Sou knew Karasuma did not usually care for the ocean spray or the slippery rocks of the coastline, nor the pesky sand there that could fill his shoes and give him a miserable time later in cleaning them out. But he seemed to be making an exception, at least for today: he kept pace with him, not once complaining of any kind of discomfort, and he fared the rocks well whenever he had to. He didn’t even seem to mind that the ocean’s roars were drowning out his words--Sou was close enough to hear him anyway.
And words there were. He talked endlessly, leaping from one topic to the other by the breadth of a tangent, gesticulating with his free hand as he did so. Sou was more than content to listen and follow after him in this one-sided conversation even though he could preemptively sense every thought to be spoken at his fingertips, which were curled securely around Karasuma’s. There was just something a little more special about hearing them aloud every once in a while. He liked hearing him talk. It was only a month into their relationship, but already Sou doubted he could ever tire of Karasuma’s voice in whatever form it took.
Truth be told, he never really considered he’d ever get this far with anyone. Before he was turned, he was far too young to even conceive the idea of a romance, and after the fact of it he certainly wasn’t going to pursue one with a human once he was old enough to. It would be too complicated and unfair, for the poor fellow he ended up liking, to have a boyfriend with wings as dark as the night who didn’t even consider himself to be truly alive. Yet fate was funny, and the one boy that had caught his attention and matched him at his own game was the boy currently pressed beside him as they navigated the beach. He didn’t really know what he was doing when it came to dating, but neither it seemed did Karasuma, and he was glad it was something they could work out as a pair. The best he could do was follow out the milestones set out by those romantic programs his aunt had sometimes watched with him, and according to those they were doing all right; they’d already had a first date, he’d (re)introduced Karasuma to his grandfather not too long ago, and now they were holding hands while on a walk.
Come to think of it, though, there were still some of those milestones they hadn’t cleared…
“--So I was thinking we could loop back to the convenience store once we’re done here,” Karasuma chattered away, ever so slightly swinging their clasped hands back and forth as they walked. Cute. “You can buy groceries for your grandpa that way and there are a few things I need to pick up as well.” He turned to Sou with a little smile on his face. “It’s getting late, but anything you want to do here before we go?”
“...We could kiss?” Preoccupied in his thoughts, the question slipped out without a chance for Sou to reign it back.
His fingertips sparked like electricity, he felt his heart rate suddenly accelerate and his face grow hot. Surprised, for this was not his natural reaction to embarrassment, he looked up to see Karasuma had frozen in place and was staring at him in wide-eyed shock. His face was turning rather red.
Well, that would explain it.
Slowly, as if piecing together his response, Karasuma gave him a nervous smile and tried to reply.
“I...uh....I, uh...I mean, we…” Someone’s heart was hammering loud enough to hear, but Sou wasn’t entirely sure if it was his or Karasuma’s at this point--they would have been beating in tandem either way, “Yes, that is a thing people that date do-”
Without warning, Karasuma lurched forward with his face in his free hand, looking utterly humiliated. “ I MEAN, THAT’S WHAT WE ARE, WHAT AM I SAYING, UHH--”
Alarmed, Sou took a step back to give him space. “Of course, we don’t have to now if you want--”
“No, no!” Karasuma regained his composure in a flurry, waving his hands reassuringly, “I would like that! It’s just,” He took a breath, then continued, “This is the first one y’know?”
Sou could get that. Even without Karasuma’s nerves affecting him as they were now, he figured he still would have been at least a little bit jumpy at the prospect himself.
“You’re the only person I’ve ever gone out with so far,” Karasuma explained, before appearing to pause to catch himself and then begin to backtrack immediately. “Not that that’s a bad thing! You’re great and I like you and I want this to go well, right? It’s like that, that’s how it is.” He continued on, finding comfort in the long-winded nature of his words. Sou could only blink and wait for him to be done, though he really didn’t mind. “I mean, I’ve thought about what it would be like to kiss someone so I know the theory of it but the theory should never be a substitute for the real thing, no?”
That was fair.
Karasuma sighed and slumped over, fists clenched as if he were steeling himself up for an upcoming challenge. “So, basically,” he concluded, “What I’m trying to say is--”
Unexpectedly, he leaped into a readied stance with legs apart and arms almost poised to fight, startling Sou back a couple more steps. He clenched his fists tighter in determination.
“I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT THE FUCK I’M DOING, PERSONALLY, BUT THERE’S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING SO LET’S GO GIVE THIS A TRY!” He bellowed, eyes alight with a blaze of enthusiasm.
Sou held back a snort. There really wasn’t anyone quite like Karasuma, so aggressively full of life in such unexpected ways, and Sou considered himself all the more lucky to know him. “Okay.”
Shuffling through the sand, they faced each other. Sou took his hands up, and immediately he could feel his tension. Caressing them with the thumbs of his own hands to ease him, he looked to face his partner. Karasuma’s brows were knit, almost worried, but there was a readiness in his dusky brown eyes that successfully outweighed his uncertainty. Even so, nerves were still coming off of him in waves.
This might help. Sou closed his eyes, and leaned in gradually to bridge the gap.
He heard a final stir, and a deep breath being taken as if one were about to go underwater for an unknown amount of time. Then he felt a cold gust, rushing directly at his face, before it made impact.
“Ei-chan--did you just send out a Death Tweet?! What gives? What’s going on?!”
“Agh! Omigosh, Karasuma, are you okay over there?! Why are you screaming? Please answer!”
“...Huh. About time.”
Karasuma sat crouched behind a boulder, head in his hands, absolutely inconsolable.
Sou gave it a good honest try anyway, rubbing circles on his back as his companion groaned profanities into his palms.
“I’m terrible at kissing,” he mourned, burying his face even deeper, “I can never face you in anything ever again!”
“You weren’t that bad,” Sou reasoned. Sure, his mind was still ringing from the war cry the Bellwether had accidentally unleashed and sure, the entire front of his face still stung from Karasuma having essentially slammed into it headfirst (he was pretty certain his nose was bleeding from the hit, but no matter-- that would clear up soon), but all things considered it was still nice. “I did enjoy that.”
That did get Karasuma to look up, though there was still distraught etched on every line of his face.
“Stop it--you’re just trying to spare my wounded pride!”