Piffle, yes, but superior piffle. (hardlyfatal) wrote,
Piffle, yes, but superior piffle.
hardlyfatal

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Blue Heaven, chapter 3

Not betaed. This chapter takes a slightly more adult turn than the previous two, but Hana's still batshit insane.

Chapter 2 was here.

“When Whippoorwills Call”


“Why are you going so crazy making dinner?” Kyou asked, puzzled at the vast array of ingredients spread over every surface of the kitchen. “I thought the rat was out with Uotani today, working on the project.”

“He is,” Tohru confirmed. “I’ve invited Kasuma-sensei to dinner tonight!”

He blinked, surprised. “That’s great! But why? What’s the occasion?”

“It’s normal to have one’s in-laws over for dinner.” She blushed profusely and turned away, furiously beating at a bowl of tempura batter. “And I know it’s been a while since Kyou-kun has seen Kasuma-sensei outside of the dojo, so I thought it would be good.”

Kyou felt a dense tangle of emotions at her words: surprise and pleasure at seeing his father-figure, gratitude for Tohru’s thoughtfulness, and the familiar swamping sensation of affection he got whenever she did something nice for him.

Thoroughly unable to express even a fraction of any of it, he jammed his hands in his pockets and mumbled, “Want me to help cook?”

Tohru’s face lit up. “Sure!” she replied cheerfully. “You can make the onigiri! You’re so good at it, after all.”

Flushing, he took his place at the counter and took up a handful of rice, beginning to form it into the customary triangle.

Side by side, they worked companionably. Tohru was truly a whiz at cooking, effortlessly juggling a dozen different recipes and preparations at once.

“I imagine this is what it’s like when you really are married,” she confided in him after a while. “Helping each other, enjoying each other’s company.”

She didn’t seem to know what she was saying, what the implications could be taken as, but Kyou was acutely aware. If they were really married, though, he wouldn’t feel so stupid and embarrassed about it all, and he especially wouldn’t be so nervous and sweaty just by standing next to her, shoulders bumping on occasion. He’d be able to bump into her all the time, touch her whenever he wanted, kiss her—

“Kyou-kun, could you get the door?” Tohru asked, jolting him from his reverie. “Someone’s knocking.”

He gulped. “Sure,” he said, a little relieved to have been derailed from that train of thought, and bounded toward the front door. To his consternation, Hanajima stood outside in full funereal garb.

“What are you doing here?” he demanded. She swept by him, her shoes seeming to simply fall away as she barely paused en route to locating her friend.

“Tohru-chan invited me,” she said, her voice and black veil drifting back to him. “It’s only right to extend a hand to bereaved friends in need of comfort.”

“That girl’s a fruit loop,” Kyou muttered to himself, stomping back to the kitchen. “Why’s she here?” he asked Tohru.

The girl flushed scarlet. “Well, I thought that since Kasuma-sensei was coming for dinner, it might be nice if Hana-chan did, too.”

Kyou remembered belatedly how the psychic had previously expressed her interest in his father. “Gyahhhhh!” he shouted. “No, no, no! That’s a terrible idea—“

“Oh, but Kyou-kun--” Tohru protested.

“That is nice,” Hana said, gazing blankly out the window as she removed her veil. Her hair was not braided today and fell, unbound, almost to her waist. “Tohru-chan is always so considerate.”

“She is at that,” Shigure agreed, appearing in the door to the hallway with Kasuma peering over his shoulder from behind, “but what’s all the commotion?”

Kyou fell silent, and Tohru bounded forward.

“Welcome, Kasuma-sensei!” she said brightly, and bowed. “I’m so glad you could come.”

The martial arts instructor looked bemused in the face of such enthusiasm—though as he came to know Tohru better, it surprised him less and less—in contrast to his son’s blustering attitude and sulky expression.

“Thank you,” Kasuma said at last, bowing slightly in return. “It was kind of you to invite me. Shigure told me something about you and Kyou being married.” At this, he arched a dark silver brow. “Did my invitation get lost in the mail?”

