something else), and they could perfectly well room together. “D’you still need a roommate f’r school?” He’d trust Dan to watch Karupin when he was away, and they already got along better than very well. Suddenly it sounded like the best idea in the world. They could be alone (well, relatively speaking, since he supposed no one was ever really alone in a dorm, but the door had a lock and that was good enough for him) whenever they wanted.
"I do, actually," Dan's grin brightened. Ryoma must've been on the same track as his own, then. The idea of moving in with Ryoma, even if it was a temporary thing, was exciting. Although, at the same time, it wouldn't exactly be a new experience, for either of them. As their days in high school passed by, it wasn't such an odd thing for Dan to spend the night at Ryoma's, or vice versa. They worked together, often studied and did homework together, and as they grew closer, he and Ryoma could simply sit around and do nothing, without a worry of feeling uncomfortable, or not having anything to say.
Dan leaned in a little closer as his nose brushed Ryoma's in an Eskimo-kiss, his cheeks lightly flushed. "You can come live with me for the year, if you want to. It... may be the best idea, now that I think about it," another nuzzle, and Dan almost giggled with excitement. "If I were living in the dorms, and you in an apartment, there's a possibility that we wouldn't get to see each other very often, since both our schedules will be on the busy side." The thought of being able to curl up with Ryoma after a long, stressful day sounded beyond wonderful, promising.
"I wouldn't want that to happen." Dan murmured and leaned in again to steal a few soft, drawn-out kisses. "We still have time to make up for, after all~"
“Mm,” Ryoma agreed into Dan’s kisses, glad they were thinking of the same thing. It really did suddenly sound like the best idea in the world. And really, who was he to argue with an idea like that? “F’you really needed a roommate, then consider your problem solved,” he murmured, brushing a few more fingertips up Dan’s spine and happily offering a soft, steady kiss of his own, thinking that even though things had changed a lot recently, every single change had been for the better. And that he’d be more than happy to put off moving into an apartment for another year (or few) if it meant he could stay with Dan in the dorms at school. And who knew, maybe in the future they could get an apartment together, instead of the dorms…
But that was thinking a little too far into the future, when he’d much rather be thinking about right now. “M’all yours, then,” he said; and he really meant it in more ways than one, feeling pleasantly… satisfied sitting right here together with Dan, and deciding that he’d concentrate on the rest of tonight, tonight. And then they’d take it from there.