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This is not how Karma wants to meet Asano outside of school (read: he doesn’t). He figures that on the list of scenarios he’d want to meet Asano in, sad late-night smoke is probably very low.

 

Hey, wait a minute. “As if you smoke.” Even if he is feeling down, getting a rise out of Asano is always worth it.

 

However, something’s off. Asano doesn’t even roll his eyes, doesn’t even look up at him. “Bad habit, I know,” He looks down at the cigarette in his hand. He holds it elegantly. “Stress relief.” He supplies.

 

“So worried that I’ll take first place, you have to smoke?” He sits down next to the other boy on the bench.

 

Asano finally looks up, meets his gaze. Ah. There’s an angry red mark on his face, one that’s visible even in the protective cover of the dark. Karma feels like a dick. He can’t help the ‘oh’ that slips out of his mouth.

 

Asano scoffs, looks away again. He’s sitting, curled in on himself- he’s cold. “Whatever.” He takes a drag from his cigarette, expels the smoke slowly, methodically.

 

“Sorry.” Karma says on instinct, even if he only half means it.

 

Asano shakes his head. “Not your fault.”

 

They sit in silence, except for the low burning of ash. Karma sparks up his lighter (Asano slightly snorts at the gaudy stickers plastered all over it) and lights a cigarette.

 

He inhales the tobacco, expels the smoke in one fast breath. “Same.” He blurts out.

 

“Excuse me?”

 

Karma runs a hand through his hair. He knows he really shouldn’t tell Asano this, shouldn’t give him more ammunition for the other to use against him later. But he’s a sucker for self-destruction and he needs it off his chest and Asano will kinda understand right? Similar boat, different steering? Right? Right.

 

“My parents are back. That’s why I’m out here,” He waves his occupied hand around, ash spilling onto his jeans. “Despite my delinquent reputation, I don’t smoke for the fun of it. Only when…they’re back.”

 

“I never said that.” Asano fires back but there’s no venom in his voice. “Do they visit often?”

 

“Court mandated,” God. He’s gonna regret tell him this in the morning. “To make sure that I don’t get taken into custody and that they still get child benefits.”

 

Asano takes a drag again, this time spluttering a little bit. The cigarette is almost burning his fingers at this point; he doesn’t react. “They sound like they suck.”

 

Karma hums. “Yeah.”

 

Asano lets his cigarette burn all the way through, lets the hot ash rest between his fingers before brushing it off. Neither of them say anything about it.

 

“See you later.” He says before walking off into the night, the thick darkness devouring him one more. Karma gives him a short-wave goodbye.

 

Neither of them ever mention it.