Fallen (Part II)
Story: Legend of the Willow
Pairing: Kazu x Mei
Genre: Fluff with a dash of angst and by dash I mean whatever happened to the powerpuff girls
Word Count: 1870
Summary: Mei and Kazu recover from the final battle and exchange some important words
Tags: @dizzzy-hurrricane @lazypartridge @somin-yin @keviriass @gyushik @krishu213 @kiara-36 @yoheyyosup @nishas-paradise
All I’m gonna say is that I think I would cry if Kazu is actually this sappy in canon 🥲 please someone tell me if this is more fluff than angst or if it’s more angst than fluff (or even if I need to tag this spicy??)
IMO, it’s super soft and slightly angsty.
Mei felt warmth trickle into her body before she was fully awake. Stirring, she fought against the lull of sleep and slowly opened her eyes.
The first thing she noticed was Kazu sitting on the floor next to her with his legs crossed and his eyes jolting open from the subtle noise she had made. Sunlight crossed them both, but it more clearly illuminated Kazu’s dark eyes and eyelashes. She could see faint dark circles under his haggard eyes.
They stared at each other, neither of them able to break the fragile silence until Mei croaked out, “You look like you didn’t sleep.”
Kazu’s entire face relaxed into a wry smile. “How could I when you hadn’t awoken yet?”
Mei frowned and tried to sit up, wincing at the soreness around her abdomen. As much as it was heartwarming to hear that from him, she was concerned about him too. “Are you okay? And the others?” she asked, her mind starting to recalibrate.
The last thing she had remembered was lying and bleeding on the ground while Takao healed her. Before that, she had weakened the gatekeeper — where was the ryoge now? Was Masamune alright?
“Selfless one, think of yourself first,” Kazu grimaced as he helped her adjust comfortably. After he seemed satisfied that she wasn't in any more pain, he sat beside her on the bed.
She reached for his hands. “Please,” she said, pleading with her eyes. “We didn’t…lose anyone, did we?”
The ninja exhaled, studied her face, and replied, “The gatekeeper will bother this realm no more. Our friends made it…but you almost didn’t.” His face distorted with the last part, and Mei could almost feel hints of despair seep into the air. “I thought I was going to lose you,” Kazu whispered, swallowing quietly and then clenching his jaw.
Her heart throbbed at the pure emotion echoed in his beautiful voice. Given how distraught he was now, although he was doing a decent job of trying to mask it, she knew that she had been close to death.
How fragile life was. How close she had been to losing him, to him losing her. The thought almost devastated her enough to weaken her, and had she been standing, she might have needed to sit down.
“Never,” Mei replied quietly, her voice shaking with pure promise. She brushed the edge of his hand with her thumb, watching him close his eyes. “It would hurt me more to leave than to fight to stay alive.”
He brought her hands up to his lips, kissing the back ever so gently. “You did so well,” he murmured after letting her hand drop. “But I fear I may lose years off my life if you were to ever do that again.”
“Then you understand how I felt when you decided to sacrifice yourself at the shogun’s palace,” Mei responded quietly. “How worried I was. Fearful.” Wondering if she would ever get the chance to tell him that she loved him.
“It was the right decision,” Kazu affirmed. “As was yours.”
As much as she wished that neither of them would ever have to make such difficult and dangerous decisions again in the future, it would be nearly impossible to avoid given his profession and her identity.
Neither of them were naive enough to promise or expect anything more than to try their best.
Shifting closer, Kazu rested his forehead against hers and she immediately felt cocooned by his warmth and presence. Their breaths mingled together but they stayed still and enjoyed each other’s essence, the fact that they were both alive and had survived the long-awaited battle. Mei’s heart felt ready to burst from tender feelings.
She lifted her chin, trying to look him in his eyes.
“Kazu,” she said softly. His serious and dark eyes seemed to mirror her thoughts. Hypnotizing.
As usual, it almost seemed as if he read her mind, because he patiently responded, “Do not force yourself to say anything you don’t want to say or aren’t ready to say.”
Mei shook her head. For once, he had not completely read her. She needed to say it; her heart was trying to escape her chest and she felt like she wouldn’t be able to rest until she told him. After everything they had gone through together thus far, how could she not?
Reaching up to caress his jaw and cup his face, angling it toward her, Mei simply said, “I love you.”
She let the words hang between them, let them seep into the air and slowly make their way to the love of her life. She did it. Finally. Actions were worth more than words to her, but words were still important, especially when those words were backed with actions.
Kazu’s eyes closed for a long second, but when they opened, a bright, gentle smile accompanied them. His entire face seemed lighter.
“I love you too.”
If kitsune could fly, she strongly believed she would be from his softly, but still confidently, spoken words. Mei could barely process her emotions, only that she knew she loved him, the man that believed in her from the start, the man that supported her along her journey and gave her the space to make her own choices at her own speed.
