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moments like these

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Despite digital alarms possessing an infinite variety of sounds and settings, nothing quite beat the feeling of waking up to the shrill ringing of an old bell clock.

Misane sighed, opening her eyes for a moment, only to squeeze them shut again. She reached out blindly for the top of the clock but stopped upon feeling the warm brush of Nanase’s hand as he beat her to it, firmly pressing the button down.

He caught her hand on the way back, snuggling up to her from behind, bringing her closer as he mumbled sleepily, “F…Five more minutes…”

Misane smiled. A bit. Because he couldn’t see.

The alarm was already set about forty minutes earlier than it needed to be, in preparation for moments like these. And though Misane would insist it was purely because Nanase could take a thousand years just to sit up, it was also because of—

Well—

(Moments like these.)

Nanase was warm at her back, his breath stirring the hair on her head. She hadn’t grown much over the years—much to her chagrin—meaning Nanase’s long legs could still tangle through hers with length to spare. It had taken the pair an embarrassing amount of time to finally admit that they both wanted to sleep in one another’s arms. Misane had been too shy, and Nanase far too accommodating, until a moment of boldness on his end finally led to the two of them actually sleeping together in the most chaste way possible.

But, that was all right.

They were both a bit odd.

Misane allowed herself the luxury of being wrapped in Nanase’s embrace for about ten more minutes, before she knew she had to get up, or risk falling back asleep. As much as she enjoyed sleeping in with him, they had work to do today.

Untangling herself from his inviting warmth was harder than she’d ever admit. Still, she got dressed, pulling on her usual blue attire, short skirt and all, and slipping those custom-made cat ear BitPhones into place. Immediately the usual wave of data hit her mind as she was presented with all the things she’d missed since the last time she put them on in a handy news feed.

A mental command and a hand gesture caused the coffee pot in the kitchen to start brewing its strongest blend right away. Misane headed for the bedroom door, pausing to cast Nanase a quick glance. He’d settled for hugging a pillow instead, curled up, snoring softly as though they didn’t have a serial murder case to solve today.

She shook her head fondly and padded down the hall.

Misane mulled over the specifics of the case so far as she stuck bread in the toaster, preparing breakfast. She was about halfway done when she heard the second alarm go off, and rolled her eyes, knowing Nanase would just hit snooze at least one more time—

“Misane-chan?”

Startled, she turned around, cutting knife in hand, staring in open confusion at the sight of him in the kitchen doorway.

“Wow, I really wasn’t expecting my morning to start with a threat!” Nanase said in that blithely blunt way of his. Beaming, of course.

Misane deadpanned, “And I wasn’t expecting you to be awake.”

She turned back to chopping the tomatoes for the omelets she was making. She hoped Nanase had the sense not to try anything funny while she was attempting to make even slices, and he didn’t, for the most part, though he still managed to sneak in a quick kiss to her cheek. Her face felt a little warmer after.

Like everything about their relationship, that was a quirk too. The obstacle of physical affection had eventually been cleared by time—and Nanase being delighted by the fact that he could do something to make her blush, once he realized it was okay to do so.

(She still remembered the way he’d blushed when she kissed his hand for the first time.)

“I’m surprised you didn’t sleep in longer.”

“Couldn’t get comfortable after you got up.”

“You were sleeping fine twenty minutes ago.”

“Was I? I guess I hadn’t realized you’d left yet, haha!”

Misane’s heart fluttered for some unknown reason, and that summed up a lot of her thoughts toward him, really. She gave him a sideways look in response to that.

“Get dressed and we’ll have breakfast.”

“Can’t I have breakfast and then get dressed?”

“Please get dressed before we eat.”

“I’m already leaving!”

Placing down both plates—omelets, toast, and fruit today—on the little table in their apartment, Misane left the coffee where it was in the pot. A flick of her wrist changed the plasma display on the wall, the serene, artificially generated fish tank flashing to a news station instead.

…At least the anchors weren’t talking about murder.

It didn’t take that long for Nanase to come back. He smiled at her as he brought two cups of coffee with him, placing hers beside her plate. Misane didn’t even need to take a sip to know it was prepared just the way she liked it. Nanase was thoughtful like that.

“We’ll be heading toward Sun Villa today, following the lead from last night,” Misane remarked, picking up her fork. Her food had remained untouched until now.

“Sun Villa…Are we going by train or by bus?”

“Why don’t we take the car?”

“It’s a little…” Nanase grimaced, still somehow making it look more like a crooked smile than a frown. “Flashy, don’t you think? Sun Villa is a modest place, I think a brand-new model like ours is going to stand out no matter where we go.”

“True. But being such a small locale, I should think our presence will draw attention regardless. Still, being as lowkey as possible would benefit our investigation.” Misane did a quick search of the train and bus schedules, comparing the two. “We’ll take the bus in ninety minutes.”

“Okay! The ride might give us an opportunity to gather additional information from the other passengers as well.”

Misane hummed a brief sound of agreement.

The rest of breakfast was uneventful, as was the last-minute flurry of activity before they left to ensure that they had everything they’d need, and that all else was in order. The surprise came when they were about to step out the door, because Nanase made that startled little squeak of his that always sounded like he was caught between two different exclamations.

“…Is everything all right?” Misane arched an eyebrow, pausing halfway into the hall.

He scratched his cheek. “Well…Do you remember that promise you made?”

Cogs turned in her head. “Well, yes, but we’re both leaving, Nanase…”

He laughed. “You’re right, sorry—”

“We talked about this,” she reminded him, fingers knitting together as she turned fully to face him.

In the face of her reproach, he just gave a sheepish smile. “Okay, okay! Well…I would still like a goodbye kiss? I know it doesn't make any sense and it's probably a selfish request...but still!”

Misane pretended to consider it, touching her chin thoughtfully. Stepping back into the threshold of the apartment, she nudged the door closed again with a foot.

“It’s not a selfish request,” she said as she pulled him down for a kiss.

Not if she wanted one too.