Again, louder, “Tsumugi-senpai.”
If it weren’t for the sound of Natsume’s boots clacking across puddles and pavement, Tsumugi never would’ve heard him over the rain, quickly turning around to meet their soured expression. Immediately, he is covered from ever persistent raindrops with an umbrella, though this does not hide the fact that he is already drenched, water dripping from his hair and clinging to the lenses of his glasses. Natsume looks less than impressed.
“Ah, Natsume-kun,” Tsumugi says pleasantly, as though he wasn’t being bombarded with rain just a second ago. “What are you doing out? I was just on the way to the agency’s office,” he smiles, easing the umbrella from Natsume’s fingers so they won’t have to stretch their arm. He was the taller between the two of them, after all.
“On your day Off ? In the Rain? ” Natsume scoffs, crossing his arms. Their voice carries none of the gentleness that Tsumugi’s does, all scorn and judgement, but he reaches up to take off his glasses, carefully wiping the lenses with the hem of his sweater, and Tsumugi supposes he can forgive them (not like he wouldn’t have regardless). “Honestly, Tsumugi-senpai, what would you have done if I hadn’t Shown Up? Gotten a Cold? Died from hypothermia, right at your Desk?”
“I forgot my umbrella,” Tsumugi justifies, weakly, knowing Natsume won’t be satisfied no matter what he says. He keeps his smile, though, unable to feel anything but fondness for his boyfriend, especially when they look so lovely, Natsume’s red hair bright in the dull backdrop of the rain. He’s dressed rather nicely, in his usual signature turtleneck with a dark coat and matching pants, all shades of gray. With Switch having been free today, Natsume has all his piercings in, subtle flashes of gold and silver across his face that compliment their eyes. Tsumugi leans down so Natsume can push his glasses back onto his nose, letting out a grateful hum as they adjust them. He couldn’t deny him anything, even if he tried.
“You didn’t answer my question,” Tsumugi says, huddling closer to Natsume to avoid the water dripping down the umbrella, or perhaps just to be closer to him.
“I had a get-together with Shu nii-san and some of the Others,” Natsume replies as their hand snakes its way into Tsumugi’s free one, intertwining their fingers. They start walking again, Tsumugi leading the way as he listens carefully. “I didn’t expect to run into You, just a happy Coincidence,” Natsume shrugs nonchalantly.
“Happy?” Tsumugi raises his eyebrows, a teasing lilt to his voice, “Does that mean you’re excited to see me?” Natsume glares at him, and Tsumugi shuts his mouth immediately, but his lips are still curled in an amused grin.
“Don’t exaggerate, Senpai,” Natsume rolls his eyes, but their thumb rubs the back of Tsumugi’s hand gently. Tsumugi doesn’t miss the small smile that graces Natsume’s face.
The rest of the walk is in peaceful silence, save the soft pitter-patter of the rain hitting the umbrella. When they arrive at the agency’s floor it’s fairly empty, as is typical for the weekend, save for the members of Knights having a meeting (Leo waves furiously through the conference room window) and a couple of producers. Tsumugi settles at his desk and pulls off his coat, Natsume standing across from him.
“Are you gonna head back home?” Tsumugi asks, hanging his coat over his chair. He glances at the window, noticing how the rain picks up, then back at Natsume who’s pulled up a chair on the opposite side of his desk. Tsumugi raises his eyebrows quizzically.
“I suppose Not,” Natsume sighs, watching the rain idly, leaning against their hand, “The walk would be troublesome in this Weather, and I have nothing better to do Anyway.”
Tsumugi can’t hide his grin. It wouldn’t be the first time Natsume stayed with him at work, but each time it meant just as much to him. He leans over, pressing a kiss to their temple, and murmurs, “I’ll make us some coffee,” before heading to the breakroom.
