Conversational Tea [Etsumi]

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Conversational Tea [Etsumi]

Post by Tetsuji on Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:55 pm

The days where Tetsuji didn't have any of his academy classes seemed to drag on the longest, even if it was the weekend and he'd freed himself from his bindings of chores and other tasks that he would normally have. His morning spent cleaning around the house and helping his mother where he could with various tasks to tidy things up. His father was gone on some assignment for the village and even though that got him out of his usual training and informational sessions where his father would press him into learning to utilize the gifts he held both as a member of the Uchiha clan and as the son that would carry on his legacy.

This influx of free time left Tetsuji looking for a way to spend his afternoon and though he was honestly missing his usual training and story telling he had another fix for it. Finding himself walking from his house and closing the door behind him, the sun sat high in the sky and glaring down while ignoring the sparse clouds that were cluttered in various places among the sky. The air was still a bit cool but not enough that he would seek a jacket and the breeze flowed lightly across his face. His typical black pants and black sandals were accompanied by a simple white shirt with the Uchiha clan logo spread across the front of it. His steps carried him into the street as his eyes adjusted from the dim light inside to the outside environment and he continued on passing by a few of his neighbors with a nod.

His destination was his grandma's tea shop, found just at the edge of the Uchiha clan compound and near the gate that separated their clan from the village itself. The shop itself was small but specialized in a few unusual drinks that were passed down in the Uchiha's history but even more importantly, Tetsuji could fill a small bit of his hunger for some of the history and tales of the Uchiha's prowess. There had been a gap left since his grandfather passed away but with that, his grandma came to adore the moments and conversations where Tetsuji would ask about their past and give her a chance to relive the memories she held.

Tetsuji's own thoughts fell closer to the idea that she just held a fondness for her grandchild and she was so kind and admirable about it. Always doting on about how special he was and because of the chakra he was born with he was no normal kid. Though, that could just be nonsense as she was that way with everyone she talked to, becoming the stereotypical loving grandmother to everyone and especially the other Uchiha and held even adults as children in her eyes. It left Tetsuji sometimes confused if she was just being her normal kind self or if she truly believed that her grandchild had some special thing that he needed to live up to. Certainly Tetsuji's father carried the belief that his only son had to be special but that wasn't any different than anyone else in the end.

Tetsuji's footsteps carried him quickly through the streets while he held his hands in his pockets and kept his head mostly down as he burned through the compound ignoring most of what he was passing by with every step. More mindless musing carried him the rest of the way towards the shop and its small stature near the highly decorated dividing gate between the Uchiha clan and the village. A few people crossing by in the view of the gate and an Uchiha couple entering back into the compound caught Tetsuji's eye but he simply nodded with a small smile and turned his attention back towards the tea house.

The building itself was nothing really of note, it was simple and made of wood and carried a rather unassuming title as 'The Tea Gate' written in Kanji above the top frame of the doorway. The shop itself had a plain architecture and as Tetsuji entered into the open doorway he was met with the site of the small kitchen area in the back with a few feet of separation leading to a bar about three quarters the width of the shop itself and several stools lined up neatly in front of it. Behind the counter his eyes peaked his grandmother carefully working away at a kettle and steam billowing up lightly from the stove in front of her. Aside from that the shop carried even more wood in the same dull and dark color of the exterior and a few tables with chairs spread around between the entrance and the bar area.

It was awfully quiet though with one small table carried by a woman reading a book over in the corner and another table just to Tetsuji's left taken by two older men who looked to be enjoying their afternoon as old men do, laughing calmly between themselves. Tetsuji waved as they offered their greeting a bit louder and as they did so, his grandmother turned from her tea and looked to see him, a small bit of surprise sprung on the features of her face and lighting up as she spoke up, "Oh, Tetsuji!" her elderly voice carried in the air and the wrinkles on her face seemed to dance with her greyed hair for a moment.

"Hey, granny! How's the tea today?" Tetsuji carried his voice with some pep as he approached the bar area calmly and pulled a stool out to step over it and sit down on it.

"Are you trying to imply that my tea is anything but great?" she turned her head and tilted it a bit as her gaze fell on him. Her brow raised as the intensity of her stare carried on for a brief second as she awaited his answer whether it be folly or redeem him.

