Oh, finally! The funny thing is, I acutally had this chapter already written! LOL, who knew? XD..it had been so long. I edited some of the words and grammar, some parts needed less words with the same message, I managed to do that, but I won't try to be perfect.
Kakunojou hoped she had convinced him to let her come along, but she realized maybe even her best was not quite good enough, maybe it was for the best.
"..." He did not respond.
"I...understand...if you really want me to go that badly..than, I guess..." Kakunojou lowered in a slight bow, than began to walk slowly in the direction she came from, quickly bending down to pick up the food wrapping on her way.
Akizuki felt his guilt and anger at himself build up, along with seeing the face he painted onto Kakunojou's bright personality. His head hurt... he couldn't keep everything in all the time, it was as if he was slowly driving himself mad.
Kakunojou was still slowly walking away, the feeling of someone close disappearing in front of him seemed to bring back his memories of Ryouma.
" Because, if I bring you with me...you might get hurt, and I won't be able to protect you! I don't want that again, I couldn't even protect my master...what if...!" his faced grew panicked. He was glad his hair was long enough to cover his face, as he felt a small liquid reach his cheek.
Kakunojou stopped. She stood silently, half in shock and not sure what to say, or think, by this coming out of his mouth. She waited for him to keep talking, and did not move.
"Chief...I..." Akizuki faced her back, gritting his teeth. " I don't want you to get involved, for your own good...I know I give you a cold shoulder, too often, but it has kept you safe, hasn't it? At least, until you decided for yourself that you wanted to directly fight against enemies of mine by exposing yourself aside me, in which you are in more danger than before with your own personal foes...you could really die this time"
"...Akizuki..sama" kakunojou's eyes widened, in shock and guilt of her misunderstanding. "...I feel safer around you, anyway...it is harder to protect something that you cannot see or have in your reach?...please" Kakunojou blushed a slight bit, but forcing a smile to try and make it less visible. " I respect your way of protecting me, though...so, if you want, I can find somewhere, safe to hide until I meet someone from the troupe...but I am responsible for disbanding them...as a leader, I think I have to learn how to stand up sometimes...you know?I don't want to-"
"You aren't a hindrance, don't say things like that" Akizuki seemed to lighten his face with a calmer smile. There was always something about her that soothed him, and all the more reason to protect her. But while he was pondering this, he found himself staring directly at her.
"Chief...please, don't die...or give up, either..."
"What are you..."
Akizuki's face grew gravely sad, as if he was staring at the face of someone he might have to fight against regrettably, or who was dieing. That sword and it's red glow...I just, hope it doesn't mean what I think it does...if so...I don't even know anymore, but I feel like I won't be able to bring myself together...am I failing my duty as the Eternal Assassin?. Akizuki-sama?. He seemed to hear a voice amidst his thoughts.
"Akizuki-sama?". Akizuki woke suddenly from his thoughts, only to see Kakunojou's face looking worried, yet blushing. "...you're looking...at me still"she announced.
"Huh?" He was, again, than turned red himself, trying to pretend otherwise. Kakunojou turned her face away in embarrassment, as did he.
The two were silent, not saying a word, or moving an inch. The only thing moving was the sakura trees, their colorful flowers taking to the wind.
Than, Kakunojou looked back towards him, slowly moving her head. Akizuki however was already gazing at her, which she seemed to find herself doing back, after a quick shock.
Akizuki's eyes softened and had his pupils jump at the same time, not truly realizing how pretty she was before, taking in her green eyes and gentle expression. He would restrain himself from the redness on face, but it would not go away instantly until he was in a complete daze, his mouth just slightly open in awe. It was like the cherry blossom flowers complimented her, and her hair played along with the breeze...he almost wished she would grow it out, to be herself without the kabuki mask.
Kakunojou connected herself to him immediately, immersed in his blue eyes, equally dazed as if she was under the same strange spell. Although it made them feel equally as strange in warmth, a sudden chill went down her spine, and she drew closer by instinct of warmth-need. Akizuki responded affectionately, walking towards her slowly. Kakunojou felt her eyes grow glossy, while she continued to look up at him "...I...Aki-"
"No...don't...say anything...Chief" Akizuki smiled, closing in the space between them, and lifted his hand from his side. Kakunojou blinked, sensing the cool hand slowly reach her heated face. He could feel the warmth on her cheeks, and gently brushed her hair aside that had fallen infront of one of her eyes. Kakunojou had fallen calm to the point she could sleep standing, closing her eyes, touching his hand with her own bearing a serene look. Akizuki brought his other hand to her other cheek...wiping away her tears he could see running down.
"...I..." he tried to say something that he never even imagined. It wouldn't come out. Instead, he lowered his face towards Kakunojou more, and leaned his forehead against hers, closing his own eyes. Kakunojou responded like-wise, finding words useless at the moment, and would rather not use them over what she had now.
They stood separate, yet close...Kakunojou's knees started to weaken however, but Akizuki toke notice of it while just barely opening his eyes. He toke one of his hands from her face, placing it on her back. Kakunojou allowed Akizuki to carefully, yet suddenly pull her towards him, unphased by his actions. She leaned into him, resting her arms and hands on his chest. It was than that Akizuki got a better look into Kakunojou's face, as his eyes were still open by a slit amount.
