They expect by now that their time together will always follow the same formula.
The night starts out as usual, but at some point there is someone who beelines after Fumi with overzealous interest that does not extend any deeper than superficial attraction. Unfortunately, despite Fumi's ability to shutdown such approaches, something about her words fail to register in their brains and the incessant pushing to stay in the conversation continues. With each obnoxious statement, her body presses against Makoto and that is the only cue Makoto needs to step in.
Quickly, her hands gently guide Fumi along to stand on the other side of her as she politely yet sternly dismisses the conversation. Of course, it doesn't take much more than that paired with a bit of a severe expression to end the badgering. Fumi finds she rather likes the way Makoto looks so unabashedly suave in that instance.
It's after the fact that Fumi holds onto Makoto's arm as they leave the establishment and Makoto tries her best to ignore the warmth welling within her chest.
"Had your fill of fun, I assume?"
"Mm, I'm not sure if that was fun necessarily, but I did appreciate you saving me from a headache."
"W-well-" Makoto stumbles over appropriate words as Fumi moves to hold her hand in hers instead.
"When it's not you, it's Otome who has to step in. I can't imagine what I would do otherwise."
Makoto wants to pull her hand away, feeling exceedingly hot all of a sudden from the contact.
"... Toss your drink in their face?"
"See, this is why I have to have someone more... reasonable with me so I don't get thrown out again. Ugh, they're just so irritating though, can you blame me?"
Makoto laughs, "I will admit that it's very tempting in the moment."
"You get it."
Her hand squeezes Makoto's at that and Makoto nervously smiles at her. It's always like this. Fumi's fingers intertwined with hers and yet Makoto remains unable to ever return the firm hold. Somehow it feels like Fumi's hand is squeezing at her heart instead, in a way that is near gut-wrenching.
And yet, she feigns obliviousness all the way back to her residence while entertaining Fumi's idle rambling about this and that.
It's decided by now that Fumi will spend the night and it is nothing noteworthy. However, Makoto cannot help entertaining the idea of what it would be like were they to actually be anything more than just friends, if they did more than just hold hands with marked restraint. As soon as the thought enters her mind though, she immediately dismisses it and distracts herself with getting changed.
"I don't really understand the appeal."
"Me. I'm not exactly anything special, but I guess there's something I'm not aware of."
"Not that this garners being aggressively hit on, but you are very..." Makoto mulls over the right words to use, "Noticeable? As far as being pretty goes."
This makes Fumi blush, seated on the couch in her borrowed pjs. "Well, it's different hearing it from you than anyone else..."
Makoto refrains from questioning why that is and climbs into bed. "Mm, I do mean it though. It's too bad they don't get the opportunity to experience the entirety of you."
"Heh, that's implying that the whole me is pleasant to be around."
"Well, I enjoy being with you."
"One of the odd few."
Fumi smiles wryly at this, before a bit of a tired sigh escapes her as the memory comes to mind again. At least, there was Makoto with her cool composure and strong voice and her firm yet delicate touch-
She comes to a sudden stand and swiftly heads to the other side of the bed as they were long past the initial game of "who's sleeping where" and it was more often than not a pain to even bother trying to argue against not sharing the bed.
They share their good nights as Makoto switches off the lamp, both rigidly sticking to their side of the bed until sleep overtakes them.
The next morning is as usual and the rest of the time plays out as it normally does until they reach the grand finale of coffee at the nearby cafe with some idle chatter as time winds down to when Fumi does have to scoot over to the station. Something about knowing there was not enough time to do everything together makes them both all too aware of just how much time they were spending not doing anything of particular importance. So they continue sipping slowly at their coffee, inwardly fretting over everything they could have done.
"Ah, I forgot that I wanted to take you to this one place..."
"I wonder how long it'll be until next time..."
"Not that long. At least, not any more than a couple months anyway."
"A couple months... I'll make sure to have something else interesting planned by then."
There are words Fumi wants to say about how every time is interesting regardless of whatever plan is in store, but she decides against it and just smiles in amusement at Makoto. "Don't you say that every time?"
Soon enough, they leave the coffee shop next to the station and Makoto quickly buys herself a ticket to wait with her at the platform.
"You know, you don't always have to see me off all the way..." Fumi expects Makoto to wave it off, but she feels like saying it all the same.
"It's worth it to make sure nothing goes wrong."
"What could go wrong?"
Makoto pauses. "I'm not sure."
"Hmmmm," Fumi wonders what Makoto might have imagined at one point, but also considers it might just be an excuse to extend their time together as well. "Such cheap insurance on me."
