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It's a bright spring day. To be honest, it's the perfect weather to take Yukimura with him on a date to Osaka's amusement park, Shiraishi finds. A bit chilly, maybe, but nothing cold enough to deter them from walking around without jackets— he had tied his own sweater around his shoulders.

Excited about the next ride they'd go on, maybe a coaster, he muses, he just walks side by side with him through the masses of people.
"That's right, there's a balloon stand somewhere across the square here, my dad always used to buy me the biggest one when I was little."
Yukimura chuckles wordlessly.
And Shiraishi's merrily talking about what more they can do here, when he notices Yukimura not exactly... sharing the same sentiment. Silent, only listening. Looking far, far into the distance, hardly avoiding the shoulders passing them by. It's just as if his mind's somewhere else, much too absent for the way he usually smiles.
Is he taking the date too seriously? He's done that before, after all...
Shiraishi stops for a bit. When Yukimura comes to a standstill one slow pass later, he smiles and reaches out towards Yukimura's cheeks. “What’s this? It’s okay to allow yourself to have fun, you know!"

Baring his teeth, he closes his eyes, and in an attempt to break the tension, he jokingly lifts the corners of Yukimura’s lips. However, Yukimura doesn’t respond with the exasperated laugh and the witty comeback he expected. His mouth moves under his fingers, but no discernible sound comes out.
"Shiraishi..." he says softly, too softly.
It's only when Shiraishi opens his eyes again, confused, that he notices something is wrong with Yukimura's. Yukimura's eyes were connected to his, sure, but they were strained, hazed, and struggling to focus on Shiraishi's. He alarmedly releases his hands.

"Are you alright, Yukimura? What's wrong?"
Yukimura breathes in, slowly, struggling to keep it straight and hesitating to let his voice call out.
He closes his eyes.
Finally, he manages, past his lips,
"It's loud."
Shiraishi falls silent, suddenly very aware of the clamour of the people around him and the noises of the rides. Enough that you would hear them even if you covered your ears.
Yukimura breathes in.
"Sorry... You were just enjoying yourself..."
Yukimura's speech started to slur slightly, eyes twitching painfully on the rhythm of the noise even when closed. It's only when Yukimura lowers his head and grabs his arms, that Shiraishi is able to get himself together again. He doesn't quite know what's going on, but he knows the Child of God shouldn't look like this.

"Don't apologise. It's alright. Do you want to go somewhere more quiet?"
Yukimura opens his mouth. Shiraishi can see his Adam's apple lowering, but to no avail.
When Yukimura discovers his words are fading to form, no longer get past his throat, he bites his lips and at the end of his wits Yukimura nods.

Shiraishi smiles softly.
"Alright then, let's go."
One step backwards, out of his light, halfway to turning around and walking him away when a hand grabs his shirt.
Yukimura, panicked, opens his eyes and immediately winces in pain. He presses his other wrist to the corner of his eye, leaning down as he squeezes his eyes tightly shut.
Whatever it is, it's getting worse the longer he stays here. He has to get Yukimura out of here as soon as possible.
"Yukimura, are you okay? Can you walk?"

His hand still clutching his shirt trembles, and Yukimura shakes his head.
He couldn't follow him. He can't open his eyes.
Carefully, he reaches up to overlay Yukimura's still trembling hand— his shoulders are shaking too, he realizes— with his own, but Yukimura rapidly flinches at the touch.
What... What should he do...?
He looks at Yukimura, breathing heavily and covering his ears, and tries the best he can to stay calm.

"I won't go without you. Don't worry."
It takes a while before what he says registers with Yukimura. His breaths, deepened by panic, start to slow down again and gradually some of the tremors in his shoulders dampen. One hand lets go of his ear, even though its fingers haven't calmed down yet.
He gives Yukimura a moment to catch himself, or, well, as much as Yukimura could.

Yukimura heaves in a laborious breath.
"Can you give...- me something to fo-cus- on?"
Yukimura's speech is distorted at best and mangled at worst.
"S-Sure, uhm..."
He takes Yukimura's free hand in his, and after a moment of hesitation, he starts to softly trace circles over it with his thumb.
"Will this work?"
A moment of stillness. His shoulders stop shaking, as does his hand. Yukimura hums.

