Well it's been quite a while since I managed to do any writing, and this is my first attempt at a Kamisama Hajimemashita fic. But my good friend Lovely Masoka had a pretty definite request for her Christmas gift fic, and I have tried my best to fulfill it. She seems pretty happy with it, and I hope that anybody else who reads it will enjoy it as well!

It would have been a lot easier if she could tell herself it was just like all the other times Tomoe had helped her with formal outfits. She had put on the slip and juban herself – she could handle that much at least– and had even put on the kakeshita for the most part. So, really, she had been rather decently dressed before calling him into the room, and it was really ridiculous for her to be standing there fighting off a blush.

But of course, some honest part of Nanami's mind tried to admit, it wasn't really the state of dress that had her feeling so self-conscious and awkward. As Tomoe tugged seams into order and pressed folds into precise lines, she allowed herself to acknowledge that it had more to do with what exactly she was wearing.

"How do you always manage to get into such ridiculous situations."

It was more of a frustrated comment than a question, but it was an opening for conversation and Nanami was willing to take it. "I'm just trying to be helpful," she muttered.

There was a faint snort and a tug on the fold at her waist that was noticeably more forceful than the previous ones. "Dressing up and letting somebody take pictures is certainly more helpful than attending to your duties to the shrine and its worshippers."

Brow furrowing, Nanami tried to think of a rebuttal to that observation, but it summed up the situation pretty well. To be fair though, when Ami had asked for her help earlier that week the whole plan had been significantly different.

Apparently Ami's older sister, Minako, was studying photography at her university, and since she hoped to eventually go into event photography, she thought she would try to focus her end of year portfolio around some of the more popular occasions. Ami explained that her sister had already done a few photo shoots but was now setting things up for a wedding shoot; their mother still had everything from her wedding kitsuke and was willing to loan them, and a friend had enthusiastically volunteered to model, so the only thing that had been left to do was find a shrine that would allow them.

Of course, that had led to Nanami, and she had been more than happy to agree to have them come that weekend. Tomoe had grumbled, but she had been prepared for his resistance with the observation that, while it was a university level project, it would still get at least some publicity for Mikage Shrine. And it was a match-making shrine, so wouldn't some visibility for its potential to hold wedding ceremonies be beneficial?

While he had not agreed, he had not pressed his reservations after that. There had still been a liberal scattering of snide comments through the remainder of the week, but that was to be expected; at this point, she probably would have been more concerned by the absence of Tomoe's sarcastic remarks for any length of time rather than their presence. She was more than able to hold her own against them.

Most of the time, anyway. It got a little trickier when she was involved in something she could not quite justify herself, like the present situation.

Ami had started up a part-time job and was working that weekend, which had meant that she was unable to come. It also meant that Minako had no way to get Nanami's contact information to tell her that her friend had gotten ill that morning and could not model until they met at the bus stop.

"I am so sorry to have inconvenienced you," Minako had said in a rush when she finished explaining the situation, trying to bow while balancing half a dozen boxes and bags.

Nanami waved her hands awkwardly, wishing Minako would stop bowing. "It's fine, really. I'm sure we can figure out another time."

Minako let out a heavy sigh and straightened. "I know I am asking too much, but the portfolio is due next week and I will still need to edit the photos and organize everything. Could I possibly convince you to stand-in as my model?"

A dozen reasons why she should not agree had jumped to mind almost immediately. While Nanami had been willing to let photos be taken at the shrine, she had planned on using the day to work on her ofuda. There had been a slow but steady increase in the number of worshippers at the shrine, and during the week school tended to keep her too busy to see to the prayers that were made. She had not yet been able to give up the crutch that the ofuda provided, but her powers had increased enough that she was beginning to work on fulfilling the prayers. It required a lot of time and concentration, though, so she had really hoped to get most of them done that day; Sunday could then be reserved for doing homework. Yet while she thought of all this, her ability to say no had been lost as soon as Minako looked up, expression vividly desperate and hopeful.

So Nanami had led the way up to the shrine, accepting a number of the packages to go get changed while Minako set up her equipment and scoped out possible shot locations. Nanami was almost glad to have the bags and boxes stacked in front of her as she headed inside; it felt like it should be a buffer against what was sure to be quite the rant when she asked Tomoe for help.

