author’s note: i rewatched diu in spring and had a few ideas drafted at that time but i didn’t actually write anything until this one, which i came up w last weekend lmao. enjoy <3
word count: 3,408
Josuke’s still half asleep as he saunters into the kitchen at 7AM on Friday, and he’s only half listening when his mom tells him to bring an umbrella today.
“It isn’t raining yet, but with how dark the clouds are, it definitely will be soon,” she remarks as she opens the refrigerator door and reaches in to grab her food. “I left the umbrella for you right by the front door so you don’t forget it.” Like I always do. But she keeps that last part to herself.
Josuke hums, taking one of the glasses sitting on the dryer rack from when he’d done the dishes last night and filling it with water from the tap. As he drinks, gulping audible and head tilted back, Tomoko glances over at him. The vague response is meant to be a confirmation that he heard her, but she doubts he actually processed it. He isn’t truly awake until at least 11:30AM. She follows his movements: sluggishly setting the glass in the sink; eyes sliding shut; swaying a little as he stands in the one spot. In such a state, he’d be hard pressed to repeat back what she said successfully had she asked him to, but at this point, he might have already fallen asleep again.
With a quiet sigh, Tomoko closes the short distance between them and rubs his back to bring him back to consciousness. Dozing off and potentially falling over on the cold kitchen floor is hardly an ideal wakeup call. (Though she won’t deny that maybe something so shocking to the system might be what he needs every now and then, with his tendency to stay up too late playing video games and paying for it in the morning.)
“Don’t forget.” She punctuates her parting words with a couple pats to his shoulder, and then she takes a seat at the dining table to eat.
“Yeah. Umbrella. Rain. Got it,” Josuke mutters and waves a hand dismissively.
The corner of Tomoko’s mouth lifts in a small grin, and she watches him amble back out of the kitchen, very much resembling a zombie. Ah. So he had heard.
Unfortunately for Josuke, that doesn’t mean much. He’d taken too long to get ready, the fact it was still dark outside due to the clouds blanketing the sky making it even more difficult wake up. Upon finally getting his pompadour just right and throwing on his uniform, he’d glanced at the clock to learn he should’ve left almost ten minutes ago. And with how close he normally cuts it with getting to school, sliding into his seat in homeroom just as the bell goes off, it’s ten minutes he doesn’t have.
Shit. He grabs his books and dashes out of the house. Why hadn’t Okuyasu come by the house today? They always walked together. He thought he had more time than he did because it was his friend’s knock on the door every morning that signaled when he had to leave. Then he remembers: Okuyasu had a quiz to make up and he’d opted to do it in the morning rather than after school.
Josuke remembers another thing too, but he remembers it too late: he left the umbrella by the front door. He groans and slaps his palm on his forehead. Not again. He can hear his mom now, brow raised with hands on her hips once he gets home later, soaked through and miserable—You can’t say I didn’t remind you! Cue the disappointed head shake. And be careful, don’t track water on the hardwood! He really is just a mess in the mornings, isn’t he?
Get it together, Josuke. The front gates of the school are in sight now, and he ends his mini pep talk to himself with two more slaps, this time to the cheek, to try to wake himself up a little more.
The hallways are mostly empty once he’s finally inside, and his classroom is right at the end, the door slid back. He spares a glance to the clock on the opposite wall, where the hour hand is at 8 and the minute hand is pointed at the notch just before 12. The third hand ticking away the seconds is incredibly close to completing its full revolution, and it does so in 3… 2… 1.
A shrill ringing fills the air that’s otherwise dead considering most students are now in class, and Josuke starts running, shoes clacking on the linoleum. He’ll be fine if he gets there before the bell stops!
He curls his hand around the edge of the door as if to stop himself from overshooting his target, and comes to stand in the frame, panting quietly. Yes, made it! The teacher stands close by, clearly on her way to shut the door, signaling the beginning of lecture and that anyone who were to come after was to be marked tardy. But Josuke wouldn’t be one of them today!
“Perfect timing, Higashikata,” the teacher remarks.
Josuke chuckles quietly, closing the door behind him. “Heh, yeah…” By now she is accustomed to his very last second arrivals, and he’s certain he’s closed the door for her more often than not this trimester. Maybe one day he’d actually be late, but he’s not keen to let that happen anytime soon.
While the teacher returns to her spot at the head of the classroom, he walks over to his desk, the second column from the far side and three rows back. He sets his books down before plopping into his seat, and as he does, he catches your gaze from where you’re sat to his right.
When your eyes meet, you smile brightly and the corners of your own crinkle slightly. He smiles back but it’s not nearly as energetic. Even after you’ve turned your attention back to the teacher, he lingers on you, your hair pulled back into a neat ponytail, white ribbon holding it in place; your knee high socks and pristine Mary-Jane’s with a small heel; your cheeks dusted in soft pink to complement the translucent sheen of gloss on your lips. He already feels frazzled in the mornings and is sure he looks the part too (the one exception being his hair, of course; he’d cut no corners with that) but the sentiment is magnified as he studies you.
You’re always so put together, so neat. You have good grades and everyone likes you, students and faculty alike. If someone needs help you’re happy to offer assistance, and it’s almost shocking how well you can remember everyone’s names. It makes you personable and inviting, and not to mention your smile: warm and amiable, you’d always have one to share with whoever looked your way. Josuke won’t lie that he’s a bit more awake now that you’ve graced him with one. And truly, considering all these things, is it really a such a surprise that his crush is as big as it is?
He’s inclined to think no. Though he’s also inclined to think he is far from the only person to feel this way about you. Hell, he knows he’s not because Okuyasu had mentioned the other day how cute you’d looked when he passed you in the hallway and Josuke had asked what you were doing and Okuyasu shrugged and said Nothing, she was just talking with a friend. Then he went on to say well, you look cute every day but there was just something about that moment you looked cuter than normal and to anyone else this wouldn’t make any sense but Josuke, a boy with butterflies in his stomach that seem to rouse to wakefulness at the sight of you and at the sound of your voice, even when you aren’t doing anything special, understood perfectly.
Beneath your seat he spots an umbrella, folded up and covered with a slip: a pink one with strawberries dotted on it. Well, at least you’d prepared for the rain today, but that’s to be expected. He wonders what that’d be like, to not be forgetful and to be even half as composed as you are. He bets it’d be nice.
It’s your turn to catch him as you glance at him and his eyes slide from your umbrella up to your face. Briefly you look down at his desk where his books are still sitting the way he left them, and you mouth the words Page 217. That’s when Josuke notices your textbook is open, and he observes the students around you who also have theirs out. Quickly he moves to catch up, grabbing his copy and flipping through.
He does it just in time, too, as the teacher calls his name to ask him a question.
“What page are we on?”
