Hello readers! I would like to thank mistystar123, Waterheart Dragon, and Butter Bunny for reviewing Guzzle, Scarf, Wolf after Jazz for doing so twice as well as BlackButlerFan13, stormpix plus Ellanore for favoriting it in addition to Loriel Fluer for commenting in the finale of Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità! Thank you very much! I really appreciate it!

Congratulations to Guest for guessing the endgame ship correctly in Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità! This one-shot is dedicated to you!

If you like this, feel free to read the other stories on my profile! ^_^

Make sure to leave plenty of reviews! They make me happy! XD

Please don't flame! Don't like, don't read.

Oh yeah, I came up with this idea all by myself! Cool, huh? :D

By the way Guest, would you ever read Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità in its entirety again? I would like to know! ^_^

Great job on guessing the endgame ship correctly! (:

Let's just say each took HOURS out of my days—even as I had to study for my five AP exams and do my torturous English IV project. And I lost A LOT of sleep finishing up the finale. /:

Sure! I can do that! Here it is! :D

Aww! Thank you very much Jazz! I'm glad you enjoyed Guzzle, Scarf, Wolf! I'M SO FLATTERED! XD

Oh yes, the Wild Cards and rule bending...HAHAHA! :D

I'm glad you like my inclusion of their friends! n_n

Is he or is he not? That is the question. Hmm...he can be if you want; that's my answer! ;)

Where does all that food go? A black hole? Who knows? :D

Really?! French food is tasteless?! Well, I included France and China since in the series, they are WONDERFUL cooks! I never knew! :O

I guess Minako and Yuki wanted to win so badly that even Thanatos grew a throat and pigged out despite being such a gentleman! :P

How DID those beasts fit into that collessium? Miracle upon miracles indeed! C:

Despite having no Personas or chakra, Ita-chan did his best alright...and won! ^o^

Not even a million Kuramas or the most grand of Personas can beat a country's stomach, ESPECIALLY the stomach of one who gobbles down so much pasta on a daily basis! Italy needs more pride in himself! J:

Yeah! Seeing the scorn of the four and the encouragement of the two right beside the others was HILARIOUS! XD

Actually, the contest didn't take place in Konoha since no one but the shinobi even knew Konoha existed. As for where it actually took place...that's for you to decide. And as for the first part of that question...the gathering of the gluttons is just THAT powerful of a force! :3

YES! In the series, England is a HORRIBLE cook! In fact, one time, everyone thought he killed Prussia when Prussia ate his food without any prior warning! :1

Same here! D:

I love the ending too! Thank you so much for reviewing! (:

That was a nice, unexpected ending, right? :D


Aww! That plush sounds so cute! (:

Why yes I am! ;)

Indeed! *evil laughter*

Same here! :P

YEESSSS! *gobbles down all those cookies faster than Italy, Naruto, Minako, and Makoto combined*


All three of us are lying in huge puddles of blood! :D



Wow! Aww man! I wish I could pig out on Italian food too! ToT

That would suck! D:

Oh yes, the frying pan thing... ;)

Thanks for the advice mistystar123! I'm glad you liked it regardless! ^_^

HAHAHA! Thank you so much Waterheart Dragon! XD

Thank you so much Loriel Fluer! n_n

What did you think of the finale? Also, could you please go back and review chapter 7? J:

Oh yes, and what would you like for your one-shot, the one you won as a special prize from me? (:


Disclaimer: I do not own any aspect of Hetalia. It belongs to Hidekaz Himaruya. I only own this and every other story I have.

Obake. A subcategory of Yōkai, supernatural creatures of Japanese Shinto myth. Obake are beings that can take on any shape, from an inanimate household object to the most ravenous of beasts. However, despite that, Obake can be of various species, possessing various base forms; cat, dog, monkey, even human are just some of them. Obake have generally lived in peace, respecting all those around them. Secluding themselves from people, they are one with nature, in perfect harmony with it and each other as they live through existences which aren't limited by the passing of time. Everything was perfect until that fateful day...


"Why don't you just leave already uncultured swine?"

"Filthy hog."

"Disgusting pig."

"Your kind is not welcome here."

"Get out of here you trash."

Sneer. Scoff. Jab. Stab. All were aimed at a certain young man who bore limpid brown orbs and caramel brown tresses with a long curl on the left side, him standing out like a sore thumb amongst the sea of black hair and black eyes. However, despite all the vile slander hurled the target's way, the smile never left his face, that dazzling grin which put the brightest of stars to shame. "Buongiorno a tutti!"

"Ugh. Such a hideous language." A villager scoffed. "Doesn't that rotten offal know we're in Japan?"

Another gave a harsh laugh. "Don't you know what that piece of crap is?" She leaned in, whispering into the former's ear as if telling a horrible secret. "That outsider—" Spat "—'s name is Feliciano Vargas...and I heard he's from Italy." Shiver.

"Such a faraway land?" Sneer. "Just how far will garbage come to pollute our country?"

The latter shook her head. "That's exactly what I think. You, me, and everyone." Giggling, the two walked off, throwing occasional glances behind their backs—sneers accompanying them—at the object of their ridicule who just went on as if he had not just been horribly insulted. Completely unduly insulted.

Piercing ebon orbs saw everything.

"What's this?"

Limpid brown eyes caught sight of a sign embedded into a large oak, their owner ceasing his stroll as he did a double-take, whistling as he read...only for the lyrical notes to silence, shock and horror replacing the happiness in caramel hues.

Danger. Stay far away from this place after dusk falls and don't come near under any circumstances. If within, run away as fast as you can and don't look back for even one second. During the night, the last Obake haunts this area.

"Last Obake?" The breath caught in his throat as he continued reading, eyes only growing wider and wider.

During the past century, our heroic brethren have wiped out nearly all of these wicked monsters through cunning wit or brute strength...all but one. This Obake has managed to mysteriously elude all forces out to eliminate it, running ominously amock. We are all in grave danger.

"Nearly all were wiped out?" Tears clouded the brunet's vision, pouring down his cheeks in mass torrents as the rest was scanned through.

Women and children who have had the misfortune of being out at the bewitched hours in the bewitched locus have experienced terrible life-threatening trauma, delirious with absolute terror while unable to stop screaming for hours on end. Upon being miraculously calmed down, all have claimed to have had near-death experiences with that cursed fiend. Unfortunately, none could actually describe how the demon looked like. Others were not so fortunate; although some men were found in similar conditions as the above two groups, most have been found dead, throats slit as their mangled corpses lie in pools of their own blood. Here is an abomination beyond redemption.

"Beyond redemption?!" Hands shot up to cover a mouth as a gasp escaped. "But we don't even know why the Obake did what it did!"

The one who slays this monster will be named the greatest hero in all of history as the last of these hateful fiends are at last slaughtered. For now, stay out.

"But that wouldn't be heroic!" Sobs tore from the auburn's throat. "This is just awful! Poor—"

Giggle. "Of course the outsider—" Hiss "—would feel compassion for such a horrid beast. Birds of a feather as they say." The Italian turned, watching as the same two women from earlier passed by, sneering at him. One smirked at the sight of the salty trails staining his cheeks.

"How stupid this foreigner is. I hope the Obake gets to him." Laugh. "Isn't it cute how this outcast feels sorry for something which would tear him to shreds without a second thought?" Shiver. "Those people deserve to die."

Scoff. "I know, right? That's one person everyone would be glad got killed."

Piercing ebon orbs saw everything.

"Sono a casa!"

A door was thrown open, a certain brown-haired brown-eyed male barging into the cabin. Like any other day, cosy wooden walls and furniture greeted the brunet, the fireplace well-stocked with logs ready to be lit. Something was missing however, something glaringly obvious...

"Did anyone miss me?" Silence. Dead. Silence. No one loitered in the foyer. No one rested on the couches in the living room. No one tried stealing food in the kitchen. No one came to welcome him. As always. The smile that had been kept on his face melted away, no longer there being a need to keep it on. "Oh..." Tears were shed. "It's fine. It's okay. It's alright that no one came to see me." Lies, lies. Said lies were made apparent as droplets became streams, overflowing. "Just why does everyone hate me?! Just why am I so alone—"

THUD! The sudden noise cut the hazel off mid-sentence, the guy immediately peeking out the window right beside the entrance in an attempt to spot the source of the commotion...which was not expected; kids throwing rocks was expected, brutes threatening to break in was expected, an entire mob waiting to burn him at the stake was expected...but the sight of a large mackerel besides a giant salmon and huge halibut—all three having been gutted, scaled, deboned, and beheaded—was definitely not expected.

"Huh? Who left these here?" The brunet opened the door, leaning down to pick up the fish which were cold to the touch. A head was tilted to the side as they were examined. "Did someone drop these on accident?" However, limpid brown eyes were unable to catch sight of anyone near by. "Hello?! Did anyone drop a mackerel, salmon, and halibut?! HELLO?!"

Nothing happened. Confusion floated in honey hues as he was greeted with no response. "Does that mean someone gave these to me?!" Shock of a century! "I don't think they are poisoned since each of these fish are getting expensive nowadays and wouldn't be wasted on a lowlife like me..." Eyes became saucers. "So these are actually a gift?!" A mouth dropped open. "From who?! And why?!" The surrounding forest gave no answers. Despite that, Feliciano whipped his head up, staring into the heart of the forest.

"I don't know who gave these to me nor why...but thank you so much." He gave a deep bow. "That's the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me in such a long time and I'm truly grateful." A bright smile crossed his lips as he picked himself back up. "Arigato! Grazie!"

The European returned to the cabin, fish in tow. However, several hours later, the auburn was back out, one steaming plate in each hand as a third was balanced in between the two. He called out to the heart of the forest once more. "I don't know if you're still here kind one, but I made some Seafood Risotto using the mackerel, salmon, and halibut you gave me! The recipe is from my hometown in Italy!" The creamy rice-filled cuisines containing shrimp and the aforementioned fish were placed on the porch, a pair of chopsticks stuck in the middle dish. "I hope you enjoy it and once again, thank you so much for the fish!"

One could swear piercing ebon orbs could be seen deep within the brush as the brunet went back inside, closing the door behind him. However, they vanished the very next instant, no trace to be spotted.

The food was gone in the morning.

"Chotto! Zenpō ni go chūi kudasai!"

One moment Vargas was standing by the river, taking in the beautiful scenery before him and the next found himself in the river itself, soaked from head to toe.

The drenched looked at the accuser, sheepishly scratching the back of his neck. "Mi dispiace!"

"Ugh. It's the foreigner." The rude civilian scoffed, rolling his eyes. "Great, I just had to run into you." Scratching at himself as though attempting to rid himself of the most irritating of pests, the insolent sneered. "I've been cursed; I'll have bad luck now for the rest of my life." He stalked off. "Thanks a lot."

Tears came to limpid brown eyes; there was oh so much anyone can handle everyone hating them after all. "Would you like some help?" Tearful limpid brown eyes glanced up, widening at the sight they took in; a male bearing silky raven locks who appeared to be 5'5" in height and was dressed in an elegant kimono extended a hand, an ethereal grace emitting from his very frame. Piercing ebon orbs were the most notable feature he possessed.

"Graz—Arigato." Taking the offered hand, the brunet allowed himself to be pulled back up.

A question floated in piercing ebon orbs. "What were you about to say just earlier?"

"Oh 'Grazie'?" Sheepish scratching of the neck. "It means 'thank you' in Italian."

Piercing ebon orbs widened. "You're Italian?"

"...Sì—Hai." Reluctant nod. "I'm not from Japan nor am I of Japanese descent. I'm from Italy, which makes me an outsider." He looked away, unable to meet piercing ebon orbs anymore. "Are you going to run away now? Scoff at me? Call me a curse?"

The grip on the auburn's hand was tightened. "Why should that matter? No one can choose who they were born to nor what they are born as."

"...Because everyone here hates foreigners." Bangs hid now dimmed brown eyes. "That's why I'm hated so much." His voice shook. "Do you hate me too?"

The rapid shaking of the head got caramel hues to shoot up. "No, I just met you. Why should I hate you just because you're different from everyone else?"

"...Wow." A mouth dropped. "You're the first person to say this to me..." A thought suddenly flashed into the hazel's mind, the need to voice it out immediate. "Who are you? I haven't seen you around here before."

The addressed snapped back, releasing his hold as he bowed deeply. "Sumimasen! Please forgive me! I am Kiku Honda!"

"Nice to meet you Kiku!" The brunet beamed. "My name is Feliciano Vargas!" A head was quirked. "Wait...doesn't 'Kiku' mean 'chrysanthemum' in Japanese?"

A blush ignited the Asian's cheeks as he gave a shaky nod. "H-Hai!"

"Wow! What a beautiful name!" What sounded like an embarrassed laugh left the speaker's lips. "Your name sounds much better than mine! 'Feliciano' simply means 'happy', 'lucky', or 'prosperous' in Italian."

A second rapid shaking of the head. "Ī-Īe! That's a really nice name with a really nice meaning!"

"Aww! Thanks!" A sudden chill ran up Feliciano's spine, causing him to shiver as he clasped onto his arms. "Brrr! I'm getting cold!"

Piercing ebon orbs widened. "It's because you're drenched!" Teeth gritted. "And it's because of that rude man shoving you—not the other way around—into the river."

