There was a wind, and it howled, tearing through the streets, where people huddled inside their jackets as if fearing they'd be torn away. A light shower of rain fell like tears in a whirlwind.
Smiling, Fuji brought his mug of tea to his lips and observed, with eyes narrowed to slits, the miserable and drenched people rushing around in the rain.
"You know what feels good, Tezuka?" He murmured, a hint of smile in his voice. He pointed at the people on the street just one floor below. "To look out the window on a cold, wet day, with a warm drink in your hands, preferably wrapped in something warm."
Blinking several times, Tezuka slipped a bookmark between the pages he had been reading, put down the book and stood up. Fuji chuckled when Tezuka picked up a coat from the back of a chair and placed it on his shoulders.
"You'd make a very good boyfriend, Tezuka." Fuji said after sipping his drink again. "Did anyone ever tell you that?"
The taller boy cocked his head to the side a little at the strange comment. But Fuji had always been a strange boy anyway. Tezuka couldn't remember how many times Fuji had called him at night, asking if he could come to his house. And when Fuji got there, all he ever did was have a warm drink, after which he would go home again. Conversation was a rare occurrence, but it seemed like Fuji felt like speaking this night.
"When you look outside, Tezuka, I bet you're thinking, 'Such bad weather. I hope these people get home okay.'." Fuji tried to imitate Tezuka's voice, which earned him a half-amused, half-annoyed look. "But all I can think is 'How amusing.'."
Tezuka wasn't quite sure what to say. "There is nothing wrong with that."
Fuji half turned towards the taller boy, who stood by his side. "You think?"
Tezuka nodded, Fuji smiled a bit more, and silence returned, settling over them like a blanket, warm, familiar and comfortable.
The mug of tea was long finished when Fuji put it down on the windowsill. "Thanks for the drink." He said to the other boy. "Goodnight."
Tezuka took the mug in his hands and watched Fuji head out his room, going to let himself out the house as usual. The mug was warm from Fuji's hands. When Tezuka looked out the window again, it was empty of people and the light drizzle had become pouring rain, washing the streets below.
"Do you want another drink?" He heard himself ask just when Fuji was at the door. The boy gave him a surprised look, and Tezuka hesitated, not quite sure why he said what he said. Perhaps because the mug was warm and Fuji was cold, although he didn't know why he knew that. "...It's still raining outside."
In a few seconds Fuji was able to reign in the surprised expression on his face, and calmly turned around, walked back to Tezuka, removed the mug from his hands and placed it back on the windowsill.
"Is it really all right, that I'm a cruel, sadistic person who smiles at other people's misery, someone even my own family can't stand?" Fuji's smile took on a hard edge. "Do you really not mind having someone like me under your roof?"
There was a lot about Fuji that Tezuka didn't know, and there was a lot that he did. Like how Fuji liked his tea - one cube of sugar, a lot of milk. Like Fuji always took his right shoe off first. Like Fuji had slightly low blood pressure and had to wake up a bit earlier every morning because when he got up he always felt a little dizzy.
Tezuka also knew at times like this, it would be better not to answer Fuji at all. Leaving his place by the window, he opened drawers and closets to get extra bedding, which he laid out on the floor, and a set of pyjamas on the bed. Then he left the room to make another cup of tea.
At seventeen, Tezuka understood many things. He knew what his feelings for Fuji were and what they meant. And he knew unspoken, unrequitted feelings were supposed to hurt, but it didn't work for him that way. He wasn't a lovesick teenager who would unquestioningly offer himself to the person he loved, or fall into depression because what he felt wouldn't be reciprocated; those were things that would happen on television.
It was meant to be a good thing to happen, to love someone, and Tezuka made sure it was just that. He could offer a shoulder to lean on and a cup of hot tea with one cube of sugar and a lot of milk, and that was a lot more than anyone else could do for Fuji.
When he returned to the room, Fuji was staring out the window again. His expression remained unreadable as he took the mug from Tezuka, turned around and half leaned on the windowsill, sipping his drink.
Suddenly he looked up again. "You really don't mind."
It took a while for Tezuka to know Fuji was continuing the conversation from a moment ago.
His tea finished, Fuji observed the mug, turning it around in his hands. "Do you realise you always hold the mug out to me like this." He held it at Tezuka as an example. "You hold the hot part, and point the handle at me."
Tezuka blinked. What was Fuji trying to get at?
"And when you pass me things, knives, scissors, you'd always hold the sharp blade and let me take it from you by the handle." Fuji put the mug down. "Don't you ever worry that you're going to get hurt? That when I take the knife from you I might somehow cut your hand?"
Tezuka took off his glasses in a feeble attempt to try to relax. Fuji knew. But of course. It was difficult to hide anything from Fuji.
A sudden split of thunder made Tezuka glance out the window briefly. "When I look outside now, I think 'I'm glad you aren't out there getting wet.'. Because I don't think you really find it amusing at all, even if you do stand and smile in the rain."
Because Fuji could not feel warmth unless he understood what cold was, nor could he feel comfort until he knew misery.
"You're not cruel or sadistic to anyone but yourself." Tezuka's voice was nearly a whisper, but his words rang clearly in the room, steady and sure as always. "I choose to point the blade at myself, not you. And neither of us have cut me so far."
A hand reached forward and fingertips gently pushed away strands of hair falling into brown eyes. Fuji smiled tightly. He didn't deserve this understanding and acceptance. But to him, Tezuka had always been...
"You really are invincible, aren't you."
Tezuka shrugged. There were always choices. He refused to be victimised by his own feelings and instead chose to treasure them. "Perhaps."
Fuji's fingers left Tezuka's hair to brush over his cheek. "Would you mind bending down a bit, Tezuka..."
Tezuka leaned down a little, and closed his eyes when slightly cool lips brushed his own. Somehow he could feel Fuji's smile.
"Would you like a taste of the tea you make?"