Although she had anticipated resistance, she was surprised by the strength of Tomoe's disapproval. He had been reluctant to let people use the shrine for something superfluous like a photo shoot, but he flat out refused to help her put on the wedding attire. "By this point, you should have the sense to see why you shouldn't parade around in ceremonial clothing for no reason," he said, frowning at her. "You don't need more ways to make a spectacle of yourself."

"There's a reason, even if it isn't the usual one," she replied, momentarily caught off guard by the personal attack before feeling her own frown work onto her features.

"If Tomoe insists on failing his responsibility to help you, I could do it Nanami," Mizuki piped in with a smile that only widened when Tomoe glared at him.

Of course, that had been the comment that led to Tomoe wordlessly leaving his seat to follow her back to her room. While he was waiting for her to finish arranging things as much as she could, he had obliged her to listen to his drifting complaints through the shoji. It confused her that he was that upset by the situation; there was no reason she could determine that would have made him oppose it that strongly. She didn't reply to his irritated comments, but by the time she called him in she had managed to get sufficiently frustrated with him that the potential awkwardness of the situation did not occur to her.

At least not initially.

He worked silently at this point, pulling out the remaining items from the bags and laying them out on the tatami to take stock of what he had to work with. "I am not as familiar with all the rules for wedding kitsuke, so I won't take responsibility if somebody tells her that it's wrong," he warned.

"I'm sure you know more than anybody who is going to see the photos," Nanami sighed. "Besides, they'll be looking at the quality of the photos. Not how accurate the clothes are."

He shrugged lightly before inspecting the work she had done herself. He tugged at the fold at her waist to force the collar lower down her back and pointed out the she had forgotten the date-eri. "Still," he said as he folded back the kimono's collar to pin in the decorative one, "the lines are nice. You've improved a lot."

The compliment was unexpected, given the mood he had seemed to be in. Usually when he burrowed himself down into grumpiness, he tended not to stray out of it for a while. "Thank you. I really have been trying to get better," she said in an effort to give herself a moment to smother her smile down.

She was not fast enough; glancing at her, Tomoe caught it. "Don't let it go to your head. You couldn't do anything to begin with, so it wouldn't take much to show improvement."

There's the catch she thought, trying to bottle up her sigh.

He had turned back to the items on the floor, picking out the things he needed to continue. After a moment of assessment, he unfolded the obi and began to work, his progress methodical, a sort of certainty there that was at odds with his earlier disclaimer. He dropped his dry comments into the silence occasionally, which helped her maintain a steady level of aggravation with him but also reminded her of how much time this was going to eat from her day.

Regardless of his words and her own misgivings, however, she had to admit that she began to feel a little excited to see what it would all look like when Tomoe finished. As he worked, having her hold up the sleeves or a corner of the obi at random intervals, she began to see the outfit coming together; when she looked down at herself after he finished sliding the accessories into the obi, she wished she had a mirror in the room where she could see how it looked.

Nanami had never really been able to admire an ensemble for a wedding up close before. Her mother had been forced to sell hers off while Nanami was still an infant to help pay for the necessities her father never seemed concerned about getting. She had never had the experience of sneaking into the room where the kimono were stored and risking a peek at the opulent silks with a friend, or had her mother drape the brightly patterned uchikake over her as she reminisced about her wedding.

Those things seemed to be fairly standard fare, if the stories she had heard from time to time at school were any indication. She had overheard girls talk about weddings and such over the years, but she had never really been able to understand the enthusiasm. Her parents' marriage had done little to endear the idea to her, and she had no reason to try to imagine something she was rather sure she was going to avoid.

Encased in the heavily embroidered silk, however, Nanami found that she could identify with that flutter of excitement that came with imagining a possibility. It wasn't the first time she had worn something for a wedding, but the last time had felt nothing like being a bride and everything like becoming a beacon for disaster. Which had been the point, of course, and it had worked out in ways that she would never have imagined, but the emotions that had been associated with that day were not ones she particularly liked recalling. This, now, had none of that anxiety. This was, regardless of Tomoe's mood and the work she was missing out on, fun.

It seemed a little strange, however, that she could view it as something fun at this point. In the relative quiet of the room, broken only by the soft hiss of fabric and the quiet creaks of the floor as Tomoe worked around her, she could not help the slow rise of her thoughts that wondered at this unexpected enthusiasm. Why was this something fun, given her history? How was it that she could enjoy this outside of the fact that she was able to help somebody?

