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Gifts of Seid (Chouseishin Gransazer.)
by au is always an option (scifisentai)

Title: Gifts of Seid
Author: scifisentai
Rating: C
Fandom: Chouseishin Gransazer
Genre: Fantasy
Characters/Pairings: Mostly gen, with some Gou/Jin and Naoto/Ryoko if you squint
Summary/Description: Naoto wakes up one morning and his bed has burst into flower. When he wanders out he notices flowers are breaking out everywhere he walks and strangers are falling into each other's arms. Akira is the person first able to tell Naoto what's going on – he has been possessed by the fertility goddess Freya. In order to solve the issue, Naoto must apply for the help of Ryoko.
Author's Note: As Freya was specified for this prompt, the cultural background in this is a mix of both Japanese and Nordic.
Word Count: 6048
Disclaimer: Gransazer belongs to Toho Company and Konami.



Naoto Matsuzaka didn’t ask for much in his life: used to being solitary and relying solely on himself, it was rare for him to ask for help and it had never sat well with him that his rank - eldest son of the Matsuzaka family, rulers of the Tawlon Province and therefore heir until his parents died - meant he needed a personal guard: as a matter of appearance, if nothing else. Fortunately Gou Kamiya, the captain of his guard, was a good man and sensible about things, so Naoto had no - or very little - problem with trusting him to do a good job. Still, while he knew Kamiya and was fairly comfortable around the man, he still wasn’t comfortable asking him for personal things.

However, one thing he did ask for - or would have, had the possibility ever occurred to him - was that his bed not be turned into some kind of garden. He studied the room darkly, taking in the many-coloured flowers strewn around the room as if by some restless toddler throwing a tantrum, wondering how anyone could possibly have got in, done all of this and then left without waking him. Oh, and how they’d got past the guard, he supposed. Well, only one thing for it: he stuck his head out the door just in time to catch a servant heading his way, doubtless for something inconsequential. “Get Kamiya up here,” he ordered. “Now.”

It wasn’t too long before Kamiya knocked on the door before stepping inside. He saluted as a matter of course, but his hand dropped to his side loosely as he stared around the room. “What happened?” he blurted. “Where did all the flowers come from?”

“Excellent question,” Naoto replied shortly. He’d known the man long enough that a certain lack of formality didn’t bother him and under circumstances like these, he didn’t particularly care about hearing lots of ‘my lord’ tacked onto everything. “Find out. And then find out how whoever it was managed to get past the guards.” He didn’t need to add that it could easily have been an assassin who’d let themselves in; by the expression on Kamiya’s face he was already thinking that.

“I’ll get right on it,” Kamiya replied hurriedly, bowing before turning on his heel and striding out the doorway.

***

As it turned out, the flowers in his bedroom were only the beginning, as Naoto soon noticed when they started blooming at his feet as he walked through the corridors to the dining room where his breakfast should be waiting. He stopped abruptly halfway down one corridor and the flowers continued on a couple of steps, then stopped sprouting. Giving the floor a suspicious look, he warily started forward, stopping once more in frustration when the flowers started up again. What on earth was going on? It had to have something to do with the flowers in his bedroom, he knew. Somehow, someway they were connected. He didn’t want to have to talk to the High Priest, because you never got straight answers out of Misonogi, just cryptic statements you were expected to puzzle out yourself, but in this case he might just have to grit his teeth and do it anyway.

He entered the dining room and stalked over to his usual chair, sitting down and trying not to pay attention to the flowers blooming around it. There had to be an explanation for it, he told himself; a nice, perfectly logical explanation that would clear this whole problem up. Flowers sprouting at his feet? it was ridiculous. That kind of thing only happened in old fables that the bards sang for the entertainment of court butterflies.

He picked up his chopsticks and the bowl of rice, but he only got as far as lifting the chopsticks to his mouth before they dropped from his fingers. Across the room, right in his peripheral vision, one of the guards was engaged in a passionate embrace with one of the serving maids, who didn’t seem to be objecting at all. “What is the meaning of this?” he demanded, rising from his seat automatically and the two broke apart, looking dazed and confused but also sappily lovestruck. The maid blushed and bowed deeply before making a quick exit, the skirts of her kimono fluttering around her; the guard for his part straightened up and stared fixedly at the wall, his face almost as flushed as the girl’s.

Naoto muttered a few choice epithets under his breath and forced himself to concentrate on his meal, even though every mouthful was an effort.

