Private Finished A Tentative Reunion

ArcanaFate

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Ezra gave a small hum of acknowledgement before they shifted in their seat. It was difficult to remain focused on Tadashi's words when the cheap cushion seat was not being very comfortable. "So you were doing art even as a feline. That is a very impressive skill to have, Tadashi. I would hope that the old man and Miss Esumi would be very proud of the person you have become today. They sound like very nice people."

They paused for a moment and their gaze went from a calm expression into one of almost deep analysis, as if to study Tadashi's every minor movement. "Tadashi, how has your art been as of late? I have not seen it for quite some time but I remember the little dancing drawing you created when we first met. I also still have the sketch of Salem in his dapper clothing on my wall. It is one of my favorite things to see when I awaken in the morning."
 

PixelatedGlory

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Tadashi grit his teeth a little and stayed silent about his previous guardian and owner. Those were som hefty emotions packed up in their memories.

But art was safe right? Art couldn't make him feel like an anchor dragging Ezra down into depression.

Or... maybe it could.

Tadashi covered his face in shame. "I still do art. But... not really so much as a cat. And I've been more comfy in fur lately. But it's still the same level. I have a... golf pencil in my pocket if you want to see"
 

ArcanaFate

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Tadashi covered his face.

Why did Tadashi cover his face? It did not make any sense. Why would he hide his face? Was he ashamed of his artwork? Or embarrassed at the compliment? Was there something that Ezra said that caused the shift in emotion? With hesitation, they reached their arm across the table and let it rest in front of Tadashi with the palm up and opened fingers.

"I would enjoy seeing your art more, Tadashi. If you are finding difficulty in creating, however, I do not wish to push you further. This outing is meant for us to reconnect and enjoy one another's company. I do not wish for you to to feel sorrow at my request. I have also been told that minor physical interaction can be seen as soothing or reassuring. If you are in need of such comforts or would like them, I am more than willing to offer you my hand to hold."

Their eyes remained locked on the bakeneko's face, running through every assessment they could on what would help Tadashi smile more.
 

PixelatedGlory

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He rubbed his cheeks and withdrew his hands only to find... Ezra's hand? What? "Um...," he started, holding up his gloved hand. "Not sure if it does as much good with gloves on." He felt weird. On the one hand he wanted to hold Ezra because it might just make him, and Ezra too, feel better. But on the other that might just make this more awkward for him.

"Maybe later if there's not a table between us, Ezra. But... leave the hand there for a moment?" He reached into his pocket to pull out a stubby, used golf pencil and began to sketch something in the air above the table. Something vaguely Ezra's hand-shaped. A faint bit of smile crept onto his face as he concentrated on the artwork.
 

ArcanaFate

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Ezra didn't move their hand when asked to leave it. If Tadashi wanted their hand to remain there, then that's where it was going to remain. Although the idea of maybe holding hands after lunch was an interesting prospect. They had held hands together when travelling to the miniature golf park when crossing the street and it had been... pleasant? Despite the layers between their hands (Ezra's wrappings and Tadashi's gloves), the Sho'lai could feel the warmth emanating off the bakeneko's hand. But the hand-holding had also been something of a comfort, especially as the large vehicles had driven by.

"...I will not move my hand, Tadashi. And the act of hand-holding can be utilized for comfort regardless of layering around the hand. I found it to be a good distraction when we crossed the street on our first outing for fun."
 

PixelatedGlory

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Tadashi continued his sketching until it was perfectly clear he was drawing a copy of Ezra's hand. Albeit with large round eyes and a mustache added for style. Once the drawing was done it began to scuttle around the table on the finger-legs. Quite creepy perhaps for normal people, but Tadashi was nearly certain Ezra wouldn't be bothered.

The words Ezra spoke again made Tadashi think about that day. The handholding. The butterflies in his stomach. The strong crush he had felt towards them. He cleared his throat and glanced away, breaking any hope of eye contact for a moment. "You can um, rest your hand now. I finished the drawing. Like I said, maybe I can... uh, hold your hand while we walk after this. If you want. Unless you have plans that is."

