Note: I know very little about medieval times, and I didn't really want to try and figure out how the dialect should work, so this is horribly inaccurate. Consider it a Fantasy 'verse of some sort. Hopefully you're still happy with it, anon!
Homra's tavern was much like Fushimi remembered it, at least from the outside.
The awkward, anxious feeling that had been gradually building at the pit of his stomach reached a peak when the familiar entrance came into sight, and he clicked his tongue, slowing his steps. Despite everything, he found he really didn't want to set foot in that place again.
It's not like I should have to go inside. Misaki knew he was coming.
Really, Misaki should've been waiting outside for him.
Awashima's startled voice interrupted that halfway-irritated thought; when he turned, she was coming up from the direction of the Blue Order's headquarters, staring at him with a puzzled frown. "What are you doing?"
It wasn't like he had anything to hide, but somehow being seen in this situation was uncomfortable. Fushimi clicked his tongue, frowning right back at her. "I'm meeting someone."
"'Someone'..." Her eyes drifted to the front door of the tavern. She was dressed as a proper lady, which was unusual but not unheard of. He hadn't ever bothered to wonder where she went on her days off, but it was hard not to speculate now, given the location and the peculiar "relationship" she had with this particular tavern's owner. Her gaze shifted back to him, and he saw a faint understanding dawn in her eyes. "I see."
Seriously... how irritating. "And why are you here?"
She didn't even so much as bat an eye. "I come here for drinks quite often."
"Despite the fact that it's a well known rogue group's gathering point?"
There was a slight twitch at the corners of her mouth. "That's not my business when I'm off duty."
"If you say so."
They'd more or less reached an impasse; there was a moment of stilted silence.
Awashima straightened purposefully, fixing a steady gaze on him. "Well, then, I'll be going ahead," she said, with dignity. "Enjoy your evening." After striding up to the tavern door, though, she paused. "On the off chance that the person you were meeting happens to be inside, I'll mention that you're out here."
"No one asked you." His answering mutter was lost in the clatter from the inside of the tavern as she opened the door; Fushimi clicked his tongue and frowned after her. The little flurry of anxiety that had stilled somewhat while he'd had something else to focus on was already stirring back to life.
It wasn't that he didn't want to see Misaki. Even when he'd convinced himself that hatred was all he was after, there was barely a moment in his life when he wouldn't have welcomed the sight. But it hadn't been all that long since they'd had that talk - with more honesty and emotion and tears than he would ever feel comfortable with - and it had been even less time since Misaki's stilted confession that had got them to the point they were at right then.
He could still vividly remember the play of emotions on Misaki's face... Eyebrows twitching with a kind of agitated anxiety; lips turned down into a pugnacious scowl - what, you wanna fight about it? - but with his eyes still so straightforward and fierce and determined, fixed on Fushimi's face with all of his honest emotions poured into them. The feelings that flooded him in response were so unexpectedly overwhelming that he'd barely realized what he was doing when he'd reached out to touch the warm skin of Misaki's flushed cheek.
After a brief second of surprise, Misaki had taken his hand and gently kissed it, and that simple touch had sparked off a fire in Fushimi's chest - fed up into an inferno by the look on Misaki's face as he turned up again to smile.
Remembering it now only made the anxious feeling worse.
Noise from the inside of the tavern interrupted the quiet again, and he looked up to see Misaki pushing through the door. He was holding a wrapped basket in one hand and his face was slightly pink. "What, you're really waiting out here?" Someone yelled out something from inside, and he turned, flush deepening, and yelled back, "Shut up! I'm going, okay?"
That kind of atmosphere... It had definitely been a good idea to wait outside.
"You could've just come inside." Misaki had turned from the door and was approaching now, smiling in a sort of halfway-embarrassed, halfway-exasperated way. He was dressed in full trousers and what had been - and probably still was - the only properly fitted shirt he owned. The ever-present hat was absent, and his hair looked carefully flattened.
Somehow, seeing all the signs of nervous preparation for their so-called "outing" calmed a little of the tension in Fushimi's chest. "I'd rather not."
