-insert usual groveling-

whoops. well, anyway, I know it's been way long and i don't expect anyone to remember everything, so here's a quick update: kaito was invited to the festival and given a blue ogre mask to wear and he showed up pretty much living in it, miku tried to make a lantern for him but failed and Gakupo was all "it's okay I'll buy you a new one" and Rin was acting suspicious about her new hair tie. Now, without further waiting, since you've already waited over a year, here's the next chapter! please go read my inuyasha story after this for it is lonely ;w;

pls review even if i don't deserve it

He walked through the bustling village like a sheep going into a wolf's den. He felt like he would be discovered at any moment; was this really such a good idea? The demon was frightened. He didn't want to be found out. He longed to go back to his secluded home where it was just him and Miku.

Ah, but he had to remind himself, the situation was different. He was the true wolf in disguise. "Hiyama," he started, calling to the man in front of him. Really, such a brisk pace was hard to keep up with. "Hiyama, please slow down."

Kiyoteru stopped and turned back to him, a surprised look on his face. "Sorry about that," he said with a small laugh and a scratch to the back of his head, "I was just a little excited. It's been a while since a musician has visited our humble village."

"Why?" he asked before he had a chance to stop himself. The demon had remember the village as a glowing place that always attracted visitors. What had changed that?

Kiyoteru looked away nervously. "W-well, it's nothing, really," he then noticed something to the left, "Ah! Kamui! There you are!" And he headed off again leaving the demon guest to follow.

When he caught up he was displeased to see that it was a familiar face. She had called him Gakupo and he asked her to accompany him to the festival. Even a secluded monster like himself knew that meant. He felt an anger rise within him at the mans face, one that he quickly attempted to push down. Miku was not a presence in his life alone and she, for her own benefit, should stop being around him. This man was far better suited for the girl.

He didn't like it.

"Kamui, this is Kaito," Kiyoteru introduced, gesturing between the two. "Kaito, this is Kamui."

He watched the man's face sport a frown before quickly replacing it with a welcoming smile. "You call me Gakupo," he said, crossing his arms. "So you're the musician I've heard so much about." Had they really discussed him? Did everyone know he was coming? "Well I hope you don't let us down. We're a pretty demanding group," he joked.

"Ah, right," Kaito said weakly, not sure how to respond. It had been so long since he last talked to people.

"Why are you wearing that dreadful thing so soon?" Gakupo asked with a grin, "There's no need for it right now." He reached his hand out and Kaito flinched.

"I-I'm just more comfortable with it on," he stuttered out, his hands holding onto the edge. He watched from behind the holes in the mask as Kiyoteru and Gakupo glanced at each other before looking back at him.

"Well, okay then," he reached inside his loose yukata and withdrew sheet music, "Here you are. I hope it's nothing too complicated for you."

The demon swallowed hard, reaching out and taking the paper slowly, his eyes not leaving the other man's. How long could he keep this up? Continue this charade? Surely they would notice soon? How had they not noticed yet? He should have cut off his claws before coming. Lord, why did he come?

"Well," Kiyoteru started, breaking the awkward tension that starting to form, "Now that that's taken care of, is there anything I can do for either of you?" His smile was beaming, so welcoming.

"No, I'm fine. I just need to get a lantern for Miku."

Kaito's eyes widened slightly at the mention of her name, though they didn't notice with the mask on him.

"Why would she need one of those?" the village head asked with honest interest.

"I don't know. She just wants one," Gakupo answered with a careless shrug, dismissing it so easily, "If a lady wants it, then she shall have it!" He laughed lightly. Kaito's grip on the music tightened ever so slightly. "Well, anyway, be seeing you. You too, stranger." And then he was gone.

Kiyoteru turned back to Kaito. "Now, would you like to walk around a bit or go to the stage first?"

His eyes widened again. "S-stage?"

"Of course," he said it like it was only expected, "Didn't you know?"

"A-ah, yes," Kaito lied, "I just forgot. Please, lead the way."

Kiyoteru nodded and then took off into the crowd again. Weaving through the busy people, it was hard for him to keep up, especially with how he was trying to avoid touching anyone. He absently thought back to his brief run-in with Gakupo. He seemed like a fine enough man, not out to exploit Miku, but he didn't sit well with him. The purple-clad man had dismissed her so easily. He didn't like it and wondered where Miku was at that moment. It sounded as if he left her somewhere to wait for him.

The demon halted his thoughts; he didn't need to concern himself with that. He needed himself that he was here to play because she wished for it and that was all.

They approached a stage with a large taiko drum on the center, people gathered around it already. The nervous returned to him in a wave, stiffening his limbs as he moved.

"Hey everybody," Kiyoteru greeted loudly, "This is our special guest, Kaito!"

The four men on stage waved to him as they said their own words of greeting. "Hello," was all Kaito could say as he approached.

"Now," the village head began again, making introductions easy for him, "From right to left, this is Luki, Wiriam, Meito, and Len. You guys play nice now. I have other things to take care of!" And with a parting smile, Kaito's shield against interacting with others was gone.

Luki, sitting with his legs open and a bored expression on his face and his mask on top of his head, was the first to speak up. "What are you wearing that mask for? It's got to be hot under there."