Boy, where was this food? It seemed like it was taking forever.
 

ArcanaFate

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Ezra slowly pulled their hand away as the sketched hand began to skitter around the table. Their gaze focused on the mustached hand but they occasionally peered up toward Tadashi. This seemed to be going much better than their last conversation. There was no panic, no weird shifts, just two friends enjoying the day together.

"Your art is still a wondrous sight to see as always, Tadashi." They said, still watching the hand move around the table with a disturbing level of dexterity. It appeared that his art had improved in time they had been apart and Ezra began to reach out to trace their fingers along the outline of the hand. They remembered the first meeting they had with Tadashi and how the drawings were delicate. They didn't want to ruin the bakeneko's hard work after not seeing it for so long.

The waitress would eventually stop back at the table, setting down the two plates as well as the drinks the two had ordered. She flinched at the sight of the living drawing but forced a smile as she quickly dashed away to handle the next order.

Ezra pulled away from the drawing in order to examine the vegetable medley dish in front of them. "I would like that, Tadashi. My schedule is empty for most of today. I was not sure how long you would wish to stay in my company so I prepared the day accordingly. So yes, walking around would be something we could do." They paused and looked up to Tadashi once more.

"And yes, we could hold hands while we walk."
 
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PixelatedGlory

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Tadashi jerked a hand up to try to stop Ezra but he was too slow. Fortunately though Ezra hadn't really disturbed any of the drawing so it didn't collapse into dust. TO be fair, he could have just drawn a new one though.

He bowed his head in thanks as the waitress dropped off their food and then the Bakeneko smiled. Fish could almost always make him smile. He couldn't resist taking a quick sneaky nibble even though Ezra hadn't even picked up a utensil yet. Which turned out to be a mistake, as for some reason Ezra confirming the hand holding plans made him suddenly have a half-choking, half-coughing fit. Which only ramped up his embarrassment exponentially as he scrambled to sip from a glass of water. "Sorry, sorry, i'm ok- just an accident," he spat out quickly as he lost concentration on the drawing and it collapsed into dust
 

ArcanaFate

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Ezra visibly flinched at Tadashi's coughing fit and watched as the drawing of their hand fade into dust. "Tadashi, you must be careful. You do not want to accidentally block your throat with food and choke. I have been told that choking is a very unpleasant feeling." They frowned, watching to make sure the other boy was really alright before grabbing the bundle of silverware on their side of the table. With delicate yet clearly practiced movements, they placed the utensils in proper fashion and the napkin sat in their lap.

They pressed the fork into the meal, pulling out a bite with a mix of vegetables and carefully took a bite. Ezra tried to make sure their mouth moved as little as possible before they swallowed the bite and let out a small hum. "The dish was an excellent choice, Tadashi. Thank you for the recommendation. I do not think I would have tried it otherwise."
 

PixelatedGlory

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Tadashi couldn't respond to Ezra's concerns with a straight face. Unpleasant indeed. So he simply nodded and sipped at his water until the coughing subsided. Maybe he should be focusing more on his meal than on the discussion about handholding.

For his part, Tadashi... didn't really eat like a proper gentleman would. Oh he'd had a few lessons of late since being adopted by the Del Bosques, but at his core he was still, as his sister once put it, an alley cat. He didn't put his napkin in his lap and he opted to spear and cut his food with just the fork. But he also didn't make a big mess or anything- he wasn't an animal. Or he was, just not in that sense of the word.

Again he smiled a little bit when Ezra mentioned they liked the food. "I'm really glad you like it. I wasn't sure really what kinds of food you liked when we set this up. My fish is pretty good too," he replied as he happily speared another hearty portion of his meal on the fork and closed his eyes briefly as he savored the taste. Clearly it was more than just 'pretty good'.

"Oh, wait. Why wouldn't you have tried that dish without my recommendation?" He asked curiously as he cocked his head to the side and let his now empty fork rest on his plate.
 

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