By the time he comes back with two cups of coffee, Natsume’s made himself comfortable, coat draped over their crossed legs. He’s being nosy, flipping through the paperwork on Tsumugi’s desk, but he doesn’t see a point in trying to keep anything from them. He watches them for a moment, noting their eyebrows raised in interest, and smiles to himself warmly.
Sitting at his desk, Tsumugi hands Natsume a mug and he takes it without looking up, cradling it in their hands. “You have more work than Usual,” they mumble, taking an absentminded sip, “Is that why you came in?”
“Ah, I guess,” Tsumugi shrugs, leaning back in his chair, “Running a company while being an active idol can be rather strenuous, I thought I’d space out the work to make it easier for myself.”
Natsume scowls, frowning at him over the rim of his mug. “You shouldn’t have to come in on your day off to do That,” he nudges at Tsumugi’s shoe underneath the desk as some sort of reprimand. He nudges back, but ultimately ignores them, going instead to sort through the paperwork.
“You’re assigned far too much Work, Tsumugi-senpai,” Natsume continues to grumble, drumming his fingers on the desk rhythmically to match the rain, “Don’t the higher ups know you have other Priorities?” Tsumugi nods along without much thought, figuring they’ll burn themselves out, until, “You belong to Switch before you belong to NewDi, You know.”
“Belong?” Tsumugi echoes, looking up and tilting his head curiously. Natsume nods curtly in confirmation. “To Switch or to you?” Tsumugi asks, chuckling.
Natsume smirks at him. “You made a promise, didn’t You?” their fingers trail playfully along the desk, brushing over Tsumugi’s, “Until death do us part.”
Underneath Natsume’s mischievous, golden gaze, Tsumugi is powerless, so he nods in placid agreement, smiling, “Until death do us part.”
He doesn’t get as much work done as he’d like. Natsume is distracting, playing footsies with him under the desk, nudging him teasingly with their fingers, and starting meaningless conversations about Sora, his nii-sans, whatever. Tsumugi doesn’t mind though, and once he’s finished working he feels lighter than when the day started. The rain has stopped by then, but they still walk to their apartment hand in hand, standing shoulder to shoulder. If it means more days like these, Tsumugi silently hopes the rain doesn’t stop for a while.
“It is so damn Hot ,” Natsume hisses for the umpteenth time, pushing his sunglasses further up his nose in exasperation. He's sitting in their umbrella’s shade, wearing only a pair of swim trunks, but that doesn't seem to be enough, evident by the disgusted look on their face. Tsumugi hides his amusement, opting instead to give them a sympathetic smile as he sits down next to him on the sand.
Sora wanted to go to the beach, and Natsume, being Natsume, could never say no to him, so there they were, at the beach on a particularly hot summer day. Sora is absolutely ecstatic, splashing around delightedly in the water, and Tsumugi doesn't particularly mind, grateful for the time to unwind, although his partner doesn't seem necessarily pleased with this development.
“You could cool down in the water,” Tsumugi suggests gently, reaching over to brush Natsume’s bangs out of his face. They don't swat his hand away, so Tsumugi indulges himself, going to tuck a couple strands of silver and red hair behind the shell of their ear.
Natsume scowls. “I don’t Swim,” he mutters, meaning they can’t swim, taking an indignant swig of his lemonade. Tsumugi laughs, propping himself on his elbow to look at Natsume better, admiring the way the sun outlines his face and shines on his red lashes. Really, it’s such a shame that Natsume is having such a horrible time, because the summer weather compliments them so well. Perhaps the heat is getting to him, but in a moment of boldness, Tsumugi moves closer, pressing a kiss to Natsume’s temple, then their cheek.
“It’s hot , Senpai,” Natsume murmurs yet again, but he leans in to his touch regardless, slender fingers finding their way to intertwine with his own. They lay there for a couple of moments, Tsumugi pressing chaste kisses to the side of Natsume’s face as he sighs in subtle appreciation, until a call beckons them from the water.
“Shisho!” Sora’s voice rings from a distance, and when Tsumugi looks up he’s waving erratically from the shore, “Senpai! Are you going to come in the water?”
