by Bronze Tigress

Strawberries: The Scenes We Don't See...

[Outside, in wintertime; snow covers lawns and roofs, and icicles hang from tree branches and power lines. A section of small row houses is hidden by the remains of a huge tree and the electric lines it brought down with it in its fall. A uniformed Preventer is directing clean-up crews, equipment, and ambulances through the snowy street and the wreckage. The officer's ebony hair is caught back in a neat tail that partially obscures the letters printed across the back of the heavy coat.]

~He brought home strawberries last night. I can't imagine where he found them at this time of year. I mean, it's not exactly as if it were still snowing out, but that ice storm last week doesn't exactly qualify as strawberry-growing weather. Probably way too expensive, too...~

[A tall man with broad shoulders and a long sweep of platinum blond hair bends down to put a wine bottle into a refrigerator. His hair obscures his face as he stands again to reach for the clear plastic box resting on the counter beside him. The shot tightens in on the box, which is filled with what appear to be strawberries.]

+

[Copper-coloured hair gathered neatly into a braid runs down the back of the uniform jacket worn by the slender, yet unmistakeably male, figure pushing a shopping cart through a crowded department store aisle.]

~He must like them or something. Strawberries, I mean. Really like them. This shampoo is strawberry scented, and there's over a dozen more bottles just like it under the sink. I know I don't like shopping that much either, or running out of shampoo, but really! At least when I brought back seven bottles of the same conditioner it was a nice innocuous vanilla scent. Smells pretty good on _him_, too...~

[Through a hazy filter, as in a dream sequence, we see a mud- splattered man with short, dripping wet hair that might be almost any shade it is so completely covered in dirt. He is carrying an equally muddy rake and a duffel bag that appears, miraculously enough, to be mostly clean. He knocks on a door. It is answered by a young woman with sand coloured hair and a pink dress, who seems rather amused by the apparition in her doorway.]

+

[Two men - one tall, very fair and blue-eyed in a Nordic fashion, and the other nearly a head shorter, obviously Chinese, with dark eyes and tanned skin - stand in a clothing store picking out shirts. Both reach for the same red one, and they smile as their hands brush together. As they turn to leave the display we notice the long straight fall of platinum hair and the neat black ponytail we've seen before. The blond is carrying the basket with both their selections in it.]

~What is it with him and red clothes? You'd almost think it was a lucky colour or something. At least black goes with everything - especially more black - but reds, well... And all this white! Does make sorting the laundry easy, though. Must remember to run those new shirts through a second rinse...~

[An initially nondescript man wearing a white t-shirt and black jeans sits on a bench in a laundry room, reading. Suddenly he looks up, then closes the book, revealing startlingly intense blue eyes and a long brown braid which he flips back over his shoulder as he stands. He steps towards the dryers and begins taking out clothing and folding it neatly into a basket. Under the light, his hair takes on a recognizably coppery sheen.]

+

[Once again through the hazy filter, we see a young man with short brown hair, sitting in a chair turned three-quarters away from the camera. Before him kneels a young woman whose pale hair falls below her hips. She appears to be speaking earnestly to him. As the shot fades she lifts one hand to rest it on his knee.]

~Cream whipped, vanilla sugar on the counter with the desert bowls, and all the most perfect heart-shaped slices of the strawberries in a separate bowl for garnish. Dinner's just about done simmering - where'd that... ah! bay leaf out now.~

[In the same kitchen as before, the tall blond man, dressed in white jeans and red shirt and with his waist-length hair loosely tied back out of harm's way, is pouring something from a carton into a metal bowl on the counter. Beside him, the braided man pulls a knife from the drawer and begins working.]

+

[A tray with three steaming mugs rests on a counter-top. A pair of fair-skinned hands adds a metal bowl with some condensation and fingerprints on it, then one hand disappears, returning with a small bowl. The shot pans up so that we can see that the mugs contain hot chocolate, the metal bowl holds whipped cream, and the smaller bowl is filled with slices of bananas. The hands return, lifting the tray and swivelling it off the counter.]

~Vanilla-scented pillars lit on the counter-top, where I can see them from the kitchen and from the table in the living room. Couch decorated with a few surprises ('cause I don't want to be hunting for things later, and I am not using whipped cream for that again - I still don't think I got it all off after last month's little adventure with the hot chocolate). Yup, looks like everything's ready...~

[The Chinese man, now wearing black jeans and a red tank top and with his hair loose, is lighting a row of large pillar candles on a mantlepiece. Several more await his attention on the low table in front of the fireplace. Another man, his long brown braid falling over his shoulder as he bends down, sets a plate of bread and a handful of cutlery on the table before turning back towards what is evidently the kitchen. The darker man smiles after his retreating form.]

+

[The low table has been cleared of everything except the candles, and moved towards the mantle. The light now comes only from the many flickering pillar candles. Puddles of red, white, and black fabric litter the floor.]

~Huh. Who knew? I think I'm going to need to run myself through a second rinse to get all the strawberry off...~

[Beams of early morning sunlight shine through curtains patterned with a tiny black gingham and scattered red chrysanthemums, illuminating three figures in the king-sized bed. The two darker men curl protectively around their fair companion, whose head rests on the Chinese man's bare shoulder. A quilt, patterned to coordinate with the curtains, is pulled up too far to see more. The shot pans back through the doorway as the door closes upon the peaceful scene.]

~Owari~

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