Though he’s been taken by surprise in the past, you’ve spared him of that today and he answers correctly. Satisfied (though slightly suspicious of whether he really had been paying attention), the teacher returns to writing on the board. Once her back is turned, Josuke mouths Thanks and you flash that perfect smile at him again and his stomach feels a bit funny.
The rain begins to fall halfway through the day. It starts as a drizzle, silent and feeling more like a mist than anything, until it comes down a little harder, with enough force that the raindrops darken the cement. Students are quick to flee to the safety of the indoors during lunch, hiding beneath their umbrellas (or in the case of the less prepared, beneath their textbooks).
When classes resume, the rain is descending in a steady downpour, beating against the windows with muffled patters. It’s nice background noise for lazing around at home, but while at school, not so much. The dark sky makes Josuke sleepy (though he hadn’t been fully awake to begin with) and he rests his head on his propped up hand as he looks outside. He’s sitting right by the window, and he follows the path of a raindrop sliding down the window. It goes straight for a short while, then at a diagonal towards the right; it picks up a few other raindrops along its way, growing in size, and down it goes, until it reaches the windowsill…
Josuke’s eyelids begin to droop. Could this day go by any slower?
The bell to signal the end of the school day is truly a blessed sound indeed. It seems the weather has decided to have some mercy for the students who had failed to bring an umbrella, for the rain ceases and the sky, while still cloudy, isn’t as dreary as it had been earlier. Because of this, Josuke is able to wait for Okuyasu and Koichi at the usual spot, right outside the front gates. All three of them have a different final period and Josuke is the first to arrive this time.
He watches the crowd of students leaving campus, large groups of them taking up most of the space on the sidewalks and the crosswalk. The air is filled with energetic chatter and the whoosh of passing cars. As the minutes wear on, the hustle and bustle gradually diminishes, and only a few students here and there trickle through the gates. However, thus far none of them have been Okuyasu or Koichi, and Josuke’s brows furrow. He peaks around the corner to look past the opened gates but they’re nowhere to be seen. What gives? Where the hell are they?
Normally they don’t take this long to show up. Did they get distracted or something? Josuke huffs and turns back around, looking down the sidewalk. The plan had been to get food at St. Gentleman’s, and while any other day he might try to wait it out or even return inside to search for them, he’s getting hungry and considering going ahead. They wouldn’t be annoyed, and they’d all meet up eventually, just now at the bakery and not outside the school building.
Not that it takes much convincing on his part, Josuke makes up his mind, and with a decisive nod, stuffs his hands into his pants pockets and begins walking. He wonders what to buy once he’s there, and envisioning the different choices makes the rumbling of his stomach only grow louder. But he doesn’t make it more than ten steps before he feels a solitary raindrop land on his head.
At first he thinks it’s his imagination, but then he feels another, and he glares up at the sky. Is it really— A few more hit his face, one narrowly missing his eye, and he groans. There was no more denying it now. It was beginning to rain again.
A light drizzle would’ve been the most ideal, and he wouldn’t have minded walking through it, but he’s not quite so lucky. The most he could hope for is that it doesn’t come down any harder than it is now; the torrents of earlier this afternoon would be difficult to trek in. Possible, but he’d look like a wet dog by the time he arrived at St. Gentleman’s (and halfway to shaking the excess water off his body like one too). He considers what he might do if it did rain that hard, if it would be worth the walk, and he sighs. He’d be soaked whether he chose to go to the bakery or reroute to his house. At least a trip to St. Gentleman’s got him some warm food at the end.
Josuke’s once perfectly done pompadour is being messed up by the rain, and he pushes some of the stray strands back from his forehead. Man, this sucks! Did Okuyasu or Koichi bring an umbrella? If they had, it would’ve been left in their lockers for the day since they ate lunch indoors, so Josuke wouldn’t have seen. Okuyasu he was a bit unsure of, but Koichi stayed prepared, and Josuke doesn’t put it past him to have brought one just in case.
Maybe he should turn around then? He could go back inside, find his friends because really, if he hadn’t seen them while standing by the front gates for fifteen minutes then where the hell were they, and just take the walk to St. Gentleman’s with them, while, fingers crossed, sheltered beneath an umbrella.
As if on cue, Josuke no longer feels the rain falling, and he looks up to see he is now beneath an umbrella: it’s colored pink and has a strawberry pattern.
His eyes trace the length of the handle and find you at the end, smiling at him. Your arm is lifted slightly to be able to keep him covered as well as your much shorter self.
“You’ll catch a cold if you just stand there,” you remark.
Ah. It occurs to him he had stopped walking when it started raining. Deep in thought about how to proceed, he had neglected to actually move out of the way so that he might continue his thinking without getting wetter by the second. Just staying in one spot was even worse than just continuing with his walk! First not bringing an umbrella to begin with, and now this, he truly was screwing himself over at every turn.
But it would seem the world is taking just a little pity on him, for not only has his need for an umbrella been answered, it had been you that answered it. The weather is cold but he hardly notices due to his rapidly warming cheeks. He is suddenly acutely aware of how close the two of you are standing, and you have to, given your umbrella isn’t that big and he has a broad form. He detects the faint smell of your perfume: powdery and floral, a vibrant freshness that matches the bright expression on your face. You’re like a ball of sunshine competing with the cloudy afternoon, but he already knows who he’d declare the winner.
“Uh, yeah…” Josuke finally forces out awkwardly, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly. On the inside, he cringes. “Just… got distracted deciding what to do since I didn’t bring an umbrella.”
You tilt your head. “Where were you going? I could walk you there!”
Your offer catches him off guard, quick as it had been. Clearly it isn’t something you said just to be nice. If he wasn’t mistaken, your suggestion had an eager undertone to it, as if hoping he’d agree and grant you the opportunity to help someone. Once more he’s in awe of your willingness to lend a hand where needed, and maybe this was the intention of the powers that be all along—where Josuke was unprepared, you were, as always, put together, and it was his lucky day that you had set your sights on him.
His brief silence you interpret as hesitation to agree, so you continue: “And don’t feel bad about accepting! I’d hate for you to walk under the rain.”
You wear your heart on your sleeve and Josuke can’t help smiling. It’s a good look on you. “I was going to get food,” he states.
“Oh, me too! Where were you thinking?”
The longer this conversation goes, the more it becomes apparent this may turn into more than a simple walk. The prospect of eating a meal together and spending time with you outside of class makes Josuke’s stomach do a flip—there’s that queasy feeling again. His anticipation was such that it made him feel sick. Was that typical? Was this sensation written about in romance novels? He wouldn’t know since he’s never read stories like those. And yet, ironically, he finds himself to be right in the center of one.
The name St. Gentleman’s is on the tip of his tongue before it dies out and he reconsiders. If both of you went there, you would inevitably run into Okuyasu and Koichi, and as much as Josuke enjoys being around them, right now, he just wants to be with you. They’d be a distraction, and he has no qualms in admitting he wants you to himself because with the way you watch him right now, he wants to remain the center of your attention. You make it simple to forget the cold weather. Besides, the others wouldn’t mind his absence, especially not after he tells them his reason for not meeting them.
