Bittersweet Destiny – Chapter 12

Catharsis

Synopsis: Taeko and Youko make a pact as Naru formulates a plan.

Author's Foreward: All copyrights retained by their original holders. Any gain from this fic should go to them for their inspiring imagination.

Didn't I say chapter twelve would be out soon? Hehehehehehehe. But all kidding aside, this one was a lot of fun to write, and I can't wait to see what happens next in this den of playful romping (pun!). Expect some hot shopping, serous conversation, and maybe even some coquettish whimsy in the capers to come!


Keita sniffed back the crocodile tears as he put out their bowls of miso in front of the Keitaro and Taeko. "Traitor," he pouted softly at Keitaro. "It's all your fault I have to marry that mad dog woman," he said and breathed out a heavy sigh. Visions of litters of puppies danced through his head as he whimpered aloud.

Taeko laughed nervously, and Keitaro scratched his head and produced a sweatdrop the size of Hokkaido. Although, from Taeko's point of view, it was fitting who was wearing the collar in the relationship.

"Keita," Youko reprimanded from behind him as she tapped her foot impatiently. "Do you really want to go for another jog?" She poised her fingers, ready to snap.

"No, no!" he replied quickly, "Don't misunderstand! I was just showing my appreciation. Appreciation!" he said rapidly as he took a defensive step backward.

Keitaro could see the look fall over Keita's face, and he knew immediately that this man had found a plan that would get him into trouble. He was sure of it. Long years of taking the brunt of Kitsune's schemes had given him an uncanny ability to forsee this particular type of bad luck.

"That's right!" Keita said as realization set in. "That's right! You could host our engagement party! You have a hot springs at the Hinatasou don't you? It would be perfect!" Keita began to grin from ear to ear. Keitaro could see the machinations rolling around in the man's head through the glaze over his eyes.

"Well, you know…" he began trying to beg off the responsibility.

But Taeko didn't allow it. To her this strange couple were friends of Keitaro, and they were welcome. "I think that would be splendid. We could do something formal for the both of us."

Keitaro coughed nervously, "But we just had a party last night. Everyone in the house will be useless today for the preparations. And if we have it too late it will conflict with Centers, and…"

Youko's eyes had grown grand. "Really, really? An engagement party at a hot springs? Where I can be bathed and brushed and pampered?"

It was Taeko's turn to produce her own giant sweat drop. "Hehe, I'm afraid it's not that kind of hot springs, Youko-san. It's more… intimate than what you might expect."

A different kind of fire burned in Youko's eyes at the sound of that one word, and she immediately sashayed up to Keita. Her finger played in the folds of his green sleeveless T. "Keita," her voice was palpably sensual. "I think I like the sound of that."

It was simply too late to back out. Keitaro had faced some sadistic women before, to be sure, but Youko was quite different. Youko scared him silly.

Taeko blushed redly as she saw Youko's mood shift. She could see herself doing the same in her mind to Keitaro's bare chest. 'Kei-sama's bare chest, and his bare…' she thought, and buried her reddened face behind a wave of hair and glasses. Her body was heating noticeably, and she fanned the neckline of her sweater open and stole a glance at Keitaro.

He caught the movement, and was caught be her, looking longingly at the brief taste of bare skin and bra strap. It was enough to make his pants bulge uncomfortably and redden his face. He gulped heavily and forced his thoughts away from that skin. That soft, smooth, silken skin. "So… how many people should we be expecting, and when?"

"Oh, at least twenty, I'd say. My dad's still sealed away, but all of Keita's friends and family will be coming, and I think we ought to invite Karina-san, and…" Youko babbled on breathlessly. But Taeko couldn't concentrate on what the girl was saying. Her mind was engulfed in an entirely different issue.

Her own lust had surprised her. It had never been that way with Kaoru. Certainly she had day-dreams and red-dreams, and sometimes even something more impulsively immediate, but it was almost always sweet and child-like. It was running down the beach hand in hand. It was just the two of them sharing drinks under a blossoming tree. Or if it was really racey, a secret kiss in an alcove of Aoi's house. But her wonderment of Keitaro's form beneath his shirt was persistent and alive. She shifted in her seat as she grew even warmer, watching his hands as he gesticulated and his muscles bunch and tease the fabric of his clothes. The chords of his neck, supple and intriguing danced around his collar in strong, pulsing amplifications.

