Ryoma has thin, wiry arms that stretch and hog up the bed sheets, his greedy fingers closing in on the warmth they provided. They sleep in separate rooms.


His kiss is the sign of good morning, and a cup of coffee is pushed across from the kitchen counter.

Ryoma's lips slowly lift during the course of breakfast, but his eyes never catch light, as they would do at night. He is a tranquil Ryoma, a quiet Ryoma. Nights turn his slacking mouth into a sharp grin and a husky laugh that fade away with each passing hour into the sunrise. Hazel eyes dim as they stare out far into space and fingers tap into an unsteady rhythm. He does not rebuke the sound even in his mind. It sounds domestic, what he would imagine to himself, a series of irregular taptaptaps, when he would be away.

A memory: It is winter not yet snowing. They are walking where no cars pass and no people crowd. Their steps are precise and measured; Ryoma walks two steps apart, three steps ahead, and he is left watching the boy's thin arms move unconsciously back and forth. He reaches out on a timely swing.

Ryoma stops and turns around, his hand and arm are snatched back, close to him. "What are you doing?" he asks, but the snatch and the voice is not cruel, his face is devoid of everything but surprise.

He replies with a shrug and looks ahead, and in a moment Ryoma follows his lead, turns back towards the front again, walking like he is marching. Keigo's eyes devour the boy's contours.

His fragment of a vision is voiced: "I wish it would snow."

Ryoma looks up, frowns. He is stirring his coffee absentmindedly as he thinks for a second. "But you hate the snow," he points out.

Keigo shrugs. "A snowstorm."

"Trapped?" Ryoma's frown grows a shade darker, "But you'd be—"

"With you, idiot." Keigo sighs and pokes at his eggs. It's overcooked; Ryoma never did learn how to crack the eggs so that the yolk wouldn't meander. Ryoma's scowl clears immediately.

"Well, yeah," he mutters, but he sounds pleased. "Obviously."

"Obviously." It's an empty echo, but Keigo justifies himself by peppering in his own sarcasm. He berates himself soon after; it is almost nine, and the day is about to run its course. It is too early (or too late?) to snipe into pointless jabs.

A sound beeps under the table.

Keigo raises an eyebrow as he presses his lips into a tight line. It must have looked comic: an image of suppressed irritation and feigned nonchalance woven with more exasperation. "I thought we agreed to not text," he says.

Ryoma's hand is already on his phone; he is scanning his screen and his response is slow. Keigo pokes at his eggs once more, with vigor.

"Don't be weird," Ryoma says, and his voice suddenly loses his petulance of last night. He sounds tired. Does Ryoma feign childishness while he is with him? It is a sudden, disturbing thought. The weariness makes the boy from last night disappear. "Sakuno's been sick this week."

"Dying?" He can't help it, and the words rush to him; he is horrified the next but he squashes that feeling. Ryoma's smile is empty in response. His hand reaches out over the table.

"Don't kill your food," he diverts, and his hand brushes briefly with his as it slaps away the fork, "As if you could have cooked better."

"I don't cook," he says, and now the petulance is rubbing off him. He immediately regrets what he says but it's too late: Ryoma's smile develops a twist around the wry edges and he looks away.

"Yeah, well." And that is all he would say, returning his hand and smile back to his own plate. Keigo makes sure to smoothen out the small indents that are shown in the white. A small bubble rises out of the egg and pops.

Ryoma glances at that. "Guess I didn't cook it enough," he says.

Keigo shrugs. "It's good," he mutters, and adds, "Better."

"Liar." But the smile returns and Keigo feels safe enough to reach over and touch a sharp elbow. Ryoma gives his hand easily and their palms overlap.

A few minutes pass, and the long hand closes to a nine, passes by.

"I should go," Keigo says, a rush of words, but his hand doesn't budge. Ryoma hums, as if in agreement, but his words are all sulk.

"You could skip," he says, and the way he says it hints at younger days, the way people would say you could ditch classes. He inevitably cringes at the comparison; he sounds old, he berates.

"Gerald would know," he says, and the implied name is carefully substituted with his butler, but Ryoma doesn't appreciate the gesture. His bland smile suddenly spikes up into a smirk.

"It wouldn't do for your wife to know," he agrees, sweet and malice. Keigo's hand reacts even his face is calm; he tries to retract his palm but Ryoma has it in a grip almost in an instant. It is no longer a caress but a vice.

They stare at each other sullenly across the table.

Another second passes before Ryoma's hand sags, loses his grasp. Keigo lifts his hand carefully away.

"Sorry," he mutters, irritation still evident in his voice, but he is willing to make peace.

Keigo accepts it with a light kick under the table. Ryoma kicks back but misses. He hides a smirk and the other hides a mock-scowl. He says, cautious, "I hope Ryuzaki-san gets better soon."

Ryoma jerks his head, another wave of tiredness creeping into his eyes. He still musters up a smile. "Yeah, thanks."

"Should I send flowers?"

"Wilted ones."

Keigo chokes out a small chuckle.


A/N: Summer is here! Which means that I'll have more time to write and edit my incomprehensible batshit writing!

But seriously, I'm sorry for not replying to the reviews, which I will do as soon as I post this up! Thank you for all your private messages as well :D And hope everyone's having a good summer!