A/N: I love stories like these since all it does shows it the slices of life that these two share, it is graphically visual. Like the chapter before, the breaks are used to seperate each short daily peek, it can be continuous. It is up to one to see. Since the last chapter was from winter to early spring, this chapter will continue from early spring to the near end of spring.
Especially for Alison, thank you for the never ending support; I hope you enjoy this chapter.
Until the end, I will not hinder-
'That's a very big bruise.'
Natsuki felt the water around her chest rise and settle after a moment of movement in the lukewarm water. Emerald found crimson looking at the large bruise on her upper arm and Natsuki slipped her body lower into the water. She took in the heavy flora scent mixed with the whiff of tea and closed her eyes to the touch of her partner's hand on her arm. It was not long before she heard another comment from her partner.
'It's weird; father doesn't hit people on the arms during practice.'
'Ugh, it was more of a death match.'
The sweet laughter from Shizuru sounded in the bathroom, and emerald eyes tightened even more at the tease that she knew would come sooner or later. Natsuki could feel Shizuru's hand travel up slowly from her bruised arm to her neck, before it came to rest on her collar. Her body invited the warm presence of her partner and relaxed at the contact of skin upon skin. Upon hearing more water being filtered into the wooden tub, Natsuki brought her hands up to the surface of the water and splashed her face.
'I thought the use of the naginata is to defend oneself, not attack.'
Natsuki lifted her head up and dropped the small white towel into the clear water; not long before wringing it damp to place it on her head. In the rich Kyoto accent, her partner chuckled,
'It is, Natsuki.'
'Tell that to your father,' emerald met up with the crimson eyes that stared at her in surprise, 'He can gladly turn a naginata into a sword.'
A sweet chuckle was let loose and Natsuki rubbed her shoulders effortlessly before reaching over to her partner in the water,
'Ugh, it's not funny Shizuru; I barely came out of there alive.'
'Ara? However, you are surviving are you not?'
Pulling Shizuru into a loose embrace, Natsuki let out a soft growl and played with the loose strands of brown hair that trickled down from the side of her face. The thick atmosphere of steam mixed with the scent of cedar wrapped the both of them. The soft chirps of the crickets were echoing and the knock-and-lock of the water bamboo pole could be heard outside at timed intervals. It was not long before Natsuki turned red and crimson eyes could barely keep her mirth when her midnight blue partner disagreed.
'Natsuki? Is my eye colour that contagious?'
'Don't start. I'm getting out already.'
Shizuru watched the hands around her waist unwind and the legs on either side of her bend. Sooner than she expected, her ears picked up her partner's infamous grunt and the sound of rushing water around her. Her skin felt the loss of contact and Shizuru turned to find Natsuki wrapping the large white towel around her body. It was quite a sight to see, but then, Shizuru decided that she'll let the teasing slip. Her crimson eyes soon met up with clear emerald that looked back, and Shizuru gave into a sweet smile.
'Don't stay in there for too long.'
'I think without Natsuki in here, I won't stay for another second.'
It didn't mean to be a tease but Shizuru was happy enough to see a slight blush cross her partner's face. It wasn't as red as it used to be; from the fact that her teasing had gone on for years, it was expected that her partner has somewhat grown immune to it by now. Then again, the colour of pink wasn't as bad as a colour to see it light up on Natsuki's face. Shizuru watched her midnight blue raise a simple hand to gesture her leave from the bathroom and it was not long before she herself turned red and decided that it was indeed a stay she couldn't last without her beloved.
Natsuki could smell the rich scent of grilled beef from the courtyard and she couldn't help but wander to its source and find herself standing behind Shizuru in the kitchen of the Fujino household. Looking over her brown haired companion, she eyed the thick pieces of red meat that lay on the small open grill. As expected, her emerald eyes were glanced by briefly by crimson. Her ears perked up at the sound of the Kyoto voice of lady before her,
'Ara? What might Natsuki want from the kitchen?'
Reluctantly pulling herself away from Shizuru standing in front of the grill, Natsuki dragged her feet to the fridge that stood at the corner of kitchen,
'Nothing really, I was just looking at how you do grill.'
Letting her eyes glance back briefly at the juicy meat that lay upon the open grill and her nose take in the rich fragrance, Natsuki pulled the fridge door open. Her actions went unnoticed by Shizuru, but like stated before, in times like these, her partner always knew what she was looking at, or something about, even when those crimson eyes weren't looking.