One breath, two. He sees Yukimura breathing in tandem with the circles he draws, try to straighten his back again.
His eyes, however, still reflect the noise around them in twitches and tugs, and at times he can see them being let go and jamming shut in winces in an irregular rhythm, almost as if he's forcibly trying to relax the muscles of his eyes and failing.

No. He's trying to open them, he realizes.

Shiraishi covers Yukimura's eyes with his other hand before he can make another attempt.
"I'll get you there. Just focus on my hand, okay?"
Yukimura squeezes it, and he nods again.

Moving from his eyes to run his hand through his hair, he calls "Let's go?"
Yukimura nods once more, and with that, Shiraishi gently pulls his hand, pulls him along through the masses of people, steadily stroking its back.

It isn't long before he finds a cafe, sheltered from the flow of people and comfortably in the shade.
"We're there. There's a chair and a table..." Shiraishi falls silent a bit, unsure how to lead Yukimura to the chair in question to sit down. "Uh..."
To start with, he pulls Yukimura along into the building, to the table in question.
Yukimura looks visibly relieved as soon as the shade falls over his eyes, and a weight falls off Shiraishi's heart. And as it falls, instinctively he buries his head in Yukimura's neck, softly, one hand behind his back, the other on his hip. One moment, until he thinks to gently set him down on the chair, before lowering to his knees himself. He can't let go. He can't. Arms still around him, he lays his head to rest in Yukimura's chest, listening to his breath and feeling his heartbeats against his forehead.
Yukimura is here now. He's here now...
Shiraishi grabs Yukimura tighter.
"Are you okay, Yukimura?" he whispers, voice muffled.
Slow, but steady. In, and out. "Are you okay...?"

He almost startles when he feels a hand, Yukimura's hand, carding through his hair.
Pulling away slightly, he looks up to see Yukimura smile.
"Yeah."
Slowly, Yukimura opens his eyes again. "Thank you."
A wave of relief washes over him, and something breaks, a dam.
No, Kuranosuke, you can't cry over something like this!
He breathes in.
"You're okay..."
Despite himself, he can feel his throat clog up. He straightens his back to wrap his arms around Yukimura's neck, trying his hardest to straighten out his breathing. Yukimura's hair is soft when he leans into it, soft to the touch of his fingers when he pulls him closer.

Yukimura wraps his other arm around his back, his hand still through his locks.
"I'm okay," Yukimura reassures him.

A drop falls off his cheek and lands on Yukimura's shoulder.
"You're okay..." His voice comes out broken. "Yeah...-"
There's nothing he can do to stop his tears from falling.

Yukimura holds him as he sinks down his head, soaking Yukimura's sweater as he hides himself in it. Until he can calm down. At least, until he can get himself to stop sobbing.
Moments long, he just focusses on Yukimura's gentle strokes and the way he leans his head against his, gradually regaining his breath.

He moves back to look Yukimura in the eyes, smiling stirredly.
"I love you," he whispers.
Yukimura's hand rises to his cheek, he leans into it when his thumb reaches out to wipe his tears.

"I love you, too."
Yukimura's voice is light and joyful and as soft as his gaze.
He wishes Yukimura'd never stop holding him.
Cupping Yukimura's face in his hands, he leans up to softly place a kiss on his lips. Yukimura's lips on his, the warmth of his cheeks, his own tears. It's soft, and hot, and it feels nothing less but right. He lets go for a moment, before kissing him a little deeper. Yukimura hums softly, takes advantage of the hand back through his hair to pull them closer, ever closer, like that kiss was the entire world.
No, it isn't just the world. It's the entire universe and the myriad of stars enclosed in it.
With that thought, everything around them melts away.
He loves him.

Yukimura's hand lowers, and with it, the pressure of Yukimura's lips against his.
A quiet breath leaves Shiraishi's as the kiss reaches its end, and he briefly leans his forehead against Yukimura's chin, before putting his hands on his own legs and standing up.
He turns and takes place on the chair opposite of Yukimura, rubs the corners of his eyes.

