The only warning Kiku got was a five second fizzle noise that sounded like it came from three stories down before he was plunged into an icy hell.
"Alfred-san? Is it just me, or did it suddenly get colder in here?" he asked Alfred, who was eating a burrito the size of Kiku's forearm.
"Huh? Naw. It must have been your imagination!" And with that Alfred returned to his dinner, of no longer use.
Kiku mentally frowned, but let's it go for the time being.
The cause behind the recent chill turned out to be the busted heater.
"Shoot," he murmured. And then he remembered that he's all alone on the tenth story of the apartment, far away from any living or recording thing. "Shit."
He couldn't tell what's physically wrong with the heater but whenever he got near it the sound it made was like something straight out of his horror movies so with a sigh and a strengthened resolve he turned back to hide under his covers for the rest of the night. Perhaps if he just waited, whatever is wrong will sort itself out?
A week had passed before Alfred had noticed and the problem had most definitely not. Sorted. Itself. Out.
"Achoo!" Alfred sneezed and shivered under the covers with half-frozen Kiku. "I-i-i-i-is it just m-m-m-me or is it re-e-e-eally cold in here?"
Kiku nodded but the movement was so short Alfred missed it.
"A-a-a-are you still alive-e-e-e there, babe?"
Another small nod.
Alfred touched Kiku's shoulder and jumped. "Holy shit! You're-e like ice!"
Kiku turned to look at him, slow and creaky as a rusted robot. "It's. Fine. Alfred. San."
"Oh my holy cheeseburger batman! We need to get you warm, stat!" Alfred yelled, hauling Kiku over his shoulder before kicking the front door open.
Kiku could've cried.
"So, the heater's broken?"
Kiku nodded. The two of them were in their neighbor Feliks and Natalia's room, swaddled with pink blankets and torn scarves.
Alfred grinned and rolled his shirt sleeves up. (Then rolled them down with a curse as cold air hit his bare arms.) "Why didn't ya say so? Don't worry, I'll get it fixed in a jiffy, honey pie!"
The look Kiku sent him could only be described as pure, unadulterated love, the kind you see on American starlets on the big screen as they lean in for a big kiss. In fact, Alfred was tempted. So very tempted. But the last time he tried to surprise Kiku he missed getting impaled by a tanto by millimeters plus Kiku's lips were starting to turn a deep tyrain purple, so Alfred hugged him instead before leaping for the heater with a battle cry.
"This is for Kiku!"
Alfred withered under Kiku's gaze. Well, not that Kiku was out right glaring at him, or anything. But Alfred could read Kiku's thoughts! They were just that close. The particular look Kiku had on his face read loud and clear, "You fucked up again didn't you. Oh well. I simply cannot trust such a tall, handsome, and blond man to do anything competent."
Okay, okay. Maybe not the fucked up part. Kiku didn't like to curse. But everything else was 100% totes the truth, which is why Alfred flinched when Kiku got up, shrugging off the blankets.
"Alright. I shall try to fix the heater. I have made many Kamen Rider figurines and mini robots. How hard could it be?" Kiku walked towards the door and put his hand on the door knob. "Alfred-san..."
"Go Kiku! I know you can do it!" Alfred cheered, embracing him quick for two seconds.
Kiku hesitated, but opened the door and walked to the dreaded machine nonetheless.
Alfred ran into the room to see Kiku on the ground, covered in black oil and various tools.
"Kiku!" Alfred ran to his side and grabbed his hand. "What happened?"
"The machine was... Too strong... I apologize—"
"No! Kiku! This wasn't supposed to happen!" Tears beaded at the corners of Alfred's eyes.
Kiku closed his eyes and smiled. "I wished... Too spend some more time with you... Oh well..."
"No!" Alfred choked on a sob when he felt Kiku's grip go limp. "I love you..."
A long suffering sigh. "I shall call the landlord tonight, after dinner."
"Leftover pasta with rice?"
Kiku felt like dying. No, like committing sepukku all over his fresh sheets, watching his insides spill over the cheap cotton and glisten under the moonlight. Like jumping off the nearest cliff after kissing Alfred one last time, feeling the wind whip around his face and watching the ground rush up to catch him. Like a small rat was gnawing inside his stomach, searching for his way out with disturbing fervor. Like his heart was climbing up his spine and lodging itself in his throat, blocking all words and breath and thought from escaping. Like his brain was sucked into one of Alfred's numerous Seen on TV vacuums, never to be seen again because they were such cheap quality.
The sleek metallic plastic of the phone looked pure, untouched, but when Kiku reached for it he could see the frightened expression on his face and gripped the phone with more force than necessary.
The numbers he punched in were a blur. He couldn't remember the landlord's number but his fingers moved over the keypad with no stutter.
The dial tone was like the elevator music on the ride to hell. It crackled in his ears and with each pause Kiku sucked in a shaky breath.
"Hello?" A gruff voice interrupted one of the rings and Kiku froze. Every cell in his body stood stock still, from his blood to his neuron to his every last skin cell.
He swallowed; the sound was audible, ringing through his ears.
"H-hi. This is room 143B?" The words tumbled out, clear with only a slight tremble. Achievement unlocked.
"Oh. Yeah. Is this Kiku? How are you?" The landlord's voice smoothed out, had a reassuring tone to it, but Kiku was still frozen.
"So, what do you need?"
Cold sweat rolled down his face. "I..."
His heart thudded deep in his rib cage, each beat feeling close enough to break bone and skin.
Kiku took a deep breath and summoned up the little courage he had left. "Never mind. I apologize for bothering you."
The phone was on the hook before he knew it and he sighed, deep and long.
Alfred peeked his head around the corner. "Kiku?"
Alfred smiled and walked over, putting a hand on Kiku's shoulder. "Hey. Don't push yourself, okay?"
"But it was my duty, and I failed--"
"No biggie!" The smile on Alfred's face was blinding even more so than usual. "I can handle it. I'm your boyfriend, let me help!"
Kiku felt himself melt. He moved to rest his head on Alfred's chest, and said with a voice muffled by a Kirby print t-shirt, "I love you, Alfred."
Alfred did a quiet fist pump with one hand as he stroked Kiku's back with the other. Fuck yes.
Alfred called the landlord and within two hours the heater was fixed.
"It was a little crack in the wiring. Nothing big," the landlord said, shrugging as he got up. "You guys must have been freezing while waiting, huh?"
The wry smiles he got back in return were baffling.
"It wasn't that bad, was it Alfred-san?"
"Nope! Thanks again Dorin!"
"Thank you very much, Dorin-san."
"Uh. You’re welcome." The landlord walked out the door scratching his head. “Although I could’ve sworn I heard screaming a couple days ago. Meh. Whatever.”