My and THE very first Yozakura Quartet fanfiction! I requested it get its own category but I didn't think it would actually happen! This series REALLY needs more love, as does this couple. But hopefully since the author drew for the popular series Durarara! they fans'll find some more of his works and this series will work its way up ;3 Enjooy!~
Disclaimer: I do not own Yozakura Quartet :( Everyone pleease support this great series!
Shimmering, white snowflakes descended from the gray, shaded sky like crystal dragon scales.
The bright sunlight reflected off of each individual flake, making it difficult for one to look up into the Winter sky without squinting. Snow layered the entire city, and not much movement occurred aside from a daring bird flittering across the frozen trees.
The bitter cold was chilling to the bone, yet still, one girl patrolled the city in her usual outfit; a school uniform, a skirt and black thigh-high socks. Lacrosse stick in hand, she leaped atop the snow-covered street poles with the skill that could only be gained and boasted about after many years of practice. Her long, scarf flowed out behind her, the vivid orange and black the most unique colors to grace the town all day.
She would jump widely and soar through the air, using the lacrosse stick for balance as a cat uses its tail until her feet made contact with the next pole. She perched there for a few moments, scouting the area intently with sharp, hawklike vision until she was satisfied that the surrounding area was clear of anything unusual or dangerous.
Though her eyes were usually strict and harsh and her eyebrows were always slanted downward, she smiled satisfactorily. She bent her knees slightly, mustering up her energy for the next leap when a gust of wind burst past her, trying to knock her off balance, but her experience made her body unconsciously adjust so that she could straighten up again.
For the first time in a while, she actually felt a little cold and she hugged her beloved scarf to her neck. She had gotten used to the cold weather recently and was probably the only one in the entire town who could walk around only wearing a high school uniform.
She shook off the chill on her skin and gathered herself again for the next jump. She took off, feeling the wind whip past her, tugging at her long black hair and scarf. The snowflakes melted on her cheeks as she flew against them, each individual one melting into a cool liquid that made her shutter and then relax.
The girl finally reached her last street pole, her patrol for the afternoon finally over. There had been no signs of mischief, from humans or youkai alike recently. The break in troublesome events had given the workers at the office more time to complete other work, so there was more time to relax in front of the heater, yet the mayor still had to do her daily patrols as always.
She let out a sigh of accomplishment and twirled her lacrosse stick once before she heard a familiar male voice calling from down below.
"Oy! Hime!" Akina waved, projecting his voice so that she could hear him. Hime turned her attention down to him and gave a small smile. "Your patrol's over for now right? Why don't you come down and…" Akina trailed off and his eyes widened as the girl simply jumped from the top of the pole. Akina stepped back several feet as her shadow rapidly grew bigger and with a gust of wind, she landed neatly next to him, her scarf settling a few seconds behind her. She straightened up and smiled at him.
"Yo." She replied. Then she took a closer look at what he was wearing; only long pants and a coat over his sweatshirt. "Aren't you cold?" she asked.
"Y-You're asking me?" he sputtered back in astonishment, perusing her skirt and uniform. She blushed and pulled her shirt down a bit, turning her head away.
"Well I'm really used to this weather. I've been doing this ever since I was nine. My body's gotten used to it." She covered up a small shiver by making it look like she was just twirling her stick a bit.
"Come on, Hime. That can't be true." Akina pouted. "It's below freezing out here and you're wearing a skirt. You'll get a cold and then what'll the city do without its mayor?" he challenged.
But Hime stubbornly straightened up and ignored his last comment.
"Come on. Let's head back to the office." She began walking like a proud soldier, her chin held high and her chest puffed out, humming her tsundere tune as she set out again amidst her favorite city with her secretly favorite person. Akina followed behind her more slowly, sighing and shaking his head at her willfulness.
When Hime eventually noticed that she had left him several paces behind, she halted and waited for him, twirling her stick.
Then, she suddenly got an idea.
Smirking, she scooped up a handful of snow with the lacrosse stick and aimed it at Akina's lowered and unsuspecting head. Holding back a snicker, she pulled back and flung it at him, landing a direct shot right in his hair.
"H-Hey!" the boy looked up with eyes mixed with surprise and anger and his pout met her smirk. "Oh, it's on now." He quickly reached down and grabbed a fistful of snow littering the sidewalk and packed it into a solid ball. But before he could even get the chance to aim, Hime had catapulted another mound at him, covering his chest in chilly white crystal. "Damn it!" Akina cursed playfully as Hime tried in vain to hold back her laughter. Trying to get her when her guard was down, Akina threw his snowball at her face, but she skillfully blocked it with her stick, sending it splattering into billions of tiny chunks.
