Reading in the Dark

Spoilers for Konosuba's Light Novels up to Vol 14.

"...How am I supposed to sleep when I saw him die right in front of me again?"

The sound of shifting blankets was suddenly interrupted by a faint, tired whisper.

Megumin laid alone in her room, with nothing but the illumination of moonlight creeping through her windows to provide any sort of light.

She stirred again, trying to find a comfortable spot to lay so that she could attempt to reclaim the rest that has eluded her for the entire night. She tried again and again and again, only to find it impossible to lie still.

Just a few hours prior, she along with her party stumbled into the mansion that they called home, exhausted and wounded from their first quest since returning from helping Yunyun with her trials. The second that Darkness, the party's designated crusader burst the door open while carrying their archpriest Aqua and their archmage Megumin over her shoulders, the halls of their home were filled with cries and complaints.

Their quest was supposed to be nothing more than an easy kill quest. Just a couple of one shot bears in the woods. They've done this kind of thing before, several times at that. All they had to do was get them all huddled in a single open spot and let Megumin let her spell loose, right? Well, that's exactly how it played out, until an entire colony of unwelcomed bugs decided to crawl up Aqua's skirt. Immediately overcome with the most uncomfortable and violating experience she's ever felt in her countless years of existence, Aqua was rendered a screaming mess, pleading for someone to help her exterminate the pests that covered her divine legs. Darkness decided that the best way to help her was by picking her up by her wrists and shaking her around like a dusty beach towel in hopes of scattering the pests, but this only succeeded in distracting Darkness, who was then surrounded by their targets. She shrieked a sound that was a mixture of both terror and pure satisfaction, and threw Aqua over to Kazuma and Megumin, who could only watch in absolute disgust and horror as the moaning Darkness was overcome by the pack of bears. With Aqua still traumatized, and Megumin unable to cast her signature explosion magic due to Darkness being at the heart of the swarm, Kazuma decided to make a rash and dangerous play. He knew that after the bears gave up on chewing Darkness' armor, they would be next. He knew that he could escape without much of an issue, and he couldn't care less about Aqua at the moment, but Megumin would be absolutely powerless, and just the thought of Megumin dying to a group of bears made his heart ache.

He began to scream at the group of bears while stripping himself of his armor, leaving him in only his adventuring cloth. The bears, seeing this, decided to give up on the woman clad in solid armor sooner than planned, and began hunting the young man without any resistance to their hunger for a meal.

Seeing his plan work, Kazuma hastily yelled at Megumin to ready her staff and get her explosion ready, and wait for when he had them where he wanted them.

She tried screaming at him, pleading with him to think of something less stupid, and demanded that he not get himself killed over another one of his plans. She trusted Kazuma, and adored his ability to think cleverly and casually throw himself in the way of danger for the sake of his allies, but absolutely hated it when he'd willingly put himself on death's doorstep.

He reassured her with a cheeky smile, a wink, and a thumbs up while running as fast as he could. While sprinting for his life, Kazuma began to rummage through his bag, and thanks to his extremely high luck stat, immediately found what he was looking for. His portion for today's lunch. He quickly unwound his sashimi from its wrap, and flung it as far as he could, about 10 yards. Cursing himself for his subpar strength stat, he quickly executed the last two steps in his improvised strategy.

"Escape, concealment..."

Upon softly uttering those two words to himself, Kazuma seemed to rapidly blink away from the path of the bears, and was rendered temporarily invisible to the normal eye. The bears who were momentarily frustrated at the loss of their meal quickly changed targets to the delicious aroma of the raw fish that Kazuma pathetically launched. They happily lapped up the small helping of fish, which gave Kazuma just enough time to get far enough from the beasts. He screamed Megumin's name, which broke his invisibility. Megumin, relieved to confirm that he was far enough away, wasted no time in the casting of her daily spell.

EXPLOSION!

All that was left of the bears was heaps of ash littered all over a huge crater.

As the smoke cleared, Kazuma began to cheer while throwing his arms into the air, relieved that his suicidal plan had actually worked. Though, just as he began to jog back towards his party, he felt an immense weight tackle him to the ground, which lucky for him, knocked him unconscious before he could feel the pain of his body being rendered into an appetizer.

It seems that in his haste to rid himself of the bears, he neglected to notice that he drew just a little too close to the treeline, and the powerful smell of raw fish had attracted yet another one shot bear. However, thanks to the frightening screams of a charging Darkness, the bear was chased off into the woods before his corpse was no more than a pile of bones.

Upon returning home, Aqua immediately continued her loud and obnoxious sobbing, complaining that the party wasn't nearly as careful as they should have been and relied on her support magic far too heavily, all while cradling an empty bottle of wine. Megumin, who was completely drained of her mana and stamina, simply stayed silent while dangling from Darkness' shoulder like a limp noodle, until she was lazily dumped onto the couch. Darkness was clearly injured, but to absolutely no one's surprise, wasn't suffering in the slightest. This was made clear after she silently went to prepare a bath with a violent blush painted across her face.

And that just leaves Kazuma, who was surprisingly out of character. Instead of loudly complaining or whining, or even insulting the girls, he simply limped into the kitchen, poured himself a glass of the hardest liquor they had on hand that avoided Aqua's grasp, and silently claimed the spot next to Megumin on the couch after slowly dragging her legs out from his side, forcing her to sit upright.

She was far too tired to oppose him moving her from her favorite after explosion resting spot, even if she wanted to.

Though unknown to Kazuma, she wasn't too tired to be heavily concerned by his actions during the quest. The scene that brought her a heavy heart continued to play in her mind without an end in sight, doing nothing but pulling her heart strings harder and harder.

Kazuma, once again in the heat of the moment, grew careless in regards to his life.

With another toss and turn of the blankets, Megumin shot herself upright in bed, absolutely infuriated by her inability to sleep even after a physically and mentally exhausting day. She threw herself up from her bed, put on her cozy pink slippers that matched her pink and white frilled pajamas, and set off on a new quest to get a glass of water.

She softly creaked open her door, and tiptoed out into the hallway, relying solely on the midnight moon to guide her way. She knew how exhausted everyone had been, and she'd hate herself if she spoiled their well earned rest just for a glass of water. She continued down the corridors that led to the kitchen, while being slightly spooked by the atmosphere of the once haunted mansion. She made it about halfway to the kitchen, right in front of the stairs that would lead her downstairs, but something in her heart stopped her in her tracks.

She looked towards the wall, and paused as she glanced at Kazuma's bedroom door.

'He's definitely asleep by now. I'd really hate to bother him. Besides, I'm still a little mad at him.' She thought to herself.

She went to continue on her way to the kitchen, but her feet wouldn't budge an inch.

'He's definitely, absolutely asleep right now. If I snuck into bed with him, I'd be no better than he was back when we spent the night at my parent's for the first time. Though, not that I'd completely hate it if he did it now. '

Again, she went to shuffle her feet, but they were completely unresponsive. It was like they were caked in glue.

'Ughh, curse this stupid, love stricken heart of mine. I'll just see if he's awake.'

Careful not to make the faintest sound, Megumin carefully tiptoed to Kazuma's door, and slowly creaked it open. She paused for a brief moment to make sure that the sound of the door squeaking hadn't woken him, and after confirming that for a fact, she quietly shambled her way into his room.

She had to strain her eyes incredibly hard to see in the dark, and was pretty disappointed, yet unsurprised to see Kazuma sound asleep on his bed.

'Just as I thought, he's out cold. It was stupid of me to come here this late at night, anyway. I should have come sooner… wait, why is he sleeping like that?'

Megumin couldn't believe the strangely adorable sight in front of her. Despite sleeping alone tonight, Kazuma still slept on the same side of the bed as he would if they were together, with his arm extended like it was inviting her to use as a pillow, while leaving just enough room for Megumin to slip into should she desired. It's like she hadn't come from her own room, but just got up from his bed.

Completely in love with what she was seeing, Megumin felt her face light up like a firecracker, adorned with a touched smile. Despite feeling embarrassed for being affected by something so small, she felt that this was exactly the invitation she needed, and shuffled closer to his bed. She was ready to take the opportunity that the goddess Eris had laid out before her.

'Looks like Eris decided to change sides after all, hee hee…'

Though just as she was about to climb into bed with her beloved explosion expert, the one she had searched for her entire life, something in the corner of her eye nabbed her attention away from her most treasured person. A black leather journal, clad in battle scars and water damage, laid on his nightstand. Normally this wouldn't have been out of the ordinary, but for someone like Kazuma?

'I rarely see him read, let alone write. Maybe this is the fabled ledger that controls our weekly budget?'

Suddenly, Megumin was waging a war within herself. Her heart desperately desired the comfort and warmth of the one she had appointed her most treasured person, the one she loved dearly, yet her mind was afflicted with an unbearable curiosity as to the contents of the mysterious journal. She briefly considered doing both, but she knew that she had to have some kind of light to read. She'd hate to wake Kazuma up after an excruciating day, but she didn't want to leave him either. Besides, digging into his personal belongings wouldn't be like her. She wasn't an unrestrained scumbag like he was every now and then. However...

