Taichi nods, distracted by his emails, but when he glances up it's not to see a waiter refilling his cup but rather a familiar grin. Chihaya laughs as he sputters around a mouthful of coffee, reaching for a handful of serviettes to toss in his face.
“What?” Taichi asks, eloquent as ever. “How?” He crumples the wet serviettes into a sad lump and dumps them on the empty plate. He’s still a little tongue-tied, but he's pretty sure that his glaring right now is definitely getting the point across. “You said you were only coming earthside in autumn!”
Chihaya shrugs, brushing the loose tendrils of her hair behind her ear. She's just as messy as always. Taichi isn't sure if he's relieved that she looks the same as ever, or disappointed in himself that it can still make his heart turn somersaults in his chest. He thought he was over this. Chihaya isn't interested anyway, not in that way.
“We were wrapping up the study,” she says, waving a hand as though that somehow explains the science, “and Tsutomu is doing the reports anyway. So I got asked to run this new thing with ARES.” She grins, but Taichi feels his heart sink a little, even though he wasn't supposed to be having any expectations anyway. Although, it's okay to miss a best friend and want them around, right? He blinks, giving himself just that moment of darkness before everything is tucked away again as he opens his eyes, beaming.
“That's great!” he says, reaching over to muss up Chihaya’s hair, just the same as before. She fake-scowls, he laughs, and everything is as good as it ever was.
miyeokguk you're up!