Disclaimer: I still don't own it. It still belongs to Yutaka Hara.
Italics means thoughts
Gaon had woken up early that morning. He had traveled a long distance to reach this particular area of Japan. This area was home to many unique herbs and flowers that grew only at this time of year. Plants that would serve a useful purpose.
Grunting as he left his warm sleeping bag and tent for the cold morning air, Gaon yawned, stretched, and took in his surroundings. There's no reason why I shouldn't enjoy the view before I begin my search. A sudden growling noise reached his ears. Breakfast would be nice too.
Once Gaon had finished eating breakfast, he started getting ready for the day ahead. Finding all the needed plants would not be easy. Some were endangered and thus difficult to locate. There was no doubt that most of the day would be spent tirelessly searching several hectares of land. Let's see…have I forgotten anything? Book; check. Gear; check. Map; check. Yep, I've got everything. Taking one last look at his campsite, checking to make sure everything is neat and in its place, Gaon sets off.
Despite having checked everything, Gaon still felt like he was forgetting something. Something important. He stopped walking and turned around. He hadn't even gotten very far. Only a few meters or so. Still, something was not right. I'm probably overreacting. The campfire is out, the dishes are clean, and on the off chance someone wonders by this far from the road, there's nothing valuable to steal. Content with his conclusion, the blond haired wolf continued walking, determined to put his unease to rest.
The campsite will still be there when I return for lunch. Lunch…Sudden realization hit, and Gaon stopped dead in his tracks.
"I forgot about lunch!" The wolf raised a paw to his forehead, eyes closing in frustration as he cursed himself for forgetting something so important. Practically dragging himself back to the campsite, he set to work on preparing lunch.
Let's see now, what can I make…? It had to be something that would keep for the time he was gone. Not only that, but he didn't have many ingredients. At hand were a couple of vegetables consisting of potatoes, onions, carrots, tomatoes, and lettuce. A small supply of bread was carefully wrapped up and some fresh fruits were preserved in plastic bags. Small bottled quantities of spices were organized on a small makeshift table. Some sliced beef, which he planned to eat for dinner, was stored in a blue cooler. Hmmm… I can make nikujaga if I sacrifice my beef dinner, but it's a winter dish, and it's already spring. A sigh escaped the wolf's lips as he reached his decision.
I can't believe I didn't prepare better for this trip. I shouldn't have left in such a hurry. I guess I really just wanted an excuse to leave immediately. I couldn't stand another day of…
Gaon quickly closed his eyes. No, don't think about it! That's the whole reason you came here! To take your mind off of it! Reopening his eyes, he set to work on making the nikujaga. I have enough supplies to make a large pot of nikujaga, more than enough for both lunch and dinner.
However, he was faced with a problem. He had already put out the campfire. Damn! Now I have to start a new one! What else could go wrong?! As if to answer his question, he tripped on a rock as he was turning, and landed face first into a tomato he had dropped on the ground earlier. A squishing sound greeted the wolf's ears as his face was met with sticky red goo. A low growl escaped his muzzle as he slowly rose from the ground. This is going to be a wonderful day.
After the hassle of starting a new campfire and leaving the nikujaga to simmer, Gaon set out on his herb finding expedition. It was a beautiful day with flowers blooming left and right, and the wildlife was busy with morning activities. The sun had already found a nice cozy spot high in the sky. So much for getting an early start. The blond haired wolf quickened his pace as he walked into the forest.
Maybe I can make up for lost time by finding the most common herbs first. The rare ones can wait. Cracking open his book, Medical Herbs and their Uses, Gaon began to flip thru the pages. Konnyaku, Jin-koh, Yarrow… Ah, here we go! Artemisia annua. This should be easy to find. Closing the book and tucking it under his arm, he carefully started searching the area.
