Hey, everyone, and welcome back to a new chapter! I apologize for my absence, I got extremely busy during the time between the first chapter and now. However, there's good news - this chapter is a long one! I hope you enjoy. :)
I, Snowy The Sky Wolf, do not own Kyoukai no Rinne, or any of its characters.
"The ghost house wasn't so scary after all," Sakura comments with a small smile on her face.
After the events of the Orpheus haunted house, Rinne and Sakura both escaped the school building and now were walking along the various stalls of the festival. The black cat Rokumon was resting on the part-shinigami's shoulder, sulking about the lost food ticket.
"Really?" Rinne replies. He hadn't expected Sakura to be scared of a haunted house anyways, even if it was made by shinigami. I was scared.
The aura around the two had cleared considerably since their encounter in the "underworld". They both seemed to have a newfound metaphorical skip in their step as they strolled past the shouting sellers.
The redhead shinigami took his eyes off of Sakura for a moment to stare uncomfortably towards the festival stalls. He cringed upon reading some of the prices on the signs.
"Is there something wrong, Rokudou-kun?" The twin-braided girl asks, spotting Rinne's nervousness.
"No, it's nothing," Rinne sighs. He had gotten the sudden urge to buy something for Sakura to show his appreciation for her, despite his financial background not allowing him to do so.
"Okay, if you say so." At that moment, Sakura also took her mind off of the part-shinigami to think about the various amenities being sold. She spotted several food items being handed to a few shinigami students.
The voice of the the familiar Tsubasa Juumonji rang in both of their ears. They saw the exorcist walking towards them.
"Tsubasa-kun," Sakura says in acknowledgment.
"Do you want anything? I'll buy it for you," Tsubasa asks. "I don't recommend the stir-fried noodles from that stall over there, though. They're really bad."
"No, it's okay," Sakura smiles in response. Rinne's glaring eyes were still affixed to the expensive items at the stalls.
The exorcist quickly noticed the shinigami's sharp gaze. "Rokudou, you didn't just abandon Mamiya-san in the haunted house, did you?"
"No," Rinne mumbles defensively.
"You did, didn't you? You're probably just hiding the ticket to hide the evidence," Tsubasa accuses, glaring at the redhead.
"Juumonji, does Rinne-sama look happy to you?!" Rokumon hisses in an attempt to defend his master. The black cat was still irritated about losing the stir-fried noodles, even though he got konjak paste in return.
"We don't have the ticket," Sakura says, defending the part-shinigami. "Rokudou-kun turned around to look for me."
"You mean that you got lost in there?!"
"Only for a little bit," The twin-braided girl replies. She felt happy thinking about the moments that had occurred just earlier. "I'm fine, please don't worry about it, Tsubasa-kun."
"If you say so," Tsubasa sighs, brushing the subject off reluctantly. "But anyways, Mamiya-san, let's go see if we can win any of their probably rigged games."
"Okay," Sakura chimes in response. She then turned towards the redhead part-shinigami. "Let's go, Rokudou-kun."
I only meant the two of us, Mamiya-san… The exorcist cries internally. He couldn't help but notice how calm Rokudou was despite his banterings and how… content Mamiya-san was around the redhead.
Rinne stared at Sakura for a moment, still lost in his thoughts. He stole a quick glance towards the exorcist, who seemed to have an annoyed look on his face.
The part-shinigami would normally become annoyed and uneasy by the exorcist's actions, but he actually felt as calm and content as the twin-braided girl next to him was.
He didn't have to worry about the possibility of losing Sakura Mamiya to someone else anymore.
"Agh, not again!"
The quad was soon situated near an afterlife goldfish scooping stand, with Rinne, Sakura, and Rokumon watching a struggling Tsubasa attempting to catch a goldfish spirit in a special paper net.
"Give me another one!" The exorcist grumbles, holding up the broken net in frustration. He exchanged the torn net and a coin for a fresh net.
Rinne and Rokumon were internally crying upon witnessing how much money Juumonji was spending on a goldfish game.
Sakura, as she always was, stared quietly as she watched Tsubasa trade in net after net in an attempt to win a prize most likely for her. She glanced towards the half-crying, half-bleeding duo of Rinne and Rokumon, then focused her gaze on the food stalls behind them again.
"I can't take this anymore!" Rinne shouts, standing up in frustration. He rushed over to the exorcist and stole the net out of his hands.
"What the hell was that for?!" Tsubasa growls. His angry scowl was soon replaced with an expression of surprise as Rinne easily caught a single goldfish spirit with his first net.
"Your form is too quick and tense," The redhead mumbles. "You need to relax a bit."
"Yeah, go Rinne-sama!" Rokumon cheers.
"Rokudou-kun sure knows how to make the most of his money," Sakura exclaims, impressed by his skills.
Tsubasa stared in disbelief at the effort Rokudou barely exhibited upon catching the fish. "...Thanks, I guess."
As the group began to prepare to leave and visit another stall, Sakura still found herself taking a glance towards the food stalls and then towards Rinne before looking back again. Tucking a hand into the pocket of her skirt, she pulled out a mildly heavy coin purse and quickly snuck away from the group before anyone could notice her.
"Not again, Juumonji!" Rokumon complains.
The group was now at another game stall, once again watching Juumonji fail over and over at winning the game. The Damashigami Renge also joined the group, experiencing the same reaction as Rinne and Rokumon are but in a more angry tone.
"If you know you're going to lose at these rigged games, then just go home," Renge says sarcastically, crossing her arms.
"Stop pushing me! I'm trying to concentrate," Tsubasa snaps back. "I am going to win a prize for Mamiya-san myself, even if it takes me all day to do it!"
