❤ Information

And if I listen I can hear you through the radio
In that bright white noise
What I been missing in my life, what I been dreaming of
You'll be that girl, you'll be that girl, you'll be

Everything you want so let me get up there
I'm the baddest baby in the atmosphere
Tell me what you want so we can do just what you like

- YOU MAKE ME FEEL (Cobra Starship ft. Sabi)
roro66: (contemplative)
[personal profile] roro66
Title: Orange is a Warm Color
Fandom: High School Star Musical
Prompt: Sweater Weather (Card #2)
Medium: Fic
Size: 2096
Rating: G
Warnings: None.
Summary/Preview: Kyoji becomes a hero after rescuing a kitten from the park lake, but he shies away from the limelight and runs headfirst into Itsuki, who's walking a dog for some neighbors of his. Applauding his heroism, Itsuki invites Kyoji back to his place for dry clothes and something warm to drink.
Notes: None.

"Finally," breathes Kyoji with a little smile, "it's autumn."

With excitement bounding in his chest, Kyoji pulls on his running shoes and finishes up his stretches before heading out the door of his dorm room. It really is the perfect day for the start of autumn; the air is cool and crisp, the sky's a little cloudy, and dry leaves scrape along the ground in tiny whirlwinds with the breeze.

Kyoji stretches his arms high above his head and inhales deeply, exhaling in one big rush afterward. "Perfect."

Grinning, he breaks into a full sprint across the courtyard and down the steps. Wind whistles past him as he jogs along the sidewalk, taking a few spare seconds to glimpse the vivid scenery whizzing by. It's the weekend so there are more people out than he'd like to have on a morning run, but the weather makes up for it tenfold. His route takes him further into the heart of the city until he happens upon a park that he frequents during his jogs.

"Maru!"

Kyoji slows and glances to his left, towards the lake at the center of the park, when he hears the distressed cry of a child.

"Somebody, anybody, help!"

Setting his lips into a tight grimace, Kyoji climbs downhill until he spots a boy onshore of about eight or nine years of age, crying as if he were only half that age. As Kyoji walks over to ask what's wrong, he hears another cry.

That of a cat's, coming from the lake, and he turns with a slight gasp.

"I-I can't swim," blubbers the boy beside him, tugging on his pants. "Please, help him!"

Kyoji removes his shoes and claps the boy's shoulder, bidding him, "Stay here." Gulping, he wades into the water and almost tenses up completely from the temperature of it. It only gets deeper as he nears the kitten splashing around, but it never quite reaches past his mouth. Just as the kitten starts to disappear below the water's surface, he reaches out and clumsily catches it with one hand. Little mewls and sniffles shudder against him as he holds the kitten close and wades back to shore...where a small crowd has gathered.

Great.

"Here," he murmurs to the boy, handing him the kitten. "Get him someplace warm and dry so he doesn't get sick."

The boy nuzzles his wet kitten's head and beams up at Kyoji, nodding. "Thank you, mister!"

Kyoji retrieves his shoes and weaves through the little gathering of onlookers, avoiding questions and responding to congratulations with small nods as he hurries along. Now he wishes he wouldn't have jogged so far into town; he's soaking wet and chilled to the bone.

"Akatsuki?"

Either the Gods smile upon him or he's the unluckiest guy in the world because there stands one of his fellow classmates and council members, all wide-eyed as he looks Kyoji over. A large dog sits patiently near his feet on a leash, too.

"Well, what?" Kyoji mutters and sniffs.

"You tell me, Mr. Hero," Itsuki replies with a warm smile. "That was quite a show you put on."

Sighing, Kyoji runs a hand through his wet hair and deadpans, "It was nice seeing you, too, but I have to get out of these wet clothes." As he starts to walk past Itsuki, he's stopped when the other man grabs his wrist.

