The first time Mikagami saw Kirisawa Fuuko in six years he was walking up the steps of his apartment building. The sky was low with snow and the wind was stinging cold. His cases had all been dealt with and he had secured himself a two day vacation. He had planned on spending it in his apartment watching Planet Earth and drinking Tsingtao. He buried his hands in his pockets and hunched his shoulders, trying to protect his neck from the blistering winter fingers.
The woman had her back to him. She was struggling with the doors as she had her hands full with large brown boxes. Her hair was long and a shade of red so dark it looked almost purple. Mikagami blinked. Purple hair. He let out a small snort and a secret smile. Purple monkeys.
He grabbed the door with one arm and held it open; the woman gasped her thanks and squeezed through the entrance. He entered behind her, slipping a finger into his right glove to pull it off. She turned around, flicking her hair smoothly behind her shoulder left as she settled her packages against her right him.
She opened her mouth to thank him once again and froze. Mikagami stared. He swallowed. This woman in front of him couldn't be Kirisawa Fuuko. It was impossible. He was on a continent halfway around the world from Japan, in a small and non-descript city. There was only one Japanese place to be found downtown. But those large brown eyes were familiar. And the purple hair was familiar. The same height. The same face. The same expressive tilt of the eyebrows.
"How are you?"
The woman in front of him broke into a warm smile.
"You're still as level-headed and unflusterable as ever, Mikagami. I'm quite fine, thank you." She stared at him and kept smiling. It was the type of smile that was warm and seemed irrepressible, the type that was genuine and appeared on people's faces when they were truly glad to see someone.
Mikagami nodded. "I'm doing quite good as well. Do you live here?"
Fuuko let out a small laugh. "Yes. I just moved in. Do you?"
Mikagami watched her carefully. "Yes. I live on the fourth floor."
Fuuko's eyebrows shot up. "We're neighbours."
Mikagami felt the strange urge to laugh. Instead, he chose smiling. "This will be interesting. Please try not to borrow my sugar more than once a week. And don't burn down the building when you attempt to cook."
The same buttons still worked, apparently, because before he knew it, she was angrily poking his shoulder as he tried to make his way peacefully to the elevator.
But there was something different about Kirisawa Fuuko. Perhaps six years of growing up. As he watched her walk into her new apartment, she turned around and smiled. It was an unreadable smile. And he felt curious. She closed the door behind her.
Mikagami entered the door slowly. He sat in his leather armchair in the darkness and watched the snow fall slowly onto the grey, squat buildings.
The first time Fuuko saw Mikagami in six years she was struggling to use her pinkie to pull open her new home's door. She was also struggling not to cry. That morning she had tried to buy some vegetables at the local supermarket and the lady had been more than nice. But no matter how hard she tried, Fuuko couldn't understand her accent. She had to give up and shake her head. Shrugging her shoulders sadly, she made her way out of the supermarket with a can of beans and a tomato. She didn't know why that had upset her so deeply, but here she was, freezing to death and no one would help her, and she couldn't even buy food for her own dinner—her eyes stung with the cold and her tears.
Then the door opened, and there he was. Mikagami Tokiya.
He stood there, silently looking at her. And suddenly her spirits lifted. She wasn't alone in this godforsaken, foreign town. She had Mikagami. Same old, Mikagami. She looked at him carefully. His hair was cropped short, he wore silver glasses. His coat was long and black and looked expensive—classy, as always. She smiled.
She couldn't help it. This was Mikagami and he could be a right bastard, but he was her friend. She felt a strange pressure behind her eyes, and she realized that she was tearing up. It had been so long since she felt anything certain in the world. But here was Mikagami. Someone like a rock. Exactly the same as he used to be. Or almost.
As they rode the elevator in silence, she wondered about him. There was an ease in his shoulders that wasn't there when they were teenagers, and he smiled more than he used to. His eyes were steady but not painfully cold. His gaze slid towards hers and she pretended she was looking at lit elevator numbers.
He didn't say anything.
When she bid him goodnight, there was something else in his gaze. Something unrecognizable. Six years had been a long time. Perhaps Mikagami wasn't the same after all. She smiled, and a strange uneasiness oozed into her stomach. The way the light was falling highlighted the planes in his face. If anything, six years and made him more attractive—but there was something unknown in his face. She closed the door.
She sat down on the bed and looked at the boxes around her. She buried her face in her hands and cried.
Author's Notes: This is the first in a series of firsts. Not a long series. Enjoy! Don't worry, Plus Minus is being worked on (slowly). Oh, and a little plug. Please do visit my cooking blog if you like cooking: i-cook-sometimes . blogspot . com
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