"Where is that girl, anyway? Isn't she always with you?"
The trio fell silent, their annoyed expressions fading. Rinne glanced around next to him, only to find thin air where Sakura Mamiya should've been.
"She's gone!" The redhead shouts loudly, startling bystanders at other festival stalls.
"You guys didn't even notice?" Renge exclaims, still annoyed with the group before her.
"Rokudou! I knew I couldn't trust you with her!" Tsubasa roars.
"Rokumon, you go search over there! I'll go look over here!" Rinne commanded, ignoring the exorcist's insult. His tone had suddenly turned serious.
The duo bolted in opposite directions, leaving the exorcist and the damashigami in the dust.
"HEY!" The exorcist shouted again.
Where could I have lost her at?! What if she got kidnapped or hurt without me knowing?! Rinne thought as he ran down the road in search of the twin-braided girl. I thought I told myself that I wouldn't lose her again!
No, he told himself that he would not lose Sakura's feelings to someone else, not lose Sakura herself.
"Sakura Mamiya, where are you?!"
Meanwhile, in the outskirts of the First Shinigami High's campus, Sakura Mamiya had just finished her secret project that now laid out in front of her.
"There," Sakura sighs, scanning her eyes over what she had completed. "It's done."
Before her was a large blue-plaid picnic blanket that the twin-braided girl had placed near a large shaded tree. On top of the picnic blanket sat various food items she had bought from the food stalls in the festival, along with two drinks.
"I hope he likes it," The twin-braided girl says to herself. "I should go find him before it gets cold-"
Sakura felt like she was repeating history that had just happened by the sound of his voice.
"Sakura Mamiya!" The familiar voice shouted again. Sakura saw movement from the corner of her eye and turned her head to find the redhead boy at the top of the stairs leading to the school building.
She didn't have to go find him after all.
"Ah," The twin-braided girl waved her hand to get his attention. "Rokudou-kun!"
Rinne could see the small figure of Sakura Mamiya in the clearing below. He sighed a breath of relief before slowly stepping down the stairs to meet her.
"I'm sorry that I disappeared, Rokudou-kun," Sakura apologizes, knowing why he was so frantic.
"I was worried about you," Rinne says, admitting his thoughts. "Why did you disappear without telling me?"
"I wanted to do something for you."
Sakura stepped away from Rinne's point of view to reveal the picnic blanket of goodies behind her, quickly shocking the part-shinigami. The blanket of food appeared to sparkle like a pile of glittering gold.
The girl took off her shoes and sat down at an empty spot on the blanket with a smile. "Come sit with me, Rokudou-kun."
I have to be dreaming… Rinne shook his head in disbelief as if the sight before him wasn't real.
No. I'm not dreaming. This is real.
The redhead was careful walking around the food before also taking off his shoes and seating himself next to Sakura. He gently picked up a stick of takoyaki and a corn dog before pausing.
"Can I really have all this, Sakura Mamiya?"
Sakura smiles, picking up a crepe for herself. "This is for saving me. Go ahead!"
Rinne spent no time hesitating as he bit into one of the takoyaki, a content expression appearing on his face.
The two fell silent as they enjoyed their food. Sakura took quick glances towards the redhead part-shinigami as she ate, content with herself that she was able to make him happy.
It had taken her awhile to figure out why she had wanted to do this in the first place. At first, she thought perhaps it was her instinct to give Rinne some food after being friends with him for a long time, but based off of her reaction just earlier that day, that conclusion was not possible.
Sakura suddenly felt bold and daring to say something she never thought she'd say. She put down the half-eaten crepe that she had taken her time eating and watched him out of the corner of her eye, her lips breaking out into a soft smile.
"It's just the two of us here."
Rinne flinched, swallowing the food in his mouth in a hurry. A small blush appeared on his face upon hearing her words.
Their eyes met as they turned to face each other.
"Rokudou-kun…" Sakura whispers. She could feel her cheeks slowly heat up after realizing what she had said.
"Sakura Mamiya…" Rinne starts. "Well, may I say… Sakura?"
The part-shinigami took a moment to gather his thoughts. He almost felt that an entire group of people could jump out at them at any second.
The twin-braided girl nodded, smiling. "That's okay."
"Sakura," Rinne says, practicing her first name. He reached his hands across the space between them to take her warm hands in his own.
Sakura quickly shifted herself to lean against Rinne, closing the space in between them and taking the redhead by surprise. He didn't hesitate as he embraced her and the two began to watch the colors of the afterlife sky dance above them.
Sakura didn't expect for herself to suddenly get closer to him either, but it felt right. She felt a hole that she didn't know existed in her heart fill up when she was in his presence.
Was this what the feeling of falling in love was?
"I love you, Sakura," Rinne whispers, pulling her into a tighter embrace.
He loved her. What could have been special of her for him to love her, other than her ability to see ghosts? She wouldn't know unless she asked him herself.
The twin-braided girl felt her eyes slowly shut in sleep, feeling more and more comfortable within Rinne's arms. That day had been an extremely hectic one.
Rinne released one hand from the embrace to close all the unfinished food boxes and then carefully pulled both himself and Sakura up against the tree that was near them. The shade of the tree sheltered them from any possible intruding light that could wake them up later on.
The part-shinigami glanced down towards Sakura, still finding her eyes closed and a small smile on her face as she leaned on him. He smiled, submitting to the current mood and also closing his eyes in rest.
A couple of moments passed before Rinne heard her voice again.
"I love you too, Rokudou-kun."
I was pretty much fangirling the entire time while I was writing the chapter. That's a good thing, right? xD