“I hate this haze,” Tora swears as they step out for a break. He immediately regretted his decision as he had forgotten that Shou had told them that the haze is denser this week.
“Well, we used to have trees and greenery to keep the view bearable and breathable,” Nao says, having following Tora out. He hands the taller man his regulator, with his own regulator already attached to his mouth and nose. “Here, at least it can filter the air for us to breathe.”
“Like we haven’t dropped dead from this fucking air yet,” Tora mutters, rolling his eyes. But he still receives the regulator and puts it on. Taking a deep breath, he sighs as he tastes and smells filtered, breathable air. It may suck with that hint of chemicals and whatever is inside the regulator that filters the air outside their base, but it’s way better than getting their lungs damaged and get scolded by Hiroto.
It’s quite a shock when Nao suddenly laughs, which prompted Tora ask him what’s so funny.
“Do you think that it’s funny that I miss fresh air, even though all my life so far, I’ve only breathe filtered air?” Nao smiles towards the distant lands from the base on the mountains, where he remembers that his grandparents told him that lush forests have once existed around here. Funny how nostalgia works, despite having seen a few trees in the greenhouse section of the lab before, Nao has never seen forests that were once said to be rich in green, flowers blooming in so many different colours, the rain not acidic and the dirt once gave so much nourishment for the land.
He feels a pair of strong arms wrapped around him protectively from behind, as Tora kisses the outer shell of his right ear after taking off his regulator to do so.
“Nao-kun, we made it our mission to bring back the biodiversity and life that our grandparents have seen, and we’re not going to fail that, trust me,” Tora murmurs, his voice seeped deep with an unforgettable conviction and struggle that they put themselves upon. At that, Nao smiles, taking off his regulator and gives Tora a kiss on his cheek.
“Yeah, you’re right. Now come on, let’s go back inside before they think that they have to pick our corpses up on the rooftop.”