"Taeko-san? Taaaaaeeeekooooo-saaaaan," Youko said directly into her ear.

Taeko shot bolt upright, "I wasn't looking at his neck!"

Youko bulged a sweatdrop, then eyed Taeko seriously. "Taeko-san," she said sweetly. "Could I have a moment with you?"

"Yeah," Taeko replied as she patted the sweat from her face with a napkin. "Sure."

Youko helped her up and interposed herself between them and the two men. "We'll be right back, boys, okay?"

Keitaro wasn't quite sure what had happened. He started to get up, but they were off before he could begin. He watched them sit two booths down, just out of earshot and strained to read what he could see of their expressions. Taeko noticed his eyes and turned away in a blush that would have sold an entire catalog of seeds. Keita simply sat at the table and applied himself to the miso with a sigh.

"What are they talking about?" Keitaro mused.

"Mm," Keita replied. "Knowing Youko, probably something that shouldn't be discussed in polite company."

"EH?"

Keita looked up from his bowl and replied noncommitally, "The miso is pretty good today, you should have some."


Youko dragged Taeko into the booth and sat down across from her. Her voice, when it came, was conspiratorial and urgent. "Have you and Keitaro done… it?"

Taeko's jaw dropped to the floor with a thud. It took considerably longer for her to recover than she had ever anticipated. Not that she'd ever anticipated THAT, but still. Either way, she was quite sure her embarrassment was complete. She shook her head rapidly as her heart pounded in her chest. Her voice simply didn't work. It had been robbed by even more lurid day-dreams than she had ever experienced which only served to shock her more.

"You mean you two are engaged and you haven't done, you know, this and that?" Youko queried. "It's 2008, Taeko. Everybody does… IT."

Taeko somehow brought herself up from her stupor. "But we've only known each other for three days, and this is the first time we've been out together since the Mi Ai."

Youko stumbled, "This is your first date?"

Taeko was shocked upright, "This is a date?!" A sudden rush of panic shook her. If she'd realized what was happening she might have taken time to prepare. She'd have bathed, and put on make-up. She might have even chosen something more flattering to wear. 'Maybe done something different with my hair, or put my contacts in or something!' she cursed as she looked down at the droopy sweatshirt and black Capri slacks. 'I look like I'm out grocery shopping for heaven's sake!'

Youko sighed. "How old are you again?"

"Twenty," Taeko said quietly.

The woman sounded so forlorn that Youko couldn't help but be touched. She took the girl's hand in hers and asked with sudden wonder, "Where have you been?"

"I'm sorry," Taeko said. Youko's heart replied with a sudden pang. "This is my very first date. I've always been too busy working or studying for boyfriends. Not that they notice anything besides my chest anyways."

Taeko reminded Youko of someone; someone she knew rather well. In an instant she conjured her plan. "I think I understand what you need, and I'll help you, but only on one condition."

Taeko was so relieved that she was near tears. "Thank you, Youko," she said with a deep bow. "Anything you need. Anything at all. It's yours."

Youko leaned close and whispered softly her request. "You have to help me get Keita. He must be mine completely!" she commanded and clenched her fist in emphasis.

Taeko produced a sweatdrop, and chuckled nervously behind her hand. "Isn't that going a little overboard?"

Youko's aura was ablaze with a determined focus. "In love there is no prize for second place. There are only winners and losers. And I will not lose to that bitch Nadeshiko!"

"Youko-san," Taeko began nervously. "Your, um, enthusiasm is really… inspiring, but don't you think that love should be, you know, enchanting?" Taeko had tried to choose her words very carefully, to suggest rather than command a sense of perspective. "Something that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and makes you want to do your best make the person you love happy, because just being near them makes you at peace with the world around you no matter what else in your life is going on. Because," she paused, her focus becoming distant and soft. Something about those words had settled something inside her. It was concrete; a bedrock on which to build the rest of her life. She finally understood what Aoi had been talking about. "Because, when you're near him, the world could fall apart and it wouldn't matter. You'd still smile because he'd look at you and say that you're pretty or smart or funny." Taeko found herself babbling and stopped. But her mind still played on.

