A/N: Has it been so long? It's been over two years since I've managed to post anything. Well, hopefully I haven't gotten too rusty…

A Day Indoors XLI

Touta leaned against the rail and looked out over the rail at the landscape beneath him. It was breathtaking, and he could hardly believe what he'd learned over the past few days. His guardian and mentor Yukihime had suddenly announced one day they were climbing the tower. They were going on a mission to the top of the tower and that he and his new friends were coming with her.

"Evangeline." Touta said the word. He didn't like that name. She was always going to be Yukihime to him. Nevertheless, that was what his grandmothers had called her.

Touta shook his head thinking about it; his grandmothers. He'd seen his grandfather's grave, but now to find that his grandfather's spouse was not only alive but was some powerful figure on Mars was too much for him. Then there was the issue of his other grandmother…

"Psst. Touta." Someone whispered close by. Touta looked around quizzically before a nearby potted plant parted to reveal his friend, Kuroumaru. The young boy looked ready to faint at the slightest shift in the breeze. "Is the coast clear?"

Touta glanced up and down the hallway that ran the length of this side of the palace they were staying in and shook his head. "All clear man. What are you hiding for?"

"I'm hiding from your grandmother Konoe-sama." The immortal swordsman said stepping out of hiding reluctantly. The boy looked ready to puke. "She keeps copping feels of my butt, pinching me, and trying to kiss me. What the heck is a 'pactio' anyway?"

"Beats me." Touta said honestly. The cackling old woman and had assaulted Kuroumaru the moment they had arrived the day before. The young swordsman had sought cover everywhere they had gone, but apparently the elderly healer wielded a lot of power and respect here in this land and no one, including Yukihime herself, seemed willing to protect the boy from the advances of the aged suitor.

"Kuroumaru." Karen's monotone pronounced behind the young man; this was enough to send him three feet in the air from fright.

"Don't sneak up on me like that!" Kuroumaru griped. The girl had masked her presence quite well, and Touta hadn't heard her approach until she was right on top of both of them.

"Lady Konoe requests your presence for dinner." Karen said handing him a bowtie.

"A formal dinner? I don't have a tuxedo." Kuroumaru complained.

"No, it's a private dinner in her chambers. And you don't need a tuxedo. That's what she wants you to wear." Karen said pointing at the tie.

"This is just a tie."

Karen raised an eyebrow and stared at Kuroumaru like he was stupid until the boy wandered over to the rail and started blowing chunks over the side into the garden below.

"Granny Konoka wants Kuroumaru to come to her quarters for dinner wearing nothing but a bowtie?" Touta asked incredulously.

"I doubt it." Karen reassured the young immortal.

"That's a relief."

"I'm sure 'dinner' is the furthest thing from her mind." Karen affirmed to the sound of Kuroumaru getting sick all over again.

"You're not helping." Touta said holding his friend's long hair out of the way as he puked for all he was worth.

"You know Kuroumaru; there is one way out of this entire situation…" Karen said offhandedly. "You just need to become a girl."

"What do you mean Karen? I know Kuroumaru looks a little girly, but seriously we've got a problem here." Touta started.

"Shut up Touta." Karen commanded. "What's it going to be Kuroumaru; panties, or commando?" The taciturn young woman held up the bowtie for emphasis.

Kuroumaru was staring balefully at Karen and Touta had no idea what was going on, but finally the boy seemed to reach a decision and sighed in defeat. "What's your plan?"

Touta was now officially creeped out. He was walking through the corridors of this palace in the corridor with his best buddy on his arm and the guy was wearing a dress. Not just any dress either. It was the pinkest, girliest, frilliest thing imaginable to have ever been sewn together by fairies hyped up on sugar and crapping heart shaped rainbows.

Karen guided them to the main hall where his grandmothers were visiting and having tea with Yukihime. There they planned to tell his hormonally charged matron that Kuroumaru was actually a girl and that the two of them were dating and that the previous day had been a misunderstanding and that Kuroumaru travelled as a boy for protection.

The door opened to a massive throne room where the throne sat unused against the far wall and a quaint little teat table sat at the center where three women sat pleasantly sipping tea and chatting.

"Oh my girls look what we have here." Yukihime said as the three youngsters approached the table.

Touta gulped. He had only met his two grandmothers the previous day and they still intimidated him. Two of them were immortal, but the third was an elderly lady of advanced age and sadly she was the one he was most concerned about at the moment as she eyed Kuroumaru hungrily. "Why Ku-chan, you look absolutely adorable!"

"I apologize Lady Konoe. I did not have the chance yesterday to explain that I am not actually a boy." Kuroumaru started as rehearsed. "I only travel in boy's clothes to avoid being bothered by young men."

Yeah, he was too busy running and screaming when the old lady launched herself at him. Touta thought bitterly.

"Furthermore, I wanted to explain that I have f-f-feelings for you g-g-grandson. I would like your p-p-permission to pursue him." Kuroumaru sputtered.

