title: quiet hands and rainwater lips

pairings: suzume ო mamura. mentions of suzume ო shishio.

summary: The first time she falls in love it is with a man who has a star on his neck. The second time is more subtle.

disclaimer: own nothing

When she is sixteen years old she falls in love not once, but twice. It sounds trite, cliché, and the thought makes something inside of her ache—but. There are no other words: there are no words she can find, no words she can use to bottle up the dreamscape that is her new life in Tokyo. Suzume wonders if all lives are like this, set up by points, with the lines before them blurred, shaped differently by love-logged eyes and yearning.

The first time she falls in love it is with a man who has a star on his neck; he pulls her in like skin-and-bone gravity, like his hands are made of poems and his voice is made to say her name. She falls in love with Shishio-sensei like she is falling into water, into an ocean of salt and dream-sea, sharp with sea-glass and fishbones and yearning spaces wider than the hollows between her fingers. She forgets how to breathe and in the end this is what kills her: the old Yosano Suzume gave her heart and lungs away as toll for love—only to be left with a barter of memories and fish-ties and glass-boxes, only to be left alone.

Do you love me?

I don't.

Only, she isn't. She never was. The second time is more subtle—less like an ocean and more like rain. Cathartic, quiet: a scarf unwrapped from a starless neck and onto her own, a coat, a rainwater kiss. A back growing broader by the day, a back standing ahead of her, but never too far, close enough to touch. Mamura's distance is only ever by her will. He wears her headphones but it is only months later that she finds out that they are songless so long as she is with him; he blushes when he tells her he prefers the sound of her voice. He blushes when she cradles his cheek, her touch skimming from the bone of his jaw downward.

You should just fall in love with me.

She does. It's not on purpose—it never is, really, and she doesn't realize it until one day, during math-lessons, her eyes trail to his profile, his moon-hair and skin, and Yuyuka passes her a note at lunch that reads: Take good care of him. He was my first love, after all.

First love. She finds herself sometimes sneaking glances at Shishio in the hallways, and he still calls her Chun-chun, still wears the necktie, but it doesn't hold the same weight; her lungs fill with the air around her, and she smiles at him, and he back. He is not her keeper, any longer, and she is not his.

She is biting into her rice-ball—salt and salmon— when Mamura slips into the seat next to her. It is only a little cold, but he still wordlessly places his jacket over her shoulders.

Mouth full, she offers him part of her rice-ball in return. "Have some," she says.

He says, "Alright."

And then he leans in.

All she can think is, But Mamura hates seafood, when his lips ghost over hers, and then her mind goes blank. There is a soft thud ringing in her ears—rice and salmon scattering on the courtyard ground like pink-and-white rivers—and then Mamura's hands, his ever-quiet hands, trailing down the loose bends of her hair.

She kisses him back, and then he pulls away.

Suzume asks, gently, "M…Mamura?"

He is silent for a moment.

"Was it…" He looks down at his hands. "Was it me? Was it me… you were kissing, just now?"

She almost blurts out who else would it be, you moron, until she realizes the meaning behind his words.

Suzume looks at him, and for a moment, she sees herself: Do you love me?

But then he is Mamura again. Not her, not Shishio. Not anyone else. Mamura who kissed her first, Mamura who acted as her map when she was lost in her land of dreamwater, Mamura who is holding her now, despite the unknowing in his hands.

Suzume, shyly, leans in, and kisses him on the cheek. He reddens, and she murmurs, against his skin: "This is my first time kissing a boy. I'm glad it's with Mamura."

And that is all it takes; he kisses her again.