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demoncatcupcakes · 4 months ago
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That face
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exquistedesires · 5 days ago
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The desperation before our tongues meet....
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renamonkalou · 5 months ago
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Sunsets and palm trees | Navaneeth Unnikrishnan Karnataka, india
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triumph-of-adaptation · 4 months ago
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Pepito is so intense
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ricitosss · 4 days ago
Lo más difícil de amarte nunca han sido tus cambios de humor, o lo impredecible que puedes ser, mucho menos que a veces necesites tiempo para ti, o que puedas llegar a ser muy demostrativx de tu amor. Lo más difícil de amarte, fue aprender a amarme a mi, a mi explosividad, a mi intensidad, a mi dificultad por expresarme, a mi ansiedad repentina. Lo más difícil de amarte es lidiar con el hecho de ser yo mismx contigo, para poder ser uno.
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baronmaymystery · 5 months ago
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A 1983 photographic self-portrait by multidisciplinary artist Steven F. Arnold (1943-1994), protege of Salvador Dali.
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euesworld · 27 days ago
"You do amazing things to me when you fill me with such intense feelings, all I can do is pay all of the attention to you.."
Somewhere between how you love me and your beautiful smile, I am caught wrestling with my heart as it falls in love with you - eUë
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bt-writing · 2 months ago
Kaedehara Kazuha x f!Reader
A/N: aah i’ve been working on this one for a while! i really hoped to get it posted today, so i’m sorry if it sounds rushed;; there are some intense scenes later in the story so please be aware if you’re sensitive towards that! i tried to write an inazuma setting so i hope i used accurate terms. it's heavily inspired by teapot dialogue and kazuha's character stories// the bake-danuki mentioned are the little tanuki who prank people and dance
warnings: swearing, light blood, violence, break-in, intense scene, ooc, reader mentioned to be smaller than kazuha
word count: 5.8k
summary: You live in a forest far from the city. When someone knocks on your door during a storm, will you regret opening it to greet them?
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Lightning struck nearby, its booming echo piercing through the dense rain. The night sky was pitch black, visible only when another flash of lightning sparked life into the thunder clouds. The intensity of Inazuma's storms had been slowly increasing as of late.
From the safety of my home, I watched the tall Aralia trees—which usually swayed peacefully—be harshly blown by the storm's aggressive winds. The force of the downpour caused the rain to fall diagonally, agitating all the nearby greenery and sending wildlife into hiding.
I returned my attention to the kettle of tea brewing. Stormy weather was unpleasant if you were caught outside during its onslaught, but wonderful background noise to enjoy a book to. I've always found the sound of drumming rain to be therapeutic, even if its current intentions were anything but. Tension disappeared from my body just from the thought of snuggling under my kotatsu with some hot tea and the latest novel I purchased.
A sudden knock brought me out of my musings. That couldn't be right. Why would anyone be outside so late in this weather, and at my door, nonetheless? A few seconds passed in silence. Before I could write off the sound as my imagination, a second series of knocks from my front door confirmed the existence of a visitor. I skeptically made my way to the door, opening it to greet whatever mysterious person found their way there.
Standing in front of me was a young, white haired man, soaked by the rain from head to toe. He was on the shorter side and had a non-threatening presence, although my eyes were instinctively drawn to the sheathed sword at his hip. Warm-colored maple leaf patterns painted his black yukata—it was only the top layer to a second white and red one. His forearms were wrapped in bandages and shiny, black armor plating. I brought my focus to his face. The man's eyes were a fiery red, yet felt mysteriously peaceful to look into. Dripping white bangs tickled his pink nose and soft cheeks. My unexpected visitor was quite handsome.
"Good evening, miss. I hope I'm not disturbing you by showing up so late?" he spoke. His voice had a soft, soothing tone that effortlessly carried his smile in it.
"U-um, no! It's alright." I was caught off-guard by the situation but tried not to let my confusion be too evident on my face. How long had this guy been outside for? The wind probably would've blown me away the second I went out. Not wanting to keep the man there longer than need be, I asked, "Is there something I can help you with, sir?"
