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Hot and Cold

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“Jeez, Tsukishima, it’s like the room gets colder whenever you enter!”

“That’d be the cold coming in when the door opens, idiot.”

Winter is a detestable season, that attacks Kei’s body relentlessly, taking cruel advantage of his poor circulation. Each time the season comes about, he has to deal with numb fingers, stinging, biting sensations on every inch of skin not covered by an absurd amount of layers.

Tadashi, on the other hand, delights in this time of year, eyes lighting up awe each at the first snowfall to ‘bless’ them. That someone could enjoy these terrible few months mystifies Kei; though, much about Tadashi confounds him. How he can be so excitable, how someone so sweet can share his sense of humor, how someone like him would like Kei, of all people.

But he does. And it’s amazing.

And, during the winter season, very useful.

Kotatsus seem that much warmer, shared with him. Hugs and cuddling are a little less embarrassing when he can pass it off as strategic for staving off the cold. Even the little gestures - eye contact, greetings and farewells Tadashi’s smiles - seem to keep the winter chill at bay.

Tadashi’s hands, in comparison to his own, are like a warm fire.

If rooms get colder when Kei enters, the opposite is true for Tadashi.

Tadashi stares at him, sometimes, smiling that stupid, lovable smile of his.

Kei glares back from the couch, pulling a blanket further up to cover his body from the neck down. “What?”

“Nothing! It’s just. You know. You look so miserable when it’s cold! In a cute way,”

“I’m so glad my freezing to death can at least bring you aesthetic satisfaction. Truly, it warms my heart. Or it would, if warmth could possibly exist in this hellish landscape,” Kei pauses, then abruptly adds, “I’m dying, Tadashi.”

Tadashi giggles until he snorts because he is out to kill Tsukishima Kei. “Don’t you think that’s a bit dramatic, Tsukki?”

“Shut up, Tadashi. It is a perfectly reasonable amount of drama for my imminent death of hypothermia.”

“You’ll feel better when the cocoa’s ready, Tsukki.”

He’d feel better if Tadashi were under the blanket with him putting that sinfully warm body to use, but he’s not about to say that.

“Or would you rather I warm you up, Tsukki?” Tadashi questions, batting those eyelashes like he’s fucking innocent. The raised eyebrows give him away as evil personified.

Evidently, glares are incapable of causing physical harm to Yamaguchi Tadashi, as he simply saunters up to the couch, apparently having discerned an answer to his question from the ensuing silence. In one smooth move he flips the blanket up on one side, slides in, and snuggles up to him just as the blanket settles over the both. Tadashi shivers and then wraps his arms around Kei, snickering all the way, like the goddamn devil he is.

“Geez, Tsukki! Are you sure you aren’t dead already? You’re as cold as a corpse!”

“As I’ve been saying.”

“Your face is all red, though,” he teases, “are you warmed up already, Kei?”

Tadashi knows how to use his given name as a weapon of war.

The teasing does, at least, serve to make him feel warmer.

A sharp whistle from the kitchenette cuts off any retort he might’ve made. Almost a mercy, given that it probably would’ve died as soon as it left his mouth. Almost because it also means Tadashi tries to leave.

A not very well thought out hug fixes that problem. And creates a few others, namely a squirmy Tadashi and a very frantic heartbeat.

“Tsukki! I’ve got to make the cocoa!”

So high and mighty a minute ago, but now he’s reduced to pouty faces. Cute pouty faces, but pouty faces.

“It’s pointless without milk anyways.”

“Snob.”

“At least I have class.”

“You’re unbelievable. Let go!” He pushes at him, playfully.

“I will literally die if this blanket opens again.”

“You just don’t want me to leave, you spoiled brat.”

“True. Because if this blanket opens again I will die. That’s a pretty valid reason for not wanting you to leave through lifting the blanket.”

“You know exactly what I meant, Kei.”

“I’ve no clue what you could possibly be implying. Anyways, stay, and don’t waste perfectly good chocolate mix on our filthy tap water.”

“Tap water is fine, weirdo.”

“It’s unacceptable. Just like you leaving.”

“Aww, Tsukki! That’s so sweet.”

Kei doesn’t respond verbally. He just buries his head into Tadashi’s neck and makes a groaning sound. Tadashi pets the top of his head lightly.

“The whistling is getting pretty annoying, Tsukki.”

“Don't make me say it.” He doesn’t need to see Tadashi’s face to picture the smile on it. Pure and sweet, unlike the other smiles he’s worn tonight. He blushes again.

“I’ll be right back, big baby. With hot beverages!”

“Shitty hot beverages.”

“Kei,” he warns.

Several long, Tadashi-less minutes later, Kei has some shitty, watered down chocolate, and a boyfriend leaning against him.

“Tsukki,” Tadashi prompts, “you know why winter’s my favorite season?”

“I can’t possibly begin imagine why this insufferable season appeals to you, Tadashi.”

“Because! You always turn into a big teddy bear when it’s cold,” Tadashi’s eyes are half-lidded, tranquil, his smile light but conveying a sense of contentment Kei has never known. “I like it.”

Kei’s heart aches, but looking at that face, he doesn’t even notice. Even the cold seems to have dispersed in the presence of the angelic sight before him.

Every now and then, part of Kei demands that he remind himself of how undeserving he is of someone so much better than himself, demands he convince himself Tadashi should have someone better.

Looking at Tadashi, and the pure warmth that floods him when he does so, when he sees the sparkle in his eyes as he stares at the falling snow, is enough to for him to silence that voice. He’d rather be selfish than even consider giving Tadashi up.
It’s a miracle, really, that in the miserable season of winter, he might pass up the opportunity to feel sorry for himself. But Tadashi has always been a miracle worker.