'Dinner will be served soon.'
Oh, she knew it was the beef alright.
Closing the door shut, emerald looked at crimson that sparkled in hilarity at her and all Natsuki could do was grunt and shuffle back to where Shizuru stood. Taking in another deep breath, Natsuki looked over her partner's shoulder,
'Natsuki knows what she likes.'
She blew a quick breath into the ear of her Kyoto beauty and watched the expression of Shizuru change from hilarity to embarrassment. Reaching out to grab hold on her partner's hand with the pair of stainless steel spatula, she guided Shizuru's hand to the almost done slice of beef on the grill. Shizuru looked in amusement at her midnight blue's actions and soon enough realised what her beloved was doing.
'Natsuki, it's for dinner.' She playfully slapped the hand that was on hers, 'Wait until then; you will get your share.'
Giving off a simple sigh, Natsuki took a step back before she noticed that black lacquered bowls that were placed out nearby on the wooden table. The pot of steaming rice was ready to be brought out and the yellow pickles that were placed on the plates were ready to be joined by the smoked fish that was on another plate. Eyeing the busy Shizuru, Natsuki rolled up her sleeves and moved over to wash her hands.
Taking the rice pot off the counter, Natsuki moved pass Shizuru and nudged her gently. With that, Shizuru left a lingering touch on the toned arm of her Natsuki as the midnight blue promptly left the kitchen.
Standing at exactly ten steps away from the medium sized coin offering box in front of the smiling black Buddha upon a sacks of rice, Natsuki raised her hand and aimed the 100 yen coin. At the level of her eyes, she tried her movement and at the third try, she let the silver coin fly through the air. As confident as ever, Natsuki did hear the clatter of her thrown coin and she flashed her emerald eyes at the crimson eyes that looked on in happiness.
Giving into a wide grin, Natsuki clapped her hands thrice and placed her hands together. Lowering her head, she hesitated and it didn't go unnoticed by Shizuru that stood by the side with her partner's coat in hand. Crimson eyes took notice of the uncertainty within those emeralds of Natsuki, but a second later did she see them close and give into the silent wish that her partner wanted so.
'I imagined that the coin would land on the floor.'
'Really?' Shizuru passed Natsuki her jacket and gestured to walk on, 'I thought it would drop in perfectly.'
Shizuru grazed her hand along the wooden pillars of the Kiyomizu temple and walked over to the veranda of the temple that over looked the east of Kyoto. She gave into a breath of excitement into the morning air and she felt the familiar warm presence of Natsuki arrive beside her. She turned back to give her partner her cheerful smile and moved back to look at the stream of people and tourist groups that moved up the stone stairs.
'Haven't you been here before?'
There was no harm in being the little girl she used to be and Shizuru gladly reverted back to the little Kyoto girl that she had been so long ago.
'Yes,' she placed a finger on her chin and leaned over the wooden banister and looked down at the rocked paths spread out below in the green foliage, 'Though I remember doing something below.'
'At the Otowa waterfall?'
Crimson eyes moved over to look at where Natsuki had pointed over to and she shook her head at the sight of people collecting the spring water that flowed down from the mountains above. Shizuru scanned the green trees below the raised temple and her eyes finally caught sight onto the certain path that she remembered vividly.
Emerald eyes had to be torn away from looking at the people at the Otowa waterfall below and be dragged quite enthusiastically by her brown haired Kyoto companion. Down another flight of stone steps they went and through the herd of tourists that had gathered at the Otowa waterfall. Leading her midnight blue rider by her hand through the green canopy above their head, Shizuru stopped in front of a huge rock placed in the middle of the pavement.
Standing in front of the stone happily, she pulled Natsuki close to her.
'Eh! You remember this!?'
Shizuru issued a rare chirp of happiness and handed her handbag over to Natsuki that read the words that were placed on the rock that was tied with the white thick string of prayer.
'Will Natsuki assist me?'
Natsuki allowed her jaw to turn slack and raised an eye brow at her sudden hyper companion that was at the moment twirling around her in glee. She looked ahead in the distance and as expected found the other stone that looked like the one before her and gave out a breath,
'Won't it be more worth it if you walk it alone?'
'Natsuki, you are my romantic interest, aren't you?'
At that, Shizuru was glad to see her partner turn into a shade of light pink and clenching her teeth in embarrassment. She pulled onto the strong arm that stood next to her and looked on at the other people that had come here to do exactly what she wanted to do.