"Is that all you've got?" she cackled. "You're gonna have to do a lot better than that if you ever wanna hit me." She smirked again, scooping up more snow. Akina met her eyes with the respectful glare of an equally strong enemy before forming another snowball.
Their battle continued for a few more moments, and considering the fact that they were, literally, the only ones in the entire, snow-covered town who were outside, they could both relax and not be worried about being seen slacking off on duties. Their laughter echoed softly off the city around them, and Akina was relieved to see Hime in such a good mood. She was smiling the smile she hardly ever revealed to anyone, and her eyes were sparkling and lighthearted.
For a moment, they both halted in their assault on the other and took a break. But while Hime was bent over panting from exhaustion and laughter, her breath coming out in huge, white puffs, Akina packed one last snowball. He turned around slightly to aim at her, but still be inconspicuous at the same time. Her eyes were squeezed closed as she gasped for breath, and Akina took advantage of her unsuspecting position.
Aiming with a smirk, he threw the heavy ball of snow straight at her with as much force as he could collect, watching satisfactorily as it flew at her. At the last second, she opened her eyes and tried to block it, but was not fast enough. The snowball hit her square in the face and Akina prepared to do a victory dance in his mind when he saw Hime stumble and go down into a heap of snow. Akina was dumbfounded for a moment, not thinking he had throw it that hard.
"Hime?" he asked, going over to where she lay in the snow. Alarm shot through him as he saw scarlet trickling and seeping into the pure white snow and he finally realized what had happened. He must have accidentally packed a chunk of ice into his snowball. "Hime!" he called out to her again for she had not moved; her eyes were closed and the deep crimson continued to stain the snow. "Oy!" Panicked, Akina knelt down beside her and looked her over, his eyes wide out of nervousness from being scared to touch her.
Then, her eyes flickered open and she sniffed, pushing herself up from the cold, unforgiving ground. Akina helped her as best he could, supporting her shoulders as she sat up straight. "Are you alright?" he asked frantically. "I'm sorry. I didn't know there was ice in it."
"Calm down, I'm fine." She assured him, bringing her hand to her nose to try and stop the bleeding. "It was fun." She smiled again, and Akina felt better.
"Come on, let's get you home before you catch a cold." He said standing and offering her his hand. She wiped her bloody hand in the snow, taking her lacrosse stick, and grasped his fingers with her other hand. He pulled her up beside him and she wiped the snow from her uniform and straightened out her skirt, sniffing again. "Is it still bleeding?" he asked.
"Not much." She replied, tipping her head back a bit, closing her eyes at the bright whiteness of the sky. The cool flakes made contact with her sore face and made it feel better, and at last, she sighed and lowered her head again.
Together, they began walking back, Hime flipping her long, onyx hair behind her to try and get the tiny icicles off. The snowflakes were coming down harder and faster now, which made it even more difficult to breathe in the chilled air.
Hime glanced sideways to see Akina shivering a bit and she silently stepped closer to him and without a word, wrapped the excess of her precious scarf around his neck. He blinked at her in surprise, but then thanked her with his eyes. She nodded in comprehension and moved closer to him, sharing what little warmth she had left in her body. "Let's hurry." She said.
"Agreed." Akina nodded and took her unoccupied hand in his and together, they dashed back through the snow toward their safe haven.
Hime never thought she could be so thankful to see that office in her life.
The two friends burst through the doors together and stumbled shakily into the room.
"Hime! Akina! You're back!" Ao, who had been waiting anxiously on the couch popped up like bread from a toaster and raced over to them, hugging them both with all her might. "I was so worried you'd turned into icicles!" she wailed. Hime and Akina shared amused expressions with one another and hugged her back.
"Thanks for worrying about us, Ao." Hime patted her head gratefully. "Now get off of use before you get cold too." She pushed the younger youkai back gently, not wanting her to get sick.
"Welcome back, you two." Kotoha turned around to face them from her spinning chair at her working desk.
"It's good to be back, trust me." Akina replied. Then, he slowly unwound Hime's scarf from his neck and wrapped it tightly back around her own. "My gosh, you're freezing." He murmured.
"Gee, I wonder why?" she replied sarcastically. "I'm going to go change." She announced, leaning her lacrosse stick against the wall and disappearing into the back rooms of the office. Akina did likewise to find himself a change of clothes.