"Hold your arm out," Tomoe instructed as he unfolded the uchikake and threaded his arm through a sleeve. Once she did, he took hold of her hand and slipped the sleeve onto her arm, and regardless of the utilitarian nature of the action, Nanami could feel her attention burn down to the points where their skin touched.

As her attention focused, she was suddenly hit with a wave of awkwardness that bubbled up as understanding clicked into place. Tomoe released her and finished draping the uchikake over the kakeshita, and she watched him for a moment when he stood in front of her to check the symmetry of the hems before glancing away.

Of course – it was him. It was his fault she could feel all giddy over getting dressed up like this, and not just in that generic way that happened when she got to wear fancy things and thought she might look pretty. It was because things were different between them, regardless of his impossible attitude and the continued propensity for bickering, and somehow the fulfillment of her old hopes had apparently given way to new ones.

She couldn't even remember consciously thinking about marriage; she had not even graduated yet! And in any case, while their relationship was no longer what it had been, the changes had made things… strange. She had saved him from the curse, and she knew that he loved her, and only her, and it had only ever been her, and he had remembered all this and had already known of her feelings for him, and yet… nothing. Or not nothing – his touches were perhaps a little more frequent, his words perhaps a little more tempered, although that particular day was making her wonder if she was just being wishful. Regardless, what had changed was not what she had anticipated.

It had been a lot to absorb, though, and even the months that had passed had not been quite long enough to process it all. She had figured, even through her vague disappointment, that perhaps it had been for the best; it was all in the open now at least, and she felt confident that everything would manage to come together when the time was right.

Apparently somewhere in the back of her mind, however, her imagination had decided to ignore her attempts at patience and marched right along without her.

Insulated in the buzz of all these thoughts, uncomfortable as they were, Nanami was relatively unaware of Tomoe's efforts to pull up her hair in something more proper than the ponytail it currently was. It was only when she felt his breath tickle the now-exposed skin of her neck that she jumped into instant and hyper-awareness of the present.

"I didn't know you were going to help with my hair, too," she blurted with a start, reaching back to try to feel whatever he had done, but he brushed her hands away.

"There will be pictures, so you don't need to worry about it now."

"Unless you did something ridiculous," she muttered, trying to pull back her earlier irritation in the hopes that it would lessen how awkward she felt over her thoughts. "I almost wouldn't put it past you today."

"I don't need to agree with all your choices just because you are the kami of the shrine. It's my duty to serve you, but it's a hard thing to do when you make choices yourself that aren't in your best interest."

She couldn't remember the last time he had pinned so much on the fact that she was the kami and he was the familiar. Things between them – both the good and the bad – had seemed to take place on a more intimate level for a while now, person to person rather than station to station. Together with the unexpected moodiness, Nanami wondered what exactly was going on with him.

She had just opened her mouth to ask him when he turned to her. Under his sudden scrutiny, Nanami found her question pushed beneath her curiosity at why he was looking at her so intently. "Your face has been rather red for a while now. Are you sure that you're not becoming too hot from wearing all this?"

After he pointed it out, she became aware of how warmly her cheeks were burning. Then again, it might have just been the fact that he pointed it out that was making it worse; his attention certainly was not helping things.

Before she could say anything, his expression settled into what could have passed for concern if not for the cocky smile that tugged at his lips. "You really should not push yourself too much Nanami," he said after a moment, a false layer of care in his voice as he reached for the hanging collar of the uchikake. "I know that it is a very heavy outfit and you were very busy yesterday tidying up the shrine, so you must be tired. Perhaps you would rather stop now? You could get back into your nice comfortable clothes; it really would not take long to get all this off you."

How it was possible for her face to feel any hotter, Nanami did not know. She would have kicked him out – sometimes he really didn't think about what he was saying, although she was almost more embarrassed by the way her mind had hurried along with his comment – but the outfit was heavy. In her move to stomp out of the room, she realized how restricted her range of motion actually was.

There was suddenly a hand at her elbow. "If you insist on continuing," Tomoe said exasperatedly, "at least let me finish arranging it so that you won't fall."

Nanami did not reply, but it was enough of an invitation for him to go ahead and drape the uchikake so that she could hold it up. When he stepped back and slid open the shoji, monitoring her progress through the hall with the cumbersome outfit, she tried to shake off her lingering aggravation and say thank you; she felt that she needed to do something to regain some semblance of control in the situation. And regardless of what a pain he was being, she was grateful for his help. "I know you don't agree with using the shrine like this," she started, fiddling with her sleeve and hoping he would not interject, "and I probably will look a little ridiculous, like you said… I'm too young to be able to pull off something like this, and it's too elegant for me, but I really appreciate your help. I never would have been able to do it myself."