"Do you need a glass of water?" Yukimura asks.
Shiraishi shakes his head. "Tea will be fine."
Yukimura laughs softly, silently averts his eyes. It's not like Shiraishi can't notice that. He wants to ask him about it, about everything, but Yukimura manages to signal a waitress in the same motion. For tea, of course.

"Two chamomile, please."
This time, Yukimura's eyes do briefly connect with Shiraishi's.

"Yes, understood. Coming up!"
Yukimura watches the waitress leave, and once she's out of sight, he leans his face on his hand and turns to Shiraishi.
"It'll be from a bag, but hopefully it'll still do the trick for you."
Chamomile. Classic tea to calm the nerves.
Shiraishi raises an eyebrow at that.
"I'm fine, though?"
Yukimura chuckles. "Those are some words for someone crying not two minutes ago."
Shiraishi's mind turns as blank as his cheeks turn red. "T-That was..."
"At the very least, you're emotional," Yukimura adds, softly. "It'd do you well. Not that I'm not happy," he chuckles again, "no, quite the opposite."
The smile Shiraishi gets is nothing short of angelical.
"Do you know what it was?" Yukimura's lips curl upward as he leans himself down on his arms on the table.
"I... I'm really not sure what came over me," Shiraishi confesses. "I held you one moment, and the other I couldn't let you go anymore..."
Shiraishi looks away, hand in his neck. He tries his hardest to ignore the heat rushing to his face. Damn it, why does Yukimura make him feel like this? Not that it's... unwelcome, but...
He breathes out.
Yukimura...

"...You already know, don't you?" he whispers as Yukimura's eyes pull him in again.
"In terms of feelings, yes, I have a good hunch. But I'd like to hear what words you give to it."
Shiraishi can feel his heart beating in his chest. Yukimura's always been good at reading his feelings, better than him even, as proven right right now.
He'd been scared, for Yukimura. But simultaneously, 'scared' just isn't by far deep enough to describe it. And then... He remembers the way he broke when Yukimura smiled at him.
"I don't... think I can..."
He curls his hand in front of his face, index finger lightly resting against lips, thumb against his chin.
The more he thinks about the wording, the feeling, the more impossible it seems to get anything out. Why can't it be more like Shitenhouji's motto?

Yukimura raises his back, a breathy chuckle. He draws in a slow breath, lets it out.
"Shall I tell you? You see, Shiraishi, you ar..." He blinks. In the middle of a sentence, a word, his lips halt. He falls silent. A strand of hair, tucked behind his quietly reddening ears.
"No. Never mind."
His fingers lower, from his cheekbones down to his lips as he seems to be strangely caught by something. Shiraishi blinks at the sudden flip.
"Huh?"
"It... might be best for you to figure it out on your own, one day..."
Yukimura closes his eyes, blushing and well, leaving Shiraishi to sit there in confusion. Yukimura won't tell him?
It isn't really a secret— can you even keep a secret from yourself?— so why is he keeping his lips closed? Why would...
His train of thought is interrupted by the sudden call of Yukimura's voice.
"Your tea is coming."
"Wait, that can't be, there's no one—"
Right at that moment the door swings open and the same girl as before comes out, two hot cups and a bottle of honey on a plate.
He's right.
Yukimura opens his eyes, smile knowing, but with a strange hint of tire in his eyes.
"How'd you know?" Shiraishi asks.
Yukimura's hair falls down from his ears as he slightly lowers his head.
"I listen well."
Shiraishi lightly raises his eyebrows, leans back in his chair. This is not the first time Yukimura's pulled this on him, but it amazes him every time. If Yukimura hadn't kept on telling him how he noticed, he'd seriously start considering him to be a real child of god.

