of smiles and scowls.
day one – holding hands.

"Closed space? Again?"

Kyon blinked up at the tall, slender figure standing before him. He remembered the term "closed space" well – the world of gray skies, cerulean monsters, and crimson warriors, like shooting-stars amongst drab clouds, rushed back to him….

Koizumi's smile was a bit more reserved than normal. His eyes were drooping and his gaze unfocused. "Yes. That's the twelfth time this month, and it's only just begun." He ran his long fingers through his sandy-brown bangs, combing out the sparse tangles. "There's something peculiar about these closed spaces as well; they're not normal. It's… difficult to explain. I can't even put my finger on the correct words to describe it."

The hum of engine motors buzzed in the background, white noise for their conversation. The two of them were standing near a busy city intersection that was a fair distance away from their high school, out of walking distance. They were spared a few quick, bemused glances – school had ended a while back, and it was odd to see a pair of high school students still wandering around in their uniforms (especially one that wasn't in the area). Although, in a city bustling with activity, people still pushed by them without giving it a second thought.

"So? What do you want me to do about it?" Kyon deadpanned as he crossed his arms, a firm scowl tainting his lips.

Koizumi chuckled, soft and strained. "I only wish for you to see the difference between this closed space and the ones that set the norm. I think you'd find it… interesting. Yes, that's the word I'd use." The way he held himself – the slouch in his shoulders and the wrinkles around his smile – emphasized his fatigue. Kyon couldn't help but feel a bit of sympathy for him; having to leave school (which was stressful enough by itself) after an hour or two of dealing with Haruhi only to go fight monsters seemed like a pain in the ass. The initial excitement and wonder of superpowers only lasted until reality was once again ready to throw its punches.

Kyon tilted his head, observing the esper with curious eyes. "Why does it matter? It's not my responsibility."

"Once again, I think that you'll find it unbelievably interesting." With pleading eyes, Koizumi extended his hand out for Kyon to take. "You won't regret it," he promised quietly, "but I understand if you deny my request. I would be wary in your situation as well."

His hand nearly trembled in the crisp autumn air, exhaustion taking its toll even in the slightest way. Despite reeking of weariness, Koizumi didn't look that disheveled – his uniform was still prim and tight, and his hair had only the tiniest ruffle in its waves. To any regular person (to any person that wasn't Kyon, he corrected himself with a dash of smugness), he would've looked like he always did: a handsome scholar without a care in the world. Kyon had gained experience at reading Koizumi's jumbled, masked emotions. He'd say he was pretty good at it, actually.

Kyon shrugged his shoulders. "Whatever." It's not like he was in a position to refuse. He dragged his hands from their crossed position and gently touched Koizumi's palm.

A sigh of relief escaped Koizumi's lips. "Thank you. I owe you a favor."

"Just shut up and go."

"Right you are." He beamed at Kyon, genuine humor folding at the corners of his grin. "Close your eyes, please."

Kyon did as he was told. He felt Koizumi's fingers crawl up his palm to interlace their fingers. His touch was warm and his hold firm but shy – to the people hustling around them, it might've seemed like something romantic. Kyon shunned that thought immediately out of sheer embarrassment; no way would he look like that, not with Koizumi…!

After a few beats of no movement, Kyon grunted in annoyance. "What are you doing?" he asked, wanting to open his eyes.

"Aha, my apologies." Koizumi squeezed his hand, reassuringly. "I'm just enjoying the view."

"Move, or I'll punch you."

"Very well." A hint of impishness still lingered in his voice.

Koizumi took a step forward, leading Kyon by the touch of their fingers. Kyon followed after him obediently, and if he didn't know any better, he could've sworn that he heard Koizumi giggle once again.

He didn't have time to dwell on it, though, for the buzzing of engine motors and the drone of people's speech faded around him, as did the breeze on his cheeks. The only thing that remained stable as they crossed through dimensions was Koizumi's tender grip on his hand.

A/N: oh wow an author's note i haven't done one of these in quite a while
Hello! I'm Mummy, and this is my crappy 30 Day OTP Challenge! It's to rev me up for NaNoWriMo. It isn't very good, but... it's something?
I just wanted to say that I'll be updating this every five days with five more entries until I reach thirty. That's the schedule, unless something comes up!
Also, I'm terribly sorry for any grammar issues. I've been overrun with schoolwork lately, and I've been writing and beta'ing these myself at eleven o'clock at night, and my brain stops being able to reason after ten. Maybe this is written in gibberish, I don't even know. Please, bear with me! I only have the one day to work on them, after all. Maybe I'll go back and clean them up after they're all done.
hahaha no

Thank you for reading! Even the fact that you clicked on this, whether you liked it or not, means an unbelievable amount to me! Thank you again!