DISCLAIMER: Nothing but headcanon and plot belongs to me. All characters are credited to Atsushi Ōkubo.
Rain was a fickle thing.
Or maybe it was him that was fickle. Crona didn't know if he liked it or not; there were different kinds of rain, different sounds, and colors that the sky would turn depending on when it was raining, or how hard the droplets fell. Sometimes it stung his face and felt like it was leaving little papercuts in its wake, but other times, it would fall so slowly that it was more like they were actually bubbles popping when they met his hair and shoulders.
He knew that he liked the feeling of rain, at least. How it weighted down the fabric of his clothes and caused them to cling to the bends of his knees and the small of his back in a way they didn't on their own. He didn't mind how his hair stuck to the back of his neck, longer strands tending to wrap around to the hollow of his throat in a point that drips would slip off of to land on his collar.
It was peaceful, the sound of it. Pitter pattering like the feet of little mice, or Tsubaki's chopsticks when Black Star reached over to take them and drum on the edge of the table at lunch. Only when a crack of thunder sounded was Crona reminded that those chopsticks were usually destined to be broken, and the noise was all too jarring and harsh and destructive.
He was tired of destruction. Crona knew he preferred the peaceful rain, like when the clouds were uneven enough to let sunlight poke through and brighten the world in patches, and the only way that one could even tell it was raining was by the mist on the windows or the ways leaves would dance as though jumping to avoid it. That rain was nice, and it usually left a rainbow.
Kid didn't seem to like any sort of rain very much at all. It was like nighttime to him, Crona figured; something that he didn't dislike in itself, but depending on the situation, he couldn't stand.
He knew that Kid didn't like stars, but he could avoid them by looking down, and that was that. Rain was different — rain surrounded you when you got caught in it, and wrapped around you like eager pond fish that had found fingertips and toes to nibble. It could come from all directions, and surprise you when it did, and that was another thing that Crona didn't mind.
The reaper, however, clearly did.
When the way back from a mission that had them passing through South-West Ireland resulted in a heavy downpour, Crona learned this very quickly.
He hadn't vocally reacted when the first few drops began to fall, though Crona could feel him flinch from where he stood behind him on Beelzebub with his arms wound securely around his waist. The Irish plain was vast and flying proved to be the swiftest way to get through until they could find some town to stop in, and a different means of transportation to get them back to Nevada, despite a fear of heights that Crona only hoped to replace with a knowing that Kid wouldn't let him fall.
Crona could feel the barrels of Liz and Patty's pistol forms pressed to the bends of his elbows from where Kid had stowed them away in his shoulder holster. They spoke up when they felt him flinch, too, though Crona knew very well that whatever had bothered him wouldn't be enough to make him lose control of the skateboard, like Liz seemed to have been insinuating with her warnings of, 'Don't— freak— out—'
Why would he be upset over a little rain?
There had only been a few droplets, though, at the time, and as more gradually fell, Crona could feel Kid's shoulders tensing from where he'd pressed his face against the back of his neck. He tightened his arms around the reaper's waist, silent reassurance for whatever was so wrong with the little blips of water that Crona could feel on the tops of his hands from where they curled into loose fists in the fabric of Kid's suit jacket.
Then it hit him, just as he raised his head in time for multiple raindrops to land on his own cheeks and forehead; rain left irregular splotches.
Kid let out a frustrated growl as the speckly raindrops turned to a sheet of water to coat them in sharp pinpricks, more like the rain that Crona thought was painful. He supposed he couldn't blame the rain, though, after all, they were on a fast, flying skateboard that already felt strange under his feet. Crona himself had flinched at the noise he'd released, and again he tightened his hold on him instinctively as the sense of security he'd built up around being in the air like this was jostled, and he remembered just how small a space they had to stand on.
The sounds of water beating on the ground became more akin to tigers roaring in their ears, Kid having ducked his head and bent himself forward to steer the skateboard faster, lower to the ground and seemingly in search of somewhere to land.
