It had been kind of a tradition between them, one of the many that grew from the start of their childhood.
Chie squinted, looking inside her bag with a raised brow as she calculated the lollipop to chocolate ratio. She wasn't all that big on lollipops anyways, especially when the ones sold at Junes came in all sorts of gross flavors like butterscotch and cantaloupe. To her displeasure (and questionable math deductions) there must have been at least four mystery-flavored lollies to every single decent-looking candy bar. She stuck out her tongue, shaking the bag as if she could make the candies multiply with enough force and aggression.
"Man, what's the deal? This has got to be like the worst haul of candy ever."
Yukiko's lips twitched as they passed the Samegawa flood plains together, hand loosely entwined with Chie's before she took a glimpse at her own bag. To be honest, she didn't have much of a sweet tooth but she knew how important Halloween was to Chie. They had been trick-or-treating together since they were little girls, often with Muku at their heels to bark excitedly at every bell they rang. If it was a simple walk around town with a bag of candy that brought that bright, achingly warm smile to her best friend's face, then Yukiko would do it for as long as her feet could carry her. She half shrugged, looking at Chie with an amused expression before tilting her bag towards her so the other girl could take a look.
"You can have some of mine, if you want. I shouldn't be eating this much candy anyways."
Besides, she was pretty sure her diet said something about steering clear of fattening calories and sugars but she held her tongue, knowing Chie never liked hearing about that. She did have a tendency though, of reminding her that her body-type was just fine thank you, and who was the moron who said she needed a diet anyway?
Sometimes she chose to bring it up, just to feel the rush of warmth from Chie standing up for her. It was nice to be reminded that she was liked the way she was: black hair, pale skin, questionable cooking skills, weird laughter and all. It was a bit of a guilty pleasure, one she tried not to indulge too often. She smiled to herself when Chie brushed closer to inspect the contents of her bag. With her free hand, she rummaged inside, mumbling some indistinguishable words and noises before her eyebrows knit, a soft whine leaving her lips.
"…I swear, Yukiko, you always get more chocolate than me. What's the big secret, huh? Think I'd get more goods if I got Muku to whip out some puppy-dog eyes next year?"
She laughed at that. "Maybe. Although I think it'd probably take a lot of training to teach him how to do that on command." She playfully squeezes her hold on Chie's fingers just the slightest and enjoys the immediate, reassuring grip that Chie provides. She leads them to their usual spot, on the bench under the gazebo, and tucks her knees closer when she feels an autumn wind pass by. The flood plains are empty and she remembers her father suggesting earlier that she bring a warmer cardigan or scarf. She also remembers her quick dismissal of it as she rushed out of the house, realizing she had kept Chie waiting longer than their arranged time. Thinking on it now, it probably wasn't the smartest decision she made for the day. Chie scoots closer, her own legs brushing against Yukiko's before she plucks a chocolate out of her bag and swiftly pops it into her mouth.
She chews thoughfully and Yukiko watches as she licks her lips to pick up a small stain of chocolate. The sun was setting, and the change of seasons felt close with the start of shorter days and longer nights. Yukiko leaned firmly into the back of the bench, barely suppressing a shiver as another brisk wind passed by. Chie must have felt it though, because she leaned even closer, practically attaching herself to Yukiko's side as a miniature human heater.
She smartly chose to wear a long-sleeve shirt under her usual green jacket and she ditched the school shorts for an older pair of jeans. The bear ears she had on her head as a lame, last-minute Halloween costume completed the look and Yukiko was immediately reminded that she was on the same boat, and probably just as ridiculous-looking. Although instead of brown, fuzzy bear ears she opted for… a more elegant pair of bunny ears. Tinged pink at the bottom and fluffy white at the top, she could practically feel the judging stares as she and Chie made their trek around town. Still, if there was at least one day of the year where she was allowed to look like a fool, it was today. And frankly, she didn't give a damn if people thought she was being silly. She had every other day of the year to be serious and dutiful after all.
"Cold? I knew you should have listened to your old man when he told you to dress warmer. What's the point of hitting the jackpot in chocolate if your stuffed nose is gonna stop you from even tasting them properly?"
Her tone is playful but Yukiko hears the undercurrent of concern and she's somewhat embarrassed, knowing that really, there is no good excuse for her lack of dress. She had stuck to her most familiar outfit, wearing a thin shirt with a deep burgundy cardigan that she was fond of and a slightly longer skirt. Her knees were covered by the nylons she wore to school but she could barely feel them anymore and they provided little comfort against the dropping temperature. There was a faint rustling and a loss of physical contact when Chie unlaced their hands (a loss Yukiko noted immediately) to pull at the zipper of her jacket. It was off in a quick second, revealing the warm, double-layered grey long-sleeve she chose for the evening. Yukiko blinked slowly, staring at the offered green jacket before Chie shook it lamely.
"…come on, Yukiko. You really think I'm gonna let you catch a cold? You wont be able to enjoy steak at Aiya's tomorrow when we meet everyone, and even I'm not that cruel."
There's a wry smile at that and Yukiko is briefly tempted to keep her waiting for just a bit longer--since the faint blush against Chie's cheeks is honestly kind of endearing. Still, she takes the jacket when she feels the tremor of another shiver down her spine and slips into it quickly (and with as much grace as her freezing limbs would allow.) The smell of Chie fills her nose as she zips it to the very top, and the collar brushes against her chin. She is a bit taller than Chie and her bust is a bit bigger too, so it clings to her more tightly than it does on the other girl, but she finds she doesn't mind. It's hardly uncomfortable. She smiles again and hopes that the flush on her own face isn't as noticeable as she's imagining. She takes the time to absorb the smells: the faint scent of grassy fields (probably from training in the morning), a shampoo scent nestled in the folds, and the faint smell of laundry detergent. Lavender, maybe.
"Thank you, Chie."
The other girls blush seemed to be spreading to her ears. "Yeah, well..." She finishes lamely and the two of them smile stupidly at each other for a moment longer before Yukiko boldly laces their fingers again, leaning her head slightly on Chie's shoulder. It's a little awkward since she must have at least three inches over her best friend but she can feel Chie straightening up, as if to try and compensate for the difference in height.
The bags of candy lay forgotten at their feet while Yukiko tugs their twined hands into the warm pocket of Chie's jacket, and there they stay for a while longer, looking over Inaba as the evening clouds roll in and spread over the skies.
Yukiko didn't really have much of a sweet tooth. She figured that in days time, she'd probably end up sharing the candy with young guests at the Inn, or maybe even with Chie during lunch when she subtly (or not so subtly) asked if she had any left. Still, she supposed it wasn't really the candy she looked forward to every year.
The simple comfort of her best friend, the presence of someone so strong and caring, and the warmth of a green jacket seemed just enough these days.
It was nice to feel that for once, things in life could be so simple.