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Together, Bounding Through Time

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It was close to freezing outside and Souji didn’t know how he did it, but this orange tabby seemed more than content to purr and roll around on the icy Dojima residence driveway, butting its whiskered face into his gloved fingers over and over with exuberance and in complete disregard of the windchill. The rest of the clouter that Souji could spot between the grates of the gate were huddled all around Dojima’s car, each limb tucked carefully beneath their furry bodies and eyeing the duo with yellow-eyed glints of suspicion, as most cats tended to.

Souji didn’t mind the judgment. Meanwhile, the orange tabby sprung from the ground on its front quarters, ramming its muzzle into his glove again. Its purr was the loudest sound around on this early New Years morning. Souji was going to have to remember to bring him out some holiday food since it had been too cold to fish for several weeks.

“Yo, partner!”

Souji looked up and into the glare of sunrise to see the details of his friend’s form slowly begin to reveal themselves as he approached. He looked about as cold as expected, but cheerful. Souji was glad he wouldn’t have to tell Yosuke to zip up today; he always felt so lame when he did, even though Yosuke always extended an appreciative smile to answer the nagging.

“Good morning,” he greeted. “Happy New Year’s, Yosuke.”

Yosuke let out a funny little laugh when he spotted what Souji was doing on the ground. “Good morning. Happy New Year’s, yourself.” He let out a relieved sigh as he squatted to sit down next to them. “Looks like he’s happy for the New Year.”

Yosuke extended his decidedly not-gloved hand to the tabby’s curious nose. Souji heard the smooth, warm tone in his chuckle when the cat gave Yosuke’s fingers the same attention Souji’s gloved ones had been getting and felt a smile spread into his cheeks.

The cat rubbed at his hand insistently and allowed Yosuke’s fingers to travel over his back towards his rump for a scratch, his tail extending skyward as high as it had ever been. While his friend was distracted, Souji took a second to notice the way the new year’s light filtered through the ends of his thick, chestnut hair, set the pale glow in his skin apart from the light so it appeared as porcelain in the delicate shade.

Yosuke had let his guard drop around Souji a lot since he’d met him - an incredible amount - but it was rare that Souji caught him in such a peaceful setting. No worry appeared between his well-worn brow, no frown lines or a tense, troubled expression. He was happy, Souji concluded. And he was here, on this quiet New Year’s morning, to share it with him.

Well, him and this tabby.

“You wanna take a walk?”

Souji glanced up from the exposed belly of the tabby that he was scratching to Yosuke’s eyes, bright as the sun and beautiful. Distantly, he wondered if this was the year he’d have the courage to tell him something like that. It was a New Year, after all.

“Sure.”