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[saezuru] Daylight: 11

104

A/N: more x-rated stuff

"You've been holding back on me," Yashiro said, brushing strands of hair out of his eyes, the initial shock had faded and he'd regained his composure. He leaned forward and lifted up the shirt. "My my, that's a very big secret to be keeping all to yourself," he commented.

Doumeki remained silent, the rise and fall of his chest was visible.

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[Saezuru] Daylight: 10

104
Author's note: it's been a over a year since I last updated this. It has been difficult after reading how sensei had written it. I'm not sure I will be able to wrap it up properly. In the mean time, at least I give you an x-rated chapter 10.

Previously in Daylight: 09

He gave Doumeki's tie a sharp tug, causing the man to jerk his head up to face Yashiro's glittering eyes. "If only you could fuck me, and I could just get it over with."

"You said you never sleep with a subordinate."

"So I did," Yashiro said, hooking his finger in the loop, and pulling the tie loose. "But I'm so fucking pent up right now. Who's fault is that? Well maybe Misumi's he's warned everyone off. Did he warn you off too?"

He took Doumeki's right hand and started licking his fingers, putting them in his mouth and sucking them. He pulled them out again and they glistened with saliva.

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[ore ni] shiver in the sun 14

104
The car seat creaked as Ryouji leaned back into it, he rolled down the car window and lit up a cigarette, mulling over everything that the Hazumi guy had told him.

***

According to Hazumi, the narcs have been watching the Nishimon gang for over six months, looking out for a turf war fuelled by the appearance of a new drug. The new drug was a hit, but liable to cause users to become delirious. Only a month ago Ryouji had dealt with a case of a drugged up sex worker who'd apparently leapt out of a hotel window, the toxicology report had indicated there were traces of this new drug in her system. What Ryouji did not know until today was it was that Yuuki's sexy mistress had a connection with Fujimoto who was the one behind the drug, and it's appearance had caused turmoil within the gang, with Yuuki being opposed to the drug, believing it would draw too much attention to Nishimon, and he hadn't been wrong.  It was very likely that Yuuki's killing was an insider job, and it was very likely that Fujimoto was the one behind it.

Ryouji had known that Fujimoto was a bit of a bastard, even by Yakuza standards, but he was still shocked by this new revelation. Hazumi had steeped his fingers and watched his reaction at this point, Ryouji had barely kept his cool.

"Thanks for the information, Mr currently named Hazumi, would you like me to go and arrest Fujimoto?"

Hazumi smiled, and Ryouji felt a bit pissed off because the guy really was good looking. "Ryouji-san I know a bit about you, your name cropped up a few times in the reports, due to your connection with Yuuki Hiroya, the boy from the kidnap case you helped to solve."

"You investigated me?"

"Not me personally," Hazumi said, "you should understand that it is unusual for a cop to have such a close relationship with the yakuza."

"Yes of course I understand, tell me how well does the Wakagashira of the Shinwa group treating you? Is it true he has a harem of foreign beauties hidden way somewhere in a Tokyo apartment?"

Hazumi gave a wry smile, "I get your point, it is a bit strange coming from me."

"Can you just get to the point of why I'm here?"

Hazumi straightened up in his seat.

"Fine let's get to the point. Yuuki has a safe deposit with a Swiss bank. Two months ago he sneaked out of a ritzy party in disguise and went into the bank. We believe he put something into his personal safe deposit, something so important that he even hid the fact from those close to him. From what we know, he kept the key with him at all times, but the key was not on him when he died.  We did speculate whether someone had picked it off from him after the assassination, but our taps indicate that everyone is desperate in search of it.  You following so far? Please don't look so offended."

"Well excuse my natural face and do carry on. What is this thing that is so important?"

Hazumi smiled, "I cannot divulge that, but we believe you're the key to retrieving the item."

"Me?"

"Yes, we believe that Yuuki gave the key to his son."

***

Ryouji rubbed his stubbled chin with his free hand. His job now was to persuade Hiroya to hand over the key, that is if there was a key. But what would happen to the kid after that? Presumably this top-secret document would help to help the Narcotics department bring down the gang, but if the Yakuza knew that Hiroya played a part in the downfall, his life would be in danger. Not that it wasn't now.

"Fuck." he said out loud, unbuttoning the top of his shirt, at that point his phone rang.  He stubbed out the cigarette and checked caller ID.

