Everyday was another ordinary day for Haru.
He would go to work, cook and prepare foods as usual. Too bad their menu didn’t include saba-related recipe; he’ll be more than happy to cook them. Later in the afternoon, he would go out in the back door and eat his snacks. The owner of the restaurant was kind enough to provide the staff free meal.
People didn’t normally wander in the alley, and Haru was grateful for that. Cats were the only ones that pass there. In the little alley behind their building where he spent his breaks, Haru found solace in that narrow place. He was comfortable in the silence, far from clanking and sizzling sounds in the kitchen and the bustling crowd in the streets. The stillness of the area calms and relaxes him.
Today was supposedly another one of those days.
As Haru stepped outside the back door, a brown-haired guy immediately caught his attention. He was sitting on the ground, not too far from the steps of Haru’s workplace. There was a cat purring comfortably on his lap while he stroked it affectionately.
He hadn’t seen the guy before. But judging from the uniform he was wearing, he must be from the nearby fire department. The soot traces lingering on his face further confirmed his suspicion..
Haru decided to sit on his usual area. The new guy didn’t seem to notice his presence at all as another cat appeared and begged for his attention. Not that Haru wanted to be noticed, he’d rather be left alone and watch the other guy in silence. Maybe this guy was like Haru, searching for a quiet place to spend his break.
Against his will, Haru’s eyes continued to wander back to the firefighter. He started noticing other things like his height and physique. There was gentleness on his emerald orbs that seemed to radiate more when he smiled. He somewhat resembled a dependable big brother. No wonder, the cats loved his overall kind aura. It sets them at ease.
He continued watching the other guy while eating. The firefighter looked like he was having fun playing with the cats. It seemed like that side of the alley was brimming with happiness. He could’ve sworn he saw glitters and sparkles all over the place. Surprisingly, the sight of it relaxes Haru, thus enjoying his part as the audience.
Having finished his snacks, Haru took one last look at the other guy. His break was about to end but he didn’t want to leave the alley yet. Not until the other guy left at least. But he’d get scolded if he was late so dragging his body to move, he stood and was about to leave when he heard a grumbling sound.
“Eh?” He stared long and hard at his belly, confirming if it was the origin of the noise. Surely, his snack was enough to satisfy his appetite. He’s not a big eater afterall.
Another grumbling sound.
This time he was certain it didn’t come from him. He looked back at the only other person in the alley. The glitters and sparkles were long gone. The fire fighter was clutching his belly as if to muffle the noise. The cats have scattered away from him. Poor cats must have been scared by the sound.
The brown-haired guy must have noticed Haru and gaped at him. It had dawned on him that someone was there to witness the whole scene. Haru watched as the other guy turned beet red and found it rather… cute.
“Uhm –,” The other guy started explaining but Haru wasn’t able to hear the rest. He was back at the kitchen and rushed outside again. Once he was back in the alley, a pair of confused emerald orbs greeted him. He walked towards the firefighter and holds out his hand.
“Here.” Haru handed the other guy a sandwich from their staff meal. “This isn’t much. But if you don’t like it, it’s fine.”
A hand shot out to stop his receding hand. “I’ll take this, thank you. But why?”
“…No reason.” That was a tough question to answer. Haru wasn’t even sure why he was helping this stranger. He felt that he couldn’t leave the guy alone.
“What’s your name? I’m Tachibana Makoto. I work at the fire department over there.” Makoto cocked his head in the direction of his workplace.
Just as I thought. “I’m Nanase Haruka.”
“Nice to meet you, Haru.” Makoto smiled in that ever gentle look.
That smile was deadly, it shouldn’t even be legal. It was enough to make Haru feel warm and fuzzy inside. He didn’t even mind if the guy already called him in his first name. Somewhere deep inside him, he wanted to know more about Makoto.
I wonder if he’ll come again tomorrow. Haru thought.