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The Promise of Tea

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The slightly chill breeze dances through the air, carrying with it the floral scents of the newly budding blooms. Young petals that have been torn asunder by last night’s rain storm pirouette across the bright blue sky, disguising mother nature’s destruction and showering the earth in joyful blooms splashed in color. The sunlight beaming overhead highlight the array, gentle dancers swaying to the melody of the world taking them for granted. The blossoms fly across his sights, tempting his attention and affections, endeavoring to wholly take him away from reality’s realm of existence.

Yet, they are defeated before the battle even begins…

…For the performance capturing his gaze down below is all the more eye-catching. Though it is no stage like they are used to standing upon – equipped with otherworldly effects and a spotlight all to themselves – it lusters as radiantly as one. The beams of the sun shine down, illuminating both performer and audience alike, sparing no expense in proudly lighting the smiling faces that rivals its very being high in the sky.

The warmth of the day is no comparison to the warmth of the memory being made right before his eyes. The young spectators, gathered around excitedly, yell and cheer in glee as their fantastical visitor performs for them another trick of the trade. Hair that gleams brilliantly with the sun flows through the air as things pop into existence as though through true magic. Now, flying alongside the whistle of the wind and the frolicking petals are music notes of strange familiarity and confetti brimming with reflective colors.

Like blossoming spring flowers, smiles grow wider and more vibrant. The audience clap along, their shrill voices blending into the concert upon their make-believe stage more beautiful than money can buy. A stunning song and dance that shakes the very earth, itself; rocking with it the heart within his chest. It thumps excitedly, banging against his rib cage as though asking to come out and watch for itself the longer his eyes gaze at the scene, transfixed and unwilling to move away.

The uneven and broken concrete ground is no hindrance to the spectacle exploding with joyous fury; instead, giving it all the more unique ebb and flow, contrasting with the merciless world speeding by around them. Like the petals floating in the breeze asking all to look only at them, the performance takes all willing to lend an eye and an ear to a magical fantasy beyond their wildest dreams; where lights bloom overhead and objects of common use appear from thin air. Things impossible within the restricting reality are conducted with ease – the novel becoming familiar, and the everyday commonalities becoming a rarity.

In rhythm with the performer’s feet stepping with the melody of the music filling the atmosphere, his heart continues to thrum loudly. The pounding echoing in his ears doesn’t falter, blending in seamlessly within the daydream the show has taken him away to. The thuds resound so loudly he nearly misses the off rhythm beating that steadily crescendos before coming to a complete stop.

At last, this unknown flicker manages to sweep his attention away, making him glide his gaze towards his shoulder where a slight prickle of claws now rests, clinging onto his clothing. White smears across his vision as softness runs along his cheek like the caress of a lover.

“Have you come to report on me, Jeanne d’Arc?” He chuckles breathily, voice no stronger than the gentle breeze.

The dove on his shoulder makes a noise just as quietly, hooting within its throat in reply and tilting its head back and forth. The bird’s beady eyes stare at him with purpose, with the purity of an intellectual animal moving to the commands of their beloved master.

He lifts his arm from the railing he is leaning on, feeling the impression of the solid metal bar left upon his skin and nerves. Gently crooking a finger, he pets the side of the familiar dove’s neck, feeling the immaculate feathers smooth under the slight pressure. Tiny claws shift to balance more steadily, catching onto the material of his shirt with each step. He smiles fondly at the animal, the creature taking away all of his stress and unease in an instantaneous moment.

“You are certainly far from home. How amazing!”

He straightens his posture to turn around, gaze falling on the same hair that had danced along the wind down below. The smile on his lips grows minutely, feeling the slip of a pointed fang peek out. “I could say the same to you. Did your doves tell you I was up here or did you know?”

The dove hops off of his shoulder, wings flapping strongly in a gust and flying forth.

“I covet all eyes on me! I feel your gazes giving me life, no matter who or where.” The bird lands on his companion’s outstretched hand. “Now, may I ask what you are doing here, Rei?”

“To check up on old friends?” Rei questions rhetorically, his voice airy and deep. He takes a glance over his shoulder, seeing that the stage has gone back to the normal, broken concrete pavement, littered with flecks of unkept pebbles, and all audience members having departed, leaving not a trace of their new memories behind. “I came to pick you up, Hibiki-kun.”

Wataru tilts his head inquisitively, much like the curious little dove does. “Did we have plans? How odd, I’m usually the one waking you.”