It was either Mimi or the chief pretending to be Mimi. He answered it.

"Ryouji here."

"Ryouji!" It was Mimi, sounding desperate.

"What is it?"

"I just arrived at your house. There's no one there."

[xxxholic] Unheard confession

104
Another dream.

This time Doumeki is 17, all gangly limbed and stoic of face.

They’re in school and golden afternoon sunlight washes into the classroom. It is almost time to go home. Watanuki watches Doumeki pack away his things, and realises that he moves unseen and unheard.

This is a dream of a memory.

Where was his past self in the dream? Thinking back, Watanuki realises that he never knew what Doumeki got up to after classes, he had always been too busy rushing to the shop to buy eggs and cheap meat in the timed sales, or completing impossible errands.  Watanuki waits by the doorway, as students with vague faces brush past, hearing murmurs of conversations that he couldn’t quite make out, only Doumeki is in sharp focus.

Watanuki follows behind Doumeki, and almost bumps into Doumeki when the boy suddenly stops in the hallway. Doumeki is staring into what would have been Watanuki’s homeroom. They move again, and Watanuki notices the wooden bow in Doumeki’s hand.

The dojo should be full of people, but there’s only Doumeki, with a bow and a quiver of arrows, arrows that he steadfastly fires off at a circular target.

Watanuki watches from up close by Doumeki’s shoulder, trying to follow his line of sight. He muses about flicking the boy’s forehead. He settles on blowing into Doumeki’s ear. A frown flickers across the stoic face. The arrow finds its mark nevertheless.

Watanuki watches him undress and change back into his normal clothes, in a changing room that smell of male sweat. He guesses that it was strong memory for Doumeki.

They’re walking home now. Doumeki stops in a park. Watanuki recognises it, the one with the lady ghost. Watanuki feels sad when he remembers.

Doumeki chooses to sit on a swing. How out of character, Watanuki thinks, and sits on the swing next to him. Carefully, Doumeki unwraps a knotted bundle, revealing white buns in the shape of bunnies.

Watanuki remembers them, he’d made dozens for Mokona’s self-professed birthday, and had treated Himawari to them the day after. And of course Doumeki had taken some without asking. Watanuki gets up and stands in front of the gently swinging boy.

Doumeki picks one up gently, and looks at it, contemplating something that Watanuki didn’t know, and he smiles.

Watanuki’s breath is taken away in that moment. He’d forgotten this, He doesn’t know how he could have, but he had. A tremor builds up in his heart. A torrent.

He stands in front of the boy, and there are things he wants to say.

"Doumeki" he tries out, "Doumeki" the words are strange. he repeats it a few times until he warms to it.

Doumeki doesn’t hear, he’s chewing his food thoughtfully, eyes on the sunset maybe.

And Watanuki feels like confessing it, out loud at once, out loud for once, during this dream of a memory.

"You know," he says, and his thoughts are trying to string things together, tripping over his tongue.

"I don’t even know when I fell for you, but I did, I really did. Doumeki."

His chest aches, because it’s all so sad, isn’t it, this regret you can’t get rid of. “I think I fell for you so hard, I didn’t know I was falling. That’s stupid right?”

He reaches out a hand, and surprisingly Doumeki does the same, but just as it seems like their fingers would meet, Doumeki catches a falling leaf, and their hands pass through each other. He couldn’t even cry out as his flowing tears dissolved the dream.

[xxxholic] Fleeting world

104
This is a dream, sakura blossoming amongst the autumnal yellow of the other trees, and the mirror lake where petals drift give it away. And Doumeki.

"Walk with me," Doumeki says, blunt as ever.  But the hand that he extends is gentle and warm.

The geta clack on the path that leads through a dense grove. Watanuki feels the slight strain of the incline on the back of his calves, and then they reach the red gates of the temple.

"Here?" Watanuki says, stopping at the gate, a boundary to a different place.

"Here," Doumeki says, and when Watanuki still hesitates. "I can carry you over if you like. Princess hold?"

Watanuki scowls and strides over, still holding Doumeki’s hand.

The old temple is empty, the candlelight is mellow and warm, the scent of sandalwood permeates.

Watanuki didn’t think that Doumeki would take him to his bedroom.

It is very neat and tidy, books lined up on shelves, scrolls tied up neatly. A beautiful inkstone set on display. Watanuki moves over to it, the carved fox deities seem to dance in the shimmering dark inkstone.

