Seasons

"In daylight, in sunsets, in midnights and cups of coffee

In inches, in miles of laughter and strife.

In 525,600 minutes-

How do you measure a year in the life?"


I: FALL


Day One- September 2nd

You first notice him on the subway.

He sits towards the back, reading an honest-to-Farore paper magazine while all around him others busily fiddle with their cellphones and tablets. He holds himself stiff, uneasy, doing his best not to touch anyone, or have anyone touch him. The unease is a little endearing to you, if you were to admit it to yourself- nearly everyone on this section of the train is a student of one of the many universities in Lanayru, and none of them are paying the slightest bit of attention to him.

He looks a few years too old to be an incoming freshman- a transfer student, maybe? He cringes very slightly whenever the subway train rounds a corner with a screech, the noise seeming to bother him even through the earbuds he's wearing.

His clothing is neater than the average student's, you note- tan slacks, a button-down short sleeved shirt and a dark purple tie, where the median standard of apparel otherwise is long baggy t-shirts and basketball shorts.

The train rounds the corner, pulling out of the tunnel and into the warm September sunlight. Rays touch his hair, turning it to burnished gold. His violet eyes flick back and forth across the pages behind his half-rim glasses, he draws the leather briefcase behind one of his long legs closer to him when someone steps too near for his liking.

You think you may have just fallen in love, and hard.

The sway of the subway braking for the station catches you off guard. The door behind you slides open and you almost topple out, catching yourself on the sidewalk in a less-than-graceful manner.

As the subway doors swing shut once more he lifts his head from the magazine.

His eyes meet yours and you feel like you're flying.

(You bump into a nearby student trying not to look away, and in the seconds before the train pulls away you can almost swear he smiles.)

Day 7- September 9th

Goddesses be praised, he goes to your university, he's in three of your classes- Cross-Cultural Diplomacy 294, Fencing 180, and the horrible tragedy that is Hylian History 258 at 8 in the morning on Mondays and Fridays. He's perfectly poised for the other two, but HH258 leaves him slumped in a seat not too far from you in the lecture hall, nursing a huge cup of coffee and taking lazy notes on a pad of paper.

His handwriting is immaculate.

Yours looks like a kindergartener's.

You wonder if you should ask him for penmanship lessons.

The class ends before you can work up the courage.

Day 11- September 13th

You speak to him for the first time during Fencing, when he's paired up with you for practice- you're both left-handed, unlike anyone else in the class, and you spend around twenty minutes vowing to burn some incense to the Goddesses because of it.

When you finally face off against him you move in silence, right hand firmly at the small of your back, left hand easily supporting the weight of your foil. He is loose and relaxed across from you, his movements fluid and graceful as he deftly dodges under the tip of your blade, pressing his squarely to your sternum.

You back away, conceding the point, and under your faceplate you're blushing harder than you have since middle school. You barely saw him move, and you were one of the best fencers in your entire region. You put up a good fight, but despite the fact that you outweigh him by nearly twenty pounds, he trounces you thoroughly.

When the instructor finally calls the two of you apart you're panting, and you're gratified to see his chest heaving as well. He pulls his faceplate off, hair in complete disarray and glasses sitting crookedly halfway down his nose, and smiles.

"We appear to be quite well-matched," are his first words to you.

"Heh, yeah," are your first words to him, and you can barely stop yourself from cringing at how inane you must sound.

He steps forward and holds out a gloved hand, and with bated breath you take it.

"My name is Vio," he tells you, straightforward and honest. His eyes are paler under the harsh fluorescents than they were in the warmth of the sun. You haven't let go of his hand yet.

"I'm Green," you say- and, swallowing through a sudden lump of nervous confidence, continue with "Would you like to get coffee sometime?"

His eyes widen slightly in surprise before a small thoughtful smile curls the corner of his lips. "Perhaps," he says, "if you can beat me in a match before the end of the semester."

You feel like you could fly.

Day 26- September 28th

He sits next to you now in the classes you share, and your heart jumps every time. You make jokes about his archaic pen-and-paper note-taking, while he mocks your reliance on recording the professors' lectures and typing the relevant info out later. Your first quizzes get returned- he does flawlessly in every subject; you crumple your HH258 papers and shove them into your bag before he can notice.