The sky got darker and darker and the anticipated snowstorm began to unfold.
The four workers of the Counseling Office completed some menial tasks for the remainder of the day, until Hime, now wearing a long, black nightgown, stood up from her desk. Her paperwork was neatly piled and sorted and most of the other members had already finished most of their work as well. "Hey Kotoha, do you think my clothes are dry yet?" she asked the other youkai.
"Yeah they should be." She replied. Hime nodded her thanks and was about to retrieve her clothes when Akina grasped her wrist from where he sat on the couch.
"Wait, Hime, you're not seriously going out on another patrol, are you?" he asked.
"Why wouldn't I?" she asked. "I always go out on three patrol, morning, noon and evening. You know that." She responded.
"Yeah but, this is the coldest recorded weather we've had in years." He protested.
"Which is precisely why we shouldn't be letting our guard down." She countered. "It would be the perfect time for some rouge youkai to strike us when we're unsuspecting and weak. I'm going." She said firmly, gently pulling her wrist away from him and heading off to change back into her uniform. Akina scowled after her and Ao and Kotoha could see that he was as unhappy as they were about Hime being so headstrong.
After a few more moments, Hime reappeared dressed in her uniform, and headed for the door. She grabbed her lacrosse stick and opened the door to a gust of cold air that made her coworkers shiver. "I'll make it quick okay?" Hime promised them all, trying to easy their worry.
"Be careful." Ao's small voice sounded against the howling winds. Hime's eyes softened and she nodded once before disappearing into the white world outside. The door closed behind her and the remaining three were left in silence before Akina sighed heavily.
"I really hate it when she gets like that." He growled. "Youkai or not, one of these days she's going to get herself killed if she keeps up this stubbornness."
"You should stop worrying so much." Kotoha told him. "She's been doing this for years and even when she was only nine years old she still had to do this sort of thing. It comes with the job and title of 'mayor'. She'll be fine." She pushed away from her desk and stood, stretching her arms above her head. "Well it goes without saying that we're all staying in the guest rooms here tonight. I'm exhausted so I'm gonna hit the hey." She glanced over to see her fellow youkai, Ao, trying to keep herself from nodding off, her ears tilted back and her eyelids fighting for dominance against the demons of slumber. "Come on, Ao." She offered. "You look like you're about to keel over."
"B…But I want to stay up till Hime comes back." The younger girl rubbed her eyes and fought back a yawn.
"It's okay, Ao. You go on to bed." Akina put in. "I'll stay up till she gets home." He assured. Ao finally let out the yawn she had been holding back and nodded at last. Her senior youkai helped her up from the couch and helped her slowly to the rooms in the back of the office, calling out a goodnight to Akina over her shoulder.
"G'night, guys." He replied. "Stay warm." The office went silent as the two girls disappeared and Akina was left alone, waiting for their final member to return.
He got up from the couch and went over to the closet near the room with their washing machine and dryer. He reached up onto a high shelf where extra blankets were stored and took down the thickest wool cover they had. He returned to the couch and unfolded it, throwing it around his shoulders.
Just listening to the harsh winds outside made him shudder, and the thought of Hime still being out there made it even worse.
It seemed like an hour had passed when in reality, it had only been 15 minutes. Anxiety clawed at Akina like a cornered wolverine. Every tiny noise alerted his attention toward the door, but each time Hime never entered.
Restlessly, Akina stood and went to the door, peering outside for any sign of her, but in the end all he could see was white. He sighed and returned to the couch, tightening his grip on the blanket. Not even the heater in the office sufficed much against this bitingly chilled weather.
At last, the door slid open and Akina straightened up to see Hime stagger through and shut the door behind her. She let out a huge sigh and leaned her lacrosse stick against the wall again.
"Hime!" Akina's unexpected voice made her jump and she spun to look at him.
"Akina! You scared me!" she gasped, placing a hand over her racing heart. "I thought you'd all be asleep by now. Even though it's not that late, this weather just makes you dreary, doesn't it?" she sighed, removing her boots near the entrance.
"It sure does." He agreed. "The others are already passed out in their rooms." He informed her.
"That's understandable." She nodded, gathering her long tresses together and squeezing the melted snow and ice from her hair. Hime tightened her scarf around her neck again, hugged herself and shook like a dog out of water.
"You don't want to take a hot bath?" Akina asked.
"Nah. I'm not that cold." She told him. "I just needed to get those lingering snowflakes off."
