"Remind me again why your yard is so big?"
"It's not a yard, it's our grounds," says Atobe. He and Ryoma both have to shout to make themselves heard over the wind that howls around them, whipping snow into their faces.
"Oh, grounds. 'scuse me, Miss Priss," Ryoma replies, and unfolds the top edge of his scarf so it covers his nose. Every exposed part of them is turning red with the cold, though by now Ryoma is showing only a small sliver of skin around his eyes. "Like trekking up Mount Everest," he mumbles, voice muffled by the fabric.
Atobe has the collar of his coat turned up, but he's not wearing either a scarf or a hat. His hair is windblown and covered in snow that he brushes out periodically with a hand. "It's not that bad. Stop complaining and walk."
"I can do both at once," Ryoma retorts.
Atobe brushes the snow out of his hair again and finally Ryoma sighs, plucking the warm knitted cap off of his own head. He hops over a snowdrift and reaches up to pull the hat over Atobe's hair. Atobe reaches up, throwing a bemused look back at him. "Leave it," Ryoma says, issuing the command in a tone befitting royalty, because it's the only way Atobe will listen to him. "You should've brought one to begin with."
"I wasn't expecting a blizzard!" Atobe tugs the flaps of the hat over his ears. Then as Ryoma catches up to him, Atobe snags the back of Ryoma's hood and pulls it up. "There."
"I look like a Sherpa now," Ryoma grumbles, heaving his tennis bag back up to his shoulder from where it had fallen into the crook of his elbow.
"Why are you obsessed with Everest today?" Atobe asks, reaching over to take the bag himself.
Ryoma sidesteps out of Atobe's range. "Why do you think?Shit, it's cold!" He shivers and crosses his arms across his chest when a particularly fierce gust of wind strikes them head-on. "Are we even walking the right way?"
"The grounds aren't that enormous. Look." Atobe nods ahead, and Ryoma squints until he sees a pinprick of light in the distance.
"That's the house?" Ryoma asks, to be sure.
"Of course it's the house." Atobe shields his eyes from the blinding snow, then frowns. "Shit."
"It's not the house, is it," says Ryoma, with the resigned air of a man on his way to certain death.
"Can the melodrama," says Atobe, swatting him on the backside.
"Couldn't even feel that, you perv. My ass is frozen."
"We'll thaw it later, how's that?" Atobe works up a halfhearted leer.
"Ew, don't do that. You remind me of my Dad." Ryoma tries to grimace, but his chilled facial muscles barely twitch. "So if it's not the house, what is it?"
"Gardener's cottage," Atobe replies shortly. "Not in use right now, so the heat won't be turned on."
"Fuck it." Ryoma stops walking. "Might as well just give up and die now."
"Again with the melodrama." Atobe trudges back through his own footprints to grab Ryoma by the shoulder, hauling him along. "There are walls. And a ceiling. It's better than nothing."
"God, this is like the setup for a bad romantic comedy," Ryoma complains. "Stranded out in a winter storm with no heat, so they've got to shag to keep warm."
"Doesn't bother me," says Atobe, pushing Ryoma on ahead of him. "I thought you wanted your ass unfrozen anyway?"
"You said that, not me. Go on ahead again. I can't plow through the snow as well as you." Ryoma purposely lags behind, letting Atobe forge the way for both of them.
"That's what you get for having short legs."
"Say that again when I'm not frostbitten. Go on, I dare you."
"Later." Atobe stops a few paces from the front door of the cottage and fumbles around in his pockets, coming out with a keyring. He peers closely at the keys on it, trying two that look identical. Neither of them work.
"Don't tell me you don't have the key," Ryoma groans.
"I have it, I just- here." Atobe finds the right key and turns it in the lock, pushing the door open. Ryoma surges forward, nearly knocking both of them off their feet. "Calm down. We're not actually dying here."
"Speak for yourself." Ryoma walks inside before Atobe and squawks in surprise.
"What's wrong?" Atobe follows him, closing the door behind them.
"Nothing's wrong," says Ryoma in wonder, dropping his bag on the floor to the right of the door. "It's fucking warm, is what it is."