You're pretty sure he notices anyway.

You haven't been able to beat him yet, but your matches have been growing longer. He lands less hits on you; you've become fairly adept at blocking him, and yet he's still a little too quick for you to land one on him.

You spend more time than you should practicing in the gymnasium.

You're pretty sure he knows about that too.

Day 34- October 6th

He tells you bits and pieces about himself every now and then, and you soak up the information like the desert soaks up rain. You learn that you were right- he is a transfer student, coming from a much smaller university in a much smaller town from the southern part of Eldin. You learn that he's getting his electives out of the way before he gets locked into a pre-law graduation path. He takes his coffee black and sweet, and hangs his glasses from his tie when he studies.

In return he asks about you, and you open up to him like you haven't for anyone else. You tell him about your vacation job at a ranch right outside of the city, and what it's like to ride a galloping horse across a grassy field. You tell him of summers spent running wild with herding dogs, and wrestling goats into submission.

You tell him about your twin brother Blue, who hasn't said a word to you since you told him you liked guys as much as girls, and he rests his hand on your shoulder in silent solidarity.

You do your best not to lean into it, and fail miserably.

He just smiles at you, warm and friendly, and buys you a candy bar from the nearest vending machine.

"Soul food," he tells you when you try to refuse it, laughing. "It does not make everything better, but it helps."

You eat it. He's right.

Day 57- October 28th

You land your first hit on him three days before Halloween. He laughs loud enough that you can hear him through his faceplate and thoroughly wipes the floor with you, but you don't care at all.

It's hours before you're able to stop smiling.

Day 64- November 4th

You fail your second history test in a row and can't bring yourself to go to class all day. It's cold and rainy outside; you sit in your dorm room with the lights off and watch the rain drip down the window.

When your phone rings you ignore it.

Day 65- November 5th

You sleep through your alarm and wake up at noon. It's still raining; you decide you might as well skip again today.

When you check your phone you have 4 missed calls- one from your grandmother and three from Vio.

You can't bring yourself to call him back, guilt weighing heavily in your stomach. Instead you turn your phone completely off and bury yourself in your blankets again.

Someone bangs on your door around 6 in the evening, startling you into partial wakefulness, and you make a noise of complaint as you drag yourself up and over to answer it. "Whozzit," you grumble, cracking the door and peering through the opening.

Vio meets your gaze evenly from the other side. "May I come in?" he asks, voice gentle. His hair is damp, nearly bordering on wet, and the shoulders of his jacket look like they're soaked through. You shuffle backwards enough to open the door wider.

He sets a paper bag on your desk, pulling several white cartons out of it. The warm spicy scent of Gerudo take-out hits your nose; seconds after that, your stomach lets out a growl so loud Vio turns to look at you in consternation.

You shrug, not looking up from the patch of tile you're currently staring at with great intensity. Your room isn't messy, thank the Three, but you haven't shaved in two days and your hair's a mess. You don't remember the last time you ate, as your stomach is currently reminding you.

He's saying something to you- you lift your head to focus on the words.

"-was worried about you when I did not see you in class," he tells you, dividing the contents of the cartons neatly onto a couple of paper plates. "I thought you might have gotten sick, so I tracked down which dorm you resided in. I hope you do not mind," he adds hastily when you don't say a word. "But you are my friend, and friends look out for each other, do they not?"

"…I guess they do," you mumble quietly. "Never had any who would do this for me, though…"

You look up through your bangs when he doesn't respond, and find that he is looking right back at you, sadness in his eyes.

He sighs, and that's the only warning you get before he hugs you.

You spend the rest of the night watching stupid Youtube videos with him on your bed. You don't remember the last time you laughed so hard, for so long. He falls asleep briefly on your shoulder and drools a little bit onto your shirt, and you can't bring yourself to care.

When he leaves in the morning he makes you promise to let him help you with your history projects for the rest of the semester.

Of course you agree.

Day 83- November 23rd

You beat him in a fencing match on the Saturday before Thanksgiving break starts, after two weeks of frustrated all-nighters and cramming for midterms.

