The heat is so bad, it feels like Kiyoko's been listening to the hum of cicadas for a week straight.
In the packed subway car on the way home from work, her tight-covered legs feel unbearably hot, but she's almost home and then she's going out for dinner with Ryuu.
It's their fifth date. Kiyoko asked to go slow after finally agreeing to Ryuu's advances, and he agreed. She thought he was just saying that to make her happy, but he gets very red and flustered when she holds his hand or kisses his cheek. Turns out he needs to go slow, too.
Ryuu always walks Kiyoko home after they spend time together. This time, they stop at the corner store and he buys ice cream for the walk. Even in the dark of night, the humidity is enough to melt Kiyoko's dessert and make her T-shirt stick to her uncomfortably sweaty back.
The relief Kiyoko feels at the sight of her building is shattered when she opens her door to an apartment with no air conditioning. She thinks about how far away her friend from work lives and reaches for her phone before Ryuu speaks.
"Why don't you sleep at my house?"
"Not like that!" And now Ryuu is red and flustered. "I meant you should stay at my house for the night. Take my bed, I'll sleep on the floor, whatever. It's way too hot to stay here."
He's right, Kiyoko will never be able to sleep. She packs a bag while he waits at the door.
Kiyoko lets Ryuu go in first to clean ("I really wasn't expecting this! Let me just ... move some stuff.") and then he gives her a very quick tour. He makes iced tea while Kiyoko stands underneath the air conditioner and pulls at the too-thick fabric of her tights.
They're halfway through a movie when Ryuu suddenly hits pause.
"Are you OK?" He asks, staring down at her fidgeting hands.
"It's very hot," she replies blandly.
"It's not as bad as it is outside! Didn't you bring pajamas? Why don't you put them on?"
She brought shorts. They would show off most of her legs, and it seemed too early in this weird dating game for Kiyoko to show Ryuu the scars on her legs. She would eventually, but she didn't know if now was the right time.
"Oh," Ryuu says, "do you not want to show your legs?"
She blinks at him and that makes him bow his head as if it's an apology.
"Sorry! I remember Yachi saying once that you wore tights all the time for some really cool reason, but I didn't want to ask you in case it made you feel uncomfortable! I'm sorry!"
"It's fine, Ryuu."
"I don't know what you brought to wear to sleep," Ryuu says when he lifts his head and looks back at Kiyoko, "But I have some shorts you could wear. To cool down? They're basketball shorts, so they'll be really long on you, they'll cover a lot! Would that help you?"
Ryuu is a lot of things: Loud, expressive, athletic. And he's kind. So kind to everyone he cares about. Kiyoko really likes that about him. She takes him up on his offer for baggy shorts. He says he won't look at her legs directly, but she laughs and tells him not to worry.
Ryuu lasts all of 30 minutes before asking if she'd be comfortable telling him what happened to her legs. He knew she was a huddler before Karasuno, they'd talked about that during their first real date, but it's hard to tell people about her scars and not expect them to stare.
Ryuu doesn't stare. And he thinks her scars make her cool "like a warrior princess," making Kiyoko double over laughing.
"I've been saying this for years, so I know you'll believe me: You're beautiful. No matter how many scars you have."
She kisses his cheek and he smiles at her.
After a full year of dating, Kiyoko will sometimes sit with her bare legs in Ryuu's lap when they watch TV. He'll mindlessly run his fingers over her scars and Kiyoko finds it makes her happy. Relaxed and happy.
She's comfortable with Ryuu and comfortable in her own skin.