"You’ve been writing?"

Watanuki casts his eyes over some of the titles, Japanese folklore of course, then his eyes stops on a celadon green volume, the spine so thin there were no words on it. His fingers reached out for it. Doumeki grasped his wrist before he could touch it.

"That book-"

"You wrote it?"

Doumeki said nothing.

"I never knew you were published."

"You never asked."

"I can’t read it?" Doumeki’s grip still holding him back.

Doumeki’s look is inscrutable.

"Would you read it to the end?" he says, finally releasing him.

Watanuki withdraws his hand.

"Maybe another time." He walks away from the desk.

"Why did you bring me here?"

"Because you’ve never been here before. So just once."

"Once what?" Watanuki asks, getting confused, an anxious tone creeps into his voice, he wished he’d brought his pipe along. His fingers play with the edges of his kimono sleeves.

Doumeki sits on the end of his bed, and motions for Watanuki to join him there.

Curious, Watanuki joins him. “What is it?”

"I just wanted to see you on my bed."

As the words sink in, a blush involuntarily blooms on Watanuki’s ears. He should be old enough to keep his cool by now, he thinks his voice comes out steady.

"This. Isn’t that cheating?"

"Cheating?"

"Well you know you’re m-" Watanuki breaks off, confused, and to hide his confusion he gets up and paces.

"Ah."  Doumeki says. "That’s different."

"Different?"

"It’s okay. I thought this was my dream."

This makes Watanuki cross.

"So you think this is mine?"

A wisp of a smile appears, “No, of course it must be mine. Can I tell you a bit more?”

"I-if you’re thinking of anything perv-" he breaks off again.

Doumeki raises a questioning eyebrow. “Perv?”

"Nothing." Watanuki snaps.

"You’re weird."

"You’re the weird one!"

"Maybe I am, for being in love with someone so weird."

"Ha! Ah - whuh?!" Watanuki was flailing now, the mask of composure slips fully.

Doumeki surrounds him with his arms, wraps him up, so that he feels safe yet defenseless, stlll, but with the ground pulling away from him. Falling.

"I thought about this a lot. I wondered what it would be like."

Suddenly the world tips, swept off his feet, and onto the the bed, with a whoomph. The blood floods his head, rushing around his ears and muffling the world.

He turns, and ends up facing Doumeki, and when he’s about to protest, he sees sadness in the pool of Doumeki’s dark eyes.

"If it’s too much to dream of waking up with you. Is it okay dream until you wake up?"

"Isn’t that too cryptic?"

"You’re right." Doumeki says, his hand gentle cupping the side of Watanuki’s face, as he leans in for a kiss.

Watanuki opens his eyes, and lifts himself up slowly. The windows were closed, but he knew out on the tree, the sakura blossoms had long since fallen.

[xxxholic] Bedsheets and the sound of rain

104
Doumeki x Watanuki

The rain began some time during the middle of the night and seeped into my dreams. Haruka san is waiting for me on the porch where we often meet, the smell of tobacco infuses with the rain. In the dream, rain catches light from somewhere so it falls translucent with a hint of mother of pearl. The night sky is deep deep blue and I cannot see any clouds.

My bare feet graze the grass, dark lavender and green, and I’m wavering, dreaming of being sleepy in my dream, I slowly become aware that I’m swaying to a tune that Haruka san is humming in his pleasant low voice.

"What is that tune?" I ask.

"A lullaby from a long time ago," he says with a smile.

When I woke up, I forgot the words, I think it was something about fairies collecting raindrops. The bedsheets are warm, and my clothes smell faintly of sweet tobacco leaves.

Doumeki is hovering by the doorway.

"How long have you been here?" I ask, stretching my arms, silk slipping off my shoulders.

"Not long," he says, looking away.

His hair glistens, it must still be raining outside, though I hear no noise.

I notice there is a slight sheen to his skin. I get up and gotto the closet, picking a soft cream coloured towel from a stack.

'Here I say,' offering it to him.

He takes my proffered hand with the towel and pulls it towards him, wiping his face and neck, and then it’s me on tiptoes, ruffling his hair, the rain bringing out his scent. I touch his neck.

'You feel cold,' I say, dipping fingers underneath his collar, feeling for the bump of his spine, when he does the same to me, I shiver, and my shoulder move up involuntarily.