"Huh?! How would you know that?!" Once more limpid brown eyes widened. "I don't think anyone was nearby when I was actually pushed in!" A head quirked as well. "And how did you know I was even there?"

A second too long passed. "I...happen to have very good hearing and vision and was just passing by." Not that it went noticed. Kiku frowned. "Enough about that! We need to get you a change of clothes; you could catch a cold!"

"Oh right! Right!" It was as though the soaked just remembered he was soaked. "Let's go back to my place!"

Those piercing ebon orbs widened in saucers. "'Let's'?! As in both of us?!"

"Why not?" Dampened shoulders shrugged. "I want to get you something as thanks for helping me out!" Red tinted cheeks. "That...and I've always wanted to show someone my place." Realization suddenly dawned on him. "Unless you're too busy—"

A hand was held up. "I am not." Smile. "If you want me to see your home then so it shall be, Vargas-san."

"No! No!" A hand abruptly slapped his back, its owner pouting. "Don't be so formal with me!"

Blush. "...Then how about Feli-kun?"

"That's fine!" The bright beaming outshone the sun, piercing ebon orbs unable to look away.

A twinkle shone in astute obsidian depths. "Okay then...Feli-kun."

"Come on! Let's go! Let's go!" Those same astute obsidian depths widened, their possessor's breath caught as his wrist was taken, being guided deeper into the forest.

"Here we are!"

Piercing ebon orbs took in everything as the door was thrown wide open, absorbing the warm wooden interior.

The raven was rendered breathless. "Your home is...beautiful."

"Really? You think so?" A full-out flush covered the guy's body as he grinned widely, eyes shut as he sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck. "It took forever to make everything!"

A mouth dropped. "Everything?! As in—"

"The furniture, the cabin itself, everything." Shrug. "It's not like I can live with everyone else, seeing as I'm the outcast..." A head was shaken as though to shake the sadness off. "Anyways, my nonno—grandpa—was a blacksmith amongst other professions and I picked up some of the welding skills which were necessary to make the stove, cookware, and the locks on the doors. I rummaged through the trash for scrap metal."

Piercing ebon orbs widened. "Was?"

"Oh yeah..." Wetness gathered in hazel hues. "About ten years ago, nonno set out to sea with my fratello—big brother—Lovino and me. Amongst what he was, a merchant was one of them." Sad chuckle. "Nonno could do everything. He took us with him to help us learn the trade. We went by water because the Silk Roads are too dangerous and by boat is faster anyways." Fondness was evident in those melancholic hazel hues. "He sailed from Italy all the way around Africa and went up, riding the monsoon winds like a pro in the Indian Ocean and maneuvering through the waters surrounding Indonesia, the Philippines, and Taiwan without a hitch. Everything seemed to be going so smoothly. However..." Hazel hues were no longer visible under a curtain of brown hair. "As we were heading towards Beijing, our original destination...a terrible storm hit." Tears flowed in torrents. "Our ship was caught in it and got tossed around. The last thing I remember was a huge wave crashing over—" Hands flew to his mouth as heart-wrenching sobs tore from his throat. He was unable to finish that sentence.

A reassuring hand was placed on his back. "You don't need to say any more—"

"—No, no...I already told you this much." The teller forced himself to continue. "When I woke up, I found myself washed on a beach with the ship destroyed and nonno and fratello—" Nothing more had to be said. He had to be held up to prevent crashing onto the ground. "I ran to shore, screaming for help where I was met by a group of natives. 'Chapatsu?' 'Chairo no me?'...they were commenting on my brown hair and brown eyes; nonno taught us both many languages, Japanese being one of them so I understood what they were saying. Not knowing what they meant, I tried calling for help once again...and that's when the first rock was thrown." Fear seized control of the recaller as that horrid memory possessed him. "They were trying to stone me. I had to run away and fast before I joined nonno and fratello in death; I didn't want to die!" Shiver. "...Thank goodness I've always been a fast runner; I was able to escape the mob out to kill me. Back then, I didn't know why. I was so confused and scared." Trembles wracked his frame. "It was not until several days later when I overheard some villagers conversing that I found out foreigners were despised and outcasted. The only reason I wasn't driven straight out of Japan was because the emperor knew I was the grandson of 'Antico Impero Romano' which is 'Ancient Roman Empire' in Italian, the nickname of nonno known across Europe and Asia for his many talents and prominence. That's why the villagers haven't killed me already; the emperor does not want war to be waged."

The breath caught in the listener's throat. "...Sonna."

"Yeah." Nod. "I never attempted to leave myself since I couldn't afford nor build a ship that would be able to sail all the way back to Italy and..." His lip quivered. "The storm traumatized me." Sniff. "I was afraid I would die instantly out at sea...and still am." He trembled. "And no one would help me...so I decided to settle in the forest, far away from everyone." A sad smile crossed his lips. "By then, three years passed and I was thirteen. I spent the next two years gathering all the materials needed to build my house, sleeping in the trees and feeding on nuts, berries, and whatever I could catch in the river while it was under construction. I was fifteen upon finishing and have lived here for the past four years and here I am at the age of nineteen and going to be twenty a few months from now."

Tremble. Tremble. "T-That horrible Feli-kun! To think you had to live your life like that!"

"Whoa whoa Kiku! Don't cry!" Piercing ebon orbs widened as their owner realized tears had been pouring from them...which were subsequently wiped away by thumbs reaching up to his face. "The last ten years have been hard and I miss nonno and fratello more than anything...but I've lived on and look where I am today." He took the other into his arms, embracing him. "Please stop crying."

Piercing ebon orbs popped out of their skull. "You just...you're hugging me!"

"MI DISPIACE! GOMEN!" The guy jumped back as though burned. "I forgot that hugging isn't common in Japan! I'M SO SORRY!"

Fighting a—losing—battle over the blush that threatened to overtake his frame, the flustered shook his head. "Ī-Īe! K-Kimi wa shazai suru hitsuyō wa arimasen!" Yep, a lost battle. "Just please go change now!"

"Oh right!" How can someone forget that they're drenched?! Realization dawned on the brunet. "I hope I didn't get you wet!"

Rapid shaking of the head. "I-I'm fine! Just go now please!"

"Okay! Okay!" Stopping before the door to his bedroom, Feliciano glanced behind his shoulder. "Oh, feel free to explore the rest of my home!" And then he was gone.

Taking the host up on his offer, Kiku took a few steps forward, his feet taking him towards the kitchen. What was there caused piercing ebon orbs to widen. "This is—"

"Oh yeah." The raven swiveled towards the source of the noise, now dressed in clean clothes as he joined his guest. He smiled. "This kind someone left a mackerel, salmon, and halibut at my doorstep yesterday!" He gestured to the remnants of the three fish the sable had been staring at, nodding. "I made some Seafood Risotto for them as thanks!" Red tinted his cheeks. "Since the plates I had them in were empty in the morning with the chopsticks neatly placed on the middle, I'd like to think they accepted my gratitude." Sheepish scratching of the neck. "I just wish I could thank them in person."

Double-take. "W-Well I believe this person already knows that you're grateful!"

"I sure hope so." Sigh. "That was the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me in such a long time. That..." He glanced at the individual beside him. "...and you helping me up from the river."

Piercing ebon orbs softened. "Your life must have been that awful..."

"Aww! It's not that bad!" Piercing ebon orbs widened, snapping to the beaming brown eyes. "There are people far worse off than me! Some people don't have roofs over their heads or enough if anything to eat!"

The sable was stunned. "...Feli-kun." A sudden rumble resounded, the source flushing.

"I guess it's time to eat now!" Feliciano reached for a knife, holding it above the fish. "Oh yeah!" He gazed at the Japanese. "I'll make you some Seafood Risotto as thanks for being so kind to me!"

Déjà vu. Well, sorta. "N-No it's fine!" The raven made to bolt. "I'll just be leaving now—"

"Matte! ASPETTA!" A hand snatched the fleeing's wrist, preventing him from running off. "Don't go!" The desperation swirling in honey depths blew the sable away. "Please don't leave me! Don't leave me all alone! PLEASE!"

How could he possibly refuse? "W-Wakarimashita."

"Thank you so much!" Limpid brown eyes became limpid once more. "Just wait for a bit and it'll be ready—"

One moment Kiku was by Feliciano's side, and the next he had vanished, returning an instant later with an apron around his frame and his hair tied back with cloth, hands clean. "At least let me help please. It would be rude of me to stand by and make you do all the work."

"But you're the guest!" A mouth dropped open.

Piercing ebon orbs remained unwavering. "All the more reason." He then took a knife, slicing more of the salmon. Discussion closed.

"Okay, if that's what you want..." Hazel hues suddenly lit up. "I can teach you how to make some Seafood Risotto!"

For the next few hours, bits of mackerel, salmon, and halibut were thrown around in the pans as shrimp was peeled and sautéed, diced vegetables of all sorts tossed into rice stirred around in a creamy sauce. And once it was all done, the components were combined before being divided into two plates and set down on the dining table.

Hands were clasped together, both slightly bowing over the food. "Itadakimasu!"

"Itadakimasu." Both proceeded to grab their chopsticks, chowing down. Piercing ebon orbs widened as the first chunk hit his tongue. "Oishī! This is even more delicious than the last time I had it!"

Utensils dropped as a mouth did so as well. "Last time?! What do you mean by that Kiku?!"

"Uh-uh—" Quick! Need an excuse! "—I didn't say anything! You must be hearing things!" Nice excuse.

A brown brow was quirked. "But I'm pretty sure you said—"

"No! I didn't say anything!" A little too fast. "Please believe me!"

The brunet shrugged, dropping the matter. "...Okay."

"A-Arigato." Whew. Whew indeed. The meal was then passed in a comfortable silence, only the sound of chopsticks against plates filling the air. Upon finishing, the raven stood up, taking his dish to the sink where it was washed and subsequently dried. After the brunet had done the same with his own, Kiku spoke up once more, a smile gracing his lips. "Italian food is truly delicious. I've never had anything this good in my life."

Crimson exploded on Vargas's cheeks. "That can't be true! Japanese food is really tasty too! You're flattering me!"

"No, it's not flattery." Limpid brown eyes widened as his hands were taken, fingers intertwined within another set. "I'm telling the complete and honest truth."

The grasp was returned, the brunet beaming. "GRAZIE! GRAZIE!" Their joined hands were shaken up and down as the blithe jumped for joy.

"F-Feli-kun!" What had he just done earlier?! Bounding away as though burned, the Asian was completely scarlet as he disconnected their fingers. "I-I'm going to go now!" He took off the apron while detaching the cloth from his head, placing them back in their original locations before making his way forwards the door, bowing at the entrance. "W-Watashi o motte itadaki arigatōgozaimasu!"

But before Honda could leave... "Here!" ...an object was tossed at him, ebon orbs widening as their owner caught it midair.

"A key?!" A mouth dropped. "I'm a stranger and you're just going to give me a key?!"

The questioned shook his head. "No, you're not a stranger; you're my friend!"

"Friend?! Me?!" Piercing ebon orbs became wider and wider with each and every second. "But we just met only hours ago!"

Shrug. "So?" A hand placed itself on a slim hip. "You bothered to help me—the foreigner—when most would just laugh and walk off, cared about me being drenched while most would be wishing illness on me, and sympathized with my backstory while most would think it's well-deserved." Beam. "And cooking and eating with you was really nice!" The brunet walked up to the raven, taking increasingly reddening cheeks in his hands. "I would like to get to know you more Kiku. It was so much fun spending time with you. Meeting you has been the best thing that's happened to me in the past ten years."

"W-Watashitachiha tomodachi?" This is just too good to be true...

...or so he thought. "Hai! Bokutachiha tomodachi! Boku wa omae ga kitekurete ureshī!" Feliciano waved Kiku off who had placed the item into his pocket, beaming brightly as the raven delved deeper and deeper into the forest until he was no longer visible.

Wow. He is so beautiful. He is such a beautiful person.

"Ah~! Pasta!"

Piercing ebon orbs widened at the sight their owner walked in on; limpid brown eyes stared at the clouds floating about, their possessor lying down in the grass with his head rested on one crossed arm as the other reached up, attempting to clutch at something. The two had been spending the past few months together, getting to know each other better and better. However, this kind of scene had yet to be seen.

Upon reaching where the brunet lain on the porch outside the cabin, the sable crouched, a question in his eyes. "Feli-kun? What could you possibly be doing?"

"Buongiorno!" Bright beaming. "Do you see the pasta in the sky?" A finger pointed to a series of alabaster stripes high up in the atmosphere.

A black brow quirked. "Those are cirrus clouds, Feli-kun."

"Aww!" Spirits dropped...only to rise again. "Ne Ne! Do you see the ragù?" This time, a large fluffy white cloud was pointed at.

Arms were crossed. "That's a nimbostratus cloud, Feli-kun."

"Ah man!" Pout. The pout faded immediately though. "Look at the mozzarella!" The digit directed to flecks of platinum.

Hands moved to hips. "Those are altocumulus clouds, Feli-kun."

"Oh." Hopes were crushed...or were they? "Look! There are meatballs!"

Huff. "That's a cumulus cloud."

"Kiku!" Feliciano shot straight up, frowning. "I'm cloud-watching! Clouds can be what we see them to be!"