After a few minutes, he was distracted by some rustling not far from his location. Strange, it doesn't sound like a wild animal. Taking a step forward, ears at full alert to locate the sound, Gaon tried to identify the strange noise. It sounds like there's more than one of them. Most likely three or four. Curiosity overcoming uncertainty, Gaon started moving towards the sound. He started slowly at first, but then picked up his pace as the sound started growing distant. They're traveling at a frantic pace, as if chasing something, but that can't be. If that were the case, the animal being chased would be heard.
The noise suddenly took a turn towards Gaon's location. For a moment, he stood frozen from fear of the unknown beings headed towards him, then quickly found a hiding spot. Some bushes in front of a grove of trees. I have to calm down, they can't be too dangerous, and at the pace they're going at, they won't notice me. The noise grew closer and closer. Gaon steadied his breathing and stood perfectly still, trying his best not to make a sound.
The strange beings quickly passed right behind the wolf's hiding spot, in too much of a hurry to notice his tail sticking out of it. Holding his breath and taking a chance at being found, Gaon turned his head and looked behind him. The trees blocked most of his view, but he did manage to spot a bright yellow tail. A fox tail. It was gone in a flash, making him wonder if he even saw it at all. He waited until, whatever it was, had gone far away before coming out into the open. Well that was one huge waste of time. Why didn't I ignore the sound and just continue looking for herbs? With a sigh, Gaon began walking back to his herb picking spot. At least until he spotted something in the corner of his eye. One of the rare herbs on his list, along with several common ones growing near it. A smile worked its way onto Gaon's face.
"Finally, some good luck!"
Gaon happily whistled a tune as he headed back to camp. He had succeeded in finding over half his list of herbs. This day may have started out bad, but its going great now!
"Suppoko Peppoko Poko Poko pi! Suppoko Peppoko Poko Poko pi!"
I've been stalking- I mean, hanging around Zorori too much. I've started singing that ridiculous song he and his fan-club always sing.
Gaon continued singing it anyway as he made his way out of the woods and into the field his campsite was located. As he spotted camp, his happy mood went drastically south. Three bodies were lying about, presumably asleep. The campfire was no longer warming its pot, as it was now on the ground near the edge of the campsite. Rage filled the blond haired wolf as he ran walked to the location. The nerve of them! Eating my lunch and using my campsite as their own personal rest spot!
He was about to yell at them when he noticed who they were. His eyes went wide as his rage died instantly. It was Zorori. His rival, his friend, and most of all, the object of his affection. Paying no attention to Zorori's apprentices, Gaon made his way over to were the yellow fox was sleeping. Zorori was on his back, arms and legs outstretched. His head was turned to the side, a bit of drool hanging off the side of his mouth. Gaon sat down next to him to get a closer view of the sleeping intruder.
He's so cute when he's sleeping. He unconsciously reached out a paw toward Zorori. He stopped at the last moment, his hand just above Zorori's head. No, it wouldn't be right to touch him when he's asleep, even if it's just a head rub. Retracting his paw, Gaon continued gazing at Zorori. At least that mouth of his can't ruin the moment.
"I'm sorry princess; I didn't know you were getting dressed."
A blush made its way across Zorori's cheeks as his mouth formed a perverted smile. Gaon felt his anger reviving. It figures that idiot would wreck the mood! Even in his sleep he pursues his quest. Standing up, he begins to clean up the mess left behind by his unwelcomed guests. I fell in love with an idiot. What does that make me? I'll tell you what; it makes me the bigger idiot.
Quietly picking up the dirty bowls, he places them inside the discarded pot. They would have to be cleaned in a nearby river. Glancing back at Zorori, he spots the fox's hat nearby. Picking it up, he puts it on the table, along with his own. Gaon runs a paw thru his hair, taking in the current situation. If I ever meet cupid, I'm going to strangle him with his own diaper. Or bribe him to shot an arrow at Zorori's rear end. The image of Zorori rubbing his sore bottom flashed into Gaon's mind. Control yourself Gaon! You can't be having these thoughts now, especially with him so near by!
Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, the wolf picked up the pot and headed towards the river to clean it and the bowls. He stopped after a few paces, eyes glued to Zorori's sleeping form. I can't just leave him sleeping on the ground like that. Setting the pot down, he made his way into his tent. He emerged with a blanket and pillow. Carefully placing the blanket on the fox, he was about to lift his head to put the pillow in place, when he remembered about the two boar twins. They were sleeping close to each other on the other side of the campsite. Close enough to share the pillow.
I can't forget about them. It wouldn't be fitting to have children sleep on the cold hard ground while I let Zorori sleep like a king. Gently lifting both their heads, he nudged the pillow into place. The twins continued sleeping, unaware of Gaon's presence. Satisfied with his good deed, Gaon once again picked up the pot and went on his way.
A frown was etched on Gaon's face as he made his way back. His stomach had been growling since he started washing the remains of the nikujaga. They had to eat everything! Now what am I going to eat for lunch? The nikujaga was supposed to be my supper too…
Carrying the now clean pot, bowls, and spoons, Gaon slowed down his pace as he spotted something in his line of vision. Zorori was stretching. As the fox ran a paw thru his head fur, Gaon got an idea. He still doesn't know whose campsite this is. I should surprise him. He snuck his way behind his tent as Zorori bent down to pick something up. He hid behind it just before Zorori started surveying the area. Setting his load down, he took a peek at what Zorori was doing. He had his back to Gaon, looking off into the distance. Now's my chance!
Quickly and quietly as he could, he walked over to the fox. Zorori was busy looking at his hat. Crap! My hat is on the table too! He knows I'm here! He'll try to run away. But there's no way I'll let him. Gaon knew he had to strike first.
"Good to see you're up."
Zorori whipped around so quickly that if you blinked you would have missed it. A look of surprise and worry greeted Gaon. Am I really that scary? Silly fox, I don't bite…much. Said fox was backing away slowly. Two pairs of eyes were locked onto each other. The contact was broken when Zorori bumped into the table. As if waking from a trance, he finally found his voice.
"Hello Zorori. Did you enjoy my cooking?"
"That was your nikujaga?" Zorori gulped as he did not like where the conversation was going.
"Yes. Yes it was. You know it's very rude to eat someone else's lunch and dinner."
"Are you sure we didn't leave any for you?"
Gaon's stomach came to life and uttered a loud growl. Zorori gulped. Gaon took a step forward.
"Listen Gaon, buddy, we'll pay you back somehow…" Zorori's voice giving away the worry it held. His fur spiked as hands descended on his shoulders.
"I'm sure you will," said Gaon as his lips closed the distance between them. "Your breath still smells like nikujaga." Closing his eyes he inched closer to his goal. By this time Zorori was in panic mode. He could have easily pushed Gaon away from him or broken from his grasp, but his body refused to move. He was rutted to the spot.
"Gaon…" It was whimpered out. The wolf's breath was on his lips. Another second and they would share a kiss.
Gaon was on the ground in a second. Noshishi was rubbing away the sleep from his eyes. Realizing one of his pupils was awake, Zorori had found untapped strength.
"Hey, Noshishi, did you have a nice rest?" Zorori's voice was now cool and collected. A stark contrast to what Gaon had it at a moment ago. Noshishi let out a yawn.
"I did." Noshishi looked down and saw Gaon on the ground. "Zorori-sensei, what's Gaon doing here?"
"Well about that…hehehe…" Gaon moved into a seated position.
"This is my campsite you all decided to crash."
"Your campsite?!" exclaimed Noshishi. He put on a nervous smile and started rubbing the back of his head. "Sorry about eating all your food."
"That's ok. I was just talking to Zorori about how you could repay me."
A bright blush adorned Zorori's face. Noshishi looked at his teacher with curiosity. Standing up and brushing the dust of his clothes, he looked at Noshishi.
"Wake up your brother. I know exactly what you guys can do." A smile formed on his muzzle. Zorori didn't like that smile one bit. It didn't help that Gaon turned to look at him with that smile and give him a wink.
This would not end well.