Disclaimer: Tactics universe has been created by Kinoshita Sakura-sensei and Higashiyama Kazuko-sensei. I neither make any money via this fanfiction nor do I intend infringement of any ownership rights.
Summary: A short story about how Kantarou and Haruka got engaged one spring afternoon. (Haruka x Kantarou)
Precautionary: I'm still in the middle of reading what's available of the manga. Hence, I only had the anime in mind while writing this piece of fanfiction.
Kantarou sighed at the blank sheets in front of him. It was way past the deadline again. In fact, Reiko-san was going to be here soon and would undoubtedly raise hell. Would he have to spend another night at the publisher's office?
He yawned, dropped the pen and pushed away from the desk. If he had to suffer later in the day, he might as well enjoy the remaining time savouring the peace and sanity.
It was a pleasant spring day – reason enough to put off work, in his opinion. He walked out into the porch and stretched his arms. Yes, it was too beautiful a day to be cooped up in a depressing study!
"Haruka!" he called out happily and sat down near the tengu lying lazily on the floor. The lack of response probably meant that he was asleep.
Kantarou rummaged a pocket and brought out the 'payment' for his most recent side-job. It had been simple exorcism work in the rooms rented by a British Admiral.
The British, in his opinion, were as notorious in their disbelief of all things supernatural as Hasumi Ryoukan. Admiral Copperfield, whose abode had been infested by poltergeists, had been no different. It was his Japanese valet who had asked Kantarou for help. The Admiral, when he learnt of the exorcist's visit, had been livid. However, Kantarou had gone ahead and done as he pleased. It had been no big deal. However, he had been lucky enough to make friends with two youkai he had never met before. He had imagined that the work would have to be its own reward until the valet had come down to his house this morning.
"A gift for your services, Ichinomiya-sensei," he had said and presented him the brilliantly cut diamond set in a pale silver ring.
Maybe Admiral Copperfield was just a reluctant sceptic, thought Kantarou generously as his eyes shone with obvious pleasure, however he was definitely very kind-hearted.
Kantarou held up the ring so that it caught the sun's rays and flaunted its beauty. He had yet to tell Haruka and Youko that his earlier job had not turned out to be so fruitless after all.
Haruka… Had Haruka woken up merely by the diamond's radiance? Had he actually been sleeping or merely pretended to do so in order to ignore him?
In any case, Kantarou's temper was not pricked by annoyance. Was it the diamond's enchantment?
"Isn't it?" Kantarou bragged. "It's quite an expensive diamond."
The fact didn't impress Haruka as much as he had anticipated, especially since they had been feeding on small portions of rice and soy-sauce for almost a week. His eyes were fixed on the glittering jewel, spellbound.
The idea popped up quite suddenly into Kantarou's mind. It was a Western tradition that he had heard about now and then. It was not as popular in Japan – not even in Tokyo.
"Here," said Kantarou, holding out the ring towards Haruka.
The latter sat up and took it eagerly. Then he raised his hand, like Kantarou had done earlier, so that the sunlight was reflected off the ring. He smiled. Haruka really liked shiny things.
"It will be easier to enjoy it if you wear it," continued Kantarou in a quieter voice, leaning close to Haruka. "Let me show you."
Before Haruka could respond, he caught the ring between his right thumb and forefinger and clasped Haruka's left hand in his own.
Biting down his lower lip to contain his rising nervousness, Kantarou drew Haruka's hand towards himself and slipped the ring on his left ring finger.
They sat silent for a while, the diamond less glaring as their shadows fell over it.
'It is tighter on his finger… that damn Admiral! Stupid ring! It doesn't fit properly at all! Hell!'
Kantarou looked up to find Haruka gazing at him. His faint blush reddened under the penetrating and thoughtful look.
"It's… it's… a bad… bad fit…" he mumbled, reaching out to take off the ring. However, Haruka pulled back his hand and raised it up towards the clear vernal sky once more.
"It will be more enjoyable to have it on my hand. Maybe the little finger…"
Kantarou's eyes drank the sight of Haruka's smiling profile.
Haruka would not know about the significance of the ring, would he? Why had he assumed that he won't? What a stupid thing to assume!
Kantarou's eyes shone even brighter, Haruka realised, as he turned to face him.
Kantarou tensed with anticipation as Haruka cupped his cheek with one hand. All of a sudden, his other cheek was extremely sensitive to the sun's warmth falling directly on it.
Haruka bent forward, staring unblinkingly into them. Bright. Brilliant. Fascinating…
Haruka blinked confusedly as Kantarou pushed him violently to the floor and then stood up with a jolt.
A second later, Reiko-san appeared in front of them. She hardly seemed to notice Haruka as she dragged a whining and pleading Kantarou to his study.
Haruka cushioned his head with one hand and gently rubbed his neck with the other.
Kantarou could be so unpredictable. All along, he had seemed to be in a pleasant mood. Then all of a sudden, he had kicked him away.
Haruka had just wanted to turn Kantarou's head towards the sun and see if his eyes were as brilliant as the latest shiny thing he had acquired for himself. Oh well, it wasn't so bad. It was rare for Kantarou to give away a thing as a gift when it could have brought them respite from eating meagre meals. He had the diamond now. Moreover, if it was Kantarou who had given it to him, he could be fairly sure that it was devoid of any suspicious spells.
'Alls well that ends well,' he told himself, smiling contently.