a bottle of __________

He sniffs the air around himself briefly then he turns to me, sniffs some more and then he turns to Cy. “What is that?”

His question is vague but by the look on Cy’s face I assume he might meant that scent that gently wafted in as he walked up to the desk with the usual pastries. I swear he’s trying to fatten us up. Not that he’ll manage, I burn calories faster than I can usually ingest them and Mira is Mira.

“I suppose that might be my cologne?” He’s trying hard to will the blush away from his face and I have to stop myself from snickering. It’s an amusing sight. He’s usually so composed. “And before you ask, cologne is a scented sort of water that you put on when you want to smell good.”

There it comes, I can see the confusion on Mira’s face. I’m not sure I get what cologne is but I just want to watch right now, I can’t help it. “But you smell just fine all the time so why cologne?”

Called it. Cyrille blushes a little more deeply and he ducks his head. I have to grin, I can’t help myself. I shake my head as he shrugs and settles one hand behind his neck, as if it might help him work on getting over all that blushing he’s doing. “Well, er, thank you. I just wanted to try something new and it was on sale and I thought it smelled good.”

To that, Mira of course moves a little closer and he breathes in deeply. He leans back and nods. “It does smell nice, I just thought it was weird, is all. But it’s okay.”

With that out of the way, Cy grins slightly, still blushing and uncertain. He looks up my way and I can only offer him a shrug and chuckle. I have no desire to be of any help in the situation. Mira is just Mira, he’s more open to asking questions right now than I am so he asks them more often than I do. I see Cyrille as a friend, an almost, just almost brother of sorts, not quite but I think I might come to love him the way I do Mira in time. I don’t know how Mira sees him but if anything ever comes to develop between these two, I’ll just have to agree to it.

“It does smell nice, Cy, don’t worry. You know us, we’ve lived under rocks for the better part of our lives.” I chuckle softly again and he shoots me a look though it is playful more than anything else. I’m not helping and I know it.

Armin shoos all of us off to go and place the books we need to while we still have some time before the usual lunch break.

When the day is through, Cyrille offers for us to spend just a little more time out in the area around the library since he has classes in the evenings and he won’t be able to stay around for too long. Mira offers that we stop somewhere for coffee and I feel something freeze briefly within me at the mention of coffee. The one shop nearest to the library is one that holds one particularly bad memory for me though I know I shouldn’t focus on it too much.

As they start heading that way but I don’t, Mira stops and turns to face me. Realization dawns on him after a moment and he shakes his head with a frown. “Maybe we should try another place.”

Cy, just a step further away stops with a blink and he turns to face the both of us. “Oh hell I forgot that’s where she’d invited you. Agni, I promise, if we see her at all I’ll just glare murder at her until she leaves, I’ll even kick her if that helps you at all.”

I blink at him and when the words sink in, I laugh, the sound is low and somewhat uncertain but I have to laugh, really. It’s not that I need protection, it’s just that I don’t feel like I can spend much time around in that shop or outside without remembering what happened. It’s childish of me, I know but I can’t help it.

Finally, I will myself to nod my head somewhat and I step forward, fall in step with my brother and our friend and we step off the stairs and onto the sidewalks to head to the coffee shop.

Once there, Mira offers to head inside to get us some frozen coffees as treats, leaving me with Cy while we settle at a table, a different one from where I’d sat with her.

After about five minutes, Mira comes back later, a slight grimace to his face as he sets the tray down. “She was inside. She took one look at me and she just looked down and away as if I was a big bad monster.”

“Good.” Cy’s word calm and steady as he squeezes my shoulder and I’m glad he didn’t squeeze anything else. I’m just now realizing I haven’t stepped in this coffee shop or anywhere near it since she’d invited me out to come and discuss with her. Discuss my ass at this point. I shake my head to clear the memories away and I snag one of the coffees from the tray with a murmured thank you.

Mira settles at my other side and for the next little while we’re all just quiet, sipping at our coffees and enjoying the quietness of the late afternoon. I feel a gentle sort of breeze behind me every time someone walks out of the door and it’s only when we’re getting ready to leave that I realize Cyrille had settled us just so, so I’d be with my back to the door. I couldn’t see anyone go in or our so I guess she walked out and I didn’t notice her. Good.

We walk him to his bus stop since it’ll come before our own, empty coffees have been discarded and we’re mostly just still appreciating the quiet. It’s surprising, there usually are a lot more people wandering the streets at this time of the day, so it’s different.

“So what kind of class are you heading off to?” I realize that we don’t know that much about him. Not that it’s much of an issue, he doesn’t know that much about us either.

“Oh, tonight is tap-dancing.”

“Tap what?”

He laughs at Mira’s question and I shake my head with a chuckle. He looks off and sees the bus coming by so I know we won’t have time for an explanation, I don’t mind.

“Mira, we’ll look it up online when we get home, okay?” That sounds like the best course of action. Mira steals a quick hug from Cyrille before the bus comes and Cy is the one to snag one from me just moments before the big thing stops next to him and its doors slide open. At times you’d think we hug this way because we might never see one another again.

The thought freezes something in me and I stare off, forgetting to wave when his bus drives off again. What if this was what this is? The motion is innate, we just hug because it seems natural and now that I think about it I’m almost scared to think that maybe, one of these days, we will hug and that’ll be that, we no longer will see one another.

I shake my head and reach for my brother, hugging him tightly. He blinks at me but hugs me back, knowing I don’t usually go for public displays of affection. He also knows better than to ask so when we part ways, we simply cross the street and head to our stop, making it just moments before the bus comes to pick us up. Maybe I’ll tell him what crossed my mind later on.


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