Sharp bow. "Sumimasen!"

"Īe, I'm sorry for snapping at you like that. That was unfair and uncalled for." A sigh left the Italian's lips. "It's that I haven't had pasta in forever, ever since I was on that ship..."

Piercing ebon orbs softened. "It's fine Feli-kun, I'm not mad." The raven sat down besides his companion. "Why can't you have pasta?"

"Tomatoes...an important part of pasta...are extremely rare here." Bangs shaded hazel hues. "Truth be told, I barely have enough money to buy food as it is; I actually have to catch and gather most of what I eat and buy only what I can't get from either." And under his breath. "People usually spit in my face when I go to the stalls and run away from me as though I'm the plague though." Ignoring the shock in obsidian hues, Vargas tucked his knees in. "Anyways, because tomatoes are so rare, they are incredibly expensive, meaning I can't afford any."

A hand was placed on his shoulder. "Surely not all pasta have tomatoes in it?"

"The cheese needed for Alfredo sauce is also extremely rare." Shrink further in. "And I'm unable to get any beef and pork for meatballs."

Limpid brown eyes widened as their owner's chin was taken in two fingers, forced to meet piercing ebon orbs. "How much does pasta mean to you?"

"...It's my absolute favorite food in the world." Those eyes remained wide. "It's been about ten years since I last had it, very close to half my life ago." Curiosity was piqued. "Why do you want to know?"

Jump back. "Uh—nothing! Nothing!" Honda swiftly stood back up. "I have some urgent errands to run! Sayōnara!"

"Kiku? Kiku?!" Too late; he was gone. The alone sighed, sadness evident in his expression. He hated how his friend had to abruptly leave. What kind of errand was so important that Kiku had to leave so suddenly?

That night, Feliciano found a huge bag of tomatoes, cheese, ground beef, and ground pork on his doorstep.

"Oh I'm so happy! Sono così felice!"

That was the scene the Asian walked in on; a certain Italian was busy at the stove, stirring ragù in one pan—Alfredo simmering in another—with unmatchable vigor as meatballs were sautéed, noodles boiling in a pot. The aromas wafting from that sole spot would be enough to attract anyone within miles, even those who supposedly cannot smell.

Hearing the approaching footsteps, Feliciano turned, a brilliant smile on his face. "Hey Kiku!"

"K-Konbanwa, Feli-kun." Bow. The raven took several steps forward, gazing curiously at the food cooking on the apparatus. "What are you making?" Piercing ebon orbs fell on the items scattered about. "Wherever did you get those ingredients from, Feli-kun?" He stared at the crimson nightshade fruits, dairy, and meats. "I thought they were rare."

Bright beaming. "Oh Kiku! That kind person must have heard us earlier and got me some tomatoes, cheese, beef, and pork!" Tears of joy. "I'm so grateful! I can't believe anyone would bother to spend so much money on such a lowlife like me!"

"You aren't a lowlife." Those tears were wiped at, brown eyes widening at the action. Smiling, the Japanese turned back to the cookware on the stove. "What are you making?"

The repeated question brought a blush to the brunet's cheeks. "M-Mi dispiace!" Sheepish scratching of the neck. "I'm making Fettuccine Alfredo and spaghetti!"

"Pasta?" The sable quirked his head to the side.

Rapid nod. "Sì!" Chuckle. "And the meatballs will go in both!" A thought suddenly flashed into the auburn's mind, eyes dimming. "What did you have to do earlier? It made me sad you had to go."

"Uh—" Excuse! Excuse! Need an excuse! Quick! "Uh—" Kiku just so happened to remember the bag in his hands, frantically lifting it up. "I-I had to get some food!" Well, that's technically not a lie. Bow. "Sumimasen!"

A head quirked to the side. "Food?" He scratched his chin. "I see..." A question lit up in once again limpid brown eyes. "But why did you bring it here?"

"Umm..." Tomatoes would be jealous with how crimson the flustered became. "Well, you see..." Explosion! "I want to try making a dish comprised of both Japanese and Italian elements!" KABOOM!

Eyes lit up. "Oh! That sounds like a wonderful idea!" The brunet took the sack from the raven, placing it on the countertop. The auburn then vanished, a familiar apron and cloth in hand as he returned. "Here Kiku!"

"These are!" Even rubies could not match the shade of red which ignited on pale skin as those raiments were thrown at him, him barely catching them from how flustered he was.

Giggle. "Don't just stand there! Let's get started!"



Golden strands smothered in crimson sauce topped with savory meats, long strips and more of that savory meat coated in a white condiment, fulvous strings sprinkled with fish, fungi, and vegetables in addition to tawny threads containing black herbs and enoki...three plates of each sat steaming on the dining table, the fragrant aromas wafting throughout the kitchen.

Drool slipped from the brunet's lips. "This all looks so delicious!"

"Indeed." The raven chuckled. Piercing ebon orbs glanced at the last two dishes. "What should we call these?" He gestured to the fourth, scratching his chin with his other hand. "Based on its contents...why don't we call this one 'hijiki and dried shiitake mushroom spaghetti'?"

Bing! Bing! "That sounds incredible Kiku!" Vargas eagerly pointed to the third, jumping up and down in excitement. "How about 'mushroom tuna pasta' for this one?!"

"Sounds great, Feli-kun." Fond smile.

The two proceeded to take their seats, hands clasped above their food. "Itadakimasu!"

"Itadakimasu." Both subsequently dug in, chopsticks full of stands placed into their mouths.

One of them was starting to melt. "Mio Dio!" Said person looked as though he had just ascended to heaven. "This is so good!" Nostalgic smile. "This is even better than I remember!"

"This is absolutely delicious." Those words left the Japanese's lips as he took another bite of the Fettuccine Alfredo. "This must be what Gods eat."

Blissful sigh. "Yeah..."

"Uh, Feli-kun?" Limpid brown eyes snapped out of their state of euphoria, meeting piercing ebon orbs whose owner was holding up some strands of a hybrid platter. "Would you like to try the hijiki and dried shiitake mushroom spaghetti? The hijiki and shiitake are both full of fiber and umami."

Bright beaming. "Of course!" Slurping up the rest of the spagetti and Fettuccine Alfredo in practically one gulp, he dug his utensils into the aforementioned dish, eyes widening as the favors hit his tongue. "Delizioso!" Eyes rolling to the back of his head. "The MSG is a really nice touch!"

"I would say the fusion of our culture's dishes worked out nicely." The Asian rested his chin on his palm, gazing into the Italian's eyes.

Rapid nod. "Sì!" And the guy proceeded to inhale the rest of his meal, his plates empty in a flash. Of course, Feliciano had not noticed, the shock flashing across his face upon realizing no more pasta was flowing into his mouth giving that away. "Aww!" And of course, a certain someone could not stand to see him sad.

"Here Feli-kun." A dish was pushed forward, limpid brown eyes widening at the sight. "You can have my spaghetti."

Uncertainty swirled in hazel hues. "Are you sure Kiku?! That's yours!"

"It's alright." Reassuring smile. "Pasta is your absolute favorite food, right?" The plate pushed a bit more forward. Red tinted the raven's cheeks. "...Therefore, you should have it."

A lightbulb suddenly went on in the auburn's head. "I have an idea! Let's share!" Not leaving room for objection, the brunet suddenly snatched the sable's wrist, the chopsticks held in that hand leaving with some of the strands. Grinning, the blithe did the same, placing some of the stands in his mouth. "There!"

"A-Arigato." And then both continued to eat in relative peace, the pasta in the plate diminishing in amount by the moment...until there was only a small bit left. Both had coincidentally taken hold of that small bit, taking bite after bite of each end until the remaining string was reduced to almost nothing, the pair's lips only a few inches away...

SNAP! "Kiku?!"...only for the end to be bitten off, the string cut on one side. Feliciano did not approve. "Why did you do that?!" Pout.

"S-Sumimasen!" That was too close! Way too close! "I-I must go now! S-Sayōnara!" The flustered bolted straight up, rapidly placing his dishes into the sink and washing them in the speed of light before dashing towards the door. However...

...a hand had taken hold of his wrist, preventing him from leaving. "Kiku! Don't go!" The addressed whirled his head around, the tears pouring out of limpid brown eyes causing piercing ebon orbs to widen significantly. "Don't leave me alone again! Please! PLEASE?!" The grip only tightened. "ONEGAI?! PER FAVORE?!"

"Feli-kun..." The sight of the trembles wracking the melancholic broke Honda's heart. He gave up fighting a losing battle. "...Alright, I'll stay." Thumbs reached out to wipe away at continuously forming tears. "Please stop crying."

The streams stopped flowing on command. "Grazie." The Italian couldn't meet piercing ebon orbs, filled with shame. "I'm sorry for doing this to you." Bangs hid brown eyes. "It's that...I have this fear that once you go, you'll never come back." Hidden even more. "Why are you even hanging out with me in the first place, what with me being the foreigner—"

"DON'T SAY THAT!" The intensity of obsidian depths shocked the sullen into complete silence. Cheeks were taken in hands, forcing wide brown eyes to meet piercing ebon orbs which subsequently softened. "Feli-kun, I've deeply enjoyed our time together over the past few months since we've met. In fact, I haven't been this happy since—" NO! He mustn't continue!

A head quirked curiously to the side. "Since when?"

"N-Nothing!" Too fast. "What I mean is that I'm really happy when I'm around you so don't ever think otherwise!"

A mouth dropped open. "...Kiku."

"Feli-kun..." Piercing ebon orbs happened to glance back at the table at that moment. "Feli-kun, what's with the extra plates of pasta? You're not going to eat them?" What a welcome change of subject.

Brown eyes brightened, the limpid light returning. "Oh yeah!" He rushed to the dishes, taking them in his hands. "I'm giving these to that kind person!" Brilliant beaming. "And I'll be staying outside with them this time."

"Huh?! Why?!" Or not. "Why would you do that?!"

Smile. "I want to thank this kind person in person." Oh this is bad. "And I want you to meet them too!" Even worse.

"E-Eh?! EH?!" Quick! Need an excuse! Again! "B-But you could catch a cold out there!"

Pout. "I'll bring a blanket with me." Oh no! Quick! Another one!

"You could be attacked by a wild animal!" That should do the trick...

...or so he thought. "I've lived in this spot for the past ten years." Frown. "I've never been attacked before and I highly doubt that will change any time soon. And besides, I'm just staying on my porch."

"Y-You never know!" Deep trouble. Deep, deep trouble.

Sigh. "Kiku!" Vargas whined. "Don't try to get out of this!" Sadness once again invaded limpid brown eyes. "You both have been the kindest people to me ever since I came to Japan and lost nonno and fratello half my life ago." Wetness once again gathered. "I want the three of us to meet and become good friends."

"Feli-kun..." Feliciano would be the death of him. Who could resist that sweet Italian? Kiku sure couldn't. "...Wakarimashita." He had no way out of this, did he?

Bright beaming dispelled the sadness once more. "GRAZIE!" Nope, no way. Could things get any worse?

"F-F-e-e-l-l-i-i-k-k-u-u-n-n!" The swift pecks on each cheek Kiku had just received from the ecstatic Italian nearly stopped his heart on the spot.

Yes, yes they can.

"Where are they?!"

Hour after hour had ticked by. Twilight, dusk, evening, midnight had passed. The sky turned from dark to darker to darkest. The sounds of wind rustling through the trees and creatures calling out to one another grew louder and louder. All of those things had happened...yet no one came.

A yawn escaped the brunet's lips. "Just what could they be doing?"

"Maybe they're sleeping right now?" The Asian offered. "It's possible that they aren't awake."

Sulk. "Probably..." The sullen drooped. "But last time, the food was gone in the morning after being left out all night! They must have come during the night!"

"Are you sure that person was the one to eat it?" Brow quirked. "It could have been a wild animal."

Feliciano shook his head. "Īe, that can't be it; not only was every bit of the Seafood Risotto gone, the plates were placed neatly on my porch and the chopsticks were neatly placed in the middle; a wild animal wouldn't have bothered doing either of those things."

"I see..." Crap! Oh crap!

Another yawn. "It's so late now!" Even louder yawn. "I don't know how much longer I can stay up!"

"Then just go to sleep." That was just what Honda was looking for. A hand rubbed circles into the brunet's back. "Just go to sleep."

Pout. "Ma Kiku! I don't want to miss that kind person again!" Arms were crossed. "And I can't just leave you to stay awake all by yourself! I would rather you be asleep than me!"

"It's alright, Feli-kun." Lips morphed into a kind smile. "I can keep out watch while you sleep and I'm fine with staying awake; I've always been able to function with little sleep just fine." The other hand clasped a shoulder as the raven leaned in, whispering into the auburn's ear. "Just go to sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep."

It was as though Feliciano was being hypnotized, that deep, enchanting voice prompting limpid brown eyes to slowly close. "But I want to..." Fast asleep.

"Feli-kun..." Piercing ebon orbs were filled with admiration and longing as they took in the Italian's unconscious frame, their owner leaning in. "Arigato." Lips shaped into a beautiful smile met a soft cheek, heart thundering in his chest as piercing ebon orbs took in long chestnut lashes pressed to cheeks, large limpid brown eyes behind closed lids. However, it was those full, supple lips that drew those piercing ebon orbs most—no! He mustn't! Pulling back before he did something he would regret, Kiku gently laid Feliciano on the ground and used the apron and cloth he wore as makeshift pillows while tucking the blanket in further before turning to the offered plates, grabbing the pair of chopsticks stuck in the middle of the four platters before bowing slightly over the food. "Itadakimasu."

