Rooftop Sweet

“Ha-ru-ka.”

Haruka leaned over and glanced down. Kantarou was holding something in his hands and smiling up at him. He’d learned to not really trust that smile, especially not when coupled with that tone of voice and projecting absolute innocence. “What?”

“Youko-chan’s made mochi,” Kantarou told him. “Don’t you want some?”

“I don’t like sweets,” Haruka said, and lay back again. After a moment, he heard Kantarou go back into the house and closed his eyes. The sun was pleasantly warm, and it made him drowsy, even if he couldn’t stretch his wings fully out here in plain sight.

Then the ladder to the roof clattered, and Haruka opened one eye to watch Kantarou climb up. “What do you want?”

“Ah, Haruka’s mean,” Kantarou sighed, leaning his elbows on the roof. When he sighed, it puffed bangs from his eyes, only to have them settle again. “Even when I bring mochi for him, he’s annoyed.”

“I told you,” Haruka grumbled. “I don’t like sweets.”

“Not even when they’re homemade?” Kantarou braced his weight with one hand, and lifted a cloth-wrapped bundle with the other. “Youko-chan made them especially for the house. You should appreciate her hard work, Haruka.”

Haruka eyed him, then shrugged. “You should be more careful,” he said, closing his eye again. “You could fall.”

“Then you’d be free, and Youko-chan too,” Kantarou said, with disturbing cheer. “Or maybe I’d have a grudge because you didn’t save me, and I’d haunt you.” He climbed up the rest of the way onto the roof, and crawled his way over to sit beside Haruka. “Then you’d never be rid of me.”

“Don’t even joke about that.” Haruka’s lips pressed to a thin line. “I think I’d go crazy, having you around forever.”

Kantarou just laughed. There was a soft rustling sound — cloth being unwrapped. Haruka could smell the sweet bean paste. “They look good,” Kantarou noted. “Are you sure you don’t want one?”

“I’m sure.” Haruka shrugged as best he could, lying down. “I’ll apologize later.”

“Suit yourself.” He heard Kantarou take a large bite, and then his contented sigh. “It’s a nice day, isn’t it? We’ve been having really nice weather for a while, now.”

Haruka shrugged again. “It’s been good,” he agreed shortly. Even Kantarou’s nattering wasn’t enough to dispel the comfort of the sun on his face. He stretched his legs a little further, and allowed himself one deep sigh.

Kantarou chuckled but thankfully said nothing. He continued to eat the mochi, and after a moment, he began to edge just a little closer. Haruka’s peripheral awareness of his master’s presence stirred briefly at this, then subsided again; as long as Kantarou was up here eating, he couldn’t be out making trouble.

Wet sounds punctuated the end of the mochi, and Haruka glanced over to see Kantarou licking his fingers. His tongue was small and pink and fast, and his expression was content. When he finished, he glanced over and smiled at Haruka.

“It was good,” he said. “There’s more in the kitchen, if you change your mind later.”

“I don’t like sweet things,” Haruka said again. It was tiresome to keep repeating himself, but he’d learned that sometimes, it was the only way to get through to Kantarou.

“Well,” said Kantarou. “That must mean you like me a lot. I’m not sweet at all.” He was grinning as he said that; Haruka could hear it, even if he didn’t open his eyes to see it. “You don’t have to be so roundabout, Haruka, it won’t embarrass me if you just say it.”

“Don’t be stupid.” Haruka resisted the urge to yawn, and twitched a little when Kantarou shifted closer, brushing his arm with one leg. “You assume far too much.”

“Awww.” Kantarou shifted, so that he was half-reclining on the roof next to Haruka. “You’re cruel, Haruka.”

“You’ll live.” Haruka cracked one eye open to glance at him. “I’m going to take a nap. Don’t fall.”

“Right, right.” Kantarou bundled the cloth between his hands and smiled at him. “I think I’d rather be human than a ghost, if I were staying with you.” He didn’t reach out to touch, though Haruka could feel he wanted to, a warm shift beside him. “It’d be no fun, to have a grudge against you.”

Haruka said nothing. Comfortable in the sunshine, with Kantarou by his side, he let himself drift to sleep, and dreamt of flying, with the smell of sweet bean paste on the wind.

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