Tetsuji immediately raised a hand while waving off the accusation and chuckled a bit awkwardly, "No, no, no! I didn't mean it like that. Your tea is always great of course. I was just curious if you had any new blends for me to try?" he held his awkward smile and let the waving hand fall to the back of his neck as he hoped his answer would be good enough.

Luckily, she nodded and smiled as she turned back to her kettle and began to pour a drink from the ceramic into a ceramic cup next to her. "As a matter of fact, I do, just wait one second dear..." she carried off and set the kettle down before gripping the cup and plate underneath it and walking it over to the woman in the corner for a moment. Tetsuji sighed in the moment as he awaited her return and let his elbows rest on the counter-top and leaning into it a bit as his shook his foot over on the rail of the stool. As his grandmother returned to the counter she spoke up, "So, if you want I have a special black tea that's made with a particular herb from the Land of Fire's montain areas that adds a nice flavor to it... would you like a cup?"

"Of course, that sounds great!" he exclaimed as he leaned back and waited for her to begin working away as she grabbed various herbs and breaking them in her hands.

"Also..." Tetsuji gulped down his own awkwardness as broke the small bit of silence, "The tea would be even better if you had anymore stories to share..." he held a smile even though she had to turn back to see it.

"Milk with your tea?"

"Yes, please..."

"Now, a story you say... I might have a few you haven't heard yet." she carried on but was interrupted as the two men from earlier stood up from their table and yelled out at her,

"Thanks Lady Izumi, the tea was great!" the loudness of their voices carried over and they waved as they began to back away from the tea shop and out the door. Tetsuji's grandmother turned and smiled at them to return the wave while also inviting them back before setting her sights back to Tetsuji. "Let me finish this brew and then I'll sit with you and we can talk at a table together."

"Right, that's fine." Tetsuji carried with a smile and a bit of internal enthusiasm as he waited for her to finish brewing together their tea and waiting patiently to move over to a table and sit quietly and enjoy a relaxing moment like he had so many times before.


[1469 words]

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Re: Conversational Tea [Etsumi]

Post by Etsumi on Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:25 am

There was blood in his throat; slick and coppery. Lacing the back of his tongue like a thin film of some heinous reminder that was both so familiar yet so despised, and Etsumi bit the frustration back. His younger brother was pushing his limits, and despite being seven years younger than him, the six year-old was already showing the potential of a greater strength Etsumi would most likely never possess. He fueled that prickling irritation into his actions, and moved in a deliberate way as his younger brother came charging towards him; shifting to the side to drag his arm up into the diaphragm of the other boy and halt his momentary speed. The sharp point of his elbow catching him beneath the soft spot below his ribs.

"Etsumi!" The sharp bark of his father's stern voice, gravelly and well-worn, snarled at him from behind, and the son in question slowly swiveled his head around to glance at the man on the veranda. He was dressed in his dark blue robes; the Uchiha crest spotted just on the collar of his gown. His father looked much like the head of his family. "Enough of that! That's a sign of weakness, going in for a fragile area. The enemy will know you're weak that way. If you're overpowered, never play dirty in a fight. There is no honor in such cowardly actions."

Etsumi's jaw slowly clenched, revealing a rather forlorn expression across his pallid face. There was no pleasing the man that was his father. No matter what he did - succeed against his rising star of a brother or not - no praise was ever given. Just scolding. His knuckles ached where they had connected against his sibling's chin earlier in the sparring session, and he could feel a sharp throb against his own jaw.

But complaining about it would not make him any better.

"Now, pick your brother up. The fight is over." His father's voice was harsher than the pounding in his teeth, and Etsumi grudgingly turned his attention back onto his collapsed brother. Ignoring his soft gasps for air as he threw out one of his bloodied hands to haul his sibling onto his feet. It took a moment of struggle, but they were both standing within seconds, and their father departed from the veranda. Back inside the family's home to escape the midday sun. The young boy carded his bony fingers through the messy strands of his black hair, hissing out a sharp sigh between his lips and turning in time to see his brother stalk angrily past him.

