baby, it's cold outside


Rin hated the taste.

Unsurprisingly it was always present when Shiemi was in the equation. It involved sunshine and two teenagers shadowed under a tree and words left unsaid. It'd consume his taste buds with an impenetrable tang that left him stiff and awkward with a shaky grin and unfocused blue eyes.

It always grew stronger when Shiemi didn't catch a difference.


Shiemi smelt like honeysuckles and peaches.

The first time he smelt her, she had embraced him in total joy at finally gaining Kamiki as a friend.

Rin had been left dazed and completely smitten.


Flowers; plants; weeds.

Shiemi loved it all. She loved gardening; the color green; the dead color of green and brown mixing up as the life of a plant began to die out.

To Rin, the sight of her, as she was near any sort of greenery, was almost amusing. Only almost, because the feeling was gone when she'd curl around a rosemary bush and giggle secrets to Nii-chan about healing plants and the pretty colors of the flowers her grandmother would set on the table when she was a child.

So he'd sit next to her and pretend to be unable to listen to her soft whispering.


One day, Rin had forgotten his notebook in class as he'd been in a hurry to catch up to Bon and give him a piece of his mind.

So, as he should, he retraced his steps back to Yukio's classroom and stepped inside. He was greeted with silent sniffles and even more silent sobs. Rin had frozen in place and stared with wide blue eyes at the top of Shiemi's very blond head. She was resting her head on the desk, not even bothering to get up and head to her next class, with Nii-chan at her side, looking just as sad as its Tamer.

"Oi," he called out, as softly as someone brash like Rin could be. "Wha'ssah matter with you, Shiemi?"

She looked up at him with tear-brimmed green eyes and managed a watery smile. "Hi, Rin."

He furrowed his brow and tilted his head, to the side. "Whass'goin' on?"

Shiemi was everything soft and shy and pink; because to Rin, pink was soft and welcoming and so was Shiemi. But right then and there, she looked fractured and blue and he didn't like it.

He didn't like blue.

And tears streaming down Shiemi's cheeks were the one thing Rin couldn't take.


Sometimes, Rin found himself appreciating the fact that True Cross Academy's uniform for girls was not black like the boys' was. Not one speck of it.

He stood by the idea that Shiemi would look good in any color but black.


One thing Rin would never—could never—forget was the look Shiemi spared him when the dark-dark-yet-so-obvious-look-look-look secret came out.

Satan's son, walking among them.

That look.

That damn look.


It was dark out when Rin admitted, aloud, that he was in love with Shiemi.

He was sprawled on his bed, his eyes tracing the imaginary patterns of the sheets of Yukio's bed, above his as he let the words roll around his tongue. It was tangible and left a fuzzy after-effect as he murmured it a couple of times before shifting around, closing electric-blue eyes and saying, "I love you."

Rin grinned, lopsidedly.

It was a mantra – intact and solid.

"I love you, I love you, I love you I love you I love you."


It was safe to say that it was amusing to watch Shiemi interact with Kamiki.

Rin was used to having Shiemi sit next to him and fawn over every little bit of the Academy, her excitement of being a fellow student never dying out. But when she was off, flailing after Kamiki and her indifference façade, it was all sorts of amusing. Especially when even someone like him could tell Kamiki had a hard time keeping her apathy up.


Rin felt it in the very pit of his stomach; panging and sharp.

It almost always caught him off guard—when his hair was pinned back with the hairpin Bon had given him and he tried hard to concentrate on his text books. It'd crawl out of the dark, muddy, gooey recesses of his brain and start to hiss every and all insecurity that he felt.

And Rin really only had one and it came dressed with fear.

What if everyone still spoke to him out of pity? What if everyone really did hate him?

What if Shiemi hated him?


What if he hurt them—her?

What if—


He looked up, blue eyes almost clouded.

Shiemi smiled at him and handed his pencil back. "You dropped this, silly."

"Heh," he grunted, giving her a crooked grin as that voice crept back to its dark corner.


They'd watch their classmates interact with each other.

Rin never understood why, and most of the time, he was sucked into the whole thing when Bon would aim a jibe his way. But he'd sit in the sidelines with her, sometimes, watching Shima grin and Konekomaru feel torn from standing in between Kamiki and Shima or Kamiki and Bon.

"We're a happy bunch, hm," she chirped, one day, a light blush on her cheekbones.

Rin stared at Kamiki glaring at Shima and Konekomaru distracting Bon with some sort of conversation. He tilted his head and nodding, slowly, if just to please her. "S'pose so."


He liked to see Shiemi happy; mostly, because when they met, she looked so sad and lost and in total pain.

But mostly-mostly, because he liked her smile and the odd way her eyes would shine under the florescent lights of their classroom; they shone brighter under the sun. But who was he kidding? Shiemi was almost always happy and always smiling and her eyes were always shining.

So Rin was smitten and he was going to burst at some point.

They were sitting on the grass, Nii-chan floating above Shiemi's right shoulder; their thighs pressed against each other and Shiemi slowly slipped her hand into his. Rin sat there, frozen, almost scared—what if he hurt her—what if he broke her—what if—

"Thanks," she said, shyly smiling up at him.

Rin didn't know what she was thanking him for, but he accepted it and returned the smile, just as shyly, his fingers curling in the spaces in between hers.