“Cafe Rengatei,” he says instead.
You nod once, resolute. “Let’s go there then!”
The optimistic part of him seems to spring to life—this is a date! But Josuke tries to push that down quickly, not wanting to make this out to be more than it is. Because it isn’t much, really. Just two classmates getting a bite to eat after school. That’s it. As friends.
“Here, you’ll need to hold the umbrella though since you’re taller.”
You hand him the umbrella and he takes it, and to ensure you’re also properly covered, you step even closer, shoulder pressed against his. You’re touching him and you’re so warm and smell like flowers and even if on the outside he appears perfectly fine, on the inside he’s freaking out and he might not call it a date but it sure as hell is playing out like one.
He’s still in shock at the events that are transpiring, and doesn’t immediately fall into step with you. You blink and glance up at him, and the gloomy weather and umbrella cast a shadow over his face that, thankfully, hides his blush. It deepens when you take hold of his arm, the one between you holding the umbrella, as though to pull him along.
“Come on, let’s go before it starts raining harder!”
Josuke didn’t think he could like the rain as much as he does now. Talking with you becomes increasingly easier with every step, and it feels like his heart stops when you grin softly. The walk is unhurried, even for the rain falling all around you, and it’s hard to say who is dictating the pace, who has decided to prolong this time spent so close together.
The depths of your eyes are crystal clear at this distance and he knows one thing for sure: if it had, in fact, been you at the start setting this slow pace, it’s him who would keep it that way. He’ll keep his steps slow to extend this moment with you, all the while wishing it would last forever.
author’s note: lil fic for bestest boy benny inspired by the song by nct dream and the summer season :’)
word count: 3,600
There’s a bakery opposite of Angel’s Share, just across the cobblestone road, and every morning the smell of freshly baked bread wafts from its open double doors, ready to welcome patrons and the crisp air of the early hours. Bennett has easily fallen into the routine of making this his first stop of the day. When he wakes, eyes slow to open and greeted by little squares of light on the ceiling of his bedroom from the sunlight shining through the window, he swears he can already smell that bread and the pastries and the care put into each one. He doesn’t often find it in him to be lazy, to be sluggish this early, for a new day was a new promise of adventure, and whether he’s swept along by the wind to the wilds or to the bakery, it’s an adventure all the same.
He always picks out food for his dads. He considers carefully what they might like to have (some prefer to have the same each time, others don’t mind the variety and like to be surprised), and carefully, slowly he fills the tray. Usually it isn’t busy during the time he’s there, but he doesn’t want to take risks as he holds it securely with both hands whenever he’s perusing the selection. Even if there were no people to bump into, with his luck, he might bump into one of the displays in the middle of the shop instead, consequence of paying more attention to the shelves against the wall where there are loaves baked into fun shapes like fish or crabs, rather than to what’s in front of him. He’d hate to drop everything on his tray and waste it.
Sometimes the bakery keeps the doors closed, and while uncommon, it’s nothing unusual. On these occasions, the entry of each customer is announced by the small bell jingling just overhead. It’s the only sound in the shop, ringing several times in the past ten minutes but it’s mere background noise, easily ignored, as Bennett absorbs himself in choosing what to buy today.
Bennett’s hand freezes just above a loaf of bread that looks like a bear and he glances behind him to the counter because the sound of your bubbly voice, conversely, is much more difficult to ignore. Though to be fair, to him, you’re no mere background noise.
You’re carrying a basket of more loaves just taken from the oven, half of them regularly shaped into circles and the other half like turtles, and grin at the customers who have just walked in. He watches you make your way over to a shelf several feet away from him to arrange the bread, and he stares long enough that you’ve taken notice. Your smile is bright and reaches your eyes, and he’s embarrassed to have been caught. His cheeks grow warm and you can probably see the dusting of red across his face, a speculation which doesn’t help alleviate this embarrassment one bit.
“Good morning, Bennett,” you greet him, more quietly since he’s closer.
He likes when you say his name, and it never fails to make his heart skip a beat and he stutters out an O-Oh, um… as if surprised that you’re talking to him, much less that you know who he is. It shouldn’t take him off guard that you know, considering how often he comes to the bakery, so he supposes it has more to do with the fact that he can’t believe his name should be spoken by a voice as gentle as yours, honeyed tones like the softly plucked notes of the Holy Lyre der Himmel.
Finally he musters an equally quiet Good morning in response, smiling back but he’s certain it looks more like a cringe, owed to his nerves. If it does, you don’t point it out, and simply return to your task. Only when another patron comes up to Bennett’s other side, muttering a pardon as they grab a loaf from the shelf he’s standing in front of, does he break his gaze from you. His hand that had been hovering above the bread that whole time he drops back down to his side, and he scoots to make room with another stutter and a sorry.
You’re back behind the counter when Bennett is ready to pay. The pile of bread, cake slices, sandwiches, and other miscellaneous pastries had in the past led you to ask him if these were snacks for the road, for you’d guessed him to be an adventurer doing commissions for the guild by the sword at his side. He’d chuckled and explained his actual purpose for buying as much as he did, and your grin had widened, and if he wasn’t imagining things, you’d been extra careful when packing every treat.
I’m sure they’ll really appreciate your gesture, you’d said. That’s sweet of you. And it’s not frequently that events in the course of his life run smoothly, but that day they had, and with no falter in his words he remarks it’s thanks to you, for you’re the reason there’s anything to bring back to his dads in the first place. You’d laughed and his chest tightened and he thinks that’s the point where he started to fall (to where, he hesitated to state exactly). But in any case, it was true—without you, there was no bakery filled to the brim with delicious food, and if he had anything to say about that, Mondstadt would be worse off for it.
This morning, Bennett is digging around his wallet for the appropriate amount of Mora while you pack what he’d picked out. Having gone through this process many times prior, he knows approximately how much it should cost.
A few coins slip from his hand and clatter to the wooden floor, and he bends to pick them up. But on the way down, his head knocks into the tray that he neglected to push all the way onto the countertop, so part of it still stuck out. You blink in surprise at the jostling of the tray and his subsequent Ouch!, muffled because he’s obscured by the counter.
“Are you okay?” You sound genuinely worried, but to Bennett the accident had been no big deal. At least none of the food had fallen.
“Yeah,” he assures you. He’s still trying to gather up the stray Mora, fingers failing to get a proper grip on them and he huffs in slight exasperation. His face once more is burning from the embarrassment of being so clumsy. He’s clumsy around everyone, and it’s something he has long since come to accept, but it matters a lot more when it’s you.
Finally he stands back up, the money clutched in his fist victoriously. “Yeah!” he repeats now that you can hear him clearly. “It’s no big deal.”
