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the rose is red, the violet's blue

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“Izumi-chin,” Nazuna starts, lips a scarce inch away from the bottle’s edge, “You’ve met your soulmate, right?”

Izumi scoffs. “I’ve been telling you, Yuu-kun and I are connected by the red string of —“

“Your real one.”

His gaze flicks down to where Nazuna stares back up at him. The red of his eyes is a few shades pinker than Ritsu’s own, but the knowing look in them is just the same. Denying it is useless, then, and Izumi idly wonders what tipped Nazuna off. “Why do you care?”

“I dunno,” Nazuna says. Nonetheless, Izumi waits for him to continue. “It isn’t Leo-chin.”

Who says?’ Izumi wants to bark back, but even he isn’t that stupid. The fact that Leo can’t — couldn’t, a voice at the back of his mind supplies, because who knows what’s happened in the time his king has been missing — see colour is no secret. “Why would he be?”

The only immediate response he gets is a slight shrug of Nazuna’s shoulders. He’s being annoyingly cryptic, Izumi thinks, and is about to say as such when Nazuna murmurs, “I kinda thought you two were like us, I guess.”

Ah.

That should be more cryptic than anything else Nazuna has said so far, but Izumi gets it. He’s softer-spoken this afternoon, quiet in a way that was once all-too-characteristic of him. Like this, he’s reminiscent of the Nazuna of the past.

More specifically, the Nazuna that stood at Shuu and Valkyrie’s side.

Nazuna finally looks away, and Izumi moves to take his own drink. He expects that to be the end of it. If he doesn’t ask or say anything, Nazuna probably won’t offer more. His eyes close, water trickling down his throat —

“Are you and your soulmate dating?”

Izumi chokes.

What?” His voice comes out too hoarse as he struggles to regain his composure. “Why the hell would we be?”

Nazuna allows another uncertain shrug. “That’s what most soulmates do, isn’t it?”

“I don’t know,” Izumi grumbles. It’s almost a lie; dating is what his parents did, it’s what his grandparents did, it’s probably what Leo and his soulmate will do. But the thought of dating Ritsu is one that’s never even occurred to him. He imagines Ritsu’s hair between his fingertips, imagines sitting so close that their knees brush, and immediately shakes it from his mind. “They’re not really my type.”

“And what is your type?” Nazuna asks, sounding almost teasing. Or condescending, which Izumi hardly finds fair. “If, y’know, your soulmate doesn’t cut it.” 

Bright green eyes flash through his mind, followed by smiles that light the room, and Izumi grips his water a little tighter.

“None of your business,” Izumi replies curtly.

He’s said too much already, and as Nazuna fixes his gaze on him again, it’s somehow even more disconcerting than before. Rather than knowing, this look is asking. But the answers Nazuna is looking for — what normal soulmates act like, why Shuu and Nazuna aren’t normal at all — aren’t anything Izumi can provide.