'Shizuru, it is only 18 metres from this rock to the other.' Crimson looked up to find emerald glancing into the distance,
'I'm sure you'll make it there.'
Shizuru looked at the visitors that visited the Jishu shrine situated within the complex of the Kiyomizu temple and at the rocks that her parents had brought her too long ago when she was child. Her crimson eyes noted onto the few that walked the 18 metres, which Natsuki so simply stated, with their eyes closed. Furthermore, she realised that most of them were being assisted. Then, a rare pout from Shizuru was seen, indeed,
'Come on; do you really believe in this?'
She watched Natsuki give into a sigh and to her partner's surprise, jumped when emerald motioned her to stand properly in front of the stone. Placing her hand onto the ones of her midnight blue rider, Shizuru looked at the other stone 18 metres away. This time, she told herself, she will make it there. Before closing her eyes, she heard a grunt from Natsuki,
'Haven't you already found love?'
'I thought you planned of wearing something more…' Emerald looked up the crimson that looked at her on the smooth bamboo flooring of the Fujino household, 'simple?'
Natsuki watched her partner's eye brows rise and she looked at the furisode that Shizuru wore. She gave into another quick glance at the traditional kimono that was dyed with the exotic colours of autumn and the intricate design of the maples and the lovely flowers of the red camellia. Emerald looked into the deep pools crimson and gave a forced smile.
'I'm sorry Natsuki, but mother insisted I wore this.'
Watching her partner drop gracefully onto the ground into seiza position, Natsuki couldn't help but scan Shizuru once more and look into the crimson that showed concern.
'You look beautiful.'
She saw a genuine smile form on Shizuru's face and Natsuki allowed deft fingered to once again adjust the tie she had lazily thrown over her neck hoping that she could get away from wearing it to the dinner. Fingering the collar of her beloved, Shizuru noticed how tensed Natsuki was and the expression of fatigue plague her face. Hearing a deep inhale come from her partner, Shizuru waited before she moved away from adjusting and waited for the emerald eyes to look at her own.
'Father likes you the way you are.' Shizuru knew better than anyone, for the better of her parents that had accepted her terms, 'mother does too.'
Shizuru knew it wasn't as such a smooth journey she had expected, but alas, she came out polished after seven years of confrontation. Her desires and her selfishness, her greed and so much more…then again, Shizuru realised that the experience was the one that mattered. This was something new, their carnival of dying dances were over.
Get over it. Worry could come later, it was part of the package but Shizuru knew.
She knew that she had the four leaved clover on her side this time.
She traced her finger down Natsuki's smooth cheek,
Placing a chaste kiss onto her partner's lips, Shizuru pulled back and smiled at the sight of her flushing midnight blue companion. Taking the smooth hand from Shizuru, Natsuki held it tightly and kissed it deeply before she brought it to her nose breathed in the light flora tea scent of her partner. She placed it against her cheek and felt the tender response from Shizuru.
It wasn't a rough journey after all.
Natsuki felt a finger touch the end of her cheek and she noticed a second later that Shizuru had taken off a grain of rice from her face. Emerald looked at her brown haired companion that sat beside her on the smooth ride home to Tokyo. On the speed of lightness, it mattered to Natsuki how clam and serene it was to spend around 4 hours with Shizuru.
A busy day in Tokyo, she was sure she wouldn't be able to spend at least a good hour a peace. Well, she knew she had to avoid putting the moment before sleep inside the equation, for it seemed that were the only hours that they happily spent time with no worries.
Natsuki looked at the lunch box that she had bought on the train and picked at the fried chicken that looked too good to be appetising. The white rice glossed like plastic under the warm light of the night express bullet train that ran from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo. On the Tōkaidō line, Natsuki realised it wasn't long before their train would arrive at the Shinagawa station.
'Ara? Lost your appetite?'
Emerald looked into the deep pools that questioned her and realised that Shizuru was leaning over the hand rest and looking at her with worry. Natsuki eased a short chuckle and poked at the rice with the wooden chopsticks,
'No, I was just thinking about something.'
She heard a chuckle of amusement from Shizuru, 'I thought you were feeling sick.'
Feeling the light touch push away a stray strand of hair, Natsuki placed a chunk of rice into a mouth and chewed slowly. She watched her partner move back to reading her book and Natsuki herself leaned back into the seat and stared at her rice once again.