***

His morning only got worse: if the flowers hadn’t been bad enough, almost everywhere he went he had people falling into each other’s arms and he would swear that most of them didn’t even know each other, let alone be on such intimate terms with each other. It had to be magic of some kind, Naoto decided firmly; he couldn’t think of anything else that could cause events like these. Unfortunately this just meant he would have to have that talk with Misonogi after all, gods take it.

Heading outside, he heaved a strictly internal sigh of relief when he spotted Kamiya heading towards him across the courtyard, helmet tucked securely under his arm. At least whatever madness was going on hadn’t affected Kamiya, which meant he had one clear thinker to help with everything. “What have you found?” he asked as soon as the man was within hearing distance.

Kamiya winced, then squared his shoulders. “Unfortunately nothing useful. No-one saw or heard anything and none of the wards have been tampered with. Whoever did this, they were very good.”

Which wasn’t what Naoto had wanted to hear. “Have you… noticed anything strange, at all?” he asked carefully. “Anything out of the ordinary?”

“A few things," Kamiya replied warily. "Mostly harmless. Why?”

Naoto pointed down at his feet and the by now expected flowers. He and Kamiya would be having words later as to how the Captain defined 'harmless'.

“Ah,” Kamiya temporised. “I see.”

“And the flowers aren’t the worst of it,” Naoto sighed, waving a hand at the people surrounding them, most of whom, if not all, were locked in clinches of one variation or another. “We’re looking for a magic user, Kamiya.” He hated magic: it was a coward’s way of accomplishing things, receiving gains without putting in the effort such endeavours required. “It’s a curse of some kind, has to be.”

“A curse that… causes flowers to bloom?” Kamiya asked slowly. “Aren’t curses usually more, ah, violent?”

“What else could it be?”

“I have a theory.”

Naoto turned his head to find Akira Dentsuin standing behind him, hands clasped behind his back. The chief Healer also, thankfully, seemed unaffected by whatever was causing this madness. “This theory being?”

“A manifestation of the goddess Freya.”

“Freya,” Naoto replied flatly: he disliked religion almost as much as he did magic. “Since when have you been religious?”

“I’m not,” Akira replied calmly, “but I’ve researched similar cases to this one, out of academic curiosity, you understand, and all of them contained invocations to Freya. The flowers, for example, and the sudden upswing in, ah, licentiousness, both suggest some kind of connection.”

It did fit with the characteristics Freya was associated with, Naoto grudgingly agreed. Who else but a fertility goddess would be associated with things blooming and a lot of people apparently wanting a lot of sex? Freya wasn’t exactly the most chaste of goddesses, after all. And, more importantly, she was also associated with magic. It was definitely worth looking into, in any case.

“Who’s the new High Priestess?” he asked thoughtfully. The former High Priestess - Karin Saeki - had disappeared under unusual circumstances and a new High Priestess had been appointed only a few months ago.

“Ryoko Amemiya,” a new voice drawled, a man he hadn’t seen before appearing behind Akira and leaning against the healer in a melodramatic swoon. “As close to a goddess as a mortal woman can be.”

“Jin,” Akira admonished quietly and the new arrival - flamboyantly dressed in the latest fashions and no doubt one of the court butterflies Naoto so despised - grinned.

“I know, I know. She’d smack me for saying that if she heard me.”

“They’re childhood friends,” Akira said hurriedly. “Ah, forgive me, introductions are in order. Jin Hakariya, may I present you to his Excellency Naoto Matsuzaka.”

“Matsuzaka, huh?” Hakariya noted, with a distinct lack of respect that made Akira wince. “You’re not what I was expecting, my lord.”

Kamiya stepped forward immediately, hand on his sword hilt. “You will apologise for your impertinence,” he stated firmly, pulling the blade out an inch or so. “Or you will answer for it.”

“Mmmm, put the toy away,” Hakariya said dismissively, waving a hand in Kamiya’s direction. “You could hurt someone with that thing.”

“That is the point,” Kamiya replied evenly.

“Wave your phallic object at someone else,” Hakariya suggested, stepping closer. “At someone who might actually be impressed with it.”

Naoto frowned, judging the best moment for him to intervene: he wasn’t too bothered by Hakariya’s irreverence, however he wasn’t about to let a fight break out over it and Kamiya could be hot-headed sometimes.

“If you apologise, I won’t need to.”

