The sun was warm, and Sei's body was splotched with bits and pieces of light it as it filtered through the leaves of the tree she sat beneath. There was work to do—always work to do—but she couldn't seem to motivate herself to move from the shifting shade and sunlight.

It was when her eyelids began to droop from the warmth that she heard the soft swhh of a sliding shoji, and a familiar face appeared with a smile and an enthusiastic, "Good afternoon, Kamiya-san!"

"Okita-sensei!" she said, her countenance instantly reversed.

"What were you doing under there? Taking a nap?"

"No," she insisted, her face flushing from embarrassment. "I would never be so lazy! I was just—"

"Resting your eyes?" He laughed, tilting his head to the side to give her a once-over before licking his thumb and rubbing at the curve of her jaw with it.

Her mouth contorted, but words did not form. Instead, incoherent spluttering spilled out from between her lips as she tried to make sense of his strange, though definitely not unwanted, action.

"You had dirt on you," he said, quite seriously, as though keeping her face clean was as important as any of his other duties. "What were you doing, wrestling with the hogs again?" But his attention shifted to her collar and he reached out for it, saying, "And look, it's fallen again…"

But she shrugged him off, face flaming and heart pounding, feeling twice as confused as she ever was in his presence when he chose to say or do strange things.

"If it's not worn properly you'll look like a—"

"A girl," she snapped, turning her back to him so that he couldn't see her expression as she fixed her collar. "I know." She wondered if he had any idea how it felt to hear words like those, to hear them and be both pleased and unsettled at the same time.

It was doubtful that he had even the slightest clue.

So with a sigh, she forgave him, and instead of trying to read more into his words than what appeared on the surface, she enjoyed just being with him.


…-…-…

Notes:

My first attempt for the Kaze Hikaru fandom. I do sincerely hope that all of you who love the series will support it by buying the volumes as they come available in your area. It's a shame the series isn't very popular, because it's definitely one of the best I've ever had the fortune of reading.

So this is for my friend, Minami, for introducing me to the series in the first place. I have never plowed through a manga series so quickly in my life.