For a second you don’t quite believe him, but it’s hard to argue with that smile on his face. There’s no pain he’s trying to hide (embarrassment, on the other hand, is a different issue entirely).
Upon handing him his package you tell him you’ll see him tomorrow and he feels sort of special because you don’t say it to anyone else. To others, you say Thank you, come again! but you know his routine and you know to expect him at the same time each morning. Judging by the look in your eyes and the sound of your voice when you see and greet him, you anticipate his visit every time, and his heart wants to soar out from the confines of his chest upon this realization and he is exhilarated. The wind and the new day have fulfilled their promise of an adventure, and the clock hasn’t even struck noon.
One day you’re a little distracted, focused on a paper in your hand as Bennett approaches the counter with his tray of baked goods. For the most part, your face gives nothing away, but then your brows furrow slightly, a subtle action he doesn’t miss, and he proceeds to ask if anything is wrong. He asks it kindly, keeps his tone neutral, wordlessly conveying that you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to. He would hate to pry.
You purse your lips, pausing like you’re caught between saying yes and no. He waits patiently for whichever one it might be.
“I ran out of sugar and had been meaning to make more,” you start, opting to share with him what’s been troubling you.“I bought out Flora’s stock of sweet flowers but it wasn’t enough, so I may have to set aside time to pick more myself later.”
The mention of heading outside of the city makes Bennett perk up, for he never turns down a chance to go exploring. He’s about to offer to do it for you, but it’s the thought of possibly going with you instead that makes him hold back and rephrase his question.
“This afternoon?” he inquires, head tilting. You nod, and up until now he’d felt confident in the offer he was going to present, but then his nerves get the better of him and it doesn’t come out quite the way he was hoping. “I-I could go with you! You know, if you want! To protect you… Just in case…” He trails off and he wants to go hide in a hole. There are few other ways this could have gone worse.
You don’t answer right away, and he regrets having said anything at all, but your beautiful smile soon follows the silence and it sets his mind at ease, and you agree with a concise and cheery Sure! Well, at least the worst way this could have gone had not come to pass. It was the small victories for Bennett—just as important as the big ones. The next challenge would be to avoid making a fool of himself out there, in what should be his natural element; he does want to impress you. But that’s a big ask for someone like him…
Both of you agree to meet at the front gate in the late afternoon. By then, the traffic in the bakery is slow enough that you’re able to step away earlier than the normal closing time. You’ve changed into clothes more appropriate for walking around: in lieu of a dress, your typical work attire, you sport a tunic and trousers you don’t mind dirtying. The trousers are tailored to fit properly but the tunic is a tad big, the sleeves a bit too long, but Bennett thinks you look cute in it. A basket hangs on your forearm and you wave as you walk up to him.
“I hope you haven’t been waiting too long,” you say.
Bennett shakes his head. “Not long at all.” Technically the agreed upon meeting time was only five minutes ago, so you aren’t very late. Though he does refrain from sharing that he’d arrived early, in fear that he could end up late somehow and you would be the one who had to wait. Really, it’s been more like fifteen minutes for him, but he just keeps quiet about that.
One of the nice things about summer is that the sun sets later. There’s still a sufficient amount of light to illuminate the fields as you walk around in search of sweet flowers. At first, the extent of your conversation is discussing where you might be able to find a high concentration of them, then silence filled with the sifting of grass beneath your shoes and the occasional exclamation of having spotted a flower to be picked and tucked away in your basket.
Honestly, walking with you around the wilds of Mondstadt hadn’t been anywhere on Bennett’s list to do today, or any day really, not until he could muster the courage to invite you out like this, and who knew when that might be. Your need for sweet flowers had dropped the opportunity right into his lap, and thankfully he hadn’t squandered it. But now he’s at a loss as to what to talk about; he didn’t think he’d ever get this far.
Maybe you sense his struggle to come up with a topic of conversation because you’re the one to speak up, asking about his adventures and the commissions he takes. Done anything exciting recently?
Bennett’s eyes light up, a reaction which you can't help but smile at, and he regales you of the goings-on of his latest missions. He omits the instances where his clumsiness had made things more difficult (of which there were many), but each story is still truthful. Most of his commissions the past month hadn’t been anything too bold—after a mission that involved nearly getting himself trapped in a ruin due to solving a puzzle wrong then getting food poisoning on top of that from the snack he’d prepped that day, he’s been choosing jobs that he knows he’s more capable of.
To him, they aren’t too exciting, and in the larger scope of things, perhaps they aren’t, but you don’t seem to think that as you hang on each word. You’re absorbed in his story about trying to dismantle towers in a hilichurl camp, and gasp at the mention of their reinforcements coming to attack in the midst of it. Wow, you remark after he finishes his recounting of the event. You’re amazing, Bennett!
His heart does a flip again at the sound of his name and he shrugs offhandedly. He’s not inclined to think so, but your awed comment is sincere and has him reconsidering: yeah, that was pretty cool of him, wasn’t it? For all his clumsiness, he doesn’t often see the feats for what they are, accompanied by blunders or not, but you’re the fresh perspective he’d been missing, and he wishes you’d stepped into his life sooner.
The entirety of your outing together has thus far been free of any monsters, but as soon as Bennett makes this observation it’s like the universe has heard: hydro slimes suddenly pop out from the ground, halting you in your tracks. You squeak in surprise and Bennett is quick to shift into a fighting stance, knees slightly bent and one arm out in front of you protectively.
“Just stay there!” he instructs before drawing his sword and rushing forward.
Luckily there aren’t many slimes to fight off, and they aren’t very big. His sword cuts through them easily, cleanly. They burst and spray water upon being sliced apart, so at the end, when they’re all dead, the only evidence they had been there to begin with is the slight dampness to his clothes and the squish of dirt turned to mud. With a sigh of triumph, Bennett resumes a relaxed stance, then sheathes his weapon and turns to you.
As instructed, you’ve stayed in place, but it seems to have been more out of being frozen in fear than anything else. You’re clutching your basket close, and once the slimes are gone, you follow Bennett’s lead and relax, shoulders releasing the tension they had been filled with for the duration of that fight. You let out a deep exhale of relief, hand placed over your heart which has yet to slow back down to its normal pace.
Bennett flashes a toothy grin and waves his hand as if to say It’s not a problem. “That’s what I’m here for isn’t it?”
You smile back. “I’m glad we went together.”
Together. He likes the sound of that. He thinks to himself that he’d go with you to other places too; you need only to give the word. To the edge of this world, and through a portal to the next? He’d meet you by the front gate at dawn.
He’s surprised that the encounter with those slimes had gone as smoothly as it had. It isn’t uncommon for him to get hit a few times, bruises quick to form on his arms or his legs. And it’s quite the run of luck, of which he’s ordinarily in short supply, that he should get through a fight with nary a scratch on him while with you. His efforts to impress are actually succeeding.