The waitress is as cheerful as he remembers her being from the last time he was here, though it had been with his family and not with Yukimura.
"Your tea!"
"Thanks," Shiraishi says, giving the waitress a nod as she puts them in front.
She rests the serving plate on her lap and her hand over it, eagerly taking a pen from behind her ear.
"Anything else?"
Shiraishi shoots one look at Yukimura, the slight tilt of his head says enough.
"No, we're good."
She grins. "Really? Then, enjoy your date!"
If Shiraishi had been drinking his tea already, he'd have spit it out.
"Da-date?"
"C'mon, you can't kiss him that passionately and not call this a date!" The waitress laughs.
"You saw..." Shiraishi puts his hand behind his head, laughs nervously.
"I saw! Sorry!" Not sounding apologetic at all, she continues, "We have a special offer for couples, you know? Though you'll have to wait 'till after 4."
She leans down, gently but not subtly shoving the pamphlet for the Miracle Love Fountain Banquet into his vision. And as she shoves his attention to the the piece of paper by poking with her elbow, she winks.
"I-I-I'm not sure..."
W-Wait, has she always been this pushy?
He looks away—

"It's a date, isn't it?"
Yukimura's smile is practically beaming. Like the stars. The sun. Like... himself. "We're a couple, aren't we?
Why not?"
A two-sided attack. There isn't much he can do when Yukimura goes on the offense as well, except...
"Do you want to?" Shiraishi asks him, returning the ball straight to Yukimura's court.
Yukimura leans his face on his hand, fingers curling over his cheek.
"Who knows."
From above his hand, he chuckles, then turns his head to the waitress.

"Then, if we feel like it, we'll come. Thank you."
The waitress bows almost instinctively at the mellow and polite sound, and makes her way out.
Yukimura meets gazes with him, smiles.
"Treat yourself."
"Y-yeah. Thanks," he adds softly.
He cups the warm tea in his hands, basking in its comforting warmth before bringing it to his lips. It's still a bit hot to be drunk, but having it resting against his mouth brings the aroma all the closer to his nose.

Almost offhandedly, Yukimura reaches for the honey. Shiraishi's always loved the way Yukimura moves— with certainty, with ease, and it's no different right now...
There's elegance in his motions as he's stirring his tea, gently, watching the clouds drift off of its surface and into the open air. Yukimura blows one away, to cool the liquid, and it drifts over in Shiraishi's direction.

That's when it hits him— Yukimura's tea is chamomile as well.
Quietly Shiraishi sets his cup down, an imperceptible thud as it makes contact with the coaster.

"What happened?"
Yukimura lets out a heavy breath.
"I was almost hoping you wouldn't ask."
"...You'd think I can really pretend nothing happened, when I watched you...-"
He swallows the rest of his sentence, softly bites his lip.
Dropping his spoon to rest against the glass cup, Yukimura lets his gaze fall down onto the auburn surface of the chamomile tea.
"Right," Yukimura whispers.

Shiraishi reaches his hand over the table, until it comes to rest over Yukimura's. This time, Yukimura doesn't pull it away, instead moves it to rest a bit further on the table so Shiraishi has to reach less far. Smiling at Yukimura, he softly runs his fingers over his skin, seeing some of the tension dissipate from Yukimura's shoulders.

Yukimura sighs.
"I was a little... overwhelmed."
Yukimura looks away, hand half covering his mouth. "It's a bit embarrassing to talk about..."
"Even with me? You know I wouldn't make you feel bad."
His blue eyes meet with Shiraishi's again, and as his fingers lower to come to rest on the wood of the table, he hesitatingly opens his lips.

"I see more than most people do. Details, colours, lights... Things most people miss, or wouldn't notice until they look a little harder. Like the brushstrokes on my favourite paintings, the petals of a flower, the light of the sun through leaves.
Of course, it extends beyond just sight. Hearing, touch," Yukimura's thumb moves against Shiraishi's hand where it's resting over Yukimura's, "smell, taste. Emotions, as well.
I experience everything a little deeper, apparently."
Yukimura lets out a small, almost wistful laugh, as his free hand fiddles with his hair.
"You'd say that's a good thing," Shiraishi says, tentatively.
"You would, wouldn't you? After all, it allows me to be more in touch with the world around me.
I can hear the rotation of the ball, see the groaning of a racket, feel the breaking point of my opponent.
It's useful in playing tennis... but it's a double-edged sword."
Those blue eyes close as a pause falls.

