It was so unusual to see Spica in something other than her neat maid's uniform that Loki nearly dropped his teacup. "Ah, Yamino," he said hesitantly. "I can't help but notice ..."
Yamino beamed. "Ah, yes. We were cleaning the attic and found it in one of the old trunks, and of course she just had to try it on. Quite lovely, don't you think? It suits her." He finished buttering his toast with a prim flourish.
Loki took a longer look. Yes, it did suit her. There was rather more lace on it than her usual outfit, and the draping sleeves were utterly impractical, but the flowing expanse of white showed off her hair perfectly. "It does," he said. "You look wonderful. In fact, I have an idea." Yamino looked back and forth between them curiously as Loki reached out and took Spica's hand; she smiled and somehow managed not to get her sleeve in the butter dish. "This afternoon, we'll go on a picnic. Deviled eggs, sandwitches, lemonade, everything. We'll go - no, we can't go boating, can we? Well, there are plenty of parks."
"Loki-sama," Yamino interrupted gently, "it's already afternoon."
Loki rallied bravely. "Then you'd better start the eggs boiling right away, right?"
Thankfully, picnic food took barely any time to create.
It was obvious that Spica was not accustomed to being treated like royalty. She blushed when Yamino produced the patent folding chair and matching footstool, which were so small when folded he had sucessfully hidden them in the bag with the blanket. Really, modern technology was wonderful. She blushed harder when Loki poured her tea, offering only a small nod when he asked if she wanted more sugar. Fenrir barked in ecstacy as he circled the blanket, leaping up after errant butterflies.
Tea in china cups, and lacy white dresses. Certainly, Yamino thought, a change from the olden days. And he towered over them when he stood to serve the eggs, on little china plates. Once - so long ago Yamino almost automatically appened 'upon a time' to the thought - he had been so tiny that they towered over him, so tiny Fenrir could pick him up in his mouth and shake him as he now shook a large leaf, calling out "Daddy! Daddy! Look!" between half-clenched jaws. "I caught one!"
Loki chuckled. "That's not a butterfly," he pointed out. "Don't worry. Did you know butterflies are poinsinout to dogs?"
"What?" Fenrir blinked, then hurriedly spit out the leaf.
"Not all of them," Loki continued. "I believe that the monarch buttefly can be deadly, though. Be careful."
"Oh, I'm strong. Right, Niisan? Tell Daddy I'm strong! I could eat butterflies if I wanted to!" Fenrir yipped and launched himself at Yamino's arms.
This, Yamino reflected several seconds later as he gingerly rubbed at his head and surveyed the wreckage of the cucmber sandwitches, would have worked a lot better if he hadn't been carrying a plate. Or had had a few seconds warning. He brushed a twig from his hair, then directed a dirty look at his brother, who was whimpering cutely and holding up a prefectly healthy paw to Loki. Loki patted it carefully. "There, there," he was saying. "No damage done. Yamino-kun - " He glanced toward Spica and stood up so suddenly he dumped Fenrir on the ground again. "Spica?"
Spica's shoulders where shaking, and her face was hidden by the trailing ends of her sleeves. "Spica!" Loki looked slightly panicked. "Are you alright? Tell me - " He stopped. "You're fine, right?" He knelt in front of her and put his hands on her arms, slowly drawing them away from her face.
Spica lifted her head and gave them the brightest smile Yamino could ever recall on her face.
She patted her knee in an unmistakable invitation, and this time Fenrir took it without spilling anyone over. Yamino bit his lip. That dress would probably need dry-cleaning, and the home dry-cleaning kit he'd ordered nearly three months hadn't yet arrived. He was thinking of filing a complaint. But Fenrir promptly rolled over, and Spica obligingly scratched his belly.
Loki laid his head on her other knee, and smiled. "This," he declared, "is a nice place to be."
Yamino couldn't help but smile. They were much smaller now, and the clothing was different, but the pose was one that, once upon a time, he had seen a hundred times before.