"Too warm." Atobe's forehead wrinkles in confusion as he sets his bag down with significantly more care. The wave of heat that greets them is wholly unanticipated from an abandoned structure left to freeze for a month. "My parents must have forgotten to turn off the heat."
"Have I mentioned recently how much I love your parents?" Ryoma asks, practically moaning in ecstasy as he collapses onto the hardwood floor and pulls off the boots that have accumulated a veritable mountain of snow inside of them.
"They do have their good points," Atobe admits. "They probably left the hot water on, too."
Ryoma springs up at that, tugging off his scarf and tossing it to the side. "Is there a shower?"
"Shower and Jacuzzi tub, as far as I remember," says Atobe.
"Damn, I wish I was a gardener." Ryoma starts stripping off his gloves, coat, socks that are soaked through, and then his shirt.
"Modesty, please." Atobe averts his eyes and shrugs his own coat off.
"You've seen it all before." Ryoma waggles his eyebrows, to little effect because Atobe's not looking. "Where's the bathroom."
Atobe gestures vaguely to the left, and Ryoma trots that way with his shirt in tow, because it's all he has to wear. He finds the bathroom down a short corridor, across from a well-appointed bedroom with a kingsize mattress and what looks to be a walk-in closet. "Gardeners never had it so good," he mutters. The bathroom is equally luxurious, featuring a large shower behind glass doors and a Jacuzzi the size of a modest swimming pool.
Ryoma opens the shower doors and turns on the water so that it'll have a chance to warm up. As the glass begins to steam up, Ryoma takes off his trousers and underwear and drops them next to the bath mat. He's about to step into the shower when Atobe walks into the bathroom. "I wouldn't-" Atobe begins.
"Perv!" Ryoma accuses, then jumps into the shower. He yelps and scrambles out immediately. "That hurts!"
"I know, you idiot," Atobe says, with all the patience of a mother who's been forced by circumstances to take her two-year-old on a shopping trip. "You have to warm it up gradually."
"Thanks for telling me now."
"I tried," says Atobe, spreading his hands and donning the expression of a wounded martyr.
Ryoma turns the water cooler and waits, testing it on his hand before stepping in again. This time he waits through the initial shock of lukewarm liquid on his skin and then pushes the water temperature handle tentatively to the hot side. "Better," he sighs, leaning against the shower wall to let the water run over him.
There's no shampoo in the shower, and only half a bar of soap that's got a couple suspicious-looking hairs on top of it. Ryoma elects not to bother, because if he's not clean after spending half an hour in a blizzard, he's never going to be. He turns off the water and hesitates to open the glass doors, bracing himself for the rush of cooler air that's bound to hit him when he steps out. But the bathroom is surprisingly warm, the source of the heat both the shower and the Jacuzzi that Atobe's filled to the brim.
Atobe's lounging against the near side of the tub with his eyes closed. He opens one of them when Ryoma closes the shower door behind him. "Not your romantic comedy after all," Atobe notes. "We managed to get warm without shagging."
"Thank your parents for that," says Ryoma.
"Please don't mention my parents in the context of fucking, ever again," says Atobe, with a pained look that's quickly replaced by an expression of absolute contentment as he sinks farther beneath the bubbles on top of the water. "Anyway, I suppose your ass is already warmed up by now."
"It is," Ryoma agrees.
Atobe opens his eyes again when Ryoma slips into the water and lies on top of him, flashing him a slow Cheshire Cat grin. "I thought you said you were warm enough," says Atobe, sliding a hand down Ryoma's smooth, wet back.
"I am," says Ryoma. "Which means this is just for fun."
They just lie there for awhile, too sated with warmth to want anything else. Ryoma rests his chin on Atobe's shoulder and Atobe strokes absently at the base of Ryoma's spine. "Done complaining?" Atobe asks after a minute.
"For now." Ryoma nuzzles sleepily at the juncture between Atobe's neck and shoulder.
"Sure." Then Ryoma grins against Atobe's damp skin, eyes still shut. "I changed my mind. You can keep your huge goddamn yard, Everest or no."
Ryoma, predictably, ignores him.