Tsukasa kicks back on the couch, his feet are neatly stood on the ground. It's been a few months since he has become a proper yumenosaki idol, though he wouldn’t exactly describe his unit as proper. His fingers clasp around a cup of steaming tea, the water inside coloured a deep orange. The smell of rich persimmon floats through the air, lays heavy on the otherwise breezy drafts of wind that occasionally enter through the open windows. “I thought you were a model!”, the smell isn’t calming enough to drown out the arguing voices. He takes a sip, almost burns his lips on the hot drink. Arashi sounds exasperated, stems her hands into her hips as she rips her gaze from the computer monitor, “Maybe you should be aware of the camera next time!” Izumi and Arashi are hunched over a laptop, both of the past models skimming through a catalogue of photographs taken of each other a few days ago. The tea glides down Tsukasa’s throat, evokes familiar warmth in his chest as he watches the all too common argument. “I am”, Izumi rolls his eyes, finger pressing against the screen, “you’re just bad at taking pictures.” Arashi sighs, elbows the side of her fellow idol, “maybe ask your boyfriend to take pictures of you then!” He stops, the teacup’s brim pressing against his lower lip. Tsukasa watches Izumi go quiet for a split second then shut the laptop and throw himself onto one of the chairs in the room, “he’s not my boyfriend!” Their discussion dies down with Arashi snickering at the dismissive comment and Izumi mindlessly scrolling through his phone. An embarrassed sheen lays over his face. “Izumi isn’t like that”, Tsukasa mumbles against the porcelain, loud enough for the words to carry through their studio. Another sip. Silence. Until Arashi seats herself on the couch next to him and holds her face in her palms, “like what?” Her eyes sparkle with something. It’s not curiosity, but the more Tsukasa squints, strains to try and tell what it is, the more the emotion evades him. “You know”, he motions with his free hand, “that.” The air is weirdly heavy, presses down the arteries in his heart. It scrunches up, deforms itself. He hears a scoff, “gay?” Izumi’s gaze darts over and Tsukasa’s face contorts in response. “Yeah.” The word holds onto his synapses as though it was made of glue. Taints that area of his brain. His tea is growing cold, the heat of the porcelain feels less intense than before and he gulps down another mouthful of persimmon. Oppressive. “I mean”, his throat feels drier than before, “we’re Knights, you know. It’s obvious.” He almost spills the last sip of his tea when Arashi grabs onto his sleeve, her expression is puzzled and her face awkwardly close. Tsukasa turns his face away, “what are you talking about?” She tugs at the white sleeve and he’s sure she will rip it if her hands keep moving like that, “you think being gay is gross?” Arashi seems horribly riled up and, while Tsukasa understands that maybe with her being trans it might hit home a little, but it’s not like he doesn’t respect her! His vision runs to Izumi for a little help there, but he’s simply watching the two of them, face as unreadable as Arashi’s. They look like they’re both expecting an answer and Tsukasa’s thoughts run at 100km/h until Izumi sighs. Disappointment oozes through his teeth, “you do know I’m actually dating our King?” He’s so nonchalant about it, it almost doesn’t sound like a joke. Tsukasa narrows his eyes. Not that that ever helped in seeing. “Wait”, Izumi’s phone slides into the pocket on his jacket, “you didn’t.” - “Huh?” It’s like the world broke apart. Sucked in Tsukasa with it and spewed him out on a fractured version of itself. He’s never seen Arashi and Izumi so struck with disbelief. He’s never seen someone other than his parents eye him with that disgusted fear in their eyes. There’s a momentary pause in time. “What, seriously?” - “Brat, you think something’s wrong about that?” - “Kasa, kid...You’re making a joke here aren’t you?” His head spins. The cup breaks on the floor. “I’m right!”, Tsukasa yells through the thousands of voices that scream against him. Hurt. He doesn’t know why he’s so incorrigibly hurt that his eyes water, well up with tears that spill over the edges. “I’m not wrong”, his voice wavers as he speaks. Ocean waves crashing against an island barely above water level. Ravaging what was once there until it’s fully submerged between the forces on each side. Another tone of voice, “ah. We didn’t mean to yell.” Arashi sounds sweet, her hands scramble for Tsukasa’s shoulders as she gently tilts him into her chest. Izumi crouches in front of the pair, eyes Tsukasa’s shaky body, “you’re wrong, kid.” There’s anger, unmistakably at the tip of his tongue and Kasa shakes his head against Arashi’s side. A pat on the head, “there’s nothing wrong with liking guys. Or girls liking girls, Anzu likes both.” His purple irises tremble, “but she’s-” “Normal?” Arashi sounds like a mother caring for her kid as she strokes his shoulder and Tsukasa leans into the touch as Izumi’s hand lifts from his head. “Yeah”, the woman mumbles, “of course she is.” - “Then why am I wrong?” His brain throbs, burns with every thought that races through his head and sets the nerves inside on fire. “Then why did mother hit me when I held hands with that kid in my kindergarten class?”, he doesn’t mean to speak, it just happens. Because this room was home, safety, the environment Tsukasa had felt comfortable in for the last months. “She was wrong. You’re fine.” Things are so blurry, so wet and heavy. “Come on”, a thumb roughly strokes over his cheek and Tsukasa can only sort the hand to the only person standing in the room, “no crying. You’re almost a grown-up.” Izumi’s face is so fragmented through Tsukasa’s tears that it kind of looks like he’s smiling. Kind of. “There’s no point in trying to be someone else”, he shrugs as he holds a handkerchief up and Tsukasa’s trembling fingers hold onto it, “you’re our promising newcomer right?” Tsukasa shakily nods. “Just don’t say that in front of your King, he’s sensitive.” Another nod. Knights feels like home. The persimmon-flavored waft. The crushing heat of studio lights. The windows that never properly close. The couch plastered with imprints of Ritsu’s shoes. Home.