Nanami opens her eyes and raises her hands to her line of vision. I'm back, I'm back again!
Tomoe! The image of her beloved white-haired fox flashed across her mind. She bolts upright, before a piercing ache shoots through her entire body.
"Itai-tai-taiii!" Nanami groans in pain.
The chiming of her two will-o-wisps sounded clearly in her eyes. Onigiri! Kotetsu-kun! How she had missed them, she thinks to herself as the door opens and the shrine spirits floated in, followed by her second familiar Mizuki. Oh, how she had missed him, too!
"Nanami-chan! How are you feeling? I'm so glad you're okay and back!"
"Mizuki! Thank you for worrying about me. I've missed you!" Nanami musters whatever little energy she had left to give her snake familiar a tight hug.
"Mizuki, where's Tomoe? Is he out of Mikage-san's pocket mirror?" Nanami enquires anxiously. He was, after all, the one she missed the most and wanted to see so badly.
"Ah, Nanami, you're back. How are you feeling?"
Mikage, the bespectacled former land god interrupts before Mizuki could respond.
"Nanami, thank you very much. It appears Tomoe's curse has been lifted – the black markings on his body have vanished. If you're asking about him, yes he has come out of my mirror. He was desperate to see you, but I put him to sleep first, because he still needs to rest. The same goes for you. Let's get the Dragon King's sea slugs to give you another massage, shall we?"
I want to see him, I need to see him! Nanami tries to respond, but the fatigue she was experiencing was overwhelming. Her lips quiver a little, hating her useless body for being so uncooperative and weak.
"Nanami-chan, Mikage-sama is right. Please rest up, it's all over now. In a while, you'll be able to see Tomoe-kun. Himemiko-sama and Dragon King-sama are here too, they can't wait to see you!" Mizuki comforts her, pushing her back down on the futon.
"This is great! Nanami-sama is back and Tomoe-dono is alright too, this calls for a celebration. We'll prepare the food right away!" Onigiri and Kotetsu sings out, floating out of the room.
That's right, Tomoe needs his rest too. I'll be able to see him soon. Just a little while more, a little while…
With that, Nanami soon drifts off to sleep.
Nanami starts awake. Ah, it was just a dream. A very real dream of Tomoe embracing Yukiji, caressing her hair lovingly and asking her to stay with him forever.
That's right, Nanami sits up and wraps her arms around her legs. Tomoe remembers Yukiji now. Even though Mikage-san says Tomoe likes me, now that he remembers his first love, would things change?
Nanami shakes herself up. Pull yourself together! She chided herself mentally. Hadn't she decided not to mope around waiting for Tomoe to return her feelings? She'd be happy enough if she could just love him. With this thought, the yearning to see him grew so strong a dull ache started in her chest.
Gritting her teeth, she got herself out of bed and out of the room.
Himemiko was the first to spot her, and hurried over to give her friend a hug.
"Himemiko! Minna, all of you are here!" Nanami got a bit teary-eyed, touched beyond words as she took in the faces of Koutaro, Kurama, Mizuki, Mikage-san, the Dragon King and her two shrine spirits.
"Tomoe…is he still in bed?" Nanami asks tentatively.
"Yes, Tomoe still is. But he should be rested sufficiently. Would you go wake him up?" Mikage smiles at Nanami benevolently.
She blushes a little, and nodded, grateful for the opportunity Mikage presented her.
Tomoe, Tomoe! I can't wait to see my Tomoe!
Soon, she reaches his room. She falters by the door, suddenly hesitant and self-conscious. A million thoughts raced through her head. How should I act around him? What if he is indifferent and detached? What should I do then!
I won't think about it. Taking a deep breath, she slides open the door.
Tomoe was seated upright on his futon, his piercing yellow eyes locked on her. With that one look, all doubt vanished and she flung herself towards him, a sob bubbling out of her chest. He reaches a hand out towards her, and met her in a tight embrace.
"Nanami." He breathes. How he yearned so badly to have her in his arms like this.
"I'm so glad, I'm so glad you're okay!" Nanami whispers choke full of emotions. With all her strength, she tightens the embrace. Closer, I want you closer.
Tomoe seemed to feel the same, as he wrapped his arms tighter around her just enough for a sweet numb sensation to overcome her sides. He took in a deep ragged breath and breathes in her scent, that sweet familiar scent that never failed to warm his heart.
"Thank you…for saving me."
Nanami feels a hot, wet sensation on her shoulder. Is he crying? So yōkai can cry?
She pulls away from him and glances up at his handsome face. Gently, she cups his face.
"Tomoe. Thank you for coming back."
The look on his face makes Nanami's heart skip a beat. It also made her love him so much more. That expression, is it love?
Before she could think further, he too, cups her face, with such a tenderness it made her heart ache.
"Nanami, there's something I wanted to tell you since a long time ago."
Slowly, he closes the gap between their faces and plants a soft kiss on her lips. And rests his forehead against hers.
"Nanami Momozono, I love you. I've loved you all along."
If only you knew how much I wanted to hear that, Nanami thought to herself, her heart feeling like it would burst into a million butterflies. He loves me! Ah, that's right, so long as it's here and now, if he chooses me, that's all that matters.
"Nanami-chan! What's taking so long? Do you need help?"
Mizuki's voice suddenly echoes through Tomoe's room.
Yelping, Nanami breaks apart from Tomoe, a blush creeping over her face. And slightly annoyed that Mizuki has yet again ruined a moment with Tomoe. She sneaks a look at Tomoe. Damn his face is red too! We look guilty!
Clearing his throat, Tomoe beckons Mizuki over.
"Yeah snake boy, give me a hand here. Let's go out, I want to see Mikage."
Nanami stands too, a smile pulling at her lips. Indeed, there were a lot of questions left unanswered; Nanami didn't know if she could even continue to be land god now that Mikage is back. But right now, she doesn't care. In fact, she feels like a balloon, floating into the beautiful sky.
All was well.
Maybe, just maybe, her fairytale ending was beginning.