"I've already told you, there really isn't anything more I could do." The old man with greasy gray hair sighed. He glanced down at the small, green haired child.
"B-but you're a doctor!" The child protested with tears brimming to his eyes. "Doctor saves people, right?"
"Your father's disease isn't something that can be cure, kid." The elderly doctor responded. "The medicine I left will lessen the pain. I must be going now."
"Wait! Please don't go!" The child called, but the elderly man had already stepped out of the doorway and into the chilly winter night. Swallowing back his tears, the child slowly closed the door. He made his way through the large manor as the heavy sounds of coughs reached his ears. Walking up to a pair of slide doors, he slowly opened a tiny gap, peering inside to see a green haired man lying on the bed and coughing heavily into his hand. The child's eyes widened when at one point the man suddenly spat out some blood.
He slowly backed away, keeping his footsteps light as to not alert the adult of his presence. Once he was far enough, the boy spun around on his heel and dashed down the hallway. He ran into his room where he huddled into a corner and cried. As he furiously rubbed his chubby wet cheeks, the boy's elbow hit against the nearby table, causing a scroll to rolled off and fell on his head. Rubbing some of the tears out to clear his view, the boy glanced down at the scroll that was laid out on the tatami. It was displaying a very poor drawing of what appeared to be a forest and at the center, a small, white creature.
"The picture of the Mountain Deity-sama…" The boy sniffed as he slowly picked up the scroll.
He remembered drawing this a few days ago so that he could give it to his father as present. In the village, there has always been a legend of the existent of the Mountain Deity. It was a story every adult would tell their children. They say that the Mountain Deity takes the form of a white monkey and protects the villagers from demons.
"Maybe the Mountain Deity-sama can help father!" The child gasped as he quickly jumped up. Hurriedly rolling the scroll of the picture up, he tucked the scroll into the long sleeve of his orange kimono. With that, he ran outside, ignoring the cold air sinking through his flesh and into his bone. He ran all the way to the other side of the village. After climbing the extremely steep stairs, he arrived at the ground of the village's shrine.
"H-hello!" He called out as he looked around the yard, but the only response he got was a chilling breeze. "Mountain Deity-sama?" He glanced at the monkey statues, then to the large sakura tree that stood bare from flower and leaves.
"Mountain Deity-sama!" It was only after a few more calls did the boy finally realized that the Mountain Deity wasn't at the shrine. As he shivered in the cold, the boy took out his scroll and used the moonlight to peer down at the content. He stared at the drawing of the monkey, and then to the lush greenness that surrounds it.
"Of course! Mountain Deity-sama lives in the mountain!" He chirped, immediately brightening up again as he ran back to the staircase. Not noticing the ice due to the darkness, he slipped, rolling down the many steps before he managed to stop himself half way. Bruises and cuts now filled his fair skin as tears began to form at his eyes. He bit his lower lip to choke back the urge to cry. Hurriedly wiping away the bit of wetness that manages to escape, the boy slowly and carefully crawled down the rest of the way.
"M-Mountain Deity-sama!" He called as he ran as fast as his battered body could handle into the forest and away from his village.
"Mountain Deity-sama!" He kept calling while small streams of tears leaked down his face at the feeling his bare legs sinking into the freezing snow. The coldness was literally burning his skin off and it hurts really badly. "Mountain Deity-sama!"
As the boy kept on calling, he didn't notice the eyes that were gathered on him. He didn't see an owl on the branch over his head, staring at him in curiosity or the snow white fox that was hiding in the snow with golden eyes gleaming in the darkness. A snake slithered out of the hole in the tree trunk, accompanied by a gray squirrel that oddly didn't fear the reptile.
"Moun—" The boy cried out as he fell onto the snow. He shivered at the coldness before glancing back at his legs that were filled with ugly frostbites. He couldn't feel his toes anymore and no longer has the ability to walk with the condition he was in. Not knowing what to do, he kept calling until he was wailing for the Mountain Deity's appearance out of desperation.
"Should we do something?"
"A human kid…"
"He's calling for the Mountain Deity."
"It's just some stupid brat…"
"What to do?"
Whispered too soft to be heard by human ears traveled through the forest. The eyes in the darkness simply watched as the child's began to consciousness fade together with his cries. With the cold finally seeping in, the boy's body was beginning to shut down.
"He'll die at this rate…"
"He's already half dead."
"Should we help?"
"But it's a human…"
"He's just a kid…"
The hidden beings debated, until a firm voice that held a strange, watery echo like many people speaking at once shook the forest.
"All of you, stand down."
The boy twitched when he thought he had heard something just now. His minty green eyes weakly parted and he slowly glanced up. His blurred sight could only make out a tall shadowy figure hovering over him before the last of his consciousness slipped away as he fell limp into the snow.