Rei shrugs, stepping up to the other man. “I guess I felt sentimental today? You looked like you were enjoying yourself. You won’t get yourself in trouble with Tenshouin-kun or StarPro?” He can’t help but chuckle at his own words. “Not that that will stop you.”

“You’re the same.” Wataru jests back. “The kids were all full of energy today.”

“Oh?”

The two of them turn towards the rusted metal door. Wataru pries it open with a screeching swing, cold draft rushing out in a wave that consumes them, competing with the warm, spring air fluttering by. Stepping inside from the rooftop sends an involuntary shiver down Rei’s back, but he pays it no mind. Instead, he watches as Wataru bounces about excitedly, rumbling the unstable stairs of the abandoned building they climb down.

“Smiles full of youthful innocence, overflowing with laughter without a care for what may come and looking towards a bright future!” Wataru trills with an amazing amount of energy. He exaggerates his movements all the way down the stairwell, moving to and fro yet careful of the weak points. Nearly flipping down the last flight, Wataru hops over the railing and strikes a pose. “As is-! The job of an idol, after all.”

Rei walks down more languidly, finally reaching Wataru’s side after another long moment. “Fufu, without that, we would be nothing.” Without any second thoughts, his hand naturally reaches out as he passes Wataru by, grabbing hold of Wataru’s hand and tugging him towards the exit – back out into the sunlight. “My treat today. As thanks from those kids.”

The kids who are born into unfortunate circumstances and unable to look at the world without a constant, inkling worry.

“Oh-ho~ Then tomorrow shall be my treat!”

They walk out of the dim and dank building, stepping out beneath the sunshine that nearly blinds them. The two of them meander about for a time, looking at unfamiliar buildings and newly discovered paths together, hand-in-hand without a worry. If they get lost, at least they are lost with each other. Eventually, a café settled in the corner of a block comes into view, enticing them inside with a simple set up that is embraced in heartfelt feelings.

Though the cushions on the seats are worn and torn, the tea they order is fragrant and filled with care. The warmth that seeps into their skin as they hold their cups is sincere. The feeling of being out of place doesn’t even cross Rei’s mind as he and Wataru sit and chat the hours away, ignoring the curious gazes they get from beyond the window. The casual conversation that passes between them is like any other – expressing their worries for others and sharing the little joys that have come within reach.

Tiny moments of happiness are often taken for granted in their world – overlooked and never seen once something else comes their way and entraps them. Though small in comparison, gathering up those instances can surmount into the largest mountain on earth, worth an infinite amount of sentiments that could never be monetized or replaced.

A promise they made long ago. His and Wataru’s promise to each other that they created during their youth make up his mountain of happiness. The promise to have tea together every day. Nowadays, they may not be able to as easily as when they both attended Yumenosaki, but, nonetheless, one way or another, they will find their way back to each other, and create another blissful moment of peace and solace. A moment where all pretenses fall and nothing else matters but the person across from them.

The sun begins to set by the time they make their way to the train station to head the long-distance home, dyeing the sky in orange hues like flames burning the heavens where the gods live. The subtly warm air wraps around them, whispers of otherworldly occurrences drifting into their ears; the weather shifting right before their eyes. The train they board travels at high speed above the ground, tearing through the atmosphere and racing towards the blazing horizon.

Rei hums in surprise as a weight falls onto his shoulder. His smile turns tender, gaze roaming over Wataru’s suddenly sleeping form. Wataru must be exhausted after the exciting day – after many exciting days, one after the other. They have barely had time to go out for their usual tea. With their hands linked and resting just between where their thighs touch, Rei swears to keep this new promise he makes in this moment, within his heart.

They’re only human, after all. Like the rest of the known world. There are times when they’re happy, and times when they’re sad. They take things for granted until those moments are suddenly stolen away from them and torn apart right before their eyes. They, once known for having boundless potential that even gods covet, can also become exhausted and breakdown from the weight weighing upon their shoulders. They make right decisions, and they make wrong ones. They falter, and they grow. Neither he nor Wataru are perfect, but they’ll both protect what they need to protect – protect the smiles they want to protect – without hesitation. Even if it means becoming someone as untouchable as a god and falling back down to earth.

But even as a mere human, Rei promises to watch over his dear companion, who has stayed right by his side the entire time.

The promise of their next tea outing is already in sight.