By the third time Uri goes missing, Gokudera has a clear idea of where to start his search. Once is a coincidence, twice looks like a pattern, and contrary to the apparent evidence of the scratches up and down his arms and across his cheek, there are some aspects of his cat that he understands perfectly.
He still stalls. He checks his room, first, the training space, even the laundry room, but his search is half-hearted; it’s hard to put any effort into it when he knows he’s looking in the wrong places. It’s all for the sake of deniability, so he can say he did look elsewhere by the time he makes it to Yamamoto’s door and pushes it open without knocking.
Yamamoto is sitting cross-legged on the bed, all his attention engaged on the purring kitten curled in his lap. He glances up as Gokudera steps in, flashes a smile that has nothing of apology and everything of unabashed delight in it.
“You have my cat,” Gokudera says, before Yamamoto can say his name with the warm pleasure that makes it sound like something magical.
Yamamoto looks down, like he has to be reminded that he’s scratching gently just behind Uri’s ear. “Yeah.” He shifts his hand, ruffles the fur across Uri’s shoulders instead, and Uri twists, rolls over onto his back so his paws are flexing gently in the air. Neither of them move as Gokudera comes closer, although Yamamoto starts to shift sideways as Gokudera moves to sit. It’s only a momentary attempt before Gokudera slides deliberately closer, presses his leg against Yamamoto’s knee; then the other boy relaxes again, lets his shoulder tip in sideways so it’s brushing against Gokudera’s. Gokudera thinks Yamamoto might be staring at him but he doesn’t look up to be sure; it’s satisfaction enough, for the moment, to have the warm resistance of the other boy’s body pressing sideways against his.
“I don’t understand why he likes you so much,” Gokudera complains. Even Uri’s usual distaste for Gokudera’s touch is absent; he can risk brushing his fingers against the impossible softness of the fur across Uri’s stomach, doesn’t even get a hiss for his efforts.
Yamamoto’s laugh is very close, so near the exhale ruffles Gokudera’s hair and the sound trembles down his spine. “You just have to be patient.”
“I am patient,” Gokudera snaps. His wrist is bumping the inside of Yamamoto’s leg, catching friction off the inside seam of the other boy’s jeans. He can feel the low rumble of Uri’s purr under his fingertips, warming his skin like it’s catching contagious into his own blood.
“He just gets scared,” Yamamoto says. Gokudera refrains from pointing out the red marks on his skin from this supposed ‘fright,’ because he thinks Yamamoto might be leaning in closer, thinks the other boy’s hand might be sliding in behind him. He doesn’t look up, but he does lean his weight back, tips his shoulders until he brushes against the diagonal of Yamamoto’s arm across his spine. Yamamoto presses in closer, dips his head until his forehead is touching Gokudera’s hair as he keeps speaking. “I just wait for him to come to me.”
“Hey,” Gokudera protests, though the word comes out robbed of its edge by the shivering warm running under his skin. “Don’t make this about me.”
“Huh?” Yamamoto sounds legitimately confused, that way that makes him sound believably sincere. “I was talking about Uri.”
“Yeah, sure,” Gokudera starts, but then he makes the mistake of turning his head so he can try to read Yamamoto’s expression. The other boy barely draws back as he turns, so Gokudera only has a moment to parse the innocent gold in his eyes before his thoughts are entirely derailed by the soft curve of Yamamoto’s mouth, the shadow on his parted lips as he takes a breath.
“Gokudera?” Yamamoto asks. His voice is clear, without a trace of shaking under it, but Gokudera’s name comes out soft at the edges, almost a whisper in consideration of how close they are.
Gokudera opens his mouth to answer, takes a breath while he’s waiting for words to come. He hesitates for a moment, stalling for coherency; then Yamamoto’s eyelashes flutter, an inescapable tell for the other boy looking at Gokudera’s mouth, and Gokudera decides he doesn’t need words after all. Yamamoto shuts his eyes in anticipation as Gokudera leans in to breathe against his mouth, hums a sigh of pleasure just as their lips fit together. The arm at Gokudera’s back presses in closer, slides up so Yamamoto can fit the angle of his elbow around Gokudera’s shoulders; the support steadies Gokudera’s balance, frees his hand to catch at the back of Yamamoto’s neck and tug the other boy in closer to him. Uri offers protest to the movement in the form of a hiss and digging his claws into the back of Gokudera’s stilled wrist, but Gokudera doesn’t do more than flinch, and Yamamoto laughs against his mouth before he resumes the careful movement of his fingers against Uri’s fur and soothes the momentary aggression away.
It all blends together after a moment, the rumble of Uri purring against Gokudera’s fingertips and the hum of Yamamoto’s delighted laughter against his mouth. All Gokudera’s skin is flushing warm with pleasure, the careful friction against his lips so unhurried he can taste a promised future in the motion, and it doesn’t really matter if Yamamoto was teasing him or sincerely unaware of the parallels in his statement, because Uri's not the only one who adores Yamamoto’s presence.