"I've told you many times, father!" The pale teen with spring green hair finally couldn't hold it anymore and shouted at the man sitting before him. "I won't go to any omiai*."
"And we've been through this, Fei." The man sighed. "You were just a child, it was a hallucination. It was cold and you probably—"
"Forget it," the greenette snapped as he climbed onto his feet, "you never believe anything I said."
"Fei, where are you going?" The man asked. There was a hint of concern in his eyes when he saw how his child was making his way to the door. "We're not done here yet—Fei!"
Fei dismissed the call of his father as he ran out of the house to be greeted by the warm spring air. It was only when he came into a wide, empty field where the children gathered to play did he finally stopped.
"Fei!" A familiar voice suddenly called out to him, making Fei look up to see a brunette waving at him from across the field.
"Tenma!" The greenette immediately brightened up at the sight of his friend and the large dog accompanying its owner. "Taking Sasuke out for a walk?" He asked once the boy arrived to his side.
"Yeah, you too, Fei?"
Fei blinked at his friend's strange question and Tenma simply blinked back. When the brunette pointed at his feet, Fei looked down for the first time and nearly jumped at the sight of a white fox sitting beside him.
"Shiro!" Fei gasped as he kneeled down and gathered the fox into his arms. "You followed me?"
"So it's not a walk huh?" Tenma laughed as Sasuke let out a loud bark. The large dog wagged its tail to show its excitement at the sight of its friend. Shiro however, snarled and gave out unpleasant yowls.
"Come on Shiro, don't be mean." Fei said with a light scowl. The second he set the fox down, the white creature quickly made a run for it with Sasuke sprinting to a chase.
"I guess you got into another argument with your dad?"
At the mention of his father, Fei frowned and sat down onto the soft blades of grass. "I don't know what to think anymore, Tenma."
"What do you mean?" Tenma asked as he sat down next to the greenette.
"Everything with the Mountain Deity." Fei replied. "You know…that time eleven years ago where some people found me out cold at the village gate."
"And you were clutching onto a bamboo container in your hand, right?" Tenma said. "You said the water inside was given to you by the Mountain Deity to cure your dad's illness. In return…"
"In return, you will become my bride on your sixteenth year, under the night of the first sakura blossom." The deep voice echoed within Fei's mind. He remembered to how inhuman the voice sounded. It was as though there were like many voices speaking all at once in perfect sync.
He sighed at the memory.
"Yes…" He said after a while. "I don't remember much during that time…all I remembered was that the water can save my father and those words."
"You know, you could have saved some of that water. Then you'll be able to know if it's really true."
"I guess..." Fei smiled weakly. "But I accidently dropped the containers into the stove so it became nothing but ashes."
"Fei, is something wrong?" The brunette frowned when he saw the troubled look on his friend's face.
"All this time, I was pretty sure of what little I could remember…but now, I'm really starting to doubt it." Fei replied hesitantly. "No matter what people claimed that cured my father's illness, I never once listened or believed them because I knew it was the Mountain Deity that helped him. But after being told repeatedly how it was nothing but a child's imagination, I'm starting to wonder if that's really true."
The pale teen turned to his friend. "Tenma, do you think it was just a dream?"
"I wouldn't know even if you ask me…" Tenma laughed weakly before he looked up to the clear sky. "I don't know if there is really a Mountain Deity or not, but I believe in Fei. If that's what you saw, then I'm sure it is."
"That doesn't really answer my question but…thank you, Tenma." Fei smiled weakly, the burden of his question still weighted heavily in his heart.
Although Tenma was a good friend, the boy wasn't a good person to consult with as he is always positive and will never doubt with anything a friend says. "I have to get going now. I don't want to disturb yours and Sasuke's walk."
"If there's anything I can help with, let me know." Tenma said as the boys climbed onto their feet. After calling back their respective pets, the two bid their goodbyes and headed off to different directions.
Fei wandered for a long time with Shiro nested in his arms. He didn't want to go home. At least not yet after he walked out on his father like that. In the end, the teen found himself at the foot of the shrine, a place he began visiting daily after the snow has melted just to get a glimpse of the only sakura tree in the village.
When he finished the long journey up the stairs, he let go of Shiro and glanced around at the people praying at the shrine. The old priestess flashed him a smile, used to the sight of the boy's appearance. The greenette smiled back and then walked over to the large sakura tree. He looked over at one of the branches to see the maturing pink buds glistening under the sunlight.
"It will bloom in two days."
Fei froze in the middle of his admiration of the beautiful buds. He turned and realized how he was not alone. There, standing beside him was a white haired teen, his eyes covered by some kind of black mask he had never seen before…and neither of the strange clothes he wore.
"…Who are you?" Fei asked. Since the village was a small one, everyone naturally knew each other and the greenette was sure he has never met such a strange and suspicious looking person.