He nodded.
"I am a wanderer who's been caught in this storm-" That much was obvious. "But, there aren't many places nearby that offer shelter. Usually, I try to find unoccupied caves or abandoned temples, but it appears those options aren't available tonight." He chuckled sheepishly, rubbing a hand over his nape. "I thought I would try my luck at a nearby house. Although, it's alright if you turn me away. I understand how a stranger asking for shelter late at night can appear from your perspective."
This traveler had a point. Red flags should be waving all around, keeping me on guard from any potential danger. They should, and yet, I found myself feeling comfortable with him. He wasn't pushy or agitated and even acknowledged how the situation looked objectively. Besides his words, the man himself made me curious; I wanted to learn what would happen if I let him inside. Doing just that, I pulled my door open for him.
"You are welcome to stay here for the night. Let me grab some tea and something for you to dry yourself off with," I said, closing the door behind him once he stepped inside. Water instantly began pooling on the floor where he stood. The layers of his outfit were thick and the water weight only made it appear more uncomfortable. "I can take some of your clothes and set them to dry by the fire if you'd like?"
"Please," he agreed. I noticed his hands were covered in small scars and callouses—proof of his experience wielding a blade. I watched them unwrap the black and red scarves from around his neck and hang them over his forearm. Next, they slowly untucked his black yukata from his belt, then slid the garment off his shoulders. I only caught myself staring when he began removing the white yukata. His chest was now exposed, showing the droplets of water that trailed over his muscular chest and abdomen, tempting my eyes to fall lower. I felt my cheeks growing warm at the sight.
"Uh, wait a second! Let me grab you a change of clothes first! I should have something that fits..." I shuffled away into another room before he could respond, returning moments later with a towel and an oversized outfit for my very handsome guest. Thankfully for my sanity, he had stopped stripping in my absence and patiently waited for his clothes.
I excused myself while he changed. Upon announcing that he was finished, I took his folded, wet clothes into the kitchen and placed them by the open fire to dry. I set the still warm kettle of tea and two cups onto a tray, carrying it out into the living room. The man had remained near the front door, not daring to cross any boundaries while I wasn't present. He was very polite, I noted.
"Here, come sit. I actually had some tea brewing when you arrived, so it's still fresh," I smiled, pouring him a cup as he sat across the kotatsu from me.
"Thank you, miss. You're very kind to be doing all of this for me." His movements were graceful as he accepted the tea, bringing the cup to his lips and blowing on the drink's steam.
I took the moment of silence to study him again. The top he now had was a white, long-sleeved piece meant to be worn beneath outer layers. It ended up fitting wrong on me but looked rather nice on him. It hugged his chest, stretching over his muscles and leaving little to the imagination. His arms were hidden by a comfortable, earthy green haori. I also took notice of his hair, now removed from the ponytail's hair tie and falling just above his shoulders. Some of the wet strands had curled slightly, mixing with the red streak and cutely framing his face.
My guest sighed appreciatively after taking a sip from his cup.
"Ah, pardon me for not introducing myself. My name is Kaedehara Kazuha. Please, call me Kazuha."
Kaedehara Kazuha. I thought his name fit him nicely. It was smooth, like his voice, and rolled off the tongue easily.
"Kaedehara... that sounds familiar," I wondered aloud. Kazuha hummed in response.
"The Kaedehara Clan used to be a renowned noble house, but has fallen from grace over time. It has long since held its previous status. I would've been the one to inherit the Clan's wealth and prestige, but it appears the Archons had other plans for me." Kazuha didn't sound upset while revealing this information. Rather, he sounded quite relieved while speaking of his clan.
"I see." I nodded in acknowledgment. "My name is (Y/N). It's very nice to meet you, Kazuha."
"The pleasure is mine, (Y/N). It's rare that people are willing to house wanderers like myself on such short notice. The weather lately has been difficult to travel in without some form of shelter, as well. Though, I wasn't expecting to find a house so far away from the city," he commented. It was true. My house was far from Inazuma City, and there weren't any villages around for miles. I had lived alone here for some time.
