Thunder crashed overhead, the loud boom signaling the start of a torrential downpour. Rain suddenly flew down from the dark and murky gray clouds looming overhead. Eiji smiled at the sight while Ash rolled his eyes.
"Ash, look!" Eiji exclaims, pressing his cheeks against the cool glass of the window. His eyes sparkled as he looked at Ash. "It's raining!"
"Yep," Ash agreed with nod, ignoring Eiji's excitement. "It's raining."
"Isn't it amazing?" Eiji asks, breathless. He turns his head to squish his nose into the glass, like a child who just saw Santa flying his reindeer sleigh through the sky.
Ash smiles at the sight and looks away to stare at his phone. "Not really."
Eiji turns his head to look at Ash, his face still pressed into the glass. His mouth was slightly open and his eyes were wide, his eyebrows crestfallen.
"What?" Eiji asks in a small, shocked voice, as if Ash had just told Eiji he kicked puppies for a living. Ash couldn't handle Eiji's adorably sad expression staring directly at him like that. It made Ash want to get up and hug Eiji until that hurt expression melted away to make room for a happy one.
Of course, Ash wasn't going to do that because he would never do anything without asking Eiji first, and asking Eiji if he wanted a hug was outside Ash's comfort zone.
"Most people don't enjoy the rain, Eiji," Ash says, raising an eyebrow.
"You don't like the rain?" Eiji asks, peeling his face off the glass and tilting his head to the side. Ash shook his head in response, prompting Eiji to ask another question. "Why not?"
"It's inconvenient," Ash replies, ticking off every reason on his fingers as he goes. "It's hard to travel in. You get drenched and that's annoying, especially if you're wearing something nice. Rain is just a pain in the ass in general."
Eiji opens his mouth and closes it, like a fish, before replying. (It takes all of Ash's willpower not to laugh.)
"It's not!" Eiji cries, his fingertips still lingering on the glass.
Ash props up his arms and rests his chin on top of his palms. He leans forward and smirks, challenging Eiji. "Really? Enlighten me."
"Rain is amazing!" Eiji starts, a smile growing on his face. He gestures with his hands as he speaks. "It's fun to get drenched and it's fun to dance in. It's atmospheric and versatile. Rain can be calm or angry or sad or happy. There are tons of fun things that happen in the rain that wouldn't be the same in sunny weather."
"Like what?" Ash asks, a bemused smirk on his face.
"Like..." Eiji pauses for a moment to think for a moment before blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. "Watching a scary movie!"
"Nobody watches movies outside in the rain," Ash points out, one eyebrow raised.
"Yes, but watching a scary movie while it's raining outside makes the whole experience much more immersive," Eiji counters, eyes wide and shimmering. "Watching a scary movie in broad daylight isn't fun."
"Alright, then," Ash says, standing up from the table. Eiji tilts his head curiously to the side, watching Ash walk over to the T.V. with his phone. "Let's see if that's true."
"Um, what?" Eiji asks, wrapping his arms around himself.
Ash turns to face Eiji before responding. "Let's watch a scary movie. You said it's more fun when it's raining outside, right?"
Eiji stays silent for a moment, unable to respond. Ash hums as he sets up the T.V. to watch a movie on it. Eiji gets up and plops down on the blue and gray couch, complete with white and yellow decorative pillows.
"Ok," Eiji chirps, swinging his legs and grabbing a pillow to hug. He leans over and squishes his cheek against the pillow as he waits for Ash to sit down. "What movie are we going to watch?"
"Aren't you scared, Eiji?" Ash teases in a singsong voice, wiggling his hips to the tune.
Eiji sticks his tongue out at Ash. "No!"
"Somehow I doubt that," Ash says, grabbing the remote and sitting down on the couch next to Eiji, a few inches between them.
Eiji picks his head up from the pillow to pout at Ash. "And why is that?"
"You seem like the scaredy cat type," Ash responds, that devilish smirk still stretching across his lips.
"Oh yeah?" Eiji challenges, sitting up straight. "Let's watch a very scary movie and whoever gets scared first loses!"
Ash snorts and says, "Challenge accepted. What's the prize?"
Eiji tilts his head to the side, his smugness forgotten for a moment. "Um..."
"Loser has to pay for dinner," Ash says, a list of food Ash wants to eat and an evil plan already formulating in his mind. "And the loser has to eat whatever the winner wants them to."
"Fine," Eiji says, releasing his pillow to cross his arms. Eiji attempts what Ash can only assume is a mischievous smirk and ends up looking much less intimidating than he intends. "I hope you enjoy the natto you will be eating later."