Kyou muttered something obscene under his breath and stomped back to the rice balls.

“Ahaha!” Tohru said, a trifle nervously. “It’s just an assignment for school, to prepare us for being married one day. I know it’s been a while since Kasuma-sensei and Kyou-kun have seen each other so I thought a good wife would arrange to have her father-in-law over for dinner.”

“You’re certainly taking your role as Kyou’s wife seriously,” Shigure commented lightly. “Whatever will he do when this assignment is over and you’re back to treating him like a regular person instead of your husband?”

Tohru’s clueless expression said louder than words that she hadn’t considered that, but she wasn’t allowed time to think more deeply about the matter because Shigure was oozing across the room toward Hana.

“And what have we here?” he purred. “One of your lovely friends from school. How utterly delightful to have you join us in this simple repast—“ he gestured expansively at the elaborate feast being prepared around them “—and take advantage of our hospitality.”

“I won’t have sex with you,” she informed him calmly.

Dead silence ensued, broken only by the sound of Kyou choking on his tongue.

“Well,” Shigure said after a moment, “it’s good to get that out of the way from the very beginning.” He patted down his yukata in search of his cigarettes. “I think now’s as good a time as any for a little smoking break, don’t you agree, Kasuma?”

He ambled from the kitchen, cigarette clamped between his lips as he continued his search, this time for a lighter, and Tohru tittered nervously.

“Ahaha!” she said. “Everything’s almost done. Kasuma-sensei, Hana-chan, why don’t you go into the garden and chat while Kyou-kun and I put the finishing touches on everything?”

“A fine idea,” Hana intoned, coming toward him, and to his surprise, tucked her hand into the crook of his elbow to lead him from the room.

“I don’t recall exactly,” Kasuma said, “but we have met before, yes?”

“At the play,” she said once they were standing, somewhat awkwardly in his case, in the garden. “I played the lead role of Cinderella. We met afterwards. But you first caught my attention when you came to the school for your son’s career counseling day.”

“I… did?” Kasuma felt like he was reading a book from the middle, instead of starting at the beginning. “How did I do that?”

“You didn’t have to do a thing. I could feel you.”

That was not what he’d expected to hear from a young girl in his company. Usually they giggled stupidly and tried to discuss the latest teen idols. This Hanajima-san had a gravity about her that was rare for her age.

“You felt me?” It sounded horribly suggestive, and probably illegal. But surely she wasn’t trying to be so forward. He must have misunderstood her.

She strolled languidly around the various boulders of the garden, head cocked at the sound of a bird’s call, and he allowed himself to study her. At first glance, she was unexceptional— typical dark hair and eyes, monotone voice. But as the seconds ticked away he could see that her eyes were fine and intelligent, and her hair had a natural wave to it that suggested it might like to curl around a man’s fingers when he ran them through it.

“Your electric signals,” she elaborated after a moment, not really clarifying anything for him at all. “They call to me in a most delicious manner.” This time, she held his gaze as she spoke, and there was no doubt— even to the insistence of Kasuma’s denial mechanism— of her meaning. Her voice had a sibilance to it that whispered along his spine in a rather worrying manner.

His first response was a rather primal male satisfaction. It was always satisfying, after all, to be shown you were pleasing to the opposite sex. The sensation of mild alarm and blatant disbelief followed swiftly on its heels— this would not do, not at all.

“Are you aware of the difference in our ages, Hanajima-san?” he asked carefully, feeling a tide of relief as Shigure joined them from the house. “I’m thirty years old, you know.”

“Ah,” Hanajima-san said, as if all the mysteries to the universe had been laid bare before her. Which, as a psychic (or whatever she was), most of them probably were. “You are apprehensive because I’m underage.” Her eyes, liquid and deep, rested caressingly on him. “I won’t be eighteen for another fourteen months, but I’m a patient woman. I can wait.”

Kasuma blinked. Clearly, the easy way out would not work with this girl. “Has it not occurred to you that I might already be married or involved with someone?”