Feli-kun...he is so kind, so beautiful. He is not like anyone else I've ever seen, met, or known in my entire life. So kind, so beautiful...

Even though the pasta had become cold from sitting out in the night air for hours, it was still absolutely delicious nevertheless. Ears were made wary of signs of rousing as the raven continued to eat, immensely enjoying every bite of the meal.

I accept your offering.

"Ne Ne Kiku! What did they look like?!"

The first rays of morning sun filtered through the canopy of the forest, the golden fingers striking upon the cabin, waking Feliciano from his peaceful rest. Four empty plates were illuminated as well, the chopsticks neatly tucked in. That sight caused limpid brown eyes to widen, joy twinkling within honey hues.

Piercing ebon orbs darted from side to side, their owner frantic. "Well, he had black hair and black eyes—"

"Kiku!" The brunet pouted. "Practically everyone in Japan but me has black hair and black eyes!"

Oh crap! Hurry! "I-I couldn't see anything else; it was too dark out." Nice.

"Aww man!" A head hung in disappointment...only to shoot back up only seconds later, the light shining in them once more. "Wait 'he'?!" Brighter and brighter. "What did he say?!"

Quick! "H-He said he was extremely happy that you offered him such delicious food you must have spent hours cooking and preparing! I-It warmed his heart that you appreciated what he did and he was more than happy to do what he did!"

"Really?!" The blithe beamed brightly. "Aww! That's so sweet!" The grin suddenly morphed into a pout. "Kiku! Why didn't you wake me up?!"

OH SH— "H-He saw how fast asleep you were and knew you must have been really tired!"

"Oh fine." Slump over. Frown. The sullen sighed, cupping his face in his hands. "Wake me up next time, alright?"

Saved. "A-Alright."

"Ne Ne Kiku!" The brunet was back to being his blithe self. "What's his name?!"

Or not. "H-He never told me!" A strange melancholic glint entered piercing ebon orbs. "...He said he's also an outcast."

"WHAT?!" A mouth dropped onto the floor. "WHY?!"

That glint became more and more evident. "He told me everyone hates and is terrified of him and he has to seclude himself, which is why he hasn't revealed his identity when he gave you the food." Piercing ebon orbs were shaded. "He said if you knew who he truly was, you would hate and be terrified of him too."

"THAT'S NOT TRUE!" The extreme intensity of that declaration causes piercing ebon orbs to snap wide open, the passion burning in limpid brown eyes blowing him away. "I know how it feels to have everyone hating me just for existing, seeing as I'm the foreigner and all. There's enough hate and prejudice in the world! Why add to that?!" A fist was pumped. "I would try my very best to get to understand the reason why everyone hates him and reassure him!" Those caramel flames burned harder. "He's a kind person who goes out of his way to help out a fellow outcast even though he doesn't know me! I won't hate him nor will I be terrified of him! I'll get to know him and be his friend! We'll be the best of friends, I just know it!" Arms spread open. "You, me, and him!"

A mouth was unable to close. "...Feli-kun."



Two pairs of eyes snapped to the source of those sounds, their discussion ended by the abrupt arrival of said sources; a white cat with brown splotches bearing a curl sprouting from the left of its face and a black feline with white patches possessing obsidian hues entered the area, walking towards the pair who they bore an uncanny resemblance to...

"NEKO!" Feliciano ran up to both, scooping them up in his arms. "NEKO! NEKO! NEKO! NEKO!" Said cats nuzzled up to the warm embrace, affectionately rubbing their cheeks to the larger's own. "BOKU WA NEKO GA DAISUKI!"

Kiku walked up to the brunet, intrigued. "You love cats, Feli-kun?"

"HAI!" Rapid nod. "I love cats of all shapes and sizes!"

Smile. "I see..." That comment warmed the sable's heart in more ways than one.

"Ne Ne! What do you want to name the cats?!" He scratched the alabaster and caramel one. "I'll name this one 'Gino'!"

The raven rubbed his chin as he approached the dark one, lips quirking up as it leaned into his touch. "How about 'Tama' for this one?"

"Sì! Sì!" Squeal. "SO CUTE!" A sudden idea popped into the hazel's mind, a smirk forming on his face as he looked at the Japanese, snickering mischievously. "Imagine if Kiku had cat ears and a tail..."

The mentioned took a step back in shock. "E-Excuse me?!" Full-body flush.







"Seriously, you'd be really cute!" Feliciano beamed. "I can just imagine that flicking tail and those soft ears which show how you feel..." He glanced down at the two in his arms, giggling. "Don't you agree Gino, Tama?"

The pair looked up from where they had been cuddling, observing the raven. After a moment's wait... "RAR!"


...it seemed as though they agreed! A smug smile made its way onto the brunet's face. "See?"

"F-Feli-kun!" He couldn't win, could he?

Judging by the chuckling he heard from the other, that answer was definitely a 'no'. "Let's go back in!" Cats still in hand, the victor reentered the cabin, the loser still outside, a terrible blush on his face. A single thought flashed into his mind as he bent down, picking up the empty dishes before following the other inside.

Would you really like to see me like that?

"You're so cute and handsome Kiku!"

"A-Arigato gozaimasu Feli-kun!" Honda was about to blow up. "W-Watashi wa hontōni kimi no osejino kotoba ni kansha shimasu!" KABOOM!

The addressed quirked a brow. "Eh? Flattering?" He pouted. "I meant everything I said you know!"

"Y-You're welcome!" Just how flustered could the Italian make him?! Don't answer that question.

Said Italian took a step forward, literally going face-to-face with the Asian. "Do you have a fidanzata? A girlfriend?"

"Eh?!" Extremely flustered. "W-Why are you asking me this?!"

The questioned sighed. "You're so cute and handsome—" BOOM! "—that I find it hard to believe you're single! All the girls must flock to you!" Admiration seemed to shine in honey hues...seemed.

"Ī-Īe!" Completely red. "T-Truth be told, I don't even like girls!"

A mouth dropped open. "You're gay?!"


Limpid brown eyes appeared to be contemplating something. "Do you have a fidanzato? A boyfriend?"

"Eh?!" Piercing ebon orbs became saucers. "You don't care that I like guys and guys only?!"

Shrug. "Love is love, whether it be with a person of the opposite or the same gender." Sigh. "If only everyone could see that; they say homosexuality is present in hundreds of species but homophobia is present in only one: humans." A smile crossed his face. "Besides, I'm bisexual."

"B-Bisexual?!" Mouth dropped. "As in you like both guys and girls, finding both attractive?!"

Another shrug. "That's what it means." Pout. "Answer my question Kiku!" There was no getting out of this one, was there?

"...Īe." Yeah...no.

Brown eyes popped out of their skull. "How is that even possible?!" A mouth dropped into oblivion. "At least do you find anyone attractive?!" The reddening of the cheeks was not missed. "So there is someone?!" Piercing ebon orbs widened as hands clutched his own, holding them up. "Who are they?!" Yet there was something hidden within that flash of seeming excitement...

"W-Well..." Redder than rubies! "...T-This person is very kind, beautiful, sweet, puts a smile on my face, smiles no matter what hardships he faces, and is generally not like everyone else; he's far better. He's one of a kind."

Limpid brown eyes softened. "Why do you sound so sad, Kiku?"

"I-It's that..." Obsidian hues were cast down. "...this person doesn't know I'm in love with him, and he would probably reject me if he ever found out."

Piercing ebon orbs widened even further as the grip on his hands tightened. "I could help you—" Realization dawned on the brunet, the shock of it all causing him to release those hands, piercing ebon orbs filled with concern as they gazed into shocked caramel.

"What is it Feli-kun?" Just what happened?!

Limpid brown eyes dampened as bangs hid them once more. "...I won't be able to help you since this person will probably hate me because I'm the foreigner."

"N-No! This person wouldn't hate you! I don't think he has the capability to hate anyone!" But for some reason, uncertainty floated in piercing ebon orbs. "At least, I hope they won't hate you..." Quick! Need a change in topic! "Enough about me Feli-kun! Do you have anyone you're attracted to?!"

The bright light in limpid brown eyes instantly extinguished. "I do...but they're way out of my league."

"'They'?!" Question marks floated in obsidian hues.

Shrug. "As in either guy or girl. I don't want to tell their gender in fear of giving them away." The brunet hung his head. "This person would never accept a foreigner...an outcast...like me when they have so many better options to choose from."

"Feli-kun..." The melancholy visible in those usually limpid brown eyes broke Kiku's heart.

Feliciano suddenly bolted up, piercing ebon orbs shocked as they watched the brunet make his way toward the door. "I have to go to work now."

"Work?" The sable quirked his head to the side. "What do you work as, Feli-kun?"

Sheepish rubbing of the neck. "I'm a chef." The hand abruptly dropped, expression dropping as well. "But I'm always forced to stay in the very back of the kitchen so nobody sees me and I'm paid barely anything." Shrug. "But it's this job that allows me to have the food I can't gather or catch." The bright smile had returned. "Addio Kiku!"

Piercing ebon orbs kept track of the brunet's every movement, gazing longingly long after Feliciano had actually left.

Watashi wa kimi o aishiteimasu...Feli-kun.

"Feli-kun?! What's wrong?!"

All alone with the two cats who had fallen asleep, the raven took that opportunity to explore every nook and cranny of the brunet's house, spending the rest of the morning and the majority of the afternoon doing so. Ah...everything reminded him of his precious person: the brown walls, the brown furniture, the warm interior, heck even the scent which had been absorbed into the wood...yes, absolutely everything. A fond smile crossed his lips; he could live here forever, by his beloved's side for all eternity...

The serene peace which had surrounded the sable only made what happened next all the more jarring; Feliciano had come rushing inside, tears flying out of his eyes as he ran into the room from the flung-open door. "KIKU!"

"Doushita Feli-kun?!" The sight of those desolate streams caused two completely different kinds of emotions to overpower Honda; one of extreme grief for the normally blithe's misery, and the other of extreme hatred for the one who caused that misery...

Piercing ebon orbs widened significantly as arms wrapped tightly around him, a face pressed tightly to his shoulder as wetness soaked into his kimono. "G-Gomen Kiku, demo—"

"—Sore wa kamaimasen." Hazy honey hues widened as arms tightened around his own back, their owner stunned at the returned embrace. The raven patted the chestnut locks gently, gazing at Vargas with caring gentle eyes. "Please tell me what's wrong Feli-kun."

Feliciano was no longer able to hold it in, the dams bursting as sobs tore through his frame. "I CAN'T DO IT ANYMORE KIKU!" Trembles which rivaled those of earthquakes of the highest magnitudes wracked his body as his voice became barely audible. "Today at work, while I was busy cooking, I heard a voice drift all the way into the back room I was in." Sniff. "'This has got to be the best thing I've ever eaten! Compliments to the chef! They must be sent from the Gods! I must meet them!'" The breath caught in the melancholic's throat, him having to swallow several times in order to continue. "That made me so happy; that was the first time I heard such a compliment in all the time I've been cooking for that restaurant. So without thinking, I rushed out of the kitchen to meet this person—" Oh Kiku knew where this was going.

"So upon seeing your brown hair and brown eyes, that person realized you are the 'foreigner', right?" Yes, he knew.

Rapid nod. "Yes!" He wept even harder. "'Ew! It's the outsider! Who the heck would be desperate enough to hire this piece of trash?!'" The grip tightened. "At that moment, the restaurant owner came walking in, wondering what the ruckus was about." Oh no. "And he said..." Even tighter. "...'What's this scum doing here?! Is he trying to poison the food?!'"

"...He denied his association with you?" A lethal flame ignited in piercing ebon orbs.

Unable to see that lethal flame due to having his face buried in a shoulder, the teller gave another rapid nod. "Everyone suddenly turned to us and recognized me as the foreigner by my brown hair and brown eyes...and I was subsequently chased out by an angry mob." Wail. "I'm not kidding Kiku! There were pitchforks and everything!" Another dam broke loose as another fit of sobs tore through him. "They were accusing me of trying to kill them and I think they were going to kill me!"

"I thought the emperor forbade such an action!" But he knew such words were uttered in vain.

In vain indeed. "I thought so too until I saw the fire in those eyes! The fire that would not be put out until I was!"

"Feli-kun..." Trails flowed down the sable's own cheeks.

Lids then shot open, revealing dead brown eyes—wait dead?! "I was naïve, thinking people would accept me for who I am." He gripped auburn strands, intently staring at them. "It's because of my repulsive brown hair and brown eyes that I've been so cursed these past ten years." Determination burned strongly. "If I were to dye my hair black and keep my eyes closed forever, then I'll be accepted! No one will hate me anymor—"


Eyes widened into saucers. "But—"

"NO BUTS! NO GODFORSAKEN BUTS!" The intensity had yet to die down, only raging on further. "THOSE KIND OF TRASH DESERVE TO DIE! THEY POLLUTE THE WORLD!"

Mouth dropped wide open. "Kiku! You don't know what you're saying!"