'This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I can sneak into Kazuma's room any night I want now that I'm technically his girlfriend, and I know for a fact that he wouldn't resist. Come to think of it, I really should come to his room more often. But tonight, a unique opportunity has shown itself. Normally I wouldn't even consider digging into someone's personal belongings, but somehow…'

Every time Kazuma stole her panties flashed in her mind like a silent film.

'I don't think I'll regret this one bit. '

Maybe Kazuma was rubbing off on her a little more than she'd like to admit.

She carefully picked the journal up from the table, and crept out of Kazuma's room without a sound. She made her way back to her room, and lit a nearby lantern, giving her just enough light to read without making it obvious to anyone outside her room.

"Well, too late to turn back. Kazuma, don't be surprised if you have an extra staff or robe on your shopping list next week, fufufu…" She said at a hushed volume.

She carefully unbound the leather bindings that kept the journal closed, and opened to the first page with both excitement, and a hint of guilt in her movement.

However, the words before her were definitely not what she was expecting. There were no numbers, no columns of purchases or bills. There were only words.

'Kazuma has surprisingly good handwriting. He'd make an excellent scribe back at the village.'

Pushing that thought aside, she started to read.

My name is Satou Kazuma. I have decided to keep this journal just in case something terrible were to happen to me, as to not leave this cruel and unfair world without a firsthand account of the story of Axel's strongest and most accomplished adventurer, none other than myself!

She couldn't help but roll her eyes.

Though, I know that isn't true. I'm literally only keeping this thing to keep me sane, as it might help me collect my thoughts at the end of each and every day I spend in this accursed world. I also could have been a lot better with my timing. A LOT of terrible things have already happened to me, and all things considered, I shouldn't be alive to be able to hold this quill in my hands. Also, I desperately miss pens. I thought about writing this in Japanese, but it's best that I get the hang of writing in this world's language now instead of later.

"What does he mean by this world? Doesn't he mean country? What's a pen?"

To set a time range to remind myself when I started to write in this thing, I set off tomorrow with the others to the crimson demon village, where Megumin came from. However, to offer a brief recap of everything that's happened to me during my time here, let's go through it quickly. I came here after forcing Aqua to come with me, much to her displeasure. It was only after several weeks of grueling manual labor and sleeping through the freezing cold nights in a barn that we managed enough courage to attempt to establish a party. It was shortly after that, that I met both Megumin the Archwizard, and Darkness the Crusader. My first impression of them? Trouble. Nothing but absolute trouble. To start, that damn loli wizard can only cast one spell a day before collapsing from exhaustion. And even then, she refuses to use any spell besides one called explosion, which is apparently the most powerful offensive spell in this world. Sounds pretty cool, right? It sure as shit does, but the problem is that it's so damn powerful that it obliterates literally EVERYTHING that it engulfs. Everything. No looting corpses, no butchering for parts, no casting indoors, we can't even collect proof that we did anything. Except if the questgiver will accept a giant fucking hole in the ground to be enough. And Darkness? Get this. She's a crusader who makes a fantastic wall, but she can't hit a damn thing with her sword. Literally, she couldn't even hit the broadside of a boat. I know she's supposed to be the tank and everything, but how unreliable can you be?

It took a lot of willpower from Megumin to not shut the book closed forever and throw it into the fireplace downstairs.

"Relax Megumin, relax, this part was written towards the start of our adventure. Keep reading."

After that, we nearly got wiped out by a group of giant frogs, which is this world's STARTER enemy. Though, after that, me and Megumin did start to do something I came to enjoy a lot. I started accompanying her on her "daily routine" which consisted of blowing a castle we thought to be abandoned to rubble each and every day for… weeks I think? Months? I can't even remember how long we spent doing that. Thinking back, I kind of miss it. We still go out for her daily explosions, but now she sometimes takes Darkness or even Aqua over me. I wonder if I did anything to upset her? It's kind of sad, since it really started to become one of my favorite parts of the day. Not to mention, I got to know Megumin really well from going with her every day. Over time, my opinion of her started to change. When we first met, I only thought of her as a hyper and impulsive child who was obsessed with causing trouble for her party members, But after all that time I spent with her? She's surprisingly really sweet, given the destructive tendencies. It became clear to me that she really cares for all of us, even though she was only in the party for a short amount of time at that point. She'd mostly only talk about explosions, especially towards the beginning, but as we started to get closer to one another, she'd tell me about the crimson demons, the village where she comes from, her family, and her time at mage school. Wizard school? Magic school? One of those. Though, she never did tell me how she became so obsessed with explosion magic. I really hope she shares that with me eventually.

It started to dawn on Megumin that what she was reading was something truly, truly special. Something she almost never gets to see. A collection of genuine thoughts, opinions, and feelings of her Kazuma, the one who was renowned for his tsundere tendencies towards her and Darkness. Part of her loved that quirk of his, since that was a big part of what made Kazuma Kazuma. But she really, really loves the moments where she can see the uncomposed side of him, where his defenses are lowered and his true emotions and thoughts are surfaced. Even then though, he usually puts them right back up. But here? This is all 100% truth. No defenses, no tsundere barrier, no brushing anything off with a joke. She continued reading.

"Starting tomorrow, I'm making Kazuma my one and only explosion partner again. I'll only go with someone else if he profusely refuses."

Anyway, going back to that castle that Megumin bombarded each day for weeks, turns out that one of the Demon King's generals made that castle his home. His name was Geulda. Melda? Something-dia. We pissed him off really good, and he decided to come right to Axel's gate and asked for Megumin. And unfortunately for me, she was way too prideful to just back away into an alley somewhere. Because of that, we had to go through a whole sequence of events that led to us killing him. Though we almost died plenty of times because of it. Even though it was pretty much all Megumin's fault, I couldn't grow to hate her for it. After all, I probably should've made absolutely sure that the castle was abandoned before I let her unload on it. Besides, we wouldn't be where we are now if it wasn't for that. Past that, blah blah blah, I'm already getting really bored of writing all this stuff I already know, so I'll make it a bit faster so I can get to today's events. Blah blah snow fuzzies, blah blah Winter Shogun chops my head off making that my second death, blah blah get revived by a useless goddess again and get a really nice "Welcome Back!" hug from Megumin and Darkness that made my son just as happy as I was, blah blah-"

"Wait, second death? I thought Kazuma's first death was to the winter shogun? Did he slip and fall while carrying something back at Axel in his barn days or something?"

She decided to ignore the part about Kazuma's "Son."

But THEN, I managed to score my sweet mansion after a horrifying night filled with ghosts, demonic dolls, possibly scarring Megumin for life after forcing her to evacuate the bathroom mid drip-

Restraining herself from snapping the journal shut like she really wanted to, she decided to skip ahead to a part that she thought would be relevant to her.

"I already know all this! I gotta get to the good part, like when we were in the village for the first time! What page is that on…? Oh, no page numbers… no dates either. Huh. Guess I'll just have to skim."

Destroyer- Loli- Bath- Terrorist- Lalatina- Vanir- Village-

"Aha! Here we go, let's see…"

Tonight was a little weird. We're all on our way to the Crimson Demon's Village, and me and Megumin were put on watch duty. We sat silently for a bit, but as usual, she said some hurtful things. Why does everyone in my party think I'm actually capable of sexual assault? Seriously, I know I tease them every now and then… I mean, I think it's teasing. Alright sometimes it's not, but how can I just sit idly by in a party with two beautiful girls?It's not like I've fondled their breasts or sniffed their panties before. As far as I can remember, it's only been me saying things. Unless I'm forgetting something, that is. And it's not like I can choose what I steal with the ability steal, also. It's entirely based on luck, I have no say in what I get! Though I suppose I never really explained how that ability works to them before. Guess that's my fault. Even still though, hearing things like Scumzuma and Kazutrash or whatever everyone's been calling me lately is kinda getting to me. Normally I wouldn't give a shit what other strangers think about me, but when my own party members start calling me those things, it hurts, you know? But I guess it's my own fault, really. I've already established my personality with them, and it's far too late to lie to them. I admit, I can be pretty crude and perverted sometimes, but even guys like me have feelings.

Megumin couldn't help but feel her chest hurt a bit upon reading this.

"So that's how that ability works, huh? Guess I owe him an apology. Though it wouldn't kill him to not wave my panties around like a flag when he steals them... But I guess we've all been really mean to him in the past."

But besides that, she asked about where I'm from after it went silent for a bit. And if I'd ever go back. Obviously I wouldn't, because my life here is a lot better than what it was over there. Even with all of it's dangers and flaws. It's not like I have a choice, anyway. But we ended up agreeing that we wish everything could stay the way things are now forever, and… she held my hand out of nowhere. I still don't understand why she did that, but I was more nervous at that moment than I was facing any monster we've gone up against before. I couldn't help but think of the girl that caused me to be the way I am currently, either.