"I am cold," he says, his breath brushing my ear, my body tingling again.

"The bed is still warm," I say.

I love it when he lifts me up and I wrap my legs around his waist, and he carries me to the bed. He lays me down carefully, but his hands are quick with everything else.

Later, when we’re naked among rumpled bedsheets, the rain outside intensifies so we pull the covers around us, our legs sliding along each other. I hum a tune lazily as I ruffle his hair and he kisses my fingertips, and my knuckles in turn.

[Ore ni] shiver in the sun 13

104
Hiroya sat meekly, for the moment at least, his hands cupped around the mug of hot tea, once in a while he would look up at Shibuya, and away again. Shibuya seemed a little stiffer than normal, as he sat next to Hiroya; Tora observed all of this as he walked back into the living room, carrying his A5 notebook of Japanese literature class notes.

"Thanks Tora, whew you're a lifesaver," Shibuya said. "I have no idea where I dropped mine."

"No problem," Tora said, thinking to himself that Shibuya was the actual life saver here. The arrival of Shibuya had thrown Hiroya, and Tora had used that to his advantage.

Tora sat down on the armchair adjacent to where his two guests sat.

"So... the pottery club?" even after hearing it from the horse's mouth, Tora couldn't quite believe that Shibuya had any interest in pottery.

"I quit ages ago."

"How come I never heard about it?"

Shibuya shrugged, stuffing the notes into his bag. "Nothing much to talk about really, I'm not much of club person as you know, it didn't suit me."

Well that much Tora did know, the mystery was how he ended up in a club in the first place.

"That's not true!" Hiroya interjected, and then as if shocked by his own voice, he shrunk back down again to staring at his mug. "I mean, Shibuya sempai's pottery was really good, even sensei said so..." His voice trailed off.

Tora looked at Shibuya, and raised his eyebrows. "You're a man of hidden talent."

Shibuya smirked, "maybe..."

"So ah, Hiroya-kun," Tora said, feeling embarrassed, "what kind of things do you make in the pottery club?"

Shibuya answered for him, "the normal ceramic bowls and things, Matsumoto sensei is obsessed with running glazes, he'd go on and on about them, doesn't he Hiroya?"

"I guess so..." Hiroya said.

"Ahh Tora, I think I left something in your room last time I was here, can we go get it?"

Tora frowned, Shibuya has never been to- he looked up to see Shibuya winking at him, and stood up immediately.

"Ah yeah, that thing, it's in my room, yes let's go get that thing from last time," he blabbered.

As soon as they got into his room, Shibuya hooked an arm around his neck, pulled him to one side, and whispered in a low voice.

"Hey, what's Hiroya doing in your apartment, I didn't know that you knew him."

"I don't!" Tora said, trying to keep his voice low too.

"Huh?" Shibuya said, looking confused.

"He knows my Ryou-- I mean he knows my uncle."

Shibuya mulled this over. "Your uncle's a cop isn't he?"

"Yeah,"

"I get it now."

"Get what?"

Shibuya rolled his eyes, "haven't you been watching the news?"

"Yeah what about the news?"

"That yakuza guy that got shot, it was Hiroya's dad."

"Ehhhh?!"

"Keep it down! I thought everyone knew about his dad, he's kinda famous in school."

Come to think of it, there had been some rumours about some kid with a scary background, but he must have tuned it out, he didn't pay attention to those kinds of things.

"I didn't know..." Hiroya's dad was the one in the news.. no wonder he was acting the way he did, but still.. how did this relate to Ryouji?

A sudden knock on the door made Tora and Shibuya jump, and then Hiroya was standing peeking out of the side of the door.

"I'm sorry I really should be getting back home after all."

Now it was Shibuya's turn to jump forward, and take hold of Hiroya's arm.

"Are you sure? Isn't it better to stay here for now?"

"Uncle will be back soon," Tora added.

Hiroya's eyes flitted back and forth between the two, it was obvious that he was feeling the pressure, but he seemed obstinate on this point.

"Alexander!" he suddenly said, "I can't leave Alexander alone. That woman won't treat him right."

"Alexander?" Shibuya repeated.

A foreigner? Tora thought to himself.

"He's slept with me since I was little, he'll be lonely without me," Hiroya said, flustered.

Tora's face started blushing bright red, "oh I .."

Hiroya saw his face, and blushed himself and explained quickly, "he's my dog."