"Oh I know what I am saying." The tranquil fury which had taken place of the blazing anger scared the brunet even more. "I would know." The fury was at last extinguished as Kiku loosened his grip on those cheeks, pulling Vargas nearer to gaze at the brunet's face closer to his own. "Your brown hair and brown eyes are so beautiful Feli-kun." Closer. "They remind me of the smoothest of chocolates, the richest of coffee, the healthiest of trees, the most fertile of soils, the finest of autumns, the warmest of hearts..." Even closer. "You are so beautiful in so many ways. You are perfect in my eyes, more than perfect in fact..."

Feliciano was rendered breathless. "...Omae."

"Feli-kun! Watashi wa kimi o—" And then he noticed; their lips were only mere millimeters apart, their breaths mingling. Crap! This wasn't supposed to happen!

Kiku abruptly fled.


Hours upon hours had passed since then yet the seeker was no closer to accomplishing his goal than he had at the beginning; forest stretched on farther than the eye could see, huge trees surrounding the hazel completely...yet the raven was not seen amongst it all. Not in the trees. Not behind the brush. Not swinging on a vine. Nowhere. Just how far could he have run in such a short time?! Complete and absolute panic overtook the auburn's mind, blinding him to the fact that the sun had set, blinding him to the fact that he had set foot in a certain section...

Feliciano swiveled his head around the clearing, frantically searching the premises for any signs of his companion. "Where are—"

"RRRROOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!" A heart stopped on the spot; a humongous black leopard suddenly collided into the guy, knocking him onto the ground.

That paralyzed muscle restarted a few seconds later, beating in hyperdrive. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! P-PLEASE DON'T KILL ME!" Tears came to his eyes. "I-I DON'T WANT TO DIE!" The unexpected happened...nothing. Why wasn't it attacking?! Forcing open one brown eye, he saw the reason why; the beast had frozen over, piercing ebon orbs wide. Wait—piercing ebon orbs?! Those orbs belonged to only one person and one person only...

"K-Kiku?!" His mouth dropped open. "I-Is that you Kiku?!" A memory suddenly flashed into the brunet's mind, brown eyes popping straight out of his skull. "...You're the Obake. The last Obake." That word. That one word caused the panther to bolt, making to flee once more only for a weight to pounce onto his back, said weight refusing to let go. "Don't go Kiku! Don't run away! Please don't leave me! PLEASE!"

Of course, Honda could not deny his beloved. Not even in a situation like this. "...Feli-kun." Lips did not move.

"So it's really you Kiku?" Getting off of the addressed's back, the asker crawled up to the creature's cheeks, gently grasping them in his hands. "Why didn't you tell me?"

Piercing ebon orbs narrowed, their owner snarling. "Why didn't I tell you?" The leopard backed off from the grasp, pacing the length of the ground without ever taking his eyes off of the auburn. "You want to know why?" There was a coldness in those piercing ebon orbs that was not present before. The metamorphose suddenly pounced once more, appearance changing with each step he took. "Did you—" Tiger "—want me—" Lion "—to tell you—" Viper "—THAT I'M A DEMON?!" Dragon. The dragon roared, spreading his bat-like wings to full capacity as he reared up. "A FIEND?! A MONSTER?!" Wild hissing followed. "THERE'S A REASON I'M THE LAST OBAKE!"

"Kiku...what happened?" No fear could be read in those limpid brown eyes...even back then when their owner first realized what Kiku really was, only shock.

That alone convinced the being. "Obake...we...once lived in perfect harmony with nature and each other, wanting to get along with all its gifts including humans although we had secluded ourselves from them." Melancholy of an unimaginable scale could be read in the reptile's piercing ebon orbs. "We were prosperous. We were happy. We were all one big family. We had it all...until the Obake Gyakusatsu came about."

"Obake...Massacre?" Feliciano froze over, absolute terror seizing his frame.

A fiery blaze ignited in charcoal depths, a deep and feral growl leaving reptilian lips. "I lost everything."

"Come over here Kiku-aru!"

A short man who possessed brown eyes and had long black hair tied in a ponytail and was dressed in oriental robes waved the addressed over, smiling as said individual joined him. The large, black round ears poking from those black tresses distinguished him from most.

The Japanese quirked a brow. "What is it, Yao-san?"

"Look at this-aru." The Chinese pointed to a lily, smiling as a bee landed on it. "Don't you see how all life is interlinked-aru?" The pair watched as the bug buried itself in the petals, the speaker continuing. "That flower takes the sun's energy and makes food for itself-aru. It also provides nectar for pollinators such as bees which keeps them alive while they pollinate other flowers, ensuring the survival of that flower's species-aru." He gestured to their surroundings. "You can see this just about anywhere, not just in the forest-aru."

Kiku sighed. "I know this already, Yao-san."

"Anyways-aru..." Pointedly ignoring the complaint, the guy walked up to a patch of bambusa, assuming the form of a panda as he approached. "Life isn't always fair though-aru. Where there are winners, there are losers-aru. Take for example..." He picked up a stalk. "...me and this bamboo-aru! While I get my lunch, this bamboo shoot has to give up its life to provide that lunch-aru!" Chomp. Laugh.

Piercing ebon orbs were rolled. "Yao-san—"

"RUN-ARU! KIKU RU—" Too late; the flash in the grove shot forward, piercing the bear in the heart.

Charcoal depths widened beyond belief, their owner rushing over to the maimed, taking him into his arms. "YAO-SAN!"

"Run, run-aru..." The instructed would rather hear a million lectures than that single short word which was repeated on lips that grew colder and colder.

An arrow whizzed past, barely avoiding grazing Kiku's cheek. "I can't leave you Yao-san...nii-san." Not that he noticed as he held his dying sibling closer to him, weeping heavily. "Don't leave me big brother. I love you. I need you."

"Run..." The last of the light faded from brown eyes, anguished black eyes flooded with a torrent of tears at the sight.

Malevolent cackling could be heard coming closer, two men entering the thicket. "Ha! That Obake is as good as dead; none of those fiends could possibly survive the poison we tipped our flints in!"

"Oh look, there's another." A finger pointed straight at Kiku.

An arrow was loaded on the bow, the string pulled. "That's about to change right now!"

"NO!" Fear overtaking him absolutely, the target acted solely on instinct as he changed into a dragonfly, zipping away, hardly able to dodge the deadly projectiles shot at him.

Tsk. "It got away." The conversation carried over to the shifter even in insect form.

"Well, we got one." Smug smirk.

Malicious snicker. "That's true."

"The Obake Gyakusatsu is one step closer to completion!" Dual bouts of malignant laughter burst from the killers' maws.

Piercing ebon orbs widened in unimaginable horror at those horrific words. "Obake...Gyakusatsu?!"

"Obake Gyakusatsu?!"

Having lost his precious older brother, Kiku immediately rushed to a tanned man who had messy brown hair which had elephant ears peeking out and wore glasses, not wanting the same to happen to his other older brother.

The Japanese nodded. "I overheard the hunters say that term after they had murdered Yao-san." A fist clenched, face scrunching up in pain. "Tahi-san, why would humans want to kill us?! We didn't do anything to them!"

"Kiku..." The Thai sighed, shaking his head. "You know once you get a human scared of something, they will do whatever it takes to obliterate that fear completely and ruthlessly, even if it's irrational." Eyes softened. "They say humans are the real monsters for a reason."

Piercing ebon orbs widened. "...No way."

"Oh! Peanuts!" Those seeds laid scattered about the ground in front of the pair, large lobes fanning about excitedly. "It's been forever since I last had peanuts!"

Charcoal depths were skeptical. "Something's not right about this..."

"Oh come on little brother!" The guy laughed, eagerly peeling the shells before shoveling the contents into his mouth. "You don't see any dead animals around here, do you? These look like they've been out for some time and therefore animals should have tried eating them by now."

Kiku looked around, spotting none. "...No."

"Therefore you don't have to worry about them being poi—" Eyes widening, the man appeared as though he was choking as he grasped at his throat, turning increasing more purple before he collapsed at last, never to awaken again.

The raven gasped, shaking at the afflicted frantically. "Tahi-san? Tahi-san?! TAHI-SAN?!" The sable collapsed onto his hands and knees, weeping terribly. "Sonna. SONNA!"

"Oh god that was priceless." Quickly morphing into a speck of dust, the metamorphose watched as some men entered the area, a bag of dead animals slunk behind one's back. "Are all Obake such idiots?!"

The other burst into laughter. "Is that even a question?!"

"Nope!" Laughter. Laughter. Even more laughter.

Kiku watched in horror as the body of the dead second brother was dragged off as though it were a prize, none of the killers even bothering to be remotely gentle.

"Fell for it."

"Worked like a charm!"

"Stupid Obake! Obake wa baka!"

"Eh?! Are you serious?!"

A teenage male bearing maroon fringes and hues in a cerulean jeogori above a white hanbok, a strange curl which seemed to bear a face in the midst stared wide-eyed at the Japanese as those tragic events were relayed, rounded weasel ears perking up.

Kiku shook his head, wetness surrounding piercing ebon orbs. "I desperately wish I wasn't Soo-san. Yao-san and Tahi-san were killed by human hunters and I bore witness to both murders."

"...Not Yao. Anyone but Yao." Tears were brought to the Korean's eyes. "Why him?!"

Honda hung his head. "Why is this happening to us?"

"Why hello there." Two heads shot up, taking in the sight of the newcomer.

The brunet's ears perked, tail wagging. "Why hello there ma'am."

"Could you be so kind as to help me out?" Eyelashes were batted in a seductive manner.

One of them simply could not resist. "Of course ma'am!"

"Wait! Soo-san!" Kiku had a HORRIBLE feeling in his gut. "Don't—"

The guy was rendered breathless and no, not in a good way. Far from good. "Heh, stupid men. Stupid Obake men." The envenomed dagger was pulled straight out of the victim's stomach, the corpse kicked to the side. "Who says women can't get on the action?" The murderess glanced up, twirling the weapon skillfully. "You want to be next?"

Of course he didn't.

"...No way."

A young lady who had honey-colored orbs as well as chocolate locks tied back into a ponytail with a straw nón lá around her neck and was dressed in an emerald áo dài stared at the sable in disbelief, her normally strong resolve broken in the face of what was happening, black ursine ears remaining flattened on her head.

Kiku nodded. "We have lost two brothers and a cousin." Sniff. "I did not want to be the bearer of such horrible news...Onamu-san."

"No one would want to be." The Vietnamese shook her head. "This is just horrible."

A branch suddenly snapped, two sets of fearful eyes swiveling to take in the source of that sound. "Who's there?!" The Japanese barked out.

"Oh dearies." An old woman walked up to them, shriveled hands clasped together. "I need a young, strong person to help me out of this forest. I can't do it all by myself!"

Bad feeling. Such a terrible feeling. "I'm sorry but—"

"—I'll help." Piercing ebon orbs widened as his sister stood, walking up to the elder.

He grasped her wrist, holding her back. "Matte! Don't be so hasty! Remember what's been happening?!"

"Oh Kiku." The grip was shaken off. "I can't just let this sweet old woman be by herself in the woods, especially when it gets dark." The girl took the senior's hand, helping her walk. "That would just be horrible."

The lady beamed. "Oh thank you dearest." She reached into her purse. "Have a piece of candy!" Before anyone could react, the elder pried the younger's mouth open with surprising strength, forcing the capsule in.

"W-What?!" The poison simply took effect too fast; the afflicted could do nothing as her heart was forced into cardiac arrest, collapsing onto the ground in a heap.

Scoff. "'Sweet old woman'?" Smirk. "Works every time."

"N-Not again." Tears blurred piercing ebon orbs as their owner morphed into a falcon, darting away.

"No. No! NO! NOOO!"

Streams gushed out of golden eyes framed by chestnut tresses which bore pink flowers in them, the maiden—who wore a rosette qipao along with a long white skirt—having her squirrel ears pressed tightly to her locks as she bawled, having to be supported by her brother.

The crying sniffled. "Onamu was such a strong woman, such an incredible sister!" She buried herself into the chest supporting her, weeping harder. "Just why is this happening to us big brother?!"

"Mei-san..." Piercing ebon orbs were soft. "We have to be careful from now on; everyone is after us, don't forget that."

The Taiwanese gave a slow nod. "Alright, I understand—"

"WWWWAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Both pairs of eyes snapped to the source of the wail, finding it to be a little boy. "DADDY! WHERE ARE YOU?!"

The girl gasped. "Poor kid! He lost his parent!"

"Wait Mei-san!" Two hands clutched onto her wrist, preventing her from taking even one step in the direction of the child. "Remember the woman! Remember the old lady!"

The restricted pouted. "But Kiku! He's just a little kid! He's innocent!"

"But—" Ignored.

Definitely ignored. "Let go!" Wiggling out of her sole surviving sibling's grasp, the female rushed to the cherub, enveloping him in her arms. "Oh you poor sweetie! Do you need me to do anything for you?"

"Yes..." Déjà vu. In the worst sense. "I would like for you to drop dead!" Faster than a blink of an eye, a dagger flashed, the poisoned blade sinking into the girl's back.

Blood poured out of her mouth, the victim reaching out for her brother. "K-Kiku...I'm so sorry." That hand dropped as its owner had collapsed, bent in unnatural angles.

