title: palm-traced constellations

pairings: suzume ო mamura.

summary: She writes her love into his hand.

disclaimer: own nothing

When Suzume holds hands with Mamura, she finds herself tracing silent, finger-messages into the lines of his palms. It's a silly, childlike habit, and they start out small—Thank you, I'm happy, Hi—all things she is perfectly capable of voicing out loud. But they quickly shift into something more intimate; they become nervous presses into his touch: I might be falling for you, I don't want to let go, I'm afraid.

She doubts he can understand them, unless he has reading-eyes hidden in his hands. But it's comforting, and he never tells her to stop. She writes I'm glad I came with you, into his hand as they pad through the Tanabata Festival. She feels irrevocably stupid afterwards, especially when he glances down at her, his head tilted, eyes questioning.

Oops, she thinks, I must have pressed too hard.

But instead, she only asks him, voice light and teasing: "Are you nervous?"

He turns away, the skin on his neck etched scarlet. "Tch. Don't be a bastard, or no more seafood for you."

This shuts her up. She watches him as he scopes the food-stands for more of her stupid fish, as he likes to call it. An overwhelming, lilt of fondness wells up inside her as she squeezes his hand harder. Mamura can be sweet when he wants to be; she smiles at the memory of him touching the small of her back as they weaved through the crowds, of him silently paying for her sea-snacks (after completely ignoring her staunch refusal).

They walk in a breathy, calm sort of silence; she notes the line of his profile in the moonglow, dipped red with the rouge of the firelight.

And then, Mamura stops.

His whole body goes tense, still, and Suzume almost asks What's wrong, almost lines it into his palm, but then she sees it:

Her uncle Yuki, manning a pastry-stand.

With Shishio.

They catch sight of Mamura and Suzume and usher them over; Suzume feels herself walk like there is lead in her bones—not so much out of her own nerves, but Mamura's.

"What a cute couple!" her uncle exclaims, handing them both frost-white donuts. Suzume accepts them both: the dessert and the compliment, with a shy nod. Mamura's eyes, though, are on Shishio, whose gaze is twisted with twin emotions: sadness, and approval. He shares a look with Mamura that is both pained and somehow grateful, and Suzume has to force herself to peel her eyes away.

"You look beautiful, Suzume-chan!" Yuki beams, and Suzume blushes red as the koi-fish streaking her star-white robes. Mamura bought it for her a week ago, after she asked him to go to the festival with her; she found it hanging in her locker, with a single note: You like fish, don't you?

Suzume smiles—private and fond—remembering the way she read the words to herself in his blush-choked voice, remembering the way her eyes welled with tears when she handed it back to him, telling him it was too much, too beautiful, and that she could not accept it. Remembering the way she shoved it into his grasp.

She remembers him kissing the inside of her wrist when he placed the folds of silk back into her hands. Remembers the way he told her, If anything, you're too beautiful, before stalking away, a flush deep in his skin.

Now, she says, "Thank you," to her uncle, tracing the words into Mamura's hand.

Shishio agrees, "You do," and then his eyes shift from just her to the pair of them: Suzume and Mamura, and it's like he's seeing something for the first and last time, when he says, sincerely, "Have fun together."

Mamura sounds like he is about to say something, but Suzume speaks first: "We will!"

And then she pulls Mamura by the bends of his fingers, and they are weaves of silk and hands and donut-powder, slipping through the crowd. She sneaks glances at him when he isn't looking and he does the same, until the silence dips into something less tense and more peaceful, more familiar.

I'm here with you, she writes into his hand. And only you.

There is a moment when his palm is slack in her grip, and she wonders just what he is thinking, wonders if she should speak out loud, if her touch can really ever translate into anything.

And then, almost as if she's imagined it, she feels: Thank you—and its distinct characters, pressed into her skin. Mamura blunts his nails as he writes it, over and over.

A shooting star—! A couple nearby whisper-shouts. It's going to mix in with the fireworks.

But Suzume doesn't see it. And neither does Mamura.

Because his eyes are on her lips.

And her gaze flickers shut once he leans in.