Standard disclaimers apply.
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08:45 pm: Mikagami dining hall
The single word was uttered as stupidly as it sounded to the other occupants of the room. What was more amusing was the fact that it came straight from the mouth of one Mikagami Tokiya. Kaze tried to stifle a laugh (almost failed) by biting her lower lip so hard she wouldn't be surprised if it detaches itself from her face in a while.
Man… so clueless…
"Yes. Wife. Is there something wrong, Tokiya?" Miryu inquired, one brow arched higher than the other. Yeah, that brow-arching skill that runs in the family, alright.
The boy's voice seemed to be stuck in his throat that what he managed was a mere shake of his head, still attempting to make sense of the situation. Truth be told, he already had this gut-feel regarding his cousins' impromptu appearance and the secret knowing glances they exchanged. All he needed were a few more details to confirm his suspicions. And then there was Fuuko who was unwillingly dragged into his mess of a family and jiisan's…
The ex-Hokage's eyes narrowed before shifting to his three cousins in passing and resting on his grandfather. Does he… Is he…
"Fuuko…" the patriarch's voice echoed in Fuuko's head. "If you are worrying about your mother, rest-assured that this arrangement is with her approval."
Tokiya, even with all the training he had undergone (and the cool image he was hell-bent on putting up) was still not able to prevent his jaw from dropping, mirroring Fuuko's expression. A Kodak moment, indeed.
"What… mom… what…" Fuuko tried to form one coherent sentence despite the jumble of information threatening to… well, jumble her brain out. "Mom knows of… this?" Finally, brain. She would've given said organ a pat on the… its backside whatever it is called.
The old man merely smiled (almost giving everyone a heart attack) before replying "Why, of course, she is very much aware. Did you think we will just kidnap you here and force you to marry Tokiya with a katana a few inches from your throat?"
Okay. The words combined with his face (which looked happy, by the way) fill out the very meaning of the word DISTURBING. And Fuuko could not help but be reminded of Azuma and his thing with severe punishments.
"Your mother and I have been in constant communication, child. About a year ago, in fact. This correspondence led us to conclude that you and Tokiya are a good match— a rare one, at that."
Mom and jiisan have been talking… and she's not weirded out by jiisan… not weirded out that they talk about marriage, my marriage. And she approves…and…and…Kami… not that I'm not happy to hear that… Fuuko continued to mutter in her brain, effectively droning out Miryu's rambling something which she thought was close to mothers knowing what's best for their children.
# # #
It was all a ploy.
He should have seen that coming. With his perfect academic records and excellent fighting abilities, why in Kami's name did he fail to connect these odd occurrences? Yes, he had this gut-feel. Was it because he chose to ignore it? Did he let himself be dragged into this situation to save them the trouble of going through the conventional process of courting? And why the hell was he even thinking of such disgusting things? He is Mikagami Tokiya for Kami's sake and Mikagami Tokiya does not do fluff and mush and…
Okay so maybe he did. More than once, to be honest, but hearing his grandfather close to talking about his supposedly private love life just sounded… too wrong. Kami forbid if the old man ever think of getting close to hinting at his sex life…
Whoa, Mikagami. Stop. Stop. Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts, goddammit.
"Jiisan…" he made sure Miryu got to finish first before butting in. He had blundered too much to last his lifetime to ever commit one again. "However did you get the idea of arranging my marriage with Fuuko?"
"Is it not to your liking?"
"Of course, not." The head cousin's reply was automatic that the three other cousins had to bite their lips to stop themselves from laughing. (a/n: I pity Kaze's lips.) Tokiya had to clear his throat at that.
"Why, we have been following you particularly in that tournament. I thought you looked good together. That and Fuuko's impressive prowess. It was indeed a good match…"
Hell must have frozen over. Mikagami Miryu did not just say something a school girl would. Looked good together his ass.
"And yes, it helped that your three cousins saw the same thing." The old man finished while standing, preparing to vacate the room. "I shall leave you to yourselves, children. I have business to attend to. You may stay for the night, Fuuko. I've already talked to your mother."
Business again. The phrase was shared by five people who followed the old man with their eyes.
And yes, he has the culprit. Add an "s" to that.