"Haha," Ash says monotonously, leaning forward and tilting his head side to side in a teasing manner with each 'ha'. "I bet you'll get scared by the opening credits."
"No I won't!" Eiji grumbles, crossing his arms.
"Great comeback," Ash snorts as he leans back into the couch.
"Hmph!" Eiji harrumphs, adjusting his position on the couch as well. "I can prove I won't be scared by watching an Asian horror movie."
"Why Asian?" Ash asks, raising an eyebrow
"Your silly American horrors are not scary enough," Eiji says. "It's all the same."
"Somehow, I doubt that," Ash says as he continues looking at different horror movie descriptions on the T.V.
"Let's watch Corruption!" Eiji says, bouncing up and down in his seat. "I've been meaning to watch it for a while."
"I've never heard of that," Ash says. He turns his head to face Eiji, places a hand on one of Eiji bouncing thighs, and pushes down firmly to make him stop bouncing. Ash smiles. "Calm down. You're way too excited."
"It's a very underrated horror movie that I've been meaning to watch for a while!" Eiji exclaims, struggling to ignore the sensation of Ash's hand touching such an intimate place. Ash's hand lingers for a moment before sliding away as he shrugs and looks the movie up online. Eiji could feel his skin aching because of the absence of Ash's hand, making him shift in his seat.
Ash finally finds the movie and presses play.
"Get ready to lose," Ash teases as he sets the remote down on the coffee table and relaxes into his seat.
"Hush," Eiji shushes, sticking his tongue out at Ash before they both settle down to watch the movie.
Ash jumps slightly in his seat, gripping the edge of the couch cushion he's sat on top of with one hand. Eiji's muscles were tense, but not as much as Ash. Eiji was at the edge of his seat, enraptured by horror, whereas Ash seemed genuinely upset by the movie.
Suddenly, the demon appears on the screen and gruesomely kills one of the protagonists. Ash lets out a soft cry and grabs onto Eiji's left arm. Ash wraps his own arms around Eiji's and hugs it tightly. Eiji can't help but blush, his immersion in the movie completely ruined by Ash's unexpected cuteness.
"Who's the loser now?" Eiji teases, a playful smile on his face. His smile quickly vanishes as he notices how much Ash's jade irises are shaking and how much his nails are digging into Eiji's arm. Ash's breathing starts to speed up, his inhales and exhales almost overlapping. Eiji grabs the remote off of the coffee table and pauses the movie. He reaches his right arm around to gently press against Ash's cheek to guide Ash's gaze toward him.
"Are you okay, Ash?" Eiji asks, his voice softer than silk. He uses his thumb to trace small circles in Ash's cheek. "It's okay, Ash. Follow my voice."
Ash's breathing finally starts to slow down. He closes his eyes and take a few deep breaths. Once he reopens his eyes, his eyes widen and he quickly untangles his limbs from Eiji. He turns away, his back facing Eiji. Eiji scoots closer closer to Ash and slowly rubs his back with one hand. Ash unconsciously leans into the touch as he covers his face with one hand.
"I'm sorry, I..." Ash trails off, unable to continue, a familiar and nasty feeling bubbling up within him. "I'm so pathetic."
"No, you're not," Eiji counters, his eyebrows pushing together. "You're the strongest person I know, Ash."
"It's just..." Ash struggles to spit it out, his body heating up. "I know it's just a dumb movie but that scene reminded me of..."
Ash's voice cracks and he covers his face with both hands, strands of his hair falling over his face, hiding it even more.
Eiji scoots even closer to Ash, wrapping his free arm around Ash. Eiji shakes his head. "You don't have to explain if you don't want to."
Ash shakes his head, tears stinging his eyes. He lets out a mirthless chuckle. "I'm sorry for getting so worked up over a movie."
"Don't be," Eiji replies. He stops rubbing Ash's back and scoots closer to Ash. He wraps his arms around Ash's body and lets his cheek rest against Ash's nape. Ash lets his own hands fall from his face and rest on Eiji's arms, which were wrapped around his waist.
"Can we just...stay like this for a bit?" Ash whispers, his cheeks pink.
"Of course," Eiji replies, his hot breath making the skin on Ash's back tingle.
Ash tilts his head upwards to force the tears to stop, then tilts his head downward. His cheeks tearstained, he closes his eyes and lets out long, slow, relieved sigh. He sits there and listens to the rain pounding against the window as he savors this moment with Eiji, their competition forgotten for now.