"Girl? There was a girl back in Japan? Hmph, I'll definitely have to get an answer out of him about that if I don't find one in here."

I thought about what I could say to match the mood. A beautiful girl was sitting right next to me, holding my hand. Something I never thought would happen to me, happened. But… before I could even say anything, I noticed that she fell asleep right there on the log. So to me, that means that it must have been an accident. I mean, this is the same girl who constantly calls me scum and trash, afterall. How could she have any kind of romantic feelings towards me at all? Still, saying that kind of makes my chest hurt. The first time a girl holds my hand, and it's an accident. I'm gonna be a virgin forever, aren't I?

Again, she felt a deep pain in her heart after reading how he reacted to her first real advance on him. This was more than a year ago, but she'd never forget the first time she got the courage to actually touch him. Though, she never realized that this was how he felt.

As if it couldn't get worse, I finally met Megumin's parents. And from what I gathered, my first impression on them was… a mixed bag. At first, I felt like her father was going to incinerate me just with his eyes. And her mother started reading letters that Megumin sent them that listed all of the things I did to her while we lived together in the mansion. I admit, hearing them out loud does make me feel like the name Kazutrash is suitable. Except for the part about her being covered in frog spit, that was just fucking disgusting. Though everything else, I can't deny. It's not like I can help it, anyway! Megumin's a beautiful girl that lives in the same mansion that I do, and I'm at a healthy sexual age for a man! But, her father did end up telling me that she considers me an important comrade, and that our relationship is so close that sexual harassment is commnplace. So there's that, at least, so she doesn't completely hate me, which could possibly explain her suddenly holding my hand the other night. Honestly, my brain is still trying to process that situation out. Though, I'm glad she doesn't hate me. I don't know how I'd feel if she did. Ah and with that, it's about time I get out of the bath. If all goes well, I'll update tomorrow. Or not, depends on how things go.

"...Did he really think that I hated him? I wouldn't have let him get away with everything he did to me if I did... B-But even back then, he thought I was beautiful? I thought he only saw me as a kid until I confessed everything to him…"

She couldn't help but feel a bit of the pain that resided in her chest finally subside, and let more of his kind words fuel the fire that raged behind her cheeks.

So, the last few days have been interesting, to say the least. I think I've finally become a man.

"W-What the hell is he on about? As far as I remember, we didn't even do anything besides sleep in the same bed together those nights."

More specifically, Megumin's man.

"Ah, right. I remember. I called him my man in front of Funifura and Dodonko."

Aside from the massive demon general that took possession of a weapon that was immune to any and all magic power with it's only weakness being a gauss rifle the crimson demons were using as a drying rack, things went pretty well. For starters, me and Megumin finally shared a bed together. The first night, her mother locked me into her room and was peeking through the lock. It being freezing, and valuing my flawless and impeccable complexion, I obviously decided to cozy up next to a warm and cute girl instead of freezing to death. She then quickly woke up, started to accuse me of touching her in her sleep, which I STILL don't understand how I continue to give off that impression, and fell right into her trap. "Oh Kazuma, are you sure you won't do anything? After all, it's just the two of us in here." Which OBVIOUSLY sent my head into a fucking tailspin, and like an idiot, I fell for it, and she jumped out the window in response to me making an advance. Seriously?! Who says "It's just the two of us in here" the way she did and gets angry when they're approached? I might've gone a little too heavy on the hip gyrations, but still, my response was totally in line with the hint she gave. See if I ever make that dumb mistake again. Not to mention, the following morning, she told Darkness and Aqua all about it, and I was berated with the same awful nicknames that the adventurers of Axel loved to use so much. She even said that she hopes the orcs attack me again! See if I ever try to make a move on that dumb loli again.

"So THAT'S why he did that… Looking back on it, I really did kind of ask for it. Plus, we were unusually cruel to him that morning. No wonder why he gets so nervous whenever I make moves of my own."

Though I say that, despite being so cruel to me that morning, the nights that followed really put a bullet in my theory that there's no way she could be into me. I'm not some dense anime protagonist, so even I couldn't ignore these hints. The night after, her mother did the exact same thing and forced me into another dangerous position. I loudly asked if she was awake, yet I was met with silence. I panicked for a minute, in fear that I'll once again be called such horrible names that the others threw my way that day, but quickly came to a solution. This time, I'd secure a warm place to sleep, get close to Megumin, AND avoid falling into another trap! And surprisingly, the plan worked pretty well. I quietly laid by her side, used my remaining mana to lower the temperature even more by freezing her window over, and tenderly grasped onto her hand. This, of course, woke her up, and she immediately started tossing accusations my way, though this time, I was prepared for it. I swatted them out of the air like flies, and she… surprisingly apologized. Megumin, who always looked at me with wrath, resignation or pity, actually thanked me for the things i've done for her. I mean, it was way past due. These three who cause me an unbelievable amount of problems and stress, these three who continuously cause me to get into life threatening situations and have gotten me killed not once, but TWICE so far, these three who constantly accuse me of committing sexual crimes and call me the names that cause me a great deal of sadness, I'm still putting up with. I could have abandoned Megumin right after I got out of the public's eye in Axel, I could have abandoned Darkness by simply continuing to refuse her joining my party, and I could have abandoned Aqua by just leaving her in a tavern somewhere, yet here they are, living in my house and continuing to benefit from my leadership.

Megumin didn't notice that she began to crinkle the pages of the journal. As angry as she wanted to be, and upset as she wished she was, she couldn't bring herself to deny it. The three of them really were nothing but trouble to him, weren't they? He could have left her for a normal archmage, and could have left darkness for a crusader who could actually hit her targets, yet here they were. In his house, using his money, relying on his leadership every time they get into trouble. On top of that, while she can't even begin to count the times they've all been harsh and cruel to him, though he usually deserves it, she can count the amount of times they've actually thanked him on one hand.

"I… I really need to thank him more often. He took me in when I was at my most miserable, and helped me achieve my dream of becoming who I am now despite all the trouble I've caused him and pain I've brought him…"

She heavily considered putting the journal down in favor of running to his room to hold her man tight. To make him feel valued, loved, and appreciated.

"Hee-hee, I can see it now. "Megumin, what are you doing sneaking into a man's bed in the middle of the night? Y-Yes, I know we're at that stage in our relationship, but you shouldn't tempt a healthy teenager in his ripe ages! Your sweet, honeyed words won't do anything to me! W-Wait, what are you doing with your lips?! Y-You damn temptress! N-No! Not my fragile tsundere barrier!" And then he'd be putty in my hands after a kiss, fufufu…"

The blush that was replaced by sorrow quickly returned to her face, nearly drowning out the shine of her crimson eyes. However, her burning curiosity was certainly helping her cheeks shine such a bright shade of red.

There was still something she absolutely had to find.

She glanced at her doorway, yet subconsciously ended up with her nose back in his journal. She decided to skip a few pages.

Princess- Iris- Onii-Chan-

She skimmed a little faster.

Divine Relic- Darkness- Marriage…

"Did he not write anything about his amazing alter ego, the Masked Thief? Clever, Kazuma. Didn't even leave a trace in your own journal. Hope you have a good hiding spot for that mask, though."

Festival- Eris- Chris- Armor- beauty contest- Armor- Eris- Whispered- Megumin

"Aha! Here we go. Finally, something important."

Teased again.

"Oh no."

Imagine. Imagine being told that a beautiful girl has something important to tell you in your room that night. Imagine the excitement, the anticipation, the feeling of finally encountering another popular phase! And then, she actually shows up! My heart nearly exploded right out of my chest! She was as cute as ever, wearing her pink pajamas, all while holding chomusuke in a way that screams "I'm incredibly nervous, but I have something to confess to you!" kinda way. Right as she was finally about to spill those beans I so anxiously hungered for, she chickened out! She instead handed me the little furball, saying "I really only came here to your room on this romantic night filled with sexual tension to tell you about the true origins of my cat!" Though, I probably got a little too desperate, because I think I scared her off with my obvious disappointment. Though is it so much to ask that I finally get confessed to by a beautiful girl? I would have at least taken a night spent sleeping next to her instead of this little fuzzball. It gets lonely sleeping alone every night.

"This guy of all people has no room to call me a chicken, I just got nervous! And what does he think he's talking about, sexual tension? We still, to this day, haven't even kissed yet, let alone then! It was romantic tension if anything!"

With a pout, she once again skipped a page, anxiously looking for the words she desperately hoped he'd written somewhere.

I'm honestly at a loss for words currently. Just a few minutes ago, exactly what I was desperately hoping to happen, happened. After we dealt with that big breasted woman that Megumin had history with, she actually did come to my room that night. I wasn't expecting much, but my mind definitely shifted gears when I saw that she didn't have chomusuke with her, the fuzzball was just sleeping atop my chest. Then, out of nowhere, she got really close to me, chased chomusuke to the floor, and asked me straight faced if we could sleep with each other tonight. Even when I retaliated with a joke by saying that if she or darkness ever tried underhanded methods on me, I'd definitely follow through, which would usually fluster her, she shattered through my defenses immediately. She said "I can, right? That's why I came here." Even still, I thought she was kidding. I'm the pervert hikineet loudmouthed coward, wasn't I? Who could possibly confess to someone with a reputation like mine? I cracked back again with another joke saying that she needed to be careful around men more, and that any unpopular guy would fall for her from a simple handshake. And yet, despite my pathetic attempts to save face, she told me that she loved me while wrapping me in a warm and passionate hug. One small move, one small burst of bravery would be all it takes to cross the line! If I did that, I'd be finished!

