A Lemon-Flavored. Things heat up between Momiji and Kusanagi, but face it; you can't go from cool to hot without breaking some glass.
Author's Note: So! The second half here is sort of bland and not as descriptive as the first, but maybe I'll come through and revise THIS PART again as well. Until then, at least you know how it ends, eh?
Blue Seed / / / Loving You Too / / / Part Two / / / And a Lover
Momiji opened Matsudaira's present first. Since Matsudaira, Valencia, and her grandmother couldn't be at the party, they had sent their presents earlier. Sakura was supposed to bring her own present, but the east-witch never showed up.
Matsudaira had sent a beautiful and sophisticated knit sweater just Momiji's size. It was a creamy forest green color, with brown threads. Momiji loved it instantly.
Valencia's gift was a pair of dangly silver earrings. Almost like the kind you'd wear with a little black dress if you were going to a cocktail party. Not quite sure she'd ever use them, Momiji still appreciated it.
Her grandmother sent her a navy and gold kimino. It was quite elegant but very old looking. The note attached with it said, "It belonged to me when I was a girl. I hope you wear it to every festival."
This brought tears to Momiji's eyes. She wished her grandmother could be there to celebrate with her. She missed the old woman very much.
"What a beautiful kimono, Momiji," Takeuchi said. She noticed the Kushinada was upset, and quickly changed the subject. "We wanted you to open our present later, but…" she looked to Kunikida, who nodded in approval, "… I suppose now is as good of a time as any."
She held out a small box and Momiji took it, curious. She shook it lightly. Something like metal jingled inside. It was not wrapped, so she simply pulled off the lid.
It was a pair of keys.
"What's this?" she asked.
Kunkida was beaming, and he spook first. "It's to an apartment, a few blocks away."
Momiji was stunned. She took the keys from the box, holding them in front of her face. They were both the same key. It was a house key. "My own apartment...?" she repeated.
Takeuchi smiled. "We know you were looking in the neighborhood, so we thought we'd give you a push. It's right next to your college. You can walk to class everday," she said.
"We know you've been saving for an apartment, but we already paid the downpayment and the first two months of rent. You can keep saving your money for a little while longer. It'll be helpful the first couple of months," Kunikida added.
There was silence. Then Momiji started crying.
She was overwhelmed at the very thought of what they'd done for her. For the first time all day she felt like she was on her feet again, ready to charge. She jumped up and wrapped her arms around both of them, repreating the words "Thank you!" over and over again.
Kunkida was also very excited. He seemed rather pleased with himself. Takeuchi stayed as modest as ever.
"Lucky brat!" Kome piped up. Momiji pulled away and looked at her. "My parents never so much as paid for my car. Jeez."
Momiji giggled, wiping her tears of joy away as she sat back down. "Thanks so much you guys," she added one last time, smiling. Then she turned to Yeagashi. "Where's your present?"
Kome shifted uncomfortably beside her fiancé. Yeagashi just went pale, looking up at the ceiling.
"We didn't wanna spoil ya, sheesh." Kome finally spat, crossing her arms. "Isn't an apartment enough for one day?"
Momiji laughed. She was just pleased to see Kome so twitchy.
"Let's go get some more cake," Kome muttered, grabbing Yeagashi by the arm and steering him to the kitchen.
That's when Momiji realized, for the second time that night, Kusanagi had disappeared.
She set down her keys and stood again. "I'll be right back," she said to Kunikida, gently brushing her hand against his shoulder as one more small 'thank you' before exiting the room.
She went to the back porch again, but he wasn't there. She sighed and leaned against the railing, looking up at the moon. Her previous fight with Kusanagi swam through her thoughts. She was still angry, but now most of her felt sorry.
The tree in the middle of the backyard rustled in disturbance. Momiji paused, staring at it. It moved again.
"Kusanagi?" she called. Nothing.