Maybe she was feeling kind of sick.
'You can take the JR East Keihin-Tōhoku Line; the rapid service can take you to Akibahara.'
Natsuki gave into a smile as she pointed the route on the train map to the lost tourist that ended up in the local JR station of Mitaka than the JR station at Akibahara. Oh, her English wasn't that bad, but she kind of sounded like a badly played recorder just trying to speak broken English, or so her colleagues say. The poor lost tourist gave into understanding nod and followed up on asking her where he could purchase a ticket.
Quite fortunately, for Natsuki it was on the last minutes of her shift before she could punch off and head home. Coming out of the attending train office counter, she gestured the man towards the ticketing machine and proceeded to tell him, quite brokenly, how to purchase a ticket. In the end, as customer service would say excellent, Natsuki did the necessary things and handed the content tourist his train ticket before giving a bow and watching him pass through the gates of the Mitaka station.
Well, at least she could understand English. It wasn't that bad.
Coming behind the attending counter, the midnight blue slipped back onto her seat. It was not long before she heard the door open to reveal the next attendant, this time, not like always, with a certain brown haired companion that looked much like…
'You've got a guest.'
Natsuki bowed off her seat and moved over to let the attending conductor take his place behind the glass screen that over looked the passenger gantries that led in and out of Mitaka station. Sliding off the step to close the door shut behind her, Natsuki looked at the elegant Kyoto beauty that stood in front of her in her business attire. In one hand, Natsuki noticed the extra bag that Shizuru was carrying and raised a curious eyebrow.
'Since I came back just about five minutes ago,' pulling off her gloves, emerald eyes noticed the radiance that her partner somehow showed off tonight, 'I thought I might as well wait for Natsuki to finish.'
Natsuki didn't take that long to gather her stuff, change out of her uniform, and meet Shizuru at the front of the Mitaka station. It was getting dark as the night sky tore through the evening sky. The clouds had turned slightly black at that and Natsuki briefly wondered whether it would rain. Taking a quick check at her wallet, she noticed the amount of cash she barely had to even have a take out with Shizuru.
It was what Natsuki had thought of doing while she was changing. It was good thought though.
It seemed that home was the only option for dinner then; then again, she hoped that Shizuru didn't plan on whipping up a meal that the main dish had a lot of leek inside. Emerald glanced at the road before she picked up her steps with her partner that had moved ahead of her. She noticed the extra small bag that Shizuru carried and couldn't help but give into curiosity.
'What did you buy this time?'
'Be specific Shizuru.'
All Natsuki was given back was a bright smile that unnerved the midnight blue rider a little; she hadn't really seen her crimson-eyed partner so jovial before, with the exception of good days which she could easily take note off. Stepping off the last step of the overhead bridge, Natsuki took up the mixed fragrance of flowers and tea and leaned into the inviting presence that too leaned into her.
Shizuru's hand found its way to grasp Natsuki's hand,
'Natsuki, are you hungry?'
'No, not really.'
'Could you be?'
Emerald eyes widened at her partner's connotation and flushed a little, looking away slightly. She noticed that Shizuru moved in a little closer that their comfort zone in public and Natsuki distracted her mind,
'Shizuru, what did you buy?'
Shizuru watched her partner finger the bag that was her grasp and Natsuki was returned with a coy smile from Shizuru. It made the atmosphere a little too hot for spring and dense from the fact it was already night. There was a tad bit of tension, not until Shizuru traced a tempting finger down the face of her beloved and whispered softly,
'Tonight, you'll see,' a soft kiss on the lips and a brush of body against body, 'if you're willing to have dessert.'
Pushing the covers off her body, Shizuru realised that she was an hour late from waking up on her usual schedule. The clock on the side of the bed read thirty minutes past seven and it was unusual to find Natsuki not next to her at this early hour.
There was once were Shizuru woke up, quite early, to find her midnight blue rider no where in the house. Only to find Natsuki with a grocery bag walking through the front door minutes later after searching the whole apartment. She realised that her heart was thumping just like it was before, just that she realised it didn't carry so much uncertainty and worry.
Sliding off the bed, deep crimson looked around their room to find that Natsuki's ironed uniform was not on the cupboard top and her night wear strewn across the floor. It seemed that her beloved was in a hurry to leave the house this morning. Then again, didn't Natsuki shift start only in the early hours of the afternoon?