"Awww, he even gets nervous while he's writing, how adorable."

I became a complete and utter mess. I was so nervous, so uncomposed, and caught so off guard. I began spitting utter nonsense like "You'll be a bad woman when you grow up," despite the fact that she was almost 15. "If you do this to a man, he'll go out of control and won't be able to resist the urge," "I am a true man with a mind of steel, lucky for you," blah blah blah. Though, after she continued to giggle at my blabbering and reacted in a calm way, I was somehow calmed. She wasn't going anywhere, she kept me right there. In that deep, warm embrace. Really, if I could pack my things and move into Megumin's arms and chest, I would.

"Now why can't he say things like that out loud, huh? How sweet."

After I calmed, I noticed just how pretty her hair was. I already knew she was beautiful, but her hair was a part of her I wouldn't normally see. She would usually wear that big goofy wizard hat, so I guess I never really noticed, but it was really nice to gaze at. I couldn't help but stroke her hair a bit. It was like running my fingers through silk. And to my surprise, she began doing the same to me. It felt amazing, and I never thought having my head pet could feel so… comforting. She was just too cute, so I couldn't help but wrap my arms around her back and pull her into me. Though, what to do next? I had, and have no fucking clue. Though I think, for the very first time in my life, I felt my chest grow heavy, and my heart started beating non stop. Is that what love feels like? Had I grown to like her without noticing? Unlike other times, my heartbeat wasn't being accelerated due to sexual urges. Thinking I had finally discovered what love felt like, and comfortable knowing that should a baby become the result of tonight I'd have plenty of resources to properly take responsibility, I started to close in for a kiss. Only that's when, right on time, that annoying crybaby goddess from down the hall came to spoil the fun. I was about to get up to yell at her at the top of my lungs, but Megumin wouldn't let me up. She just pulled me right back down, like she couldn't care less if people were looking for her. Lucky for her, they gave up after a minute of no response from her. But unlucky for me, this caused a long, awkward silence between us as we just stared into each other's eyes, which caused me to say something pretty foolish. I told her that I loved her.

"...Foolish? Did he seriously tell me that he loved me just to break the silence?"

She shook her head violently at the thought, and reassured herself that she can't jump to conclusions before reading the rest.

I mean, it's not that I didn't mean it. It's more like, I was still confused as to what 'love' really meant. When she asked what parts I loved about her, I drew a complete blank. I don't know if it was from nervousness or the pressure or what, but I genuinely couldn't think of anything. Though, looking back on it, I don't think I could have been that embarrassed to the point that my heart was beating a mile a minute if it wasn't at least a little true. Now that I think about it without being put on the spot, I do love her tenacious nature. Her admiration for explosion magic, despite being a mostly useless spell, is admirable to say the least. No matter what she was faced with, be it laughter from her peers, rejection from other parties, or my constant teasing, she never relented in her pursuit of her dreams. I also love how she seems to care about me with a great and fiery passion, going so far as to try to intimidate complete strangers who badmouth me. Sure, she cares about all of us, but even I've come to notice that she seems to be just a little more protective when it comes to me. It might be embarrassing and I might tell her to stop, but I can't help but enjoy it a little. I also love how even though her home village is pretty embarrassing-

"Watch it, Kazutrash."

And filled to the brim with weirdos, she's still incredibly proud of it. I can sympathize in a way, also. My parents could be pretty embarrassing themselves. Though, I really didn't have anyone to introduce them to. If only I could introduce these guys to them, I wonder how that would work out. Then again, they only understand Japanese, so the language barrier could be a tough thing to get over. Not to mention the dimension barrier.

"What does he mean by that? His country would only be a few weeks at sea away. He also talks about them like they're dead, like he could never see them again even if he wanted to. I'm sure it's difficult for him to talk about, but I'll have to corner him into giving me some answers later."

She knew that the book she held in her hands probably contained the answers she was looking for, but that was something that was exclusively private to him. Figuring out his true feelings for her was one thing, but digging into his past that he clearly wasn't comfortable talking about in the first place was something that was completely out of the question.

I also love her charm. She might be a hyper, compulsive, explosion obsessed, chuunibyou loli, but she's extremely intelligent, passionate, tenacious, and just extremely admirable. And even while maintaining those respectable qualities, she still has this adorably sweet and compassionate side that I love. Not to mention, she's very beautiful. She might not have the voluptuous qualities of Darkness, Wiz, or Yunyun, but she has her own unique allure. Hell, the only reason why I can tease her about being a loli is due to her flat chest and younger age. Even then, she's almost 15 now, which even in Japan is considered legal age. Aside from that, she's definitely not lacking. Her thighs are definitely a strong point, and not to mention her firm, yet well shaped-

Megumin had to take a moment to breathe in deep, for she went the last few sentences without remembering to fill her lungs. She could almost feel the steam pouring out from her nostrils and ears, and could swear that her room was lit just by the shining glow of her cheeks. Part of her was flattered, for this was the first time that anyone's actually described her as even remotely attractive and sexy, but the other part of her was revolted from being targeted by one of Kazuma's famous overly-descriptive harassments. Though, the part that liked it was a decent deal more than the other.

"I-I'll just skip ahead a bit…"

She went into extensive detail as to why she loves me. It started off as a weirdly put compliment… I think. Then a long insult. But then… genuinely heartwarming. She became the first person in this new world to actually see and acknowledge my efforts and deeds, and who I truly am as a person. I couldn't even describe myself as well as she did. This girl truly understands me… and loves me for who I am. Even with my antics and barriers I put up for myself, even with my complaints and teasing, even with my as they put it, "tsundere" side, she loves me. She knows that despite my actions and words, I'm not a bad person. And she really has no idea how that makes me feel. Someone finally saw past my tendencies that earned me the nicknames Scumzuma and Kazutrash… and loves the real me. And it's truly because of that, that I know my feelings for her are real. It might be in its infancy, but it's definitely there. However, what worries me, is that she started to cry when I went in for a kiss. I told her that she didn't have to force herself, and asked if she truly meant what she said, but it still hurt a little. I couldn't help but feel that she was just forcing herself to feel this way. Why else would she cry?

"I'm not even sure why I started crying. Joy that I finally got that off my chest? Relief that he still went to kiss me even after I said those embarrassing things? Though I definitely ruined the mood…"

She then told me about what truly happened between her and Wolbach. She still felt disappointed in the fact that she never really got to repay Wolbach for teaching her explosion, and sad that she had to kill her. Though, she laughed at me when I tried to comfort her by trying to relate using bits of my past. She was laughing so hard that she had tears in her eyes. Was it really that sad? That it was funny? It was because of this that I got really upset and shooed her away like an idiot. She said she'd return when she feels like it, but I really regret telling her those things. If I didn't then I wouldn't have any reason to be upset, and I wouldn't have chased her out of my room. I was suddenly reminded how lonely it was, sleeping all alone.

A cold flash of shame wiggled its way down her spine. She remembered that night well, or so she thought. She indeed remembered laughing at him, but she never remembered that he was trying to be serious and share parts of his past that he was so reluctant to share with anyone. No wonder why he got angry with her, anyone would be if the person they were trying to console ended up laughing in their face.

I decided to get up and take a cold bath, which leads us to where I am now. Sitting in a bath filled with cold water, quill and book on the edge of the bath, with a small black kitten in her own little bucket filled with water. I thought it'd hate baths, but it's lazing around in there without a care in the world.

Her overwhelming sense of guilt was eased a bit by the adorable image of Kazuma taking a bath with Chomusuke in her own little bucket. Though, that feeling was short lived.

I guess no one in this world can really understand why I consider those parts of my past to be painful and filled with regret. Being consumed by depression so much that the thought of going outside seemed like a chore. That you stop caring what anyone thinks of you, including your own parents. How you'd much rather spend all your time indoors and alone, away from the rest of the world instead of interacting with it. So much so that you even ignore the fact that you're a heavy burden on your parents. Your only accomplishments are the ones you achieve in a fantasy game, your only friends being the ones you meet while doing quests and raids, then to never hear from them again. You know you're suffering, you know that your lifestyle is dangerous and mentally exhausting, but your mind literally won't let you do anything else. Why would I want to return to school? Back around everyone who made a habit of laughing at me, saying nasty things behind my back, spreading rumors, avoiding me like some kind of plague? It's not like there's a difference between me actually being there and just sitting on my ass at home. I guess that kind of explains why I don't really care that people I don't even know in Axel call me such harsh names. I'm just used to it, huh? It only really stings when the others call me those things. Yet I admit, I'm getting numb to that too.

