Kaz is happy that he cleaned the apartment before he left. He only manages to do it about half the time even though he hates coming back to a mess after a long trip. Life sometimes just gets in the way of him cleaning the place up. Ava looks curious, carrying the bags that she had refused to let him carry. The place still smells good thanks to a late night incense burn the night before he took off.
“Welcome.” He manages as he slips his shoes off and moves to drop his bags into his bedroom. Ava’s only moved to take her shoes off and pulled her bags not much further into the room by the time he returns and she looks at him curiously.
“Where should I put my bags? I feel like they’ll be in the way a lot.” There’s a short pause before he understands her meaning.
“You are not sleeping on my couch.” Kaz strides over, retrieving two of the bags before Ava can react and takes off quickly, making her chase after him. He places the bags next to his in his bedroom. “I’ll sleep on the couch long before I would ever allow you to,” he mutters and Ava’s face is bright red when he looks up at her in the doorway. There’s a long, awkward pause between the two of them as she stands there, unsure.
Eventually, Kaz takes a couple slow steps and takes gentle hold of her arms, pulling them from propping her in the doorway. There’s a pause before he leads her back the few steps towards the bed, gently pulling her along, Ava seeming cautious but following. He takes a seat on the bed, wrapping his arms around her to pull her onto the comfortable mattress and immediately gives a deep sigh of relaxation. She seems to pause before gently wrapping her arms back around him, body slowly relaxing as he doesn’t move any further, the guitarist content just to have his arms around her. They lay still for a while before he gently kisses her head, holding her a little tighter for a second in a short hug.
“Thank you,” Kaz murmurs quietly as Ava shifts slightly to be more comfortable.
“For what?” Her lips are just short of his neck, breath gently drifting over the skin, and a shiver runs through him.
“For coming here, for trying this with me. Even if you leave.”
“You make it sound awful that I have a job that I need to get back to. Don’t sound so miserable. I’m here for a week. Depending on whether it’s good or bad will say if I come back again.” There’s a short pause.
“You could get that sort of time off?”
“I could try. At least start job scouting,” Ava starts to murmur, body quite relaxed. “If it all goes well, I could be here more often.” There’s a long silence before he kisses her head again, absorbing the idea of the sentence as a smile appears on his face.
“I’ll be sure it does.” Ava gives a small noise of protest, burying her face more against his chest, seeming to be trying to doze off.
“Don’t you be fake to get me here.” She grumbles. “I’ll be angry. Just be normal.” There’s a short pause before Kaz gives a small sigh.
“All right. I can try normal.” Ava tilts her head up at his almost worried sounding voice and gently presses a kiss to his cheek.
“Your normal. Not society’s normal or someone else’s normal. Your normal.” She places her head back into the crook of his neck. “Like this. I like this normal.” Kaz blinks at her before smiling, relaxing a bit more himself.
“I can do that.” There’s a long pause as he runs his hand over her head. “When do you want to eat dinner?”
“Mm… later. Hyde kept talking to me on the plane while you were asleep. I’m tired.”
“Should’ve just gone to sleep on him. It’s what I do.” Kaz chuckles and Ava tightens her arms around him.
“It was interesting conversation,” she defends. “We talked about you and music and what I do for a living…” Short pause. “Is he always that full of energy?”
“Not in the morning. I think he’s extra sensitive to caffeine.” Kaz continues running his hand through her hair, other arm still tight around her.
“He did drink a soda…” Ava trails off.
“That would do it.” A small chuckle shakes his chest again and Ava pulls closer.
“Well I’m tired either way,” she murmurs out and he kisses her head again.
“Sleep and I’ll figure out what to make for dinner.”
“Should I move?”
“No. I’m just figuring it out, not making it yet.”
“Mm… good.” Ava falls quiet after that, breathing slowing to a steady rate. Kaz kisses her head one more time with a small, happy smile on his face.
“So how’d you learn to pick locks?” Hyde looks curious, sitting across the table in the izakaya from Ava and Kaz, the rest of the group around them eating, drinking and talking. The woman’s face immediately turns bright red as Kaz looks at her curiously.
“Well…” Ava trails off for a bit and Hyde laughs.
“I knew it! You’re really a bad girl.” He winks and Ava’s face flushes darker as she gives a small laugh in return. Kaz appears surprised and more curious.
“Really?” He looks more interested and Ava smiles at him.
“Is a criminal past a turn-on?” she questions and Kaz’s face turns bright red. “I’m sorry to disappoint if it is, I learned how to a long time ago in college. We had our security division at college do an event and I learned it there. I thought it was a useful skill so I kept up on it.” Ava laughs softly and Kaz’s face turns a brighter red.
“I—anou…” Kaz stutters a little.
“Aw, and here I was hoping for a criminal, dark past with lots of sordid tales,” Hyde complains and Ava returns her focus to him with a smile, sipping at her drink.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of fun tales in that area. Stupid tales, probably, but not really fun ones.” Hyde’s eyes glitter at the statement and he leans forward.
“Stupid tales? Like what? I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
“You’re such a liar.” Ava laughs, looking to Kaz with a grin. “I’m sure the pair of you have more than your share of them as well.”
“Aw, I don’t get one story? Not one?!” Hyde protests and Ava leans against a brightly flushed Kaz, the guitarist only having just recovered his color from the last time.
“They’re stupid and a couple of them are dangerous, I’d rather not.”
“Just one! Please!” Hyde pushes, holding his hands together as he pleads, serving to only amuse Ava.
