Chapter 16:

Of Fluffiness, Tenderness, and Loveliness

Where The Sky Meets The Land

The warmness shrouding us somehow perceivably cozy, intensifying the eagerness to continue sleeping. As the sun ray stabbing through the window sill and literally burned my eyelids, only then I opened my eyes widely. The bright sunny day denoted me that the sleepy night has ceased and the day started anew.

Thus, the memory of previous hours ago came back to my senses.

I turned to my side to see a softly snoring Sora sleeping and sharing the same futon and pillow. My eyes widened because I could barely reminisced the moment I sneaked into the blanket. The last thing I could recollect was that I laid my head on the pillow, and... that was it.

However, I could remember what we have talked about, right before both of us comforted ourselves into each other's embrace.

"I love you, Sora."

"I love you too, Riku."

And I wouldn't ever remember the smaller detail beside those words. My world became festival since then, which I didn't intend to let it pass. The warmness when he immersed himself in my embrace, our embrace, was utterly captivating. Perhaps I would really kiss him if we haven't fallen sleep together.

Did that mean I've slept with him?


Sora's groan disrupted my swaying mind. I swiftly grabbed his hand and gently squeezed it to inform him that I was, still, by his side. Should I tell him that we even shared the same blanket and pillow?

"Good morning, Riku," Sora greeted. His lips carved a small smile. He squeezed my hand back.

I replied with a grin. A naughty grin. "Good morning, Sora." I said while my fingers naturally caressed his face.

Gladly he has recovered from his fever. I was a little startled when I put my hand on his forehead to check on his temperature. As if he hasn't had fever, I insisted on interrogating him to find out whether he experienced other symptom like nausea or fatigue. He denied all those undoubtedly.

"I'm fine, Riku. Please, don't get too worried of me, okay?" A chuckle escaped from Sora as he cupped my face. "So this is how you actually look like when you just got up from your sleep, Riku. Handsome."

I let his hand exploring my entire face, and I giggled at his comments. "The most important part is that you're cute though your bed hair is undeniably bad." I jokingly said.

He pulled a pout, obviously sulking. I teasingly poked him on the waist to startle him, and he really did. From wearing gloomy look on his smooth complexion, his twitching lips gradually parted. While he non-stop complained, he teased me back by poking my stomach.

"Ahh, I'm hungry," I scratched the back of my head in attempt of abandoning my growling stomach. "What do you want to eat, Sora? I'll cook for you."

By then, I noticed the scorching sun rays befell onto us, shone through the window. Was it always this hot early in the morning? I took a glance of the clock from my phone screen just to be informed that it was ten minutes past ten, which also meant we were ridiculously late for school. I sprung from the futon in panic.

"Well, Riku. You don't have to cook for me, or for us. We may be roasted at school."

Undeniably, Sora's prediction has come true. We have missed our morning lesson, plummeted our attitudinal scores, and severely castigated by Miss Maeko. How tolerant she was to be concerned of our images that she brought us to a counselling room just to flaunt her rage, out of her troubled mind, instead of scolding us in front of our classmates.

Promising that we wouldn't be late again in the future, she granted us a similar punishment – To take an extra class after school so that we could study what we have accidentally missed. Honestly it didn't feel like she was penalizing us. It was more like an assistance.

Was this what our classmates hated? In the gossips, they claimed that whoever befriending Sora would be beneficial. Nevertheless, none of them listened to me if I denied it.

Duh. It wasn't even my problem. Not my fault to begin with either.

"I'm sorry for troubling you, Riku."

Miss Maeko has done teaching us Algebra, the subtopic we've missed that morning. She provided us exercises so that we could hone our understanding, and her faith in us enabled her to leave us alone in the classroom.

"What did you do that I deserved an apology from you?"

"If it wasn't because of me, you wouldn't get up late this morning."

I burst into laughter. Did he apologize because both of us overslept? "No, no. You shouldn't say sorry. It was no one's fault."

Sora faked a smile. I guessed I've hurt him, thus massive guilt rushed abruptly. He lowered his gaze, possibly veiling his actual emotion as I stared at him.

"But- But- It was your first time getting punishment for coming late!" Sora grunted in dissatisfaction. "Not enough with burdening you last night, I even caused you trouble."

That pouty face was too cute. I couldn't resist myself from not stroking his flushing cheek. He was about to cry, due to infinite guilt overwhelming him.

"Don't cry, Sora," I whispered, specifically audible for him. "If it was your fault, I was to be blamed too for not getting up earlier than you."

He rolled his eyes, muttering grumbles. "You never let me taking responsibility of you, right? Do you already hate me?"

"Ha? Why should I?" I ogled at him. But then I purposely drew myself closer to him. Our forearm brushed against each other, remarking the inexistent gap between the two of us. "In fact, I love you even more than yesterday."

It was rather hilarious witnessing Sora getting all blushed as I teased him with cheesiness. I continued my homework so that I could finish fast and we could go back home earlier. Even if Sora hasn't done his, I would take the opportunity to watch him.