Shibuya looked at Tora, and burst out laughing. "Tora you were thinking perverted things weren't you?"

"Was not!" Tora blustered.

"I need to get Alexander." Hiroya said, his mouth set into a line of grim determination, even though his eyes were shining, and almost on the brink of tears.

Tora felt the situation slipping away from him, when Shibuya straightened up, and readjusted his glasses.

"Well why don't we go fetch him, and come back?" Shibuya suggested.

[Ore ni] shiver in the sun 12

104
Ryouji liked to be in control, he felt best when he was the one driving, the one taking the lead. He did not liked to be jerked around, and he barely tolerated the bureaucracy that went along with his job, though mostly he tolerated it by handing all the paperwork he didn't want to deal with to Mimi, the guy had to be good for something after all. Today however, was one of the days where things were not only not going to plan, there was no fucking plan. It was incident after incident, the bullet shot with deadly accuracy through Yuuki's side temple had set of multiple chains of reaction, one of which had yanked him right into this nondescript office building, that incidentally, or not so incidentally, had a line of sight on the still cordoned off Grand Tokyo Hotel entrance.

The door had unlocked for him automatically after he'd buzzed 102 as directed, after that he'd followed the instructions, taking the lift up, then going down a corridor, turning left after the fire doors and then three short raps at the door, before he was let in.

A rather plain looking man, shorter than him, opened the door for him.

"Ryouji-san? Please come this way," the guy said politely.

He stepped aside and revealed an open office floor, all the desks empty, save for a few three ring binders piled here and there, obviously disused. There were two doors not the far side of the room, the man led him to the one on the right. The man knocked lightly on the door and then let himself in.

This must have been the manager's room at some point, the desk was wide, and there was a man sitting behind it, a single folder in front of him. When Ryouji entered, he got up and smiled. Ryouji had to admit that he was pretty good looking, although he was dressed more like a yakuza than a cop, his shirt open and unbuttoned.

"Ryouji-san thanks you for making your way here," he said with a small bow, indicating that he was of a higher rank.

"My pleasure," Ryouji said sarcastically, the chief had left him with no choice in the phone call, had told him to leave the house immediately and go to this location to meet, "mister whoever you are."

"The name I'm currently going by is Hazumi Masaki," he said with an amused look in his eyes.

Ryouji frowned, the name rung a faint bell, and then he remembered, and his hand went immediately to the gun in his holder.

"You've heard of me," the guy said calmly.

"You're the trusted underling of the wakagashira of the Shinwa group. But it seems there's something I don't know?"

Ryouji watched the movement of his hands, and Hazumi moved them slowly, deliberately, dipping into the top pocket of his jacket and pulling out a pair of thin framed spectacles.


"It's something that not many people know, but from now on you'll be privy to. My real job is with the Narcotics division. I'm an undercover cop."

[Free!] The Rain Hits Hard

104
for after episode 07
______
It was 2 am the day after the tournament, and Mako couldn't sleep.

He kept thinking of the look on Haru's face at the end of the race, and the pale forced smile after, showed how bad it was that Haru felt he had to lie with his expression.
But there was nothing he could do or say at that moment, the shock was too monumental.  Haru refused to tell them what Rin had said to him, Mako could only imagine.  A part of him wish that Rin had not come back, he'd thought it'd be a good thing, that it'd help Haru to move on. His grip on the bedcover tightened, a clap of thunder suddenly broke, and he realised how tense his body had been.  So absorbed in his thoughts, he had not noticed that it'd started raining.

The window was wide open, and the curtains fluttered in the wind. He got up and went to close it, a flash of lightning lit up the town and the coast. Suddenly he had an ominous premonition that something was going to happen to Haru and his heartbeat quickened.
"Calm down" he told himself, shaking his head, and trying to shake the bad thoughts out, but the feeling took hold of his gut.  He started reaching for the phone when another thunderclap startled him.

He couldn't do nothing, Haru only lived 5 minutes away, he grabbed his coat and his keys, and rushed to the doorway to put on his shoes.

"nii-chan?"

Mako turned around, and saw his younger brother standing behind him, rubbing his eyes.
"nii-chan where are you going?"

Mako went over to him.

"Hey what are you doing up? Here let's cover your belly button up or Raijin-sama will steal it." Mako gently tugged down the hiked up pyjamas, and ruffled the fluffy head of his younger sibling.