However, this is another case of speaking too soon, because he starts to walk back to you, but then his foot gets caught on a rock concealed by the tall grass, and he tumbles to the ground.
His chest collides with the earth as he lands with a thud and the breath is stolen from his lungs. You gasp and close the gap between you, and in viewing you in his peripherals, he notes that you are much more graceful at it.
“Are you all right?”
Bracing his hands on the dirt, small bits of rock digging into his palms, Bennett pushes himself up to sit on his knees. “Yeah, I’m okay!” Here he thought he had handled himself perfectly well, but then just like that, his clumsiness returned, and once more before you he is awkward, blundering Bennett.
Unlike the incident at the bakery when he’d bumped his head into the tray, this fall had actually hurt, and he can’t hide it successfully, a slight wince of pain crossing his face in spite of his smile. Even if you hadn’t caught on to that, the injuries elsewhere on his body give it away completely.
“Your arms are all scraped up…” After Bennett stands back up, you gingerly take hold of his forearm and angle it to examine the scrapes there, thin red lines from tiny stones tearing the skin.
Your grip is light, like you’re scared to injure him further, and Bennett is thankful for the darkness that is setting in as the sun disappears and the moon begins its trek across the sky, for it conceals the way his cheeks redden to be this close to you, to be touched by you. The concern in your gaze as you look at his arm makes his chest squeeze but not in the good way, and he bends his knees slightly to duck into your line of view.
“Don’t worry! I’m fine.” And it’s true. He’s sustained worse, though he steers clear of sharing this part. He doesn’t like to see you worried.
He straightens up when you finally meet his eyes and dons his smile again, easy and reassuring. It seems to convince you, as you nod and let go. He drops his arm back down to his side but he’s already missing the feather-light sensation of your fingertips. Successfully reassured, your smile also returns, replacing the thin line of worry that your lips had previously been set in.
It’s dark now but the air is still warm, a consequence of the season. In the daytime the heat is more extreme, made even more so by the fire curling from the edge of his sword. At the conclusion of whatever commission he has taken, he’s left sweating, satisfied but exhausted. Missions in the summer are more difficult to get through, the sun beating down with little mercy and its heat lingering into the night, but he thinks that if he were to have you there with him, he’d hardly notice.
Your delicate gaze is the cool ocean breeze and your soft smile the deluge of waves washing over him, a force he receives gladly because he is falling into you, deeper into the expanse of your heart. He’s diving into the sea, the unbearable heat of summer long forgotten as he makes his way to the bottom. What he hopes to find he isn’t sure, but he’d be content to remain there forever, consumed by you and all the love you have to offer.
“Okay?” he asks, voice soft. You had nodded but he also wants verbal confirmation that you won’t burden yourself with worry anymore.
You catch on to his own need for reassurance, and he wants to sink into the refreshing fondness of your eyes as you watch him. “Okay.”
The moon up above illuminates your face, and he wants to run his fingers along all the parts it touches: the line of your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, the cupid’s bow of your lips. He yearns to be closer to you than that moonlight adorning your skin, and maybe it’s strange that he should be envious of it, of that light which has the privilege to hold you so near, but the feelings he has for you are what’s written about in books, and in those stories, people do tend to do strange things.
In the morning, he stops by the bakery as usual but this time is surprised when you set a cake down alongside the other baked goods he buys. You answer his question before he can voice it.
“For yesterday,” you state simply. “For my hero.”
“I think ‘hero’ is too strong a word for it,” Bennett replies, chuckling quietly and rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly. After all, they had just been slimes.
You hum noncommittally, corner of your mouth lifted in a grin. “Maybe, but yesterday you were mine. So please take this as thanks.”
He’d like to be yours every day, and the thought of how nice that would be makes his whole world just a little brighter, like the crystal butterflies fluttering around him in the wild on the warm summer nights; and he hopes that the next adventure the wind guides him on leads straight back to you.
I just wanted to say that I'm in love with that wonderful masterpiece you wrote Apollo x reader. Gosh it's so perfect, so well done, so full of emotion, not to mention the beauty of the settings and the fox, uhg, nice touch, foxes are always a YES... I'm so grateful because that piece made my day, and whole week, better.
Your Apollo is a blessing and your writing is wow, so amazing 💕💕💕💕
awh thank you so much! glad it made your day/week! <3
author’s note: been rewatching ouran and found the time to write smth small. basically a really late valentine’s fic lol. i’m drafting an idea for takashi as well atm. maybe kyoya after? ;)
word count: 1,844
At this time of year, the weather is chilly, the air cold even without the presence of wind and warranting the need for a scarf to avoid a red-tipped nose and numb cheeks. Most days are gloomy, the overcast sky glaringly bright and difficult to look at. But today, it would seem the divine hand in charge of the course of the seasons has granted a reprieve, the clouds parting so the sun might wash over the grass that you and Tamaki sit upon currently, in the garden of the Suoh estate.
The gardeners had finished their tasks this morning, as instructed by Tamaki the night before. It gave you two the opportunity to be out there alone in the afternoon. The hedges are trimmed and tidy, and the smell of freshly cut grass is strong. You inhale deeply, chest puffed, and sigh in satisfaction as the scent reaches your nose. It had been so long since you sat out in a garden, owed to the fact it had been too cold for that lately.
Tamaki chuckles at your enthusiasm and rifles through the picnic basket he’d brought with him. He pushes aside the array of deserts—cake slices, chocolate bars, fruit tarts, and more—their colorful wrappings crinkling loud enough to grab your attention.
“Where is it…” he mutters.
You tilt your head. "Where is what?”
The tip of Tamaki’s tongue sticks out the corner of his mouth, evidence of his concentration, and when he finally finds what he’s searching for, he holds it up like a first place prize, complemented by an exclamation: “Aha!”
It’s a small plastic pouch, clear with red stripes and tied near the top with a matching, shiny red poly ribbon to keep it closed. There’s what you assume to be candy inside, in various colors, but you don’t recognize it. You’re still just as clueless, but you don’t need to voice your question because Tamaki can see the confusion written across your face.
“It’s commoner candy!” he explains. “Well, commoner Valentine’s candy, more specifically.”
You continue to watch, intrigued by what he’s brought, as he pulls at the ribbon to loosen it and opens the pouch, reaching inside for one of the pieces of candy. He holds up the heart-shaped treat, gripped carefully between index finger and thumb, and angles it so you can see what’s written on it: Sweetheart.
Upon realizing there’s wording on it, and that the same must go for every heart in the bag, your eyes light up. “Cute!”
“It is, isn’t it?” Tamaki agrees, voice quiet as he observes the candy. The nickname is printed red though the lettering isn’t too sharp, which gives away that it was done by a machine. “Haruhi got one for all the host club members, and I wanted to share mine with you.”