Tsumugi grins, waves back, and calls, “I’ll be there!” before casting a glance at Natsume. His lips are pressed into a thin line, eyebrows furrowed. Even with their sunglasses on, Tsumugi can see the gears turning in Natsume’s head as he decides on disappointing their beloved Sora or risking putting themselves in water.
“You don't have to swim,” Tsumugi laughs, leans over to brush another reassuring kiss over his cheek, “Just stand in the water, up to your knees.” Natsume doesn't seem convinced until Tsumugi adds, “For Sora,” in which they abruptly stand up, hands on their hips.
“Come On,” Natsume huffs, bravely marching forward from his spot under the shade, then turns around to look at Tsumugi over the edges of his sunglasses. “You don't have to Coddle me, Senpai,” they chide before whipping around, head high in the air.
Tsumugi smiles innocently and nods, trotting after them. He knows Natsume well enough by now, knows that he'd rather die than let himself be loved, cared for. Tsumugi won't let that happen, though.
“Shisho, Senpai!” Sora chirps once they arrive, laughing excitedly, splashing up a storm as he scurries around the shore. Natsume stands at the water’s edge, the waves lapping gently at his ankles, but Tsumugi notices his uncertainty, the tenseness in their shoulders and in their folded hands.
Sora, ever the empath, tilts his head as Tsumugi comes up to meet them, gazing at Natsume curiously. “What’s wrong, Shisho?” he asks, “Don’t you want to cool off?”
“Natsume’s a little scared of the water, Sora-kun,” Tsumugi explains, unable to bite back a small chuckle, and Natsume looks daggers at him.
“I-I’m fine,” They protest, waving their hands dismissively. His cheeks are red, but if Tsumugi asks, they’ll attribute it to the heat, so he doesn’t. “Tsumugi’s overreacting, as he does. I’ve just…” Natsume trails off, seemingly having run out of excuses.
“It’s okay, Shisho, you don’t have to swim!” Sora beams encouragingly, seeing right through Natsume’s act, “Look, it’s not that deep! Watch Sora!” he says, giggling as he heads further in. Once the water’s up to his waist, he waves back at them, signaling for them to join him.
Tsumugi wades into the water, standing in front of Natsume and stretching out his hands with a small smile. “Come on,” he coaxes, “It’s not all that bad.”
“What did I say Earlier?” Natsume grumbles, annoyed, but they take Tsumugi’s hands anyway, allowing him to carefully guide them forward.
Natsume moves slowly, hesitant and overly cautious, but Tsumugi’s always been patient, gently cradling their wrists and murmuring words of encouragement. With each step he takes, Natsume becomes a bit more tense, yelping whenever they step on something foreign, but he seems determined, allowing Tsumugi to pull him into the water until they’re greeted by Sora’s bubbly laughter, cool water brushing against their stomach.
“There we are,” Tsumugi hums, letting go of Natsume’s hands, only for them to grab him again immediately. He gives them a light squeeze, smiling, “It’s refreshing, isn’t it?”
“I Suppose…” Natsume says, unsure. He carefully surveys his surroundings as Sora splashes excitedly around them, when a particular strong wave threatens their balance. They squeak, startled, and fall into Tsumugi’s chest, frantically wrapping their arms around his neck.
Tsumugi laughs fondly and pulls Natsume close. He acts as their anchor, his arm wrapped securely around his waist and a hand on their shoulder. “I’ve got you,” Tsumugi breathes into Natsume’s hair, soft and comforting, and he feels them relax underneath his touch. It tugs at Tsumugi’s heartstrings, leaving a pleasant feeling there.
They stay there for a while, wading through the water, and Natsume doesn’t pry themselves from Tsumugi for one second, even when the waves fall into a slow, mellow roll. It’s an odd feeling, for Tsumugi to be the stable one, not so clumsy or anxious, but he doesn’t mind. He can feel the rumble of Natsume’s laughter in his chest, the cool water against his skin, and he decides the feeling is welcome, a refreshing embrace.