"Pardon my rudeness. You seemed so conflicted that I couldn't help but feel a bit curious." The white haired boy chuckled as he pulled the black mask over his head to reveal lavender eyes and a face that ominously resembles Tenma's. "My name is Saryuu Evan. I guess in your culture, it would be Evan Saryuu. I travel with my father who is a merchant. We came to this village to do some trades."
Fei couldn't help but continued to stare. Even the name of the boy was weird. Are all outside people like this?
"Is there something on my face?" The boy asked with a light smile. That successfully snapped the greenette from trance. He quickly averted his gaze and flushed in embarrassment. He immediately began muttering a string of apology until the stranger stopped him by placing a finger under his chin and tilted his head up so their eyes could meet.
"I believe I haven't got your name yet."
"Huh? O-oh…" Fei quickly pulled away, his cheeks flushing even more but this time he made sure to keep eye contact. "It's Usami Fei."
"Ah…" Saryuu hummed. "So you're the one the villagers were talking about."
"Eh?" The greenette stared at the outsider in confusion. "What do you mean?"
"You don't know?" The teen kept that calming smile on his lips. "There's been quite a talk of a boy who was chosen to become the Mountain Deity's bride. The villagers are apparently making a joke out of it. I've also seen some of the parents discipline their children of lying by retelling the story. It's quite obvious that none of them believe you."
"Is…is that what they're doing?" Fei whispered, feeling a bit of pain clenching his heart. He has always knew people saw him as liar ever since he blurted out what happened when he was a child who didn't know anything…but to go that far…
"So it's true then?" Saryuu asked. It wasn't spoken in mockery or carries any sarcasm like what Fei was used to hear from other kids outside of his circle of friends. It was simply a question asked through pure curiosity with no ulterior motive behind it.
"You seemed to have heard everything already."
"Rumours are always twisted into what people want it to be. I want to hear the real and untainted story from the deity's betrothed."
"…You're a strange person." Fei couldn't help but smile. "Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to tell you much. I don't have that much of a clear memory myself and beside…it's a long and boring story."
"In that case, why don't we take a walk?" The boy offered. "You don't seem like you have much to do and neither do I. There is this beautiful lake not far outside the village. You can tell me on the way there."
Fei stared at the boy hesitantly. While he knew that he shouldn't follow strangers around, the boy didn't seem like a bad person. On the contrary, the greenette felt an odd sense of warmth…as though his instinct was telling him to put his trust into the other. He also wanted to know the boy a little more. He doesn't want to part with him. Not yet.
"I…suppose I could—"
"Great!" The white haired boy replied immediately, so quickly that it almost seemed like he was purposely shutting off any chance to allow the local teen to change his mind. "Let's go."
"Ah, wait." Fei quickly said as he looked around the shrine for the white animal.
"It's Shiro—my pet…" Just then, the white fox popped out its head from behind the sakura tree and walked over to its owner.
"A white fox." The white haired boy observed as Fei pulled Shiro into his arms. "This is certainly unusual."
"I first met him when I was six. He saved me from the wolves that roamed around the village boarder."
"A brave little one, aren't you?" Saryuu smiled as he raised his hand. The greenette gasped. He parted his mouth to warn the other, but to his surprise the fox stretched out its neck and allowed the stranger to pet it. To further its owner's shock, Shiro even let out a pleasant whine, something that it only does if Fei was the one who pets it.
"Is something the matter?" Saryuu asked at the stunned look on the boy.
"Ah—no…Shiro doesn't usually like being touch by other people so I was just a little surprised." Fei said before a wide smile broke to his face. "It's rare to see him getting attached to someone. It took me weeks just to get him to warm up on me."
"Really? That's hard to tell from the way he's attached to you."
"It took a while." The green haired boy admitted. "But eventually we began to do everything together like sleeping and taking bathes."
Since the fox had its back turned, Fei couldn't see the dreaded expression a mere animal shouldn't be capable of displaying or the hand buried deep in the long white fur that twitched.
"Heh~ is that so?" A dark shadow was cast over Saryuu's face. For a moment, Fei had thought that the other boy was angry at something, but realized that it was only the angle of the sunlight that gave such illusion. "Sounds like you have quite the companion here. Do you mind if I hold him, Fei?"
The teen felt a bit uneasy at how the stranger was already addressing him by his given name when they had only met. Dismissing it as cultural difference, he held out Shiro to Saryuu, who carefully took the fluffy creature into his arms.
Catching a pair of golden eyes glistening under the sunlight, Fei looked down and froze when he saw the fox throwing him a…was that a pleading look? The greenette quickly shook his head, knowing that it couldn't be possible. When he glanced back, the fox had its head turned away once more with Saryuu scratching the small animal behind the ear. He smiled; glad that his aloof companion could finally get along with someone other than him.
If Fei had walked around, he would realize how wrong he was. What the other boy giving to his friend wasn't any simple petting. It was small, painful pinches that left the skin under the milky fur turning into a dark shade of crimson.
