February 22, a day known for being the famous “cat’s day”, but in Houseki Gaoka it was also for being Tachibana Outa’s birthday.
The 1st year was excited about it. Since the very first moment he opened his eyes he was greeted by his roommate, and during the morning a lot of other students congratulated him and some even gave him food as a gift, which was extremely welcomed by Outa, someone who is known for enjoying to eat a lot.
Special words to congratulate, a little present, a kind greet….that was something simple for everyone who knew Outa well. For everyone except one person.
“What do i do” Chihiro said to himself the night before, in a very low voice so his roommate would not hear. The next day was going to be the birthday of one of his juniors, one that was very special to him -though no one aside himself knew this- and he wanted to so something endearing for him.
Chihiro was troubled, more than he had ever expected to be. He had been thinking about this day for a whole week already and still didn’t know what he should do. Saying “Happy birthday” was not enough, giving him a present….maybe that way he would only expose his feelings for Outa, and giving him food as a gift was out of the question, everyone was going to do that, and Chihiro wanted his treat to be something memorable for the other.
He was still thinking on what to do in said day’s morning. Walking in the hallways of the school, his mind troubled, his head in the clouds and not paying attention at all to his surroundings, Chihiro still couldn’t come with an answer on what to do. The more he thought about it the more discarded possibilities, it was really driving him crazy at that point.
When lunchtime was around the corner Chihiro knew he was in trouble. At that time they have a break from classes and everyone goes to the school’s cafeteria, which means that with no doubt he was going to see Outa there, and he can’t not give him a proper greeting at that moment. Chihiro didn’t like to admit it but he needed help, and quick, and he had one person in mind who would be perfect for that and knew could lend him a hand.
The moment the morning classes finished he headed right away to the 1st years floor of the C building.
“Nana! Good thing I find you.” for once in that day his face showed a relieved expression. Kichijo Nanao was not only his roommate, friend and unit mate, but also one of Outa’s best friends at the school. Something way too convenient for Chihiro now.
“Chihiro san? So unexpected” Nanao said and laughed a bit. “It’s something wrong?”
“Yeah...I need to ask you something, please.”
Chihiro’s expression went down again and Nanao got worried. If that something the other needed to talk about was making him put such a face then it was something serious, even more if he was also asking for his help. Nanao had no idea what could be wrong, not even a single clue, and that only made him feel more concerned. He told his friends to wait for him in the dining hall and accompanied Chihiro inside his classroom, that now was empty, to talk about the matter.
Door closed, only the two of them there and no students near the area. Minutes passed since they entered the room, and Chihiro was as silent as a grave, meanwhile Nanao was almost biting his nails in expectation.
“So...what’s up?” Silence and a sigh were the other’s answer. “Chihiro san please tell me what happened” worry in Nanao’s voice and face, Chihiro finally looked at him.
“Oh sorry…” a nervous laugh escaped “Nana please don’t think anything...odd of what I’m about to tell you.” the last thing we wanted was Nanao overthinking the issue, especially because it involved the person Chihiro liked.
“I would never think anything strange or bad of Chihiro san!” Nanao said with determination “please tell me already.”
“Yes yes” Chihiro made a little pause before continuing “You are friends with Tachibana, right? Hot-Blood’s first year…you know”
“That’s right! Me and Outa are best buddies.”
“And today is his birthday…”
“I need advice on what should I gift him” Chihiro finally said. The first thought that crossed Nanao’s mind was if this was really the so urgent problem his senior had, and laughed in amusement. “Hey!”
“Sorry sorry! It’s just that I was really starting to worry, thinking that something bad happened.” Nanao stopped laughing and put a serious face again. “Uhm~ a gift for Outa...a gift for Outa...food?”
“Nana.” Chihiro looked at him in such a way that it was like he was telling him ‘no way I’m doing that’, that combined with the cold tone of his voice right now made Nanao shiver slightly.
