Fandom: Pretear
Ship: Mannen/Hajime
Word Count: 2,830
Warnings: None

Mannen sat at the small glass table outside the Awayuki mansion and waited for Hajime to meet him there for lunch. He sighed as he stared down at the table top and ran a hand through his messy white hair. He wouldn't have been able to do anything with the unruly mop if he'd tried so he dropped his hand after a moment or two. It had been that way since he was a child so he knew Hajime wouldn't take any notice of it. He really should have been more concerned about the fact that what Hajime thought of his hair mattered at all.

"Mannen!" a sweet voice called from behind him.

"Hajime!" he exclaimed, turning with a grin.

Hajime came running over with a kind smile on his face, his long red hair flying behind him. He still insisted on covering his perfectly parted scalp with a bandanna. It made Mannen wonder why he bothered to take the time to part it at all. He doubted he'd even be able to find his own part. Hajime stopped in front of him and laughed a little at his excitement. Mannen looked away and tried to be a little more nonchalant about the 'date' the two were sharing. Not that Hajime knew it was a date but Mannen figured what the pink-clad boy didn't know wouldn't hurt him.

Surprisingly neither of them had changed their outfits much since childhood. Mannen chose to dress in a more monochromatic style now and Hajime had traded out his tan camouflage for green. Sometimes he thought being Leafe Knights had something to do with that. Since they lived so much longer than humans time almost seemed to slow down for them. It had been ten years since Himeno had been made Pretear but Mannen could swear it was only yesterday.

He sighed at the thought of time and what it might do to Takako and Himeno one day. Long after the two of them grew old and gray Sasame and Hayate would remain young and strong. He doubted it was something the two pairs were looking forward to themselves. Hajime saw the expression on his face and his own happiness faltered. He glanced down to where Mannen's hand laid and thought about taking it in his own to comfort him. He considered the possible reaction to the touch and decided against it with disappointment. Instead he pushed a small tea cup near him. Mannen looked down to see it fill with water.

"Until the maid comes with the tea." Hajime explained softly.


He gulped it back and slammed the delicate china down with a sigh of satisfaction this time. Hajime smiled at the return of his normal grin. Mannen pretended not to notice but a blush crept up his neck at the thought of Hajime looking at him in such a way. Sometimes he could read more into those kind faces. Sometimes he forgot that Hajime was that way with everyone.

"So..." Mannen coughed. "Uh...Shin didn't want to come?"

"He said you threatened to beat him within an inch of his life if he accepted the invitation." Hajime replied with a sly look.

Mannen knew his face was screwed up in a mixture of horror and anger at this news but he couldn't control the reaction. Shin had such a huge mouth! Hadn't he learned to keep secrets yet? Hajime laughed at his face and Mannen blushed lightly, replacing the horrified expression with a pout. So, he'd told. That didn't exactly mean that Hajime would guess at his feelings. There could be plenty of reasons for him wanting the two of them to be alone for the day. Mannen would just have to make sure he thought of them later so he had excuses.

In the meantime Himeno's new maid came out with a rolling cart and set their lunch up for them. Hajime thanked her and she looked as though she appreciated the rare kindness. Though Himeno didn't boss her around they both knew Mayune did. And being bossed around by Mayune was probably the worst job that ever existed. They could sometimes hear the spoiled woman screeching after the maid all the way at the gate.

Mannen hadn't been paying much attention to the young woman's polite conversation with Hajime but his eye was drawn suddenly to her hand. She had her fingers in Hajime's long, beautiful strands. He felt a surge of jealousy rip through him briefly and he tried to stifle it as she played with his hair. He obviously wasn't doing a very good job at it. When the maid looked up and saw the look on his face she withdrew her hands. Hajime noticed the look too as she hurried away and Mannen took an angry bite of the delicate sandwhich she'd left behind for him.


"What?" he snapped.

"...Nothing." Hajime sighed, looking away.

Mannen's face eased into apology at his hurt. He hadn't meant to snap. He'd never intentionally hurt Hajime that way but ... Damn it, he wanted to play in Hajime's hair! Why did that stranger get the privelage when he didn't? Of course it was his own fear that kept him from doing it. He could do it right now if he wanted. He lifted a hand from the table and felt his heart thump as it moved towards Hajime's face. Unfortunately he lost his nerve when Hajime looked down at the rising digits. Instead he pretended to be reaching for the sugar and piled it into his tea with a deep blush.