Seething at the prospect of losing a fight against Etsumi. But he didn't care. One more success under his belt let him have one more thing to brag about, and against his sibling, it was always a heated competition. His dark eyes, pressed like hard pieces of black jewels, tracked his stiff limp as he mounted the spacious veranda and departed around the corner. Leaving him standing in the backyard without so much as a word. Off to complain to mother, perhaps.

"...good riddance." Etsumi murmured out quietly to himself, hacking up a glob of blood from his lungs; thin arches of his eyebrows knitting together in an expression of pain against the sharp pulse of his heart hammering against his rib cage. It was no good. Cursing beneath the whisper of his breath, the young Uchiha crammed his hands deep into the pockets of his baggy black pants and strolled away from the family's backyard. Away from their makeshift battlefield and all the disappointment it has ever brought him. He didn't want to be anywhere near them right now - the parents that seemed to hold no hope - and he walked quietly through the clan compound.

It was a bright day, perfect weather, and as Etsumi wandered further away, he couldn't help but find himself slowly relaxing. There was something about the gentle wind that lapsed him into a small sense of ease, whipping at his messy strands of hair and tugging playfully at the collar of his black jacket; half-open and displaying his rumpled dark grey shirt that had been grabbed one too many times during the practice with his brother. But in the time, he did not really mind the unkempt appearance he properly displayed, and even nodded to a few fellow clan members that merely glanced at him in some bemusement.

Etsumi did not really know where he was headed, but as his sandal-clad feet lead him closer to the end of the compound, he snapped out of his thoughts - many of which were dwelling unpleasantly on the topic of his strict father - to find he was at the front. The gate, a threshold between the village and the world he comfortably knew, looming in front of him, and to his side a quaint tea shop. 'The Tea Gate' as it was called, the young boy was acquainted with the old woman that ran the facility, and though it was a humble little joint, Etsumi preferred her tea the most. It never failed to calm him down.

With the aspect in mind, a potential moment to soothe away the torrent of frustration and anger rampaging through his consciousness, he pushed through the doorway and into the space of the tea shop. It never looked like much when first entering, but the tea always managed to speak for itself. As he glanced around the small building, he made sure to move out of the way for the two older men that shifted by him, laughing mirthfully as if they had a pleasant time there, and taking a second to nod politely at him.

There was another woman reading in her own secluded corner, the grandmother behind the counter, but Etsumi's gaze was not interested on them. He was fixated on the black haired boy that rested by the counter.

He knew him from the Academy, and more importantly, from the tea shop. It was his family's business, and though Etsumi never spoke a great ton to the other Uchiha, they were already acquainted with each other. Enough for him to consider approaching the other to start up a conversation; anything to drive off the sense of disgrace his father left him with earlier in the day. But he was unsure how.

It was not common for Etsumi to seek out company given his more loner tendencies, but he had not spoken with Tetsuji for a while, now, and found himself wanting to say something. To speak up. Dragging his bruised hands out from his pockets, he swept back another strand of messy hair before approaching the other with slow, cautious steps. Quiet as his sandals scuffed faintly against the floor. His face was kept in a still expression even as he swallowed and tasted the lingering pang of blood.

"...Hey, Tetsuji. Mind if I join you for some company?" Etsumi murmured out quietly, hoping to not suddenly startle the boy. He was unsure of whether the other would accept his inquiry or not, but if he did, then Etsumi wouldn't mind to sitting down with him for tea and small talk.

Shifting to the side, glancing around the small shop with a weary gaze, he waited quietly for an opening of companionship.

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Re: Conversational Tea [Etsumi]

Post by Tetsuji on Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:45 pm

Tetsuji had turned back to see the arrival of Etsumi as the two men left but didn't really pay much attention to it, figuring they'd take a seat and order or tend to themselves. They weren't more than acquaintances so Tetsuji wouldn't overstep his bounds in calling out to him or anything of that sort but as his granny had turned and was away grinding tea leaves into a small bag there was a voice ringing up from behind him suddenly with no other real indications of his arrival, his ears twitching a bit as the vibrations of sound struck his inner ear. A slow turning back with a raised a brow and a low 'Hmm?' to see that he had come to Tetsuji and wondered about taking a seat next to him. Tetsuji smiled and nodded lightly as the words edged out a bit quietly, "Sure, go ahead." he ended quietly and slid over a small touch to leave him room to take a seat next to him.