When he turns to you, amethyst eyes warm like a summer night, you smile. And when he offers the bag of heart candies to you, you eagerly reach in for one. “How thoughtful!” You turn over the piece you picked out: Only You.
“Well, shall we try them together?” Tamaki inquires, and you nod. The two of you pop the candy into your mouths in unison, then sit silently for a moment in contemplation.
It’s… unique, is the best description you can come up with. The powdery, pressed substance is basically a sugar bomb that melts once it comes in contact with your tongue. But it isn’t the quality of sugar you’re accustomed to—it’s far and away from the refined sweetness of the handmade confections stashed away in the picnic basket Tamaki brought along. Still, this mass-produced goody is delightful in its own way, in taste and novelty, for you have never seen such small candies with words on them, and you say as much to your boyfriend, the last traces of the heart candy lingering on your lips which you lick away.
“They’re charming,” you remark, reaching for another piece. “For when you can’t find the words or get them out yourself.” You read what’s written on the yellow heart you grabbed, then turn it to show Tamaki: Be Mine.
Tamaki’s attention briefly diverts down to read it as well, and the corner of his lips lifts in a lopsided grin as he meets your eyes again. “Sure, they can be useful for some people, but I can get by just fine without candy telling me what to say. How could I call myself the king of the host club if I weren’t able to string together pretty words?” Always conducting himself with some semblance of dramatic flare, he puts a hand to his chest, and the sunlight reflects off his eyes in a way that makes it seem like there’s a tear or two forming in the corners.
As usual, his acting is impeccable, and you can’t contain your smile; he’s such a natural. You have no objections to his claim as king of the school’s host club, and if you’re being honest, you wish you had even half the charisma he does, that some of the skill he possesses at waxing lyrical would rub off onto you via proximity alone.
“They would’ve come in handy for me that day I confessed to you,” you admit shyly, and it’s Tamaki’s turn to tilt his head, confused but waiting for you to expound. “These candies say all the things I wanted to say to you then.”
The day you came to terms with your feelings about Tamaki and the day you actually revealed them to him were different, and the time in between had been spent in a state of conflict over whether it was worth mustering up the courage to approach him about it. There was little doubt in your mind that the president of the host club received declarations of love left and right, a routine part of his week, a clockwork consistency like that of waking in the morning and laying down to sleep in the evening. You’re a drop of water in the ocean; what could possibly make you stand out?
For all that, you figured you should confess anyway. Rejection was still an answer and it was better than nothing. At least after the gentle let down (because truly, Tamaki is, without fail, graceful in matters of love, both the reciprocal and the unrequited) your turmoil over what he may say would finally be put at ease.
Though you rehearsed over and over what you would say and how you would say it, the practice ends up being useless, and you weren’t sure why you even bothered. Once you met his kind gaze—expectant and patient, giving you the opportunity to gather the words in the stretching silence that would be oddly too long in any other context—the resolve you had slowly been building on your walk to the meeting point by the fountain crumbled. You tripped over your words at the sight of his tender smile. Tamaki just had that effect on people, and you wished he’d look at you that way always. To be on the receiving end of his affection was to bask in the warmth of a sun that never sets.
It’s a feeling you’re distinctly reminded of now, sitting in the garden on an uncharacteristically sunny day for winter and the center of Tamaki’s attention, and you think you might be set alight from the sheer intensity (due mostly to Tamaki; the sun is poor competition in contrast). He wears that beautifully soft expression, mind clearly having thought back to your confession as yours just had. But it seems his recollection differs slightly, for he presents a counterpoint.
“I thought you handled it perfectly.” He sets the bag of heart candies on the grass and braces himself with his now freed hand, which allows him to lean closer to you. He enters your bubble but you never mind it, and his touch is feather-light as he brushes your hair behind your ear.
You’re unpersuaded, however, and raise a brow. “Really?”
Tamaki chuckles and nods, blonde hair bouncing with the singular motion. “Your eyes spoke for the words you had trouble finding. I might be the one stringing together pretty poetry like diamonds around your neck”—his fingers slide lower to trace the curve of your collarbone left exposed by the cut of your blouse, and you shiver—“but you have no need for words at all, much less the turns of phrases on pieces of candy.”
“Is that why you liked me too?” you ask, remembering his own confession that had followed closely on the heel of yours. You keep your voice hushed because given how close to each other you are, there’s no need for any higher of a volume.
Tamaki hums in confirmation. His index finger delicately taps once, twice, thrice, on the hollow at the base of your throat, a sort of absentminded movement while absorbed in his thoughts, before he once more brings his hand up, cradling your cheek. “You say you’re a drop in the ocean but you’re the drops of morning dew on the roses just outside my bedroom window. My heart flutters to breathe you in.”
You smile, bashful, and set your hand over his, interlacing your fingers. Your cheeks have darkened in a blush Tamaki would like to kiss. “Okay, I’m convinced,” you concede with a murmur. He’s so close to you now. “When I admitted how I felt, maybe it didn’t go as badly as I thought.”
This elicits another laugh from Tamaki. Instead of acting on his desire to run his lips along your silken skin (there would be time for that later), he settles for a quick peck on your nose, then reaches into the pouch of heart candies, temporarily abandoned but not forgotten. His fingers curl around two pieces and he pulls them both out rather than dropping one, but he sees the words on them before you do since his hand obscures them from your view.
“The powers governing destiny have destined our souls for each other,” he declares. “Because you and me, it’s love.”
He uncurls his fingers to reveal the candy in his palm, and you look down at them. The green one reads You & Me, and the blue one It’s Love. This prompts you to giggle. It’s music to his ears.
“What happened to not needing candy to tell you what to say?” Your tone is playful.
Tamaki shrugs, unable to hide his amused grin. “I pulled them out at random. If this is the universe speaking to me, who would I be to argue?”
You have no counter to this, not that you think there even is one. Destiny is destiny and as Tamaki feeds you one of the hearts and you bite into it, the sugar once more dissolving on your tongue, you can only thank those powers which make the world turn for conferring their blessing upon the two of you in such a deliciously sweet way.
author’s note: i tried to incorporate as many characters into this as possible to make it feel like an actual episode and i got overwhelmed so fast lol i haven’t written this many characters in a story in a long time. in any case hope i did them justice and that you enjoy :’)
word count: 3,029
Today’s morning is bright, and Saiki’s walk is quiet. Typically this would be no cause for concern. A quiet walk to school is few and far between, difficult to come by given the company he keeps. (He’d much prefer a calmer bunch, if he were granted the chance to choose, but that is neither here nor there.) Don’t misunderstand: he’d bask in this brief peace, guaranteed to be broken the moment he passes through the gates of PK Academy, if the reason for this uncharacteristic period of silence comes about because of the absence of one particular person—someone who, if one could hardly believe it, Saiki actually prefers to have around more often than not.