"Then come here and sit down." He moved over to give her room on the couch and she gratefully sat down beside him with a huge sigh. Akina unfolded the extra length of blanket from around him and draped it around her shoulders. Hime jumped a bit at his contact and the fact that they were under the same blanket with his arm across her shoulders. But eventually she relaxed and pulled the cover around her more. "Do you want me to make you a hot bowl of ramen?" Akina offered.
"Mm…no its fine."
There was silence for a moment.
"Okay you must be sick." He declared. He pulled her closer and rested his forehead against hers. "Do you have a fever?" he fretted sarcastically.
"Oh quit it." She shied away from him with a slight blush. "I've already had, like, 5 bowls today. Kyousuke's gonna kill me if he ever finds out…" she trailed off.
Akina smiled. "Alright, if you're okay with that." But then he asked more seriously. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"Yes, I'm fine." She repeated. But she still kept a considerable distance between herself and him. Akina suspected she was hiding something and shifted, moving closer to her.
"Come here." He ordered, putting his arm across her shoulders again and pulling her close to him.
"A-Akina!" she tried to protest but it was too late for that now.
He had already realized why she was keeping her distance from him. When he brought her closer, Akina could feel her shaking like mad.
"Hime!" his voice was full of shock and a bit of anger from her hiding it from him. "You're freezing!"
"Shh! You'll wake the others!" she hissed.
"I could care less. Hime, this isn't good. Move closer."
"Hime!" The venom in his voice told her he was serious and she gasped. Then Akina softened and pulled her closer. "Come on. You'll get sick. For real."
Silently, Hime obeyed, shifting her weight closer to him until she was pressed up against him. She pulled her legs up from the floor and curled her knees close to her body. Akina gave the majority of the blanket to her and his hands found hers. His warm palms clasped her frozen ones and Hime finally got some feeling back in her flesh. She was unable to hold back any longer and at last broke down shivering against him.
She cringed against everything that was not him, and Akina embraced her tightly. Her eyes were squeezed shut and her breath was shaky and uneven, which worried Akina greatly. He just held her, trying to keep her as warm as possible and making sure that the blanket covered every inch of her cold form.
He considered calling for a doctor, but he knew that Hime hated them more than almost anything else. So he just continued to hold her until her harsh shivering faded into small trembles. Her breathing calmed down and quieted, and eventually deepened. Her inhales and exhales were still uneven, but she sounded a lot better than she previously had. Akina rubbed her shoulders and arms, trying to keep her wet hair away from her body.
"What am I going to do with you?" He asked silently.
Hime cracked open one eye and then the other before blinking up at him.
"Thanks…Akina…" she wheezed, a small smile forming on her lips.
"Are you cold anywhere else?" he asked softly.
"Not really." She replied. "Just my hair and my lips, but I'm okay now."
She was just about to close her eyes when she felt him draw closer.
She opened her eyes again slightly just in time to see Akina press his lips against hers.
Her heart stopped for a good long moment before he pulled away.
"Better?" Akina asked.
Hime's voice was gone, hitched in her throat, and all she could manage to do was give a single, tiny nod.
"Good." He said satisfactorily. "Here, you're slouching." He informed her. With one arm across her shoulders and one across her stomach, he pulled her up to lean back against the couch before hugging her again in that position to keep her warm.
Hime felt her heart begin to pound like a stampede, as though it had finally remembered to beat again after the shock of his kiss. She blushed like mad and was thankful for the darkness of the snowstorm outside, but no matter what she tried, she could not slow her frantic heartbeat. She was extremely embarrassed and self-conscious in knowing full-well that he could feel it too. But finally, she managed to slow her breathing again and relaxed, closing her eyes once more. Her heartbeat returned to its normal pace.
"Get some sleep, Hime." Akina murmured into her ear before resting his chin atop her head.
She moved closer to him and rested her head against his chest.
"Thanks, Akina…" she murmured. "Really…Thanks…" At last she drifted off into a cozy slumber by his side.
Akina listened to her soft breathing rubbing his one hand up and down her arm gently as the other rose and fell with her stomach as she breathed.
"Good night, Hime." He whispered, and kissed her head.
Akina closed his eyes then, and the two of them fell asleep beside each other with pure smiles on their faces.
No matter how bitterly cold the season could be, Akina made sure that Hime could always rely on that hidden Winter's Warmth.
A/N: I tried to make it as fluffy as possible so sorry if it was a bit OOC ^^; But still, I hope you liked it! Yay for Akina and Hime (or as I like to call it, Akime ;3) The sequel is called Winter's Kindness ;3 and write some more fics for this series to give it support and make it popular!