"Shall we go?" Saryuu asked.
With a nod, Fei followed Saryuu away from the shrine. The walk to the lake was slow, but neither of them minded as the outsider patiently listened to Fei talked of what had happened in the winter eleven years ago. By the time he had finished, they arrived at the lake where the clear water was reflecting the crimson light of the setting sun.
"Saru is fine. That's what everyone calls me." The boy said as he released Shiro who quickly scurried into the nearby bushes. Fei frowned at Shiro's odd behaviour, but figured the fox was probably tired of being carried and wanted to stretch its legs.
"Then…Saru." Fei began awkwardly. It felt strange for him to address a person he doesn't even know by nicknames. "What's the other villages you been to like? You seem to have a very different custom than ours."
"I supposed you could say that." Saryuu replied as he reached up to a tree bearing crimson fruits with golden linings that Fei had never seen before. Moreover, was there ever a fruit bearing tree here before? He has been to this lake many times with his friends and never had they encounter something like this. And with winter just recently passed, how was it that there could be berries before flower?
The pale boy could only watch with confusion written all over his face as Saryuu easily snapped the branch between his fingers and held it to him.
"Try it, it's good."
"It's edible?" Fei stared at Saryuu, then hesitatnly took the branch into his hand. Giving the other boy another look, he plucked off one of the odd fruit and pushed it through the gap of his lips. The minute he bit down, his mouth was overflowing with the sweet and refreshing juice of the fruit. His eyes lit up as he stared at the berries in wonder. The more he chewed the more juice flowed into his mouth. It seemed so unreal that such small berry can carry so much fluid inside.
"I told you its good." The white haired boy chuckled at adorable look the greenette has.
"What is this?" Fei couldn't help but wanted to know as Saryuu sat down by the tree and patted the spot beside him. The greenette hurriedly took a seat, eager to hear the answer to his question.
"These are called Lyrium berries. They only grow in untainted environment near water."
"But it's my first time seeing this." Fei said, looking up to see more of the berries dangling over his head. "Actually, I didn't even know this tree was capable of bearing fruits."
"The flower and berry season is very short in the winter so it's possible that you simply missed it." Saryuu explained so naturally that Fei couldn't help but feel that it's true. After all, he only comes to the lake during summer, so it's no surprise that he never realized.
"It's really good…do these grow a lot in your home? You seem very familiar with them."
"You could say that." Saryuu smiled as he leaned back against the tree. "So are you're alright with it?"
"With what?" Fei asked.
"This whole engagement." The white haired boy said. "You're alright with marrying a complete stranger? You don't even know how your so-called deity would treat you. It's not even a human to begin with. It's a monkey, isn't it?"
"Don't call him that." Fei snapped, the softness his innocent green eyes were displaying a second ago had vanished, replaced by a tint of coldness in them. "The Mountain Deity isn't a bad, so don't insult him."
Saryuu seemed a bit surprised at how defensive the green haired boy had become. However, his shock was quickly gone as that confident smile of his was back to his lips once more as though it had never disappeared.
"You're pretty defensive of a deity you can't even remember meeting."
"I owe my father's life to the Mountain Deity." Fei replied as his climbed onto his feet. "He was the only one who helped me when everyone else in the village gave my father up, so don't talk like you know. Please excuse me." With that, the greenette walked away, leaving the white haired boy alone beneath the fruit baring tree.
"It would appear that I have just been dumped." Saryuu laughed to himself once Fei was completely out of sight.
"For someone who has just been dumped, you sure seem happy, Saru." A voice spoke from the darkness. The white haired teen looked up, not surprised when he saw a purple haired girl stepping out from behind a tree.
"Of course he is. Fei got angry for his sake after all." Spoke a gray haired boy with spectacles as he stepped up next to the girl.
"But he's sure is a weird human…" A boy stepped with his white and purple hair tied up into a ponytail spoke from up on the branch he was sitting on. "Why would he get angry for the sake of someone he doesn't even know?
"That's why I told you. Fei isn't like the other humans." The last voice spoke as golden eyes parted, illuminating from within the darkness.
"GAH!" The teen gasped in shock as he crashed down from the tree. "What happened to your face?" He cried. When the moonlight peered over the clouds, the soft ray of light embraced the last figure, revealing a white haired boy with swollen cheeks puffing out like an overly stuffed chipmunk.
"In any case," the last boy snapped in irritation. "Ever since winter began, Fei has begun to have doubts."
"I thought you said he's extremely loyal." The boy with glasses said.
"I only said that he's beginning to have doubt. Never that he will back from the promise."
"Indeed, that child has a strong sense of duty." Saryuu finally spoke as he climbed onto his feet. "Go back to Fei, Shiro. The night can hide many secrets. Make sure he returns home safely."