"When you say it like that..."
Fumi playfully grins at her as Makoto fakes a sigh.
They go down the steps and join the rest of the crowd in waiting for the train. It doesn't take long for it to arrive and release a new wave of people out of its doors and for another bunch to file in.
Their partings are always done with stiff reluctance as they know they will see each other again and yet neither wants to really leave the other either. Fumi moves to take her bag from Makoto finally and Makoto feels like she should say something of importance to her, but words fail her and she just watches as Fumi says, "Thanks for having me, Sakocchi."
"Anytime," Makoto's hands feeling entirely too empty all of a sudden.
There is never a monumental goodbye or anything. It's not as though they will be apart forever after all, but even so... Fumi wonders what it might be like to indulge in some kind of sentimental movie moment for once. Staring at Makoto on the platform, she can easily imagine hugging her ever so tightly, sneaking a light kiss in upon her collar and stating something definite for once.
And with a single blink, it's gone.
Of course, Makoto wonders the same thing. Not only now, but every time.
But now all she can do is smile at her from the platform and wave and wait for the next time she comes back to do it all over again.
To do it all over again without ever making those imaginations true.
"Hey, Sakocchi," Fumi says from the door, perhaps a bit too abruptly as she does not follow up with anything further right after the words exit her mouth. Truthfully, she regrets calling out to her now as it means she has to commit to her simple yet forward thought.
Makoto snaps out of her daydreaming with a confused, "Hm?"
"Um, h-how about... next weekend?"
Makoto stares blankly at her.
"What if I come again next weekend?" Fumi asks with more confidence this time and the words finally seem to sink in for Makoto.
"O-Oh! Y-Yeah!" Makoto flounders over the idea and looks a bit embarrassed by her own explicit eagerness, "If that's not too much trouble, of course."
"I'm the one asking you," Fumi is amused and it quells Makoto's nervous energy for a moment.
There's silence between them and it feels uncomfortably heavy despite the excitement over the prospect of the next weekend. There's something more to be said and they both know it, but it's too much to attempt at this moment as they continue to gaze silently at each other. It's not awkward in the sense of feeling uncomfortable by not knowing how to say goodbye, but because they both know how they want to say goodbye and yet cannot.
"I-I'll call you," Makoto sputters out as the announcement for the train's departure begins.
It's not anything different than what she usually says, but it's definitely much more panicked than usual. She's not sure why she feels that way, but there's a tug at her heart that begs her to do something now. Unfortunately, her mind does not concede and she just repeats it again, but it's not loud enough for anyone but herself to hear.
Before she knows it, the doors close and Fumi grabs hold of the bar next to the door. She keeps a smile on her face as Makoto gestures that she will call and Fumi finds it silly how determined Makoto is to get this across to her despite the many times they have had this exchange before.
"I know you will," Fumi says to herself quietly, raising her hand to wave goodbye at her again.
The train starts to move and Fumi tries to peer from an angle that keeps Makoto in view for just a second longer as it pulls away. Soon the scenery zips by and Fumi is left thinking about Makoto waving at her.
About how next weekend will be the same thing at the same places with all the same subdued, friendly affections.
About how she will feel the same way boarding the same train with Makoto frantically struggling to do something as much as Fumi herself struggles to not do anything.
The entire idea is absurd and Fumi feels frustrated by their own predictability, but it's not as though the opportunity is never there for her to take. There is comfort, after all, in the assumption of there always being a next time.
Perhaps, next weekend.
Perhaps, the time after that.
She hopes Makoto will not ever tire of her fingers gently grasping at hers because she remains unable to ever articulate the feeling shared within that single touch, but Fumi is also aware that eventually they will run out of next times and the complacency with which they continue to exist beside each other like this, despite that knowledge, becomes all the more painful.
The thought proves to be too much and Fumi goes back to focusing solely on the present. It already feels like much too long of a wait, but also the moment Friday comes around, she knows she will feel uncertain of her decision to commit to seeing her so soon; to committing to the act of never acting and continuing their mutual, careful dancing around chance after untaken chance, only to silently ruminate over one another much too deeply during moments like these as they forget the steps to their own routine.
With that, the week passes by as quickly as the scenery does on the train and now it's Friday and they are both at the same platform again to greet each other as they always do.
Yet they do not ever tire of it, of each other, of the playful dialogue and the casual outings and the words left unspoken with each rush of heat that comes as fingers brush casually against one another; and so they fall back comfortably into their cycle once more.
But for a moment, maybe, it will be different.