Upon closer inspection Etsumi looked a bit rough, as if he had been training or had been in a fight or something but before Tetsuji could really make any comment about it his granny turned briefly and spoke up as well, "Oh Etsumi! Welcome, tea for you as well?" she spoke up with a brief smile but hadn't turned fully towards him as she began to pour water into a kettle.

It struck Tetsuji as a bit odd, he didn't say anything and gave Etsumi the time to answer the question or request whatever type of tea or even the same as she was preparing but it didn't leave his mind. His granny was always so incredibly observant too, she had to notice as well, right? His rougher state and all, or maybe she didn't turn fully and didn't get a good look at him but at the same time he felt that maybe she didn't comment about it on purpose? Tetsuji's writhing over it confused him and after the exchange with his grandmother he would turn his head towards Etsumi hoping to catch his attention and even without he would speak up in turn.

"You alright? You look like you've been in a fight or something?" Tetsuji offered a bit of a smile at him, almost as if he were teasing at the point and trying to ask while lightening the mood a bit as well? Well, in the off chance that he'd lost the fight and was feeling down about it.

Still as the question left off there was a loud clang of the kettle against the metal plate that separated the kettle from the fire that would heat it. It was like his grandmother had sort of slammed it there but there wasn't much of an indication or any words to follow, maybe it was just a slip of the hand? Tetsuji's head had turned towards her in a small look of concern but when nothing followed and she continued on his attention fell back to Etsumi.

Folding his arms across the counter top he let his head fall over the tops of his forearms and press down on them while a raised brow looked towards Etsumi and he awaited whatever answer or retort he'd get back in turn.


[567 words, 2036 words total]

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Re: Conversational Tea [Etsumi]

Post by Etsumi on Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:07 pm

Etsumi observed the other with a silent pause, and took note at his actions. The slow glance towards him, and the raise of an eyebrow accompanying that low noise from within his throat. Tetsuji's smile was all the approval he needed; light and simple. Etsumi's neck craned ever so slightly in a semblance of his own nod, messy mane of black hair shifting back into his dark eyes as he moved to sit beside the other Uchiha. Gratefully yet hesitantly occupying the space he had made for him.

"I appreciate it." He murmured quietly. Offhandedly. Genuine as he could sound.

He didn't know much of Tetsuji, and from what he did recognize, it was only from around the classes at the Academy and the clan compound. From his perspective, it seemed he did rather well; appearance always with every hair in place. Immaculate and poised. His fellow clan mate was probably well-liked, too, and possessed quite the thirst for knowledge. That Etsumi was sure of. Other than the basic traits he picked up from his briefs conversations with Tetsuji, there wasn't much else he had locked away in the back of his mind on the other male.

He was a bit of a mystery to him, as was all acquaintances he had yet to completely understand.

But he didn't have too much time to muse among the thought. Tetsuji's grandmother, Izumi, was speaking up to him, drawing him out of his reverie and thrusting him back into reality. His lips curled up into a thin ghost of a smile, phantom grin against the contours of his bruised jaw, and he quietly cleared the back of his throat.

His bloodied fingers tapped diligently against the counter top, beating out a faint, unorganized rhythm. "Ah, if you'd be so kind, Lady Izumi. I wouldn't mind a cup of green tea." The young Uchiha's tone was kept polite, gentle towards the old lady working with the kettle in her aged hands.

"Just like always, Etsumi." She spoke with a form of fondness, chuckling in her signature manner as she moved to prepare the tea. "You never fail to order the same thing."

"It does me no good to break routine." He responded deliberately, bringing up a free hand to rub absentmindedly at the back of his exposed neck. Narrow black eyes running over the granny's turned back and towards Tetsuji's seated position; fractured smile slowly fading away into his neutral stilted expression. The other male was staring at him, and from within the depths of his murky red eyes - glittering like two rubies, strange yet oddly fascinating - there lied a question burning behind those irises.

Etsumi met the boy's inquiry and his small smile with a slight furrow of his eyebrows, registering the lilt of humor in the background of the words. Was he teasing him, or asking a genuine question? The Uchiha was unsure, but he did look part. His messy black hair; the rumpled collar of his shirt and coat; dried blood staining the bumps of his knuckles. His thin lips shifted to form a coherent sentence in return, but before he could get a sound out - no more than a whisper of air escaping the narrow depths of his throat - the rattle of the kettle appropriately silenced him.

