Yuki wakes up to find that his bed has been (quite literally) covered with red rose petals. To say he finds this strange and, to be perfectly honest, a little frightening is an understatement – he doesn’t have anything against roses, really, but one has to admit that a bed full of rose petals is a tad, well, inconvenient.
“Toko-san,” he begins after greeting her good morning, “do you have any idea why there are roses all over my bed?” She shakes her head back and forth quickly. Almost too quickly, Yuki thinks. “Are you sure?” he prompts.
“Of course I’m sure!” Toko says. “Why on earth would I know anything about flowers in your bed, Yuki-chan? Don’t be ridiculous!”
“Well, if you’re sure…”
“Yes! I already said that, didn’t I? I’m more than sure! I know nothing!”
Tsukumo enters the dining room at exactly that moment. He backtracks a bit when he sees Toko’s red face.
“Um,” he says. “Yuki, did you notice the petals in your hair?”
Yuki quickly raises a hand and feels around the back of his head, brushing them onto the carpet. “Thank you, Tsukumo-san,” Yuki says. “You wouldn’t happen to know anything about the roses in my bed, would you?”
Tsukumo stares at him blankly.
“I thought not,” Yuki responds. He turns to face Toko, whose face is turning an even darker red than the rose petals. “Are you all right? You’re sort of...not breathing, Toko-san.”
“I’m fine,” Toko manages to wheeze out. “It’s just getting rather hot in here, isn’t it?”
“Fuyutoki has the air conditioning on,” Tsukumo says.
“Oh,” says Toko. “Thanks, that will help cool things down. I guess.”
“It’s been on since last night, I don’t know why you’re…”
“Well, this has been lovely,” Toko interrupts. “I’m just going to go for a walk now. See you both later!”
Yuki starts to say that she hasn’t even eaten breakfast yet as she runs out the door, but Tsukumo grabs his hand and shakes his head. “Best to let her go,” he advises. “She’s been weird and squirrelly for a couple of days now.”
“Is she okay?”
“She’s fine, Yuki-kun,” Tsukumo reassures him. “I’m sure she just has something on her mind that she feels strange talking about with us. If it’s important, she’ll come to us eventually.”
Yuki nods. “Okay. If you’re sure.”
Tsukumo smiles at him. “Perfectly sure.”
“WHY DO I HAVE TO BE AWAKE AT THIS UNGODLY HOUR, SHUSEI. IT’S VACATION.”
“Hotsuma’s awake,” they say in tandem.
“They’re gone,” Yuki announces to the room. Hotsuma continues tapping away on the game controller; Shusei turns a page of the novel he’s reading.
“What’s gone?” Shusei asks without looking up from his book.
“The rose petals,” Yuki says. “They were still there when I left my room this morning for breakfast, but the room is completely clean now. Like, cleaner than normal, too.”
“Yes, it’s a real trial for your room to be clean,” says Hotsuma, his tone simultaneously distracted and condescending. “Why are you so freaked out about this? So you woke up with rose petals everywhere – could’ve been worse. Could’ve been snakes.”
Shusei glares at him. “Thank you, Hotsuma, for giving us perspective on the situation,” he replies. Hotsuma shrugs. “Yuki,” Shusei continues, “if you’re really worried about the rose petals appearing again, one of us could always keep watch tonight. Just to see who’s doing it, of course.”
“You better not be volunteering me,” Hotsuma says. “Tonight that brat Kuroto and I have a score to settle.”
“No one has to keep watch,” Yuki quickly assures them. “I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for them being there this morning. I just can’t think of it right now.”
Shusei eyes him briefly before nodding. “Very well. If you change your mind, let me know, and Hotsuma will take care of it.”
Yuki finds himself a book to read and heads out into the garden. The afternoon is warm and slightly muggy, but he feels too tempted by the bright day to spend all of it trapped inside. He finds a perfect spot beneath a red maple and lays down in its shade.
He manages about fifty pages before giving into the overwhelming desire to nap in the summer heat. “Can’t hurt,” he says to himself barely above a whisper. “I don’t think anything is going on at the house that I need to be present for, anyway.”
Yuki wakes up what feels like days later. The heat has become almost oppressive, and the sun has shifted so that its rays are beaming down directly on him.
“Ugh, bad idea,” he says. “Bad, bad idea, Yuki.”
He sits up – and immediately his jaw drops. Red rose petals have been strewn all around him in a perfect outline of his body.
“Okay,” Yuki says, “this is...not what I was expecting. At all.”
“Toko-san,” Yuki begins.
“Oh, no,” Toko groans. “Can you please not ask me what you’re about to ask me? I’ve been sworn to secrecy! I can’t tell you anything!”
“Seriously, my lips are sealed! I know nothing! You’ll never get the truth from me until I’ve been released from my sacred bond of silence! Stop interrogating me, Yuki-chan, you’re relentless!”
“I told you, NO! Yuki-chan, I really can’t say anything, OKAY, FINE WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW?”
Yuki blinks. “I – I just wanted to know if you’d like an ice cream,” he says.
“Oh,” Toko says. “I – sure. I’d love an ice cream!”
“Wait, wait,” he interrupts, “what were you talking about?”
Yuki stares at her. She crumples like the proverbial flan in a cupboard.
“Zess-san,” she sighs.
Yuki continues to stare at her. Toko scowls. “Go talk to him if you want to know where the rose petals are coming from!” she exclaims.
He holds out the bowl of ice cream he’d put together for her. She takes it graciously.
“Thank you, Yuki-chan,” she says. “This is very nice of you.”
“Anytime,” he says.
He finds Luka hiding in the library. Yuki decides that he’s “hiding” because of the way he jumps when Yuki approaches him.
“Um,” Yuki starts. “Hello, Luka.”
“Erm. Toko-chan told me that you could explain the rose petals that were in my bed when I woke up this morning.”
Luka starts to visibly sweat.
“And also the roses that were around me when I woke up from my nap outside in the garden.”
A very interesting combination of white and red fills Luka’s face.
Yuki waits. Luka opens and closes his mouth as if to say something multiple times. Yuki continues to wait.
“Luka?” he prompts.
“I put them there!” Luka says suddenly.
“You – you put them there?”
Yuki blinks. “You...put them there? You – why...” Suddenly a light turns on in Yuki’s head. “Luka,” he says, “were you trying to give me flowers?”
Luka nods, his eyes downcast.
“Luka,” Yuki says. Luka looks up at him.
Yuki holds out his hand and opens up the fist. Resting in his palm are two entwined rose petals.