steady progression

Kyon finds himself spending more and more time under the influence of heavy embarrassment. However, since this is more or less how things have always been, nobody - she - doesn't seem to notice.

Kyon is embarrassed whenever he walks into the club's meeting room to find the charming Asahina-san in some state of undress, the action frozen for the disturbance rather than for the actuality of Kyon's presence. And he leaves, because he's embarrassed. Because it is, he supposes, the 'polite' thing to do. Does Haruhi even understand this? She's the kind of girl who looks down on people to the point of changing for gym class in the classroom without caring who sees her, so expecting her to consider Mikuru's feelings seems, at times, somewhat unrealistic.

Kyon feels embarrassed whenever it feels like he's cracked something further beneath Yuki's frozen exterior. A small gesture, a tiny change in expression (and with her, it is tiny) - Kyon notices these and picks them up, unsure quite what to do with them but pleased to witness them and have caused them, nonetheless.

Kyon likes the idea of a normal life. Anything beyond that pushes him out of his comfort zone and causes the momentary panic of how am I even supposed to be able to react to this?!... Haruhi doesn't tend to care for Kyon's reactions and Yuki doesn't seem to want to project that ability, and then of course there's Koizumi. Then, there is Koizumi.

To begin with, Kyon felt embarrassed under Koizumi's stare because he didn't know what it meant. Now, he feels embarrassed under it because he knows precisely what it means, and why Koizumi is doing it. Kyon is embarrassed under Koizumi's attentions, and Koizumi knows it. The more Kyon feels his cheeks burn, the further Koizumi will push it. Just to see.

Just kidding.

Koizumi isn't kidding around entirely though, Kyon learns. Each event leaves the question what did that mean!? lodged in Kyon's mind, and he feels powerless to prevent this from building.

Perhaps Koizumi is just that kind of person, Kyon thinks to himself. But then, he wonders, what kind of person is that to begin with...?

There are moments that linger and touches that border on inappropriate, to Kyon's mind. He's aware that he has probably quite a conservative idea of what he feels appropriate and what he doesn't, but even Mikuru, who blushes at almost every exchange, won't let her hand linger with eyes that say more than voice is willing to dare.

She is not, Kyon supposes, that kind of person.

It is Kyon who cracks first. He finds himself simply unable to put up with that level of ambiguity for too long, always finding himself second-guessing and contemplating and confusing himself, further and further. Koizumi is not the kind to explain, not something like this. If it were a matter of Haruhi's latest whims then doubtless he would have endless thoughts and theories and researched examples, but this is nothing to do with her and everything to do with him, and Kyon doesn't see Koizumi as the kind of person to talk about himself easily. He'd make it difficult. He always makes it difficult.

Kyon spends that one game looking more at Koizumi than the pieces on the board between them. Koizumi notices this and smiles in his usual way, trying to deflect the intensity. Kyon keeps staring.

"Meet me after school," Kyon says. Here would have been perfect, now would have been fine, but Yuki still sits in the corner reading in the way that she always does. Yuki is the least of their worries, but it's easier if she doesn't know.

It's on a side-path off the beaten track home from school that Kyon makes his move. Pushes Koizumi to the nearest wall; he's taller, but pliant. He'll let himself be pushed if it's Kyon pushing him. Kyon leans up and forward as he supposes he's supposed to do, and there is a kiss. And he freezes because he doesn't know what to do beyond that, because Koizumi isn't responding, because something's supposed to be happening and it isn't and he doesn't know how to react. He steps away. Koizumi doesn't run. Kyon feels like running. They're both blushing. Koizumi presses two fingers to his lips; he's not smiling, but his eyes are warm. "I see," he says. Kyon doesn't know what it is that Koizumi sees.

They walk home in silence. Isn't doing something like that supposed to solve all your problems? Kyon had a dream like that, once. Koizumi smiles when they part, "Well then..."

That Sunday, Kyon answers the door to Koizumi and a ridiculous bunch of flowers. He slams the door in Koizumi's face. He opens it again, and Koizumi is still there. He couldn't help but yell, and it's difficult to get the flowers indoors without anybody noticing. Kyon finds his sister particularly inquisitive. They lie propped up in a vase in the corner of Kyon's bedroom after Koizumi leaves, and Kyon stares at them from his bed. If anybody asks, he decides, he'll tell them they were left over from some school production and just happened to fall into his possession. Why he chose to keep them, however, was a more inexplicable matter. He wouldn't bother trying.

At first, it's like nothing's changed. Then, Kyon realises, staring out of a window during a class that doesn't interest him while intently aware of Haruhi sat silently behind him, that everything has changed. Kyon had thought that making some kind of move would prompt Koizumi to explain himself, but wonders if it might have been easier just to ask after all. Koizumi still stares at him, smiles, and won't look away. There are still those small, inappropriate moments that Kyon supposes become appropriate once you've kissed somebody, since doing something like that generally tends to imply that you approve of their behaviour and would like it to continue and would like it to continue more and--

Kyon sometimes wonders if that move was a mistake. Looks at Koizumi and wonders if this is a mistake. Then feels Koizumi's touch and knows he can't mistake that for anything.

This is dangerous, they both know it. Nonetheless, every time Koizumi presses a kiss to Kyon's body with such reverence and looks up as if to say is this alright?, Kyon can't help but nod back his response. And Kyon still feels embarrassed, lying there and wondering if there's any spot on his body that Koizumi hasn't focused on, but nothing about his blush marks him as being uncomfortable. Koizumi is attentive and gentle and Kyon still isn't sure he knows what any of this means, but for the moment? He can't find it within himself to care.