I awkwardly laughed out. "Yeah, I'm probably the only person around in this forest. I moved out here a while ago, trying to escape the city."
Thunder clapped outside, reminding me of the storm that continued to rage. I couldn't help but grimace at the thought of it damaging my house somehow. That would be a pain in the ass to repair.
"I have many unhappy memories from the last time I was in the city. It got to the point where I couldn't stand living there, so I thought moving out here would help me a bit," I explained. "It ended up being a good decision! I'm an author, so gaining new experience out here has been really beneficial for my writing."
Kazuha smiled softly at me, as if he related to my struggles.
"I understand the stress that comes from living in the city quite well. Having the opportunity to travel through nature the way I do is truly a blessing. Your heart calms when you're alone, and you're able to appreciate the beauty in the land around you. Sometimes, you'll even end up having special encounters, such as this one."
Kazuha had a way of speaking that was very dreamy; each word was laced with empathy and genuine interest in the conversation.
I found myself relaxing around Kazuha. We had only just met, yet conversing with him felt unexplainably natural, as though we'd been well acquainted for a long time. I was nervous opening my door to him at first. Inazuma's storms were not to be taken lightly—I would have felt terrible leaving him outside to brave the weather. Taking him in turned out to be the right decision, and one I would have done many times over.
Our conversation carried on for a while. Kazuha told stories of his travels and the most recent places he visited, while I talked about the latest novel I was writing. I learned he enjoyed poetry and had the curious talent of turning leaves into makeshift instruments. Autumn was his favorite season, as it had the best weather and was the most opportune time to enjoy the scarlet maple leaves. The night grew late before we ended our conversation, fresh out of tea and feeling sleepy.
I made Kazuha a temporary bed on the living room floor. We said our goodnights before I departed into the other room, crawling into bed more satisfied than usual with the day's end.
Kazuha had left early the following morning, only after profusely thanking me. Our time together was pleasant, so I told him he was always welcome to stay when he found himself in the area. He responded with a smile and wave, leaving me to return to my usual routine. I wouldn't see my traveling friend again until a couple of weeks later.
The next time Kazuha appeared on my doorstep, the sunset had already covered the sky in bright shades of orange and pink. In his hands was a small box filled with sweets, "repayment for last time," he had said. I laughed at his antics and brought him inside.
After I (barely) managed to convince him to share the box of desserts with me, we quickly fell into easy conversation. He recounted his latest adventures and the various people he met, while I updated him on my relatively calm life out in the forest.
This became a normal thing between the two of us. Every few weeks, Kazuha would show up at my house with some new gift he picked up on his travels. His presents constantly varied. Sometimes, he arrived with a box tricolor dango and sakura mochi, or he had small decorations and trinkets for my shelves. Once, he even brought a kitsune mask from a festival held on the other side of the island from me, paired with a vivid recollection of the beautiful firework shows.
I loved listening to Kazuha's stories more than anything else. They were so beautifully told that I felt I was there experiencing the events alongside him. I felt as though I had passed my own hand through the sakura blooms beneath the Sacred Sakura of the Grand Narukami Shrine, catching the soft pink petals in my palm. I felt as though I had walked along the Araumi shore that was sprinkled with vibrant blue sea ganodermas and cherry-colored crabs that blew bubbles in the water. A large number of his tales became inspiration for my writing; in his absence, I eagerly awaited his return just so I could hear more. Just so I could see him again.
Before I knew it, Kazuha had become my motivation and my muse.
Storms plagued the sky again tonight. Heavy, thick drops of rain fell non-stop against my roof and the rest of my house creaked and moaned under the force of the wind. I shifted cozily in my bed, sleepy and unbothered by the typical Inazuman weather.
I didn't fight against my thoughts as they drifted to the frequent occupant of my mind. Kazuha hadn't visited in a while—longer than he usually was gone, in fact. The last time we were together, he said he planned on traveling past Narukami Island. I wondered what he was doing. Perhaps he found some abandoned ruins, overtaken by vegetation and aged by the weather, or an old shrine, still being cared for by a friendly village. Maybe he found a nice spot to watch the clouds pass and play a song on his leaf flute. I hoped he was somewhere that made him happy.
