- Disclaimer: Matantei Loki Ragnarok belongs to Kinoshita Sakura.

Love Me and More

written by Kurosu

- Chapter Nine: A Prelude of Tomorrow.

She was thrown aside, towards the edge of the broken bridge, with the destruction and flames all around her. She tried to get to her feet, but the earth rumbled beneath her again, and she went tumbling closer to the edge.

And soon, she found herself barely hanging onto the rocky ledge, slipping second by second, and he wouldn't be able to reach her in time. Through the terrible quake, his voice rang out, calling for her desperately. Bloodied and damaged, he still yearned for her safety first, and seeing her form rolling off the bridge, he ran for her.

The ground continued to tremble, and fires would randomly flare into the air, all hindering his way to her. By the time he reached the edge, his hand thrown out to her, fingers barely brushing against her own, as she slipped from him, and he could only remember the faint smile of her teary face and her words, 'I'm sorry, Loki...'

Filled with sorrow and anger, he called out her name.

"Are you okay, Loki?"

Mayura had asked her young fiancé, worried about his condition, as he looked up at her. He reached his hand up to her face and touched her cheek tenderly, and she blushed. It took a few seconds for him to realize it had all been a dream and that he was currently laying his head in her lap, so he quickly sat up, also blushing.

"Ah, I'm fine now," he answered and glanced around, "Did we just arrive?"

She nodded, "Yes, you passed out for a while. They said it was best to let you sleep on the way."

"Thanks," he smiled.

"Hey, you two!" Narugami knocked on the window, "Are you coming or what? We finished unloading, and they're getting antsy for you."

As much as he would love to resume quality time with Mayura and return to laying his head on her lap, they had no choice but to leave the car, though that particular idea was nice in itself. He was never fond of vehicles nor modern day technology, lacking the human element, but what he would endure just to be with Mayura. Ever since she admitted his importance in her life, their bond grew stronger each day, but even that had its own challenges.

Knowing well that she belonged to him, he still couldn't restrain the jealousy that would surface every time another male came into the vicinity.

The sight of Narugami holding her hand, even if it was just to help her out of the car, bothered him tremendously. Loki practically jumped towards them, squeezing in between the two, and grabbed her hand and pulled her along the pathway to the front door. A surprised Mayura spared Narugami a glance, with the latter giving a small shrug and a big grin, knowing that he had unintentionally provoked the boy.

"Shesh, talk about possessiveness," he murmured, rubbing the back of his neck.

He was just doing his job, protecting and guarding Mayura as he was told to do, but it looked like Loki didn't care for his orders, even if they did end up taking a vacation at the Narugami summer villa in Hakone. They were at his home, so maybe the boy could ease up a bit, and it seemed like Loki wanted some private time with Mayura, but what did that really entail?

Narugami chuckled, rubbing his hands together, thinking about exciting the weekend would be, from teasing the hell out of Loki to catching Yamino off guard. He hurried after the others, being quite famish now after the hour drive up the hillside from Tokyo. He couldn't remember the last time he had dropped by the family vacation house, but everything appeared to be the same.

Even the servants, who tended to the Narugami household, were all eager to see their young master Narugami and Master Loki - more of the latter since they were pampering the handsome, sweet boy.

"Loki-sama, we've missed you!"

"You should visit more often!"

"We've kept your room the same from your last visit!"

Narugami brushed it aside as nothing, even though he was envious of the attention. His bokken, over his shoulder, carried his backpack of minimal belongings, being a wanderer at heart. All the greetings and formalities was such a bother, but it was true Loki hadn't visited in a decade. The boy's bad relations with the old man, Odin, affected the rest of the relatives and their supporters, but their allegiance never faltered - whether out of respect or fear, it was very clear of Odin's influence.

Yamino was in the middle of taking care of everyone's - except Narugami's - luggage, but the servants were busy prying them out of his hands, because he was now a guest himself, which he would never get used to. He had been Loki's caretaker since he could remember.

"Wow, Loki-kun," Mayura began, her eyes wide and fascinated at the royal treatment Loki was receiving, "you're like a prince here!"

After fussing over the ever popular Loki, the female servants finally took notice of the young woman by his side and started to squeal and huddle around her. "Oh! Loki-sama's wife!" they exclaimed, startling the poor girl.

"She's so cute!"

"Loki-sama is blessed!"