"You see..."
Yukimura folds his free arm closer to him on the table, and for a moment, Shiraishi can swear he sees his lips tremble.
"I meant it when I said 'everything.'
When I was walking with you as well, I was..."
Yukimura swallows.
Shiraishi gently squeezes Yukimura's trembling hand, as he gives him the time he needs to recollect himself.
"It turns out the mind has a limited capacity to process everything. Just like how it's difficult to read a text and listen to someone talk at the same time, when I listened to you talk amidst the rumour, amidst the sun's light, I found myself aware of... too many things to take in.
In front of me there were a hundred people moving, a hundred faces, a hundred lights, but I could no longer focus on any of them.
And the sounds...
The music of the carrousel a while away, the children gathering and playing before the balloon vendors, a couple talking about their dogs a few metres off, masses and masses of voices and noises and conversations—" Yukimura breathes in, trying to keep hold of his breaking voice, "Everything came crashing down... Before I knew it I couldn't open my eyes anymore."
Yukimura looks at him, defeat shimmering faintly in the corners of his eyes as his mouth curls into a bitter smile.

"It was just... too much for me to handle."

In one motion, Shiraishi gets off his chair and wraps his arms around Yukimura, one knee on Yukimura's seat.
"Shi... raishi...?"
"Thank you for telling me," he whispers in Yukimura's ear. "That must've been tough to deal with."
Shiraishi leans his head against Yukimura's, thumb caressing his shoulder, but Yukimura remains still.
"...Are you thinking," Yukimura's voice is soft, wary, but his words deeply suggestive, "that I'm weak?"
Shiraishi shakes his head.
"How could I? You're still the same Yukimura I fell in love with." He smiles. "If anything, this just makes me admire you even more."
The soft wind of Yukimura's breath tickles Shiraishi's shoulder. Yukimura moves in his embrace, and after a moment, he feels Yukimura's arms rest themselves around his waist, around his back.

"It was tough." While his voice still remembers the pain he must've gone through, Yukimura sounds more happy than anything else. "Thank you for getting me out of there."
Yukimura's arms pull him closer, and completely at ease, he buries his head in the curve of Shiraishi's neck. Yukimura's hair smells of lilies, he can't help but notice. He wonders if he picked his shampoo deliberately... He had to have, after all Yukimura sent him a sketch of them only yesterday. Even so, it's a really comforting—

A hot drop falling on the skin of his shoulder startles him out of his small epiphany.
Yukimura is...
Yukimura is crying?
His breathing is hardly staggering, Shiraishi hasn't heard any sobs, but there's little mistaking that those are tears falling down into his shirt. Quietly, Shiraishi's hand reaches up to Yukimura's hair, pulling him closer, and he feels Yukimura's hands around him tighten.
"I'm glad it's you."
Light, breathy, but above all Yukimura's voice is overcome with joy. Shiraishi knows Yukimura crying isn't out of hurt or sadness. It's because he's...
"I was afraid you'd come to coddle me, or tell me to tough it out, but you did neither..."
A laugh buzzes where his chest touches Yukimura's. Belatedly, he realizes that the way he answered Yukimura's question had been rather crucial, but after everything he's happy to have told the truth. Shiraishi lets out a breath, briefly nuzzling Yukimura's ear before he whispers,
"I believe in your strength. But that doesn't mean I don't want to be there for you when I can."
Yukimura chuckles.
"You're gentle like that. It's what I love about you."
He can feel his own cheeks paint red. Grateful that with Yukimura here in his arms, Yukimura wouldn't yet have to see what kind of embarrassing face he's making, he buries his lips in the soft locks of Yukimura's hair.
Shiraishi feels the slow rain of drops on his shoulder isn't letting up yet. A cloudy sigh blows through the silence, and Yukimura speaks up again.