I did worry for Kazuha every time he left, but my trust in him outweighed any of my nervous feelings. I knew he was a level-headed, experienced traveler who could protect himself from danger. To offset the small frown on my lips, I buried my face in my pillow and forced myself to think positively. If I let myself think the worst every time Kazuha went on a new journey, I would give myself an aneurysm.
Instead, I tried to guess what gift Kazuha would share with me the next time he visited. I loved everything he brought back, regardless of the quality or cost. The last gift he brought me, I was particularly fond of. It was a small teru teru bozu doll, but the usual string had been replaced by a black and red ribbon. The doll appeared as if it was wearing a miniature version of Kazuha's scarves. It rested on my bedside table, propped up against-
I jolted up into a sitting position. A loud noise had sounded through the house, too nearby to have been thunder. My heart beat painfully fast, having gone from steady to frantic in just a second. Adrenaline killed all the haze in my brain and made me fully alert. In the dead silence, I heard footsteps make their way to my bedroom door.
I completely froze.
My chest was tight and my body went stiff. The shock was short-lived and overwhelmingly replaced with fear as the door violently swung open. Its momentum caused it to bounce off of the wall, vibrating the room and making a terrible booming sound. My blood ran cold.
This was my first time experiencing a break-in, and I was utterly terrified. I was terrified of the way the shadowy figure stood in the doorway, looming and unbalanced, disguised by the darkness of the room. I was terrified of the sounds they let out: heavy pants that could have easily been called growls. I was terrified of the unavoidable reality I faced, the reality of being completely alone and defenseless at this moment.
But, more than anything, I was terrified of the long knife they held in their hand, pointed accusingly and directly at me.
My fight or flight sense kicked in harder than it ever had before when a throaty yell came from the intruder. I dove out of my bed and onto the floor as they leaped at me, knife digging deep into my mattress. I didn't have time to think of excuses. My brain was completely focused on escaping this person who had obvious intent to kill.
I forced myself off of the floor, stumbling forwards. They quickly climbed over my bed and dove at my low position. My stomach dropped as a vice-like grip squeezed my ankle. Their fingers were long and boney as they dug into me. In tandem, I harshly yanked my leg away and pulled my dresser over, trying to hit them with its momentum. They realized my plan and released their hold, barely dodging the dresser as it crashed onto the ground.
The large piece of furniture created a temporary blockade between myself and the intruder, giving me time to bound towards the door. If I could make it out of my room, I had two options: I could escape the house through the front door or grab a knife from the kitchen and fight back. These thoughts were useless, however. I wasn't even able to make it out of the bedroom.
The same iron grip that had bruised my ankle bunched the fabric of my shirt. It tugged—hard—and I was thrown onto the floor even deeper into the room. The air was roughly knocked from my lungs and winded me. I was lightheaded and dizzy, but I forced myself to shuffle back against the wall in a desperate attempt to put distance between us. This person now blocked me from the room's only exit and trapped me into a corner.
I flinched, startled by a flash of lightning outside. The window let in the sudden white light, illuminating the face of the person who stood over me, still wielding a long knife. I could make out the face of a man. His cheeks were hollow and his eyebrows were pinched above wide and crazy eyes. His mouth hung open, taking in huge, greedy breaths. It seemed that he was covered in blotches of dirt and his clothes were torn in several places, as if he had gotten into a fight outside. I couldn't make out any injuries on his body, however.
The light disappeared as just as quickly as it arrived, allowing the shadows of the room to submerge us back in its depths. My body was shaking and a cold sweat had long since broken out.
"W-Who are you?! Why are you attacking me?" I cried out. This only agitated the man further.
"Don't play your games with me, you damn bake-danuki!" he shouted, pointing the weapon more confrontationally at me. "I know how your pranks work all too well! Do you even realize what you've put me through, you little shit?" His jaw was tightly clenched, straining the muscles in his neck. The arm that pointed the knife at me was shaking, presumably due to the strength of his grip.
This man was absolutely insane.