Before she knew it, she started struggling to hold back tears.

Now that she was considered the laughing stock of her home village, she could start to understand the pain that he was talking about. People you don't even know whispering about you behind your back. Judging you from afar. Avoiding her like a complete waste of space. Even her own family considered her a failure to a degree. She still couldn't understand what had led him to become the ungrateful recluse that he was, but she could at least start to understand that he truly suffered.

A single tear stained the page she was struggling to read.

I bet they're all glad I died. From what Aqua said, pretty much everyone who found me started laughing. The girl I tried to save, the cops who came to retrieve me, the morgue workers who examined me, and even my own parents who came to identify me. I was nothing but a burden to them. At least now, they won't have to fund my terrible lifestyle. I hoped they'd be at least a little bit sad, but I bet they've sold all of my things by now. I doubt there was even a funeral. It's not like there was anyone to invite, anyway.

A few more tears stained the page.

"W-What is he on about? Did he die in Japan or something? Did Aqua give him a second chance at life by reviving him and sending him here from his country? D-Did… did his own family really laugh at him after he died?"

She said that while struggling slightly to speak through tiny little sad hiccups.

She wasn't one to cry, but seeing Kazuma talk like this just tore her apart. Seeing the one she loved more than anyone or anything else talk so lowly of himself while he was usually filled with an obnoxious amount of snark made mince meat out of her heart.

Now that she thought about it, she's only ever cried in recent history over Kazuma. First when he died to the winter shogun, then when he cruelly joked that he wouldn't be coming back to life, then again when he told them that he'd never return from the castle. He was the only one who could make her heart ache like this, in both good ways and bad.

She wiped the tears from her face, and continued to read.

But, even though this night didn't end how I'd have liked it to, I still enjoyed it. Even though she laughed right in my face, I guess I kinda deserved it for attempting to console her with stories of my pathetic past. It would probably be better to keep those to an absolute minimum from now on. Though, the moments leading up to that unfortunate end were really special. A beautiful girl finally confessed to me, and it feels amazing. But… does that make us lovers? In a relationship? I mean, we told each other we love one another. And even when I thought about entering a serious relationship with her, I didn't think it would be a bad relationship at all. So I know my feelings for her are deeper than I thought. Though… she was acting a little strange. Going from confessing her feelings to crying when I went in for a kiss, to laughing at me without regard for my feelings. It'll probably be best to wait for something else to happen. We never confirmed our relationship anyway. Very disappointing, but definitely my safest option. And with that, it's about time for me to sleep for real. Hopefully Megumin will make her way to my room again, but I sadly doubt that will happen so soon.

Her heartache was relieved ever so slightly with his last paragraph. He didn't seem to be hiding any sort of resentment towards her for acting so cruelly. And seeing him call her beautiful again managed to revive the blush in her cheeks, even if only a tiny portion of its former shine.

"Well… this was definitely part of what I was looking for. His true feelings about me, without all of that verbal diarrhea spewing out of his mouth whenever I get too affectionate towards him. But… I still feel really bad about laughing at him. I really didn't know that his past trauma ran that deep, and that definitely explains some of his quirks and tendencies. I'll comfort him extra hard next time I sleep with him to apologize."

Despite her curiosity being sated to a degree, there was still one part of their history together that nagged at her to search for. He said it himself, this was when his love for her was in its infancy. If she really wanted to find what she was looking for, she'd have to dig a bit deeper.

"Probably a few pages of skimming to get to that point. Let's see…"

Iris- Wedding- Onii-Chan-

She once more felt compelled to skim faster.

Gambling- Luck- Dragon- Castle- Week- Memory-

Even faster. She REALLY did not want to relive that part.

Komekko- Demon King- Crimson- Lovers?

"AH! Finally, this has to be it…"

Something finally happened. It's been awhile since the night me and Megumin shared. The one where she ruined a perfectly romantic night by pissing me off, and I ruined it by chasing her out. However, it looks like my patience finally paid off, and waiting for her to tell me that she was serious when she said that she loved me was the right choice. Just a few minutes ago, she came to my room late at night again, which I hope has started to become a habit of hers. It was weird for her to decide to come to my room at this hour when it's Komekko's last night here, but she didn't seem to regret it one bit. Not that I'm complaining. She then said something out of the blue that felt like a wrestler just slammed his fist into my stomach. "It's time for us to become more than friends, and less than lovers." At first I was elated, but then my elation became skepticism. Then confusion. What the hell does that even mean? She didn't say anything else, and just backed out of my room for the night. Is this what it feels like to be teased? The agonizing, infamous pain known as blue balls? I really wanted to go after her and seductively invite her to spend the night with me again just like before, but I was far too tired.

"Oh yeah, the great and seductive Kazuma, famous for his irresistible charm and allure... always with the excuses."

She couldn't help but let a giggle out through an amused smile.

It would be another few pages until she finally got to the next part of their history together. She couldn't help but feel very curious over all the content she was skipping over, but she couldn't waste the whole night away reading things she could go without knowing. Her relationship with Kazuma and his true feelings for her in written form were far more important.

Darkness has a kid- not the father- house- Megumin-

"Time for the juicy part!"

It happened again. Even though there were… weird moments, and hostile ones, and dumb ones. At first, I was so on edge of someone interrupting us or the possibility that Megumin was just gonna tease me and my son again and leave, I actually tried to push her out like an absolute idiot. I don't know why that was my first defensive instinct, but that's what my nerves were telling me to do! Though thankfully, Megumin was as stubborn as ever, and pretty much refused to leave my side. Thank god… even though she put sleeping together aside and opted to just "have a chat." What a tease. Things calmed down a little and she finally came to my side as opposed to lingering by the door, and she managed to extract the truth about my extra week at the capital. It wasn't really my fault, anyway! There's no way she could understand the emotions of a protective older brother when his innocent younger sister begs and pleads for him to stay! I just had to!

She felt a dry heave squirming its way up her throat.

But, I'm really glad I'm back. Doing that to the others was scummy, even for me. I can admit that much, and I did properly apologize to her for it. I really do feel bad for it, and I can only hope that part of my history manages to disappear.

The resentment that had taken refuge in the back of her throat dissipated.

"Well, it's good to know that he was actually sorry for what he did, and didn't just apologize to save his own ass."

Anyway, that fortunately reminded me to write a letter to Iris, but that UNFORTUNATELY caused me to go into a complete panic about sending a letter to a girl while my probable future girlfriend was sitting right next to me. Which again, even for me, was scummy and stupid. I instead opted to write the letter later instead of right there and the- WAAIT A FUCKING SECOND-

The last part of that paragraph was obviously scribbled in a matter of seconds, which reverted back to its former, cleaner handwriting in the next paragraph.

She couldn't contain her laughter, and let out a loud chuckle. That's another thing she loved about Kazuma. Even if he doesn't mean to be, he's pretty funny, and would make her laugh and smile more often than he could ever make her frown. Probably.

Okay, letter written, back to this. Anyway, after she caught my attention from the letter I had horrible timing with, she said it again, but in the form of a question this time. "My wish is to be more than friends but less than lovers, what's your answer?" While I was expecting this, it still caught me a little off guard, and my dumb virgin brain convinced itself that being defensive was the best course of action. "I thought you were up to your usual temptress tricks, setting me up to be blue-balled" blah blah blah. She swatted my silliness away and again asked for my answer while inching closer to my face, putting even more pressure on me. I asked her what that even meant, and why we couldn't just become a normal couple. "Wouldn't we have trouble knowing how to act infront of everyone? Rather than charge into this, we should take this slowly, step by step" was the gist of her answer. And after uttering that out, she started getting even cuter than usual by having her cheeks match her glowing eyes, making me sweat even more than I already was. She then told me how bad I made her feel by staying in the capital that extra week, and even said that she was desperate to claim me before someone who's a better wizard than she is with her same qualities showed up. That, kind of pulled my heartstrings a little bit. I felt horrible, honestly. As if anyone like her could show up and steal me away. She's one of a kind.

She put her hand over her heart as she read that last sentence, truly touched by his words.

I then asked how far we could go with this unofficial lover's title. Her answer? "We haven't done that sort of thing yet. Let's do it then. How about tomorrow morning?" My heart nearly exploded. Was she finally going to let me graduate from the university of virginity? Was my one true quest finally over? But of course, she meant a date. It's not like I didn't want to go on a date of course, going out with a beautiful girl is every man's dream, though I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed and led astray by her poor word choice. Plus, she clearly knew what I was thinking, and tricked me into saying it out loud. I admitted that she was right, and started brainstorming the best possible way we could slow-build our new found relationship. I thought this strategy would work and get me out of trouble, but I once again underestimated the intelligence of crimson demons. She finally understood what I was trying to do, and called me out on the spot.

"I knew it! He really was only thinking about reproducing! And immediately got on board with going super slow the instant that hope of his was crushed!"

Though, she was wrong about one thing.