When the timer buzzes to signal the end of the match you pull your faceplate off and whoop, your classmates jeering good-naturedly behind you as you perform an impromptu victory dance on the mat. Vio laughs as he watches you dance over to him, and you impulsively grab him and pull him into a twirl before dipping him low, your arm steady against his lower back to support him. He lets out a startled noise, grabbing at you, and you beam all the wider.

"So~," you waggle your eyebrows at him, your classmates and even the teacher catcalling behind you. "Coffee? Say, tomorrow? On me?"

His eyes open a little wider behind his skewed glasses. "Green, I fly back home tomorrow," he tells you chidingly. "Remember?"

You'd completely forgotten. Your heart sinks like a stone.

He laughs at your expression as you pull him back upright easily. "Don't look so downtrodden!" he chuckles, reaching over to pap your cheek lightly. "That was not a no. However, unless you wish to come to the airport with me in the morning, I will have to request a rain check."

"I can drive you there!" you say hastily, trying your best not to sound as desperate as you feel. From the way his lips quirk the slightest bit, you don't think you did a very good job.

"That will be acceptable, then," he nods to you, and you retain just enough sense to save your jubilant fist-pumping until you reach the sanctuary of your own dorm room.

Day 84- November 24th

You barely sleep, spending the night tossing and turning as your mind races a mile a minute, and finally you give up and spend half an hour in the showers with the hot water pounding on your back. Vio's flight leaves in the wee hours of the morning, so sleeplessness isn't as inconvenient as it could be, but still…

You shave very carefully, but still manage to nick yourself along your jaw. You crumple a piece of toilet paper and stick it to the spot to stop the bleeding, frowning grumpily at yourself in the mirror.

Your phone trills at you, the alarm you set as your fifteen minute warning before you need to leave, and you swear and drop your razor. You'd set your clothes out beforehand so scrambling into them takes no time at all, and in under ten you're out the door.

You stop by the closest Goron coffee shop- you've noticed that 9 times out of 10 the labels on Vio's coffee cups are from this particular one- and continue on through the silent streets. No one else is up at this time of day (or would this be considered night still?) and you find it surprisingly peaceful, if a bit eerie.

When you reach his dorm you park outside and wait at the door, coffee in hand. It smells alright, you guess, but you don't really understand the appeal. That changes when he steps out, bedheaded and yawning, and gives you a smile of pure admiration when you hold the cup teasingly under his nose.

The drive to the airport is quiet. The eastern horizon gradually paints itself in shades of blue as you pull into the airport's temporary parking lot. Vio only has a small backpack with him- you graciously pull it onto your shoulder while he fumbles with his seatbelt and coffee. It is so hard not to laugh at the spectacle, but somehow you manage. A brisk wind makes you shiver through your thin jacket momentarily while you're walking towards the automatic sliding doors. Vio notices and steps closer, until his shoulder is pressing against yours with every step. It doesn't provide much warmth, but the glow in your cheeks makes up for that.

Vio seems familiar with the self-service ticketing machines even when half asleep. You've never used one yourself, so you watch with interest as it spits out his boarding passes. There's still an hour and a half till his flight leaves- you buy him another coffee and indulge yourself with a hot chocolate.

The two of you end up a few levels higher than the security checkpoints, watching the sun rise through huge glass windows. Beneath you, baggage carts and planes drift back and forth across the huge concrete field, people waving directions with glowsticks twirling in their hands. Vio is snug up against you, head leaning against your shoulder. You ever so casually yawn and stretch your arms up above your head, resettling with one around Vio's shoulders.

Smooth, you congratulate yourself inside your head.

Vio tilts his head up to look at you, amusement in every bit of his face.

Okay, maybe not so smooth…

The rising sun tints his hair to burnished gold once more, turns his eyes to warm violet fire. His gaze is direct, his lips quirked upward in that perpetual near-sarcastic grin that seems to be his default expression. He turns into you more, tugging you until you're facing him completely. You swallow.

"Honestly, Green," he chuckles, voice still low and raspy from sleep. "Do I have to throw myself at you?"

You blink.

And blink again.

And then you kiss him, and beneath his smile he tastes like saccharine bitterness and smug, smug victory.