I was fluttered by this moment. I must treasure this eternally.

"You're so clingy. I've never known you're this giddy," Sora tapped on my nose in attempt to tease me. "But it's okay. I like it."

A few equations later, I successfully finished my homework and withstood my eagerness to hug Sora in my arms. He still struggled to solve a question, which I was stuck earlier too. I shoved my book to him as an offer to copy my calculation.

"Riku, what's this?" He asked, rather uneasy by my offer.

"Answers," I said goofily. Then, I rested my head on his shoulder. "You can copy my methods, then we will go out for a date."

Sora poked his blunt end pencil to my cheek. "I don't want to date you today."

The shock I heard cowered me that I lifted my head off him. I ogled at him cooing in relax. "Did you just reject me, Sora?"

An eyebrow was raised. "I don't want to date you today. I..." He dragged his line, hesitating. "... I want the day we go out for flower gazing as our first date together."

So Sora knew how to act sweet and lovely too! I squealed excitedly and wrapped him as a reflex, whereas he was writing his calculation diligently without referring to my answer. He ignored my enticing murmurs, yet he didn't decline my touches either.

In short, he allowed me to have him completely.

"Sora," I whispered right at his ear. "I love you."

He didn't reply to my confession. Keeping his stuffs in his sling bag, he then moved a little for some space, before he reposed himself to confront me.

"I love you too, Riku."

Illogically perceivable. I thought time has stopped ticking for a moment. Along with his lovely confession, he leant to me and landed a kiss on my lips. It was almost a peck, yet it stunned me to the point that I could barely think rationally.

I groped the back of his hair and drew him closer to me. We shared the same air, gasping a little, and looking into each other's eyes, perhaps the best energy recharger I've obtained.


Both of us startled as a loud bang echoed from somewhere outside our classroom. We simultaneously turned to the direction we estimated where the source was, just to see nothing or no one relatable. I shrugged when Sora signaled me to ask what happened.

"So it's not good to be lovey-dovey here, Riku," Sora commented in half laughter. "Let's go home and have dinner together. I'll cook for you."

"Well, it isn't a bad idea," Both of us rose from our seats in unison. "What do you want to cook?"

"I don't know. What's your favorite? I’ll find the recipe and cook it for you."

We exited our classroom and strode side by side along the corridor. I noticed his slow pace, puzzled by his intention but I slowed mine too. At one point, he suddenly stopped.

"Sora, why?" I asked, in concern.

Sora intertwined his fingers and ducked his head as he mumbled inaudibly. I raised an eyebrow in bigger perplex.

"I- I want to- h- h- hold hands!"

He stammered, but he manageably voiced his wish out. I blinked in slight shock, yet deep inside it was unexpectedly pleasant. Giving out my one hand to him, I loved to see him shyly accepted and gently squeezed my hand.

The bliss we enjoyed was mesmerizing. Heart captivating. And I didn't want it to end. We held hands until we reached the ground floor of our school.

"L- Let's stop from here," Sora requested. "It won't be nice if people saw us."

He was right. Our relationship must always stay hidden, or mishaps might befall on us, whether it would be caused externally or by third party. It wouldn't give us good result if someone caught us acting all intimate.

"Do you ever want to expose ourselves to everyone?" I asked just to fill in the silence while we walked to my condo.

Sora shrugged to my query. "I never got interested into romantic relationship. I did befriend girls back then, but I lacked real friends." He brushed his sleeves against mine while we walked across the school compound. "My classmates always treated me fine, but it somehow felt... faked. So I distanced myself once I graduated from middle school."

I nudged at him a little, teasing him to hold hands again. He slightly pouted, squinting at my childishness.

"It could be that instead of experiencing friendship, I grasped your treatment romantically. Instead of considering your behavior towards me was out of sympathy or concern, I took it as love," Sora lowered his face and sniffled, "Was I wrong to think it like that, Riku?"

"Mh-mm, nope. Not at all," I drew close to him and mumbled, "In fact, I was the one loving you first. I was afraid that you would fall for other person. That was why I hastily confessed."

"And today, your manner flipped entirely! I mean," Sora pushed my face away from his, "You're so clingy. I never thought that you would like me. I've been keeping this feeling all by myself because I was afraid that you might hate me for liking you. So, once I've confirmed your fondness, I couldn't help but to pamper."

A chuckle escaped from me. Sora's talkativeness didn't change much, but the content did differ than usual. However, I liked it that we were already liking each other, without pressurized emotion or necessity to hate.

"Please don't get sick of me," I said nonchalantly. "I love you, and I'm not going to break up. I wanted to be by your side, hence I wanted you to stand by me too."

I saw his blushing face and poked his puffy cheek. He was embarrassed but he didn't want to admit it. Well, our heart has united - There were things I could comprehend without verbal expression.

"I love you too, Riku."