Articulation

...

Two figures walked through the halls of Mikage Shrine, one scuttling about wildly and the other lost in thought and trudging sluggishly.

"I really have so much homework to do... *sigh* and I'm not even caught up in my godly duties either!"

Nanami Momozono, a petite human girl who also owns the title of land god of the Mikage Shrine, mumbled to herself and slowly maneuvered down the hall towards her room. Her deep sighs made it eminent enough that she was not in the brightest of moods.

Meanwhile, a white-haired boy was moving about happily to himself, acting like a child and running about with the mop, (which he was supposed to be using to clean the floors) pretending he was fighting off ninjas with the end of the stick.

Suddenly, he turned around, his mop swinging out as he grunted and made a sort of 'hi-ya!' sound, and all too late his eyes widened as he caught the girl dawdling in the hallway with the end of his make-shift weapon.

"OOF!"

"N-NANAMI!"

"Owww..."

The snake familiar immediately flew into a series of apologies and sweet gestures, even going as far as to kiss the brunette's hands and feet as she knelt on the floorboards of the shrine, rubbing the side of her face with a hand.

"Mizuki, it's fine..." The girl reassured, and the snake boy glanced up at her with tearful bright green eyes.

"Oh! Nanami!" He cried, and then he was crushing her to the floor in an overwhelming hug, his teardrops hitting her pale cheeks. "I'm so, SO sorry!"

"Oi! What's going on in here-"

The silver-haired boy stopped mid-sentence to one-handedly heave the white-haired boy off of his master and throw him into the wall. He was then suddenly kneeling beside Nanami, his eyes flashing over the reddened spot on her face that she was trying to cover up.

"It's swelling. What happened?"

"Eep!" Mizuki rushed quickly into his room, slamming the door behind him with a slight 'bang!'

"Tomoe..." Nanami looked up at her fox familiar with big, innocent brown eyes.

She quickly bonked him on the head with her fist.

"Don't throw Mizuki around! How many times have I told you not to overreact like that?!"

Tomoe sneered and barked back;

"That wasn't overreacting! He was lying on top of you!"

"That was apart of his apology!"

"Apology?" Tomoe's face suddenly went blank.

"Yeah, he was apologizing for hitting me in the face with a mop- hey!"

Nanami had gone unnoticed for a moment, as the wild fox stood up and pushed himself into Mizuki's room. There was a shrieking sound... and then not much followed after that. Swiftly, and as if nothing had happened, the man then emerged from the room, sliding the door silently behind him and brushing off his hands in two easy slaps before turning his beautiful eyes down on the girl still kneeling on the floor.

"Let's get you some ice." He said, and then his tail flicked past her face as he turned and walked down the hall and into the kitchen.

Nanami stood up to follow, wanting to peek into Mizuki's room first to see if he was okay, but then Tomoe was suddenly grabbing her wrist and forcibly dragging her with him.

"Leave him. The stupid snake is, er, resting."

"Ler go Tomoer." Nanami mumbled, and then her eyes widened and she reached a hand up to touch her now-incredibly-swelled cheek; though Tomoe was quick to slap her hand away as he seated her at the counter.

"Don't touch it." He sighed, shaking his head as he walked to the freezer to take out an ice pack of some sort. "That damned idiot... he was probably playing around again..." He mumbled to himself.

"Ee wazzin hish fah-woolt." Nanami tried to say, but winced when she saw Tomoe's glaring eyes and felt the pain as she moved her jaw and worked her mouth.

"Here, keep still." He said, leaning forward to scrutinize her injury. He'd make that snake pay even worse for this as soon as the fool regained consciousness again, that was for sure. Nanami's poor skin was reddened and assuming the purplish hue of a bruise, and it looked highly painful with all the swelling. He raised the ice pack.

"Hold this to your face, it will make the swelling go down."

Nanami obeyed, taking the icy thing from his hands and tentatively pressing it to her skin. She winced out of pain and from the pure and sudden cold touch hitting her sore face.

"Therks Termoe."

"You know, you should really learn to articulate your words better." He teased, in all seriousness with his face.

Her eyes narrowed. "Shert up, Termoe."

"Ah, but Nanami. Proper enunciate is key in communication." He wagged a finger in a teacher-like way.

He promptly earned a smack on the arm from her, her face flushing as she shook her head.

"I knorw! Itsh not loik I kin tawlk norwamal with ma face awl swerlled up!"

"Nanami."

She gave him a weary glance. He looked a tad amused right now.

"Whawt..."

Tomoe smiled slyly, his eyebrows arching in amusement.

"You're cute... even if you can't speak properly."

The girl blinked repetitively as if she had something caught in her eye. After his sudden sweet and unexpected words, and that silly look of amused... loving... something on his face, she found herself surprised both pleasantly, and genuinely. Sometimes, he could just say something so perfectly that she thought it might not be real, and she just imagined it.

Only when the pain in her cheek throbbed into her senses, did she realize she wasn't imagining.

"Termoe... I ruv yah." She smiled, though most of it was hidden by the ice pack held at her injury.

It was his turn to stare at her now.

"Tch." The familiar turned his head away from the girl, unable to help the small blush that was caused by her cute, slurred words.


A/N: See that little box below? If you're feeling up to it, please drop in a review down there :)

CK :*