"You may start speaking." There was no need to mention names. The order was directed to the three who did not even feel any sort of threat.
Jinka leaned back on his chair, taking on a bored expression as if to say "duh" before speaking, "We simply did you a favor. No worries, though. We're not expecting a thank you."
Tokiya closed his eyes for a brief moment before glancing at Fuuko who still seemed to be at a loss for words. Frowning, he muttered an "Are you alright?" to her before he could stop himself. Yes, well, he appeared to be an overly concerned boyfriend judging from his face.
"Kami, and I… al-almost c-c-cried…" the fujin girl stammered to herself. "Really, I appreciate it but I actually hate it when people seem to… play with me." She looked up feeling Tokiya's hand on her arm. Taking several breaths to calm her nerves, she still has no idea what to feel. But really, she felt… well, manipulated.
But look where it led her. Not bad. Haha.
"Sorry, we just thought… we had to give you that much-needed push since you don't seem to be progressing in your obvious…uhm…"
"Unresolved sexual tension."
"Unresolved se— wait, what?" Kaze exclaimed almost falling prey to Jinka's antics.
Said lad merely laughed it off as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "Really, Louie. Even Azuma had to agree with me that your stint, yes, both of you…" he pointed at the two ex-teammates, "During the tournament was pure unresolved sexual tension. I know you're dense no, don't interrupt yet, with these things but we never thought you'd actually be that dense to not acknowledge it earlier."
Silence ensued as the two stared at him as if he'd grown a third eye on his chin. Azuma just had to second his cousin's statement. "We're sorry, okay. We know we've stuck our noses in your personal lives but… we really wanted to help you act on those surfacing feelings. Given how stubborn you both are, we were actually close to betting that neither one of you would think of letting down your pride to actually confess to the other."
"Mi-chan said he was already scheming." Fuuko automatically answered, though not as previously disturbed.
"Oh, please, Fuuko-chan." Kaze snorted. "Seriously? Just after two years?"
"You've broken several rules."
"Not really." Jinka replied with such confidence. "That no-secret rule was scrapped out just weeks before… oh shit, we forgot to tell you?" he continued looking extremely surprised that anyone can tell it was just one of his crappy acts.
Drumming her fingers on the table, Kaze added "And we started on the operation right after it was abolished. Clever of us, huh?"
"Well, we might have hinted about your closeness which is actually believable since Fuuko-chan is the only one you would interact to begin with. Other than Yanagi, of course." Azuma quickly added sensing an incoming protest from the ice block. "And so, here we are. I admit we didn't think this will actually work. The intention was to merely hook up the head cousin with his comrade. We are aware of the attraction, yes, please don't deny it, Louie, but we can only guess as much regarding your true feelings. But it normally starts from attraction, right? So we thought, why not?" He paused as if to catch his breath before adding in a softer tone, "That is before you indirectly confessed a while ago, Tokiya."
"So for several damnfucking hours… you were toying with us. And now you're successful. Happy?" his voice was cold enough to freeze the Sahara as his eyes were reduced to mere slits while sizing up his cousins.
Okay so they did help them. No need to worry about stupid rules or possible panicking mothers or rage-filled grandfathers. He had ruled out exaggeratedly overprotective primates ages ago. So what exactly is his problem? A bruised ego, perhaps.
Damn you Mikagami, don't go all emo now. Fuuko's fine. She's not hurt. You can be with her. You'll marry her soon, everybody happy. He chanted like a mantra over and over again (not like he'll say that out loud).
"Let's talk." Tokiya caught Fuuko's wrist, almost dragging her outside without a single word to his relatives who merely stared.
Another pause graced the room before Jinka broke the ice.
"I'm willing to bet my eyes and allowance for the whole year that they'd make out now."
# # #
Author's notes: An update! (oh my god an update after centuries…) apologizing wouldn't be enough for those who have read this story before. (Yeah I know I deserve to be hit by several dancing icicles) this wasn't actually planned. I just happened to have free time and stumbled upon ffnet and my old account and BAM! (kidding) I reread the reviews and… I felt guilty for abandoning the fic for centuries so here! And I thought my writing skills are rusty so please bear with me. I'm not sure when the next update would be but… it's a start, ne? ^^ (oh god, it's still unfinished?)