"Yo-you've mistaken," she tried to explain while they dragged her away from her companions, "I'm not Loki-kun's wife yet!"

She looked over her shoulder towards her friends and definitely at Loki, for any assistance in stopping the fanatic household in taking her to who knows where.

"We must fix you up! A more suitable attire while you're here!"

Loki couldn't help but grin from ear to ear at her last words, that she probably didn't realize, before she disappeared down the hallway. After the little torture he went through, she should get a taste of it too and get used to being pampered, because this was going to be the life style she needed to adapt to. It shouldn't be too long before Mayura rejoined them either, because he hoped they could get a quick dinner before taking a walk with her around the estate, which was quite vast and would give them privacy.

He had to admit, the women tend to get carried away when a makeover was involved, and he just hoped that they wouldn't get too nosy when he planned to spend time alone with her.

After a servant had taken Narugami's things way, excluding the bokken, Loki followed him out to the central garden, leaving Yamino to his own devices, which was pretty much returning to his butler mode, seeking something to do in the kitchen. On the way down the corridor, Loki could already smell the delicious aroma from the kitchen. They had arrived just in time for dinner preparations, and he was starving, probably not as much as Narugami, whose appetite could rival a giant's.

The Narugamis were a very traditional family, but quite lively and energetic, and it showed even within the servants. He had met with the head of the clan, Narugami's father, only twice, and the man was strict and adhered to the family laws to the letter - quite very different from his only son.

"Your family won't be coming this year?" Loki asked the brunette.

"Nah, dad's pretty busy right now. He's settling some disputes between the branch families." He casually shrugged his shoulders, "It's a waste of time. They're always fighting, so I don't know why he even bothers."

Loki looked at him slyly, "This is coming from the next head of the clan?"

"Pfft, I'll just beat them and make them shut up."

"Rule with force? Nice, very nice." His tone was soaked with sarcasm that the sword-wielding boy did not appreciate.

"Look, dad's got his way. You got yours, and I have mine."

They were now on the veranda, overlooking the garden of the mansion. There was a small koi pond attached to it, which Narugami immediately targeted, leaning over to the side to catch a glimpse of the colorful carp swimming about. It brought back some of his childhood memories where he had been a troublemaker, trying to catch them with his bare hands, but they were slippery, little things.

"Hmm, maybe I should add a koi pond at the house," Loki pondered. It would spruce up the yard a bit and was a great meditation spot, meaning less complaints from Yamino about being cooped up in the study.

A young female servant approach the two and bowed deeply, announcing, "Loki-sama, Tohru-sama. Dinner will be served in an hour. We have prepared everything for you, including your evening wear."

They both thanked her, and before leaving to clean up, Loki had paused wanting to inquire about Mayura and then decided not to since he would see her soon at dinner, though he was a bit impatient. He didn't like being without her for too long and wondered how he ever managed that whenever she was at school. It just didn't feel right, like a part of him was missing, making him incomplete.

Dinner was announced by the sound of a bell echoing throughout the compound, and the guests gathered into the large dining room that opened up to a garden, adjacent to the veranda Loki had been at earlier. Narugami entering first, followed by Loki and Yamino, and all three stopped, gawking at the occupant already seated, and then much glaring ensued because it was Kazumi who looked bored waiting for the others to arrive.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Loki stomped in and demanded.

"Don't act all high and mighty," the boy sneered, "I'm allowed here as much as you are."

Yamino placed a calming hand on his young master's shoulder, and the latter nodded to the silent implication if a conflict erupted between them and went to sit down on the other side of the table. Narugami sat at the head spot since it was his place after all, smiling in Kazumi's direction, "Nice of you to join us, Higashiyama."

"Yeah, whatever," he grumbled, perching his chin in his palm, "I had nothing better to do anyway.

The room was quickly filled with silent tension, making the warm summer weather a bit unbearable, not even the simple yukata each person wore helped. Certain ones were unique to the wearer, such as Kazumi's white fabric with several birds in flight pattern strewn across the material. On the other hand, Loki's yukata was of a deep crimson color with embroidered geometric patterns that made them appear like dancing flames.

The two boys' eyes met from across the table at opposite sides, and a fearsome electrical current could be felt in the room. Narugami became nervous, waving a hand between them, "Hey hey now, we're on vacation here, so could you at least make a truce. I'd like to keep my place in one piece."