"The school is too far, right? You'll catch a cold," he adds and gently coaxes Kyoji into rejoining him. "My place is close, just a block or so away, so you're welcome to dry off there. I'll make some tea, too."

Kyoji flashes a skeptical glance in his direction and relaxes some. "All right, then. If you really feel like it."

Itsuki smiles and gestures for him to follow. "I have to drop off my neighbor's dog first, but they live next door. I'll just give you the keys and you can go inside first, okay?"

Nodding slowly, Kyoji takes the keys from his classmate and follows him up the street into some high-end condominium complex. He sneezes suddenly and starts up the stairs to the number Itsuki directed him to, until he spots Itsuki across the street.

His neighbors are an elderly couple, a man with a slightly hunched posture and a woman leaning heavily on a metal walker. The look on the woman's face as she greets her dog is like that of the boy's when he was reunited with his kitten. Smiling a little, Kyoji unlocks the door and steps inside.

"Whoa."

For a guy as flamboyant as Itsuki is, his condo is modestly decorated, thinks Kyoji as he stamps his feet on the mat in the entryway and lays his shoes down. The hardwood floor beneath his bare feet is frigid and prompts shivers along every nerve ending as he steps off the mat.

"Cold?"

His heart almost stops and he whips his head around to look over his shoulder. "That was fast..."

Itsuki just offers him a vague smile and closes the front door behind him. "There's carpeting in the rest of the condo, you'll be glad to know. This way." He walks up a short flight of steps and the lush carpet greets Kyoji's feet like the softest thing ever. "Wait here, okay?"

With Itsuki gone again, Kyoji indulges his curiosity and surveys the room around him. It looks more like a room that Itsuki's twin would be comfortable in because of all the books lining shelves on the wall, the elegant glass sculpture, and the vase filled with irises on the coffee table. Maybe Itsuki had more in common with Tsubasa than Kyoji realized?

"Over here."

Kyoji turns and gapes at his host. "Oh, yeah. C-Coming."

The bathroom is just as conservative s the rest of the condo with a color scheme of ivory and soft lavender. A change of clothes lies folded atop the toilet seat and a few towels rest on the counter near the sink.

"Just come out whenever you're ready. I'll whip up some tea," says Itsuki as he closes the door. "You prefer herbal tea, right?"

"Yeah," calls Kyoji through the door to him in reply, taking a second glance at the clothes provided for him. "Those definitely won't fit..."

Regardless of politeness, Kyoji is cold and wet, so he's left with no other choice. He shimmies out of his clothes and towels off, surprised at how soft the towel feels against his skin. His breath hitches as he brings it to dry his neck off; it smells like Itsuki.

"Of course it does," he chides himself with a slight blush coloring his cheeks. "He probably washed it with the same detergent and fabric softener as the rest of his clothes."

The lounge pants Itsuki provided are easily adjustable around the waist, but they drag around the bottoms of his feet so he settle for cuffing them at the bottom. His eye twitches when he takes the sweater from the toilet seat next.

"Oh, this is hilarious..." he grumbles and pulls it over his head. Frowning at himself in the mirror, he waves his arms around a few times to watch the sleeves flop over his hands. "It is warm, so I guess that's the important thing."

Warm and festive, it's a burnt orange in color and clings to Kyoji's body like a blanket. He warms almost instantly after stepping out of the bathroom in it (and Itsuki's lavender-scented detergent also helps to put him at ease about wearing the other man's clothing.) The smell of herbal tea guides him to the kitchen where Itsuki sits at the island waiting for him.

"Oh," he murmurs and stares wide-eyed at his friend for a few moments.

Kyoji takes a seat and flinches beneath his gaze. "What? Does it look that bad on me?"

"No, no! I meant no offense, Akatsuki." Itsuki waves his hands around and smiles sheepishly. "You just...Ah, how to say it?"

"Just spit it out," adds Kyoji with a huff.

