Hands buried deep in the pockets of his jacket, Tsukitachi kept his gaze down at his shoes as they walked in silence, his thoughts on the choice of wine he’d be making for the evening in just a little while. It was only when Hirato spoke that he glanced up again, the wide smile returning to his lips as he took in the other man’s words. “We haven’t really, no. I mean, we’ve grown up to some extent. Or at least you have.” His smile turned cheeky. “You’re very much the responsible adult, aren’t you? But then, you’ve always been this way. A spoilsport.” Tsuki pulled a hand free of his pocket to swat at his companion’s arm.
Ten years. Had it really been that long already? It certainly didn’t feel that way. And it certainly didn’t feel like years since the two of them had gone out together like this. They had fallen so easily into their old routine, it was almost as though they were nineteen years old and bickering all over again. Tsuki smiled nostalgically at the thought. But alas, they were not nineteen anymore and this was likely to be the last time they spent together for another few years - they were both very busy men, after all; Hirato more so than him.
With a little chuckle, Tsukitachi tucked his hand back into his pocket, letting out a musical little laugh as his gaze moved over Hirato’s face. “We’re still us, yes. That’s a comforting thought.”
"Spoilsport, eh? Well, one of us has to be the responsible adult otherwise nothing would get done. And you wouldn’t get anything done either without my gentle prompting.” The word gentle was accompanied by his own little shove and smile. True, work was work; nothing fascinating or too engaging but out of the two of them he was the one who tended to be a tad more engaged. Group projects with Tsuki back in grade school had been… stressful to put it mildly but in the end it worked out and rather well to boot.
The man was a slacker but an intelligent slacker even if he could be incredibly stupid and aggravating at times. No doubt Tsuki felt the same way about him ‘the spoilsport’; too uptight and controlling. Well, there were a certain truth to those words he had to admit. But here they were, going to a restaurant together and reminiscing on the past between them. Perhaps he had missed him, his jovial friend, but he wasn’t about to say that out loud just yet. Perhaps after a bottle of wine or two and with Tsuki that was a distinct possibility.
A breeze whirled around them bringing the last few dead leaves down off the trees along the sidewalk. Yet another reminder that this was a cold November night and that winter snows would be here soon cocooning them in a pristine white blanket. “I wonder when the first snow of the season will fall,” Hirato mused aloud as they strode on through the darkness. Street lamps flickered and guided their way over puddles and the cobbled streets of old Prava.
"So this is the place, your petite gemme?” Hirato looked up at the quaint wooden sign that looked as if it had been hand painted years ago and then cast an eye through the windows taking note of the warmly decorated interior. “C’est très belle, mon ami. Come, let’s go in before the tip of my nose freezes any more than it already has.”
Flashing his friend a brilliant smile, Tsukitachi buttoned up the front of his jacket with one hand and slid his keys safely back into his pocket with the other. “Why be on time when you can be fashionably late?” he asked, eyes sparkling with humor. “There’s no fun in rigid schedules and deadlines. Which is why I’ve always wondered how you haven’t died of boredom yet. You’re fond of routines and the like, aren’t you?” Tsuki remembered this aspect of the man from their time in college together. He used to tease him about it - anal retentive was his most choice - and had been scolded many times as a result, both for his tardiness and his words.
The two of them stepped into the lift in silence and it wasn’t until it had started to move that Hirato spoke again, drawing Tsuki’s gaze to his face. His words, however, had him turning his face quickly away again to hide the dark blush that undoubtedly coloured his cheeks. Extra pleasurable. The way he had spoken those words, combined with the soft little smirk on his lips had sent Tsuki’s knees weak and he had to grip the lift’s handrail tightly in an attempt to remain standing and looking vaguely normal. Maldita este hombre. He had to know exactly what he was doing.
Lifting his gaze hesitantly to look over at Hirato again, he saw that the man was still looking at him with just as much intensity has he had been before and Tsukitachi was almost glad that the lift had slowed to a stop. If only because it meant he could escape this embarrassing and potentially dangerous situation. Clearing his throat loudly, Tsuki followed Hirato from the lift, fiddling with his scarf in an attempt to make himself look busy. “Not too far. 5 minutes by train but only a 20 minute walk. I thought you might enjoy that more.” He looked up at him again, expression sheepish despite the wide grin tugging at his lips.
"Yes, you’re right; I would prefer to walk. Allons-y, Tsukitachi." Hirato swept out his arm in front of him in a mock bow as he smiled at his friend. Mm, despite them not having talked for years Tsukitachi still managed to keep his preferences in mind. It was rather impressive actually; this was the man who would get sidetracked by the slightest thing and who promptly forgot everything he had learned after term ended. Still, the red head had always been a people person… as his days in Maloise showed.
A quiet chuckled fell from his lips as he recalled their college days together: him exasperated and Tsuki grinning sheepishly as he yet again asked to copy his notes for the few lectures they shared. “Ah, mon ami, we haven’t changed that much have we?” Hirato mused aloud and cast a quick glance at his companion as they walked towards town breaking the silence that had blanketed them.
"Even though it’s been ten years—ten years mon Dieu—since we were students we’re still…” he waved his hand expressively trying to convey exactly what he meant, “us.”