“If I do give one, it’s a one-one deal,” she warns with a smile and there’s a short pause before Hyde grins more, nodding his head enthusiastically.
“Sure thing!” he agrees and Ava seems to consider her thoughts for a bit.
“Mm let’s just go with stupid instead of both stupid and dangerous.” She nods and gives a small giggle. “While I was in college, we had a final project my Senior year for my Bachelor’s. I worked in a group computer lab dedicated to our subject that was pretty empty save for my group because they were threatening shutting the program down.” Ava pauses as Hyde tilts his head.
“Shutting the program down… what program?”
“My focus area for my major. Not currently relevant.” She waves her hand, ignoring the pointed look from Kaz seeming to be wondering more. “Well, we were waiting on the database to be updated so we could all work. Someone located some nerf guns stowed away in the far back of a drawer while we were waiting and they were ordering a pizza.” A grin appears on Ava’s face, Hyde raising both eyebrows as he listens with rapt attention. “There were enough guns for three of our group of six. So we took turns passing the guns around, playing a sort of tag nerf gun war and shooting each other while ducking around the computers. I think it was my fifth round of running around and I was getting a little daring.”
“Oh?” Hyde looks amused already, Kaz listening as he watches Ava speak.
“Indeed. So I started strafing while shooting. We had a good amount of ammo and a little extra, so I played the round like a video game.” She pauses, giggling suddenly. “Well, until I tried dodging to the right without looking and went straight into the trashcan. Big thing, only a little smaller than the ones you take to the corner for garbage pickup.” She laughs a bit more, face flushing with mild embarrassment.
“In the trashcan?” Hyde checks.
“Into the trashcan,” Ava confirms as Hyde starts to giggle uncontrollably. “I got stuck and shot a couple times with my teammate’s nerf guns until they realized I was stuck. They had to help pull me out of the trashcan.”
“How’d you get stuck?” Hyde laughs.
“Physics.” She pauses. “And also I didn’t want to tip it. It wasn’t exactly empty.” She gives a soft laugh, shaking her head. “I had to go back to my dorm and change clothing as it was while everyone else was laughing their asses off. I didn’t want to add a shower onto it. You can be certain I took one before I slept though.”
“That’s beautiful.” Hyde points to his head. “I’m imagining you with a nerf dart sticking to your forehead as you’re stuck in the trashcan.” He waggles the finger, seemingly imitating the idea of a nerf gun dart. Ava shakes her head as Kaz gives a quiet chuckle at the idea.
“Actually they were on my neck and there was one on my knee and another on one breast pointing outward.” She laughs as Hyde pauses, seeming to readjust his mental image before he breaks down into laughter again with her. “The one on my forehead fell off,” she adds finally and Hyde leans on the table as he starts laughing harder. Ava looks to Kaz, prodding him a little as he attempts to stifle his laughter. “Even I think it’s hilarious now and I was in a trashcan, I don’t care if you laugh.” Kaz eyes her a bit until she moves a finger to her head, imitating Hyde with his idea of the dart that would’ve been on her forehead and he finally begins laughing quite hard, shaking his head.
“Did you do it again?” Kaz questions when he can manage it.
“Of course. Just made sure that there wouldn’t be any mishaps with trashcans.” Ava giggles a bit more and Kaz shakes his head, reaching up and running a hand through her hair. She tilts into the touch as she sips at her drink before looking expectantly at the still giggling Hyde. “And now you owe me a stupid tale.” Hyde pauses a while in thought, still giggling occasionally before giving a nod.
As he launches into the description of an event that Kaz has already heard multiple times, Kaz keeps his eyes focused on Ava, watching her with curiosity. She smiles and laughs, shaking her head as Hyde goes on, hands making gestures larger than himself. The fact that she had been in college hasn’t been a fact that came up and he couldn’t figure out why. If she had graduated, it’s something to be proud of, not shove under the rug and from the sounds of it, she did a good job. It would have to be something to ask about later.
The night air is cool as they walk back toward their homes. It’s far too late to be out but going to the izakaya had seemed like a great idea at the time. Kaz would worry about getting things to cook tomorrow, considering he’s certain his fridge is empty. His arms are draped around Ava’s neck as Hyde stumbles along beside them. The fingermarks on the singer’s face are still bright red from where Ava slapped him after he had, after one too many drinks, decided to lay a kiss on her lips. Kaz is still pleased about it, he hadn’t had to threaten Hyde either, Ava had simply swung and at the last minute had turned it into a slap instead of a punch.
“He—ow…” Hyde places a hand on the spot as he starts to speak, looking a little embarrassed by it again. “I’m heading this way. Remember that tomorrow is practice and then we have the concert.” Kaz gives a nod, a small amused smile sneaking up onto his face as he watches Hyde tenderly hold his bruised face along with his equally bruised ego. “I see you smiling,” the singer accuses and Kaz shakes his head.
“I have no idea why that might be.” A small chuckle breaks the sarcastic statement and Hyde grumbles softly.
“I hope this is gone by concert night,” he mutters as he starts away in a different direction and Ava gives a low chuckle. Kaz continues to walk with Ava, arms still draped around her as he heads towards the apartment. It isn’t far to walk.
“Mm… you can stop being protective. It’s starting to ache in my shoulders.” Ava smiles at him, leaning up to kiss his cheek. Kaz slips his arms down to wrap one around her waist, taking hold of her hand with the other hand.
“Yes.” Ava leans a little against him as she stumbles again. “I shouldn’t have drank that much.” Kaz smiles and chuckles as he stumbles along with her.
“Not the only one,” Kaz states and they giggle as they walk.