Title: Peek a Boo
Disclaimer: I don't own MeruPuri.
Notes: I can't believe there's no MeruPuri category. It's not fair. But yeah, I really had to write something for it. It's such a beautiful manga, and I feel so sorry for Jeile because he's my favourite. Thus I present to you FFN's first JeilexAiri fic. Enjoy.
Grumbling and groaning, Jeile heaved himself up from the floor and scratched his head in bemusement. "…what is she up to?"
The reason he had been on the floor was Maruru; his tiny fairy companion had wanted to play a game and, with nothing better to do, he had agreed. She hadn't, in so many words, told him exactly how to play. She had just told him to shut his eyes and count slowly to twenty, with no peeking under any circumstances. And so, without question, that was what he had done.
Only when he had opened his eyes, Maruru was nowhere to be seen. He had stood looking vaguely puzzled for a moment before wondering if she'd gone into the corridor, but when he'd investigated he'd found that his door was locked. It was then that he'd cottoned on; the game must have been some kind of variation on 'hide and seek'.
Thus, the floor had come into the equation. Jeile had decided that the best place to start looking would be under his bed, so he had gotten down on all fours and peered into the dark space.
She wasn't there. He'd have seen her immediately if she had been, due to the fact that she glowed. This was all very confusing. He could have just used magic to open the door, but he didn't want to risk it in case it spoiled Maruru's game. The same went for using magic to find her; the whole point of hide and seek, he had gathered, was to manually look in every nook and cranny until you found the people you were looking for. And so, puzzled, he moved over to his chest of drawers to search them.
He inwardly beamed whenever he thought of Maruru. She always managed to cheer him up, even when he was feeling at his absolute worst. Most of the time she didn't even mean to, she just had a contagious smile. Although, he suspected that this time she was cheering him up on purpose; he had been brooding over the fact that Airi didn't reciprocate his feelings all morning. Maruru must have noticed. Reaching back to touch the ribbon in his hair, he smiled fondly and remembered when the two of them had first met. It always made him laugh when he thought of Maruru mistaking the ribbon for a flower.
He chuckled, and promptly began to swear when he smacked his head on the corner of his drawers. Of course he loved Maruru to pieces, but she really knew how to frustrate him sometimes.
He stood up, nursing his head and wincing slightly when he heard his knees crack, and glanced around his room. Where else might she be hiding? It would, he decided, be a good idea to think about it carefully. Maruru was no bigger than the palm of his hand and, considering the size of his room in comparison, trying to find her would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack without a magnet. It was fortunate that she glowed, really; it made his task a little easier.
With this in mind, Jeile thought it made sense to look in all the dark places first. He checked under his pillows, in his wardrobe (making sure that she wasn't hiding in his clothes either) and behind his curtains. That last one had been a pain in the backside; Jeile wasn't used to handling his own curtains and had ended up pulling one off of the railing it hung from. He clutched it awkwardly for a few moments, wondering what to do, before remembering that he could just use magic to hang it back up. So he did, and it looked like nothing had happened; then he remembered that the game was still being played and he tugged it back down again. He needed to do this without magic to make Maruru happy.
He stood back and, folding his arms across his chest, admired the crudely hung curtain. Not bad for a first try; now to find his fairy. "Maruru…" he looked around the room slowly, "come out, come out, wherever you are…"
He almost missed the tiny bang that followed, and he whipped his head round to face his walk-in cupboard. Yes, of course! It was the only dark hiding place left. Smirking affectionately as he strode towards it, he wondered why Maruru hadn't picked a light hiding place where her glow wouldn't have been as obvious. Oh well, it was too late now; he had found her.
Jeile triumphantly threw the doors open, about to yell 'found you!' but stopping in his tracks. Maruru wasn't in the cupboard. Instead he was met with the sight of an all too familiar girl, tied up, gagged and blindfolded, sitting with her knees bent on the floor. Her posture made her look both bored and irritated at the same time, although Jeile had noticed her brighten up a bit when she'd heard the doors open. He folded his arms again, more fazed by who it was rather than the fact that she was in his cupboard, and grinned. "Well, well, if it isn't a certain mountain lily maiden."
His grin widened as she bolted upright at his voice and began to struggle against her binds. He considered leaving her there like that, and he probably would have done if she had been someone else; as it was, he liked her enough to take pity on her. In an instant he was crouched beside her, untying her blindfold and lowering her gag. She opened her mouth to speak, and he couldn't tell whether she looked more shocked or annoyed.
"What are you doing here?"
"Me?" Jeile leaned closer to her, cupped her face and lowered his voice. "Airi, my dear, we're in my cupboard."
She blinked, about to protest, before changing her mind and hanging her head. "You can't be serious…"
"Afraid I am." He stared at her, taking in her beauty. How was it possible for one person to be so attractive? Long, flowing hair, expressive eyes, a fair, flawless complexion…she was magnificent. He didn't understand how she could possibly be attracted to his idiot of a brother. He supposed he'd have to make the most of this moment, and gave her a sly smirk. "This must be fate. You and I, alone like this…"
He trailed off and Airi shot him a glare. "Fate? Don't make me laugh. This is all your fault!"