'I'm going, Shizuru!'
Crimson eyes widened at the sound of Natsuki's voice run down through the corridor. She was still in the house. Hastily making her way to the front door, Shizuru managed to call out to her dark haired partner before watching her leave in the morning.
'Where are you going?'
Shizuru managed between looking at her partner's attire and formulating a question in her mind that she unconsciously reached out to grab hold onto Natsuki's crisp shirt.
'Doesn't your shift only start in the afternoon?'
'I'm working on two shifts today,' crimson eyes widened a little bit more and Natsuki stepped back and placed a swift kiss onto Shizuru's forehead, 'I'll be back in the evening like always.'
'Have you had breakfast?'
'I'll get something from Lawsons.'
Shizuru moved forward to give into the embrace that Natsuki willingly leaned in to accept. Pulling back to see her partner wave and run down the corridor of their apartment block, Shizuru stepped back in only after she realised that Natsuki had long gone and it was her turn to get ready for work. It seemed so different to find Natsuki putting in so much effort to earn more. It wasn't really what Shizuru had in mind, she didn't mind that her partner worked at the local JR line as an attending conductor.
It was the person that mattered.
It was how simple life could be.
'Would you have loved me if I were a boy?'
Natsuki glanced over to her brown haired companion that abruptly stopped eating the cold noodles on her plate. Emerald looked into shocked and surprise crimson. Yes, it was quite a sudden question, especially on a day that Natsuki took the option of taking Shizuru out to eat. Well, indeed, she did quite ruin the peaceful moment. The midnight blue rider ending up staring a little bit longer than usual at the Kyoto beauty before her, much so to the fact that she wanted to hear an answer.
It was a spur of a moment question, just to kill the silence, but it seemed that it just made the silence grow.
'Ah, forget I asked.'
Lowering her eyes back onto her rice that was covered with egg and onions, Natsuki lifted the bowl of rice to her mouth. However those crimson eyes didn't take its stare off her partner as the actions of eating continued on. The local restaurant near the border of Shinjuku station was bustling in activity, but for the corner where their table was situated…it was more like a no man's land.
Deathly silence, it was.
It frightened Natsuki quite a lot, noticing that the fact that Shizuru had stopped eating her cold noodles and was primarily preoccupied with looking at her eat. Emerald eyes hesitantly looked up after shoving quite a big chunk of rice with a pork cutlet into her mouth. She noticed that a serene smile had formed on her partner's face and Natsuki held back from swallowing.
'I think I would have,' Natsuki watched those pink lips part, 'loved you if you were a boy.'
Watching the faint glow of pink spread across the cheeks of her partner, Natsuki realised she had difficulty swallowing her large mouthful of rice and meat. It was unusual so, since Shizuru had once particularly told her that she preferred girls over boys. However, Natsuki didn't realise that Shizuru could also turn the other way. Hence, Natsuki choked.
'Ara. Natsuki, you should watch how much you put into your mouth.'
After a gag and placing a thump on her chest, emerald eyes refocused onto the glowing crimson that looked lovingly at her. It showed truth and sincerity but Natsuki gave of a huff of breath in disagreement,
'I'm sure you wouldn't have even noticed me if I were a boy.'
Crimson eyes widened at that comment and Natsuki noticed Shizuru move back to attend to her cold noodles that had long ago turned even colder. It seemed that the conversation should be scrapped, and Natsuki guiltily returned to her bowl of rice. Her ears picked up the welcoming ring from the waitresses of the restaurant upon an entry of a customer and soon after the sweet familiar Kyoto accent,
'It is partially true that I wouldn't have noticed you at first if you were a boy.'
Natsuki let her mouth turn slack and she lowered her rice bowl to find Shizuru stirring her noodles inside the clear brown cold noodle sauce. The Kyoto beauty continued,
'Yet in the end, sooner or later, I would have noticed you,' crimson eyes barely lifted off from the food she was tending, 'despite you being a boy.'
Emerald eyes looked into the clear deep crimson pools and found out how is sparkled in adoration,
'It wasn't the gender I was attracted to…' Shizuru smiled fondly at her partner, 'It was Natsuki.'
The midnight blue rider lowered her head in embarrassment and allowed a blush to seep across her face just this once to please her brown haired companion. Nevertheless, she heard more from Shizuru that she least expected,
'Natsuki will always be Natsuki,' she gazed at Shizuru that brought her chin to rest on her free hand, 'whether be it boy or girl.'
