Ever since Nanami had professed her feelings to Tomoe, it had been awkward. The command to 'not touch her' stood fast. He was beginning to get ratty about the whole situation. He wanted to communicate with her, not just on a verbal level. He was so used to holding her that without it, he felt bare. The addition of the snake to the shrine only made his temper worse, the snake, could touch her without having to worry about the command. Undoubtedly he was jealous, jealous of not being able to touch her. Even if he tried to deny it, there was nothing he could do about those feelings he held. He wanted to be the one to protect her, he wanted to be the one to deal with whatever whims she might have. The school bell for lunch sounded, Tomoe sighed, this was going to be a long day.
Meanwhile Nanami was talking to friends regarding the whole issue of boyfriends elsewhere. Nanami who had very limited experience of dating, bar the mixed date they had gone on earlier that year. Boys had always been an enigma to her. The conversation had turned to Kei's experiences with boys. She had had a number of experiences thus far, mostly just casually seeing other students within the connected high school, nothing ever serious though. Within their group she had been the first to get a boyfriend, the first to start casually dating too. Nanami - with her lack of experience evident - began to listen intently to her friends explanation of when a guy she liked was jealous.
"I had feelings for one guy, lets call him A. A and I spent quite a lot of time together, not in a romantic way, but still a lot of time. We would talk for hours on end and even did stuff that couples might do, however not once did he suggest any feelings. One day I met someone else, his name was B. B decided to make a move quite quickly and within a couple of days, we had organised to go out on a date. I had always told A of what was going on and what guys I liked etc, but it had never escalated to going out with someone. When I told him that we were going to go out, he began to get really stiff and distant - pretending he didn't care whatsoever. Over a period of a week and a half, I felt him distance himself even more. Eventually I found out that he did in fact have feeling for me."
"One of the best ways to get a guy you think might have feelings for you, to confess, is to bring up some competition. By competition, I mean bring another guy onto the scene. By doing this, he will feel like he has no other option but to deal with those feelings. The possibility of loosing to another guy, if he does harbour feelings for you, will be too great. It would force him to deal with his feelings and act upon them. So if Tomoe does like you, to get him to realise these feelings, perhaps you should go out with someone else for a short while?".
"Ehhhh? But who would I go out with so casually?" Nanami retorted. I mean, would anyone be interested?
"Are you kidding me Nanami? Of course there are people interested in you. If you are not sure who to go out with, I could always link you up with someone...?"
"Like a blind date, but what if I don't like him?"
"Well then you do not have to see him again, then we can find someone else! Going out with someone else will really put everything in perspective for Tomoe!"
"If you are sure..."
"Completely positive! Okay so what kind of guy to like? Long haired, short haired, nerdy, sporty...?"
"Errr. I don't have a 'type'. Somewhere in the middle...?"
"What about a 'Tomoe-type'? I think I have someone perfect in mind!"
"Wait, 'Tomoe-type'? Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh!"
"Sounds like you like the sound of him. I sent him a text message with your number and picture, I have sent his details to you. He should text you back soon!" Kei said with a giggle. Nanami was wide-eyed, how is this even happening? That escalated quickly...
Nanami received a message in class from her future date. His name was Tamaki. He went to the school not far from them. From what she could make out, he was quite a laid-back kind of guy. He seemed to have have a can-do attitude from what Kei said. He was also not particularly sporty nor nerdy, which was a relief to Nanami - going out with a die-hard guy would be just exhausting. He told her he enjoyed a variety of things; playing the piano, going for long walks, seeing friends and going to the cinema to name a few. Nanami checked her phone again, wishing the school day would pass faster so she could go home.
On their way home, Nanami received another text message from Tamaki. He had earlier asked if she wanted to go out tomorrow evening. Nanami was still thinking about what he had asked, a date, an actual date! She had all of her attention focused on sending a reply that she didn't notice Tomoe briefly glancing at her. Tomoe had never taken much of an interest in her cell phone, but for the whole day she had been engrossed with it. She had not let it out of her sight once. I wonder if something has happened... something or someone important? Keh, what do I care about who she is contacting, she is her own woman, I have no claim over her.... He gazed at her once again. She was still engrossed with sending her reply that she didn't see the curb and began to fall.
"Eeeeep-" she began to shout before Tomoe saved her.
"Nanami, what is going on? Not that I care about how you use that device of yours, you have been focused on it the whole day..." he began.
"Ehhh? Oh I wad helping Ami with some advice" Nanami said with a smile. I hope he doesn't see through my story, I don't want him to know just quite yet.
"Nothing else? Everything is alright?"
"Nope and yes, everything is just great" she replied happily. Please no more questions.
They spent the rest of the time walking back in silence, with Nanami sending the odd text message.