"How brave, Kazuma. To accuse me, the most brilliant and intellectual archwizard among the crimson demons of being wrong right after admitting your guilt?"

I wouldn't go this far with someone this close to me if all I wanted was sex.

"...Oh."

What's the point of that? I'm a multi-billionaire living in his own mansion with unarguably impressive achievements that somewhat outweigh my negative reputation. Even with my shut in tendencies, I could easily go out into Axel and pick up some gold digging floozy. I'm not some sex crazed beast that would do it with just anyone. I might have lecherous eyes and a tendency to tease, but having sex with just anyone isn't me. If it was, I would have done it a long time ago. Figured she'd know the full me enough to know that by now.

"...He's right, he isn't and wasn't that kind of person. This time, I really did misjudge him… Though finally knowing it for sure without exhaustingly breaking down that tsundere wall of his is relieving. I'll have him tell me himself later."

Thankfully she calmed down after a short silence, and asked "Now that the atmosphere for confessing is gone, what should we do from now?" while staring at me with those beautiful, deep red eyes.

With that, any and all negative emotion that lingered in her mind vanished upon reading those romantic words that came from her Kazuma of all people, and that meddlesome blush that plagued her throughout the night managed to return ever so slightly to her cheeks.

It was at that exact moment that my mind began to wander to a place not in my past or present, but to my future. The scenario that I played in my mind with many other girls before started up once more, only this time, with Megumin as my wife. I used to think that suddenly marrying and having a child to take care of would be life ruining, far too much responsibility for someone like me. But with Megumin as the co-pilot of my fantasy, for the first time, I couldn't care less about the possible drawbacks and burdens.

Her eyes began to shine a glorious shade of crimson, as they began to battle her deeply reddened cheeks for the title of brightest in the room.

This. This is what she's been searching for the entire night.

Imagining the two of us, living together in my mansion, with my fortune offering more than enough support, and a child happily enriching our lives with a new adventure each and every day. I wouldn't even be opposed to two. But not three. Three is too much. But that? That's the kind of future I can look forward to. Every other woman I've placed in that position with me has made this fantasy a nightmare. Even Darkness. No matter how many times I relayed these thoughts, Megumin is the only one who's ever made it seem pleasant.

Her eyes swelled and her heart tightened. Tears began streaming down her face, threatening to render the journal she shakily held in her small hands nothing but a pile of soggy paper. She couldn't help but feel her lips form a brilliant, heart-warming smile that reached from ear to ear, despite struggling with her sobs. Through her tears, she excitedly attempted to continue.

But what exactly do I love about her? How do I know this isn't just my virgin side desperately lusting for the first woman to ever show me even the smallest bit of interest? I haven't really thought about it. I mean I did tell her that I loved her when she came to my room that night, but when she asked what about her I loved, I was so nervous due to the pressure that I couldn't think of anything. Maybe that's a good place to start. How would I respond to that question now, without the pressure of actually having to tell her for real? -

Well for starters, I love how intelligent she is. How she's always able to outsmart almost anyone she encounters. I love her tenacity and sheer determination to follow her dreams of becoming the strongest magic user this world has ever seen. Despite being sometimes annoying, I love how energetic she is on a daily basis, always willing to get us all off our fat asses and get more adventures under our belt. She's always ready to meet her next challenge with a proud catchphrase and a goofy pose. I love how proud she is of her heritage, and how she still sends her parents money despite only being in my party for the chance to use explosion magic over money. I love how she's always willing to back me up in a fight and defend my honor, even if she's usually the one who starts them. I love how sweet and compassionate she is towards the party, but obviously, mostly towards me. She might not think I notice, but I realize how protective she can be over me and how she's the only person who's actually shown concern over my life. Everyone else just thinks "Oh who cares if Kazuma dies again, Aqua can just revive him when that happens." But her? She shows genuine emotion and actually mourns my death when it happens. I don't think she realizes how much that means to me. And of course, she's an absolutely beautiful girl.. She might be on the younger side, and may not have my ideal body type, but I really don't feel like those will be a problem. It's definitely a new feeling for me, now that I think about it. Instead of the lust I feel when I stare at the assets of voluptuous women, and I've seen MANY of those, this feels completely different. Megumin might not have big breasts or the most voluptuous features, yet she's still somehow one of the most beautiful women I've ever met. While I still have normal feelings of lust towards her, there's something else there. The best way that I can put it is just… a desire to make the future that I simulated with her a reality. And according to all the anime I've watched, and my gut, that sounds exactly like love to me.

Her heart was about to burst from pure happiness, and the tears just kept falling.

But saying that to myself while writing it down is one thing. Actually saying all of that to her is another. I can barely even retain my composure when she gets too close to me, let alone while a full confession busts loose out of my mouth. How could I possibly tell her these embarrassing things? What would I even say? When would be the right moment to tell her? Romance anime MCs are way too dense to confess to their love interests, so I'm going off of absolutely nothing here. Was there a class on manhood that I was supposed to take at school instead of sitting at home or something?

The next paragraph was unusually messy compared to the rest of the journal. It was littered with scribbled out words and even some completely blacked out lines. It seems like it's been re-written several times, covering a few full pages. She could barely make out the vast majority of scribbles, but finally found something legible on the very last page of the edits.

Megumin, I love you, even though you're an explosion obsessed chuunibyou. Despite this, you still do everything you can for us when it matters most. Even though you lack self control, always go off of nothing but your impulses, and cause trouble for me almost as much as Aqua, I understand that you truly care about all of us, and hide a sweet and tender heart under your fiery exterior. When you see something you want, you do whatever you can to get it, and I'm so glad that one of those things turned out to be me. You're sometimes too cool for your own good, and often aggravate me more than anyone else, but that's part of what makes you the woman I love. I want to be your one and only partner from now on, in both explosions and life.

"K-KAZUM-"

She quickly covered her tear drenched mouth with her hands, reminding herself that it was incredibly early in the morning.

"W-Why couldn't you have told me this in person, you idiot?! Why are you waiting so long to tell me these sweet words? Did you really have to indirectly give me a proper confession through your journal that I wasn't even supposed... to be… reading..."

A sudden overwhelming feeling of regret put out the fire that raged in her cheeks like a cold shower.

"I… I'm the idiot, h-huh?"

She started wiping the tears off her swollen face with her sleeves.

"It's p-pretty much all my fault for feeling this way, isn't it? I'm the one who's digging my nose in places I don't have any business being in… I-I just…!"

She pulled the journal of her beloved to her chest, clutching it tightly while twisting her body from side to side.

"I've waited long enough! I couldn't help myself! He had the perfect chance to tell me at least some of these sweet words after I told him how much I loved him back in the crimson demon woods just last week! But all he said was "I've known that for awhile now!" How long is that man planning on making me wait?"

Her eyes fixated on her closed door, and her mind immediately began concocting a scheme to get what she wants.

"...It's about time I gave him proper attention and love, like a proper girlfriend."

She put on a brave face while uttering that statement, though she couldn't finish that sentence without realizing something important.

"And also, become his girlfriend."

She carefully tied the book shut, making absolutely sure that it was in the exact condition it was in when she took it from his nightstand a few hours ago. Satisfied with her stealthy coverup, she held the book tight to her chest and carefully made her way to Kazuma's room while her mind continued to improvise a plan to get what she wanted.

'Step one. Return Journal. Step two. Climb into bed with him. Step three, wait for him to wake up. Step three B, softly nudge him if he doesn't wake up after a minute. Play dumb if hassled. Step four, break down his defenses and make him feel loved by genuinely apologizing for causing him so much trouble and being cruel to him in the past, while hugging him close and brushing his hair. Kisses on the cheek at this stage are acceptable, but not to be used unless necessary. Step five, begin questioning. Ask how he truly feels about me. Beg him to be honest with me and lower his defenses and tsundere shield for once in his life and just be honest with me. Step six, uh… hopefully there won't be a need for a step six.'

Before she could realize it, she now stood before Kazuma's bedroom door. Her makeshift plan crafted, the reality that improv would almost absolutely be needed fresh in her mind, and her resolve steadfast, she carefully creaked his door open and slipped inside.

Kazuma was in the same position he was in earlier, laid out as if he was subconsciously inviting Megumin to crawl in after him. Seeing her favorite pillow practically calling her name, she shuffled over to his bed, and placed the leather journal back upon the nightstand.

'Step one complete. Step two... '

While being incredibly careful not to disturb her sleeping love, she utilized her small frame to seamlessly slip underneath his covers without waking him. She only had to reclaim her favorite spot upon his arm, and cautiously shuffled her way up to his arm, resting her head on it like a pillow.

Despite being moved upon by a beautiful girl, Kazuma did not stir.

'...I'll just nudge him now. Step three B'

With the greatest of care and gentleness, she started poking at his belly.

Yet even with this, Kazuma only continued to snooze.

Without another thought, Megumin advanced from pokes to pressing her hand against his chest, not realizing just how much she greatly missed feeling his warmth.

Seeing still no change in Kazuma's slumber, she started inching her face towards his while passionately stroking his chest.