His light gaze slithered over towards Tetsuji's grandmother. "Lady Izumi...?" The two word phrase was held in question, but when she did not answer or even turn to glance at the them, he gave up at the chase of pursuing responses to her actions. He could assume it had something to do with Tetsuji's question, perhaps a reminder, a warning, for the boy to watch his tongue. Whatever it may have been, an accident or on purpose, his grandmother never failed to surprise Etsumi with her observant behavior. Guiding his attention slowly back onto the other male, he ceased the tapping of his fingers against the counter; ever so slowly like a snake slithering up to rest at the aching mark pulsating against the edge of his jaw. A hot breath of air was sharply snorted out of his nose. "Guess you can say it was a fight. My father doesn't know when to put boundaries down during practice, and the way he sees it, anything goes. And my brother," he swallowed bitterly, the hint of blood still lingering on his tongue, "that kid doesn't know how to play fair." Adding to the side, the young Uchiha shifted where he was seated, taking a moment to rest his side against the counter's edge in reaction to the dull throb rattling up his ribs.

Etsumi may have crumpled his sibling with a swing into his diaphragm, but when father was not around, his brother had done worse without those watchful eyes ensuring the next 'prodigal son' was not cheating in a fight. And his father berated him from showing signs of weakness with his 'cowardly' actions during practice. Just the thought left a bitter taste in the back of his mouth.

He had only taken a moment to loose himself in the aggravating recollections and a gout of hot anger was already beating against his heart. Etsumi could feel it; a fever burning in his chest and coursing through the veins beneath his skin. But there was no use in expressing that anger in such a setting as a tea house, and with a great amount of will he sighed between his gritted canines. Struggling to keep his rather short temper under control and locked within. Pushed deep to the black recesses of his mind.

His charcoal colored eyes flickered with a spark he tried not to expose. "I guess that's what happens, however, when you're father doesn't expect much from you." Etusmi couldn't help the light chuckle that corrupted the last of his sentence, ushering from his lips this choked, airy sound. Anything but mirthful, and nothing like a laugh should sound. The boy didn't know what he was laughing at, though. The irony of his words, or the fact there were not many expectations for him in life. That and the change of moods that gripped him like a fluttering storm - unpredictable and in shambles. Today just wasn't his day.

"...but what about you, Tetsuji?" His voice trailed out ever so quietly, one of his legs gently swinging; stirring the air around him. "Get into anything interesting lately...?"

With a care to his actions, the young boy placed an elbow on the counter and rested his chin in an open palm. Lips in this semblance of a half-smile that looked more like a grimace from up close as his attention flickered from Tetsuji to the grandmother, and then back to his classmate in a deliberate attempt to catch any reaction to his words. But whether he got one or not, the old woman behind the counter cleared her throat with a sharp cough, and ambled around to present two cups of steaming tea. Their smoky tendrils drifting lazily into the air, dissipating in a matter of seconds.

"Time for some tea, boys." Etsumi was sure she had purposefully cut in at the time, but made no intention of giving away his thoughts. He merely nodded in response, not bothering to ask whether his intuition was right or not.

Handling the cup of his tea, ignoring the scalding heat that burned his palms, the boy brought it up to his lips and slowly took a sip of the brew. The hot warmth washing away the blood in the back of his throat. Huffing out a breath of air in something like relief, Etsumi glanced wearily towards Tetsuji and continued to cautiously take sips of the burning tea.

Minding the way his grandmother stood observant by the counter.

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Re: Conversational Tea [Etsumi]

Post by Tetsuji on Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:32 pm

Etsumi returned Tetsuji's acceptance with a nod and took a seat next to him and acknowledged it even further with a quick note of appreciation. It didn't interrupt much as his grandmother quickly began to fill the gaps after his seating with a quick conversation between the two of them but as he did so, Tetsuji merely just watched and observed between the two of them, trying to find some understanding of the other.

The quick back and forth between the two as he ordered a simple cup of green tea and even the rubbing at the back of his neck reminded Tetsuji a bit of himself but there was a... certain formality to his words that Tetsuji didn't carry. He wondered briefly if he always spoke like that or not, or if he was just now noticing it and meant he'd had very few interactions with a fellow classmate of his at the academy, and fellow clan member of his same age.