She climbed down the stairs of the porch and moved closer to the tree. Once she was underneath its leaves, she spotted Kusanagi sitting a few branches up.
They stared at each other. Momiji wasn't sure if he was still angry or not. Judging by his frequent disappearances, she supposed he was.
She turned away from him and leaned against the trunk of the tree.
Silence. There had been a lot of silent pauses that night. Momiji couldn't figure out what was so different about now and earlier that day. Like something had shifted and changed when she blinked. Missed in the moment her eyes were closed.
Kusanagi started to fidget. He was feeling his guilt grow deeper and deeper with the more silence that passed. He couldn't handle it anymore. He took a deep breath, and opened his mouth.
Momiji cut him off. "Where's my present?" she asked quietly.
It was random, and took Kusanagi a few seconds to comprehend what she was asking. Then he laughed.
Jumping down from the tree directly in front of her, he smirked. She was surprised, but kept still. He put his hand next to her head and leaned on it closer to her, inches from her face. She blushed.
He reached inside his jacket and pulled out a small black box. Momiji smiled.
With one hand Kusanagi flicked the box open. It took a few moments for Momiji to realize what it was. At first the moonlight made it shine and she wasn't sure what she saw. Then it occurred to her.
A sterling silver bracelet.
The simplicity caught her off guard. Her daydreams were full of diamonds or pearls. Or even gold, perhaps. But not once had she imagined he'd give her a silver bracelet.
Oddly enough, she wasn't disappointed. With her shock, she was amazed.
It was beautiful. In all its minimalism, it was still divine.
She held out her wrist, and Kusanagi got the hint. He took the chain from the box and put it on her arm, locking it there so it dangled a little down her palm. She smiled. The moonlight sparkled against it.
Then Momiji looked up at Kusanagi, and put her hand behind his head, pulling him closer to hers. And she kissed him, tenderly and passionately all at once.
Kome had been right. Making him kiss her was like a shock of excitement. Her body felt on fire next to his. She still wasn't prepared to use her tongue.
Just as the moment was heating up, the romantic darkness was lifted as the back porch light came on.
"Helloooo!" came a voice. "It's the wonderful Sakura, here to save the day! I've got your present!"
The east witch appeared on the porch, holding a long thin paper sack. She was waving it around like a flag.
Kusanagi had already pushed away from Momiji. She was hardly aware of it, however, because the surprise had stunned her. When she finally realized it was not all in her head, she began to blush again.
"Sakura Chan…" she said, moving away from Kusanagi. She started towards the porch again. "Thanks for coming."
"Not a problem," Sakura said. She was grinning, her eyebrow cocked. "Did I interrupt something?"
Momiji shook her head. "No, no… Kusanagi was just… giving me my present."
Sakura was still grinning. "Ah, I see. Well, I guess knowing you two, I can believe that." She tossed the package she was holding into Momiji's hand. "Here, your present from me."
Momiji blinked. She tore the brown paper away, only to discover a simple tatami; a mat for the front door. It had an ancient Chinese symbol on it that said, "Demon's Beware."
Momiji flushed. She forced a smile and thank you.
"Not a problem," Sakura said, pleased. She brushed her feet off at the door and went back inside. "So, where's that cake…?" she asked as she went down the hall.
Momiji stayed where she was, holding that mat in her hands. She was too horrified to turn around.
Kusanagi came up behind her. Her heart was racing and she wasn't even looking at him. He paused, directly next to her. Then he walked inside.
"Kusanagi!" she said, stopping him in his tracks again. "Do you want to go to my apartment with me?" she asked. She blushed when she realized how it sounded out loud. She added, "To see it. I haven't seen it yet."
He paused again. "Yeah," he said, shrugging. "Whatever."
She sighed in relief.
They went back inside. Yeagashi and Kunikida were busy trying to separate Sakura and Kome, who had started fighting viciously two minutes before.
Momiji walked up to Takeuchi. "Want to show me where the apartment is?"