"I didn't expect you to look so cute in my clothes," answers Itsuki in point blank fashion. Color tinges his face as he laughs again and shrugs. "Maybe it's because they're a bit big for you?"

Kyoji's lips slant into one long, thin, and lopsided line. "A bit? You're almost twenty centimeters taller than me."

"Tea?" Itsuki suddenly offers, pushing a cup across the counter towards Kyoji. "Sorry for bringing up your height, but I personally consider it one of your charm points."

"I wasn't aware I possessed any charm," Kyoji mutters after a sip of tea, "but I'll take it as a compliment."

Itsuki blinks a few times. "Well then, you're welcome."

"Why do you have that ridiculous look on your face?" Kyoji asks with one eyebrow raised as he lifts his cup again. His heart pounds beneath the weight of that stare but he refuses to let it show. "Well?"

"It's just strange," Itsuki says thoughtfully with his chin resting in the palm of his hand. "You and I never got along well after I split from the team, but now...It's like we're back in Tsukigami-senpai's class again."

Kyoji clicks his tongue. "It's not my fault you were so damn bent on blowing the school's reputation and guidelines out of proportion for the sake of showing off to Hiiragi-kun." He drains his cup and places it onto the counter again with a deep breath. "We just don't see things eye-to-eye is all."

"I am sorry for putting you through what I did because of my troubles with Tsubasa," apologizes Itsuki, every word of it heartfelt judging from his expression. "I've also discovered that you and I can get along, quiet well I must say, if we're working together and not competing against one another; I have enough vision and creativity for both of us combined, and you keep me grounded as far as what's doable and technical."

"Are you saying we should work together more often?" Kyoji is the one wide-eyed now. "I...I'm not opposed to the idea myself..."

Leaning across the counter, Itsuki touches Kyoji's hand. "I'm suggesting that we repair our friendship." His smile sends a warm shudder trickling down Kyoji's spine. "You're a good friend, Kyoji, I know that for a fact. We both made mistakes this past year and I think it's time we move on."

Kyoji stands on the proverbial edge again and he sighs a little, his voice trembling. "It's been a long time since you left Team Tsukigami. It was hard on everyone...especially Hiiragi-kun."

"Tsubasa and I have already made amends, and Yuzu-chan and Sazanami have forgiven me, too." Itsuki takes Kyoji's hand in his and rises from his stool. "You're the one this impacted the most and I'm sorry for hurting you the way I did."

"I only acted in the best interests of Hiiragi-kun and the school," Kyoji starts slowly, "and I was abrasive about it, but I saw no other alternative when dealing with you. I did what I thought was necessary." Sighing again, he hazards a glance down at the hands holding his. "I can't hold your leaving the team against you forever, though. That doesn't make any sense."

Itsuki's eyes light up. "So...you forgive me?"

Lifting his head, Kyoji mutters, "I forgive you."

Eyes tearing up, Itsuki cheers loudly and almost leaps across the counter as he embraces Kyoji in an awkward hug (much like the one he graced Kyoji with at the New Year's festival.) He lingers for a moment, grinning and ruffling Kyoji's short, spiky hair through his fingers until the euphoria exits his system completely.

"Thank you, Akatsuki." He pulls back and beams down at his friend. "I needed that."

Kyoji feels the static electricity run throughout his body and mumbles, "Did you have to hug me and muss up my hair like that? I'm wearing a sweater." His lip twitches as Itsuki tilts his head at a questioning angle. "Ugh. Static electricity..."

"Oh...Um, sorry?"

A little jolt sizzles through Kyoji's foot as he makes contact with the metal leg of his stool. "Do me a favor and think about what you're doing beforehand, okay? That includes what flies out of your mouth." He points and pouts. "Even after all these years, you're still an unpredictable mess."

"That's why I need you to keep me in line!" chirps Itsuki, stepping around to Kyoji's side of the counter and lean on him. "Right?"

Shaking his head, Kyoji smiles a little this time. "Someone has to."
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