"Bake-danuki?!" I gasped out. "You're crazy! I'm not a bake-danuki! I'm a human! I don't even know who you are, you broke into my house!"
He let out a groan and yelled, "Shut up!" Lunging towards me, he stabbed his knife directly at my face.
I threw my body onto the ground, avoiding the blade now lodged deep into my wall. This angered the crazy man even further. He gave up on the knife and jumped on top of me, straddling my body on the ground. I hit and clawed at his arms as they reached towards me. Gross hands wrapped tightly around my neck. I began to panic and scratched him more, but he was unaffected by my attempts. We glared at each other with equal ferocity until black dots began blurring my vision. He continued shouting at me.
"You think I'm stupid?! No one would have their home out here, in the middle of nowhere, except for you conniving little bake-danuki! I'm so-" Pant. "Damn-" Pant. "Tired of you!" He spat out, heavily gasping. I felt my eyes begin to roll back.
"Can't laugh now, can ya? Now that you're on the losing side, huh? Don't worry. I'll be laughing plenty enough for the both of us once-"
Air raced back into my lungs as his hands released my throat. I didn't have much time to savor the feeling as I was immediately yanked up. I was sitting on the floor still, but instead of the wall behind me, it was the chest of the intruder, legs on either side of me. One hand gripped my jaw painfully and forced my face up. I figured the other was holding the blade I felt pressed against my neck.
I didn't have many other options but to look forwards, instantly seeing what had caused the shift in the man.
Even though it was dark in the room, I could clearly make out Kazuha's familiar figure, which had just walked in through the doorway. His sword was sheathed and he held both his hands parallel to his head. We were on opposite sides of the room from each other, but his presence alone filled me with hope again.
"Shut up, bake-danuki." Kazuha cut me off sharply. I was taken aback for a moment. His voice was still and emotionless. I could feel the man shift uncomfortably behind me.
"W-Who are you? How did you find this place?" The man stuttered out. He didn't sound like he trusted Kazuha, but was also much less aggressive to him than he was with me.
"It appears we've come for the same reason, no?" Kazuha tilted his head at me. "This bake-danuki has been tormenting me for weeks. It was time I came and put a permanent end to its games."
I felt the man slowly, but eagerly sit up behind me to respond. "Yes! Yes, I know exactly what you mean!" He let out a relieved, airy laugh. It was the laugh of someone who had been driven to the brink of insanity for a while. "I've been lost out here for days, and it's all because of them! Every time I think I've found food or water, or even someone's house! I get pranked by the bake-danukis! I just couldn't take it anymore..." His mood dropped as he held the knife closer to my throat, opening a small cut. "It's just so cruel what you vile things do to us," he complained. His hot breath in my ear made me cringe.
My body hurt from the fight earlier and the interaction occurring made my head throb. It was hard to think straight, but there really wasn't much I could do in this position to begin with. I just had to trust Kazuha to save me.
Kazuha began taking slow, cautious steps forwards as to not alarm the man behind me.
"I understand. This house we are inside of right now... It used to be mine. This bake-danuki here forced me to give it up. In return, I would be spared from its ceaseless pranks." He knelt down onto one knee, still a few feet away from us. "Please, if you understand how I feel... Give this one to me. Let me take care of its punishment. In return, I'll let you stay in this house, where there is real food and real water. Do we have a deal?" Kazuha was close enough to see his face clearly. His kind, gentle smile sat on his face, just as it always had. His eyes, however, told a completely different story. They were serious and intense, threatening the man to accept his offer.
The room was silent except for the rain that fell outside—the rain that had once been so loud and comforting, now only a whisper compared to the suffocating tension in the air.
My jaw was suddenly released and the knife retracted from my neck. The man shoved my body forwards and pushed me into Kazuha, who protectingly wrapped his arm around my waist and placed his hand on my shoulder.
"A-alright. As long as you promise me this house won't disappear once you leave, I'll let you take that one." He was looking around paranoid, like he expected the walls to collapse after releasing me.
Kazuha pulled me up to stand with him, holding my wrist with feigned strength. "You have my word."