"Isn't it funny? First it was you crying, and now it's me."
Almost powerlessly Yukimura laughs again, reaching one of his hands up to rest it on his shoulder, his head leaning further down in Shiraishi's chest.
"Hide me for a bit. I don't want anyone to know but you."
"Yeah. Cry as much as you want to, I'll be here."
More of a breath than anything else, Yukimura whispers a damped "Thank you." in his shirt.
Threading his hand through Yukimura's hair, he lets the rain drizzle down. Quietly, steadily.

"It's weird," Yukimura whispers, eventually. "When I'm with you I don't even think twice about crying."
Shiraishi's lips break into a smile, and his fingers twirl around with Yukimura's locks.
"I'm glad.
...Do you feel comfortable?"
Yukimura nods. "Disarmingly so."
Shiraishi laughs softly, and before long, Yukimura comes to laugh with him. A moment of peace, comfortable and warm, before Yukimura moves to slip out of his arms.
His eyes are still faintly red, when they're face to face again, but a smile shines on his lips when Yukimura moves a strand of Shiraishi's hair to the side.

"You're making a funny face."
"I-I know..."
He tries to avert his eyes, embarrassed, but he can't hold them away from Yukimura's for long. When they reconnect, Yukimura chuckles.

"I'd love to be in your arms for another while," Yukimura says lightly, lightly running his finger over his nose, "But I'm afraid if we wait much longer our Chamomiles will go cold."
"Oh, right, our tea!"
But even while exclaiming that, Shiraishi has trouble bringing himself to exchange Yukimura's warmth for the one of his tea. A kind smile, hands setting themselves back on his lap, and Shiraishi's own hands are able to fall.

Shiraishi lets go, only slowly, before somehow finding his way back to his chair. Putting his hand against the cup, he sighs in relief when he feels his tea to likely be still drinkably warm.

"If you're going to miss me so much that you, of all people, are willing to waste a perfectly hot tea, then you're very welcome to come straight back into my arms, you know?"
Yukimura's voice is soft and elegant, but no second after he equally elegantly sticks out his tongue.
"Watch out," Shiraishi teases back, "I won't ever let you go once that last drop's down my throat."
"I look forward to that."
Their eyes meet, playfully, intense, until the first chuckle escapes past Yukimura's lips.
Quickly, he's infected by Yukimura's ringing laugh. It's only half a joke, he knows, but he can at least drink his tea like a normal person. Unlike the tea, Yukimura will still be there when evening falls, after all.
If it was up to him, he would still be there the day after tomorrow, and in a month, and in a year, as well...

"Ahh, I made your shirt wet..."
Shiraishi looks at his shoulder, where Yukimura's tears still coloured the fabric.
"I don't really mind." he says, and without thinking adds "I'm actually kind of proud of it."
Yukimura blinks, before chuckling.
"It's fine if you do. We have matching dark spots, then." He pulls at the side of his sweater, where a lighter, but similar spot stains Shiraishi's vision.
"It's- It's not dried yet...?" A light blush, embarrassed.
"No. But I don't mind it, either."
Yukimura smiles at him, gently, and Shiraishi feels his stomach flutter and his cheeks heat up from it.

"Please borrow my shoulder anytime you want to," Yukimura whispers, delicate only in his tone of voice.
Returning Yukimura's smile with a warm one of his own, Shiraishi nods.
"Same to you."
As if a cloud of doubt doubt breaks from Yukimura's mind, his shoulders and eyes lower in comfort.
"With joy."

A warm silence descends on the two of them. Shiraishi can hear cheers and music far away, but right now the quiet is just their own. Finally, he closes his eyes and bring his tea to his own lips, letting the Chamomile aroma fill his senses. It's a present from Yukimura, after all, it would be a waste not to enjoy it the way it was meant to.
Slowing his breaths, as with yoga, Shiraishi lets the tea pass his tongue to cool the embers of feelings berserk. More importantly, to give Yukimura the space to wind down with the tea he ordered, needed.

When he opens his eyes, he sees Yukimura take only a careful sip.
Tentatively, Shiraishi opens his mouth again.
"...Does it happen often?"