He walks past the street which leads to your home, his pace never slowing because he expects you’ll join him, as you do every morning. You’ll wait for him on the corner and smile widely like you haven’t seen him in weeks then skip towards him, falling in step easily. He’ll remain nonplussed as you hug his arm, give it a brief squeeze as you greet him—Good morning, Kusuo!—and then promptly let go because you understand he likes his space but you just can’t help but indulge a little bit.
However, none of the aforementioned events play out this Friday. You’re not on the street corner, not there to smile and fall in step with him. There’s no arm hugging or a bubbly greeting Saiki pretends he isn’t affected by. But the truth is that he is, the routine coming somewhat as a comfort, even at the price of sacrificing some of his beloved personal space. So when you’re nowhere to be found his brows furrow and he wonders where you are.
His steps slow until he comes to a complete stop. He wants to check up on you, sooner rather than later. There isn’t much time to delay if he wants to make it to school before the first bell, but this won’t take long. He crosses his eyes, activating his clairvoyance, and he centers in on you immediately. You’re still at home. You’re at home, and you’re sick.
A box of tissues rests on your nightstand and you’ve pulled your small trash can right next to it from where it usually stands by your door. You toss used tissues into it before nestling beneath your blankets, pulling it up to just below your chin and hugging it close in order to retain heat. Your breath evens out quickly and he can tell you’re asleep. Your body must be exhausted dealing with your cold, and he’s confident this is the way you will be the rest of the day—drifting in and out of sleep, dealing with the sniffles and congestion.
He blinks and loses sight of you and now he’s staring once more down the road. Readjusting his bag on his shoulder with a sigh, he resumes walking and thinks about his plans for the day. As it was the last day of the school week, he’d planned to go to Cafe Mami for coffee jelly to celebrate. But now that he’s learned you’re sick in bed, he’d have to make adjustments. Momentarily he debates if that’s really necessary. You probably wouldn’t want visitors in the state you’re in, and knowing you, you’d tell him to go to the cafe without you to enjoy himself anyway. The thought is tempting, truly, yet he can’t shake the urge to check on you.
It feels less like an obligation and more like a simple desire of his own to make sure you’re okay. Saiki shakes his head, more amused than frustrated. There’s no one else for whom he would so willingly do this, or much else, for, and he doesn’t think he’d ever tell you because you’ll tease him the way you are wont to do whenever his facade cracks and he’ll let you have your fun because when you ask if you’re really so different as to make him act this way, the answer is, well, yes. You are.
He imagines this scenario and the corner of his lips lifts in a small smile. Good grief. You could be quite the handful.
Nendo’s voice is entirely too loud for the morning and Saiki heaves another sigh, one that sounds as though it belongs at the end of the day and not the beginning. Nendo is joined close behind by Kaidou and Kuboyasu, and they easily fill the silence with discussions about going to get ramen after class and the latest movements of the Dark Reunion. Saiki really only picks up words here and there that allude to the topic of conversation but it doesn’t require his full attention. It’s the same song and dance every morning.
The commotion once he arrives at school is much the same. During lectures he is afforded the temporary reprieve from having his ears talked off, since the only one speaking is the teacher, but at breaks, the noise resumes, and though he always stays sitting at his desk, in hopes the others will get the hint that he’s uninterested in chatting, they inevitably crowd themselves around it, until he is right in the middle.
Hairo has outlined a new workout regimen and in his louder than normal volume of speaking he shares it. He’s going to start it today, and if anyone wants to join, they’re more than welcome. It doesn’t look like anyone wants to take the offer, which is expected. Hairo’s exercise routines were… a little extreme.
In any case, Hairo is nonplussed by the lack of enthusiasm from everyone else and remarks he can’t wait for the end of the school day.
“I think I’ve been losing muscle tone,” he laments, and he complements this statement with a casual flex of his arm, more so to point out the specific areas he thinks are getting soft rather than to show off, but even if he isn’t trying, his biceps are bulging and if his sleeves hadn’t been rolled up, they would have torn.
Saiki’s brow raises. Yeah… I don’t think that’s an issue for you, Hairo.
“I’ve just finished installing an indoor gym at my home, you know.”
Everyone turns to find Saiko has entered into the circle, a smug smirk on his face. When had he gotten here? Really it’s only Hairo who has any sort of reaction to this, eyes practically sparkling imagining the machines and equipment (or maybe that’s just the glare from the fluorescent classroom lights). All the same, Saiko relishes the attention, boasting of the privacy and space and how really, it’s so much easier to be productive if there’s no one else there but Saiki can only wonder if Saiko even works out at all. He doesn’t remember that being mentioned, and Saiki is nothing if not detail oriented.
Saiki doesn’t have long to ponder over this (not that it would’ve continued much longer because he doesn’t actually care about whether Saiko exercises or just set up a gym in his house to brag) before Nendo asks where you are.
Had he just noticed? You always join them on their walk in the morning. But Saiki can’t say he’s surprised it took this long. What he is surprised about is that Nendo had noticed in the first place.
“Oh that’s right,” Kuboyasu adds. “I thought she just went ahead of us today.”
Yumehara informs them of your whereabouts before Saiki does. “She texted me this morning she wasn’t feeling well so she stayed home.” Her phone dings with a new message and she glances at it, then looks back up. “But she says she’s a little more awake now!”
“It’s the Dark Reunion.” Kaidou’s sudden interjection draws everyone’s attention. He clenches his right fist, staring at the bandages wrapped around it. “They’re trying to get to me by going after my friends!”
Saiki remains expressionless but if he didn’t have such good control he would’ve rolled his eyes. Or maybe she just has a cold.
Upon Kaidou’s claim that a secret society is responsible for your illness, Saiki picks up Yumehara’s thoughts: I wish I was the one Kaidou was so worried about! Maybe if I got sick he’d worry about me too! Getting sick to grab Kaidou’s attention? That’s… going overboard, but Saiki can’t find it in him to be shocked, considering from whose mind this speculation has sprung.
“Poor [Name],” Teruhashi says, kind as always. She sets an index finger on her chin, gaze momentarily aimed upwards as she thinks. “I was about to suggest we all go to the cafe after school today and I wish she could join.”
This gives Saiki pause. Wait. The cafe?
“That sounds like a great idea!” Yumehara declares. Again Saiki hears her thoughts: If we go, I need to do my best sit next to Kaidou!
Whether a visit to Cafe Mami comes across as a good idea because it’s a fun way to celebrate the end of the school week or simply because Teruhashi suggested it, Saiki doesn’t know, but one by one the murmurs of assent resound through the group and he barely contains a relieved huff. He’d already changed his own plans from visiting the cafe to seeing you instead, and it’s a good thing too since it’s apparent his alone time would’ve been ruined. Now he has an excuse not to stick around.
