The cafe was blessedly warm when Yuki and I entered, as I had expected it to be. It was a blessing to be out of the chill. I walked over to the table I usually took, waving nonchalantly at the proprietor on my way to my seat. Yuki followed closely, taking the chair opposite to mine.
It was a nice spot to sit, off to the corner and out of the crowd-- not that it mattered, since the place was empty save for two couples and a salaryman. The spot was close to a window, so the view was nice and the fireplace was nearby to keep us warm. Not that Yuki seemed to mind the cold. Then again, this is the same girl who was impaled by several steel spears, so it should be no surprise, I suppose. I looked across the table, expecting Nagato with her nose in a book and instead found her looking right back at me. I blinked. She didn't.
"So...what kind of coffee do you like?"
Yeah, I was bad at this. Am I so out of touch that I couldn't even make conversation anymore?
"I have not had coffee before," quick and concise, neutral yet somehow intimidating.
"Well, are there any flavors you prefer? Sweet? Bitter?"
"I do not have a preference."
Then again, maybe this wouldn't be half as hard if it were Asahina or any other more...acclimated girl.
"Well, I usually grab a caramel macchiato, light on the caramel. It's the right amount of sweet and bitter, and the milk smooths the whole thing out."
Yeah, now I sound like an ass. Thankfully, Nagato lacked the social knowledge to identify me as such. I stood and ordered the coffee, relishing the feeling of warmth that permeated my hands before I walked back with the steaming mugs. I put one in front of her and sat down. I grabbed a spoon and swirled the sweet goop I knew to be residing in the bottom of the mug before taking a small sip. Ah, heaven. Only Asahina's tea compares. As I enjoyed the wondrous warmth and symphony of flavor, I failed to notice Nagato's outstretched hand. That is, until I looked up.
"Ummm...Nagato, you don't need to pay, it's on me."
"Is it not appropriate for me to pay for my own coffee?"
"Well, in some cases; but in this case, I'm covering your half. Enjoy," I say, half grinning.
She pulled back her hand, pocketing the bills. Afterwards, she picked up a mixing spoon and mirrored my earlier movements down to the last detail. It was a little unnerving, how precise she was sometimes. We proceeded like that for some time, sipping at our coffee in amiable silence. I relaxed a bit, turning my head to watch the snow fall.
"It's quite beautiful, isn't it," I found myself saying.
No big words, no contradictions, just agreement. It took me off guard for a second, and I had to blink to make sure it was the same girl. She turned her head to look out the window. My eyes were squarely on her. I had to admit, she gets confusing sometimes. On one hand, you had the the alien; on the other hand, you had the girl. It's a little disconcerting, since as cruel as it seems, I forget that she's still somewhat human.
"So, is that why you chose your name?"
The walk to her home was pleasant, if a bit chilly. It was mostly quiet, but we did break the silence with a bit of conversation here in there. I learned small things about her, but with a girl like her, it's the small things that count. She liked all genres of reading, but she did have a slant towards science fiction. She apparently read so much to try and improve her guise, something I told her I'd be happy to help her with sometime. Even in the long stretches of silence, it didn't feel awkward.
The wind was heavy by the time we reached her apartment complex, and somehow the winter wonderland we walked through turned into a windy day in Siberia. Well, maybe not, but damn it would be a cold walk home.
"Well, I'll see you on Monday," I say, giving a nonchalant wave despite the biting chill. I turned around and made my way, but I didn't get a step before I felt a tug at my sleeve. I turned around and faced Yuki, wondering if I'd forgotten something. She wore her usual neutral expression, but there was something else there...
I didn't have time to think about it as her hand moved to my own and she stepped forward. She got on her tiptoes and I felt a soft warmth on my cheek, easing the ache of the cold winter's touch. I blinked. And again. Eventually...
"Why," I asked, somewhat dumbly.
"Is a kiss not proper during the conclusion of a date?"
"But we weren't--" And then it hit me, I asked her to join me in coffee, I bought both of our drinks. I even walked her home. It was a date, or it would seem so to someone like Nagato. I couldn't help but laugh inwardly. Knowing Nagato, she probably picked it up from a manga or a romantic novel of some kind. Actually, that book she'd been reading...
I shook my head and I couldn't help but smile.
"I guess that was a date, wasn't it? I hope I wasn't too bad for company."
"I found the outing...enjoyable."
Was that the hint of a blush? Couldn't be. Never the less, I had to get home, lest I froze in the blizzard.
"Well, it's been fun, Nagato. I'll see you Monday." With that and a small wave, I turned to brave the storm and make my way home, when all of a sudden, I felt another tug at my sleeve. I turned to face Yuki again, and I was faced with her neutral expression, but... She was blushing!
"Would you like to come in for tea?"
A/N: So, it's done. Funny, I honestly didn't think I'd get even one review when I wrote the first chapter, and I didn't even plan on writing this one. I guess it's a bit of a serendipitous error, since I accidentally put this up as "In-Progress". People thought I wasn't done yet, and I guess I proved them right. I hope that you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. And who knows? Despite the rampant OOC-ness, I actually enjoyed my characterizations. They might just come back, Yuki and Kyon. But that's another side, another story. Also, props to Kraven Ergeist and all you guys who write for Haruhi and do it well. Chances are, I've jacked a few of your ideas while writing this.