Kyaa, please review and tell me what you think of the story so far~! I don't want to resort to sitting with a tub of ice-cream in front of the TV screen re-watching Basara! (Although I really wouldn't mind) ;D
Give me a battle and I'm great – I can improvise.
Give me these strange clothes, these foreign utensils, these odd things to make and I'm useless.
Reminiscing the words his wife had said to him the other night in apology for her inability to act accordingly as a woman of hospitable abundance, Masamune watched her in amazement as she instead spent her morning in company of the vulture that rested on her forearm. The swans had in turn taken a liking to their human embodiment, and as if quarrelling with the exotic bird of prey that clung to its owner minding its own business, the white mammals of flight surrounded her at the centre of the stone garden almost ephemerally.
The pouncing cat, however, in some delusion believing he was a tiger had ruined the fleeting bliss. The fat white cat had meowed, cooing at its failure before prancing about in search of fiends in the grass when Masamune had descended the corridor into the garden.
Breathing the air of life as he joined the swan woman in admiring the turquoise candy-coated ceiling of the sky above them, Reiko; the vulture; had once again taken flight and retired to his post above the gray-tiled roof of the high walls surrounding the castle.
'You're looking cool today, aren't you,' Masamune grinned, tilting his head boyishly at the site of Akeakamai bathing in the charity of the sun that poured affection into the blooming chrysanthemums.
Akeakamai turned, angling her body in such a way that she had allowed her smile to reach her husband. 'I'm surprised you're up and about so early,' she murmured, extending her hand secretly into his as the two of them stood centering the pool of luxuriant lawn.
'My feistiness is rubbing off on you. Not bad,' he concluded in English, teasing her passively with the gentle tug of the shortest layer of her charcoal hair. She had laughed at this comical statement of his – her laughter gliding upon the warm breeze that carried spring with its tail – where her voice had sounded like a bell that chimed heavenly in an empty corridor.
Ever since he had fallen ill due to the food-poisoning she had caused him to suffer from four nights ago, the two of them, in his period of recovery, had formed a profound bond by simply being in one another's presence. It was an inexplicable happening, really, since during that time, the two of them had found it rather convenient to get to know one another, bit by bit.
And yet now he stood wondering how this woman had cost inspiration such pain.
The first two days during his spells of illness though had been horrible. She had somewhat failed to look after him as well as she ought to. This had brought him to voice the question about why she wasn't taught these necessities when she was younger, and this had brought about her mystical explanation of the loss of her mother at a young age.
'You work out too much,' he blurted at one stage in the midst of examining her hands, followed by the rough way in which she'd handled the household items, and this had ultimately morphed into an argument that pulled in the mystery of the weekly-destroyed shoji. She pouted as their bickering had reached a quiet close in silence before mumbling:
'Besides, how do you know my hands are rough? You don't even touch them let alone look at them. And how do you know the karate's responsible for the weekly replacement of the shoji? It's not like you've seen me train or anything.'
Bringing these facts to his attention had made the one-eyed dragon want to know more about this enigma of a woman he was married to. That perhaps there was more to a family name, prosperity, talent, a pretty face.
Masamune amused himself by playing with her hands as she spoke; voicing her thoughts that covered in her pretty voice eased the warlord's conscience of his daily exertions to come. 'Cabbage, cabbage,' she mused, squeezing gently onto his knuckles rhythmically as she chimed when Masamune could no longer hold back his urge to hold her. He simply adored this animated side of her that livened whenever she'd see him, whereas before he would have seen her as a woman without character.
'Ho~ra, its cabbage, Katakura-dono's harvest,' she directed his attention to the wheelbarrow of vegetables that Oushuu's strategist began wheeling along the entrance corridors of the mansion.
A few servants had appeared to take away the fresh goods, and quickly diverting his wife's attention from the vegetables back to him in fear of her ruining their natural quality with her poor cooking skills, Masamune tugged on her hand gently, leading her to the pond where Sonano sat at magically wondering what on earth the fish were.
Katakura Kojurou had watched the two from his position beneath the shade of the exterior corridor. Somehow he found the heavenly view of the rock garden surrounding his leader and his leader's other half a rather pleasant thing to drown in.
It was an unusual site.