Upon arriving at Mikage shrine, they were greeted by Mizuki who enquired to their growing silence. Nanami went off to try and make a start on her growing mound of homework. Tomoe was left to sort out other things and Mizuki went to the demon world on business. Whilst Mizuki was gone, Tomoe began to weed the garden surrounded by only his thoughts. She was quite quiet today... Not sure if I believe it was just 'advice'. Hmmmm. After a while Mizuki returned and began to help Tomoe with the chores.
"Tomoe...", more silence, "Tomoe...", even more silence, "To-".
"What snake?" he cut back at Mizuki.
"Maaaa Tomoe, why have you got your knickers in such a twist? I just wanted to know why you and Nanami were so quiet."
"She is tired I guess..."
"Thats not it..."
"Go away snake"
"Maa... you are irritated arn't you?" Mizuki said with a smirk.
Tomoe began to rub his temples lightly, "Mi-zu-ki-".
"I guess you don't want to know then... see yo-" Mizuki began, but was suddenly grabbed by Tomoe. Tomoe held him up by his robes slightly
"Know what snake, I hope you are not hiding something from me..?" Tomoe sneered as he began to release his fox fire.
"Nothing at all! I was just teasing-!" Mizuki stammered.
"I don't think you were were you Mizuki..."
"Maa...its about Nanami...", with that Tomoe's eyebrow raised.
"What about Nanami?"
Mizuki began to shake his head. I shouldn't have suggested anything, now Nanami will be angry at me. Mizuki can never do anything right...! He then looked across to Tomoe. "Nanami has got a date tomorrow", again Tomoe's eyebrow raised even higher. Then silence and a slow release of Mizuki's robes. Does he get what I am referring too? Nanami is going on a DATE with another GUY. More silence. "Tomoe... did you hear me?"
"Yes. A date."
"Nanami has one tomorrow."
"With someone we don't know..."
"Someone she has never met..."
"Someone she has been talking to the whole day on her phone..."
"...", Tomoe turned around and headed for the kitchen, "oi snake, don't you have work to be doing too?" Tomoe replied in a quiet voice. His fist was lightly clenched as he began to make dinner.
"I still have to sort out the garden, I'll just get back to that now Tomoe." With that Tomoe was left alone to dwell on his own thoughts, thoughts that he really didn't want to harbour. A date? With who? A human? A Yokai? Perhaps it is Kurama...? No that stupid Tengu wouldn't last five minutes, it must be someone else. More to the point, why did I find out about this from Mizuki? Does Nanami feel uncomfortable with me? That must be it, she doesn't want me to touch her and now she is keeping things like this away from me. But why did she tell Mizuki first? We have been through much more together and she confessed to me... Damn it, focus, focus on what you are doing Tomoe.
That night's dinner was uneventful. Nanami was back to her regular chatty self, yet Mizuki couldn't put his finger on it but something felt off. Something felt that it had changed between the two, yet Tomoe was acting normal as well. Dinner had been made by Tomoe, with extra shiitake mushrooms at the expense of Nanami.
"Tomoe, why did you put shiitake mushrooms in everything?" Nanami cried out.
"I felt like eating them today, why Nanami, don't you like them?" Tomoe said with a smirk. Tomoe knew full well that Nanami hated shiitake mushrooms, hated them down to her core.
"You know I don't... maybe Mizuki could make dinner tomorrow?" Nanami said as she turned to Mizuki. Mizuki unaware of this whole exchange simply nodded. Tomoe didn't respond, being too tired of the days activities and over thinking over small things.
The rest of dinner past by without a fuss. Nanami went back to sort out more homework that was due in tomorrow, leaving the snake and fox to amuse themselves. They both sat there drinking sake Mizuki had previously made.
After a couple of hours, Tomoe decided to check on Nanami. Bringing her a cup of tea to her room, he quietly knocked on her door, no response. He knocked again, silence, knock, silence, knock, silence. He gave a sigh and slowly pushed open her door. She was crumpled over her desk in a light sleep. Knowing she still had a lot to get through, Tomoe gently tried to wake her. "Nanami, you still have work to do", silence, "Nanami...". He decided to raise his voice as that would get her attention, he gave a short sharp "Nanami".
"Hmmmmmm...?" Nanami turned to where the voice was coming from. Wiping the sleep from her eyes, she tried to get up. Whilst trying to get up, she stepped on a cushion and went flying backwards. "Nanami!". Nanami closed her eyes waiting for impact, but all she felt was warmth. Slowly opening her eyes, she realised that Tomoe was on top of her, cradling her close to his chest. So close in fact, that she could almost feel every inch of him. Tomoe's knee had gone between her legs to stabilise their weight evenly. The pressure of her scent, being so close and having her cling to him was driving Tomoe insane. She simply smells wonderful. Tomoe's realisation of where his leg was located drew a deep breath out of him, oh hell.
Deciding that he needed to get out of the situation as quickly as possible, as the temptation was too great. He let out a gruff "Nanami, could you let go of my hatori?", with a smirk. Nanami's cheeks were growing redder by the minute. As she let go of his hatori, he slowly got up, bringing her with him. Then he left her to mull in her thoughts. What just happened...?