The Colors Universe

Finally Spring by Arty

Characters: Akai-san and others
Word Count: 1,140 words
Theme: Spring
Author Notes: This was originally just to feel out the characters, so it's a bit of a long drabble, but I had fun with it. :D

Somehow, the slow warming season had crept into even their daily lives. Suddenly, everything seemed a little more active.

“Akai-san!” His head turned to the voice, blurry orange fabric catching his sight – “Shhh!” Mikan whispered – more like giggled – as she ran past, giving him a look that was almost pleading if only she hadn’t looked like she was having so much fun. With a last laugh, she ducked around another corner in the building, leaving Akai staring after her. Acquainted with Mikan, he knew the situation without further explanation. He’d never understand her pranks.


He sighed. Not even when he was that age, had he been such a handful.

Akai gingerly tucked his hands into his pockets, finally turning around to continue on. There was a collision before he made it all the way around, someone bumping into him at a run and it shook the both of their footing. Without even thinking, purely instinctual, he reached forward with one hand, steadying the smaller boy and only then realizing – “Kou-kun?”

As if he hadn’t just crashed into him, cap skewed and barely hanging onto his head, Kou grinned up at him. Too quick, the grin fell into something almost sheepish (something Akai knew was a guilty look) and he stuttered almost shyly, “Uh, wanna save it for a sec?”

It didn’t take long to put the pieces together when Aoi came around the corner from the way Kou and Mikan had come. For a naturally unpleasant man, he looked more unpleasant than usual. His one cold eye glaring into Kou and his lips bordering on a sneer, but never quite reaching it. Like a wild animal, he was closing in, clearly bristled. The nearer he got, the more the temperature seemed to drop.

Against what some could call better judgment, Akai gently placed a hand on Kou to press him backwards and Akai stepped in front. A human shield to the cold storm headed their way. “Aoi-san,” he said coolly. “If you’ll allow me to take care of this one. I believe the other is escaping.”

Aoi stood there in front of the two of them for a long, tense moment. You would think it was the last thing he wanted to agree with. Between the two of them, there was a hint of mutual respect, one that allowed Akai to be the only person capable of standing in Aoi’s way like this. While Akai couldn’t see any trace of whatever prank had transpired, he suspected the mastermind behind the ploy was the mischievous youngster. Honestly, Akai would be worried if he wasn’t so sure she’d manage to slip out of it. As the youngest of them, even Aoi appeared to have a soft spot when it came to her.

Ah, well, sometimes, that was.

“Tch,” Aoi finally sidestepped them. He didn’t run after Mikan, he merely stalked off in the very direction she’d gone. He didn’t need to run, least of all after her.

Akai watched the cold man take his leave, it was only when he was out of sight, there was a relieved sigh loud at his side, Kou laughing. “Ahhh, that was close! He almost got me!”

“Who should you be thanking for that?” Akai’s eyebrow twitched, he reached over to pinch Kou’s ear, pulling it in a scolding.

“Ow ow ow,” Kou complained, making more noise than it was likely to hurt, face scrunched up in a ridiculous expression. His bottom lip jutted out in a full-fledged pout. “Akai-san!!”

It wasn’t that he was affected by the dramatics, but he let go regardless. Immediately Kou was rubbing his injured ear, aiming faux innocent eyes up. “Be thankful I didn’t let Aoi-san do as he likes.” Akai reached up to kindly fix the newsboy cap, righting its haphazard position on the smaller boy. It was funny how quick he was beaming back, even still in the middle of a lecture.

“It was Mikan-tan’s idea!”

“And who went along with her?” Akai neatly tucked his hands back into his pockets, glancing off to the side. Kou always had too much energy to watch. Even now he was moving, just making useless motions, leaning forward and back on his feet in place – like he had to keep moving, always. Akai quietly clicked his tongue. “I would appreciate it if you didn’t go along with her in antagonizing him. I could do with a little quiet around here.”

Beside him, there was another laugh, faintly sheepish. He was a little apologetic to be bothering Akai, after all. “Well, it’s not gonna be quiet once Aoi-sama finds her...”

As if on cue, there was a screech in the distance. It was instantly followed by fussing and tones of scolding, likely not aimed at Mikan.

Akai sighed, wryly shaking his head, “I think I’ll be going out.” He started off, aimed in the direction he’d originally been going, oddly surprised when Kou fell in step behind him. Carefree, Kou tucked his arms, folding them behind his head. He didn’t question the tag along.

“We should get ice cream,” Kou chimed happily as soon as they hit the streets. It was barely out of winter. The suggestion would typically seem absurd, but already, it was warm. It’d been such a cold winter, even this light warmth was refreshing. It was almost windy, the odd burst whipping their hair and clothes around them. Still, the streets seemed busier than usual. Probably the sunny day.

Distracted by one stall’s merchandise – jewelry, earrings specifically – Akai responded late, fingers brushing over the jewelry. “We’ll see.” He said it like he hadn’t even listened, like he was just ignoring it. Usually, it meant that he would, but he never wanted to be seen as soft.

Among them, as the oldest, he had the most respect. He attempted to distance himself from the others and the rest seemed to group him with Aoi on most circumstances, like he was hard to approach or exceptionally harsh. In reality, under cool appearances, Akai was a very warm person. The two of them went through the afternoon’s street stalls, Kou laughing and nudging and teasing Akai. It wasn’t all as aggravating as it sounds. Almost... endearing? In the end, he bought the kid ice cream and even one cone for himself, chocolate. It was a rare moment Akai indulged in an empty afternoon, but an elusive smile crept on his lips.

On the walk home, the noise of birds chirping, loud and happy rung in his ears. Akai looked up, gingerly brushing wind strewn hair out of his eyes and behind his ears, tips of his fingers accidentally and inconsequently snagging on the back of earrings. His gaze followed the noise to the chattering birds in the tree. It seemed even the birds were aware spring had arrived at long last.

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