“You are not. Your electrical signals are those of a man without emotional ties. Furthermore, you are not even in a meaningless physical relationship— the signals tell me that your libido has gone unsatisfied for quite a while now. At least three years, perhaps as long as five.”

Speechless, Kasuma turned to Shigure. The shoji opened and Kyou stepped out, about to speak but holding his tongue when he saw them already deep in conversation.

“Frankly, I don’t understand your reluctance,” Shigure said breezily, as usual of no help at all. “If I had such a lovely young lady so determined to have her way with me, I would be eagerly accepting her attentions, not trying to convince her of the error of her ways.”

He leered handsomely at her. “And if you happen to change your mind, Hanajima-san—“

Her gaze did not waver from Kasuma. “I will not.”

Shigure sighed theatrically. “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride,” he lamented. “Perhaps someday, there will be a beautiful high school girl to fling herself at me, and then I will accept with abandon—“

“Pervert!” Kyou roared, and pounded him on the head with a fist.

Kasuma put a restraining hand on his son’s shoulder and guided him away from Shigure, determined to get through to this girl the ridiculous nature of her infatuation. “Hanajima-san, you hardly know me. I’m flattered that you find my looks appealing, but there’s no way you can possibly feel any real or lasting—“

“This has nothing to do with your looks, though they are attractive to me,” she interrupted calmly. “I barely noticed your face, the first time I saw you. The Sohmas are a beautiful family, you didn’t stand out at all.”

Kasuma wondered, absently, if he should be insulted.

“No, it was your vibrations that attracted me that day,” Hana continued dreamily, eyes falling closed. “Such a sense of equanimity, of passion tempered with discipline, compassion and affection and a determination to make right what had been wrong.”  She opened her eyes once more, fixing them on Kasuma. “You are a man I can admire and respect as well as desire. That doesn’t happen every day, you know.”

For his part, Kasuma was dumbfounded. He’d never in his life met such a straightforward person— female or not— and he was at a loss as to how to deal with her. More disturbingly, he was finding himself increasingly attracted to her. She was weird as hell, but obviously quite bright. Her forthright nature, uncanny appreciation of his traits— in spite of himself, he had to admit that she’d pretty well nailed him— and, not least, dramatic dark looks were quite a draw to him.

She spoke of desire; her glimmering eyes seemed to be peering right into his soul, and he had an insidious premonitory flash of her beneath him, nude, glorious hair spread out around her head. His belly tightened at the thought in the split second he indulged the fantasy before squashing it ruthlessly.

No, he told himself sternly, none of that matters. She’s only sixteen. It’s out of the question.

She smiled at him. Just a small smile, a tiny quirking of the corners of her mouth, but it made him break out into a sweat like a teenaged boy. She knows, he thought, slightly panicked. She knows.

“I won’t lay a hand on you until you’re eighteen,” he was appalled to hear himself say, vaguely aware of the expression of outright horror on Kyou’s face. “Talking only.”

“That’s fine,” Hana agreed demurely. “So long as my hands can do what they like.”

“Hana-chan,” Tohru interceded at last, having come out to the porch, “Come with me to the kitchen.” Her face was nearly purple at all the innuendo and implications being bandied around.

Tohru fled into the kitchen with Hana following at a far more sedate pace. Her splendid figure was shown to great advantage in the clingy knit of her long, slim dress, which whispered silkily as she passed him. The faint scent of her— gardenia, if he weren’t mistaken— teased his nose and Kasuma felt his throat work helplessly as he swallowed.

“I’m doomed,” he whispered, following her with his gaze as she disappeared through the curtain. He turned to the other men with despair dawning in his eyes. “Doomed.”

Shigure, now seated on the floor, looked distinctly unconcerned. He lounged back on his elbows and grinned foolishly. “Ah, but what a way to go, my friend. What a way to go.”

Chapter 4 is here.
Tags: blue heaven, fic, fruits basket
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