"Shiro?" The ponytailed boy choked out a laugh. "Don't tell me he's been calling you that kind of dog-like name for the past ten y—!" The boy wasn't able to finish for that a foot had drilled its way into his stomach. He fell onto his knees, clutching onto his gut with heavy coughs while the swollen cheeked teen simply turned and vanished into a twirl of wind.
"So what do you plan to do, Saru?" The girl asked, ignoring her pained companion. "Even if you leave it as it is, that human will eventually be yours."
"Only his shell." Saryuu replied as he gazed up at the waxing gibbous moon. "He stole my heart in a mere night. I must make sure I return that favour."
"Maybe I was a bit rude…" Fei sighed for the fifth time as he poked at his egg. He glanced to the side where lying on the tatami was the branch of the strange fruits Saryuu had given him yesterday. He frowned, feeling the remorse inside him getting worse.
"Say Shiro—" Fei cut himself off when he noticed how Shiro didn't even touch any of its own food. "…Shiro? Are you alright?"
Fei leaned down to the fox and frowned when it looked away. The greenette thought that the fox's face was a little wider than before…but it must be just his imagination. Deciding not to push the matter, Fei turned back to his own food but still couldn't find the appetite to eat.
"Excuse me, young master?" A voice called as Fei glanced up to see one of the manor's servants at his doorway. "There is a white haired young man at the door requesting to see you."
"White haired?" Fei asked quickly. "Is he umm…dressed strangely?"
"Yes." The woman nodded. "Clothes I had never seen before. Shall I tell him to return later as you are having breakfast?"
"No, it's fine, thank you." The greenette replied as he hurriedly ran out with Shiro close at his heels. When he arrived at the main door, he saw the boy the maid had spoken off, standing there casually with his arms crossed.
"I told you to call me Saru didn't I, Fei?" Saryuu greeted with that same smile.
"Why…how did you know I live here?"
"It wasn't hard. Your home is fairly easy to spot." Saryuu replied. "I want to apologize for—"
"I'm really sorry!" Fei blurted out, cutting the white haired boy off and bowed low. "I'm really sorry for my behaviour yesterday. It hasn't been the best day for me and I just took it out on you, I'm really…" The greenette trailed off when he felt a hand placed on his head and gently ruffled his hair.
"I'm the one who should be apologizing." Saryuu chuckled. He retracted his hand so Fei could straighten himself. "I tramped over your belief and that was wrong of me."
"But…I was…" Fei struggled to explain his behaviour for yesterday. When Saryuu saw that, he smiled a bit wider and gestured down the street.
"Shall we take a walk?"
In the end, the two were back at the lake, sitting side by side beneath the same place as they were last night. While Fei seemed utterly uncomfortable with the silence, Saryuu was quite at ease, nibbling one the red and gold berry.
"I'm…really sorry." The greenette said as the long silence was finally shattered.
"Rather than apologizing, why don't you talk about your problem? You'll feel better if you let it out.
Fei stared into those gentle lavender eyes before he turned back to the field and slowly pulled his legs against his chest.
"You see, I have been always sure of what I remembered…of the Mountain Deity I mean. But as time slowly passed by and constantly hearing how it was only my imagination, I'm beginning doubt myself. I had always expected to leave the village when the sakura blooms…" The greenette sighed. He paused there to gather the right words that would describe his feelings. "As the days grew shorter, I couldn't help but feel a bit numb on this whole matter. The village looks the same and the way I view my friends and father is still the same. I still argue with my father and laugh with my friends. I can't find myself to miss any of them because it doesn't feel like I will ever leave them. It's like I expected myself to continue to live here even after the sakura wither. I had always been prepared for the night I leave, but…what if the deity doesn't come? What if it was really just a dream? I had never imagined my life in the village beyond sixteen. What will I do then?"
"In other word, you are afraid of an unknown future." Saryuu said softly.
"It's stupid isn't it?" Fei mumbled and buried his face into his knees. "I know I sound really useless…I just can't help but feel a little scared. I don't want to think that everything I had believed until now was in reality just a simple dream. That's why I lashed out at you. I was tired of being constantly questioned and didn't want my doubts to deepen…"
"Something like that can never be considered as stupid." Saryuu replied. "Fear is something every human has. When your reality is threatened, it's only natural that you fear it because you don't know how it will impact your life."
When the white haired boy heard no response from the other, he turned and noticed the ways those mint green eyes were staring at him with. "Do you like my face so much?" He asked teasingly and was rewarded by a beautiful blush dusting over the porcelain smooth cheeks.
"S-sorry…it's just that you sound really mature." The greenette laughed weakly. "I wish my father could say something like that to me instead of pressuring me into seeing his point of view."
"But you love him regardless, don't you?" Saryuu chuckled and stood up. "Let's continue this discussion later. Why don't we play a game?" He suggested, and the greenette immediately perked up at that.
"Sure, what game?"