The quality was worth it, but the price was just too much to handle that Natsuki found herself wanting to drag her persistent partner away.
'It is really expensive Shizuru.'
Emerald eyes watched Shizuru hold out the width of the dress,
'I think it is reasonably, though.'
Touching the ends of Shizuru's light brown hair that ended nicely in natural curls, Natsuki realised that her hair was not long from its usual length. It was about the time that she was getting quite use to her short hair she had decided to cut to impress Shizuru's father. Well, indeed, she did get a praise or two from the stern man from the south; quite sarcastically put across that she didn't look like the over grown ghost she use to look like with that long hair of hers.
'Is there something wrong?'
Emerald eyes looked down to find crimson eyes eyeing her actions. The train carriage jerked a little and both of them swayed on their stand while the train on the local JR line sped through the tunnels. The fluorescent lights of the train allowed the crimson to see her partner shake her head away and return to look at the blur of black outside the train.
'Where are we going exactly?'
Shizuru looked up to the emerald eyes that questioned her, her shoulder rubbed against the thin jacket of her partner and she raised a finger to her lips to give the answer.
'Can you not be so secretive, like always?'
She chuckled at the stubbornness of her beloved and reached out to hold on the strong arm beside her. The trained jerked and the nasal announcement sounding the arrival at the next station rang above. Shizuru adjusted her hold once again and moved a little closer to Natsuki,
'Why is Natsuki so eager to find out where we are going?'
'I'm not eager, I'm curious.' There was a pause, 'There's a difference there Shizuru.'
Dropping her head onto the shoulder next to her, she gave out a small breath and slipped her hand around to hold onto her partner's arm. Natsuki forced a sigh at her brown haired-companions actions and decided that pursuing the location they were heading during the early hours of a Sunday morning was useless.
'Do you have an appointment?'
Natsuki looked at the receptionist quite dumbly. Emerald eyes widened at that and she pursed her lips, trying very hard to remember if Shizuru had told her to say yes to a question like that. Natsuki gulped quickly and her hands went for her wallet in her pants and forced out a smile, she was down right nervous.
'Yes, an appointment with Shi…' Natsuki took note that hardly anyone here knew who she was, 'with Fujino Shizuru.'
The lady behind the counter stared up her in somewhat surprise and leaned forward in her stand to give a scan with her dark eyes at Natsuki's attire. Natsuki heaved a breath as she reached to flip open her wallet and take out her name card that Shizuru had prepared earlier for her. Well, it was an old business card of Natsuki's; how long ago was she making a living off making paper lanterns and props for movie sets? She was still somewhat surprised that Shizuru had kept a copy of her old name card from long ago.
'Kuga. Kuga Natsuki.'
Natsuki slipped the paper card forward on the counter and she received an uncertain look from the receptionist after watching the lady glance at it. She heaved another breath of anxiety as she heard the clicks of the keys tap away on the keyboard behind the counter. Looking at the smooth interior of the building that Shizuru worked in, Natsuki felt that what kind of person like of her current status would want what kind of business from here.
'Miss Kuga, please proceed to the 19th floor and wait in the waiting room.'
The receptionist gave a smile at Natsuki and gestured over to the lift lobby on the right,
'Miss Fujino is currently in a meeting. We will inform her of your arrival.'
Natsuki gave into a quick nod and a form of thank you and languidly walked towards the lift lobby. She was glad she chose to wear a little more decent and formal clothes to meet Shizuru, or else there would be a slight hesitation in the way she would be served. Isn't it so that the first impression counts? Upon the arrival on the 19th floor, Natsuki was graced with the presence of a familiar person that escaped her mind that very moment.
The woman spared her a glance as Natsuki moved pass to sit down on one of the waiting room seats. She realised there was barely a single soul here and she sat there patiently for her partner to show up. Seconds turned into minutes and soon Natsuki tried her very best to keep her eyes open.
'Miss, would you prefer coffee or tea?'
Emerald looked up to find a man dressed finely with a tie and a jacket addressing her politely. His dark brown eyes stared listlessly at her and Natsuki managed to pick one of the options,
'As expected from Miss Fujino. She will join you shortly.'