"It's really not-"

Luki cut him off, continuing, "Or are you trying to be mysterious for the ladies?" He flipped his mask down and began mimicking a wolf howl. "Awooooo!" Wiriam punched his arm, stoping the animal call. Kaito's face felt very hot underneath the mask.

"Enough of that," Wiriam said, "You'll scare him off."

"Yeah, whatever," Luki muttered, pulling his mask off and rolling onto his stomach.

"So what can you play again?" the blonde, Len, asked.

"Shamisen," Kaito answered. This group intimidated him. He wasn't sure how to behave. Were they serious with the jokes or just fooling around? Was he allowed to join them? Was he expected to join them? Was it really such a problem to be wearing his mask? God, what if they recognized him?

Meito whistled, impressed. "You'll get attention for sure. No one around here but our little shouta," he poked Len in the side, earning swat of the hand, "Has hands suited for it."

"I see."

Meito raised his eyebrows at Kaito. "Well, what are you waiting for? Get up here," he said, adding a laugh on the end.

"I don't really know if," he was cut off again.

"Think nothing of it." Wiriam offered him a hand to help pull him on the low stage.

He was hesitant, to say the least. Talking with them was shaking his nerves as it was, but this too? He looked nervously to the outstretched hand, much larger than his own. He raised his free hand, the other clenching the sheet music even more, and placed it in the offered hand. He closed his eyes briefly, waiting to be discovered for what he truly was.

And he was pulled on stage with the rest of them.

"You sure are an odd one, huh?" Meito asked, his smile cocked to the side a bit with his arms crossed.

"Sorry about that," Kaito said, scratching the back of his head lightly.

"When are we going to practice?" Len suddenly asked, calling the attention to himself.

"Practice getting girls?" Luki added, his face still on the stage.

"Practicing was yesterday, Len. Today's the performance," Wiriam chastised lightly and the boy pouted.

It was an odd feeling for Kaito, being surrounded by such good people. As different as they all were, they accepted him. They knew he was different, not part of their village, and they accepted him. It was, dare he say it, nice. Kaito was accepted, a feeling he thought he would never have a chance to experience again.

It was a short hour later, after talking and getting to know the four men that Kaito wished the festival would never end. He had developed close friendships with these people and didn't want to give them at the end of the day. Perhaps they felt the same?

"So, Kaito," Luki started, throwing his arm around the other's shoulders, "I hear you came because Miku asked you to. Any special relationship?" He put emphasis on the word "special."

Kaito blushed, though they couldn't see it from behind his mask. "W-well, it's not like," he trailed off, his eyes suddenly searching the crowd for something, anything to derail the subject. Then he saw her and his attention was completely taken away from his new friends. "Miku!" he called, standing up quickly. She didn't hear him over the crowd so he, without thinking about it, pulled his mask up, leaving it to sit on top of his head, his face exposed.

Luki and Meito shared a knowing look with each other, their smirks matching.

"Miku!" he called again, and this time she heard.

She turned towards him, a wide smile blossoming on her face. "Kaito!" she called back. She then turned back Gakupo and said something, Kaito couldn't hear what, and then turned back towards him, waving her hands.

Smiling himself, he jumped off the stage and moved through the crowd with ease to come before her. "Miku," he breathed, happy just to see her face. Everything was falling into place so perfectly.

"Kaito, you're here! I'm glad," she said, and he could tell she meant every word.

"I was worried," he admitted quietly while looking down, "That I wouldn't be able to see you."

A blush spread on her cheeks and she parted her lips to reply when a third voice made itself known. "Kaito," Gakupo started, his voice making it known that it was not a pleasant surprise, "So you finally came out from behind the mask?"

His eyes widened briefly, not even meaning to, before he looked away. "Ah, yeah. I did."

"Hmh," Gakupo huffed, looking down on him from his superior height, "I thought you had to perform? Shouldn't it be soon?"

"Yes," he answered, looking away.

"So soon?" Miku asked. She placed her left hand on Kaito's chest, "I want to hear it."

Kaito's smile was only outdone by the red blush on his face that this time he didn't cover up with his hand. "Of course," he removed her hand and kept it in his own, "Here, this way." He then guided her away, back through the people and towards the stage, his mind too filled with joy to hear anything more that Gakupo had to say.

When he got to the stage he looked up to see each of the four men giving a look of approval, Luki giving two thumbs up and Wiriam a fatherly sort of smile. Kaito blushed again and tightened his grip on her hand slightly. He was holding her hand! Actually touching her and not being scorned for it. He turned back to Miku, trying to ignore his new friends and how they all gathered silently at the lip of the stage, eager to hear what he had to say.

"Miku, I want you to hear me play," he started, trying to be quiet enough that the men couldn't hear, but loud enough that she could. He doubted that it worked just like that. "And afterwords," he thought about what he had to say, what he had learned so far if he had the right to do it. He had been accepted, but was this asking too much? "I have something I need to tell you."

"Oooo-" Luki started but was silenced by the other three slapping a hand over his mouth. Kaito glanced back them, each of their faces telling him to carry on and ignore their presence.

His eyes returned to Miku's face, her hand just covering a giggle from Luki's interruption. She, he was never afraid to admit, was beautiful in every sense of the word.

"Promise to hear me out?" he asked, taking her hands in his own. They had matching pink blushes on their cheeks.

"Of course," she breathed, the words taking his own breath away. There was no way Kaito would ever forget this day.