"NO! NOOOOOO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Rushing over to the fallen, the Japanese attempted to shake her awake...all in vain.

At that moment, a man appeared from the brush, the child running to be by his side. "Daddy! Look! I killed my first Obake!" He eagerly pointed to the lifeless woman.

"Great job son. You are doing the world a great service. You'll be a great hero some day, just like me." The father pet his kid's hair, pride shining through as though the boy had done the most wonderful thing in the world.

The last straw. The last straw snapped. "We were too kind. We were too trusting. We were too naïve." The pair broke from their father-son bonding moment, watching as a jaw replaced a mouth, claws replaced nails, paws replaced hands and feet, and fur of the blackest night replaced pale skin. The panther strolled over, glaring at the two with the utmost hatred. "We never fought back, choosing to run instead. We chose to respect all of nature's creations, even the humans cutting down our numbers for no goddamned reason." Piercing ebon orbs flashed. "BUT I WON'T RUN AWAY ANYMORE! I WON'T BE A COWARD ANY LONGER!"

"Son! Make this your second kill!" An evil glint shining in eyes that were supposed to be pure, the owner of said eyes leapt ahead with weapon in hand, thrusting it forward...

...only to strike thin air as the leopard had dodged, tackling the assaulter to the ground, fury blazing uncontrollably in charcoal depths. "RRRROOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!"

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Dropping the dagger instantly, the lad was thrown into a screaming fit as terror seized control of every fiber in his body.

The dad lunged forward, his own envenomed blade in hand. "YOU MONSTER!"

"Monster? Me?" Sadistic chuckle. Moving away from the petrified progeny, the panther effortlessly evaded the arcing sword before slamming his tail into the wielder's wrist, prying the katana without breaking a single sweat. Disarmed, the guy was forced to inch back as the feline prowled closer, closer, oh so closer. "Did you say you are a 'great hero'?" Piercing ebon orbs narrowed DANGEROUSLY. "I wonder just how many of my kind have you murdered? One? Hundreds? Thousands?" Backed up against a tree. Oh no. There was nowhere to go. "IT'S YOU HUMANS WHO STOLE EVERYTHING AWAY FROM ME! MY BROTHERS! MY COUSIN! MY SISTERS!" Pounce. "THIS IS FOR YAO-SAN!" Slash. "THIS IS FOR TAHI-SAN!" Shred. "THIS IS FOR SOO-SAN!" Bash. "THIS IS FOR ONAMU-SAN!" Smash. "AND THIS IS FOR MEI-SAN!" Crunch.

The man was nothing more than a puddle of blood when the beast was through with him, the kid left without a father...and a life.

"Those were my first kills; the father of that child who had ended my younger sister's life, and that child himself." Piercing ebon orbs narrowed. "Men, women, children...people of all ages hunted us down. They all had one thing in common though; they were all humans. Not one exception. Humans, they are a rotten species." Snarl. "Over the next century, every other Obake had been hunted and killed...until I was the only one left, only me." The dragon paced the length of the clearing, head down. "Now I know what you're going to say...'Not every human is like that', am I right?" Silence. "WELL YOU'RE WRONG! EVERY HUMAN HAS AN INNATE DESIRE TO SHUN THAT THEY FEAR, A DEMON THAT AWAKENS FROM HATE!" Stomp. The metamorphose's voice lowered to a rasp. "Yao Wang and Tahi Daln perished at the hands of men who thought of us as only monsters. Im Yong Soo was murdered by a woman who seduced him. Onamu Teb and Xiao Mei were slaughtered by those they deemed helpless. Don't tell me women, the elderly, and children are innocent; they are not." Humph. "I managed to track down and slaughter those who had murdered my family and put my deceased to rest, but there's no bringing them back. Ever." Sneer. "With the help of special charms and cursed poisons, hunters were able to track down and wipe out millions of Obake all over Asia, only me escaping that fate since I kill those who try to kill me and scare the others off...and I make sure no one sees my true form while I do the deed; I won't take any more chances. That's right, I'm a monster. I'm a murderer." The air around the space became freezing cold. "Do you now know why I didn't tell you who I really am? That I hid it from you?" Snort. "You must hate me now, want to kill me like the rest." He was expecting a sword in the back, a dagger in the side, an arrow in the heart, a slit in the throat...

...but not the tears that had greeted him. "T-That's so horrible!" The desolate weeping was definitely not expected. "To think you lost your whole family and everyone around you and people hate you just because you're an Obake!" Feliciano collapsed onto his hands and knees, a puddle of salty water forming right below him. "That's even worse than what I went through! So much worse! What I went through for ten years is nothing compared to what you had to for a hundred!" Hands covered his eyes. "I'm so sorry you had to go through that, Kiku! I'm so sorry!"

"Feli-kun..." Sincerity. Integrity. Probity. Candor. Candidness. Honesty. Truthfulness. Truth, truth, and nothing but the truth; that was all the raven could read as honey hues stared up at him, anguish and grief swirling within those depths. Even though the suffering that had caused them was not his own. Piercing ebon orbs softening, their owner approached the empathetic, shape changing once more.

Distressed brown eyes widened beyond belief. "Kiku! You're—"

"This is my true form." A familiar human body in a familiar kimono replaced the draconic one yet bore some major differences; pointed obsidian ears poked from raven locks, twin tails swishing from behind. "I'm a nekomataneko."

Confusion lit up on the listener's features. "Nekomata...neko?"

"Yes." Nod. "'Nekomata' as in the two tailed cat that can change forms, and 'neko' as in a person with cats ears and a cat tail. That's the kind of Obake I am."

What happened next was DEFINITELY not expected. "Oh Kiku you're so adorable!" Feliciano beamed. "I knew you'd be simply cute with cat ears and a tail! I knew it!" Limpid brown eyes twinkled dazzlingly. "KAWAII!"

"I am not cute! I am a deadly monster!" The full-body flush that ignited pale skin lessened the impact of that statement. Dramatically so.

Piercing ebon orbs widened as arms surrounded his waist, holding him tightly to a warm chest. "You aren't a monster Kiku. You're just someone who has lived a tragic life and was pushed into the brink of despair. You don't kill for sick pleasure or to gain power; you kill to preserve your own life." The grip was tightened. "It doesn't excuse the fact that you killed many and horribly traumatized others...but there was a reason to it all, a horribly tragic reason. That doesn't make you a monster." Smirk. "And you so are cute!"

"Feli-kun..." Disbelief could not even begin to describe what swamped the sable at that moment.

Those limpid brown eyes suddenly became sad. "Do you think of me as a monster Kiku?" Bangs shaded saddened hues. "You said 'every human has an innate desire to shun that they fear, a demon that awakens from hate'...essentially being monsters. I'm a human, remember? Therefore you must think I'm a monst—"

"NO YOU ARE NOT! YOU ARE NOT EVEN CLOSE!" The all-consuming intensity in piercing ebon orbs stole the brunet's breath, hands clasping onto shoulders roughly. "YOU ARE AN ANGEL IN HUMAN FORM!"

Shocked beyond belief. "Angel...me?"

"Yes you." The intensity died down as scarlet tinted the sable's cheeks. "You're an angel. A beautiful angel." Obsidian orbs could not meet hazel hues any longer. "Truth be told, I know your backstory; I saw when you first came here. I saw that brown-haired brown-eyed little boy running away from an angry mob after being shipwrecked on the shores of Japan." Despite the significant widening of brown eyes, the confessor continued. "I saw how you had been outcasted from the shadows; I watched as you were continuously pushed away for three years, hated just for existing. I watched as you had to retreat into the forest after those three years as no one would welcomed you or even let you live near them. I watched as you built your cabin, scrummaging through the trash for scrap metal and cutting down trees for wood. I saw you make all the furniture and create the floor board by board and make the walls log by log. I saw how you had to gather and catch most of your food. I saw most everything concerning you for the past ten years." Red only became redder. "At first I felt sympathy for you who had just lost your grandfather and brother and instead of being treated with care, with hate. I felt horrible that you had to be out on your own. However, I never reached out due to my intense hatred of humans." Piercing ebon orbs softened once more. "Yet over time, that sympathy morphed into admiration as I saw those beautiful smiles on your face, those smiles that put the sun to shame, those dazzling smiles that were on no matter who you met, no matter what you did, no matter what hardships you faced. No matter what you were so kind and over the years you grew into such a beautiful young man. I couldn't help but be pulled into your bright aura, your magicial brown eyes, eyes unlike any other I've ever seen. I couldn't help but fall madly in love with you—" Piercing ebon orbs popped out as hands flew to cover his mouth, as though trying to shove those words back in...to no avail.

A mouth hung wide open, eyes even wider. "Kiku...you love me?" Realization suddenly dawned on him. "The guy you were talking about that one time, that guy you're attracted to and are in love with...he's me?! You're in love with me?!"

"...Hai." There was no point in hiding it. None at all. The cat's out of the bag. The Japanese turned away once more, cheeks ignited. "You really are very kind, you really are beautiful, you really are sweet, you really do put a smile on my face, you really smile no matter what hardships you face, and you really generally are not like everyone else; you're far better and are one of a kind. How could I not fall in love with you?" His eyes suddenly snapped up, hands reaching out to grab the other's face, forcing eye contact. "Feli-kun, do you hate yourself?" That's what he meant?!

The breath caught in the auburn's throat. "What are you—"

"Don't hate yourself." Charcoal depths burned. "There is absolutely no reason to; you can't control what you're born as." Piercing ebon orbs narrowed. "If anything, hate those people—"

This time hands gripped the raven's face, piercing ebon orbs expanding at the intensity in those caramel hues. "No, don't hate anyone; hate only leads to more hate which leads to even more hate. It's an endless cycle, a vicious circle that hurts all and helps none." Limpid brown eyes softened. "No, I don't hate myself." A question suddenly lit up, head quirking to the side. "If you hate humans so much, what made you show yourself to me?"

"Um...you see...well...um...you see—" There was no getting out of this, was there?

Nope. "Kiku!" Feliciano whined. "Just tell—"

"—It was when I saw you crying over that sign!" Everything came out all at once. "Your tears were genuine, I could tell; over the past century, I have gained the ability to tell when one is lying or is fake...and you were neither." His hands moved to the hazel's chest, clenching the fabric there. "That touched my heart. You crying over the last Obake...that made me so happy. Everyone else would either sneer or be in fear. I had to thank you by giving you those fish—"

Mouth agape. "—Wait, you mean that mackerel, salmon, and halibut?!" Rapid nod. Even more agape. "Then that kind person—"

"—Is me." Another nod, this time much slower. "That offering of Seafood Risotto was absolutely delicious. It made me so, so happy. It was then that I decided; I would reveal myself to you."

The listener froze over. "So when you came to me that time—"

"—I was watching you from the shadows. As much as I despise that rude guy for shoving you—" Spit. Blush. "—that was the perfect opportunity to approach you."

Even more recollections collided into the brunet. "Wait! So the reason I've never been able to meet that kind person—"

"—Is because I can't make clones of myself." The confessor flushed. "I would have to have left and take on another form...but I couldn't because you wanted me to stay with you." Completely red. "I had to wait until you fell asleep before accepting your offering." Deep crimson. "I felt like I was in heaven as I was eating that pasta. Thank you so much."

The arms tightened their grasp. "Nessun problema Kiku!" And then he realized what he was doing. "OH WHOOPS! SORRY ABOUT THE HU—"

"N-No, don't be." The Asian tightened his own arms around the larger frame, horribly flustered as twin tails joined those arms in heatedly returning that embrace.

A thought suddenly flashed into the Italian's mind, bemusement appearing on his features. "Wait...I've been here for almost ten years yet I only saw that sign just a few months back." Head quirked. "What's up with that?"

"It's actually been there for the past forty years, ever since I started haunting that area and became known as the last Obake." He scratched his chin. "But moss started covering it about a decade ago—"

The spontaneous pause unsettled the hazel. "What?! What is it Kiku?!"

"Oh those rotten, rotten humans." Snarl. "Rotten, rotten species. To think they would do that to their own kind..."

Gasp. "Kiku! Calm down!" Feliciano tightened his embrace, rocking on his heels back and forth in a soothing manner. "What wrong?!"

"Those goddamned villagers must have hidden that sign in hopes you wandered into that area at night!" Growl. Looks like the soothing motion went in vain, doing absolutely nothing to deter the sable's fury. "They wanted me to either traumatize or kill you!" Wings emerged from his back, fangs growing in in place of canines. "That was fake moss! Someone must have forgotten to put it back right before you read it!" The enraged roared. "THOSE TRASH DESERVE TO DIE! THOSE ROTTEN B—"

Nothing could have prepared Kiku for what happened next; he suddenly found himself unable to speak as lips covered his own, the shock of it all forcing him to revert to his original form, extinguishing his rage. The instigator pulled back, eyes half-lidded as they gazed into shell-shocked ebon orbs. "Kiku...please don't do that. Please don't harm or kill anyone anymore. I don't want anyone else getting hurt. And..." Tears came to those eyes, forced to shut as they poured out. "...I don't want you to die!" Streams came down in torrents. "You always run the risk of being murdered when you reveal yourself!" The grip became constricting. "Just stay with me! You have a place with me, a place to stay and call home! Don't leave me!" The brunet snuggled into the shorter's shoulder, weeping even harder. "I love you Kiku!"