Natsume leans against the arm of the office couch, exasperated, taking a bored sip of the drink he’s long lost interest in. They certainly aren’t the introvert amongst them, especially compared to Tsumugi, but that doesn’t mean they were compelled to enjoy parties, let alone those meant for work. All the people Natsume knows well enough have left, leaving only pompous, money-grubbing idiots like Tenshouin Eichi and…everyone else. Normally, he wouldn’t be caught dead at functions like this—That was Tsumugi’s job, but that’s just the problem, isn’t it? Tsumugi and his big-shot vice president position, which dragged Natsume to company holiday parties as his bored, unlucky boyfriend.
Or perhaps, Natsume thinks woefully, watching Tsumugi over the edge of his glass, he simply wished they’d stayed home instead.
He scowls to himself, glances at the clock, then back at his boyfriend. It’s nearly midnight, and Natsume decides they’re not going to spend the first moments of Christmas Eve moping about New Dimensions’s office floor. Staring Tsumugi down as he carries out a polite conversation with Anzu, they wait until he glances away for just a moment, and takes the chance to flag him down.
Tsumugi excuses himself and makes his way over as Natsume watches with impatient anticipation. It embarrasses them a little, as it’s only been a couple hours, but when Tsumugi greets them with his gentle smile, Natsume feels eager all the same, reaching out to tug at his sleeve and pull him onto the couch.
“Hi,” Tsumugi murmurs gently when he sits down, but it’s quickly swallowed up by Natsume as he presses their lips to his. It takes him by surprise and they feel him jolt beneath their touch, but he reciprocates nonetheless, moving one hand to tuck a strand of hair behind their ear. Natsume can’t help but smile into the kiss.
When they pull away, Tsumugi’s cheeks are flushed, much to Natsume’s delight, and he chuckles bashfully. “Hi,” he says again, playing leisurely with their hair, “Did you miss me?”
“Don’t be Ridiculous, Senpai,” Natsume scoffs as their fingers drift softly over his forearm, contradicting their words. He leans forward, resting his head against Tsumugi’s shoulder, and takes in the smell of his coat, like book pages and coffee. Tsumugi places a hand over his shoulder blade, rubbing it slowly with his thumb, and hums contentedly.
“Aren’t you done Here, Tsumugi-senpai?” Natsume asks after a beat, tugging at the coat’s lapel, “This party has gone on for much Longer than Necessary.”
“Are you asking me or telling me?” Tsumugi asks, looking down to meet Natsume’s gaze. They look up at him, frowning slightly, but don't give a response. They don’t have to.
Tsumugi sighs in quiet defeat, but there’s a smile in his voice when he says, “Whatever you say, Natsume-kun.”
As Tsumugi says his goodbyes, (Natsume probably should've gone with him, but they couldn't stand the thought of exchanging pleasantries with Eichi), Natsume peers through the large, glass windows of the floor, catching the first couple moments of snowfall. The small, white flecks of snow stand out against the dark buildings and the night sky, and he places a hand on the window, almost as if he can reach out and touch them.
Tsumugi comes up behind them, placing warm hands on their shoulders, and it startles Natsume for just a moment until they realize it’s just him, reflexively leaning back against his chest. “Ready to go?” he asks, resting his chin on Natsume’s head, and they nod after taking another moment to watch the snow, mesmerized.
“I should’ve brought Gloves,” Natsume mumbles to himself once they’ve stepped out of the building, rubbing his hands together. While the snow is certainly beautiful, it doesn’t take away the winter chill, and Natsume scowls when it immediately makes his nose sting, breath visible as he exhales.
Tsumugi steps in front of them, taking their hands into his own, and presses a kiss to their knuckles. Natsume’s chest aches, and the burning sensation there may even drown out the cold, especially when Tsumugi says, voice soft and sweet, “Don’t worry, Natsume-kun, I’ll keep you warm.”
