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Strawberry Serenade

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Eichi dangles his arm over the window sill, the other propping his chin up to watch Wataru bob up and down outside in that balloon he's so fond of.

"Are you sure it's all right for you to have the window open, Eichi?" Wataru asks, voice booming as usual like a mask over his words. "There's no chance you'll catch a cold?"

"Oh, it's fine," Eichi waves his hand dismissively. "It's warm out, after all."

Wataru beams at him. "Excellent! So then I may continue to serenade His Majesty with songs of love and Amazing without worry!"

"Serenade me, huh?" Eichi laughs. "So that's what this is about, then. How lovely."

Eichi tends to use the same tone for praise as he does criticism, and discerning whether or not he’s being sarcastic can be a daunting task for those not equipped to tackle it. Wataru's been equipped since day one, though.

"You couldn't tell?" Wataru lowers the balloon slowly, a dramatic frown painting itself across his face. "Well, then it comes as only more of a wonderful surprise now that I've made my intentions clear, yes?" Eichi wonders if it's possible for Wataru to be negative for longer than ten seconds.

"Well, you haven't sung anything, after all," Eichi points out in his very serious Wataru and I aren't being serious at all but we like to pretend we are voice.

"Hmm, I haven't, have I!" Wataru exclaims, as though it's a striking realization and not something he'd planned well in advance. "How embarrassing! To come before the Emperor without a song and claim a serenade!"

He bows his head so deep the length of his hair droops below the bottom of the balloon's basket.

"Stop, how are you even doing that?" Eichi giggles. "Are your bones made of jelly?"

Wataru springs back up with a literal snap! that Eichi can't ascertain the source of, standing straight as a soldier. "Rainbow jelly, no less!"

"How appropriate." Eichi reaches out and Wataru moves closer so Eichi can brush a few strands of long hair behind his ear. "God, Wataru, you're so pretty, you know?"

"Am I?" Wataru grins, his teeth so white that Eichi wonders if they're even real. "I am humbled to receive such praise from His Majesty!"

Eichi pauses. He pulls his arm back, short-circuiting over Wataru’s words. 

"You know," he murmurs after a moment. "I'd really rather you not call me the Emperor anymore."

Wataru studies his face. "If that's your preference, then of course," he says, though usually when it's just the two of them fooling around Eichi doesn't mind the nickname. "Then... Eichi?"

"Eichi," he breathes, nods slightly. Keito and Wataru are the only people he can be like this with and not have to explain.

"Well, Eichi!" Wataru announces, lowering to what Eichi can tell is one knee within the balloon and extending his hand like a prince asking a lady to dance. "Might this jester attempt a serenade, as your good friend, Wataru Hibiki?"

Eichi nods, pleased with the wording, though he's unsure if in this context the jester comment is meant seriously or not. "I'd like that."

Wataru rises again, and his expression is so soft it catches Eichi off-guard, violet eyes and dark lashes transfixing him in a gaze like a warm breeze in summer instead of the stark, sparkling ice Eichi associates him with. He's about to blurt out something embarrassing when Wataru's finger touches his lips to silence him. Eichi feels his cheeks turn strawberry, and the realization that he's turned strawberry turns him scarlet.

Wataru pulls his hand back, still watching Eichi closely, then splays his fingers across his chest the way he always does in his private performances, when he knows Eichi's watching from someplace not too distant like the starstruck fan he still is.

And he sings.