It probably would've been a sore point between them not long ago. Even as it was, Misaki's smile took on a bit of a strained look. "Right, should've guessed." He stopped just a short way from where Fushimi was standing, noticeably swallowed, and met his gaze squarely. "Well, it's not like I'd want to go in your headquarters, either. So it doesn't matter."
That simple-minded determination was way too familiar. Fushimi let out a small, amused huff. "That's a nice excuse."
"Shut up! I don't need to make excuses for you." Despite the strong response, the stiffness seemed to have gone from Misaki's expression. "Anyway." He cleared his throat, straightening a bit, a hint of color blooming on his face again. "You... you know... you look... nice."
Somehow, the awkward compliment had warmth rising to his own cheeks. Fushimi clicked his tongue, trying to cover it. He hadn't put a lot of thought into his appearance, other than tying his hair back instead of styling it, and that was something he'd decided for his own sake rather than for Misaki's. He wasn't often outside of headquarters without his uniform, though, and if he was being honest, he had thought for a short while about what Misaki might like to see.
Trying to think seriously about what Misaki might find attractive in his appearance was... difficult.
On the other hand, it was simple enough to start compiling a list about the little things in Misaki's appearance...
He wasn't about to voice that kind of thought, though. "I didn't bring flowers with me, if that's what you were expecting."
"Eh?" For a moment, Misaki looked startled - then his eyes narrowed. "Hey... I'm the one courting you here." He balled his free hand into a fist and brought it up, thumb pointing at his chest. "If anyone's going to bring flowers, it'd be me."
Spoken like a true idiot. Fushimi felt the corners of his mouth edge up a little. "But you didn't, did you?"
"Ngh..." Misaki grimaced, flushing a bit, and reached up to scratch at the back of his head with a certain amount of agitation. "I figured you'd hate them," he muttered.
"Of course I'd hate them." What were you supposed to do with them, anyway? Carry them around with you? Make a flower crown and wear it? Both notions were ridiculous.
Honestly, courtship was an annoying thing to try and sort out. Inconsistent, awkward, and based on far too many uncertainties.
"Yeah, that's what I thought." Misaki looked up at him with a grin, his eyes bright and his expression showing a kind of exasperated fondness. "You hate everything."
The warmth in that gaze felt like it struck him in the chest, spreading out over his entire body as his heart pounding with increasing intensity. Misaki could do that to him easily with just a look - with just that simple, unrestrained affection. No one else ever looked at him like that. It was blinding, intoxicating - a burst of color in a drab, dull existence. He wasn't even entirely sure how to deal with it or what to do - but the need to do or say something was building up within him, like water being poured into a cup, quickly reaching its capacity and moving fast towards overflowing.
Without really thinking about it, he reached out and took Misaki's hand.
Misaki blinked at him, startled. "Saruhiko?"
The pads on the underside of that hand were rough and calloused, but warm. Fushimi took in a breath, struggling for equilibrium. It was strange, giving in to instinct, but not entirely unpleasant. "Not... everything," he mumbled, and brought Misaki's hand to his face, closing his eyes just before he felt his lips brush against the back of it.
Just that brief, fleeting touch of Misaki's skin had them tingling.
He wasn't entirely sure what he'd been expecting when he lowered the hand and opened his eyes, but somehow the sight of Misaki staring at him with wide eyes and an open mouth as his cheeks gradually went pink set off another little spark in Fushimi's stomach.
Still, it felt too awkward to voice any of the feelings clamoring around inside him. "Don't faint," he murmured, lamely.
Misaki scowled back at him, red-faced and clearly embarrassed. "A-as if I'd faint! You're the one who gets sick all the time, not me." His eyes darted from Fushimi's face to their joined hands and back again, and then he straightened. "Anyway, we don't need to stand around here all day." He turned, fingers tightening into a proper hold as he moved forward, tugging Fushimi along. "I made food, so let's go somewhere and eat."
Fushimi allowed himself to be led without comment. It had been a long time since he'd tasted Misaki's cooking... Besides that, though, he could see the edge of Misaki's profile, including the flush that still lingered on his cheeks and along the curve of his ear. The sight had the corners of Fushimi's mouth edging up, just a bit.
Even with all of its annoyances, somehow he thought courtship wasn't so bad after all.