Perhaps it’s the weather, or maybe the late hour, or even the holiday season, but Natsume doesn’t follow with a harsh quip, or something about how Tsumugi doesn’t have gloves either. They only nod, face flushed, and allow Tsumugi to pull them close, wrapping a grounding arm around their shoulders.
The walk to their shared apartment is quiet, a peaceful silence, and they both decide to take the more scenic route to admire the snowfall and Christmas decoration. It’s all so cozy, and Natsume briefly wishes Sora was there too, imagining his unadulterated joy at the snow and the colorful shine of the Christmas lights.
“Ah. It’s midnight,” Tsumugi breaks the silence, and Natsume looks up at him curiously, tilting his head. He’s glancing at his watch, then turns towards Natsume with a soft grin, and the snow falling against his dark hair is something quite ethereal. It’s embarrassing, really, the way that Tsumugi makes their heart skip a beat, the way he makes their breath catch in their throat, but at this moment, Natsume can’t bring themselves to care, not when Tsumugi is beaming at them like they were something divine.
“Merry Christmas,” Tsumugi’s voice is barely a whisper when he leans in, breath warm against Natsume’s cheek as he presses a tender kiss underneath his eye. Natsume closes his eyes and steps closer, tilting his head up invitingly when Tsumugi lingers there. If anyone were to ask why he’ll say it’s because of the cold, no matter how painfully obvious his true intentions may be.
“Christmas Eve ,” Natsume corrects him, because what else were they supposed to say? Tell Tsumugi how handsome he was in the lamplight, how it made him melt when he kissed him so gingerly, even in this weather? They couldn’t possibly do that, not in a million years, so instead they push themselves onto their toes and kiss him, sweet and loving in a way that says all the words for them.
When they break apart, Tsumugi’s laughing, and the sound is like honey to Natsume’s ears, dulcet and smooth, so warm it hurts.
“Merry Christmas Eve, then,” he chuckles, but is quickly interrupted by Natsume, who just wants to kiss him again, and again, and again.
They had an argument.
Tsumugi can’t remember why, can’t remember what set Natsume off, (work, maybe? Had Tsumugi forgotten an important date, mentioned Eichi, even?) but he tells himself that it wasn't the first time they had fought and it surely won't be the last. It's a bittersweet thought, the comforting idea that they'd have to make up to have the opportunity to argue again, but also a painful
reminder that Tsumugi would find some other way to screw up, no matter how hard he tries not to.
Sighing heavily, Tsumugi steps out of his apartment building for work, attempting to push any thought of Natsume and whatever quarrel they had to the back of his mind. The sky is cloudy, dull and gloomy and gray, and Tsumugi decides its fitting, because the world doesn't stop spinning when Natsume's angry with him, but it surely loses all its color.
It is true, Tsumugi thinks once he's settled at his desk, that they were prone to arguing. Natsume was always so combative, so quick to jump at any provocation, teeth bared. Tsumugi could barely read a room on his best days, and he’d be lying if he said that he found Natsume any easier to understand. They felt otherworldly to him, so close yet so far, and even after so long, even with his constant efforts to understand them, Tsumugi still comes up short. But Natsume knows that he's trying. That's why they always recover so quickly, always get back up again within moments, ready to try and comprehend one another yet again.
Not this time, Tsumugi reminds himself, miserably. When he’d stepped out of that apartment, Natsume had remained upset, having locked himself in the confines of his room. Even now, as Tsumugi sorts through the paperwork on his desk, he was probably still mad, deciding what he'd do about it when Tsumugi got home.
The heavy, gray clouds stick around throughout his entire shift, but no rain comes. They taunt him, drifting aimlessly with no promise of water, warning Tsumugi that the worst is yet to arrive.
Usually Tsumugi stays late when he can, but the second he has the okay to leave he bolts , having come up with a million reasons for Natsume to break up with him. When he gets to the door his heart is pounding, hands shaking when he pulls out his keys, and he decides to pause, taking a slow, wobbly breath.