She expected him to brush it off as part of his duties as a familiar, or as having been forced into a corner where he had no choice but to do something to help maintain appearances; either comment would have been in line with the things he had been saying that afternoon. But when she turned to smile at him, her thoughts were thrown by the expression on his face, some flicker there that was carefully hidden again before she managed to identify the emotions it betrayed.

He did not reply; in fact, he had remained silent as she shuffled through the halls to the front. By the time she got outside and Minako took over, Nanami was glad to get some space from Tomoe. That look had caught her off guard after all the irritation he had been exuding the rest of the day, and she was not sure what to make of it.

Not being able to determine what it meant, however, did not stop her from dwelling on it the whole time Minako took her photos. She could focus on the directions, to turn her head slightly or to pivot her torso or to look at some vague point in the distance, but the moment Minako returned to taking photos and adjusting her own equipment, Nanami went back to her thoughts.

"Only a few more," Minako promised as she rearranged the uchikake for what was probably the hundredth time that day.

"It's fine," Nanami assured her, although she was admittedly beginning to tire; they had been working for over a half hour and all the time standing still was wearing on her. "Please don't feel like you need to rush."

Minako had just hopped down from the engawa when the screen inside opened. Tomoe, ears and tail thankfully hidden, took a step out and bowed slightly to Minako. "I am sorry to interrupt, but I needed to check on when you believe you will be finished so that I could make arrangements for dinner," he said, attention turning to Nanami.

Since the amount of time they had spent in different spots around the grounds had varied rather significantly, Nanami looked to Minako for an estimate. Minako, however, was staring dumbly at Tomoe.

She snapped out of it a moment before Nanami was going to say something, but it seemed that her attention had been completely diverted from the present question. "Do you have a moment?" she asked Tomoe, the growing excitement on her face making Nanami wary.

There was a pause as Tomoe glanced at Nanami before nodding. "It seems that I do."

With a flurry of movement, Minako slung her camera around her neck and stepped back up onto the engawa, grabbing one of Nanami's and Tomoe's hands and linking them together. "You never see guys wearing traditional dress nowadays; I hadn't even considered the possibility of something like this. It isn't the usual wedding attire, but with the layering it looks formal enough."

Minako kept babbling as she manipulated their poses and took a few practice shots to judge the angle and lighting. In her own thoughts, Nanami wondered if Tomoe felt similarly stunned into inaction. She could have looked up at him to check, but as the shock receded, leaving just the fact that somehow she was standing there taking pseudo-wedding photos with him, she could not bear to look him in the eye.

"Okay, I think it's set up! Some soft smiles please?"

Nanami was sure her face was pulled into more of an uncomfortable grimace, but Minako just continued to take photos with a bubbly energy that exuded her happiness with the situation. Tomoe was still silent, but his hand was tense against hers in a way that made her leery of trying to break the uncomfortable atmosphere.

It had probably only been a couple minutes – long though they felt – before Minako paused abruptly and pulled out her phone. In the break Tomoe released her hand and went back inside, but Nanami did not have enough time to try to find something to say before Minako was speaking. "I set an alarm to try to make sure I left on time," she explained. "I didn't think it would take this long, but I'm glad we got to take so many pictures. If it's okay with you, I'm going to try to get back to town now so that I can get into the lab at school before it closes. You said the bus doesn't come very often, right?"

Nanami, very conscious of the kimono and uchikake still draped over her, nodded. "Yeah, every couple hours on the weekends." She shifted under the weight of the clothes as she watched Minako disassembling equipment and quickly packing it into her bags. "Um, about the kimono…"

"Oh! Yes." Minako did not look up from her work, but she did take a second to glance at her watch. "Maybe I could stop by tomorrow to pick it up? I have a shoot a bit further out this way, and I'll have the car so it would not be hard to stop by on the way, if that was okay with you. I'm sorry to be leaving in such a rush."

"No no, it's fine. We'll get it all wrapped up again so that it'll be ready when you get here."

Minako smiled brightly, hefting her bags over her shoulders and up into her arms. "I can see why Ami speaks so highly of you; you're being so nice to me even though we only just met, so you must be an excellent friend."