Technically the Narugami family took no sides between Odin's grandsons, but he had always preferred Loki over Kazumi, having grown up together with the former and Loki was the honest type of person to ally himself with. Plus, it was much more fun messing with Loki and Mayura.

Yamino quietly sat in his spot on Loki's side farther down, leaving the seat in between them empty for their last guest, who should be gracing them any second now, to relieve the atmosphere from hostility, and he hoped really soon. If any violence should happen to break out, he was fully prepared to execute his defense plan: subdue the target with a tackle and/or karate chop, even if it was the just as important Higashiyama Kazumi.

As if on cue, the screen doors slid open again, and a tiny visible breath of relief came out of Yamino's mouth. He had been holding his breath the whole time, not that anyone bothered to notice since all eyes were on the lovely Mayura in her soft cream-colored yukata, decorated with waves of blue and purple flowers appearing to be hydrangeas. Her pink hair was twirled into a loose bun, held together by butterfly hairclips.

Narugami whistled smoothly, which earned a quick glare from Loki who then returned to ogling Mayura. She blushed deep a red at the intensity of Loki's stare, like a tiger ready to pounce on his prey, but to move things along, her maid attendant escorted her carefully to her seat next to him. After much fuss with her yukata and makeover, more extravagant than she had ever worn before, she was glad to make it to dinner in one piece.

Now that everyone was finally present, the dishes began to arrive. The meal managed to remain civil with small talks here and there, most had excluded Kazumi, but Mayura, being a sweetheart, tried to involve him too, voicing that she was glad he could join them for vacation, and asked him what his plans were.

He just shrugged in reply, "I don't have any plans, but if Mayu-nee-chan would like, we can take a walk, and I can show you around the area!" When he saw the chopsticks in Loki's hand snap in half, he knew he had just hit the right nerve, and he wasn't bothered at all by the glare either, grinning proudly to himself.

"Oh, that would be so nice!"

"Mayura," Loki called for her attention just as he was handed a new pair of chopsticks from a servant, being ultra, scary polite, "why are you troubling Kazumi-kun with such a small thing."

She pouted, because it sounded like he was scolding her like she was a needy child, "But Kazumi-kun! He-"

He continued nonchalantly, "Kazumi-kun doesn't want you to worry, but... he has poor health."

Kazumi, Narugami and Yamino stopped chewing, where the former turned his one eye to Loki to glare daggers at him.

"He comes here for a private treatment for his health. The air and environment in Hakone is compatible for many ill patients. It's a natural healing source for someone as weak as him," he couldn't but emphasized the last few words with a smirk before picking at the grilled fish. Narugami and Yamino resumed eating, all the while trying not to laugh at the embarrassment that Kazumi was thrown in, being called weak.

Mayura, ashamed that she had no idea about the boy's condition, turned to Kazumi apologetically, "I'm so sorry, Kazumi-kun! I had no idea of your illness! I hope you're not suffering! But don't worry, your friends are here, and we'll help make it comfortable for you!"

Kazumi was about to interject something, but Loki, placing his bowl of soup down after a sip, spoke again. "Mayura, it would be best to let Kazumi-kun rest, undisturbed. His recovery will require silence and solitude."

Yamino added," I'm sure Higashiyama-san wouldn't want to take your precious time away from your vacation, Mayura-sama, just to take care of him."

"Right," Narugami grinned, "the Narugami servants are the best when it's about catering to one's needs!"

She nodded, understanding what everyone had said, but she could help feel dejected, with the thought that Kazumi wouldn't be able to do anything with them. Seeing the pity in her eyes, Kazumi felt disgusted and wanted to just stab everyone and leave, but he was outnumbered, so he settled for a sigh, "It's fine, nee-chan. We can have fun another time."

He spared Loki one more glare before returning to his meal, and the tension in the room never subsided.

Notes: I've edit the story, so everything is up to date before I finished this chapter. It's been a while, so I would suggest to reread it from the beginning, because I've changed, added, and clarified a few things that I thought I hadn't explained clearly.

Chapter five, Sweet Vengeance, has been split into two chapters with Bloody Moonlight following it. It was long so I decided it was best to divide it. So, this particular chapter, A Prelude of Tomorrow, of course, isn't "finished" either because it was going to be long, and the dinner scene was a good stopping point. Anyway~ please stay tune for the next part, at least a week!

Thank you for your patience, understand, and support over the years! -kuro.