By Squid


Lan was waiting at home.

"You should go." Kazuhiko said.

He nodded, but didn't move. An uncommon lassitude had overcome him, something he didn't indulge in very often, like the scotch they were drinking in his office. The place reeked of the cigarettes they were smoking, but he knew it would be gone when he came back tomorrow morning.

"He doesn't like it when I drink."

"Tell him it was my idea." It was, but that wasn't the point.

It was dark outside, and cold. There were just enough blips of light from outside the windows to see by, since they had turned all the lights off in the office so as not to alert anyone of their presence and what they were doing.

"You drunk yet?"

Gingetsu shook his head.

"I'll walk you home. I don't want Lan to worry about where you've been."

"He doesn't worry."

Kazuhiko snorted. "You'd be surprised. He probably thinks I'm a bad influence."

Gingetsu thought about replying, realised that Kazuhiko did not mean it literally, and decided not to.

Kazuhiko stood up, the chair scraping back.

"Come on. It's late."

He followed.


As he had expected, Lan was still awake. It was two-forty two in the morning.

"...So it's not his fault he's reeking of alcohol. I brought the bottle into his office and wouldn't let him say no."

"You don't have to explain, it's really okay." Lan said mildly from the kitchen. "Do you want coffee?"

"Yes, please." Kazuhiko slumped on his couch, and closed his eyes. He had aged a lot since Oruha, Gingetsu observed. His previous boyishness had been replaced by something a bit darker, a lot more solemn.

He had crows' feet, now.

Lan emerged from the kitchen with three cups of perfectly brewed coffee, and set them on the table. They sat around and drank coffee, while a voiceless tune tinkled in the background, soft enough to be unobtrusive.

After a while, Kazuhiko set the cup down with a definite clink, and said, "I should go home. I have to work tomorrow, and so do you. Lan, make sure he gets some sleep. He's going to run himself ragged, the way he works."

"I will." Lan said, rising to clear the cups.

Gingetsu sent him to the door, and went back to his window to watch Kazuhiko step out of their apartment, unconsciously huddling inside his cloak for warmth. It had snowed sometime while they were drinking coffee, the snow burning where it touched skin.

"Come to bed." Lan said. "You need to be up soon."

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