“If not food then…” Nanao went silent for a while to think “I honestly think anything would make Outa happy.”
“Yeah I know but….” ‘but I want it to be something special’ was what almost slipped from his mouth. “but I need something more concrete”
The room went silent again. Nanao trying to think of a good recommendation for Chihiro meanwhile the other was trying to hide his nervousness.
“If you don’t want to just give him food then maybe you can invite him to eat to some place?” he inquired and Chihiro thought that his junior was really a genius.
“Good idea, Nana!” a sudden change of mood and a much more relieved voice, Chihiro felt really glad for deciding to ask the other. “I knew I could count with you.”
“Great!” Nanao went to the classroom’s door and opened it. “now hurry hurry, I’m hungry! Chihiro san is lunchtime already, we have to go.”
Chihiro, now at ease, followed him directly to the dining hall. He supposed that if he went with Nana it’ll be more easy to find Outa, a thought that got confirmed once they arrived and headed to the table said person was in.
“Nanao! Hi! Oh and Chihiro senpai too!” Chihiro could feel his heart beating a bit faster just by hearing that, ‘I’m a disaster’ he thought, though is not like he could prevent that.
Nanao sat right beside Outa and immediately took one of his sandwiches, Chihiro supposed they shared lunch that way usually.
It took him a moment to realize of the other people in the table, and was surprised to see Hotaru there, sitting right beside Hot-Blood’s leader, Miyabino Tsubaki, and with a straw on his mouth drinking juice, in silence. Chihiro was startled for a moment, until he remembered his brother gets along with said unit a lot. Hotaru didn’t say anything, still drinking, but looked at Chihiro in a way that he straight away knew what it meant, the other was confused and curious on why he was there, and only then he realized that everyone must be at a loss as well.
“Tachibana” he called the other, using all his efforts to not stutter “Happy birthday”
“Thank you!” Outa smiled, Chihiro really liked how cute he looked.
“Since is your birthday, can you accompany me for a dessert buffet after school?” after a moment he continued “I-I mean, if a guy goes there by himself...well, uh...there’ll be a lot going on” not even Chihiro knew what he meant with that, but he felt like he needed an excuse to not raise any suspicion of his real intentions.
Outa’s eyes sparkled “Of course! A date with Chihiro senpai…I’m so excited!”
Date. The moment Chihiro heard that word it was over for him. He got himself in a problem, a huge one.
“Y-you don’t have to call it that…” he stuttered, he felt flustered and was sure he was blushing now even if he couldn’t see his face. “just thought that you would like it….and i wanted to i-invite you because it’s your birthday.”
“I like it, I like it! I’ll see you after school then.” Hearing that made Chihiro feel relieved, now the first part was done.
After the confirmation Chihiro said goodbye to everyone at the table, excusing himself to go buy his lunch. Before going he looked at Hotaru again and freezed for a second because of the expression the other looked back at him. ‘Oh no, he knows.’ was the thought that came to his mind immediately, accompanied with embarrassment.
“Chihiro senpai!” once classes finished Chihiro went as fast as he could to change his clothes to a more casual outfit, and then to the gates of the school, and when he arrived Outa was already there waiting for him. “Here here!” he was shouting and waving his hand to draw his attention.
“Hello.” Chihiro stood beside him and smiled “Shall we go?”
“Yes!” and so they started their way to the dessert buffet. “You know Chihiro senpai, I have been very, very excited since you invited me.” Outa said at some point halfway there.
“I’m glad. To be honest I wasn’t sure what would you like, is good to know this was a good idea.”
Aside that conversation, the way there was mostly in silence. Chihiro was trying to calm his thoughts, he was afraid something unnecessary slipped his mouth in accident, in the other side, the excitement was clearly visible in Outa’s face, he admired the other a lot, and had told him it several times in the past, so he felt really lucky for being with him now, just the two of them.
