The summer sun was without mercy; hoisted high in a cloudless blue sky, roasting pavement and pedestrian alike. The heat wave hadn't broken in days, in weeks - Gotou would sit in his apartment and slowly bake, the small electric fan not doing much but moving the tepid air around.
The television droned on, the volume muted but not silent - every loud noise seemed to make the heat worse. He wasn't watching it, not really - it was another interview with Masayoshi, the news media had not yet gotten tired of the hero that saved the world. They wouldn't for months, he knew - there had been a few minor scandals recently and despite that the coverage would yo-yo back to Masayoshi in no time flat. What was he doing now, what were his plans, how was he going to handle being "President of the World"? Repetition ad infinitum, with a few random questions thrown in for added flavor.
His cell phone buzzed on the table, where he'd left it sitting beside the fan. It was too hot to even exchange texts with her, all he wanted to do was sit in a puddle of his own sweat and hope that the sunset brought with it a respite from this hell. He rolled forward when it buzzed insistently a second time and flipped the phone open.
We got done early today - want to come over? I've got the latest Ensemble! movie on DVD, it has additional scenes!
Gotou smiled despite himself - and then remembered that Masayoshi's apartment had air conditioning.
Sweet, blessed air conditioning.
I'll bring dinner.
Autumn chased the world with rain, vicious storms that rumbled through the streets and kept people indoors. It had rained almost every morning for the past week, leaving the afternoons cool and grey, the crisp smell of fallen leaves washed fresh with the day's precipitation. Masayoshi didn't carry an umbrella - he never did, of course - but he'd worn a hat, just in case the looming clouds made good on their threat, and opened upon the pedestrians below.
Gotou walked silently beside him, a cigarette in his mouth. He was quiet a lot lately, and Masayoshi tried to fill the silence with his own chatter. It worked, sometimes - sometimes Gotou would roll his eyes, call Masayoshi a name, even snort in amusement. Other days he remained quiet, distant. This wasn't something that could be fixed overnight.
The rain came again, as it always did - storms circling back and around the city, umbrellas erupting among the passerby like mushrooms opening their caps. They watched the downpour through the glass of the cafe, a new place Masayoshi had wanted to try and Gotou hadn't put forth an objection to. Masayoshi put his hand on the window, felt the coolness through the glass, and when he lifted his hand an impression of heat remained, for a few long moments.
The bandages on his wrists were mostly obscured by Gotou's sweatshirt, but Masayoshi still caught the edge of them when his put his hands around the mug of coffee. "What are you looking at?" Gotou asked him finally.
The rain pattered suddenly against the window as the winds changed, and leaves skittered by on the pavement outside. "Quite a storm," Masayoshi said, shifted in his seat as he looked back at Gotou. "I think we'll be stuck here for a while."
"Seems so," Gotou murmured.
"Cold," Masayoshi complained, hands tucked under his armpits, folded in on himself. His nose and cheeks were still cold-kissed pink, snow glistening in his hair.
"Did you forget your gloves again?" Gotou asked, exhaling smoke. The snow was falling softly, a gentle drift and not the furious downpour of white that the blizzard had offered for the past few days. The city itself never truly shut down, but everything was muted by the cold and the white. With the early dusk, it seemed that nearly everyone had closed themselves up in their homes, warm and comfortable.
"No, I didn't forget my gloves," Masayoshi chattered. "I'm not a child."
Gotou put the cigarette back in his mouth and grabbed at Masayoshi's arm. Masayoshi was more concerned with conserving his warmth than being aware of a possible attack, so he didn't put up much by way of defense. Gotou held his bare hands out to the cold air and frowned severely at Masayoshi. "'yoshi."
"I didn't forget them, I know exactly where they are!" Masayoshi's brow was furrowed, face twisted into a pout. His face was even more red now, but it was hard to tell if it was the cold, or-
"You're such an idiot," Gotou muttered. He slipped his right glove off and offered it to Masayoshi. Masayoshi gave him a bewildered look and took it.
"What am I supposed to do with just one glove-?"
"Put it on, you dumbass." Gotou ground out his cigarette, and then took Masayoshi's bare hand in his own. Masayoshi jumped at the contact, and his gaze swiveled between their hands and Gotou's face. "Don't look at me like that," Gotou muttered. "We'll keep each other warm."
Masayoshi's expression was like the sun coming from behind a cloud, and suddenly the winter didn't seem quite so bleak.
Gotou was back to work in the spring, when the cherry blossoms bloomed and showered the city in a pink-white haze. It meant they didn't have as much time together, and Masayoshi was surprised at how lonely he was, laying on his stomach on Gotou's bed. Masayoshi's job kept erratic hours, he would be busy days at a time and then have a stretch where so little was going on. Ishihara didn't want him hanging around the office during his downtime, because that invited reporters and busybodies and Masayoshi had a terrible habit of being open and honest and not really being able to say 'no' to people.
The tabloids had a field day when Masayoshi casually confirmed he was living with another guy, regardless of their relationship. Ishihara had pulled a handful of her hair and yelled at Masayoshi that this was a gray hair and she was far too young to be going gray and he needed to NOT TALK TO PEOPLE WITHOUT PUTTING IT THROUGH HER FIRST.
(Gotou suggested that perhaps she needed a vacation. Masayoshi agreed, and then pointed out that Gotou could tell her that and he'd watch.)
When their time off overlapped, they spent a lot of the day outside. Masayoshi loved the cherry blossoms, and they went for long walks through the parks to enjoy the flowering trees. The blossoms had erupted all over the city, and the parks were full of people sitting beneath the trees, all wildly pink-white as if gushing champagne-spray. It meant there was't much by way of privacy, even in the evenings when the sun vanished behind the buildings and the sky was shot through with the colors of the fading day.
All the same, Gotou still kissed him under the cherry blossoms, with one hand in his hair to hold him steady. For that moment the world belonged to them alone.