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Unnecessary socialization was something Rei Sakuma avoided at all costs. Turning down offers became a breeze once people caught the signal. He would always say no, and exceptions were few. Little people knew about how he spends his free time, though some assume that he simply sleeps away his days much like his little brother. Others, however, spread rumors of how he could be seen frequenting alone through the city with only, what it seems to be, window shopping on his mind.

Yet a select few in his closest friend groupーNo, not the one that everyone assumed they were a part ofー knew how he truly spent his days. Alone and free of any responsability.

 

The warm, humid air of the nearby ocean was the first thing Rei noted as he caught up to his friend. It was no later than 10 in the afternoon, the earlier crowd long poured out of the beach as small fires were silenced by the gentle ocean waves. It was unusually hot this day even as the sun slowly hid from existence. It made Rei slightly regret agreeing to the blond’s plans, though not entirely. Kaoru always mentioned enjoying the beach scene, even if the self-proclaimed vampire was highly against anything to do with the outdoors. Hell, he hated even going outside, so why did he choose to do this again?

‘Right,’ he thought to himself, letting a sigh slip through his lips, ‘I needed to do something this month since I refused to go anywhere last month.’ All Rei wanted to do was to walk back to his house, back to his room and back to the safety and comfort of his own bed. But, of course, things had to be done, and this was way overdue. Even Kaoru started bugging him about going out, even for half an hour.

It must’ve looked weird to anyone who wasn’t him.

Rei scanned the beach in front of him before finding the small blond standing in front of the ocean in his line of vision. ‘I can barely see shit.’ He will save that remark for the next day, where he will explain in detail why he should never go out again.

“I’m going to trip and fall on a sharp rock, I swear,” Rei complained loudly, trying to fight with the waves for the other’s attention. It seemed to have worked as Kaoru turned around to meet his frustrated gaze. He thought he saw a smile. Not one of those smiles that he puts for Lives or for complete strangers, but one that Rei had the honour to see. It was a flicker at most, but a sight is a sight. Rei felt a sense of validation.

“There’s not even large rocks around here, you’re fine.” Kaoru took a few steps away hesitantly from the ocean, then he made his way towards him. Rei could only sigh dramatically and cross his arms.

It was warm outside, enough to sink into your pores and to suffocate you, but it never seemed enough.

“Why am I out here again? We could’ve stayed inside somewhere. Somewhere cool. Iー” An idea flashed through the idol’s head and his voice lowered instinctively. “Do not tell me we are skinnydipping. At least warn me in advance.”

“WaitーWhat? No? I...actually didn’t think you would come. I was waiting for you to call it off last minute.” He laughed nervously, rubbing the back of his head.

Rei could only answer with an “oh,” before his eyes wandered off towards the rolling waves. The bubbles it left behind slowly popped one by one. He could only grit his teeth in response to the sudden awkwardness he created.

Leaving seemed like an appropriate option.

“...It’s fine though. We could maybe, walk? On the beach?” Kaoru regretted saying that exact phrase. It sounded like it came out of some corny romance movie. Or a bad dating profile. Isn’t humor popular these days? “ーOr something like that.”

The waves sounded louder than ever. From a distance, the sea salt smelt sweet and welcoming and the air could never feel more softer. Rei laughed at his friend’s cliché sounding phrase, bringing his hand in front of his mouth and the other to his chest to compose himself.

“Yeah,” he smiled in between laughs, “that sounds good.”