"I was thinking, Mannen." Hajime said, interrupting his sugar shoveling. "Maybe after we have lunch we could go somewhere fun."

"...Like where?"

"There's a fair in town today!" he began with enthusiasm. "There are rides and prizes and stuff! Kei and Go promised to take Shin so I thought-"

Mannen had been grinning at the plan but as Hajime neared the end he began to look disappointed. He had thought that Hajime had been wanting to spend some time with him but it seemed he just regretted missing the fair. Hajime looked concerned as Mannen glared down at his sandwhiches and poked them silently. He really wanted to go with Hajime even if it had to be with the others but he didn't seem able to voice that through his disappointment. Hajime took his hand suddenly and he blushed as he looked up into his eyes.

"They aren't going until tomorrow though." he added with a smile.

Mannen felt like his face was on fire. A tingle was running through his fingers as Hajime clasped his hand in his own. He was staring at Mannen with the same soft smile he always did but it felt somewhat different right now. Mannen could imagine himself leaning forward to whisper his feelings into Hajime's ear. A cute blush would rise in Hajime's cheeks. Then they'd share the sweetest ki-

"Now we don't have to worry about Shin throwing up on the big rides!"

Mannen could have fell out of his seat at Hajime's sudden explanation. Here he was fantasizing about love confessions and Hajime was thinking about puke-free fair rides. He felt like such a fool when he had to be reminded of reality directly after a daydream. It didn't help that his daydreams weere sappy and pathetic of course. He just smiled back at Hajime with a little effort and agreed to the plan. So after they'd polished off their sandwhiches and had their tea that set off for the fair in the easiest way possible. They made sure to reappear where they couldn't be seen so they ended up behind the haunted house.

Mannen tried to convince Hajime to go inside but he didn't care for scary things. Instead they got in line to ride a tilt-a-whirl and afterwards played a few games. Hajime watched patiently as Mannen tried to knock over some glass bottles with a ball. He'd tried several times now and he still couldn't manage to hit them. Hajime didn't think this said much for Mannen's aim. Maybe the lack of battles had made him rusty. It had been a good many years since they'd needed to use their skills.

Mannen was starting to get peeved at his inability to knock over such fragile things as glass bottles. The truth was he had been trying too hard to prove himself and win Hajime a prize. He wasn't getting any better with frustration but he looked up to see the man running the booth getting balls for another patron. He grinned devilishly and Hajime sighed. He didn't need to guess what Mannen was about to do. He raised a hand and looked around swiftly before shooting an ice spike at the glass bottles. They shattered loudly and drew the man's attention. He seemed a little begrudging as he told Mannen to pick his prize but maybe he just hated cleaning glass up when people won.

"You can pick something Hajime." Mannen said, standing back with his arms over his head. "I don't like stuffed animals."

"Are you sure, Mannen?" he replied. "You tried so hard."

Mannen dropped his arms and blushed lightly, looking in every direction but Hajime's eyes. He just nodded and muttered the excuse of wanting to test his skills as he hit his hip with his fist a few times. Hajime smiled at his embarrassment and took a small panda bear as his prize, thanking Mannen all the way to the next ride. They never made it to the roller coaster however because Hajime suddenly stopped. Mannen almost ran into him but put his hands on his shoulders to stop himself. He peeked over his head to see that Kei and Go were escorting Shin off the tilt-a-whirl and from the looks of it they were going to be heading towards a bathroom as quickly as possible. The bathroom just so happened to be right behind them.

Mannen wasn't thinking much of this though he was disappointed that their time alone would be ending so soon. Hajime on the other hand looked a little worried about their presence. He looked around for an escape and before Mannen knew it he had grabbed his hand, pulling him off to the right. He tried to keep up with Hajime's pace but he was so fast! He looked back as he was being pulled along to see that Kei and Go were passing them. He saw Kei look over at them but he only smiled smugly, returning his attention to Shin. Mannen looked utterly confused as Hajime threw the curtain of a photo booth open and pushed him inside. Unfortunately - or fortunately if you wanted to look at it that way - he hadn't let go of Hajime's hand so the smaller boy was pulled against his chest as he stumbled backwards.