Kakunojou seemed to sense him looking at her, and opened her eyes halfway drowsily, as if she was sleeping.
Whether by intention or natural connection, Akizuki moved his forehead off kakunojou's, and brought it lower by a tiny bit...so that his mouth was nearing in towards her relaxed lips. Kakunojou felt the same aura, and her slender form reached up, her face closing in. Akizuki tilted his head slightly in affection, and drew his lips onto hers, slowly re-closing his eyes, as did she. They stood there, the only moving was the gradual deepening of their kiss. Akizuki kept his remaining hand still on her face, holding firm.
After what seemed minutes, Akizuku moved his hand, and trailed it down from her face to her back lightly, fully embracing Kakunojou. She felt exposed along with him to some other world, in which only they shared.
Their scenery was probably an addition to the atmosphere, It had the sun still setting, warm colors and calm purples in the sky's clouds.
Kakunojou knew she would need to breathe back in air sometime, but chose alongside Akizuki to ignore it longer. As still as two could be, they hardly inched. Than they knew it had to temporarily end, as both of their breathes drew too short.
Akizuki gasped, taking in oxygen. Kakunojou found herself growing faint-headed both from her trance and lack of breathe. Kakunojou's head went dizzy, and she almost fell to her knees, if not for Akizuki. He caught her, sighing in relief.
Kakunojou smiled weakly. "I'm tired, I'm sorry..I, Akizuki-sama...would it-"
"...Chief...it is okay to feel so, I too am sort of absent". Akizuki frowned worried, implying his reason for being so towards her with a following reassuring smile in return. "I don't want you calling me your master...it wouldn't be right".
"Youjiro...my first name" He said, kissing her lightly.
Kakunojou tilted her head slightly, smiling back "Okay...Akizuki...Youjiro".
"I'd use that name of yours, but it is not truly a female name that you have given yourself...I want to know your real name".
Noticing his lean yet strong body in need of rest (he had been watching over her the entire time she was conscienceless before) he gently lowered Kakunojou first on the grass so he would not harm her if his tired body gave in.
Akizuki lowered himself to the green carpet of grass afterwards, leaning his back on a tree behind him. He tried not to show himself yawning, but it was hard to keep in. "Youjiro...you look more tired than you should...why?"
"...I was, watching you...er, well, I mean, watching over you, because you worried me back there earlier"
"Youjiro...how long, have you?"
"...I don't think I even know how long myself. You just sort of grow on people, you know? Except, I felt it differently...that's, how it is, I guess". Akizuki's words sounded muddled. Kakunojou chuckled.
"Hey, what's so funny?" He asked, feeling slightly flustered.
"Nothing..."said Kakunojou, feeling playful.
"You're all strong and iron-willed, but when it comes down to admitting something like this, you sound so much like a little boy...I think it's...cute"
"Cute?" Akizuki was not expecting such a word towards him, the Eternal Assassin and master swordsman, that is if titles really meant anything, anyway.
Kakunojou crawled up to him. She yawned, covering her mouth, but felt a gentle tug on her waist interrupting. Kakunojou let out a small yip at surprise, as she in response had accidentally tripped over a tree root, and landed right beside Akizuki.
"Are you Okay?" He asked, holding his hand out and leaning over to help.
"Yes, you just got me by surprise...I'm fine"replied Kakunojou.
"...Good" Akizuki sat back against the tree, breathing a sigh of relief.
Kakunojou inched closer to him, laying her hands and head on his chest. Akizuki looked down at her, watching her smile peacefully against his own body. Her small weight seemed comforting, as did his arms to her as he embraced her lovingly.
"Chief...I-," He cut himself off to see if she was still awake.
"Yes?" Kakunojou replied quietly.
"...I love you." He replied equally quiet. Akizuki's mouth felt nervous even for him, but now he finally said it.
" Say it again-"
"Huh?" Akizuki responded, he thought she had heard it clearly.
"Yes...but, I want to look at you"
"Oh..." Akizuki smiled back "More than willing" Just as he said that, Akizuki gently helped her sit upward, facing him. Kakunojou looked up to his face, waiting patiently.
" I love you,... Chief..,Kakunojou.." He gazed down at her fondly, stroking her hair between his fingers. Kakunojou found it comforting, as she closed her eyes. Akizuki continued to play with her hair, until he heard a steady, light breathing. Her body shifted, curling up against him. She's asleep...already?.
It seemed even in her dreams Akizuki was present, he listened to her talk in her sleep before she drifted into a deeper state.
Akizuki went into his new habit of playing with Kakunojou's hair, until he himself felt drowsy. I guess I should be sleeping too...she looks so peaceful...I wonder, can I have the power to make this last forever?...after this business of my being Eternal Assassin, and answering Ryouma's wish to visit the sea...I'd like to live here...but she would want her troupe around...it is fine, I would still like to travel even if plays aren't my interest...but, Chief...would you desire to settle with me in the end?...one day...
Akizuki pondered to himself, asking questions only the future, no, their future, could tell the answer to.
Before He fell asleep, Akizuki wrapped his arms around Kakunojou to ensure her comfort and safety before drifting off into sleep himself.