Change in the Weather.

The storm breaks out sudden and fast, soaking them before they have run more than a couple hundred feet. Mikage curls as close to Teito as he can, giving a frantic 'burupya!' and both he and Hakuren look at each other with a nod to find a shelter until the rain stops.

Thankfully, they're almost lucky: they find an old, barely standing cottage in the middle of the woods; Hakuren mentions something about a groundkeeper who died a few years ago and how the new one didn't want to be so far from the main building, but all Teito can think is that at least inside it's probably dry.

It is dry, sort of, though moist and damp and it smells of humidity. Hakuren uses his zaiphon so that they can see around: there's a place for a fireplace, a pile of forgotten wood in a corner, a chair, a bed that's been stripped of the covers and the mattress rotten and crawling with bugs. Teito wonders if Labrador-sama's 'come back before six' was meant to be a warning about this.

Hakuren sighs, taking off the straps of the basket, setting it down.

"I'll see if I can start the fire. Take off your clothes, or you'll get sick."

"What about yours?" Teito asks, even though he's already undoing the buttons at the collar. Mikage moves to his head, shaking the water off.

Hakuren nods. "Once I start the fire."

Sadly, that takes longer than it should. The wood is wet, and for a while it doesn't do much more than smoke. By the time there's finally a fire, Teito can see how Hakuren is shivering. He's probably trying not to: his teeth are clenched tight, as if he was trying to stop his lip from showing he's cold. Hakuren takes off his uniform, squeezes the water out, and then he also undoes his hairclip, running his hands through his hair as if to shake the cold out. And then he sits by the floor, next to the fire, arms wrapped around his legs, his face against his knees.

"You're cold," Teito tells Hakuren.

"I'm not," Hakuren insists, not looking up from where his arms are hiding his face, but he's still shivering.

He snorts, and even Mikage's 'pya' seems to agree with him. Teito moves Mikage from his lap to his shoulder so that he can stand up, moving to sit by Hakuren's die.

"Yeah, right."

"... you should be, too!" Hakuren says, moving his head so that he can look at Teito. He's glaring a little, as if he couldn't understand how Teito isn't cold. Teito would like very much to explain that to him, but he has no idea.

So instead of focusing on that, he shrugs a bit. "You stayed wet for longer than I did."

Hakuren hates admitting defeat in this kind of things. He tries to curl closer on himself, and Teito tries to understand how such a smart person can be so stupid at the same time for a moment before he puts Mikage down and then, quite simply, he moves to push Hakuren on the floor. He's stronger than him and faster, and Hakuren is still sputtering before Teito ignores the way his heart is pounding and he lays down half on top of Hakuren, arms around him, feeling himself blushing.

"W-what do you think you're doing?!" Hakuren asks, completely tense, but finally moving to try and push him off. Teito holds on.

"Do you want to get sick?" He asks, hoping he manages the same tone Hakuren has when he asks something like that.

And apparently it does help, because Hakuren stops trying to push him away. Instead he sort of moves so that they're both on their sides, and his arms are still around Teito in a not-quite-hug. Hakuren's face is really red, and Teito is sure that his looks just like Hakuren's.

Teito isn't sure what he's supposed to be saying right now. There's probably something, he thinks: Hakuren also look as if he wanted to speak, the air between them tense with much more than just the storm. Some of Hakuren's pale blond hair sticks to his face, and Teito moves a hand to Hakuren's face, meaning to move that hair from his face, but then he's just... there, with his hand on Hakuren's face.

"Teito..." Hakuren starts, and then he's sort of moving a little. And Teito is moving too, still touching Hakuren's face. Their faces are very close, close enough that he can feel Hakuren's breathing against his lips.

And that's when Frau kicks the door open.

"BRATS." Hakuren and he jump away from each other, stare at the door. And then he smirks, looking at them. "Should we come back later?"

There's a zillion things they could say, but the most horrifying one is: "We?"

Labrador leans forward, smiling gently. "I told him you were okay, but--"

"Should've told us they were busy, Lab, that's different than--"


It's still raining then, but they have covers and Labrador makes Frau carry the baskets with the mushrooms. And it's still cold, with their clothes back on and damp. Mikage burrowing against Teito's shoulders.

But Hakuren moves to take his hand, and that makes it better.