'Maybe… with this… he'll awaken from his deep slumber…'

And started to gently blow onto his face.

Their first kiss wasn't going to be wasted when one of them wouldn't remember it.

Kazuma's face began to twitch, and his eyelids flickered briefly before slowly opening. His eyes were filled with grogginess, still completely exhausted from the day prior. His pupils lazily scanned the room until finding themselves being drawn to a pair of bright crimson lights directly in front of him, and he stared into her eyes while she continued to caress his chest and interlock their legs together.

"Good Morning, Kazuma."

"Hmmm? Oh, morning, Megumin."

He said this despite only being able to see her headlight eyes amidst the darkness of his room.

"Did you sleep well? Still sore?"

"Hmmmm… a little. Being resurrected is a very…"

She couldn't help but put on a sly smirk while watching Kazuma slowly realize the situation she put him in.

"T-Tiring…"

A blush began to invade his cheeks.

""Experience…?"

He was suddenly jolted awake, and an embarrassing deep blush enveloped him from ear to ear.

"W-What are you doing, Megumin?! Do you know what time it is? Do you have any idea what a man could do to you if you sneak into his bed and wake him up while being so close? He wouldn't be able to resi-"

The embarrassing verbal diarrhea that he began to expel from his mouth was quickly cut off by a small finger being placed upon his lips. He looked at her wide eyed, his cheeks still remaining a bright sheen of red.

"I've missed you, Kazuma. It's been a while since we've shared a bed, hasn't it?"

She lifted her finger from his mouth, allowing him to speak after being given a moment to collect himself.

"W-Well, there's no denying that. But did you really have to wait until this late at night? You could have just said "Kazuma Kazuma, please take me to bed, I'm ready to sleep with you as a reward for working so hard" or something, you know?"

His attempt to be cool was adorable to her. She giggled, and started wrapping herself around his shoulders, then giggled harder when she saw his composure unwind even more.

"You're right, I definitely could have. But tonight, I thought I'd do a bit of teasing for a change…"

Any thought of following the plan she concocted on her way here completely escaped her mind upon seeing the side of Kazuma she adored so much. She couldn't help but tease the adorable man that lay defenseless before her.

"W-What's gotten into you? Did you hit your head on the ground when you collapsed after casting explosion yesterday? You're never this forwa-"

She once again interrupted him by suddenly combing his hair with her fingertips. She might have gotten carried away with the teasing, but her original objective was still foremost in her mind. Make him feel loved, appreciated, and make him hers.

He returned the favor and started doing the same to her. Despite his verbal backlash, he was absolutely loving this. HIs earlier trauma at the hands of a certain bear certainly left him with a desire to be comforted. He was overjoyed that Eris finally lifted his curse and granted his wish.

'Maybe Big Boss finally decided to switch sides after all. Or give up on me.'

That is, until he felt the lack of a certain lump under his pillow.

"...Oi, Megumin."

"Yes, my darling Kazum-"

Her honey-filled response was cut short by the look on Kazuma's face. It was awash in a mixture of emotion, with annoyance and embarrassment taking center stage.

"Did you by any chance, dig your nose into somewhere it didn't belong?"

"W-Whatever could you mea- Oww Owwww! Stop it stop it I'm sorry, Kazuma! Please I apologize! I regret it immensely! Please, have mercy!"

He mercilessly commenced an assault upon her cheeks, as if he were attempting to pull them off completely.

"Didn't your parents ever teach you that it's wrong to snoop in other people's possessions?!"

"Ow, Oww! And didn't your parents- Ow! Ever teach you that stealing panties was wrong?!"

He released her cheeks from his wrathful grip, unable to argue with her reasoning. He quickly spun himself around to face away from her, instead opting to pout.

"It still doesn't let you off the hook, you explosion obsessed loli."

Despite feeling that he has no room to complain given his past of sexual harassment, she still couldn't help but feel bad about her actions.

"I-I'm sorry, Kazuma. I really am. I originally did want to just sleep with you, but the temptation was just too much…"

She was met by nothing but the silence of a pouting Kazuma.

"I got really scared yesterday, you know? You died again. You did something really careless and threw yourself into harm's way again. And I'm getting really concerned by how nonchalant you and the others have gotten with it. Why am I the only one who seems to care about your safety anymore?"

Kazuma had to struggle with his urge to flip back over and resume their cuddling session, but the thought of the journal he's kept since his first visit to the crimson demon village allowed him to resist. Barely.

"And in regards to your journal… the temptation to find out what you really think and feel about us and the adventures we've been on was just too much. You rarely talk to me without that mental armor you cling to so much, so I felt like it was my one chance to really understand how you feel. I'm sorry, Kazuma. I went way out of line this time. Please forgive me."

"It's okay, I guess. I can't really complain when I've done plenty of morally questionable things to you before… How far did you get?"

Kazuma hesitantly flipped himself back over to face her, a deeply embarrassed face was plastered over his previously furious one.

"Eh? Uh…"

It seems like her inability to answer was more than enough for him, as his embarrassed face only continued to flare. He was at a loss for words, completely unsure of how to continue this conversation.

'She read all of it, didn't she? At least all of the parts about her. I didn't even have the chance to-'

His sorrowful thought was cut off by Megumin once again bringing him into a deep embrace.

"Kazuma, I have some things I need to say to you."

Powerless to continue their interaction himself, he could only return her embrace and anxiously listen to her words.

"I'm sorry."

He looked up from his resting spot against her chest, and gazed at her with a confused stare.

"For all the trouble we've caused you, Kazuma. Ever since we first formed our party. All the times we've taken you for granted. All the times we've placed you in danger. All the times we've brought you kicking and screaming with us into trouble. All the times we were cruel to you."

She continued to stroke his hair.

"Ever since the start, you've been taking care of us. Even when there was no mansion, only a barn. When there was no fortune, only debt. You've been taking care of us. You somehow perform the miracle of corralling all three of us together, and bring out our best. Since then, you've only continued to care for us three. You've housed us with your mansion, clothed and fed us with your fortune, cleaned up the messes that seem to follow us girls like a plague, and most importantly, you've repeatedly allowed me to continue pursuing my reckless dream of explosions despite being a massive burden on you. I could have learned advanced magic and been a much bigger asset to the team, yet you buffed my explosions. I could have given up on my dream of showing Wolbach my explosion, yet you wouldn't let me. I was fraught with guilt over killing her, yet you reassured my heart that night. And just last week, I was ready to finally concede defeat in my rivalry with Yunyun and accept my title as the laughing stock of the village, yet you helped me close that gap and prove everyone wrong in a single night with an amazing date in the woods."

He could only lose himself in her eyes that shone with a light that has never before been brighter, absolutely entranced by her words.

"You saved Darkness from her forced marriage to Alderp, and willingly sacrificed your own fortune that you worked tirelessly to acquire without the promise of it's return. You sacrificed the life that you wanted to live, a life of luxury with all of us in a mansion atop a vast amount of eris, just to save her. And while I don't like the lecherous gaze that it's earned you from her, I'm still really amazed and happy that you did something so incredibly selfless."

She forcibly broke eye contact with him by placing her hands upon his burning hot cheeks, and pulling his head back into her chest while resting her chin atop his head.

"Without you, I wouldn't even have explosion magic. Without you taking me into your party, I'm sure that I would have given up. I love you so much, Satou Kazuma. More than you could possibly know. I'm even willing to say that you're more important to me than my explosion magic."

His eyes widened upon hearing those words, a sentence that he couldn't even imagine hearing in his dreams. Had she really hit her head too hard the other day?

"That's why I couldn't resist the temptation of finally knowing how you feel about me. I love you for you Kazuma, and I've accepted the entirety of you for the man I love more than anyone or anything. But even my patience has limits, you know. I-I've grown so desperate to hear a proper confession from you these last few weeks that I went and spoiled myself. It was a way for me to hear your thoughts and opinions without the defences you put up each time I get too close to you. Not knowing how you truly feel about me was agony, Kazuma. That's why… that's why I did something I really regret. I'm sorry, Kazuma. I should have waited until you were ready."

She pulled on him with increasing desperation, as if she was terrified that he'd move away from her again. But to her relief, Kazuma seemed to tighten his own hold around her. It was as if they were inseparable, desperately clinging onto one another in fear of being torn apart.

Kazuma could barely contain his joy. His heart was racing at a pace that almost frightened him, and he was only just keeping himself away from the point of tears. Those words were something he desperately needed to hear for the longest time. True, unspoiled appreciation and thanks for everything he's done for his party. For the first time in his entire life, Kazuma truly felt valued and appreciated. Even loved.

The burden of breaking the silence now upon his shoulders, Kazuma did the only thing that came to his mind. His brain finally let his heart hold the reins.

He pulled away from Megumin's chest and brought himself up to meet her eye level, and he couldn't help but stare once more into the entrancing eyes of his beloved, taking in every detail of her beautiful features.