Amazed by his response, Natsuki watched the man move away from her and down a corridor that seemingly led to nowhere and soon he reappeared carrying a tray with a cup of steaming coffee. Behind him, much to the delight of the midnight blue rider was her brown haired companion. Giving out a chirp of happiness, Natsuki was graced with the presence of the Kyoto beauty.
She gave out a word of thanks as she watched the man walk away and down the same corridor that he and Shizuru appeared from. Emerald looked up to meet crimson that twinkled at her sight and moved over to gesture Shizuru to join her. Her nose picked up the scent of flowers mixed with tea first even though how strong the coffee was.
'I'm sorry; it seemed that some policies couldn't be agreed upon.'
'It's alright, I didn't wait that long.'
'Here, I think Natsuki would like to keep it.'
Natsuki looked over to find Shizuru handing her back her old business card, and she could only humbly accept it and put it back into her wallet. She couldn't hold back the question, not really wanting to ask about it again, but then, she was Kuga Natsuki,
'I thought you would have thrown it away by now.' She looked into the cup of black coffee, 'I was surprised you kept it for that long.'
Shizuru gave her partner an amused look and stifled a laugh with a raised hand over her mouth. Natsuki watched the hilarity spill into those crimson eyes and sooner than later, she watched Shizuru touch her arm like always and lean towards her. Shizuru spoke in wonder with her Kyoto accent,
'Why would I throw it away?' crimson eyes twinkled in amusement, 'It was the first thing I received from Natsuki after three years.'
'Ugh, don't bring it up,' Natsuki turned away slightly from those teasing eyes and stared hard at her coffee, 'it's embarrassing.'
She felt a smooth finger trace her cheek and Natsuki held her head in place as she took in the sweet voice that echoed into her ears,
'Embarrassing? I thought it was the sweetest way to reunite with Natsuki.'
'Don't start Shizuru!'
'Though how much I wanted Natsuki to rush forward and embrace me…'
Emerald eyes swivelled to the source of teasing and grinded her teeth hard, making Shizuru pull back slightly and let out a chuckle. Her brown haired companion reached down to touch her hands and it caught the midnight blue's attention. Natsuki looked up from her coffee to see a small faint blush of pink on Shizuru's cheeks and she least expected a finger to trace her lips.
It was lunch time, and Natsuki wasn't that ready to hear anything else than food,
'Instead you gave me something more than I ever wanted.'
Natsuki kissed the finger on her lips and grinned,
'Another lantern, Shizuru, for another time.'
Natsuki looked over her shoulder to find Shizuru walking through the kitchen door way and emerald eyes darted to the dish that her partner carried to the table.
'It does not contain leek right?'
Crimson eyes shone with laughter and Shizuru couldn't help but let out a tease,
'I rather use the leek for something more…' she touched her chin after putting the plate onto the table, 'practical.'
A grunt came out from Natsuki and Shizuru motioned to her partner get over to the table. After a few more trips to and fro from the kitchen, the two soon started on their quite and peaceful dinner. It was not long before Natsuki noted that her stocky soup had the thin and tiny green bits that she didn't particularly like, especially if Shizuru use it. Emerald eyes shot a look at crimson that stared back in confusion.
'There is leek!'
'It's spring onion Natsuki, not leek.' Shizuru looked over to the bowl of soup that Natsuki had forcibly shoved in front of her, 'As you would say, there is a difference there.'
Emerald eye narrowed at the coolness that her brown haired companion gave off and grabbed back her bowl of soup and lifted it up to her mouth mumbling and grumbling something incoherently. Shizuru could only smile innocently at her partner and continue eating.
Life was going smoothly.
Much after seven years.
A/N: The next will be from early summer to the end of summer. I hope you have enjoyed it.
For the info: Wagyu beef or also well known as Kobe beef; it's mighty delicious to say. At the Kiyozumi temple in Kyoto, there are two stones in the Jishu shrine that are called the love stones. If one can close their eyes and walk from one stone to the other, it's a sign that the person will find love. A person can also be assisted from one end to the other, and it is mostly done by the romantic interest of the former. I tried it once, to end up almost walking into the bushes, I would say that I am not destined to find anyone. Leek and spring onions are from the same family, just that leek is more sturdy, solid and have branches that usually come out at the top end, while spring onion is just one long and thin stalk. Both of them are used seperately to make different kinds of dishes.
*Just to note that the places stated are actually real places in Japan, if there are any incidences that have happened in real life, it is just a coincidence.
If there is anything left out, feel free to pop a message.