He wasted no time swiftly rushing me out of the bedroom. The second I made it through the doorway, a massive weight fell off of my shoulders and the air became breathable once again. Now that we were in my living room, I could see the source of the loud "crack!" from earlier. The front door was busted open, broken from its hinges, letting moonlight and rain pour through.
Kazuha took long steps through the room, splashing in puddles from his haste. He dragged me along with him until we were through the ruined doorway and out of the house entirely.
Thunder boomed in the distance and rain instantly drenched us. Kazuha turned partially towards me, a serious expression on his face.
I barely realized what he said before I felt a strong force pushing my back. I gasped and did as he ordered, jumping along with its momentum. My body was thrown against Kazuha's. Our chests were flush against each other and my thighs wrapped around his sides. Kazuha had picked me up by the waist with one arm in order to carry me. His other arm was supported underneath my legs.
I felt like I had to say something, but the words died off on my tongue. I was still trying to process everything that had just happened inside, let alone whatever Kazuha had planned outside.
His hold on me tightened. Unlike the hateful grip of the intruder, I felt safe and secure in his arms.
"Hold on tight," Kazuha commanded. He began running while holding me, quickly making his way through the forest of trees that surrounded my house. The downpour and leaves crunching under Kazuha's feet were the only sounds made. My adrenaline began to wear off and I felt extremely heavy. Confusion made my head spin and questions raced through my mind. I placed my hands on Kazuha's shoulders, leaning back to look into his face.
"Kazuha! I-That man! He just broke in! I didn't know what was happening until it was too late..." I quickly explained. Words basically began spilling out my mouth before they held any meaning to my brain. "I was just laying in bed and t-then I heard this loud noise! But, before I could do anything, he was already in my room a-and he had a knife!" My voice was shaky and emotional. What a terrible story I had for him this time. Everything had happened so fast. The reality of the danger I was in crushed me all of the sudden now that I knew I was safe. Tears began spilling from my eyes as I gripped his shoulders tighter. "H-he had a knife, Kazuha! I didn't do anything to him but he still seriously t-tried-"
"Calm down, (Y/N)," Kazuha spoke. It was the same gentle, soothing tone he used the day we met, along with every day after that. It was the only tone he ever used with me. This time, its purpose was to console my fear. I felt his thumb tracing over my back. "You're okay now. I promise, I won't ever let anyone hurt you again."
My lip quivered while I looked into his warm eyes. I believed every word he said to me.
The area we were in now was unfamiliar in the darkness. I had been so focused on everything else that I wasn't even aware of where Kazuha was taking me.
"Kazuha... Where are we going?"
"There is a village in this direction, although it is quite some distance away. Please, be patient. I'll get you there as soon as I can."
"So far? Y-you usually stay in abandoned caves and temples, right? Why don't we look for one nearby and wait out this storm?" I asked. I was bruised and tired, but I wasn't in need of emergency care by a long shot.
He shook his head, his wet hair tickling my knuckles. "It's not safe here. Not while we're so close to that man." I frowned.
"Kazuha... I trust you to protect me, though. It's better if we rest somewhere. If he comes looking for us-"
"I won't be able to hold back." He hid his eyes from me by digging his nose into my collarbone. "We will be fine, but if he were to seek us out—if he were to try and hurt you again... He would not be safe from me."
I was speechless. My stomach filled with butterflies as I bounced lightly in his arms. Kazuha continued to run in the direction of the village with no intention of resting. I trusted Kazuha with my life at this point. I knew he would do anything to keep me safe, but the fact he felt so angry at that man gave me a new feeling. My cheeks were hot and my heart ached. He was obviously ashamed of his words and the undeniable truth they held, so I changed the subject.
"He kept calling me a bake-danuki... He looked really rough, covered in dirt and such. He said he had been lost for a few days?" I recalled.
