It was during the last dizzying days of summer that Rin Okumura found himself spending less time loafing around and more time thinking about how lovely it would be to loaf. Instead he was studying. Well, not real studying, more like staring at the books Yukio had given him while his eyes remained unfocused. So boring. So pointless. Why on earth did Exorcists need to be so well-read? Or at least read such boring tomes.

The last straw came from the lungful of dust Rin inhaled opening the next book on his reading list. Coughing and sputtering, he swore and tossed the book aside. It landed on the floor with a THWACK as the spine snapped. Pages scattered across the room.

Rin sat cross legged on his bed staring down at the mess for a long while, trying to think of a way he could somehow blame this on his brother. It was Yukio's fault for giving him such a fragile, old book in the first place. Yes. That would do. Yukio should've known what would happen. That was more than enough reading for one day anyways. It was already late afternoon and Rin was not pleased about having missed out on a warm day of lounging.

Unfolding his stiff legs with some strained effort, Rin stepped over the messy remains of the book and wandered down the hall. The sunlight was already beginning to fade. What a shame. A whole day wasted with books.


Shiemi hummed softly to herself as she worked in the warm soil. She was sweaty, dirty, and loving the smells of the freshly planted flowers. How nice it was to be able to help Yukio and Rin like this. Making their home and little homier. After all, what was a house without a blooming garden? It was a shame she had had to start planting so late in the summer, but with enough tender love and care any garden can flourish.

"Have you been doing this all day?"

Shiemi jumped, startled, and dropped the flower pot she was holding. A hand shot out next to her and caught it with ease. Their faces were nearly touching. Rin looked away in embarrassment and handed the pot back to her. Shiemi blushed and nodded.

"I came over early to get a head start. I just want you and Yukio to have a nice place to sit in the summer time. Flowers and soft grass, a nice garden." She set the pot down and clapped her hands together to dislodge some of the dirt.

"Kind of pointless if you ask me," Rin scoffed. Shiemi glanced up at him perplexedly, but his eyes were trained on the horizon over her shoulder. She was never sure how to feel about that distance he always put between them. Somehow…

"It's not pointless. What's pointless about having a place where you can have some peace or be with nature? There's nothing wrong with wanting something to be beautiful."

Rin frowned and finally looked at Shiemi. She was a dirty, sweaty mess, but oddly enough it seemed natural. She was in her realm, this small unkept beginnings of a garden. The way she looked at the plants, like they were her children—affectionately, that was the word. How strange. That would be akin to Rin seeing those books Yukio gave him as human as their authors.

He rested a hand on the top of her head and shook her hair, bits of green leaves and loam falling free.

"If you want to really make something beautiful, go take a bath."

Rin pulled his hand back immediately, red in the face. His tail constricted tightly around his torso. Shiemi tensed, her hands balling at her sides. What was that supposed to mean, they thought.

"What I meant was you're dirty and you should go and be clean because that would make you look better than you currently do." That didn't help at all. Rin rubbed the back of his head, eyes darting everywhere to avoid Shiemi's face.

Shiemi nodded her head slowly and started past him. Rin grabbed her arm.

"Or you could stay. Please. I've been stuck inside reading all day. A change of scenery would be nice." Rin let go of her wrist and her hand dropped, warm and tingly. She flexed her fingers slowly and then touched them to her cheek. She liked that warm feeling.

"Alright. Here." Shiemi led him over to a small bench at the edge of bush. She plopped down and patted the spot next to her. Hesitantly Rin took a seat, slouching forward with his elbows on his knees. "It's a work in progress, but what do you think?" she asked.

Rin glanced up at her, pouting in confusion, then followed her finger as Shiemi pointed out ahead. He did a double take. At first the garden seemed like a surreal swirling of colours. Even in the late, setting sun the flowers' colours smeared across the green grass backdrop vibrantly. It was life. That's want caught Rin off-guard. Shiemi, in only a day, had created life and beauty. He sat up straight and clapped her on the back.

"Alright, I admit it. This place is pretty beautiful. Maybe from now on I'll spend more time out here." Rin placed his hands behind him on the bench and leaned back in order to take in every last drop of warm sunlight as it faded beyond the horizon. "Yep. I could get used to this."

Shiemi smiled, her cheeks rosy. "I'm glad you like it. It's nice being able to do something like this for you and Yukio. I just want you two to be happy. To have a place where you can be happy."

Rin blinked and looked over at her. "You make me happy."

"That's nice."

"I mean, whenever you're around I feel better. Even when I already feel good, you, I don't know, you triple that feeling."

Their hands brushed together and their shoulders bumped. Another inch and their chins would connect.

"That makes me happy, Rin. Making you happy. I like being able to do that."

Shiemi closed her eyes and smiled and Rin went for it. He kept his eyes open until the last second when his lips met hers. Warm and soft and smooth. His hands grabbed her shoulders as a tiny gasp escaped her. There was a long, painfully long, moment where the two of them sat on that bench surrounded by flowers in bloom, unmoving, lips pressed together. Unsure of what to do. Still as a statue, Shiemi shut her eyes tight just as Rin opened his. What was that face she was making? Was it happy? Pleasure maybe? He shut his eyes again as Shiemi reopened hers. Why was he doing this? What should she do? This wasn't decent. And yet she liked the feel of his warm hands on her shoulders and his lips pressed against hers.

Eventually Shiemi pulled away. There was an audible lip smacking pop as they came apart and a small string of drool dripped from Rin's mouth. He was far more practiced with his pillow than with real girls. Both of them panted, realizing only now they'd been holding their breath.

"Sorry," Rin mumbled, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

Shiemi was in a bit of a daze, eyes downcast. "It's okay. I didn't mind too much. Next time maybe you could try not to slobber so much."

"Yeah I suppose I—next time?"

With a shrug, Shiemi found Rin's hand and curled her fingers around his.

"Next time."