Youko's entire manner changed in an instant. Taeko's monologue had left her rapt in her own life. 'I love him?' she thought. 'I love him,' her mind commanded, and her eyes opened in realization. It wasn't the first time she'd thought it, or felt it. But now, it seemed so clear, so perfect, she felt she'd been reborn.

"Youko…" Taeko began, kneading her hands nervously in her lap.

Youko shook her head firmly and blinked. Her voice was gentle when she replied. "Hai."

Taeko then said the most embarrassing question she'd ever uttered, "What does… what does it feel like?"

Youko blushed and hid her eyes behind a swath of silky green hair as her fingers played against each other bashfully, "I don't know," she said quietly. "That's what I was going to… That's what I was going to ask you."


Naru stalked back from the restaurant, her body seized with ire. She went to find them, to protect Mutsumi's interests of course, and she found them alright. She found them in the den of hell. Keitaro had been sitting and talking with none other than the The Naked King, or the Stripper, as she and Mokoto liked to call him around the house. It had been just the sort of place she'd expected that slut Taeko to take him on their date. However, despite being right, she was far from overjoyed.

Keitaro was being led into some eerie underworld of lust and sex, and she had put a stop to it. 'I'll show them,' she thought as she rounded the last corner to the Hinata tea house. 'Mutsumi will outshine that slut in no time.'

Naru burst through the door, and bolted up the stairs. Mutsumi's door was open, and Naru found her sitting comfortably at her kotatsu, snoozing the day away with a gentle, naïve smile on her sleepy lips.

"Wake up!" Naru shouted, and brust her flat palms on the top of the kotatsu.

Mutsumi simply giggled and cuddled against the yellow Liddo-kun doll she'd wrapped herself around.

It only served to raise Naru's ire even more. "Damn it, wake up!" her voice tore again, and again to no avail.

An evil passage ran over her eyes and she'd found what it was she needed to do. Naru grabbed at the Liddo-kun and tore it away from Mutsumi's arms, her voice seething, "She's stealing him from you!"

Mutsumi awoke, her eyes tearing softly, "What? Liddo-kun? Na-chan?"

"She's going to steal him from you while you sleep!" Naru whispered dangerously.

"Liddo-kun?" Mutsumi replied, aghast.

Naru's shoulders bunched and pulled, turning her face grotesque as she battered her friend with reality. "Keitaro! Keiiiiitaaaaroooooo!" she bellowed in a rage and threw the Liddo-kun across the room. Mutsumi's eyes instinctively darted to follow. Naru grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her once firmly, commanding her attention. "Taeko is going to sleep with him. She's going to slither into his bed and steal him before you can catch his heart. You have to do something now!"

Naru's rage was frieghtening in its urgency. Spellbound, Mutsumi got to her feet and clasped her hands together in panic. "But… but what can we do?"

"We're going to do it!" Naru exclaimed.

Mutsumi shrugged and began to undress.

Naru seethed and smacked her own forehead. 'She's simply not right.' "Mutsumi-chan, remind me to talk to you about something called, sexual orientation."

"Hai," Mutsumi replied seriously.

"I mean we're going to beat her to the punch! We're going to seduce him before she can!" Naru proclaimed.

"Oh," Mutsumi smiled, "Okay."

The sweet, innocent smile on the woman's face was both exalting and too much for Naru to bear. "Were you dropped on your head as a child or something?"

"Hmmm?" was the woman's only response.

A sudden image, borne on her friend's face, of Mutsumi's mother in the same exact expression clicked over in her mind. "Nevermind."


Now that things are really heating up we're going to be having all kinds of fun! Hope you stay for the next chapter!

As an aside, both Youko and Keita are characters from Inukami! which is worth a look imho.