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Tanabata Night

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Utsumi twists, first one arm over her shoulder, then the other round her back, contorting her wrist into what looks like a painful angle. She makes a disgruntled face.

"What are you doing?" This query is met with a glare and Kuribayashi subsides with a grumbled, "I was just asking."

More contortions, this time with a barely vocalized growl. She says, "Something bit me. I'm trying to scratch it; that's what I'm doing."

Kuribayashi opens his mouth into a silent "Ah." He turns away in his chair.

Utsumi growls again, louder, and makes claws of her hands in front of herself when she can't reach the itch. She looks up as Kusanagi drops down beside her chair onto the grass. He reaches over to rummage in the cooler at her feet and pulls out an amber bottle.

"What's wrong?"

"A bug bit me. There's an itch right where I can't reach i--"

"Turn around."

"Huh?"

Kusanagi grins and sets his bottle down. He stirs the air with a downward index finger, gesturing for her to turn. "I'll scratch it for you. Turn around."

"Oh. Okay."

"Where'd Yukawa go?" Kusanagi asks as he scratches between her shoulder-blades. She hunches, involuntarily, when he finds the itch.

"He -- ah, right there -- went to the car for something." She turns around, out of Kusanagi's reach, itch gone. "Thank you."

He just waves a hand at her, then settles back down on the ground, one leg outstretched and the other bent. He picks up his bottle and lets it dangle from his fingers, arm propped on his knee.

"You look relaxed," Utsumi points out, gesturing at the jeans he's wearing.

"It's more comfortable than a suit."

She nods, emphatically.

Kusanagi says, "Let me guess -- he's still wearing one, though."

Utsumi tilts her head to the side, raising her eyebrows. "That's a safe guess."

"You look nice. Oh, hey, Yukawa! There you are." Kusanagi half-rises, but then falls back when Yukawa lifts his hand, as if to say, 'not on my account.'

"Though pink is a rather frivolous color," Yukawa says. He sits down in the chair beside Utsumi.

Utsumi bristles. "It's not frivolous; it's traditional!"

Kusanagi shakes his head with an amused smile and focuses on opening his drink.

Utsumi smooths down the floral-patterned fabric at her lap of her yukata. "If I'm going to be the only woman in this gathering of men, then I'm going to enjoy it the way I want. I wish Jonouchi wasn't out of town. Besides, I wear suits all the time! You and Kusanagi are the oddballs. Even Kuribayashi knows what he's supposed to wear!"

Kuribayashi turns around. "My wife was going to come --"

Utsumi leans forward, raising her eyebrows. "Really? So many times you've talked about her and I've never seen her. Does she really exist?"

Kuribayashi splutters and then turns away, crossing his arms. Utsumi blinks and then winces. The moment to take back her words passes when there's a resounding report, followed by a high-pitched fading whistle, and the sky explodes into a shower of crackling sparkles: red, green, and gold.

"Oh, it's started," Kusanagi helpfully comments.

"Utsumi."

She looks over at the tap to her shoulder, something not a hand, but heavier and rounded. She follows the glimpse of it from the corner of her eye to Yukawa's hand. A can of insect repellant, which he waggles at her, insistent that she take it. "You forgot this was in the car, didn't you?"

She nods. "Yes. Thank you."

There's another pop-and-whistle of forewarning and she looks up in time to see blue sparks form a flower in the sky. She waits until the sparkles have stopped illuminating the lingering shape of smoke before she sprays herself down. The wind, still with a bit of warmth from the day, carries to them the smell of the smoke, heavy with sulphur. She coughs a little at the taste and scent of it combined with the mist of the repellant. It lingers too long to avoid breathing it in. She offers the can to Kusanagi when she's done.

Another firework lights up the sky; a series of rockets that last long enough for her to see Kusanagi handing the repellant to Kuribayashi.

Kusanagi asks Kuribayashi, "Why wasn't your wife able to come?"

"She had to go to her sister. She's sick. My sister-in-law, that is."

That catches Utsumi's attention and she shifts her gaze from the sky to Kuribayashi's face, which is just turning away from a sidelong look at her. She says, "I'm sorry. I didn't know."

That seems to flabbergast him, because he sputters some more, before going quiet for a long moment. Eventually, he clears his throat. "Thank you."

They watch the show for a while. Kusanagi isn't particularly silent at the really good fireworks, whistling with his fingers in his mouth. Even Kuribayashi makes noises of appreciation.

Utsumi doesn't notice that she's nudging Yukawa every time there's one she really likes until he says, tone mild and dry, "You're going to leave a bruise."

"Oh. Sorry." She scoots away a little.

She minds where her hands go, keeping them in her lap until a brilliant violet-red wheel bursts and she exclaims, "Oh, pretty color!"

Yukawa says, "The color is caused by adding rubidium ni --"

Utsumi looks at her hand, her eyes going wide when she realizes she's ended up covering his mouth with it. She lowers it and says, "Please. Just watch the show. I don't need to know what makes the colors." She adds, as she sees him narrow his eyes, "Right now, that is. Maybe later."

Kusanagi chuckles.

"All right," Yukawa concedes.

Utsumi crosses her arms, as a sweep of wind, colder than it was before, like it's about to rain, comes through. She shivers and recrosses her arms, hugging herself until the sensation is gone. Colder weather would be welcome. She smiles when another firework seems to rain stars, and reaches down to get something to drink.