Title: Tulip in a Cup

Characters/Pairing: Shun, Yuuta (just a hint of Yuuta/Shun if you squint ^_~)

Warnings/Spoilers: spoilers for series 2, episode 13

Rating: PG

Word Count: ~900

Summary: Shun has always been terrible at imagining the future.

Notes: This is basically just me wanting more of that scene with Shun and Yuuta in the tea club room in the final episode. I hope you enjoy it!

I'm a tulip in a cup

I stand no chance of growing up

-Valentine, Fiona Apple

The ceramic bowl is heavy and solid in Shun's hands as he allows this one moment to spread out in front of him, dwarfing the thoughts that have been crowding his head all day.

The future - with its exams and decisions and blank sheets of paper begging to be filled in - has been hanging around in the background for months now, but the realization had still come suddenly. It had become clear in an instant, seeing that thick book staring up at him from Yuuta's desk.

Someday, this would come to an end.

The sunlight filtering into the club room and casting half of Yuuta's face in shadow - this would all change. Yuuta would become someone else, an older and wiser version of himself. Shun, too, along with the rest of them. He can't quite decide if this is a good thing, or if it's the most terrifying realization he's experienced in his entire life.

But right now, Shun just feels the weight of the ceramic pressing against his fingers, feels his legs, folded up underneath him tight and calm, and his spine, ruler-straight, but not taut-relaxed, somehow, even now. In his heart, there's a tiny bubble, light and free, and when it breaks away, the thumping in his chest echoes throughout his entire body. This moment, this realization that he's not alone (Yuuta is right here, not anywhere else, just here) thrums through his whole body, through the whole room. This might end, he might not be able to stay here forever, but right now, this moment is perfect.

He looks up at Yuuta, who's watching him, his face serene and quiet, like always.

"The future doesn't have to be decided right now. You'll drive yourself crazy if you think about it like that," Yuuta says, and Shun just nods.

He can feel his eyes clouding over, even though he's not sad—if anything, he's happy. He sets his bowl down, reaching into the folds of his yukata for a handkerchief, but Yuuta is a step ahead of him. He leans forward, and offers him a neatly folded square of fabric. It's deep blue and matches his yukata, and for a moment Shun thinks there's no way he could use something like this, something so graceful and beautiful, but in the end he takes it from Yuuta's hand anyway. Yuuta leans forward and ruffles his hair.

"Yuuki would have a field day with you," Yuuta says, smiling as he threads his fingers through Shun's hair.

It feels nice - like a breeze up on the roof at the tail end of summer, refreshing and familiar, wrapping around him tightly like a cocoon.

"What do you mean? Why?" Shun asks. He sniffles a little, and Yuuta chuckles softly.

"For being such a baby."

Shun laughs, feeling silly, but there's an image in his head that he can't shake - Yuuta and Kaname, walking along an unfamiliar tree-lined street, with students bustling past, and tall, smart-looking buildings that he imagines are filled with books and lecture halls with rows of wooden seats. Yuuki and Chizuru are there too, looking tall like the buildings but for some reason when it comes to picturing himself, everything turns fuzzy, out of focus. Shun has always been terrible at imagining the future. Worrying about it is an entirely different thing. His mind starts to feel crowded again, dizzy with so many options.

"I guess I was starting to feel like maybe you were all going to leave me behind, you know?" Shun says quietly. "Because I-" he starts, feeling his face flush a little. "I haven't-"

"Shun," Yuuta interrupts. His hand closes over Shun's knee for a moment. "Stop thinking. Drink your tea."

Shun nods, and picks up the bowl again.

"We're all in the same boat here," Yuuta says. "We're the same."

"I know."

"There's no reason to feel lonely when I'm right here, right?"

Shun eyes widen a little at this, and then he smiles.

"No," he agrees. He closes his eyes. He feels warm and content, like he's sitting in a patch of sunlight, even though the room is darker now, and no longer bathed in light from outside.

He takes a sip of tea, and lets the bitterness remain on his tongue until it fades away into something much sweeter, something that lets his heart bubble up with happiness again.

"The future, huh," Yuuta says, after they've changed back into their uniforms, and are walking out into the late afternoon air to meet the others.

"Yeah," Shun says. The light is soft and warm, the sun setting over the city. "Promise you won't tell Yuuki," Shun says, and then laughs, embarrassed.

"Of course not," Yuuta says. "On one condition."

"Next time you get one of these weird ideas," Yuuta tells him, "talk to me first before you make up all the answers in your head, okay?"

The light against Yuuta's hair makes it look so bright, so impossibly full of colors. This is one thing he really can't imagine ever changing.

"Okay," he says.

Yuuta walks on ahead, and up above, the sky wavers a little, clouds passing overhead, all pinks and blues and late spring oranges that melt into the landscape along the horizon.

The color of flowers, Shun thinks, as he jogs to catch up to the others.