Takeuchi smiled. "I'm gonna stay here. But hey, listen. It's the apartments right next to Ming Resteraunt."
Momiji nodded. "You think Kunikida wants to come?"
Takeuchi shook her head. "We'll probably just hang around here until you guys get back. Are you going to be long?"
"Probably not," Momiji said. She paused then gave Takeuchi a hug. "We'll be right back."
Takeuchi smirked, but did not refute the comment. She, however, knew better. No one says "I'll be right back" and actually means it.
Kusanagi was already outside the door. His arrogant and irritated self had returned in full swing since the karaoke, which meant he was efficiently avoiding everyone all over again.
When Momiji finally gathered her coat and car keys, he was standing by the passenger door of her car tapping his foot impatiently.
She smiled in spite of herself. She'd be a fool to expect him to act any less childish.
It was a six story building. There were 10 apartments on each floor, except the first one which was mostly just an office, huge recreational area, and laundry room. Momiji's room number was 47.
"Go up to the fifth floor and turn right. You'll be somewhere down at the end," the clerk said.
The elevators played jazz music. Which was comforting because no one talked.
The doors were painted red and the walls were egg white. Besides the things people used to decorate their apartment doors, everything was bare. It made Momiji nervous.
Thankfully, Kusanagi didn't say anything. If he thought the place looked dull, he might of mentioned it. Then again he might not be saying anything because he didn't want to scare her. She was still thankful, in any case.
The numbers were gold and tacky and nailed beside each doorbell. When Momiji reached 47, she noticed they were rusty too.
She prepared herself for horror as the door swung open.
But she was caught off guard by the smell of cherries. The fragrence was gentle but strong, and she drifted inside lightheaded.
"Wow. It's big!" Momiji said as soon as she was inside. Indeed the front door opened up into a spacious living room, facing a rather large glass sliding door that led out onto a deck. Plus there was already a couch in one corner and a TV to the other.
"And it has rooms," Kusanagi mentioned, looking to his left then right.
To the left was a swinging door that went to the kitchen. On the right was a door that locked and led to the bedroom, which already had a bed. And a spacious bathroom next to the closet.
"This is insane," Momiji said, anxious. "How will I keep on affording this?"
"It can't be that much," Kusanagi said, looking at the ceiling. "It's a pretty run-down place."
"But the size is almost big enough for two!"
Kusanagi shrugged and didn't say anything, turning back into the living room.
Momiji followed him, her hand buried in her pockets. Seeing her apartment, knowing it was real, worried her. It suddenly occured to her what living alone would be like. How lonely it might be.
"Kunikida did pay the first two months rent," Kusanagi said. He was studying the deck now, which seemed sturdy enough for his liking.
Still, Momiji felt sufficated. Like you often do when your life is changing quickly.
"So you think you can handle it?" Kusanagi asked, facing Momiji to look her square in the eye.
She blushed. "Handle what?"
Kusanagi shifted his weight from one foot to another, chewing on his inner cheek, like he was chewing on his words.
Momiji's heart fluttered. She stared up at him, wondering if he really thought she was that pathetic. ... Or if he could really read her that well.
"I dunno," she finally admitted.
"That's okay." He turned away from her again to look out the window. "Living alone can be hard."
Momiji collapsed into the couch and sighed. "I see," she muttered. She bit her lip, frowning. "What do I do? Ya'know, to deal with it."
Kusanagi smirked, turning to face her. "Nothing. It's survivable."
Momiji laughed. He sat down beside her. They both looked out at the moon. It was shining brightly in the clear star-sprinkled sky.
"I really like it in here," Momiji said. Then she leaned into Kusanagi's chest, and closed her eyes.
The room was so empty only the hum of the refridgerator pentrated the air. No clock, no heater, no ongoing television or radio. Just the breathing of each other, sitting so close.
