Luchia used to love playing in the rain. Hopping into puddles, catching raindrops on her tongue – it was all too enjoyable for her to pay any mind to how soaked she had gotten. But it would never last long – her mother was such a worrywart, always spoiling the fun by wrapping her arms around the soaked little child and pulling her back home, ignoring the moans of protest. "You'll catch cold," she'd say.
Sumire, Nahashi and Luchia were on their way back home from patrol. The air had been thick and humid for days, the sky clear of clouds, which was why Sumire was surprised to feel droplets of water on her head.
"What is it, Sumire?" Luchia turned around to look at the auburn-haired girl. "I think it's starting to rain," Sumire replied, gazing upward in wonder and blinking as more raindrops fell on her nose and cheeks. Dark, ominous clouds were beginning to gather around the crescent moon.
"Let us go back before the rain gets heavier," Nahashi said and Sumire nodded, quickening her pace.
Luchia didn't move.
The rain was coming down harder by the second, and Luchia simply stood there and stared into space.
"Lu-" Sumire tried again, only to be stopped by the elder man's hand on her shoulder.
"Just give her a moment, Sumire-kun."
So Sumire remained silent and let Luchia get soaked to the bone, hair sticking her to her cheeks, drops of water trailing down her clothes, her mouth, her eyes. It were moments such as this that reminded Sumire how little about Luchia she knew, despite being with her for so long, despite trying so hard. I might never fully understand her, she realized
But that was negligible right now. Right now, what she wanted to do was throw her arms around Luchia and hold her close and go home with her, where it was warm and dry and safe. And there Sumire would learn how to work out the puzzle that was Nahashi Luchia; even if it would be just little by little, even if it would take her all the time in the world.
Yes, that's exactly what she'd do.
Sumire's fingers brushed for a slight moment against the taller girl's back, and she turned to look at her, just a little wide-eyed.
She intertwined her fingers with Luchia's, cold and wet and fitting together perfectly.
"Come on, Luchia-san. Let's go."
For years, Luchia would stand in the rain, close her eyes and wait. Sometimes, if she tried hard enough, she could hear the kind, motherly voice echoing in her mind.
But it was long gone by now, of course.