Hands around the warm cup, lowering it again, Yukimura shakes his head.
"Only rarely. I should be able to deal with something of this degree just fine, but..."

Yukimura tilts his gaze down, to the tea making circles in his cup.
"Well, maybe the train ride was a bit long and stressful. Maybe I... slept in a bit late, because I wanted to see you again." Head still low, Yukimura's eyes look up to meet his gaze.
"W-Wh..."
The heat rises to Shiraishi's cheeks, and he can feel his mouth curl into a weird shape. Yukimura's, however, curls into a laugh.
"I knew you'd react like that."
"I-I mean... Anyone would blush if their boyfriend suddenly said that..."
Gaze rosy, Yukimura plays with the blue bangs falling beside his eyes.
"It's the truth though. I've missed you."
That, does nothing at all to dispel Shiraishi's fiery face.

"Y-You— I, I really missed you too, you know..."
Yukimura chuckles.
"I'm glad. It's a good thing I can stay over at your place, then."
A wide smile makes its way onto Shiraishi's face.
"Yeah. You're always welcome."
Once again, Yukimura laughs, before, gradually, the look in his eyes fades to something heavier.
"I've caused you trouble."
Shiraishi's eyebrows furrow apprehensively.
"Huh?"
Yukimura looks away, leaning lightly on the backs of his fingers, trying to hide what's stirring in his face.

"I shouldn't have made you worry," he says. "If you'd have known this could've happened—"
"Could you have known that it would?"
Shiraishi speaks up clearly, startled, Yukimura locks eyes with him. The look in them flutters and thaws a little as Shiraishi gives him a smile, as Shiraishi reaches for Yukimura's hand again next to the chamomile tea.

Yukimura swallows away some of his heavy shadow, breathes out.
"I suppose not."

Shiraishi knows better than anyone else how hard it is for Yukimura to swallow his pride, to show weakness when he has a choice not to. He wouldn't blame him for not divulging them until the time they came to the fore, and he was all the more happy that Yukimura had opened up to him here.

"It's alright. That things turned out the way they did wasn't through any fault of you. I promise."
"I know..."
Yukimura laces Shiraishi's fingers with his own, tenderly, with his other hand still around his tea. They're warm on the back of Shiraishi's hand.

"I still want to be here with you," Yukimura eventually says, "even with what happened."
"Will you be alright?"
A silence falls down on the two.

"To be honest," Yukimura whispers, reluctantly, "I don't know... It was hard for me to recover last time this happened, I'm still feeling a bit..."
Yukimura's other hand moves to touch the bridge of his nose. "But...!"

"It's alright."
Shiraishi gently squeezes his hand, and when Yukimura looks up, he smiles at him.
"You know..." Shiraishi briefly closes his eyes,
"I know the park like the back of my hand. I think I can lead you around the busier places... And we can skip the noisier attractions, of course."
Following the words on his lips with his eyes, Yukimura blinks.
"You're... really trying to make this work."
A chuckle passes Shiraishi's lips.
"It's what you want, right?"

This takes Yukimura a little aback. He wonders if Yukimura expected him to discourage him.
"That's right. Thank you."

There's no way he would've done that. Shiraishi doesn't want to hold Yukimura down, even when Yukimura hinted he mightn't be fine yet... Yukimura knows himself better than any other, so if he wants to be with him still through the clamour, it's a decision Yukimura made from his heart.
Still, as a safety measure...
"If anything happens, and you can't speak, can you squeeze my hand?"
"I can."
Yukimura smiles at him, and it's as if he's shining. Yukimura lets his fingers run over the back of Shiraishi's hand, before scooping it up to take it in his. He smiles. "As long as you'll allow me to take your hand, I'll be fine."

Shiraishi laughs sheepishly, heat rising to his cheeks one more at the warm touch.
"And if I'm not," Yukimura mouths... Silently, Yukimura raises Shiraishi's palm to his lips, to place a kiss on his fingers. His eyes smile at him when they look up, and just as silently, Shiraishi feels himself falling deeper in love for him.

'I'm in good hands.'