Word Count: ~750
Characters: Karasu&Haruka, Tobi, Atori
Genre: fluff, friendship, very low-key hurt/comfort
Summary: Karasu didn't tell the whole truth.
Haruka stomped into the spare room with enough force that Karasu glanced up in startlement from where he stood behind Tobi, who was still engrossed in the contents of Uchida's laptop. Atori chirped a hello from his place under the window and popped another shrimp chip into his mouth.
"What's wrong?" Karasu asked her, drawing a glower that took him aback.
"Tobi," Haruka said sweetly, "do you mind if I borrow Karasu for a little while?"
"Certainly. We're just going over coordinates, nothing too im--" But Haruka already had Karasu by the wrist, dragging him back through the door to her room. He could have sworn that Tobi's lips were curved in a faint smirk as Haruka slammed the door behind them.
No sooner did he turn around than Haruka's fists collided with his chest, and he grunted in surprise as she stepped back to glare up at him with eyes that shone with tears.
"You lied to me, Karasu."
He was honestly baffled. "I don't know what you mean."
"Miss Yukie took Tobi and Atori out for breakfast before she brought them over this morning. She said that Atori ate like a horse." Her lips were pursed tight with upset. "And then Mom served them both coffee and fruit."
For a moment Karasu just stared at her, and then his heart sank.
"You guys do eat. I tried to bring you dinner so many times, but..."
The tears had begun to fall, and Karasu reached out an awkward hand that Haruka smacked away.
There was nothing he could say to soothe her. He could tell her that Tobi probably ate as much to keep up appearances in front of Haruka's mother as for nourishment, and that Atori no longer remembered who or what he was, but that was only a half truth. Even with the quantum alteration their bodies had undergone, the Dragon Knights did need food, though very little compared to normal humans.
The truth was that Karasu suspected that all three of them would fade away before food, or lack of it, became any kind of serious issue. And given that, he'd seen no reason to bother her with it.
When Haruka looked up again, wiping her eyes with her wrist, her face told him she must have guessed as much. She leaned her forehead against his chest, her hands knotting in his cloak.
"Why won't you let me take care of you?" she whispered.
He thought about how, when he unplugged himself from the reizu simulator and cut his final tie with La'Cryma, she'd brought him home without a second thought. How almost from the very first she would sit down beside him and tell him about her day, her life, ask him about what his had been like in La'Cryma. How she would smile up at him with eyes full of utter trust, more beautiful than sunset over the bay, as if they had known each other for years.
In some way, they had.
As gently as he could, Karasu laid a hand on her hair -- it was silky against his palm -- and said, "You already do."
Haruka snuffled and took a step back. "Will you let me get you something to eat, then?" she asked. Her lips pressed tight together, determined.
The corners of his mouth curved upward. "That would be fine."
And so it was, after nearly half an hour of sitting awkwardly on the floor of Haruka's room, that Karasu found himself proudly presented with some kind of Western noodle dish. The sauce covering the wide, flat noodles was pale and thick, studded with bits of broccoli and what must have been bacon. It did have a savory aroma.
"It's called pasta primavera. I've been looking at the recipe for a while now, but this is the first time I've tried making it," Haruka said, bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet. "I still need to bring Tobi and Atori theirs, but..." She looked at him expectantly. He picked up the fork she'd laid on the plate and wondered how he'd go about this.
"You twirl it around the end like this," she said, miming the motion. "Itadakimasu!" He imitated her, albeit clumsily, and took a bite. The noodles were chewy, the sauce unexpectedly rich, with a salty edge.
"How is it?" She smiled down at him as if all the world depended on his answer.
That smile. His throat gone tight, he swallowed with some difficulty, but afterward it felt better than he expected, the warmth and fullness beneath his breastbone.
"It's good," he said, watching her smile broaden as he took another bite.