Her hair seemed to glisten in the moonlight like a tapestry woven from silk, a mesmerizing contrast to her snowy white complexion. Her expression was one filled with admiration and love, her glowing eyes acted as windows which allowed him to behold the tender heart that she often hid under her ambitious exterior. There were no flaws to be seen no matter where he looked, no matter how hard he tried to find even a single imperfection to shorten the gap between their leagues. Not even her features that were the regular subject of his cruel teasing could be counted as a flaw in his eyes anymore. She was perfect to him.

Without giving his mind the time to prepare, his heart guided his hands away from her hips and towards her head. He gently ran his fingers through her delicate hair, submerged in the comforting feeling it gave him. His right hand then drifted down to her cheek while his left remained affixed to her hair. He caressed her smooth skin with his thumb while his other fingers held her head in place, refusing to let anything turn her away from him.

Then, his heart skipped a beat.

"K-Kazum- mmmph!"

He had pulled her lips into his, and finally took the lead on their first kiss. The feeling of her lips invited him in even further. The taste of her tongue ensnared him in his feelings even deeper. Even with his eyes closed, he could see a brief brilliant flash of crimson through his eyelids, only for them to slowly fade as she closed her eyes to let herself ease into him. She tightened her grip on his back and pulled him in even closer, refusing to let their kiss be broken for anything short of a need for air.

What was only a minute seemed to last an eternity to the both of them. The moment that they've both been anxiously awaiting in silence had finally come, and their perception of time was rendered nonexistent amidst the overwhelming emotions of satisfaction, love, and lust.

Kazuma finally pulled away from her, taking in air with heavy breaths. She on the other hand wasn't even winded.

He'll have to start raising his endurance stat immediately.

"M-Megumin, there's something.. I need to tell you too."

She returned his tender hearted gaze, anxiously awaiting his next words with the same expectant expression she gave him back when he told her he loved her for the first time.

"You know I'm not very good at heart to hearts like this, and I'll be really mad if you laugh at me again, but… there is something I've been waiting to tell you. I know you already spoiled yourself in your impatience, but I still need to do this properly."

He cleared his throat like he was about to begin reading a script.

"M-Megumin, I love you, even though you're an explosion obsessive troublemaker. Despite this, you still do everything you can for us when it matters most. Even though you lack all sense of self control, always go off your impulses, and trouble me almost as much as Aqua, I know that you truly care about all of us, and hide a tender heart under your exterior. When you see something you want, you do whatever you can to get it, and I'm glad that one of those things... turned out to be... me. You're sometimes too cool for your own good, and often piss me off more than anyone else, but that's part of what makes you the, uh… woman I love. I want to be your one and only partner from now on… in both explosions and life."

'Kill me now Eris, I'll gladly take a quick and easy heart attack over watching this girl laugh at my confession.'

To his immediate despair, upon finishing his confession that he's practiced over and over, Megumin couldn't hold back her happiness. A wide smile crept along her face from ear to ear as he finally spilled his heart out to her, accompanied by a few tears in her eyes.

'I made her laugh so hard inside, she's crying. Guess I spent all those hours in front of the mirror for nothi-'

With it finally being her turn again, she pulled him from his anxiety fueled nightmare right back into another deep and passionate kiss. She held him there until she was once again satisfied, then let him come up for air so she could reassure her blushing boyfriend that his thoughts were ridiculous.

Though, she was holding back a little laughter. The thought of Kazuma practicing that same thing every night in front of a mirror for god knows how long was just too funny to her. For his sake however, she'd save her laughter for another day.

"You have no idea how long I've been waiting to hear you say that, Kazuma. You really practiced that by yourself just to get it right?"

"W-Well it's a man's obligation to ensure that his entire heart and soul is captured in any confession he makes, you know. It's like an actor getting ready for his big scene, it's only natural."

She giggled, and brought her face only inches away from his.

"Well, It's going to be the last one you ever make, so I think you did a good job."

She leaned in and gave him a peck on the forehead.

"So, Satou Kazuma. Now that we've properly confessed to one another, I think it's high time that we become official lovers. What do you think?"

Kazuma paused, and took a moment to revisit his fantasy that helped him realize his love for the crimson demon that lay before him. A world where he and Megumin made it official, and spent the rest of their lives as partners in life, and on the path of explosions. Just as he suspected, his feelings about it have not changed in the slightest. He knew that with Megumin by his side as his partner in all his ventures, his future was beautiful.

"Seeing as everything I said earlier was true, I… don't think that's a terrible idea."

"You had that fantasy of yours again, didn't you? Fufufu, did you like what you see?"

Kazuma suddenly pulled away from her, sat up on his bed, and shot her a look of annoyed determination. A look she knew he only put on when he was absolutely set on something.

"Y-You even read that part?! And yes! I did like what I saw, which is why I'm more than happy to become your lover!"

Her confidence filled smirk was instantly wiped away and replaced with an expression of surprise, with a subtle blush of embarrassment to match. In response, she too sat up on the bed and gave him a similar expression of determination. Her eyes pierced his like lasers, which proved her unwavering will.

"W-Well then, we are now lovers, Kazuma! I expect you to come with me on my daily routine each day from now on without excuses!"

"I accept! Though I'll only use drain touch on you if you make out with me!"

"Now that I'm your girlfriend, I don't see any issue with that!"

"R-Really? Then In that case, I expect you to regularly shower me with love and praise that only a beautiful woman is capable of! Also actually shower with me!"

"Again, now that I'm your girlfriend, I see no problem with that request! I expect the same from you too! And no more sleeping alone!"

"There's no downside to any of that!"

"I agree! And no more succubus visits, either!"

"Wait, now hold on a moment-"

"Kazuma!"

She lobbed her pillow at his face.

"Alright alright! I was joking! Sheesh! I'm a one girl kind of man, you know! I would never do that! Now that we're official, I couldn't go in there and be able to sleep soundly that night, so there really isn't a point in going anyway!"

She retrieved her pillow from his side of the bed with a pout.

"You better be telling the truth, Kazuma. I was lenient with cheating before, but now that we're official, I won't have any of it."

Her eyes appeared to be burning with the fires of hell themselves, causing him to contemplate running for his life.

"I know, that's only natural since you're my girlfriend! I promise! No more succubus dreams!"

"And no more sexually harassing other girls, right?"

"Yep, though you're gonna have to put up with all of it from now on."

"Don't say something so scummy so casually!"

"I'm kidding! Jeez, it's not like you'd hate it, anyway. And now that we're lovers, it wouldn't even be harassment, right?"

"That's not how that works! You have to at least… ask first, you know?"

"Oh, really? So if I were to ask you if I could use steal on you for your panties, what would you say?"

"...That you wouldn't need to use steal."

"...Really?"

"As long as I remember to pack another pair. And you only get one, got it?"

"I'll keep that in mind."

He tucked that mental note away like a coupon.

A loud yawn from Megumin interrupted the flirting, and caused Kazuma to realize just how tired he was. Being resurrected really does a number on your stamina, afterall. Yet, for how tired he was, he was sure that Megumin was much more so.

"Have you really been up all night reading?"

"Y-Yeah… I think we've made enough progress for today."

Kazuma laid back down upon his bed, and extended his arm out as an invitation for her to join him, which she did so happily.

"So, should we go out on our first date as lovers after tomorrow's explosion, Kazuma?"

"Sounds good to me, just don't expect either of us to be waking up any time soon. Probably after lunch."

She lazily nodded her head in agreement while letting out another yawn.

"Hey Megumin."

"Yeah?"

"How many dates is the average to go on before sex?"

"...Y-You really are a pervert, Kazuma. Couldn't you wait at least a little bit before asking something so stupid?"

"Hey, you're the one who asked a stallion in his prime years to become your lover, you know."

"...Once we defeat the demon king. That was our promise, right?"

"Right I know, but what if we, let's say for an example, don't do that. What then?"

"...Five."

"Huh?"

"Five actual real dates, then we can talk. Now come here so I can sleep."

She grabbed onto his collar, and pulled him into another emotion-filled kiss goodnight. He was a bit disappointed with the lack of tongue action this time around, since she was on the verge of passing out. She released him much quicker this time, but not before coiling around her man like a snake, adamant on not moving for anything until they were rested from their well overdue night's sleep.

He embraced her in return, thoroughly looking forward to spending each and every night just like this. With the woman he loved more than anything else in this cruel, unfair new world.

"...Hey Kazuma, if you make another one of those kotatsu things, we'll be able to do all kinds of things with it."

"I'll talk to Vanir first thing in the morning."

Author's Notes

Hi everyone, I finally wrote another one! Sorry for being away for so long, life's been pretty interesting over the last few years. That was until, I finally watched Konosuba and fell in love with the series, and found a ship that compelled me to write again. There's a CRIMINAL lack of content for Kazumin, so I felt the call of duty to put my writing fingers to work. While I'm unsure when my next one will be, I do have more plans for Kazumin. As far as BNHA goes, I made a full post on my return on my Tumblr. I hope you guys enjoyed reading from me again, I hope I gave the Kazumin ship another fic it deserves, and hope I can give it more in the future. Thanks for reading!