"It's call soccer." The merchant's son replied as he walked over to a tree and pulled out a strange looking black and white ball. Fei wondered why there was a ball there, but his question was shoved aside and quickly took over by curiosity. He has always like games, so when he saw the odd looking ball, he couldn't help but feel thrilled.
"This is a game we play often back in my village. The rule is simple; you must kick the ball into your opponent's goal without the use of hand."
"It's the objective of the game." Saryuu said before he pointed at a space between two trees. "Kick the ball through there, and you will win the game."
"Alright…" Fei nodded, the rule was simple enough. "So no hands?"
"No hands." Saryuu nodded. "But before we begin…"
Fei watched the other walked over to him and knelt down by his side. Then without any warnings, he grabbed the greenette's kimono with his gloved hand and pulled it up to expose his slender legs that are incapable of growing any body hair as the rest of his body.
"Ah!" Fei yelped as the cool spring air brushed against his bare skin. He tugged at his kimono, trying to pull it back down but Saryuu had a firm grip on it. "Saru!"
"Relax, I'm just going to make it easier for you to play." The white haired boy replied, though he couldn't deny that he wasn't admiring the view. As he tied the kimono into a knot at the boy's hip, his royal purple eyes wandered to the tight fabric framing the perfectly round globes of flesh hanging seductively from the human's rear.
"Saru?" Fei looked down when he felt the other had stopped moving. "What's wro—HYAA!" The greenette let out a startled scream when a hand suddenly groped his rear and stroke him in a very suggestive manner.
"W-w-what are y-ou doing?" Fei shouted as he quickly pulled away from the other. His face was heating up so much that steams could be seen rolling off of his crimson cheeks.
"I noticed from the lack of outline of your kimono has that you didn't seem to be wearing anything underneath. I just wanted to confirm if my guess was right."
"O-of course t-there wouldn't be anything! This is a kimono." Fei replied as held his hands behind him. "Do you always wear other things beneath your umm…" The greenette tried to think up a term to call the white haired boy's clothing, but failed. "Well, your kimono?"
"We do." Saryuu replied casually as though he hadn't just molested the boy under board daylight. "Undergarments are a necessity from where I came from."
"Oh…" Fei looked down, feeling embarrassed at himself for making such a big deal. "Sorry about my reaction. You kind of took me off by surprise."
"I am sorry about that." Saryuu smiled apologetically. In reality though, he was nowhere near as sorry as he should be for his actions. "Let's begin the game then. You'll warm up when you start running."
And with that, the two began the game, putting the incident quickly behind them. They took turns trying to outmatch one another to take the goal. At first, Fei was extremely clumsy. He didn't know how to dribble the ball let alone trying to get pass Saryuu. Thanks to the patient teaching by the merchant's son, the he was soon darting through the opening trying to shake the other from his tail.
From up in a tall pine tree, two figures sat watching the pair below in amusement.
"I can't believe it." The purple haired girl stared at the greenette who was now chasing after the white haired boy. "Saru's laughing…"
And indeed the said boy was. He was letting out a musical laughter when the green haired boy had tripped over the wet mud and hitting the ground rather awkwardly.
"So is Fei." The puffy cheeked boy added. His golden eyes softened at how happy Fei seemed despite the fall. "It's been a long time since I've seen him smile like that."
"You seem pretty attached to him. When you were first assigned to Fei's side, you were very reluctant." The girl said, smirking at the memory of her companion's bitter expression at the time. "You two got so close that you even bathed together was it?"
The golden eyed boy immediately a scowled and looked away. "It wasn't my choice." He muttered beneath his breath.
"Loosen up. I'm not going to spread it around." The girl looked over the swollen cheeks and smiled. "You've already gotten your punishment after all."
At the word punishment, the white haired boy winced and instinctively brought a hand up to his injured face.
"Let's go. From the looks of things down there, you won't be needed for a while. You can come back and help with the preparations. The others are eager to see you again."
"For tomorrow night." The girl replied as her jungle green eyes watched Fei ran towards the goal with the soccer ball at his feet. "If the humans want to see a deity, then that's what we will give them."
"Ah!" Fei gasped as the ball bounced off the tree after missing the shot and landed into the water. "Sorry, I'll go get it."
"Fei—" Saryuu reached a hand to stop the boy, but Fei was already off, chasing after the ball. Smiling at the sight, Saryuu watched from the dried land as Fei carefully walked into the lake. His body was shivering as he dragged his feet across the cold water. By the time he reached the ball, the water was already at his knees.
"I got it!" He chirped, about to turn around when he lost his footing.
"Fei!" Saryuu hurried into the water just as Fei's balance was thrown off, sending out splashes of water everywhere.
"Fei, are you alight?" The white haired boy asked as he pulled up the thoroughly soaked greenette.