He’ll be of no use to Natsume if he’s panicking like this, all jittery and tense. They have gone through worse before, he reminds himself, wars and whatnot. Tsumugi murmurs the familiar words of a promise, “until death do us part,” and swallows the lump in his throat, opening the door after a few terse moments.
There’s an eerie silence when he walks inside, and he starts catastrophizing again, until one of Natsume’s cats ( their cats, he supposes, he’s still not used to calling them that) greets him, rubbing against his legs. It grounds Tsumugi back to reality, because if Natsume were to leave they’d surely take their beloved children with them. He sighs in relief, leaning down to scratch the fluffy, gray cat’s ears. He notices more—the empty mug next to the kitchen sink, the wrinkled blanket on the couch, and the bowl of cat food in the corner. All signs that Natsume had been there recently, and wasn’t planning to leave anytime soon. It calms Tsumugi a little.
Even so, the quiet felt deafening, and it was odd to come home to a lack of sound. No drone of the TV, no Natsume chatting on the phone with Sora or his mother, or the simple, familiar greeting of “welcome home, senpai.” Only the sound of the cat purring softly at his feet, oblivious to the situation at hand.
“Natsume-kun?” Tsumugi calls softly into the stillness. No response. A pit forms in the bottom of his stomach.
Tsumugi knows Natsume well enough to know that they were there , even if they couldn’t hear him or were just too stubborn to answer. Unwavering, (or perhaps wavering a bit, his hands are shaking again) he leaves his shoes and bag at the door, and steps carefully over the cat towards Natsume’s room. He tests the doorknob, half expecting it to be locked, and is rather surprised when it opens with a click. Lo and behold, there’s Natsume, laying on the bed with their other cat dozing peacefully at his feet. Tsumugi’s heartbeat quickens, and he reminds himself that if Natsume wanted to leave, he would’ve already.
“Natsume-kun,” he says again, but his voice comes out smaller than intended, careful and unsure. Natsume responds only with a tiny, acknowledging grunt, shifting a little in his position. Something in Tsumugi aches at seeing him there, curled up on the bed, looking so fragile.
Tsumugi sighs quietly, prays that he isn’t breaking a boundary, and goes to sit down on the edge of the bed. When Natsume doesn’t show any signs of deflecting, he lays down, facing the back of their head, studying the way their red and silver hair spills over the pillow.
“Natsume-kun,” Tsumugi says one more time, and he almost regrets it until Natsume finally speaks, voice barely a whisper.
“What, Senpai?” is all he says, but there’s no malice in his voice. Tsumugi decides it’s progress.
“Look at me,” He’s not sure if he’s allowed to be making demands right now, but does anyway. He adds, delicately, “please?”
A couple moments pass where nothing is said, and Tsumugi thinks he’s really done it now, but Natsume stirs, and he reminds himself for the millionth time to just relax. They turn over to face Tsumugi, and when they make eye contact for just a second before averting their gaze, his heart skips a beat. Their eyes are bloodshot and the hair on their face is damp, sticking to their cheeks. They’d been crying. At this deduction, his own tears threaten to spill, but he swallows them down. Not now.
Tsumugi scoots a bit closer, hesitantly reaches over to push away tear-stained bangs, and when Natsume doesn’t shy from his touch, a wave of relief washes over him. This makes him bolder, just a little more forward, and he takes his hand, pressing kisses over each of his knuckles. A tender, unspoken apology.
“I’m sorry,” Tsumugi murmurs against their skin and Natsume frowns in response.
“Enough,” Natsume rasps, and there’s a moment of panic until, “I wish you’d stop blaming yourself so Readily.” They move closer, carefully running their fingers through Tsumugi’s thick curls, tucking flyaway strands behind his ear, (he can’t believe he thought they were leaving him moments ago) “This was on me, Okay? I blew things out of Proportion.”