Unsure of how to respond to the compliment, Nanami just waved back at Minako as she made her way back to the bus stop. She went inside, feeling a bit better that she had at least been able to help; the time was worth it for the thankfulness that had filled Minako's smile when she left.

"Are you finished playing dress up?"

She tensed, the bubble of good feelings bursting from the barb of Tomoe's tone. "I wasn't playing," she replied, instantly defensive.

"You're always playing."

Enough. She had had enough.

Nanami pushed the uchikake from her shoulders, shrugging so that the heavy fabric slipped completely from the sleeves, and then hauled up the hem of the kakeshika so that she could stomp over to him. Oblivious to the creases she might press into the silk, her fists tightened as she stared up at him, searching his face for any hints to what was going on behind his eyes. "What is wrong with you today?" she asked, his expression betraying nothing but his own irritation. "What are you still so angry about? She's gone. The shoot's over."

"It's not about the shoot."

"Then what is it about?" she asked, feeling her confusion over his behavior that day, and the day before, and every day since the curse had been broken bubble up and drown her anger. At the end of the day, regardless of what they may feel for each other, she still had no footing with his emotions, no way to tell what he really felt or thought. He kept it close, like the reason for his behavior now. Under the weight of the kakeshika, Nanami felt tired; she just wanted everything to be clear. "Explain it to me, because I can't figure it out. Tell me what's actually going on."

She did nothing to disguise her weariness, and by the way his posture stiffened Tomoe must have picked up on it. Eventually – ages it seemed to her, sagging with the weight of her spent anger – the tension that had been coiled within him seemed to unwind. He sighed, running a hand through his hair as he looked away from her. "I do not like to share," he said eventually, still not meeting her eyes. "I might have been somewhat jealous."

"Jealous?" Nanami echoed, not understanding. "Why?"

"Because you have repeatedly said that you won't marry," he said, finally meeting her gaze. "But you had no problem dressing for a wedding, and letting pictures be taken that who knows how many people will see." He was quiet again, the silence dragging, but Nanami could only focus on the flush that had fanned across his cheeks. "If you won't be a bride, then I wanted to keep that image of you for myself."

She felt her face warm to match his, even though it took a heartbeat longer for her to truly register what he had said. By that time, he had looked away again, leaning back against the wall. His posture was all nonchalance, but it was feigned, betrayed by the tense set of his jaw, the way he would not meet her eyes, the lingering blush.

And she should say something, she knew she should, but Nanami could not find the words. What could she say to that? His admission was straightforward enough, but it hinted to so much else that she did not know where to begin, what point to use to move forward.

She had let herself be lost in her thoughts for too long; he shifted, straightening before starting toward the door. Her throat felt tight as the first touch of panic blossomed in her chest.

He was leaving.

He had confessed something like that, and she had not given him any response. She had spent so much time wishing things between them could become clearer, that there could be some change to their relationship so that it reflected the emotions they both felt. Now that Tomoe actually made a move toward these things, she had just stood there.

It was almost unconscious, her movement to catch his sleeve as he passed. He paused, the silence expectant, and Nanami swallowed uncomfortably as she tried to pull even one comment from the jumble of her thoughts. "I know I've said that I would never get married," she began, wishing that her body would at least make an effort to match the forced-calmness of her voice. Her embarrassment at having to be so forward was almost overwhelming, but she was not going to lose this chance. "But recently I've kind of thought I might change my mind."

The moment stretched between them, tense and still, punctuated only by the soft rustle of silk as she shifted. Slowly, Tomoe turned to look at her, and she pushed down the awkwardness she still felt to meet his eyes. His expression betrayed nothing as he searched her features, and Nanami tried to focus on relaxing the fingers that had fisted in his sleeve.

She had not made much progress before he lifted his hand, gently coaxing her fingers to unclench. "Change your mind? I find it hard to believe that anything could manage that," he said softly, and while the jest was enough to allow her to breathe again, it was the smirk tugging at his lips that dispelled her anxiety.

"It hasn't happened yet," she tried to quip, but it was hard with the smile spreading across her face. "I just said I might change my mind. I have a lot of requirements that would have to be met first."

"Oh?" Tomoe asked, raising a brow. "What sort of requirements?"

"Well, actually having a boyfriend would be a start," she said dryly, trying to look as exasperated as she had felt over the passing months.