Even if he hadn’t echoed her words back to her, she knew his heart. His actions spoke louder than anything.
Still, it was a relief, a blessing, to hear those treasured words come from him.
A smile spread across her face. “I love you Kazu,” she repeated. Emboldened by the words they shared, she started stroking the side of his face, smiling wider when he leaned into her touch. She could already feel her cheeks ache from smiling so much, and there was no need to hide under any masks or personas.
No, she was free.
Kazu leaned closer to claim her lips with his own. “I love you,” he breathed between kisses. Slowly and torturously, he moved his lips toward her jaw and then down toward her neck, causing her to release a sharp gasp. Mei reached out to touch him, only to be intercepted by his hands.
“Another time, dear one, when you are completely healed,” he whispered. “Let me take care of you.”
Mei might’ve teared up at that statement had Kazu not immediately followed up his words with a kiss at the hollow of her throat.
When she let out a small whimper, he paused. She immediately understood why. From all the previous times they had made love, he had always been attentive to her needs, always watching her reactions and offering her a chance to stop. With her still healing, she knew that he would be more careful and observant than usual.
“Don’t stop,” Mei whispered.
Easily, he obliged. He shifted the collar of her robe, trailing his lips across her collarbone to her now-bared shoulders.
She ached. Yearned. Burned for him. The only point of contact between them was his mouth on her sensitive skin and it was driving her mad.
As if he had read her mind and decided to use that information to tease her more, he used his fingers to brush her hair away from her shoulder and gently trailed them down her body, adeptly avoiding the bandages on her abdomen.
Her toes curled when his mouth reached her chest, which rose up and down quickly. Had she not been distracted by Kazu’s attention, she imagined the tension in her body would cause her wounds to flare — instead, only her desires did.
His nose traced the path where his mouth was just moments before, and his stray strands of hair tickled the side, enhancing every touch and motion and making her head spin.
“Mei,” his husky voice groaned as he devoured her.
Floating — that’s what she felt like she was doing. And she could only tether herself by holding onto him. Her eyes closed, and she didn’t even realize she was biting her lip until she felt Kazu’s fingers brush over her lips, guiding her mouth to open.
“Beautiful one, don’t stifle yourself,” he murmured. Her eyes opened just in time to see him rise back up to her face and kiss her mouth.
After he pulled back, she could see how affected he was too, uneven breath, flushed face, reddened lips and all. Looking closer, his dark irises were devoured by his even darker pupils, drawing her in.
Suddenly, he stiffened and quickly readjusted her robes to cover her skin. Before Mei could even be confused for too long, she heard a soft knock on the door. The unexpected sound was enough to shock her out of her lovesick haze.
By the time the door opened and Grandpa Chongan came in, Mei and Kazu were sitting further apart. Kazu kept his eyes on her, but she couldn’t make herself look at Grandpa Chongan, or even Kazu, for too long without feeling extremely embarrassed. Still, it would be rude to not acknowledge or address him.
“Sir,” she greeted and dipping her head, hoping her face wasn’t flushed and completely betraying what had just happened.
“Kazu, I thought I told you to go rest. Your wounds don’t appreciate you sitting here day and night,” Grandpa Chongan grumbled.
Mei threw Kazu a sharp glance. He was injured too? And didn’t tell her? He had hidden it so well too, reminding her of when they had first banded together, when he had run undeterred throughout the forest while carrying her in her fox form for long enough to evade the guards all while injured. How things have changed — and how they also haven’t.
But she knew him well enough now to know that he didn’t want to worry her, and given that she remembered him carrying her across the battlefield, his wounds were probably less severe than hers.
Nevertheless, it was hard to stay mad at him when just moments ago, he had told her he loved her and then proceeded to turn her into a puddle.
Kazu gave her a wry smile, leaned forward and dared to give her one last kiss on the forehead in front of Grandpa Chongan. Mei blushed again, more furiously this time. He was being more audacious and public with his affections, even though their relationship wasn’t entirely a surprise to anyone in the village, least of all Grandpa Chongan.
The ninja stepped back and started walking away, only to get bopped in the shoulder by the old healer, who tsked at him with a small scowl. “One patient disturbing the other when both of you still need to heal.”
Wisely, Kazu didn’t argue back but he left with a smug, feline smile on his face, closing the door behind him.
Grandpa Chongan sniffed indignantly but softened his expression when he turned to Mei. “How are you feeling?”
Mei returned a genuine smile, thinking less of her physical conditions and more of her emotional ones. She and Kazu loved each other, made each other stronger. Her injuries, which had been taken care of by multiple people already and most likely what Grandpa Chongan was asking about, paled in comparison
“I’m feeling lovely.”
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