"Y-You love me?!" A mouth dropped into oblivion. "I-Is that even possible?!"

Peck on the cheek. "Of course it is! You're the kindest person I've encountered in these ten years I've been here and that makes me so, so happy!" Nuzzle. "And you're the most beautiful and adorable and cute person I've ever met!"

"You must have never looked into a mirror before then." Surprise sparked in limpid brown eyes as they took in the fond smile directed at him. "You are so, so beautiful." Melancholy seeped into obsidian depths. "I wish I had approached you when you first came here; you would have suffered less." Bangs shaded piercing ebon orbs. "I didn't realize just how much you were suffering on the inside. I didn't realize how much you hid behind such dazzling smiles and for that I'm forever sorry—"

Once again, full supple lips cut him off. "You're here now; that's all that matters." The brunet breathed as they pulled apart once more, gaze fond.

"A-Arigato Feli-kun." The raven buried himself in the larger chest, trembling. "You know, I originally planned on being a sort of guardian spirit to you, being your friend during the day and your protector during the night. I would have brought food when you didn't have enough and even when you did. I would have done whatever possible to keep you happy." A darkness entered charcoal depths. "I would have had to constantly restrain myself from killing your lover though—"

The Japanese was immediately cut off as his chin was taken in two fingers, meeting incredulous hazel hues. "Lover?! What are you even saying?!"

"You would have eventually found a man or woman who would accept you for who you are, don't say otherwise." A jealous glint shone through. "There are millions of people in Japan, so it's a given there would at least be one amongst them all that would fall for you despite you being the 'cursed foreigner'."

Shoulders were shaken. "Yeah! That person is you! You would have tried committing suicide over and over again?!" Shaken even harder. "That's what you're telling me!"

"...You want me to become your lover?!" Too many groundbreaking revelations had been made in one night for anyone, even for a supernatural Yōkai.

Firm nod. "Hai. Sì." Determination blazed on in caramel depths. "You love me and I love you, let's not make this hard; it's only natural we become lovers." Cheeks were gently cupped, piercing ebon orbs brought level to limpid brown eyes. "Will you be my lover? Please?"

"Mates." Lips were brought down as the other set were raised, a kiss sealing the deal.

Giggle. "Mates, lovers...love is where we are."

Yes it is.

"Did you hear?"

"The Obake didn't attack yesterday."

"I wonder why that is?"

"That's never happened before!"

A crowd of civilians had crowded before the square—far from that restaurant—and were chatting amongst themselves, all perplexed.

Passing by, a certain Italian was happily whistling to himself, a certain special object in his hands. All eyes turned to the European, sneers and jeers following immediately afterwards.

"Ugh. The foreigner just had to show up."

"The outsider ruins everyone's day."

"The Obake should have gotten him."


Ignoring the insults shot his way, Feliciano continued on, making his way back to his cabin home as though no one had just wish his death, throwing the door of said cabin wide open with a huge smile on his face as that certain object was hidden behind his back. "SONO A CASA!"

"Okaerinasai, Feli-kun." For once the house wasn't empty when the owner got back, Kiku walking up to the brunet, giving a kiss on the cheek as arms and tails wrapped around his frame for several seconds. Piercing ebon orbs glanced down, catching sight of that certain object. "What are you holding, Feli-kun?"

Bright beaming. "Oh this?" That certain object was held up, revealed to be an exquisite bouquet...

"You got me chrysanthemums?!"...of chrysanthemums of the richest crimson!

Giggle. "Of course!" The flowers were handed over to stunned hands, the giver leaning. "For my most beautiful chrysanthemum..." Kiss on the lips. "...Kiku."

"A-Arigato Feli-kun." How did Honda not enter cardiac arrest in that moment?!

Grin. "Nessun problema Kiku! To show my love for you!"

"Sokka..." The raven's expression abruptly hardened. "Feli-kun...why do you bear with those idiot villagers?" Piercing ebon orbs narrowed, twin tails puffing out as feline ears flattened. "Those morons still have the nerve to talk bad about you even though you're the only reason I stopped attacking and killing; they should be bowing down to you."

Limpid brown eyes widened in shock. "How do you know this?!"

"I morphed into a dragonfly and followed you out so there wouldn't be a repeat of yesterday's incident..." Eyes narrowed dangerously. "...and I zipped back here as fast as I could as you were returning, arriving a few minutes before you did before changing back."

Feliciano sighed. "They'll always be like this Kiku." A head was shaken. "And besides, I wouldn't be able to tell them why; I don't want to put you at risk." Circles were rubbed into the shorter's back. "At least I have you now."

"Yeah..." The atmosphere spontaneously sombered. "Feli-kun, are you ready to go to the place I told you about?"

The smile faded. "Yes."

"Here we are."

Yao Wang. Tahi Daln. Im Yong Soo. Onamu Teb. Xiao Mei. Five gravestones were lined up right next to each other, inscriptions on all of them...

...except for two blank ones that were off to the side, one mound significantly longer than the other. "I've always wondered where their bodies went." Vargas knew.

"I'm so sorry for hiding this from you." Kiku looked away, guilt in his eyes. "After everyone had left, I took them and buried them right here. I might have hated humans at the time, but I still felt that those two deserved a proper burial."

Slow nod. "It's alright. At least I know they've been resting in peace and not in pieces in sharks' bellies." Bending down, Feliciano extracted a carving tool before placing it at the stone face of the first tombstone, etching words into it before moving onto the second, doing the same. Romulus Vargas. Lovino Vargas.

"No problem." Crouching down, the sable gazed at the pentad, melancholy swirling within piercing ebon orbs. "Yao-san, Tahi-san, Soo-san, Onamu-san, Mei-san...it is my deepest of honors to see you again. I hope all of you have been enjoying your time in the spirit world and are resting in peace. You all deserve that and so much more." Trembling with foreign emotions, the Japanese turned, staring at his companion beside him who had also went into a kneel. "Brothers, cousin, sisters...I have brought my mate, my lover and other half to see you today with me. His name is Feliciano Vargas."

Respectful bow. "Hello. I am the man your brother and cousin has chosen to be his partner in life. Thank you so much for seeing me today." His breath hitched. "If you were all still alive, we would have eventually became in-laws, or at least that's my hope." Powerful emotions rendered him speechless, having to regain his composure before continuing. "I'm so sorry for what has happened to you. I apologize on behalf of all humans. What we did was simply awful." Tears soaked into the ground. "We eliminated your kind out of petty fears and left only one as a survivor. I am forever sorry for that." He buried his head into the soil. "I hope to one day be worthy of your precious brother and cousin, to be fit for being his love in all of your eyes." He bowed one last time. "Thank you so much for having me."

"Arigato Feli-kun..." A hand was placed on his shoulder. "...but you have nothing to be sorry for. You're the only human to have nothing to be sorry for." The raven picked himself up, walking over to the next two graves before crouching down once more. "Konnichiwa. I am the man your grandson and brother has chosen to be his partner in life. Thank you so much for seeing me today." He lowered his head in a deferring manner. "I had brought you both here to be put to rest almost ten years ago, yet this is the first time your kin has been able to see you both. I am so sorry for that." He crouched impossibly low. "I hope I can one day be worthy of your precious grandson and brother, to be fit for being his love in both of your eyes." He clenched a fist, pumping it. "As the last Obake in the entire world, I will do whatever is within my power and so much more to ensure Feliciano Vargas is kept safe and happy." He put a fist to his heart. "I promise this."

Tearful smile. "Grazie Kiku. But you are already everything I could ever wish for and more. So much more." He knelt before his deceased family, hugging the headstones. "I wish so badly that you both were still alive. I miss you so much nonno, fratello. All I can do is hope you both are enjoying heaven for all its worth, free from pain and suffering. I hope neither of you have to go through what I did for the past decade." The streams stopped flowing as the brunet brought the raven over to him, rubbing their cheeks together. "But now I have Kiku and we'll live through life together! He'll protect me and I'll protect him!" He placed a kiss on flaming cheeks. "We'll be happy together so enjoy your stay in heaven together too!"

As the two left the patch of forest hand in hand, one could swear seven spirits looked on after them, smiles on all their faces.

"I'm so happy you want to learn my native language!"

The two were back in the living room of the cabin, Kiku situated on Feliciano's lap as they snuggled together.

Faking a cough, the raven fought a losing battle to hide his intense blush as he looked away, flustered horribly. "W-Well, it's only fair; you know Japanese, but I don't know any Italian."

"Let's get started then!" For the next several hours, the European taught the Asian vocabulary, grammar, syntax, tenses, and more, the Japanese absorbing the information eagerly.

After those hours had passed... "Feli-kun, how do you say 'I have'?"








"I love whose?"

"Amo il cui."







Smirk. "No, another way."

"Feliciano." Realization dawned on the speaker. "'Ho un amante chi amo il cui nome significa feliciano'...'I have a lover who I love whose name means happy'." Ignite. "KIKU!" Ha! It's now the brunet's turn to be flustered!

Smug grin. "It's true." Kiss. "I love you, you're my lover, and your name means 'happy'."

"K-KIKU!" KABOOM! "S-Since when you this bold?!"

Chuckle. "Since I met you." Hmm...that long curl sticking from the auburn's hair sure looked tempting...

"Oh Kiku." Hmm...those tails swishing about sure looked tempting...





Both burst into flames, completely red as they stared at each other.

"What was that for?! My curl is my erogenous zone!"

"What was that for?! My tails are my erogenous zones!"

Wait what?! Both stared at each other in astonishment, mouths dropping open. "They are?!"

"It is?!" The raven couldn't take his eyes off of the strand in his hands. "But how?!"

BAM! "I-It just is!" Pout. "How are your tails your erogenous zones?!" He couldn't take his eyes off of the twin appendages in his hands.

"T-They just are!" BOOM!

Both refused no seemed completely unable to let go of what was in their grasps, eyes simultaneously drifting down to just below their abdomens...which both bore sizable bulges. "K-Kiku..."

"F-Feli-kun..." Oh to heck with it. As though attracted by some magnetic force, both smashed into each other, mouths hungrily eating at each other as tongues battled for dominance, cheeks aflame as eyes were scrunched closed, their respective erogenous zones repeatedly pulled at while the bulges only grew larger and larger, their free hands holding onto the other's frames for dear life.

After several minutes of intense kissing and tugging, both broke apart, a single trail of saliva keeping them connected as they gazed at each other in the eyes, love swirling in both sets of orbs. "T-Ti amo Kiku."

"W-Watashi wa kimi o aishiteimasu Feli-kun." To heck with it indeed.

Picking Kiku up who had wrapped his legs around a slender waist, Feliciano made a mad dash for the bedroom, garments flying the whole way.



Both lay in bed, sheets covering their naked frames as they struggled to catch their breaths.

Propping himself on his elbow upon recovering, the nekomataneko stared at his mate sensually, twin tails swishing in a voluptuary manner as feline ears twitched. "You were incredible Feli-kun."

"...I was a virgin you know." Shyly hiding face in hands—

—which were pulled away, limpid brown eyes met with the sight of a smoldering smirk aimed at him. "I could smell it." Simper. "You had a tempting scent all around you...which is now mixed with mine. I'm the same you know."

"Y-You were also a virgin?" The brunet stared at the raven in disbelief. "You must be a lot older than me though!"

Humph. "...I'm 3284 years old, today being my birthday."

"What?!" The auburn whipped around, glancing at the calendar on the bedside table. "So your birthday is February 11th?!" Pout. "Why didn't you tell me?!"

Shrug. "After 3283 other birthdays, my 3284th really isn't that special."

"But it's your first birthday you spent with me!" Realization suddenly dawned on him. "You're 3284 years old?! I'm only nineteen!"

Another shrug. "It doesn't really matter. I technically stopped aging at twenty, so we're physically only one year apart." He cupped his partner's cheek, gazing into limpid brown eyes. "When's your birthday?"

"...March 17th." Blush. "I'll be twenty then."

A single nod was given. "I see." He had a little less than five weeks to prepare then.

"...Okay." Guilt suddenly became evident in caramel hues. "I didn't get you any birthday presents though!" Whine. "I feel so bad!"

Peck on the cheek. "Oh I want only one thing." Kiss on the lips. Tug of the curl. The sable took one of the hazel's hands, placing one on one tail and the other on a certain lengthening limb, the second tail wrapping around that certain limb belonging to his lover, slowly pumping it, smirking as it rapidly engorged in his hold. Kiku leaned in, whispering hotly. "Mate with me all night long."

"S-So soft and warm...and your voice is so deep and smooth." The victim simply couldn't resist the onslaught bombarding him.

Loud moans in two different pitches could be heard going for hours on end.

"Well this is a bit ironic."

It was the morning after, the brunet more than amused at the sight he walked in on; Kiku was in the bathtub, covered up to his chin in warm water.

The raven peeked an eye open, pouting. "What is Feli-kun?"

"Well..." Smirk. "...you're part cat yet you seem to love water!"

Frown. "So?" Piercing ebon orbs narrowed. "I so happen to love hot water baths."

"Hey! Hey!" Hands were held up in a placating gesture. "There's no need to get defensive; I was just joking!"