Mannen blushed deeply at the feeling of Hajime's hands on his chest and his body pressed against his own. So this was what it was like to hold the other boy close. At least he finally knew what he was missing. He expected Hajime to pull away but he didn't. He curled his fingers in Mannen's shirt and buried his face in the soft fabric like a child. He could see the blush that adorned the red-head's cheeks even at this angle.

"So...what was that about?" Mannen asked, feeling brave enough in Hajime's embarrassment to put his hands on his shoulders.

"Nothing. I just didn't want them to see us." he mumbled in return.

"Why not?"

"I don't know. I wanted to be alone with you, Mannen."

He looked up at this with his cheeks still aglow but the look wasn't as cute as Mannen had daydreamed it would be. But then his expression wasn't of shy bliss right now. It was somewhat sad and very worried. Mannen could feel his heart thumping rapidly against Hajime's hand but he didn't want to jump to conclusions. If he did that he'd just be crushed when it turned out to be something else. He did manage to wrap his arms around Hajime softly as though in comfort. It made Hajime smile a little and that made Mannen smile.

"I wanted to be alone today too." he whispered.


Mannen nodded and tears gathered in Hajime's eyes as he smiled up at him. Hajime had known this already but to hear Mannen actually confirm it made him happy. Mannen thought maybe Hajime really did feel the same way for him that he felt for Hajime. Maybe he really did love him. Mannen couldn't help but get his hopes up now though he tried to remind himself that this wasn't the first time he had read love into Hajime's eyes when in reality it was kindness or friendship. Maybe it was the same now. He tried to make himself think this even as Hajime snaked his arms around his waist. Mannen relaxed his hands and pulled him closer with a look of doubt on his face.

"I love you Mannen." Hajime whispered finally.


Mannen could feel himself relax and he knew Hajime would notice it as well. It felt like a great weight was being lifted off of him. He was glad that Hajime had confessed to him. If he had waited for Mannen they would never have known each other's feelings. But Mannen still hadn't reassured Hajime with a positive reply yet so his eyes began to look away and the blush returned to his cheeks. He looked like he might cry.

"But if you don't..."

Mannen gasped and shook his head, tightening his hold on the other boy. He couldn't help but get a little frantic at the thought of Hajime running from his arms in tears.

"No, I mean...I love you too!" he stuttered. "I just...didn't think..."

"Really, Mannen? You love me?"

"Yeah." he said, smiling down at him.

Hajime rose an inch or so suddenly and Mannen realized he was standing on his tip toes. His arms were moving up to wrap around his neck swiftly and before Mannen could even register what was happening he had Hajime's lips pressed against his own. He had always imagined he would be the one to kiss Hajime first. He would admit that he had hoped for a love confession from him but the first kiss had always seemed like something Mannen would initiate himself. However he wasn't going to complain. He just closed his eyes as he returned the innocent kiss. He wondered for a moment if he should use his tongue like he'd seen in movies but any attempt he was planning to make at french kissing was interrupted by a flash of light.

Hajime and Mannen pulled apart quickly and looked around in battle ready positions which was hard considering their limited space. There was another flash and they realized it had just been the photo booth. Someone had simply turned it on. Wait a minute! Go laughed loudly as he pulled the slip of photos out and saw the look on Mannen's face. Hajime was just standing behind him with a hand to his mouth, blushing violently. The knight of fire looked over as the curtain suddenly flew open and Mannen came marching out.

"Give me those!" he demanded.

"Come and get 'em." Go taunted, holding them over his head.

Mannen hated the fact that he was still shorter than Go but now that he was bigger he posed much more of threat to the older man. Hajime gasped as Mannen launched himself at Go's back as he was turning to run. Kei allowed himself a few chuckles at their antics and Hajime sighed, smiling a little. He wondered if Mannen would let him keep the first picture for himself when he retrieved them from Go. He took the arm of the panda bear he had dropped in the photo booth and turned to watch the two as he hugged it close to his chest.