"Y-yeah, it's n-noth—" The boy wasn't able to finish as he was broke off with a sneeze.
"Come, let's get back onto the land." Saryuu said as he helped Fei out of the water. Due to the water that soaked his body and the chilliness in the air, Fei was trembling fairly badly. At that, Saryuu took off his orange top, leaving himself only in his black attire and held it to the greenette. "Wear this. You'll catch a cold if you keep that on."
"But what about you?"
"I'm fine." Saryuu grinned and placed his shirt by the boy's feet. "I'll go get something to start a fire. Hurry and get changed." With that said, Saryuu left, disappearing into the woods.
Once he was out of sight, Fei stared at the clothing offered to him. He was a little hesitant, but the wet coldness against his skin was becoming pretty bad. After a long debate, he finally stripped himself from his wet kimono and shivered when the chilling air caressed his skin. He quickly put on Saryuu's cloth, though was met with a bit of difficulty as he didn't know how he was supposed to wear it. After some experimenting and testing, Fei finally managed to get the clothing on. It was a perfect timing too as Saryuu had just returned with an arm full of woods.
As the near full moon took turn lighting the sky, the two sat beside the fire. Fei curled up in Saryuu's arm, still shivering with Saryuu rubbing at his bare arms and legs to warm him up. His orange kimono was hung on the other side, supported by a few branches over the warm fire.
"Bless you." Saryuu said when Fei sneezed again.
"Huh?" The greenette sniffed as he looked up at the boy.
"Bless you." Saryuu repeated to those confused green orbs. "It's a saying we have back in our village for whenever someone sneezes."
"Oh…" Fei smiled softly as he slowly pressed himself a bit closer to the other boy, enjoying the feeling of the warmth of another. "Saru…?"
"Hm?" The other teen hummed out to show that he was paying attention.
"Sorry about the trouble…and thank you for everything."
"It's no trouble at all." Saryuu chuckled. "So you enjoy soccer?"
"Yes!" The immediate reply made the teen smiled even wider. "It's the first time I had played games like that. I can't wait to introduce it to my friends."
"That's wonderful to hear." The white haired boy mumbled. His smile was slowly slipping off his lips as his eyes fell to the flickering flames. Sensing the change in the other, Fei looked up only and Saryuu's arms tightened around him, bringing them close together.
"Saru?" The greenette felt a little worried when he got no response. "Are you aright, Saru?" He reached out to the boy's face, only to have his hand seized mid-way by Saryuu's larger and warmer ones.
"Have you gotten your answers, Fei?" Saryuu asked as he turned to the boy in his arm. When he saw the confusion displayed on the greenette's face, it was obvious that the other didn't understand his question. "Your doubts on your deity, have you found your answer?"
"I…" Fei's voice trailed off as he was reminded of his troubles. He gazed up to the sky, noticing how dark it was—meaning that by the time he wakes up tomorrow, that day will finally arrive.
At the sudden realization of that, Fei felt his heart began to beat faster in panic. There was still so many time when he woke this morning. There should have been so much more time for him to think…so where did all those time went? How was it that it was already so dark when the sun had rose not long ago?
"Fei." Saryuu laced together their fingers before he leaned down, stopping until their noses were almost touching. Fei's breath hitched when he found himself staring into his own reflection within those lavender eyes that held so many emotions that it almost hurts looking in them. He parted his lips to call out the other's name, but nothing came out aside from a weak squeak.
"Fei." Another loving whisper of his name was the only warning he got before Saryuu closed the distance between them. Their lips melted together in a sweet, chaste kiss. Fei felt his chest flared, coming alive just from the simple contact. He didn't know what this feeling was, as he had never felt this way before. The heat in his chest only grew hotter and hotter, making him feel so full that his heart could burst any moment.
"S-Saru…" Fei pulled his head back and gasped for air. However, Saryuu didn't wait to hear what he has to say and dived down. He locked their lips back together with more force than before. Taking the chance while Fei's lips were parted, Saryuu slid his tongue inside the greenette's mouth.
Fei was startled by the foreign tongue's intrusion, but with some coaxing, he was soon moaning into the other's mouth. Logic has long vanished from his mind. Lost in the pleasure of feeling Saryuu's touches, the green haired boy shyly began to return the kiss. His response only fuelled Saryuu's confidence, allowing the boy to become bolder as he lowered Fei onto the grass and further deepened the kiss.
Their bodies pressed against each other's. Saryuu's arms were wrapped tightly around Fei's waist while Fei's were secured around Saryuu's neck. The kiss lasted for a long while with either of them only pulling away for a second of breath before they connect once more.
"Ah…" Fei moaned as Saryuu's lips slid away and began nibbling at his jawline and down the sensitive curve of his neck. His grip around Saryuu's neck tightened when the other boy began sucking harshly at his collar bone. The greenette gasped out in discomfort, but kept perfectly still to allow Saryuu to do as he pleased.