Regardless, the conversation moved on to Tetsuji's question and the not-so-silent action from his granny at the same time. Etsumi began to respond but Tetsuji got the message loud and clear and turned his focus back to seek out the answer within, or whatever answer he might receive in a sort of curious fashion as he held his brow just slightly raised and smiled softly as some semblance that he wasn't malicious in his words.

Etsumi began to explain in a vague sense the practice between him and his brother but the way he carried it and his words about the situation. Tetsuji could tell he was still annoyed or upset by the whole ordeal, in an obvious sense by the way he spoke and his choosing to be where he was now, drinking tea and avoiding the area but also by the words he chose specifically. Tetsuji's smile faded a bit as he realized that he had poked at a touchy subject at the moment or perhaps maybe just a bit too soon for the subject but at the same time he could relate in a vague sense. Of course he never spared with his sisters or anything like that but with his father doting so heavily on him and never ceasing to praise his inner ability, holding him to such a high standard, and all the other things that came with it. Tetsuji had plenty of experience with tough lessons, those that had some hidden meaning to be unveiled as a sort of trick question turned to trick experience. Things like never letting your guard down, take advantage of openings, don't hesitate, or whatever other sage wisdoms always left a bitter and bloody taste in his mouth.

It really didn't strike Tetsuji, at how different their situation's truly were until he uttered out the words that his father didn't expect much. Those words rattled in his mind because his entire life had been the opposite, his father gaining a son as his third child and going on and on about every little thing. Constantly pressing him to do better and better, leaving nothing to chance and affording every opportunity he could see in the village to Tetsuji. Even the story about his father proclaiming Tetsuji's ability to Madara when he was a newborn would sound far fetched to most until they had met the man. It still rattled out in Tetsuji's mind for a moment as he saw a brief glimpse of a boy living in the sort of opposite circumstance as he did but he couldn't glean anything substantial to comment on from that glimpse.

In the midst of his musing it might seem that Tetsuji had fallen a bit sullen and didn't really know where to continue on, sort of gazing off in the nearby area of their chairs until his concentration was broken by Etsumi returning the conversation to Tetsuji and his own recent happenings. As Tetsuji turned his now fully conscious attention back to the other boy he saw the smile and sort of relaxed demeanor about him, if anything a signal that he might not have been feeling as bad as Tetsuji might have thought out.

Still, as Tetsuji turned his lips and scratched lightly at the corner of his jaw below his cheek and began to think about what he had even done recently, granny Izumi set down both the cups of their tea and slid them towards each of them. Tetsuji's own cup had a nice steam rising from it briefly and had turned to a darker caramel color with the milk within it, smiling and offering a quick thanks before cupping his hands around it and pulling it in, he'd quickly turn and offer a quick comment to answer his question, "Nothing important really," he brought the cup up to his lips and sipped away at the hot liquid and swallowed it while ignoring the heat of it before setting the ceramic cup back down to the counter.

"I don't really spar or train with my sisters and my dad and I are always training but he was busy today or something..." Tetsuji trailed off and removed his hands from the cup before shrugging off his own comments, with nothing really unique to add to the situation. "I just want to hurry up and graduate and get put on a squad already, it's kinda boring at the academy now, there's not really much else they can teach us," he snickered a bit at his own comment but it seemed filled with a small hint of his own anxiety about the situation. Anticipation and excitement to get placed into a squad and start taking missions and all the other things that combined with becoming a real genin.

His chuckle was broken by a quick word and swat by his grandmother as she chimed in quickly, "You had better be paying attention in school! You're too young to be bored, you don't even know anything about anything yet..." she stepped back a bit after making her point and poured out the excess hot water from a kettle into the sink.

Tetsuji smiled and rubbed his head a bit as he nodded along, "Yeah, I just meant..."

"It doesn't matter what you meant! You should know better..."

Tetsuji shook his head for a moment as she seemed to have made her point, with a smile he would turn to Etsumi and speak up again to catch his attention, "You're graduating soon too, right?" he would finish by reaching for his cup and bringing it up to his lips again while his eyes trained towards the other boy.


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