The remarkable development of their relationship throughout the week had proved his theory correct – he knew somehow that his leader would fall victim to such a situation.
To think she was his third-seat just days ago…
'Ah, going into battle so soon already?' Akeakamai questioned, enjoying the partly-existent strum of the shamisens that carefully sounded in the distance.
Masamune nodded, carefully fixing a clump of rice in between his chopsticks before placing it over his tongue… the taste was a definite indication of the servant's food rather than his wife's. 'It was just food-poisoning. Nothing big,' he shrugged off the urge to shudder in memory of the food responsible.
'Let me aid you in battle until you recover fully.'
'NO NEED, I'm fine.'
Even though Masamune hadn't raised his head to search her face for a reaction, he could tell that she was frowning out of displeasure by his stubbornness and defiance.
'When will you return?' she instead questioned quietly after a moment of deliberation.
Masamune had finished his meal, noting that his wife opposite him hadn't eaten anything off of her plate, and he pushed aside his emptied dish. Staring contently at her white face as the tenacious silver clump of hair at the top of her head began to fall out of place to return above her forehead, he had noticed the weight of her fabric-like mane begin to drown the exquisite pins meant to hold it in place.
Staring at the disorder of her ancient hair that obviously wasn't used to being confined in such a ridiculously ornate manner, Masamune had closed the distance between them, sitting directly in front of her. Akeakamai tensed at how close he was that she could actually smell the heart notes of cedar wood and something oddly sensual like mandarin on his clothes. It was a rather difficult combination to infuse at the time, and before she could shift her position to ease the discomfort their proximity to one another stirred, she felt his big hand enclose her fingers.
'Sit still,' he ordered her in English, and instantly, Akeakamai allowed herself to melt in his overpowering presence.
The shamisens had seized their music and their blissful songs were instead consumed by the sounds of the night, comprising of the summer cicadas that bustled. Captivated by rather the warmth of his large hand, Akeakamai could feel herself drop her guard slowly as Masamune had continued to pick the pins from out of her hair delicately. She was surprised at his knowledge of her dislike towards these excessive, overdone accessories that just seemed far too pointless, and only then had she realized that she was staring directly at him as her hair had fallen against the shape of her back.
Freeing her of the strenuous ritual to keep her head heightened in a certain way because of the heavy garments clothing her hair, Akeakamai had allowed her husband to hold her hands once again thoughtfully like he usually would. He would stare at them, examine them closely as if ingraining their essence into his single eye but do nothing more than that.
She was so used to her husband's introverted personality when he was in solitude that the two of them had somehow found a means of communication in silence, and yet this time, simple inert, passive glances were not passed.
He was touching her if not feebly, carefully guiding his hands from her palms to the shape of her neck beneath the warmth of her curtaining hair. She had cradled her jaw into his hot hands, staring at him weakly before being crushed in his embrace, struggling for air as if the two of them were lost lovers reunited.
On noticing the apprehension from the way her shoulders had tensed, Masamune had paused for a moment in recollection of his civility. Surely the way in which the Konoe had hesitated in her response to his touch had in fact brought surface to an expression he hadn't imagined she was capable of giving him. Her eyebrows had upturned submissively which seemed to soften her steel eyes, and her lips had parted in a docile attempt to keep herself from wanting to return the gesture.
This was when he had noticed the wetness of her cheeks as streams of liquid glinted against her pale skin beneath the touch of golden candlelight.
'… Are you crying…?' he voiced his first theory before moving his hands from her shoulders to her waist beneath the countless, ruffled golden silks of her kimono.
'It's the candlelight,' she assured him, smiling at the concern not in his voice as it ought to have been but the utmost hint of worry that washed over her with his gaze.
'Be honest, I suck at his stuff, don't I.'
Akeakamai chuckled at her rarely self-conscious husband and moved her hands from his solid chest to the contrast of the light brown mane on his head. She stroked his hair down affectionately with her long fingers, smiling at him tenderly as Masamune wiped away the faux tears from her soft cheeks.
'It's okay; we've got plenty of time to practice on that.' She whispered to him, pressing her forehead up against his even though at the back of her mind she was aware of the fact that her husband was a daimyo – a warlord whose life was constantly weighed on war.