Once the final bell rings, they begin their walk into town towards the cafe. The sidewalk feels crowded with all of them on it, and they have to split into pairs to keep the opposite side of the sidewalk free for people going the other way. Among comments from everyone else about how hungry they are, Saiki makes known his intention to just pick up food before leaving. There’s somewhere he needs to be.
“You’re going to go make sure [Name] is doing okay!” Teruhashi exclaims. It’s a statement, not a question. “That’s sweet of you.”
Saiki shrugs. “Sweet” is not the first word he would associate with his actions. It just seems like common sense to check on you. You’d looked miserable this morning, but he takes your message to Yumehara earlier as a good sign that you’re improving, slowly and surely. Still, he’d be more comfortable seeing you himself. He hadn’t gotten any other chances today to use his clairvoyance, but at least it wouldn’t be long now until he’d be heading to your house.
Chisato is working today and she seats everyone. Saiki goes directly to the counter to place his order—coffee jelly for him and strawberry mochi for you—and he stands off to the side while waiting for the treats to be packed. The others are sitting on the far side of the cafe (in his peripherals he sees Yumehara has taken a seat right next to Kaidou) but he can hear them clear as day discussing what food they should order. Yes, he’s certainly glad he won’t be sticking around. Spending Friday in the midst of that noise is far from ideal.
Holding the bag of coffee jelly and mochi in one hand, Saiki uses the other to push open the door, the bell jingling gently, and someone, Nendo it sounds like, raises their voice to shout across the room: Seeya later, Saiki! Then the door closes behind him, and all he can hear is the footsteps of other pedestrians and the low whoosh of cars.
He exhales slowly. Peace at last. He proceeds in the direction of your home, and when he thinks to himself that any longer and his ears might’ve begun to bleed, he’s only half joking.
In the neighborhood it’s much quieter, the only person he passes being someone walking their dog, and only a couple of cars drive past. He knocks on the door and he assumes you’re in your room and so it will take some time for you to open it, but you’re there faster than he expects. You open it just wide enough to stand in the gap, and immediately he notices the fatigue in your eyes. When you realize it’s him, they light up, and the fatigue fails to take away from the brightness of your smile as you open the door wider.
Inside, he sees you’ve moved downstairs to the living room. That’s why you’d answered the door so quickly. There’s a pile of blankets on the couch and a tissue box on the coffee table. The television is on and playing an animation. He doesn’t recognize it, but it must be one of the new ones you mentioned wanting to watch. However, you’re not interested in it now that he's here and you grab the remote to turn down the volume.
“I thought you were going to the cafe today,” you state, head tilting.
Saiki shakes his head. Change of plans. Instead I brought the cafe to us. He holds up the bag of food and doesn’t have to tell you what’s in it. You squeal in delight that he’s come bearing treats, but the sound is a little raspy and awkward due to your sore throat. It’s still easier on Saiki’s ears than the earlier commotion he’d been surrounded with and, if he’s honest, it’s cute.
You plop down on the couch and wait as he joins you. He unties the bag and opens the box, first taking out the packaged pink mochi and handing it to you. Then he grabs his coffee jelly and the plastic spoon it came with before settling back against the cushions.
You sit cross-legged facing him and bite into your soft and squishy treat, humming delightedly. “Thanks, Kusuo.”
Saiki chews a mouthful of coffee jelly and glances at you.
You grin and hold up the mochi. “For the snack and for coming to see me.”
He shrugs because it’s no big deal. Or, well, he tries to play it off like it’s no big deal. But you know him better than that, better than most others do, and don’t brush it off so quickly. You breathe out dramatically and set a hand on your chest.
“What must I have done for Kusuo Saiki to give up his quiet time for me?” Then you giggle, and it’s punctuated at the end by a sniffle.
He tells you there would’ve been no quiet time at the cafe since the others had also decided to go, and that you’re much better company. Even when I’m sneezy? you ask him, and he chuckles. Yes, even when you’re sneezy.
His remark about coming to see you because he’d prefer to be here and not at the cafe with the rest of your friends is merely part of the truth. The rest of it is that he did genuinely want to check on you to make sure you were okay. Though to give this a voice felt like too much for someone typically so reserved in his feelings, but you understand perfectly fine as you smile softly. You’re appreciative of his actions, and it would seem Teruhashi had been right about them, for you murmur that he reminds you of the mochi you’re eating: You’re so sweet!
Grabbing your mug from the coffee table, you frown when you see it’s empty. “I ran out of tea.”
Saiki sets the spoon and now empty container back in the box then holds his hand out. You blink, momentarily confused, but when it registers what he’s doing, you give him the mug. As he stands to make his way into the kitchen, you call after him.
Having been to your house a number of times already, he knows where everything is and starts brewing a fresh cup of tea. You’ve turned the volume up on the television again, but you have to rewind to return of the spot you were at before he’d arrived. Once he comes back with a filled mug, instead of allowing it to continue to play, you pause your show.
You’d snuggled beneath the blankets and have to finagle your arms out of the multiple layers to take the mug from him. You say thanks again and blow gently at the tendrils of steam floating from it. The ceramic is warm in the palms of your hands and you sigh contentedly.
“Sorry I’m a little high maintenance today,” you apologize suddenly. “I’d make the tea myself but I just have such little energy…”
Saiki wishes you wouldn’t apologize because there’s nothing to be sorry for. So he tells you as much. Don’t apologize. Besides, he’d offered to make that tea, and if you wanted soup, he’d offer to make that too. He does understand where you come from, however. You tend to be more independent, opting to do things yourself, and you also know his propensity for being alone and needing space. As such, you’re careful not to be overbearing, and the idea of Saiki doing even little tasks like brewing you tea bothers you.
It’s endearing, the level of care you take to make sure he’s comfortable too, but when he says you’re far from high maintenance, he means it. You immediately understand what he’s implying and laugh before scooting closer and leaning your head on his shoulder.
“Okay, point made,” you concede. With a small smile, Saiki grabs the remote you’d tossed down on the couch and presses play.
He would struggle to call you high maintenance on any day considering who your friends are. They’re loud and all over the place, practically bouncing off the walls. Life could hardly be tranquil when around them and their antics. It’s the total opposite of Saiki, who values calm and silence. If they were high maintenance, he was low maintenance. That’s the way he prefers to be, existing in relative quiet and as close to mediocrity as he can muster. But he can't say he’s opposed to the occasional interruption to the otherwise mundane, especially where it concerns you. You’re not to be found on one side or the other, but right in the middle, and to Saiki, you are just right.
i’m not taking requests and idk when/if i will in future, so requests sent to my box are not being responded to. ++ i get quite a few asks along the lines of “can you write for x character” and while not an explicit request, since i receive it relatively often, i don’t want to clog my dash w answering it over and over. the answer for this kind of question is a firm maybe. it’s really down to if i feel like it tbh