Tsumugi doesn’t know how to respond, as all he does know is to apologize, so he just nods, keeping his lips pressed against Natsume’s skin. He can’t say they’re wrong, especially when it was so unlike them to admit they had been, but he’s not one to boast. All Tsumugi has ever wanted is for them to be okay, regardless of who starts what.
Natsume nods too, sealing their mutual agreement to move on, and he huddles close, nuzzling into his chest. Tsumugi feels a weight lift off his shoulders and buries his nose into silky, soft hair. When their cat comes to force its way in the limited space between them, Natsume laughs, and so does Tsumugi. He feels all the tension fall away.
The rain never comes, and the clouds stick around for a couple more days, but through red hair and golden eyes, Tsumugi’s life regains its color. Just like it always does.
Natsume doesn’t mind thunderstorms, generally speaking. He isn’t necessarily an outdoorsy person, and if a storm means staying in with his boyfriend and cats, he’ll even welcome it. But what they do mind, however, is when they’re in the middle of a particularly intense boss fight and the power goes out, plunging them into absolute darkness. Thunder booms outside, followed by a flash of lightning.
Perturbed, Natsume glares into the black void his room has become, hands still wrapped around his controller. They groan, falling back against their bed in annoyance, before fumbling for their phone in the sheets. It’s an hour past midnight, but even worse, his phone’s about to die. Just lovely.
Natsume pushes himself off the mattress and steps carefully around his room towards the door, deciding he’d rather not wait this out on his own. Despite having been dating long before living together, The two had agreed on seperate rooms for times where Natsume needed space, or Tsumugi was too concentrated on his work to acknowledge anything else. Still, it wasn’t uncommon for Natsume to make their way to Tsumugi’s room like they were now, seeking out company or perhaps someone to complain to.
“Is that you, Natsume-kun?” Tsumugi says when he steps inside, and he’s already lighting various candles, proactive as usual. Of course he’d already been awake, slaving away at whatever new assignment his agency’s given him. He greets Natsume with a tranquil smile from his desk, calm in spite of everything as usual.
“Who else could it Be? The cats?” Natsume scoffs in response, shuffling towards the bed to sit on its edge.
Tsumugi steps away from the desk, unbothered by their tone. When he sits next to Natsume, they notice, in awe, that he has yet to change out of his clothes from the day before. “What’s wrong?” he asks, placing a gentle hand on his back.
“It’s not like the Power just went out or Anything,” Natsume says sarcastically, but rests against Tsumugi's shoulder all the same.
It’s far enough from the candles that Natsume can’t see the details of his face, but they can hear the teasing smile in his voice when he asks, snickering, “Are you scared of the dark, Natsume-kun? Is that it?”
“Don’t be Stupid, Senpai,” Natsume snaps, glowering even if Tsumugi can't see it, “I just didn't want to wait—”
Thunder cracks, so loud it may as well shake the damn building. Natsume jolts, practically jumps into Tsumugi's arms, and they yelp , something akin to a puppy getting its tail stepped on. Heat creeps up Natsume’s neck as he claps a hand over his mouth in utter embarrassment, wishing he could charm Tsumugi into forgetting right then and there.
On the other hand, Tsumugi is delighted , laughing as he wraps his arms tighter around Natsume. “Oh, don't you worry, Natsume-chan!” he teases, noses along the hot skin of their cheek, “I’ll protect you from the thunder, ‘kay?” He giggles, sounding absolutely giddy, and punctuates his sentence with a kiss to their nose.
Natsume groans, ignoring the way his face only gets hotter, and (half-heartedly) attempts to shove Tsumugi away to no avail. “Don't call me That,” they grumble, rolling their eyes. It doesn't take long for them to relent, however, leaning into Tsumugi’s touch and allowing him to push them back against the sheets, nuzzling against the curve of their jawline.
