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Under the ozone

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A steady stream of rain poured down beyond the traditional style veranda.

At first, Kume and Yuzuru had simply gone out to the veranda to see if the drizzle would let up soon so they could carry on with their plan of going to the local Tanabata festival this evening. However, as the rain continued to fall and then grew heavier, it became apparent that the weather had other plans.

“It’s too bad the festival got rained out,” Yuzuru said, not sounding the least bit disappointed as he ran a hand through Kume’s hair.

Kume, who’d tucked his glasses and hat into the corner to lay his head in the man’s lap, let out a deep sigh.

It was clear to Yuzuru that Kume was frustrated at having his plans ruined. Yuzuru didn’t know all the details, but it appeared that he had put a great deal of thought into planning their date.

Recently, Kume had started taking the initiative when it came to their outings together and physical affection. It was a big change from when they’d first started going out and Kume had been more self-conscious and nervous around Yuzuru than ever. It seemed that given some time (and no shortage of stubborn determination on Yuzuru’s part), Kume had grown more comfortable with the idea that Yuzuru did indeed like him and welcomed his affection. It truly warmed Yuzuru’s heart to see the progress they'd made.

“We can go next year, weather permitting,” Yuzuru added, hoping to ease his boyfriend’s gloomy mood as he continued to stroke his head.

“It rained all day last year too,” Kume muttered. “I heard from the librarian that it’s rained on Tanabata as far back as they can remember, but it was looking perfectly sunny until an hour ago.... even the forecast had said there was only a small chance of rain.... it’s like it’s cursed to rain.”

Yuzuru looked down at Kume and hummed. “Really? That’s something.”

“Must be rough for those two, not being able to see each other for years...”

It was an off-hand remark said while venting. Kume likely hadn’t put any thought into it, hadn’t seen the subtle parallel that aspect of the story of Orihime and Hikoboshi created with their past, but that’s exactly where Yuzuru’s mind went.

Yuzuru paused. He went silent for a little and stopped playing with the soft lavender-colored hair between his fingers.

He felt Kume sense the shift in the mood and tense up in his lap. Kume turned his head to look up at Yuzuru, panic in his eyes as he looked like he was desperately searching for something to say to apologize for his remark.

Yuzuru took a deep breath.

“...You’re right. It must be lonely for them to be apart from each other for years, with only memories to remind them of each other,” Yuzuru began and then paused for a moment before continuing in a quieter voice. “And yet still, despite the difficulties of their situation, they still persist and work through it. They love each other that much, or so that’s what I’d like to think.”

Kume quickly sat up and turned to face the brunet. “Matsuoka, I-I —”

Yuzuru stopped him by shaking his head. He didn’t want to hear an apology from his boyfriend, nor would he apologize for how he’d taken those words and what they’d made him reflect on.

It was true that their past held many unpleasant things, and even now there were times that certain old wounds stung, but in the end Yuzuru still cherished the good memories and the time they could spend together thanks to the bizarre circumstances that had given them life again. Yuzuru meant what he had said when he’d been inside his book and still felt the same way now.

Yuzuru reached over and stroked Kume’s cheek. “I love you that much too, Kume.”

Kume hurriedly leaning in to kiss him with enough force to nearly knock them both over was a clear sign to Yuzuru that he felt the same way.