Shougo is sitting at the window seat, watching the falling snow outside.
This is how Shinya, stumbling out of sleep, finds him. The morning is much too early for a Sunday—not to mention in winter—but he woke up, saw the other side of the bed empty, and immediately plunged into one of his worst nightmares.
Even now, with Shougo very much present before his eyes, Shinya has to convince himself that he is there. The setting does not help. The muted winter light. The grey sky. The white sweater and pants. The pale blue shawl that blankets him like snow. No one has ever looked so much like an apparition, so beautiful, so distant, so untouchable.
To Shinya, Shougo has always seemed a little unreal; always wrapped up in his own little world, always standing with one foot outside the circle. His thoughts, too, meander on planes too lofty for the regular layman, twisting and turning in the realm of mathematics and philosophy. It has been two months since they decided to move in together, and Shinya still cannot shake off the feeling that one day he will wake up only to discover that Shougo has disappeared with the snow.
When he finally forces himself to break the silence, it’s mostly to avoid spiralling down that depressing line of thought.
“This really fits you best.”
Shougo wakes slowly from his reverie. He turns, smiles, and Shinya feels something inside him shift and loosen. Shougo wore the same smile when Shinya finally asked him out—soft, pleased, a little incredulous—and it never fails to make Shinya’s heart ache.
“This season.” A few steps bring them closer. Shinya finds himself breathing more easily now that Shougo’s entire focus is on him. “Winter and snow.”
“Really? I like summer better.”
“Only because you like seeing me shirtless.”
“Mm.” Shougo’s smile stretches into a smirk. “You are so fine shirtless though.”
Shinya laughs, suddenly happy. “Move.” He pats Shougo on the back and slips in behind him. It’s a tight fit—they’re both tall, long-limbed—but a little manoeuvring allows them to sit pressed together, Shougo’s back against his chest.
“The sofa is much more comfortable if you want to cuddle,” Shougo points out, but otherwise makes no effort to move from the warm cocoon of Shinya’s arms.
“Later. Now I want to look at what you’re looking at.”
“Just people.” Shogo pauses, head resting on Shinya’s shoulder. “And the snow.”
The detached tone is back, but this close, with Shougo warm and very much here, it doesn’t bother him as much. He looks at the sleet-streaked street below and remembers, instead, the first time they met. It was winter too, and Shinya was on his way to the airport to catch a flight home when Kasei called him in and ruined the rest of his holiday plan. There was a murder case, and a sensitive one at that, considering the identity of the victim (the daughter of a senator) and the location of the crime scene (a prestigious private university), so be very, very careful, will you.
Shinya was making his way through the mostly empty campus ground after ending a call to his mother—and being told off for not making it home for the holidays again—when he bumped into someone and literally fell on top of them.
Do you want to grab a coffee, was the first thing that crossed his mind upon seeing the person he had hopefully not injured. Only the fact that he was, unfortunately, there for a job stopped him from doing so. Everyone, including this beautiful angel, was a person of interest and therefore off-limits, and he was lamenting this very fact when said angel spoke in a soft, melodious voice, “You’re the police.”
Even then, Shinya knew that his fate was sealed the moment he heard that voice.
Countless (strictly professional) discussions and one captured murderer later, Shinya proposed a date—and here they are, one year later, slowly intertwining their lives together.
“The department’s having a Christmas party,” he says, lacing his fingers on Shougo’s lap.
“The 29th. Will you go with me?”
“Do you want me to?”
“There will be food. And not just pizza, I swear. Besides, the chief likes you.”
Shougo makes a displeased noise. “Well, I don’t like her.”
“Nobody likes her,” Shinya agrees, a grin hidden on the slope of Shougo’s shoulder, “but it’ll make everyone’s life easier if she’s in a good mood, just saying.”
“So I’m the sacrificial lamb.”
Shinya nips the tip of a delicate ear. “Anyone who thinks you’re a lamb obviously has never met you.”
Shougo hums, accepting this accusation without protest. “You haven’t answered me,” he says instead, slipping his cold fingers between Shinya’s hands. There will be a time, perhaps somewhere in the far, far future, when Shinya will look down, see how perfectly their hands fit together, and accept it as a matter of course instead of a small miracle. That time is not today.
“Do you want me to go with you?”
“Well, yes, of course.”
“Then I’ll go with you.”
Shinya blinks, heart thrumming in his chest. “Just like that?”
There is a pause as Shougo turns to brush a kiss on his cheek. “Yes,” he says, serene and matter-of-fact.
“Okay,” Shinya breathes out, warm and giddy. This is a different kind of happiness, and it settles deep inside him, around him, like a blanket of warmth that no winter can touch.
Shougo is here to stay.
For the rest of his life, Shinya will remember this moment as the first time he actually believes it.
End Part 1