The three women were staring at the three of them in… amusement? "Well Ku-chan if you are wanting to pursue my grandson I am certainly not going to stop you. But I simply must know how deeply your devotion to my grandson runs." Konoka Konoe said formally looking to her two companions. Touta caught just a brief look pass to his other grandmother Asuna who briefly nodded mysteriously. "If you want to prove your love for Touta, then kiss him."

"Pardon?!" Touta and Kuroumaru said in unison.

"I said I want to see you two kiss. If you two have the spark that will grow into the flame of a great relationship I'll be able to tell just from seeing the two of you kiss. Now make it good you two." Konoka gently urged.

The elderly mage turned her chair to face the two of them as she recline in her soft flowing lavender robes that were made to resemble the kimonos of her homeland. She leaned her wrinkled cheek on an old withered knuckle and watched the two intently. "There's nothing wrong with that is there?"

Touta looked at Kuroumaru in panic. "No, it's just this will be our first kiss." Touta said honestly.

"I can't think of a better time then." Yukihime said leering.

Touta swallowed hard and looked at Kuroumaru. His friend needed his help. He was rooted in place and looked like a slow rabbit in front of a fast moving fox. He was caught and he knew it. Touta gritted his teeth and knew what he had to do. It might be a guy but at least it was Kuroumaru and right now he looked more like a girl than Karen did. "Neither can I."

Kuroumaru looked at him for the first time in abject terror as Touta seized the boy determined to make this the manliest kiss he could and brought his lips crashing down on Kuroumaru's in a huge lip lock.

Touta had no clue how to go about doing such thing so he just sort of went for it and hoped he did it right. That's pretty much how he did everything. It felt like Kuroumaru was trying to pull away, so he kept leaning forward to keep him from giving away the fact that he was a guy.

Touta didn't really know what happened next. A heat built up within his body and the world seemed to explode in light. When Touta opened his eyes and broke the kiss he realized he had Kuroumaru bent back nearly double and his hair was touching the floor. Instead of straightening however as Touta released him, he remained draped over his arm staring upward breathing heavily.

Touta didn't know what was going on or how to respond as Kuroumaru let out a high pitch moan as a bright light blossomed from his abdomen and a small tarot card floated up from his body. Touta was stunned as the light died and he was left standing there cradling Kuroumaru.

"Convinced?" Yukihime asked nonchalantly.

"Indubitably." Granny Konoka responded as she stuffed tissues into her bleeding nostrils. "It reminds me so much of the first kiss I had with your grandfather."

"I had one like that with Negi during the festival too if I recall." Queen Asuna said wistfully as she stirred her tea.

Lady Konoka finished wiping her nose and walked over to pull the floating card form the air and had it to Kuroumaru as he straightened himself from Touta's kiss. "Here you are Ku-chan. You'll find this will be a much more impressive weapon than the one you currently wield unless I'm sadly mistaken."

"What was that just now?!" Kuroumaru asked in confusion.

"That was very old and very wonderful magic." Konoka explained with a wink. "You're now Touta's partner. This room has the magic circles inscribed into the floor and Asuna had one of her mages complete the spell while you were kissing. A kiss seals the spell you see. It's a special little bit of magic from the old days that we elders still like to use."

"But… but…" Kuroumaru stammered.

"But you're a boy?" Konoka asked gently. "You aren't one yet child."

Touta stood there in shock at what his grandmother was saying. "Granny, what are you talking about?"

"I don't suspect you will understand Touta but here goes anyway. Kuroumaru is a member of the bird tribe correct?" Konoka asked pointedly.

"Yeah." Touta replied thickly.

"My late husband, your grandfather, was ALSO a member of the bird tribe. I know all about their physiology. I know all about the choice you will have to make when you reach sixteen." Konoka said gently as she placed her hands on Kuroumaru's shoulders and ran her hands through his hair. "Please forgive an old woman a moment of reminiscence. You look so much like my late husband. He lived as a girl until he was sixteen when he decided to become male so we could be together."

"You've known all along." Kuroumaru whispered with a girlish tear coming to his eye.

Konoka nodded and pulled the swordsman into her embrace and nestled his face into her bosom. "Yes, ever since Yukihime told us that you were accompanying Touta. I asked her to bring you here so I could meet you both. Now child, I only have only one thing to ask. When the time comes to make your choice, let your heart decide. If you don't, you'll have to live with regret the rest of your life. Power and greatness aren't determined by gender. And should you decide to become a boy and things with you and Touta don't work out… well, I'll still be happy to claim you as mine."

Kuroumaru stepped away and respectfully bowed to the matron of Touta's clan. Touta didn't understand any of what he was hearing and let everyone know just that. "I don't get it."

"Don't let it bother you." Kuroumaru said in relief as he wrapped his arm around Touta's and turned to head for the door. As soon as they got a few steps away, his friend leaned over to whisper. "And if your grandmother ever asks, you're my boyfriend."

A/N: Hopefully I haven't gotten too rusty. I think I'm going to post this in the UQ Holder section and continue it from my previous stories in the Negima section. I liked Chapter 16 of UQ Holder which shed some light on who exactly Touta's grandparents were.