“Are you using the Outage as an excuse to Mess around, Senpai?” Natsume chuckles in a change of heart, amused, and runs his fingers through the dark curls of Tsumugi’s hair, “How Unbecoming of You.”
Tsumugi only responds with a pleasant hum, peppering kisses along the side of their face. When he presses a soft, open-mouthed kiss to their neck, Natsume lets out a little gasp. They silently thank whatever god that it's dark enough that Tsumugi can't see the way their face twitches and eyes flutter close, flustered.
Usually he isn't so compliant, not without a round of teasing taunts or jeers, but Tsumugi is soft and sweet, gentle against his skin, and irresistibly so. It’s a little embarrassing, fooling around in the dark like this, Natsume thinks. It reminds them distantly of high school, secret trysts in secret rooms, but they decide they don’t mind, not when Tsumugi kisses the sweet spot below their ear so lovingly. His breath is warm against their skin, and Natsume melts, putty in his hands.
“Come here,” Natsume murmurs, voice hushed and intimate, and the way Tsumugi looks up so readily , always so attentive, makes him ache. Tucking their hand underneath his chin, they pull him into a kiss, desperate to memorize every inch of Tsumugi’s mouth.
Natsume’s hands slide over Tsumugi’s broad shoulders, trail delicately over the nape of his neck, then snake into his shirt collar. If he notices when they pop open a button to brush their fingers over his collarbone, Tsumugi pays no mind to it. He moves for just a moment to kiss the freckle underneath their eye, then refocuses, pressing their lips together once more.
Natsume wouldn’t mind staying like this forever, in the dark, safe and kiss-warmed under Tsumugi’s weight. It’s a nice pressure, firm but familiar, and he shuts his eyes, taking it all in.
Just like that, the air conditioning starts buzzing loudly, startling them both. They jump, awkwardly bumping their heads together with a pained noise, when they’re thrown into the bright, fluorescent lighting of Tsumugi’s lamp. It’s illuminating.
So illuminating, in fact, that Natsume realizes he can see everything. He can see Tsumugi’s flushed face as he stares at him, bright red with a dumbfounded expression. His glasses are lopsided on his face, and he can see the expanse of skin where he opened his collar, and it’s almost too much for Natsume to bear. Almost. Until Tsumugi lifts a hand to wipe his mouth where Natsume had kissed him, and they can’t take it anymore, suddenly remembering why they’d only ever do these things in the dark of Yumenosaki’s library.
Natsume, bashful and stunned like some sort of schoolgirl, unceremoniously shoves his hand into Tsumugi’s face, earning a warbled sort of cry from him. “You are so Humiliating! ” Natsume barks as they frantically scramble out of the bed.
Tsumugi’s at a loss for words, watching him stupidly as he escapes to his bedroom, but by the time he’s in the hallway, Natsume can hear him laughing, loud and clear.
“Natsume-chan, come back! It hasn’t stopped raining yet, you still need my protection!”
“Shut up, Senpai, before I leave you in the rain!”
After a couple of minutes of burying his face in a pillow, Natsume regains his composure, deciding to check if his game progress had been saved. It hasn’t, of course, and they mumble a curse, shoulders slumping in defeat. Natsume spares a glance at the door, and just outside, lightning flashes and thunder cracks, but there’s no one there to hold him this time.
When he makes his way back to Tsumugi’s room, he’s changed into his pajamas, but he’s sitting back at his desk, quick to work like always. He greets Natsume with the same serene smile.
“Welcome back, Natsume-kun,” Tsumugi says, and Natsume doesn’t respond, only collapses onto his bed, burying themself in the familiar scent of Tsumugi’s pillows, still warm from their moment earlier.
Minutes later, when sleep threatens to claim him, Natsume hears the sound of a lamp clicking, and feels a weight on the mattress next to him. Tsumugi’s voice is quiet and light when he murmurs, “Good night, Natsume. I love you.”
They let the rain lull them to sleep, and when lightning strikes outside, Natsume knows they have nothing to worry about in Tsumugi’s arms.