He'd moved his hands to grip onto Crona's forearms and keep them both steady, and even through his sleeves, Crona could feel the cold radiating from the reaper's skin, an icy clutch that he knew by now came from displeasure and unease. It was colder than the mixture of wind and rain it felt like they were diving through, so thick that it was more like falling than flying. Crona could feel it beating at his back in waves, and even if it wasn't of any help, he was just glad that he could shield Kid's own back from the same feeling.
They had flown over a decent amount of the plain, but it was a while before they found somewhere to land, under the hangings of droopy trees in a shadowy patch of thin forest, in a place they didn't know the name of. Kid had willed the skateboard to move so fast that it had gotten hard to breathe, and Crona had ducked his head again, his nose pressed to the first notch of Kid's spine. The frosty skin of the back of his neck chilled Crona's forehead, the wet locks of black hair clinging to his brow as he sighed in the vain hope of exhaling a warm breath to heat the reaper's skin ever so.
The grass was slippery and squished beneath their shoes as they stumbled to find shelter in the trees, if not just until the bulk of the storm passed. It was hardly ideal, and very much to Kid's dislike, but Crona himself was content. There had been no sign of bright cracks of white in the sky, or the destructive sounds that followed, and he didn't mind being soaked to the bone.
He didn't mind most of what rain brought with it. Thunder was really the only thing that had him on the fence about his overall like or dislike for the weather; not all rain brought thunder, but all thunder came with rain.
They had come to rest under a thick tree with long branches, its canopy extending in a hood over its base and leaving a dry enough patch of grass beneath it. Crona let his knees buckle and his hands meet the cool blades, his fingers crooking in them and taking in the knowledge that his limbs felt light, while weighted with water.
He had looked up and noticed that Kid's breath came hard and fast, watching as he squirmed back to lean upright against the trunk of the tree. He licked his lips of the water that collected there, shifting on his knees to crawl towards his companion and sit with him. Scooting close enough to tilt his body towards the reaper, Crona tipped his head up to survey his face, reaching to press a hand to his chest in a gesture that said, 'it's okay.'
He knew he wasn't afraid, or hurt, but something in him was moving too fast. It showed on his face.
Kid had reached to card his fingers through his hair, pushing it back from his face as neatly as he supposed he could do without a mirror to judge. He'd tipped his head back to rest against the tree trunk behind him, his eyes closed as he collected himself. His stripes had been displaced in a strange way that went with the strands being flipped upside down, and hardly looked like stripes anymore, but Crona's focus was more on how a water droplet hung from the tip of his nose, and a few more gathered at his chin.
The way his lungs expanded and collapsed back on exhales beneath Crona's hand soon slowed, and through wet clothes, Crona's palm was met with a more typical temperature than he had found before in touching him. It wasn't until Kid pointed out that he was shivering that he noticed the trembling of his own shoulders, having been more enamored with the thought that the streams of water trickling down the sides of his face felt more like fingers cradling the first source of warmth they had found since they became entrapped in a cloud, waiting until they could fall and find someone to cling to.
His hand slid to the dip of Kid's side to curl into a slight fist and press his knuckles against soaking fabric as his arm wound about his waist, the reaper's own having snaked around his back to pull him closer, a slender hand extended palm-flat against the side of his ribcage. He nestled against him, his head set against the curve of his neck so that he had enough leeway to look ahead of them and up, while still feeling how Kid's cheek had come to rest against his temple. The hard press of a gun against his chest was another feeling he didn't mind, knowing also that Liz and Patty would prefer to stay in weapon form now, and stay dry where they were.
The sky was not black and stormy at all, when Crona looked; the force of the rain had to have had something to do with how fast they had been riding the skateboard, because the sky was a dull blueish-green, and from here, the rain was falling in slow, thick globules to sploosh against the slick ground like bubbles. That was the kind that Crona liked, much like moments such as this, and feeling the reaper's heartbeat with the tip of his nose from how it pressed to his pulse point upon tilting his head.
He decided then that if he had a choice, he quite liked all kinds of rain, and the colors and sounds that came with it. The things that it caused, and kept together, like leaning against someone warm and solid and real.
He couldn't make Kid like the rain, too, but that was okay. Crona knew him well enough to know that he would never tell him that he was wrong for thinking differently.
Knowing that was almost nicer than being where he was. Almost.