a/n: this is my first SoC fic! i plan to make many more in the future, because this series is just too good, and kanejjjjjj it has my soul

. . .

Kaz senses her before he hears the tap tap tap on the windowpane. There's her telltale shadow on the floor, and then a single heartbeat passes — tap tap tap.

He opens the window and, as usual, Inej leaps in without a word and without any form of warning.

She spares a glance at his hands and the gloves resting upon them. Kaz has made a bit of progress with them, but he can't bring himself to take the black leather off for more than a day at a time.

He can tell she's disappointed. Sometimes, he is too.

"What business?" he asks simply.

"Always business with you, Kaz," Inej replies, shaking her head — somewhat fondly, Kaz thinks.

"As usual," quips Kaz. "But really — what business?"

Inej sighs. "I just wanted to see you. See how you were doing," she admits.

She's always been the more honest one. Kaz has never been able to do that — admit his feelings; he'd come close when he told her about Jordie, but that wasn't really feelings talk.

Maybe that's for the better. Kaz is stubborn and so is Inej. But he'd never admit to having a heart or anything close, and he'd never get anywhere with Inej if they were just dancing around each other.

"I'm doing fine...you? How are things with your parents?" Kaz answers after a moment.

"Good," she says.

There's silence for a while after that. They don't really know what to say. Conversation doesn't flow. There's nothing to say, perhaps, and maybe that's for the better, too — Kaz tends to get blunt and rude and testy.

So they sit down and they just breathe. Kaz thinks.

Kaz thinks of Inej and he thinks of their daring heists and he thinks of that moment when she'd replaced his gauze and how he'd let her touch him for that one moment.

They'd breathed the same air and lived the same dare and Kaz misses it.

So maybe it's time to face that pesky little demon, the one who tells him not to say anything and to play it safe.

There's a long, staggering few moments where he steels himself, but he finds his voice, and then Kaz speaks.

"I miss you, you know."