Hatsuyuki (First Snow)

by llamajoy

i feel your closeness, like a shotgun
a chill within my soul
i touch your finger, know your darkness
your passion takes its toll

--milla jovovich

"It snowed last night."

Still half-asleep, Tsuzuki had his head buried beneath his pillow, murmuring nonsense against the futon. "Chocolate glaze... Huh?"

Hisoka, already dressed, was looking out the window. "It snowed last night," he said again, touching the glass and watching it fog around the outline of his hand. "The first snow of the season. You can't even see the road."

In answer, Tsuzuki groaned and hunkered down further into his pile of bedding, only the ends of his hair visible. "'s cold," he complained to no one in particular, his blankets quivering.

Hisoka sighed, watching his breath paint a blossom of steam on the chilled windowpane. Absent-mindedly, he traced his name at the center of the translucent chrysanthemum, careful brushstrokes with the edge of his fingertip.

Already the edges were beginning to vanish, and he could see through to the street beyond. Oddly welcoming, that frozen stillness, that blurred and frosted edge where the sidewalk met the unplowed road. The sky was that shade peculiar to days of snowfall: cloudy but not dark, not even before sunrise, making the world one white. Though there was no wind, the pine trees groaned, their branches dipping low under their silvery burden. A handful of footprints marred the snow in haphazard patterns-- a group of students, he guessed, playing in the neighborhood before leaving for class.

Briefly he imagined the crunch of snow under his own boots, the sharpness of the air in his lungs. It was a fierce and unexpected craving, for the snow melting under his knees, for the stinging damp seeping through his clothes, himself unshivering. All of them, living in a eternal cherryblossom world, denied the turning of the maple leaves, denied the coming of the snow.

Wanting nothing so much as to feel alive again.

But inside their economy flat, it was quite warm. He rested his forehead against the glass, and closed his eyes for just a moment.

"zzz... cinnamon rolls... extra frosting... zzz..."

Hisoka shook his head. "I'll give you extra frosting," he offered, and the Tsuzuki-shaped lump on the futon went oddly still.

He may or may not have been sleeping, but he jumped quite satisfactorily when Hisoka slipped his chilly hands beneath his sheets. "Argh! Watch it! Where have you been keeping those hands?"

"Even though it snowed, we still have to go to school," Hisoka said, pulling the blankets back mercilessly. "Sensei."

"No respect," Tsuzuki protested weakly as his pillow was forcibly removed. "My luck to bunk with someone with a work ethic the size of-- Hey!" Hisoka was flipping on the lights. Tsuzuki squinted against the sudden brightness, his dark hair falling messily into his eyes. "Please, otouto?"

Hisoka flushed, looking away as Tsuzuki batted pitiful eyelashes at him. "Don't 'little brother' me," he huffed. "We're not on the case yet. I'm your partner, remember?"

Tsuzuki, shuffling gamely into the bathroom, lifted his hands. "Right, right. Partner. Got it." He grinned sleepily-- "Does that mean I shouldn't make you turn in homework?"-- and ducked artfully out the door as Hisoka sent a pillow flying for his head.

For all his reluctance to get out of bed, Tsuzuki was quick on his feet when he needed to be. Hisoka barely had their futons folded up against the wall when his partner was back, fully dressed, only a towel around his shoulders to indicate he'd just finished showering.

He leaned against the window, peering out to the snow-colored world beyond. The sun had come up, its light quietly suffusing the thickening clouds. "Hmm," was his wordless assessment of the scene. "Pretty gloomy."

"I like the snow," Hisoka said, watching not the weather but Tsuzuki's face.

"You would," Tsuzuki shrugged. Then he frowned, his eyes catching sight of something by his hand, the remains of a word on the windowpane. "Secret? What secret?" he wondered aloud, not noticing the look on his partner's face. "Oh. Hisoka." There was a pause, suddenly awkward, each waiting for the other to speak. "How long were you awake before--"

"Your tie is crooked," Hisoka observed.

Tsuzuki blinked, seeing himself in the window, rather than the snowy street, or the inscrutable handwritten word. His tie was crooked. He offered his reflection a sheepish smile. "Well, I was kind of in a hurry."

With a little impatient noise, Hisoka stepped neatly between him and the window. "Let me."

Obediently, Tsuzuki lifted his chin and subjected himself to Hisoka's deft ministrations. He sighed contentedly, and Hisoka wondered just who was leaning on whom.

"Your hands are like ice," Tsuzuki said, almost too softly to be heard, and there was something in his eyes that might have melted colder things than snow. He caught one of Hisoka's hands, lifting it to his face as if he were trying to warm it with his own breath.

Hisoka felt his skin transparent as a windowpane, the touch of Tsuzuki's warmth spreading milky-white flowers of sensation along his fingers. He made a sound, of disparagement, of denial, but could not meet his eyes.

And though Hisoka's hand was so cold, Tsuzuki shivered a bit. "You've gotta take care of your partner, right?"

Hisoka's fingers stayed at Tsuzuki's collar for longer than was strictly necessary, watching his throat move as he swallowed and wondering just how he was supposed to respond.

He settled, finally, on a smirk. "Right. In that case-- your hair is still wet. It'll freeze if you go out in the snow like that." And he pulled the towel up and over Tsuzuki's head, extricating himself and heading to the kitchenette to make up their lunch boxes.

It made Tsuzuki laugh, straightening and towelling his hair to within an inch of its life. "Better, otouto?" he called, through the muffling terrycloth, and Hisoka pretended not to hear him.

Where Hisoka's palm had warmed small flowers on the cold glass, Tsuzuki's bigger hand made flowering cherry trees, obscuring all else that had been written in the steam. But if Hisoka noticed, by then Tsuzuki was in the kitchen with him, and the two of them were too busy maneuvering around one another to pay it much mind.


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