When the white haired boy finished marking the greenette with a hard bite, Fei was immediately jolted back to reality. The hazed look in his eyes was gone. He hastily unwrap his arms from the other boy and pushed the body on top of his off. As Saryuu fell onto the grass, Fei scrambled up. He has a horrified look on his face as he crawled back to pull a distance.
"I'm sorry…I didn't know what came over me…I-I.." Fei struggled to come up with something, but was failing miserably. Saryuu watched with a neutral look as tears began streaming down the pale cheeks of the greenette.
"I don't regret what I did." Saryuu said slowly. That caused Fei to look up in shock. "I love you, Fei. I always have, since the first time I met you."
"Why…?" Fei's face scrunched up with pain as more tears flood out of his eyes. "Why are you telling me this?"
"Because you like me too, don't you?" Saryuu asked as he pointed at the river of tears. "That's why you're crying."
"It doesn't matter what I want!" Fei snapped as he shut his eyes tightly, squeezing out more of the pearly tears. "We barely even know each other and I can't—! I-I…ugh…"
"Is it because of the Mountain Deity?" Saryuu asked slowly.
Fei didn't respond. He just kept his gaze to the ground as tears dripped from his chin and landed onto his lap.
"You don't have to do it, Fei. You don't need to marry that—"
"I can't!" Fei repeated. "I'm…I'm sorry, I just can't..."
"…I see." Saryuu slowly looked away as his eyelids slid over his lavender eyes, hiding the emotions swirling within them. "Your kimono should be dried now. It's best that you put it on before you catch a cold." He said as he used a stick to throw some mud over the fire to put it out.
The walk back to village was long and uncomfortable. Neither of the two exchanged a word. Fei walked with his head down, staring at his feet through the entire journey. The only time he looked up was when they arrived back into the village. He had looked up when he realized the lack of footsteps following him and found that Saryuu had vanished, leaving behind only the soccer ball in his place. The greenette felt what was left of his heart crushed into dust. He knew he didn't deserve it though, as he was the one who pushed Saryuu away.
That night, Fei didn't get a wink of sleep. He lay in his bed and stared at the ceiling. He kept replaying what had happened over and over inside his head. The more he remembered, the more regret he felt eating away his inside. His hand slowly trailed to the mark left on his collar bone as a droplet of tear rolled down his unblinking eyes. For the first time, Fei actually wished that the Mountain Deity doesn't exist. He hopped that it was all just a hallucination like his father had claimed it to be.
As the day grew brighter, Fei felt more and more of his fear eating him away. Finally unable to take it anymore, he climbed out of his bed. He headed for his father's room with a desperate urge to see him, not caring if the busy man was asleep or not. Thankfully, he was still up with his works and Fei let himself in. They only exchanged very limited amount of words before the room was drowned in silence. Any other times, Fei would hate the lack of communication, but not this time. For once, he found that he didn't mind the quietness. He was content just watching the back of the one who brought him into this world. He stayed in the corner until his father packed away his things in preparation for his well-deserved rest. Fei left then, bidding his father goodnight as he wandered to the garden. He stared at the full moon, still not feeling like returning to his room.
By the time he realized what he was doing, he was standing at the foot of the tall sakura tree. What he saw made him broke down and cried. It was just like Saryuu had stated when they first met.
The flowers were now on their first bloom.
Fei was suddenly overwhelmed by the urge to see Saryuu. He didn't know why he felt such desperate need or what he should say when he do find him, but none of that matters. He just wanted to see the white haired boy again, even if this might be the last time.
He ran through the village, asking each villager he passed by if they know of the merchant's son. Strangely, none of them claimed to know of a dealer entering the village. Some replied nicely, though that was rare due to the fact that he was known as a liar in the village. Many ignored him with a roll of their eyes, muttering mean words that Fei couldn't help but saddened at despite his best to ignore them. He ran to the lake, but the place was as empty as the previous night when they left. He even asked all of his friends who were all kind enough to help. However, there was still no sign of the white haired boy.
It was as though Saryuu Evan had never existed to begin with.
Omiai – A Japanese custom in which unattached individuals are introduced to each other to consider the possibility of marriage.
I hope everyone has enjoyed the first chapter of Promised Night! I've always wondered what happens if Saru was a little perverted so I decided to add some fun scenes to show his attraction to Fei. This was originally supposed to be a one shot like the other two stories of my Saru and Fei, but I kind of went overboard and before I knew it, there are a total of 48 pages. Therefore, I have split it into three chapters. I originally planned to just cut it in half, but I need a good cliffhanger XD
I will update the next chapter once I finished editing. Rating will be changed to "M" once entering the third chapter.
A review to give me your thoughts on this story will be very much appreciated. I am very interested in hearing everyone's opinion of this story since it'll be the first multi-chapter Inazuma Eleven story I've done ^-^