It’s becoming a habit, this. Their footsteps echo in the empty stairwell--loud, but not enough to cover the distant sounds of classmates and teachers. It’s a wonder no one has commented on their absence of late, and to keep the peace they should really stop. But when do they find the chance to be alone, after this? At the mansion there are other distractions and obligations--training, friends, seemingly endless list of things to do. In the protection of others they lose time to themselves, and here, at least, they are alone.
He’s not aware of slowing down until the tug on his arm, fingers tightening around his own. Hotsuma raises an eyebrow, irritation not yet creeping in but it won’t be long. Shusei smiles and resumes a faster pace, takes two steps at a time until they come to a stop before the metal door.
It should be locked, but this is hardly their first time. Hotsuma twists the handle and places his other palm flat above it; a rough shove opens it with a screech. Experience tells them no-one will notice and investigate, but they both look around anyway.
It’s warm out; October turning the leaves yellow and orange without bringing the biting wind just yet. Shusei unbuttons his uniform jacket and spreads it on the ground to save his trousers, whilst Hotsuma just snorts and sits with his legs stretched out in front of him, loose and relaxed. Their arms touch and Shusei smiles, a little smugly perhaps, when Hotsuma comes even closer, slides his arm through Shusei’s and tangles their fingers. He almost can’t remember when they started to fall into this pattern. One moment touches like these were unthinkable, the next, a reality--so smooth the transition Shusei has to think hard to pinpoint it.
He doesn’t linger on it for very long; he never does. It doesn’t really matter now anyway. Not when he can so easily just lean over and tilt his head, fits their lips together like they belong, and kiss Hotsuma, gently, chastely. It’s difficult to believe, unless one sees it for oneself, the quietness that exudes from Hotsuma in these moments. Shusei treasures them--treasures the way Hotsuma’s lashes flicker against the tops of his cheeks, trembling as if he’s been caught dreaming, and the way he just waits, lips parted and breath soft.
If Shusei ever comes to doubt the worth of stealing away like this (though he never will, he knows), this sight would assure him. This sight, and the knowledge that this is his, and his only. Hotsuma would never allow another hand to slide across his shoulder and cup the back of his neck, tangle in the too-long hair there. He’d yell and bellow before allowing another person to press lips to the line of his jaw, taste the bitterness of tea lingering at the corner of is mouth, and coax his lips open to feel the hot, wet slide of an open kiss.
Shusei abandons his jacket, kneels forward to get as close to Hotsuma as he can, savouring the moment. Before long they’ll have to leave, and will have to fight, think about duties. Shusei would like to slow down time to a trickle, give them all the peace in the world, all the quiet in the world. But then he thinks perhaps it’s all right, after all, for this to not be forever. Because before long Hotsuma will open his eyes and burn brightly, fierce and bold as he always should be. And Shusei will be right beside him, just as bright, and just as fierce in his dedication. It wouldn’t be a separation, or an ending, not really.
Shusei sighs into the space between them. He smiles against Hotsuma’s cheek.