Kusanagi reached into his pocket, and slipped on the ring that was inside. He shuddered.
"Momiji," he said. She made a soft noise in the acknowledgment of his voice.
His heart raced. He looked down at her and contemplated his next move. Then, as if posessed by something mad, he leaned in and kissed her shoulder.
Momiji shivered, but didn't move.
He lightly moved up her neck, until he was directly behind her ear. She cringed. He nibbled on her cartilage.
Momiji continued to keep her eyes closed but she bit her lip to stop from making any noise. He was too close for her to think straight. Her body was heating up, and she leaned into him. And he took this sign of confirmation to slowly and gently push her back onto the couch.
Then he leaned in and brushed his lips against hers. They briefly kissed. He pulled away from her lips, and looked down at her. She no longer had a childish blush, but instead a woman's passion inflamed her cheeks, and her eyes were heavy with lust. He leaned down and kissed her again.
Momiji raised her chin and kissed back, reaching up and running her fingers through his hair. It was so soft, and she didn't know why but holding his head in her hands turned her on so much. She pushed his mouth closer.
Suddenly he was kissing her madly, moving his mouth as he in turn used his tongue to explore her own. It surprised her, but she moved her mouth with his, and then it felt like every part of her body was on fire and he could touch all of it and she'd never know because... she already knew it all at once. Like running your finger through the flame of a candle, too quick to get burned.
His moved his hand up her body. And suddenly the whole atmosphere changed, like being drenched in water. And she moaned. He nibbled on her bottom lip. Her eyelids fluttered.
The tension was building between them like waves and waves of a storm-ridden ocean. It crashed onto the shore and beat sand into ditches. A wild and passionate tide of high emotions.
Then Kusanagi pulled away. He held his chest, and underneath his palm his heart was racing. Fast, spontaneous. He closed his eyes, grinding his teeth.
Momiji sat up next to him. "Kusanagi?" she asked. He didn't answer her, just cringed in pain. She started to hesitate, the anxiety in her growing as he bit down to muster the pain; fangs gleaming in the light. He opened his eyes, and they were dialated. "Kusanagi!" she said, grabbing his shoulder and turning him towards her. "Kusanagi, what is it?"
But he couldn't answer her. He tried, but his jaw didn't budge. He was swallowing his tongue.
Momiji started to panic, and put her hand over his hand on his chest. She could feel the mitama pulse between their palms. At first it shocked her. Then, strangely, she realized was she wasn't worried for her life. She was worried about his.
"Kusanagi..." she said softly. She put her other hand on his cheek. His eyes flashed on hers.
He was struggling to contain the energy inside him. He wanted to push her away, but to move felt like it would shatter his control.
His mind was racing. He cursed the Aragami, cursed Yeagashi, cursed Momiji for not running away! And his mind was fading black, solid like a curtain. When suddenly a voice said softly in his ear, "Just don't loose yourself."
Those words. They inspired him. Like an angel's graceful touch. He could suddenly feel Momiji's hand on his chest. The veil over his eyes slowly lifted. He felt himself calm down. The energy draining. His eyes finally focused on the carpet, which he realized needed a serious cleaning.
And with that strange last thought, he started breathing right again. His muscles relaxing. His jaw functioning.
Momiji had been crying, watching him. She had her hands to her mouth now. She looked sick to the stomach. She wasn't sure if he was dying.
He managed a small smile. His eyes, pouring into hers. An understanding, a reason. Momiji took her hands from her mouth and smiled back. The tears dripping down her lips. She laughed meekly, then flung her arms around his neck.
"Kusanagi San... " she managed to sob.
He brushed his fingers through her hair, tracing the small braids with his index finger. Then he hugged her back.
"Momiji..." he said quietly. She lifted her chin to look at him, sniffing as the tears dried. "I love you."
She grinned and smiled, and kissed him gently. "I love you too."
Author's Note: Okay. Be easy on me with the reviews! Ciao.