"So silly," the sleepy boy said with a yawn.

"I'm just heading out for a little bit, okay? I'll be back soon." He turned the boy around to face the bedroom.

"Good night."

"Itte rasshai"

"Hai hai, itte kimasu"

It was dark and windy outside. The streets were eerie at this time of the night, there was no one else around. He'd taken an umbrella with him, but within seconds it'd twisted into something misshapen and useless, he dumped it in the nearest bin. The rain lashed his face and he was drenched in a minute, he wanted to run, but the surface was treacherous, forcing him to walk, he almost slipped on the steps.

The lights were off in the house, he told himself that was usual at this time of night, but still. He made it all the way to the front door, and at that moment he hesitated, knocking at someone's door in the middle of the night, due to some gut feeling, was stupid, but then the look on Haru's face flashed in his mind again, and his finger started pressing the doorbell, acting before he could think.

No one answered, but like always the door was open.

"Haru?" he called out, his voice shaky. "Haru?"

He made his way to the bedroom. It was empty. His heart rate and fear increased tenfold.
"Haru!" he cried out, and headed for the bathroom, "Haru, where are you?"  He wasn't there.

He'd never forgive himself if something happened to Haru, and a streak of anger seared itself too, he'd never forgive Rin. He ran like a madmen from room to room, each sliding door clattering as he opened it with force. Haru was nowhere to be found. What if something had happened, what if he'd decided to swim out to sea like Rei? His legs buckled underneath him, and he collapsed onto the floor.

A dark shadow fell over him.

"Mako?"

Mako turned his head and looked up, Haru was standing in the doorway, soaked from head to toe.

"Oh thank god!" Mako said, springing up and hugging Haru. "I was so scared, you're okay. Where were you?"

"I went out for a walk, and it started raining. I was going to wait for it to stop, but I looked out and saw a light on in my house."

Mako wrapped himself around Haru, hugging him tightly.

"You're all wet too," Haru said.

Mako pulled away, and when he looked around, he realised he'd left a trail of dirty wet footprints all over Haru's house.

"Oh no! I'm sorry, I didn't even notice, let me clean this up -"

He turned away, trying to think where the cleaning equipment might be.Haru grabbed his arm to stop him.

"Mako," Haru said.

Mako looked back, Haru's face gleamed with the light shining on the streaks of rain water still running down from the tips of his hair.

"You were worried about me. Sorry."

"I.." Mako said, but the rest of the words wouldn't come out.

"Thank you," Haru said, "you're a true friend."

Mako started bawling, and in the end it was Haru who had to comfort him, patting him awkwardly on the head.

Outside, the rain stopped.

[Free!] Fortune Read on a Stick

104

The late summer was cooling off, and the twin popsicle broken and shared was not melting as fast as before. The sunshine was a gentle warmth on Makoto’s skin, and he was sure that Haru felt the same.   Makoto’s leisurely stride matched Haru’s normal slow pace during their walk home.



"If you come over tonight, we can finish off the game from where we saved it last time," he said as the walked on.

Today it was only the two of them, Nagisa had been playing with Rei’s glasses and broken them by accident, the two of them had gone into town to buy a replacement pair.

Haru walked on, though he stopped licking the popsicle. Makoto was used to that extra beat it took for the boy to respond.



"I’m going to meet Rin tonight," Haru said. There was no further explanation.



"I see," Makoto said, and widened his mouth into a smile. "Of course. I see."




They came to where the paths split, turning one way towards Haru’s house, and further up for Makoto’s. Makoto had wanted to hold his tongue. He’d held it for so long now, that, and his breath, and his hopes.



"Haru," he said, blurting out in a rush.

Haru turned to look back at him,  Makoto hesitated, but Haru waited expectantly.



"What is it about Rin, exactly?"



They understood each other so perfectly, Makoto did not need to elaborate.

The breeze picked up, and Haru’s soft hair swayed and shimmered. His closed his eyes for a moment, as if lost in thought, and when he opened them again, they glittered blue and clear.



"In the water, his red hair is like a flash of fire. I dream of it sometimes."

Haru didn’t say any more. So Makoto said good bye instead, good bye and see you tomorrow, and turned and made sure not to look back as he walked away.




He finished the ice popsicle before he reached the door of his house. The message on the wooden popsicle stick told him he’d lost.

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