"My fault?" It was Jeile's turn to be shocked.
"Yes, your fault! You had Maruru trick me into coming here!"
"I did not!"
"You did so!"
"I-" Jeile interrupted himself, finally realising how strange their location was. "What are you doing in my cupboard?"
Airi shifted, trying to make herself as comfortable as possible in the tied-up position she was in. "You're pretending you don't know?"
"I am if that's what you want to hear."
She sighed. Jeile noticed annoyance in her eyes and couldn't help but think it was adorable. "Maruru came to me and said she wanted to play a game. She said that if I hid where she told me to and kept completely quiet, Aram would come and find me."
He cringed at the mention of his brother's name. Even when she was sitting in his cupboard, she thought of him. It was quite heartbreaking, but he'd have to try to keep his disappointment to himself. "Did Maruru tie you up like this, too?"
Airi nodded. "I guess she wanted to make sure I wouldn't go anywhere." She glared at Jeile again. "Now I understand why."
He held his hands up in innocence. "I don't know why you're so convinced that this is my doing. I had no idea you were here; I was supposed to be playing hide and seek with Maruru."
"She's such a devious little character." Airi leaned back against all of Jeile's precariously piled-up junk and took a deep breath. He watched her, making a mental note to thank Maruru when she turned up, and smiled.
Then she opened her eyes and looked at him, and he felt his stomach start to churn. He was so lucky to have her alone like this, and he vowed that he wasn't going to waste a moment of it. To hell with Aram; he was the elder of the two, so he should have benefits. But before he could do a thing, Airi spoke again.
"Untie me, would you?"
Jeile rested his cheek in his hand and gave her a winning smile. "No. I quite like you like this."
"Can I kiss you?"
Stopping mid-sentence, Airi stared at the man in front of her and her cheeks began to take on a red tint. "No! You're repulsive!"
Jeile began to sway, half-mockingly and half-seriously, with his hand on his head. "Mountain lily maiden, you torment me so!"
"You deserve it, you perv!"
"Why must you be so cruel? Just one kiss, that's all I ask!"
"I'll tell you what," Jeile's voice lost its drama and took on a seductive tone. "If you kiss me, I'll untie you and you'll be free to leave."
She didn't even consider the offer before turning her head away from him sharply. "You must be joking."
He stood up and turned away, a little miffed, deciding to try reverse psychology or whatever it was called. "Fine. Enjoy your quality time with my cupboard."
The doors were completely closed behind him before he heard the predicted protests Airi was making from the other side. He wasted no time in opening the cupboard doors again and looking down at her hopefully. "Changed your mind, mountain lily maiden?"
She growled at him. "You're such a jerk, you know that?"
"I'll take that as a yes." He stepped inside, squatted next to her and leaned forwards, stopping a few inches short of her face.
Nothing happened for a few seconds, each of them wanting the other to close the gap instead. Airi cleared her throat expectantly. "Well? I thought you wanted to kiss me?"
Jeile didn't bother with an answer, instead letting his desire get the better of him. The kiss was only a short meeting of lips, but for him it was special. He was kissing Airi. He stroked her hair and dared to press harder against her. The loss he felt when she pulled away from him was unbelievable; he needed her again.
They sat like that for some time, centimetres apart and staring at each other, before Airi gulped. "There. I've kept my end of the deal, now untie me."
He grinned widely. "No."
"No," he repeated himself. "You haven't kept your end of the deal at all. The deal was that you kiss me. I kissed you instead. You still owe me a kiss before I free you."
"That's ridiculous." The colour in Airi's cheeks had deepened, and as far as Jeile was concerned it served only to make her cuter. "That kiss just now counted."
"It didn't." Jeile stared into her eyes and tapped his lips. "C'mon. Plant one on me."
So, out of frustration, she did. The kiss was far more eager and passionate than the last (on Jeile's part, at least), and he found himself in a state of euphoria. He knew that this kind of simple contact could be nice, but it had never been this nice before. It was because it was Airi, his mountain lily maiden. She made him feel wonderful inside.
All too soon it was over and Airi had pulled back, now with a full-on blush. He vaguely noticed that he was holding a fistful of her hair, and slowly loosened his grip. When he tried to speak, his voice came out in a whisper. "Thank you."
She said nothing back, opting instead to stare at the floor. Smiling warmly at her reaction, he leaned behind her to first untie her hands and afterwards untie her feet. When he was done he stood up and turned around. "You can go now if you like, Airi."
He heard her shuffling, and after a few moments she was standing in front of him. The blush had gone down a little. "I'll tell Aram about what just happened. He's going to kill you."
Jeile just laughed as he watched his mountain lily maiden head for the door. God, he adored her. So as not to cause her any further embarrassment, he used his magic to unlock it before she got there. She turned around as she was about to leave, and caught his eye. He was still beaming with joy, and called out to her as she left. "Tell Aram he can do as he pleases. At least I'll die happy."