He gave a soft laugh at that, apparently surprised by the directness of the comment. "And what would the point of that be?"

Nanami actually had to turn that over in her head for a moment. He was already the person who knew her the best, the person she could not imagine being without, so what was the point of dating? "It's a necessary experience for a teenage girl," she settled on eventually. "It's like a rite of passage. When I'm old and gray, I need to be able to look back on my youth and remember going out on dates to fancy restaurants and dinky ramen shops and festivals and movies, and I want to share an umbrella in the rain, and have my first kiss, and exchange chocolates on Valentine's Day and White Day, and a million other things that young couples are supposed to do."

"That's quite a list," Tomoe admitted, his tone falsely serious. "But it seems that somehow you have forgotten that you've accomplished at least one of those items."


For the briefest moment, his gaze wavered, dropping slightly, and she suddenly knew what he meant. "The kiss. It's surprising that you forgot, considering that you were the one who did it."

"That doesn't count," she sputtered, all the footing she had managed to find in the conversation suddenly gone. "That was to bind the familiar contract."

"Is that so?" His voice was so soft, and Nanami suddenly realized that he had been holding her hand all that time when he let go. "Well, that is one item that would not be hard to accomplish now. If you wished."

What a ridiculous way to go about this, not to mention awkward, but Nanami did not care. She had longed for this, dreamed of this, for so long. She would not let her sudden nerves get in the way, so even as she felt the blush heat her cheeks, she nodded and tipped her face up toward his.

Tomoe took a step forward, closing the distance between them so that she could feel the warmth of his body even through the layers of cloth still wrapped around her. Carefully, he raised his hands, settling them gently against her skin as he looked at her, and Nanami felt like her heart thudded and stilled at the unguarded tenderness in his eyes.

But he was already drawing closer, his thumb absently brushing across her cheek as he guided her toward him. She slipped her arms around him as whatever space remaining between them disappeared, her attention pulled in a hundred different directions until his lips finally touched hers.

Her eyes slid shut, leaving her with just the sensations and the warmth. His lips were familiar – how many times had they resealed the contract? – but everything about this was different. If Nanami had thought she was prepared, she realized now that it would have been impossible. Clutching the fabric of Tomoe's haori, she sighed at the careful but incessant movement of his lips against hers.

She felt dizzy in the most beautiful way, overly sensitive to every little thing: the feeling of his hand as it slipped from her cheek to curl behind her neck, pulling her nearer; the faint tickle of his hair against her face; the tension in the muscles beneath her hands that betrayed the effort it was taking him to maintain some restraint. With the buzzing in her head, inhibitions faint in some corner of her mind, Nanami almost wondered what would happen if she tried to push him.

Before she could do anything, however, he pressed one more lingering kiss against her lips and pulled back. He did not step away, though, which she was suddenly thankful for as reality seemed to seep back; she was not sure if she would stay upright without his support.

Apparently Tomoe knew it, too, if the little smirk on his face was any indication. "Take your time," he teased, but there was no bite behind the words. He shifted so that he could wrap his arms around her, steadying her more firmly.

She tried to frown at him but she was just too happy, content and giddy and still only half able to believe that she hadn't somehow dreamed the whole thing up. "It's not fair to act like I'm the only one affected," she eventually managed to complain, tucking her head under his chin and leaning against his chest. "I can hear your heart pounding away pretty good in there."

He did not reply, which was reply enough in and of itself. Smiling to herself, Nanami would have been happy to stay like that, but a sudden crash from the other room made her start. She moved to step back, but Tomoe's arms tightened around her. "We should probably see what's going on," she tried, twisting back to see his face. "It's been a while; Mizuki might be trying to make dinner."

While the thought made her shudder, Tomoe just glowered in the direction of the sound. "I gave that snake too much credit in thinking that he couldn't be more useless than he already was," he ground out.

His frustration just made Nanami laugh though, things feeling like they were finally settling into place. Tugging on his haori to focus his attention on her again, she pushed herself up on her tiptoes to place another quick kiss on his lips before she lost her courage. "I'm not going anywhere," she promised, grinning.

He considered her for a moment before sighing and unwinding his arms from around her. "You better not," he warned as he moved toward the screen, waving her back when she made to follow; she suddenly remembered that she was still wearing the kakeshita. He glanced back at her as he opened the screen, and while he did not smile she still caught the light in his eyes. "We'll never manage to finish that ridiculous list of yours otherwise."