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Playing Gentleman

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They study the puddle together. This small pond has probably sunken plenty of feet just before Retsuko and Haida had stumbled upon it. Oh, dear… The pretty red panda quickly looks for a solution for this annoying obstacle but unfortunately, Haida beats her to it. One moment he’s standing beside her and the next, he simply is removing his hoodie and dropping it onto the nuisance of a rain puddle.

A shocked Retsuko’s mouth hangs open almost comically.

“Haida,” she exclaims. “What’re you doing?!”

The gangly beanstalk of a hyena stands tall, his back against her. His ears perk curiously and all at once, he looks over his shoulder as she gives him a questioning frown that is about to breakdown and cry. Last month, The Cure was in town—a famous band from England in the eighties—and Haida had saved two to three paychecks just to grab a couple of tickets for Retsuko and himself. To think he actually had a little money left over to purchase some merchandise after the show…

He stiffens, sweatdropping a little. He digs into his brain, hoping to come up with an answer that isn’t so high-and-mighty, too “white-knightish” of today’s standards, but is suddenly distracted by the swaying of Retsuko’s striped tail. Haida has never admitted to her that he’d like to imagine himself as a cat and have a weird habit of pawing at it. If Fenneko ever found out, it would be the death of him.

“Haida?”

B-but that’s his favorite hoodie… how could he ruin it for… me? We could have easily walked around the puddle without any trouble…

A whine.

Shit, caught in the act. Keep it cool.

“Retsuko, I-I only wanted to…”

His voice cracks. Another whine from his throat unleashes itself. Retsuko nibbles at her bottom lip as she eyes the soaked clothing, feeling awful to see Robert Smith’s face crumble beneath the plummeting rain. In yet, with an inaudible sigh, she decides to walk across the drenched hoodie, careful not to crush Robert’s dainty pale face underneath her boots. She already feels bad enough.

Once their feet were safe from the depths of saturation, Haida quickly slings the shirt over a fuzzy bare arm. He stops momentarily to look at her. Retsuko’s on her tippy-toes, doing all she can to keep him sheltered from the rain with her umbrella. Her smile’s genuine.

“Thank you, Haida.”

She buries her face into his stomach, blushing a rosy red.

“That was very sweet of you… I was just worried for your hoodie… that’s all.”

He has a smile to match her own.

“It’s no trouble, really,” he says kindly, nuzzling her head with much needed affection. “It’s been needing a visit to the washer, anyway.”

Retsuko squeaks and embraces him all over again.

“Love you,” she chirps.

“Love you,” Haida returns dotingly.

To his sweetheart's obliviousness, Haida's tail wags all the way home.