Whatever that means.
Snapping from his reverie at Hirato’s question, Tsuki opened his eyes again, lifting both hands and letting out a grateful noise of acknowledgement before spinning on his heel and moving back towards the coffee table. “I almost forgot. What would I do without you and your intuit, Hirato?” The question was rhetorical and he looked up in time to catch the wink his friend threw him, one that he returned almost immediately. Lifting the bottle up in one hand, he marched it over to the fridge, placing a stopper in top before placing it safely inside.
He ignored the wine glass, leaving it where it was despite the fact that it was empty, and moved back to stand beside his friend again. “All ready,” he said brightly, again gesturing for Hirato to lead the way out the door. “If we leave now it will be the first time I’ve ever been on time for a reservation in my life.” With a little chuckle, Tsuki followed his friend out the door, fumbling with his keys for a moment in an effort to lock the door and finally tugging his jacket over his shoulders. “I’m not sure what I’m more excited for this evening - a night in your company or the wine. You understand, of course.”
“I see your need to be punctual hasn’t changed much from our Maloise days. You would show up at least quarter of an hour late to our tutoring sessions. Sometimes I wonder why I let you get away with it all,” Hirato mused at the redhead’s last remark, watching lock the door before pressing the ‘down’ button for the lift. Tsuki’s inability to tell time had been the bane of his existence for as long as he could remember; even in PravaSec he had had an abysmal track record of getting in before the teacher. It’s a wonder he never missed a test. And yet, there he was, an almost thirty-year-old man with the habits of a teenager. A lazy teenager to boot.
He chuckled and cocked his head to the side as he wrapped the scarf around himself in preparation for the cool wind outside. A ding announced the arrival of the lift. Once the doors had closed and the ever-familiar whirr of machinery filled the air did he open his mouth to reply. “Perhaps it’s a mix of both things? After all, you do say wine makes everything better. Maybe this wine—since it’s so exquisite—will make this evening… extra pleasurable.” Hirato smirked softly as he raised an eyebrow and locked eyes with Tsuki just long enough to make him fidget before breaking off the contact and stepping out of the lift.
“So how far away is this gemme of yours?” he asked, lightening the mood once more. He tucked his hands into his coat pockets when they stepped out into the brisk night air and inhaled deeply. “Nice night if a bit cold,” Hirato remarked quietly, glancing upwards towards the bright stars. It was high time he went back to Estrella Point; it had been a while since he had sat with a thermos full of coffee and looked at the constellations.
"Unfortunately, yes." Tsukitachi’s reply was muffled slightly by his laughter as he tossed his scarf down on the kitchen counter beside his jacket. "Purple seems to be your go-to colour." He retrieved both his keys and wine glass from the table by the door, leaning up against it as he watched his friend turn the wine bottle over in his long pale fingers. The colour of your eyes… Hirato’s eyes were such a strange shade of purple. He’d always found them beautiful - mysterious and impossible to read, but beautiful none the less. He had yet to find another purple as pale, as beautiful as that of his friend’s eyes.
Draining half of his wine in one long sip, Tsuki raised an eyebrow at Hirato’s comment. "It’s five o’ clock somewhere in the world, mi amigo. It’s never to early to start.” His love of alcohol, wine in particular, was well known by those close to him, in particular Hirato, who’d had to deal with him intoxicated on many occasions. The teasing note in the man’s voice did not go unnoticed and Tsuki cocked an eyebrow with a smirk. "You’re welcome to have some if you’re that parched for it." He pushed away from the table, moving to stand beside him, offering the man his glass. "Though I would have thought you’d prefer to wait and have some with your meal."
Tsuki set the glass down beside the bottle, clapping his hands together excitedly. “You guess correctly, Hirato.” he said with a little laugh, clapping him on the shoulder as he moved to collect his jacket and scarf, sliding them on and gesturing for Hirato to move towards the door. "I’m taking you to a little place in the Fountain District - fairly new, never too busy, fantastic food and a wine list to die for." he gave a little hum of anticipation at the thought, eyes sliding closed as he remembered. "Oh, the wine, Hirato. I have never tasted such a full-bodied Chianti in my entire life."
My go to colour, huh? Hirato rolled his eyes at Tsuki’s retreating back as he followed him into the kitchen again, hanging the borrowed scarf around his pale neck. Perhaps there was a grain of truth in his words but as his mother had taught him, why change something that’s been proven to work ten times over? “If purple is my go to colour then surely red is yours,” he murmured and nodded at the scarf his friend had brought with him, “It matches your hair and name perfectly.” And that bottle of wine you’re currently drinking from.
“Fountain district? My, my, you certainly haven’t spared any expenses on me.” Voice dry and one eyebrow quirked, he cast a glance over at the excited man who seemed to be in the process of daydreaming about their divine wine. Of course. Hirato smiled fondly for a moment before replacing it with his usual enigmatic smirk as he moved towards the front door and pushed it open once more. “Surely you want to place that bottle in the fridge before we go… wouldn’t want that wine to spoil, n’est pas?” he asked pointing at the barely touched bottle.
“I promise I won’t run away,” Hirato teased and threw in a wink for good measure as he leaned against the open door. “Go on, Tsukitachi. You will regret it otherwise.”