"What is that?" I ask, stepping inside and removing my jacket. My tie follows a moment later, loosened until it was simply draped over my shoulders. But my eyes are fixed firmly on the tiny ball of fluff currently hunched over a bowl on the ground. Sakae is sitting right next to it, pale fingers stroking over the silver fur. He looks up at me, his eyes a mix of fear and hope that hold me firm.
"She's a kitten," he says after a moment, and when he beckons me toward them, I find myself moving forward, pausing only long enough to toe off my shoes. It's a moment before I sit down opposite Sakae, examining the kitten curiously. "I found her at the park. She's too thin."
I look up, prepared to tell him that he should've called Animal Control, and find my voice stilled. He looks so... happy, sitting there stroking the kitten lightly. "Sakae," I start, and the sight of his face closing off, the hand slowly slipping away from the soft fur, is enough to undo me. I sigh, revising my thoughts. "...What do you intend to call her?" His face lights up, until the smile he turns on me is blinding. I really am doomed when it comes to him.
"I'll call her Moonlight," he tells me, and I raise an eyebrow. His explanation leaves me dry-mouthed. "When the moonlight comes into my room, it's silver, like she is. What do you think?" He lifts her, holding her out so that I can hold her, and I find myself taking her. She feels dwarfed in my hands, and looks up at me with a tiny mewl before making herself at home. This is dangerous, I can't help thinking.
"Is Kazuki coming tomorrow?" I ask, and Sakae nods. For a moment, it's tempting to tell him to get Kazuki's help in ensuring Moonlight has everything she needs. But a jealous desire to be the one who makes Sakae smile like this stops me, and instead I rise, handing Moonlight back to Sakae. "Get your shoes on," I direct, eyeing the apartment before deciding that it would be better to have the animal with us. "And bring a towel to wrap... her in." Sakae looks at me oddly, and I sigh. "We're going to get supplies. I won't have her eating our food or... soiling our floor because we don't have what we need." I see the laughter in Sakae's eyes at my too-prim words, but he does as directed, wrapping her gently in a towel and tucking her against his chest before moving to slip on his shoes. As I pass to get my shoes back on, he catches my hand, his fingers warm against mine. I stop, staring down at our linked hands for a long, surprised minute.
"Thanks, Kaneda," he says, squeezing lightly before letting go to slip out the door.