Title: The Shrine Where Itsuki Was
Series: Eerie Queerie
Disclaimer: All characters and situations property of Shiozu Shuri.
Shino turned, a little annoyed at the pestering. Itsuki looked at him and grinned unabashedly. "Okay?"
"What?" Shino blinked at his classmate and felt his irritation melt away like snow in summer. Itsuki held too much charm for him; Shino was never able to stay angry for long.
"Made you look, didn't I?" Itsuki tilted his head slightly to one side and forestalled the inevitable shove by laying his hand over Shino's. "Can I stay at your house tonight?"
"Yes." Shino sighed a bit. It happened occasionally, when Itsuki was particularly stressed out, that he would run away to a friend's place. He invariably returned home the next night and seemed to feel incredibly guilty before, during and after his flight.
"Don't you ever feel like flying?"
Itsuki was lying on his back on the grass, arm flung over his face to shield his eyes from the sun. Shino sat beside him, enjoying the warmth and the chance to watch Itsuki for a long time without him noticing.
"Maybe on a cloud," he replied.
"You're lazy," Itsuki said with a laugh, turning his head and opening his eyes to look at Shino. "I'd like to have wings, you know, like that guy in that legend – "
"Which one?" asked Shino dryly.
"Ehhhh…" Itsuki tore a handful of grass from the lawn and threw it at Shino. Shino did the same; they ended up rolling around on the ground play-fighting. "There's not many clouds to ride on today," Itsuki said, gasping, when they'd finished.
"No." Shino shrugged. "It's all just blue. But the best time to ride one would be in a storm, anyway."
"You'd get wet."
"What do you think a cloud is?"
Shino fiddled with the stem of the flower, twirling it nervously between the pads of his finger and thumb.
Itsuki looked round at him. "What is it?"
Shino pressed the gardenia to his lips and then touched it lightly to Itsuki's mouth. "Indirect kiss."
Itsuki pulled away, screwing up his face. "You are weird, Shino."
"Maybe," Shino said, slipping the flower into the breast pocket of Itsuki's blazer.
"Ugh." Itsuki sneered and rolled his eyes, but the flower was still there at the end of the afternoon, and Shino found it a few weeks later pressed between the pages of Itsuki's maths textbook.
And this is why Shino got on the train that took him to Tokyo that left him on the street that he walked down to reach the shrine where Itsuki was.