The sun was merciless in that afternoon. Cruel was the least to say. This was one of those summer days that if you look too long at one single point you can see the heat waves distorting everything around. And that's exactly what Nishikiyama was doing, sitting on the porch with the his shirt’s sleeves rolled up at the elbow and his bangs fastened by a tiara.
“Nishiki, why you still sitting there?” From behind him, Kiryu appeared closing the house’s wooden door. The heat had also hit the young man making him replace his usual blazer with a tank top. “Did you get the hoses?”
“Kiryu, look at this floor.” Speaking without paying attention to the question, Nishiki pointed taking the bottle of water Kiryu offered him. “Sun is going to melt us there.”
“But Kazama asked to water the plants. And I am going to do it even if I have to melt.”
“Bro...” Touched by his words, Nishiki watched him go down the short staircase and walk in direction to the small house in the corner of the garden where the supplies were stored.
Under the sun, Kiryu walked the stone path feeling the extreme heat cover his body feeling grateful that his kyoudai helped him with sunscreen before leaving the house.
The path to the place was not long, and luckily, the hoses were already outside when he got there. Slowly he bent down feeling the warm breath of the ground hitting his face, making him tired before even starting working.
Sighing he looked back and as soon as he saw his brother — still sitting in the same place, fanning himself as if he had nothing to do — his expression darkened.
“Nishiki, stop wasting time!” Snarling the words, he called, making Nishiki drop his defeated shoulders.
“Fine, fine.” Grumbling, he got up, rolling his pants to his knees to avoid it getting dirty before following the other man. “Why are you in hurry?”
“I don't want to be here all day. It's hot!”
Despite their dismay, they managed to unroll all the hoses and tidy up the fallen things in the garden before they finally got to work.
This was a day they'd rather spend sitting on the porch with popsicles and a fan cooling their faces, but they didn't complain so much when they turned on the tap and felt the cold water falling in their hands. Side by side, under the 35°C (95 °F) sun, both aimed the water on the plants, wishing, almost instantly, to be one of those flowers for a moment.
Kiryu was careful to not let any of the flowers go unnoticed and to not to overdo with water. While Nishiki preferred to be quick with this work and get out of there as soon as possible, though he knew, he would have to endure it until the end if he didn't want to hear his friend’s complaints.
Apart from the heat melting their heads, standing there after 10 minutes was terribly boring and even though Kiryu didn't care, Nishiki couldn't take it anymore.
Annoyed by the lack of entertainment the boy looked around for something to divert his attention. It was in the midst of this search that he accidentally slapped his shoulder against Kiryu's. His automatic reaction was to apologize, however this incident made him realize that this would save him from boredom.
Carefully he gave it another try, pushing Kiryu slightly to the side. The young man stared at him without understanding, but as soon as he saw Nishiki’s playful expression, he thought it had been purposeful, so he struck back with the same touch.
Nishikiyama smiled at the answer and decided to do it again, daring to use a little more strength. Kiryu, once again, returned almost smiling.
The game continued for a few more times until Nishiki finally hit him too hard making Kiryu wet the porch accidentally.
“Nishiki...” He called, but end up being ignored, getting a new push. “Nishiki, stop!”
“Ah, why? It’s so boring here!” Annoyed he complained, shaking the hose while the other man watched wanting to warn him about the mess it was causing. “Can’t we just do something-”
His words broke as soon as he turned the hose over, hitting his brother's pants by accident. Kiryu tried to dodge, but it was in vain.
“Kiryu!” Lowering the hose, he called wide-eyed and regretful. “Sorry, sorry!”
Kiryu turned, looking at him without saying anything, with eyes that would condemn anyone. The boy tried to smile and relieve the irritation on his face, but failed.
“You asked for it.”
“What?” He questioned, confused, seeing Kiryu turning to him. However, as soon as he noticed the direction the hose was taking, he tried to run. “No! My hair!”
The two started a silly war where they aimed with jets of water hitting each other between complaints, laughter and slips. The work of 1 hour turned into a whole afternoon game.
“You think Kazama will get mad?” Sitting among the plants, tired and wet, Kiryu asked as he watched water dripping on the leaves.
“Why? We did the job.”
“Yeah, but… the garden is soaked.”
The statement made them both look around as calm as they were curious.
They saw the droplets reflecting sunlight while surrounded by the smell of wet soil and felt the damp ground where they were siting pouring more water than it should. Unsure of what to think, they stared at each other for a moment.
“It’s still hot.” Nishiki broke the silence, turning to look at the orange sky trying to lessen the tension of the conversation. “Sun will dry it.”
“Hm… I guess.” Kiryu agreed looking around believing that this could really be true and no flower would die that afternoon. Thinking about it made he remember something that made him get up quickly surprising Nishiki.
“We need to dry too.”
Without thinking twice, Kiryu held the tank top pulling it up while he felt the wet cloth clinging to his body, leaving moist marks. Nishikiyama, beneath, watched him take off his shirt, seeing his wet abdomen and the drops running down the muscles of his arms.
Kiryu spoke making his carefree voice wake him up. Nishiki nearly choked as he turned forward again, disguising the heat in his cheeks and trying to decipher what Kiryu has said.
“Ah... No way.”
“You will get a cold!” Kiryu complied watching him shake his head negatively.
“Taking it off will get you a cold.”
“Wind will make it worse.” He explained as if he was sure about what he was saying making Kiryu stare at him in silence for a moment.
“What wind? It's hot!” He spoke confused before crossing his arms and looking at his brother who refused to look back. “Nishiki, it doesn't make sense.”
“I’m not doing it.”
The loud, confused voice made them both turn to the porch almost automatically to find Kashiwagi standing in the doorway staring at them.
“What you doing?”
Wasting no time, they straightened, walking toward him, trying to wipe away as much water as they could and disguise their soaked clothes.
“Watering the plants.” Nishiki replied, smiling nervously, seeing Kiryu uncertainly nodding his head.
The older man looked around to see the hoses thrown in the corners, the plants trying to survive the flood, and finally the two standing in front of him with nervous eyes.
He had nothing else to ask. Sighing, he shook his head before saying anything.
“That's enough. And take those clothes off.” Turning to the entrance, he continued, leaving them behind. “I'll get you towels.”
They both couldn't know if the man was mad at them or if he was somehow happy, but they also did not want to test their luck in asking about it, and silently watched Kashiwagi walk away disappearing into the corridor.
Kiryu stared at the door, seeing Nishiki wrinkle his nose and close his eyes. A winning smile appeared at the corner of his lips. He knew what his brother was expecting him to say and for that reason Kiryu decided to keep quiet.
“I know you want to say it.”
The false hint of misunderstanding made Nishiki turn to him, seeing his eyes sparkling and his lips trying hard not to smile completely. Nishiki wanted to roll his eyes and even curse him, but he failed. Seeing that contentment on Kiryu's always-serious-face made his heart race in happiness.
“You are the worst at lying, you know that.” Bending down he stated, sitting on the stairs making the other boy smile, following him.
“But I was right.”
“Yeah, yea, you always right.”