"Mm. I think that was the truth," Kazuha said, "that he was lost in the forest. I don't think it was the bake-danukis doing, though. They aren't malicious creatures the way he made them out to be. Yes, they like pranking travelers, but it's all mostly harmless teasing. He probably was dehydrated and agitated and fell victim to a bake-danuki's prank. Whatever it was, it made him decide to blame his desperate situation on all of them." He readjusted me in his hold, so I wrapped my legs tighter around him in order to be easier to carry. "I was once accompanied by a traveling merchant who fell into a bake-danuki's trap. It disguised as a young woman and offered him shelter and a meal. He didn't listen to my warning and ended up eating leaves and mud instead of real food. Something similar must have happened to that man, which is why he thought you were also a bake-danuki."
I would've felt more pity for the man if I hadn't been caught in the misunderstanding.
"I see," I sighed. It was sad things turned out the way they did. I wouldn't have minded sheltering the man, just as I did with Kazuha. He just wasn't in the headspace to think properly. My head rested on Kazuha's shoulder. "Kazuha... Thank you for saving me. I owe you my life."
He hugged me tight and glanced into my eyes before focusing on escaping the forest around us. "When I got to your house and saw the door broken in, (Y/N)... I was so scared," he confessed. "I thought I was too late, but when I walked in, I overheard that man shouting at you. I wanted to get you out of his grasp the moment I walked in the room, but..." His expression was one of disappointment, directed entirely at himself. "I didn't want you to see me hurt him. I don't want you to think I'm someone dangerous."
My eyes were wide from surprise. I didn't think it was possible to feel any softer for Kazuha than I did at this moment.
"Kazuha, stop for a second."
He listened to my request and slowed his pace before stopping completely. I left his arms and felt my feet touch the wet ground. Kazuha's red eyes were staring down, embarrassed at himself. I gently pressed my hand to his chin, lifting his face to meet my eyes.
"I knew the moment I met you that you knew how to take care of yourself. You don't seem like the type to wear a sword just as an accessory." I laughed. He smiled softly at this.
"No, I suppose I don't."
"Can I tell you a story?" I asked him. He looked confused for a second before he slowly nodded. "Once upon a time, there was a bake-danuki who didn't get along with the other bake-danuki in the forest. The bake-danuki spent a lot of time alone and began to feel lonely. It disguised itself as a human girl, luring any passing humans into its home and playing pranks on them."
Kazuha looked like he was lost. I tried not to laugh and continued my story.
"Eventually, the lonely bake-danuki grew bored of the humans it pranked. One day, however, everything changed. A carefree ronin found his way into the bake-danuki's home. It continued its act as a human girl, but this time, she didn't prank the ronin. The two talked all night, as though they had been long friends. The bake-danuki was truly happy talking to the ronin, who kept returning to her home. The ronin was grateful to the girl and would bring gifts each time he visited..."
By this point, realization had dawned on Kazuha's face.
"All the bake-danuki could think about was the kindness the ronin shared with her, and would eagerly wait for his return after each journey. Once, the bake-danuki had been waiting for the ronin's return in its house when a fox snuck in, attacking her. Just when things looked bad, the ronin returned and rescued her. It's only then that the bake-danuki realizes... she's in love with with the ronin." I looked up at Kazuha, cheeks warm. He had the same light blush coating his cheeks. "There's just one problem, however."
"Oh? And what's that..." He asked.
I chewed the inside of my lip for a second, feeling nervous. "I don't know how the ronin feels about the bake-danuki." We stared at each other for what felt like forever until Kazuha responded.
"Well, it just so happens that I've heard this story before," he said, leaning towards my face. "The ronin feels the same way."
Kazuha's lips smiled against mine as he kissed me. I was beyond happy he felt the same way. The rain never stopped falling around us, trailing down our faces and soaking into our clothes. It was cold and hot all at the same time. I rested my hands behind Kazuha's neck, pulling him closer to me. The way our lips moved with each other felt natural. His body felt like it was always meant to be pressed against mine.
We laughed and kissed in the storm for a bit until we broke away, making our way towards the village once again. The night had been long and scary, but he easily managed to rescue me from my fear. I knew that as long as I was by Kazuha's side, I would be safe. I realized something as we walked together in the night. His stories may have been my inspiration, but the stories we created with each other were by far my favorite.
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