Vague Kai/Takao, set the night before the World Championship finals in Moscow. Written for Spinel Sun because I owed her one. ;)

Moment of Clarity

This is a moment.

The sky is frozen, blue-black and reamed with stars, vast. Below, Moscow, snow-veiled, and the hotel grounds and two figures, neither able to sleep tonight of all nights, meeting by chance under a fir tree. Distant traffic noise drops away as they stand there, the world shrinks down to rustling needles and chilled breath, the shifting of boots in snow. This is time crystallised; this is a moment.

There are words spoken, but they're not what's important. When Kai asks why, why did you save me, and Takao grins and flushes and rubs at the back of his head, mutters something about team spirit and trust, the words they're using don't matter. Words can mean what you want them to, and reveal what you don't intend them to, and what really matters is what's being said. And both of them think, fear, hope that they know what that is.

Maybe this thing is strange, maybe it isn't okay, but right now Kai knows he's lucky to still be alive, luckier to still be himself, and there's a brightness in Takao's eyes that he can't ignore. And right now Takao feels happy to be here, happier to be with this person, and there's a look on Kai's face that makes him think his heart might burst.

And right now, it's like all the sappy ballads Takao has ever heard and hated, like all the eloquent poetry Kai has ever comprehended without understanding. Like all that, except completely different and much more terrifying, feeling like this and knowing the other feels the same, but not daring to quite believe it. Not daring, even as the world shrinks further still and absolute gravity kicks in; not daring, even as the impossible becomes the inevitable, becomes the actual.

The kiss lasts a second, lasts a hundred years, and then it's over and eyes meet in apprehension, in trepidation. Takao sees a mirror of his own anxiety and laughs, nervous still but relieved; Kai hears Takao's laugh and breathes again.

And right now, they can both dare to believe that maybe things will turn out okay, after all. Even though tomorrow will be the most difficult battle of their lives, even though so much rests on its outcome, they can believe that there will be an afterwards. There must be.

This is only the first moment.