Disclaimer: All identifiable characters belong to Fujimaki Tadatoshi. The plot and story are mine.
This was previously a 300-word library prompt drabble I chose to rewrite and publish.
Seven o'clock in the evening, his watch read, its ticking a faint sound in the empty library from where they were situated at the far end of the row of desks. Akashi's attention flitted to the window beside him; heavy rain greeted his view while the lamp post outside that flickered at odd intervals illuminated each drop of water on the surface of the glass.
"Tetsuya, the library closes in an hour," Akashi reminded the only other occupant of the seat across him. He flipped through the pages of the book laid in front of him, crimson and gold eyes fixated on the printed text, yet his attention was not on it as he continued, "It's about time to head home now, don't you think so?"
Kuroko, who was preoccupied with reading the novel he had been engrossed in for the past hour and a half, lifted his gaze to meet Akashi's own in genuine curiosity. "The rain hasn't stopped yet. Do you suggest that we brave the storm, Akashi-kun?"
"Certainly not." Akashi reached forward and the book in Kuroko's hands was snapped close, snatched from his hold to be placed on Akashi's side of table. Kuroko was given almost no opportunity to register it when Akashi propped his arms on the desk and leaned close, his voice low and clear. "Your health will not be put at risk for that. However, I am concerned as to why we did not leave before the heavy downpour."
The intimidating stare that was directed at Kuroko sent him on the edge of his seat, and he had no immediate answer to that but a slight parting of lips that shut as quickly as they opened when he hesitated to speak. A soft rumble of thunder was the only sound that came before Kuroko could utter a word, and if possible, it served as an ignition for the already building up tension between them.
Kuroko straightened his back, like he had forgotten to take note of proper posture from being under that stare. "I enjoy the peace in the library."
"My company included?" Akashi brought up as a sly inquiry.
There was a short pause. "That is… debatable."
"You need practice in buttering me up if you desire to escape this interrogation. Not that it would work so easily, but trying would cause no harm."
"I choose honesty over flattery, Akashi-kun," Kuroko said in his defense.
"Either that or you simply do not disclose the truth." Cornering Kuroko came easily for Akashi, but one thing he learned about Kuroko was that he also had a knack for getting the last word.
"There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a place to shelter from the rain for the time being. And whether it was Akashi-kun or someone else with me, my decision to remain indoors until closing time would have stayed the same," came his polished response, not a single note in his tone off-key.
"I see." Akashi expected no less from the answer and he decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps to suspect that Kuroko had an ulterior motive for staying late was far-fatched, but Akashi hid his disappointment well behind that calm, collected facade.
Sensing that the conversation had made the atmosphere heavier than the weather had already done, Kuroko added, "But I do find your company to be more pleasant than others', Akashi-kun."
The statement fulfilled its purpose of coaxing a small smile to stretch across Akashi's lips. He would have liked to pry more, but that was for his own irrational entertainment, which he regrettably pushed aside.
"Likewise," Akashi replied simply, drawing back to relax on his chair.
Kuroko's face did not betray the slightest bit of emotion for Akashi to call out on for further questioning, so the topic was eventually dropped and forgotten.
"We have taken quite a number of books out while waiting. It's best to return these to their proper shelves before the hour ends," Akashi stated firmly as he rose from his seat, lifting up majority of the books from the table and leaving a small stack composed of four books for Kuroko to carry, while he carried seven for himself.
Light footsteps resounded against the wooden floor apart from the pitter-pattering of the rain which echoed inside the spacious and deserted architecture. No protest was heard on Kuroko's end who quietly followed suit, trailing behind with his own pile of reading materials in his arms.
"Such horrid weather..." Akashi murmured to himself. A clap of thunder followed his remark and a loud thud from behind made him stop dead on his tracks. The vibrations it sent on the ground that reached the small nerves in his feet startled him just a tad, and his head quickly snapped to the direction of the sound.
A mismatched color of eyes landed upon Kuroko's crouching form, the shorter of the two picking up a fallen book from the floor and placing it back on top of the stack he balanced on one arm. "Sorry, I lost my footing for a moment," he said as he stood up on his feet.
Akashi sighed and faced forward again, the urge to offer some assistance was hindered when he was reminded of the weight of the load he himself still carried. "Be careful, Tetsuya. And stay close."
Before another step was made, light flashed from the outside through the glass windows, a deafening, thundering noise much louder than the last echoing in the skies that the room almost shook as a result. Akashi was given so little time to react as he felt a sharp collision on his back, the books in his arms unceremoniously falling to the ground at the strong impact he received.
As he attempted to make sense of what had just happened, the overhead lights flickered off, leaving his vision clouded with nothing but black. His breath hitched at the momentary loss of his eyesight, yet that was the least of his concerns when a strong pair of arms looped securely around his waist. Just as he was about to voice out his demands for identification, he was silenced by another thunderstrike, and the person behind him flinched at this with a tighter hold, a muffled yelp almost missed but nonetheless heard.
A few seconds later, his vision started to adjust to the darkness. Raising his arm to cock his head around for a better angle, a brief flash of light granted Akashi to view the fleeting color of blue from his peripheral vision. And he recognized that hue so well. "…Tetsuya?"
The same reaction was given at another sharp rumble from the skies, and Akashi instantly caught on to the situation and no questions were further asked. The corner of his lips curled into a smile of understanding and, turning in place, he faced Kuroko and caged the stiff, trembling body in his arms.
"To cling onto me like this…" Akashi whispered directly into Kuroko's ear, which earned a restrained shudder in response. He wondered what kind of face Kuroko was making at that moment when the boy so persistently buried his face in his shoulder, yet Akashi respected Kuroko's personal space enough not to satisfy his shallow curiosity. Instead, a soft, gentle hand caressed the mop of blue hair in comfort. "How uncharacteristically… precious."
Akashi learned one thing about Kuroko that night, and all words were left unspoken after that. Not that Kuroko would have insisted on having his captain swear to secrecy on the matter, but somehow, Akashi took pride in being the sole witness to this encounter. He would keep it as a secret, nevertheless; not for Kuroko's benefit, but his own.
And they basked in the warmth and the comfortable silence, surrounded by the mess of books by their feet.
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