Humph. "Whatever." However, it was impossible not to look as the towel that had surrounded slim hips was removed, revealing the slim yet muscular waist that was previously hidden...and what was right below that. A blush ignited pale cheeks; that lengthy part made him scream in unabashed bliss for hours on end...

"Ah~!" Red only intensified as the Italian plopped down in the tub right beside him. "This sure is nice!"

Nod. "Yeah, it sure i—" His sentence was cut off as a hand placed itself on his head, scratching the back of feline ears. "Goro goro—" Hands flew up as though to take back that sound...too late.

"You're purring?!" The hazel squealed. "Aww! That's so cute! Ve—" It was his turn to attempt to swallow that utterance back...to no avail.

Piercing ebon orbs snapped open. "What was that?!"

"'Ve'?" Yeah, it was too late. No use in hiding. "...It's a verbal tic I've had since I was little. It—with 'la', 'li', 'le', or 'lo'—actually is the plural direct object pronoun version of 'you' in Italian, but I say it no matter what even if it doesn't make sense to say it." Flush. "I tried getting rid of it so as to not receive further discrimination and I've stopped saying it for quite some time but now—"

Smirk. "Kawaiidesu."

"V-Ve?! K-Kiku?!" Ignite. "It's not cute!"

The sable simpered. "Oh it is." Hands gently cupped cheeks, foreheads touching. "It's such a beautiful sound; you shouldn't be afraid of making it, especially in front of me."

"Same with your purring though." Arms crossed.

Kiku laughed. "Alright, then let's make a deal: you don't suppress your 'Ve's...and I won't suppress my purring."

"Alright...great deal! Ve~!" A hand returned to feline ears, scratching them once more.

The nekomataneko leaned into the touch, purring contently. "Goro goro..."

"Ve! Ve!" All was well in the world.

Things could get better though. "Feli-kun..."

"What?" The addressed glanced down, the face looking back at him surprisingly smug. "Do you nee—AHHH!" A strange sensation cut him off as a moan left his lips, what felt like one no two slick limbs invading a certain hole, one striking a certain spot deep within over and over. He couldn't hold back the groans torn from his throat in rapid succession. "V-Ve?! K-Kiku?! You're—" A certain limb of his was becoming stiffer and larger in slender fingers.

Deep chuckle. "Let me return the favor from last night." He leaned in, whispering into his lover's ear. "I want to make you feel good this time."

"B-But you already make me feel good! Really really goo—OOHHHH!" Looks like the second appendage had joined in.

Smirk. "I want to make you feel even better." Lips met in a sensual clash. "I would like to thank you for giving me such an incredible present."

"K-Kiku—" Something really hard and huge poked his thigh, leaving no room for compromise.

Let's just say the morning was also filled with loud moans echoing across the walls.

"Daddy's home!"

The door to the cabin was barged open that afternoon after the fact, a certain someone prancing in.

Pride radiated off of him. "Where are my pretty kitties?" Feliciano made kissy noises.



Gino and Tama had wandered over from where they had been resting together, the sight of what was in the Italian's hands causing slobber to leave both lips. Both cats rushed to their owner before jumping up and down as though to snatch the items deliberately kept out of reach. The brunet giggled, cupping his free hand around his mouth. "Where's my prettiest kitty?" No response. Nothing happened. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Goose eggs. The auburn shrugged. "It looks like we're going to have to eat all these fish all by ourselves—"

"Did you say...fish?" Rushing over in an instant, Kiku was immediately by his lover's side, tails wagging wildly at the large catch in his partner's grasp.

Beam. "Yep!" Each one was displayed in turn. "Mackerel, Salmon, Halibut, Tuna—"

"Gimme! Gimme!" What happened to the reserved and polite Japanese man?! Where did he go?!

Nope. "Not yet Kiku! We need to prepare these first!"

"...Okay." Petulant pout.

After hours of beheading, gutting, scaling, deboning, and cooking—a certain someone hasty with impatience—the fish were finally ready, a certain three drooling at the sight. "Here Gino, Tama!" The cats pounced as soon as their plates reached the ground, devouring the flesh faster than the naked eye could see. The cook picked himself up, two large dishes in hand as he approached a certain someone who was staring at him expectantly. "Here Kiku!" The one with the greater amount was given to the addressed.

"Arigato Feli-kun!" Hands clasped together eagerly. "Itadakimasu!"

Giggle. "Itadaki—" A tail wrapped around the blithe's wrist, stopping him in his tracks. Limpid brown eyes turned, meeting piercing ebon orbs which were wide and begging. Huh, the nekomataneko's plate was empty. Where did all that fish go?! The auburn grinned, expression fond. How could he deny such a cute kitty? "Who's my prettiest kitty?" The dish was eagerly taken.

"I am!" That humongous helping proceeded to vanish within seconds also. What a magic trick.

Feliciano sighed. "Ve...well, there goes my lunch." Not that he minded; he loved seeing his lover happy after all.

"Oh Feli-kun..." The addressed looked up as the sable prowled over, a seductive simper on his face as he bent down, a hand snaking into his partner's pants. "Prettiest kitty wants some cream. Some yummy cream."

Oh the kitty got his cream alright. And a lot of it.

"Otanjōbiomedetōgozaimasu, Feli-kun."

Those thirty-four days had flashed by in a flash, each and every second filled with nothing but happiness and joy. It was though the last ten years and century hadn't existed; all the moments filled with sadness and hate seemed to melt away, melt into nothing. And now it was a certain special date...

Feliciano gasped at the sight he was met with; candles lit a table filled with platters of Japanese and Italian origins, those wondrous aromas far more than enough to inspire the greatest of bliss in just about anyone. "VE! THANK YOU! ARIGATO! GRAZIE!" The chef suddenly found himself on his back, on the receiving end of a scorching shower of kisses.

"N-Nessun problema Feli-kun!" Boom. Boom! KABOOM! GRAND EXPLOSION! SUPERNOVA! BIG BANG!

Picking himself up, Feliciano helped his mate up before running into the kitchen, clasping his hands together. "Itadakimasu!"

"Itadakimasu." Kiku's heart swelled as piercing ebon orbs captured the sight of his beloved slurping up the spaghetti without pause, brimming with love. He could spend forever with his precious lover. Forever...

A spoon was suddenly shoved into the sable's face, shocking him out of his stupor. "Try some tiramisu Kiku!" The coffee-flavored cake was fed to the addressed, his eyes rolling to the back of his head at the explosion of rich flavors which greeted his mouth.

"Delizioso!" Delicious indeed.

The Italian giggled. "I'm glad you like it!"

"Please have some dango, Feli-kun." The colorful kebabs were placed past a set of lips, sweetness overloading each taste bud as the dumplings were eaten from the stick.

"Oishī!" Definitely delicious.

Fond smile. "I'm glad...Feli-kun." Yes, he could spend the rest of eternity with his beloved, his itoshii.

"Ve~! We still have some pasta!" Chopsticks were held up, full of the starchy strands. "Here Kiku!"

Chuckle. "Arigato Feli-kun." Returning the favor, both began feeding each other with their own chopsticks, eyes remaining locked on each other as the strings became shorter and shorter...until they became almost nonexistent, lips merely inches away. Déjà vu, right? "Aww screw this." Grabbing the other's cheeks, Kiku brought their lips together, sharing a heated kiss. I guess not.

They had dessert in bed.

"Feli-kun, I've been meaning to ask you something."

After twisting and turning in the sheets for several hours, the pair had at last ceased upon being satisfied, both currently engaging in pillow talk.

Feliciano supported his weight on one elbow, turning to glance at his lover. "What is it Kiku?"

"Well..." How does one go about approaching this kind of subject?! In a straightforward manner. "I've been thinking about bringing more additions into our family other than just Gino and Tama for a while."

Caramel hues widened. "You want more pets?" Head shake. A mouth dropped. "You mean kids?!" Nod. It was the brunet's turn to shake his head. "I highly doubt we could find a surrogate who would be willing—"

"—Male Obake have the ability to impregnate any Obake, even other males." Oh. Oh...

A brown brow quirked. "But I'm not—" A mouth dropped. "Kiku, what are you saying?!"

"I..." The darkest crimson ignited pale skin. "...want to turn you into an Obake. It is possible to do so; an Obake who is deeply, truly in love with another can turn that other into an Obake by inflicting a bite with intent to turn. As an Obake, you'll stay at the age of twenty indefinitely and will no longer be able to die of natural causes in addition to gaining the ability to transform. Plus you'll be able to carry or make me carry children." Piercing ebon orbs were no longer able to meet limpid brown eyes. "It's alright if you want to remain human though. I'll love you all the same. Even as you grow old I'll love you no less." Tears filled piercing ebon orbs. "I'll just have to prepare for the day I'll inevitably lose yo—"

Lips covered those moving, bringing them to silence as the instigator pulled back, taking the raven into his arms. "I'll do it. I'll become an Obake." Hazel hues stared into stunned obsidian depths. "I never ever want to leave you, and..." Blush. "...I would like to have and make you have my children too."

"Oh Feli-kun!" Tears fled from piercing ebon orbs as their owner heatedly returned the embrace, crying into his mate's chest. "Arigato! Arigato! I don't think I could have survived if you chose the other option!" Sobs tore from Kiku's throat. "Nani ga arou tomo watashi wa kimi wo eien ni aishimasu...watashi no tenshi. Watashi no kichōna koibito!"

Tears flowed from Feliciano's own eyes in torrents. "Io sarò sempre ti amo troppo il mio angelo. Mio prezioso amante!"

A bite of the utmost love sealed the deal.

The last Obake was never seen again. The area that had once been haunted was haunted no longer. Children went out to the previously bewitched locus at night, playing in the dark without fear as women were able to cross safely, even men out of danger. Everyone rejoiced; some brave hero must have come along and slain the wretched beast, the cursed Obake race finally extinct. Celebrations were held, people danced, people cheered. That sign was torn down. The last Obake was no more.

However, if you were to venture deep into a forest located in the very heart of Japan, if you peeked inside the window of a certain cabin at night, you could see a man possessing piercing ebon orbs snuggling close to another bearing brown hair and brown eyes, twin tails intertwined and feline ears touching while they held each other in their arms, content smiles on their faces as they were fast asleep with hundreds of transforming kitties who were black, brown, or both lying happily with them in addition to two non-transforming cats who seemed to have taken on their owners' longevities.

Oh the last Obake is no more alright...no more the last.


•Japanese: Arigato=Thank you, Chotto=Hey, Zenpō ni go chūi kudasai=Watch where you're going, Hai=Yes, Sumimasen=Sorry, Īe=No, Chapatsu=Brown hair, Chairo no me=Brown eyes, Gomen=Sorry, Sonna=No way, Kimi wa shazai suru hitsuyō wa arimasen=You do not need to apologize, Matte=Wait, Wakarimashita=I got it, Itadakimasu=Thanks for the food, Oishī=Delicious, Watashi o motte itadaki arigatōgozaimasu=Thank you for having me, Watashitachiha/Bokutachiha tomodachi=We are friends, Boku wa omae ga kitekurete ureshī=I'm glad you came, Ne=Hey, Sayōnara=Goodbye, Konbanwa=Good evening, Subarashii=Wonderful, Onegai=Please, Neko=Cat, Boku wa neko ga daisuki=I love cats, Kawaii=Cute, Arigato gozaimasu=Thank you very much, Watashi wa hontōni kimi no osejino kotoba ni kansha shimasu=I really appreciate your flattering words, Watashi wa kimi o aishiteimasu=I love you, Doushita=What's wrong, demo=but, Sore wa kamaimasen=It's alright, Gyakusatsu=Massacre, nii-san=big brother, Obake wa baka=Obake are idiots, Okaerinasai=Welcome back, Sokka=I see, Konnichiwa=Hello, Sugoi=Amazing, Goro=Purr (Japanese onomatopoeia for purring), Kawaiidesu=It's cute, Otanjōbiomedetōgozaimasu=Happy Birthday, itsohii=beloved, Nani ga arou tomo watashi wa kimi wo eien ni aishimasu=I will love you forever no matter what, watashi no tenshi=my angel, Watashi no kichōna koibito=My precious lover

•Italian: Buongiorno a tutti=Good morning everyone, Sono a casa=I'm home, Grazie=Thank you, Mi dispiace=I'm sorry, Sì=Yes, nonno=grandpa, fratello=brother, Antico Impero Romano=Ancient Roman Empire, Aspetta=Wait, Buongiorno=Good morning, Sono così felice=I'm so happy, Fantastico=Wonderful, Mio Dio=My God, Delizioso=Delicious, Per favore=Please, Ma=But, fidanzata=girlfriend, fidanzato=boyfriend, Addio=Bye, Nessun problema=No problem, ti amo=I love you, Ve=You (plural direct object pronoun version when combined with 'la', 'li', 'le', or 'lo'), Io sarò sempre ti amo troppo il mio angelo=I'll always love you too my angel, Mio prezioso amante=My precious lover

OH MY GOD! This one-shot is the SECOND LONGEST single chapter I've EVER written at 20976 words, beaten only by the finales of Shinobi no Pokémon and Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità which are tied at 32848 words each! :O

How was it, Guest? If there's anything you're dissatisfied with, just let me know. If it is manageable and not too drastic, then I'll change it to how you see fit but don't be too hard on me if I did something wrong! (:

How was it?

Please review! I really appreciate them and they motivate me to write more!