Eventually they arrived to a café, the shop was not so big but not so small at the same time, giving the vibes that it was a really cozy place to spend the day in. Chihiro has been there more than once before, sometimes even accompanied with the rest of Prid’s, but it was the first time for Outa, which only made him more excited for it.
Cakes and tarts of all kinds, cookies, a big chocolate fountain….there were way too many different types of desserts, and it was impossible for Outa to name all of them, there were even a lot of sweets and drinks he had never seen before. Such a view was making him hungry so he grabbed his senior’s arm -Chihiro almost let a gasp out in surprise- to get in already.
“Anything in mind?” once the pass for two was paid and they were already in their table, Chihiro asked the other.
“There a too many desserts… “ Outa looked around, seeing other people’s tables and all the sweets in the room he could choose from. The amount of options made him unsure. “I’ll take anything Chihiro senpai takes!”
“In that case…” now Chihiro was the one looking around “wait for a moment here.”
It didn’t take much time for Chihiro to come back to the table, holding two pieces of chocolate cake, one plate in each hand. He handed one to Outa, the other for himself, and then sat in his place again.
Outa grabbed the fork and started eating right away, ‘he’s beautiful‘ were Chihiro’s thoughts while he looked at the other.
“It’s delicious!” Outa stopped for a moment and smiled at Chihiro, with a little stain of chocolate in corner of his mouth which the other could not avoid his sight from “A really tasty and sweet cake”
“I’m glad you like it.” Chihiro started to eat too, much more calmly than the other “This is one of my favourites from here.”
“So Chihiro senpai has eaten this one before….that explains why you are as sweet as the cake, no, even more!”
Chihiro almost choked. He had no idea what does that meant, but if there was something he was sure of was about the very visible blush that occupied his whole face. He was confused and embarrassed, Outa just called him “a sweet person”....talented, good looking intelligent, tons of other praises he had received before, but “sweet” was something new. Chihiro never imagined he would be this flustered over a simple word, but that for him meant a lot. It was incredible how weak he could be to Outa at times, and how good the other was at saying the right things to embarrass to him, even if he was oblivious about it.
“I-I see…” Chihiro tried to avoid the other’s gaze, and attempted to cover his face with one hand so the other wouldn’t see how red he was.
“I really mean it!” Outa’s smile was even more wide now, Chihiro felt his heart beating faster only for how embarrassed he was “It’s nice to spend time with you Chihiro senpai, you are very kind and cool!”
“T-thank you…” Chihiro’s mind was blank, but at the same time full of thoughts about the other. “you are kind and cool too, also pretty good looking”
It took some seconds for Chihiro to realize what he just said, and then proceed to mentally slap himself.
“A compliment…! Chihiro senpai I’m so happy!” good thing Outa didn’t think much of it, Chihiro thought.
“Yeah...I’m glad then.”
During the afternoon Chihiro realized that he liked Outa even more that he thought. His presence was refreshing, talking with him was fun -as long as he wasn’t at the corner of dying from embarrassment- and there was something about Outa’s honesty and determination that Chihiro loved and admired.
For Chihiro, that february 22 was a really memorable day, he had fun despite the roller coaster of emotions he was in at times. They spent all day trying different desserts and talking, about other students, friends, their respective units and also about each other; Chihiro learned a lot of new things about Outa, most of them were meaningless, but that for him meant a lot.
“It’s time to go, Tachibana.” the time flew and without them realizing it they had to go back to the dorms. Once outside, Outa grabbed the senior’s arm again and looked up to find Chihiro’s gaze.
“I had so much fun today, Chihiro senpai! Thank you so, so much!” Chihiro blushed again, but right when he was about to answer the notification sound of his phone rang, it was a Line text.
“Hotaru: I hope you had fun at your date.”
Chihiro almost dropped his phone, astonished. He never thought Hotaru could be such a tease if he wanted to.
“It’s something wrong?”
“No is fine…don’t worry Tachibana. Let’s return to the dorms.”