About to take the step forward necessary to break the two apart, Naoto’s jaw dropped for the second time that day as the two men, already crowding each other’s personal space, somehow managed to get even closer, the mumbled threats and insults becoming distorted and interspersed between kisses, Kamiya’s hands coming to rest on Hakariya’s hips as the other man tangled his fingers in Kamiya’s close cropped hair. It was only minor comfort that Akira seemed as surprised as he was: staring at Hakariya as if he couldn’t believe the evidence of his eyes.

“Kamiya!” Naoto barked, feeling irrationally annoyed by the captain’s succumbing to this curse or whatever it was. “Stand to attention!”

Kamiya broke away sharply, following the order before his mind caught up with the action, then he blinked a couple of times in confusion before he stuttered something incomprehensible and flushed deeply. He wasn’t the only one either, as Hakariya seemed just as caught off guard, staring at Kamiya as if he’d grown another head, the colour high on his cheeks as he tried to regain some composure. Naoto absently noted that Kamiya must be a better kisser than he would have thought if he could so affect a man like Hakariya in such a manner. He immediately chastised himself for the thought: Kamiya’s personal life was none of his concern, providing it didn’t affect the man’s duties.

“I think a visit to Freya’s temple is in order,” he observed, again trying not to notice how well-kissed the two men looked. “Before things get even more out of hand.”

***

The visit to the Temple of Freya was more fraught than Naoto had expected. Oh, the journey itself was peaceful: this was a peaceful land and the raiders were content to stick to the borders and not venture so far south so the most danger they came across were a few startled wild beasts breaking cover to cross the roads. However, physical danger wasn't what concerned him; what did concern him was that Kamiya - present out of necessity - was unusually distracted for the usually alert and deadly Captain.

He knew why, of course. Jin Hakariya had volunteered his company, declaring an interest in visiting his old friend the High Priestess. Naoto had, naturally, denied permission, but he couldn't forbid the man to ride along the public roads; not without better reason than that the man was annoying, and annoying he was, riding along with the escort and chattering at them about trivialities, with no concern for whether they wanted his company or not. So far nothing further had occurred but the two men hadn't been in such close proximity as before so hopefully, providing there was distance between them, the situation wouldn't deteriorate. Naoto wasn't a praying man, but he was hoping really, really hard that he would find, if not solutions then at least answers when they finally reached the temple the next day.

***


There was, Jin decided, something decidedly wrong about setting up camp for the night. They'd passed a perfectly good inn not that far back and they were a small party, they could easily have spent the night there instead, but no. No, they had to carry on a few more miles and then camp out in the middle of nowhere, with none of the civilised amenities of an inn. Matsuzaka’s idea of course, and the man was very clearly someone you didn’t cross, so when he said you were camping, you were camping and that was it. With what he’d seen of the man so far, it didn’t surprise Jin at all that he would prefer the opportunity to spend the night like this, rather than in an inn but it was hardly fair on those of the group who preferred having conveniences like toilets and hot water and relatively decent beds. One thing was for sure, Mutsuzaka wasn’t like any noble Jin had ever met through his line of work, although admittedly usually he was designing clothes for the wives rather than the husbands.

Not for the first time that day Jin thought that maybe inviting himself along on this journey might not have been his brightest idea ever. Matsuzaka had made it clear that he wasn’t welcome and while he could ignore that to a certain extent it did make for awkward travelling conditions. He didn’t even know why he’d invited himself along in the first place. It wasn’t as if the lord of the province needed his help in getting an audience with Ryoko, who was a lot harder to get hold of now that she was High Priestess, and there was a faint chance that Ryoko was still annoyed with him over that teeny, tiny, minor, negligible really incident a few years ago. And it didn’t have anything to do with Matsuzaka’s personal guard either, which was a lot easier to tell himself when there was some distance between himself and Captain Kamiya.

Ducking out of his tent, Jin thought that maybe some fresh air and the chance to stretch his legs might shake off some of the restlessness that had been creeping up on him all day. While not religious per se, Jin had always felt a certain affinity for Freya, even before Ryoko went into the Order, and if queried on his deity of choice there was no question who his answer would be. However, that did not mean he was enjoying Her joke at his expense: Gou Kamiya had been playing on his mind all day, after that… incident and he hated feeling that he was being pushed into something. Folding his arms across his chest he stared sulkily at the tree-line, trying to ignore the direction his thoughts were wandering in. Okay, so maybe he wasn’t the most devout person ever, that shouldn’t set him up for this kind of confusion, right?

Sighing in both frustration and resignation - after all, who could expect to argue with a goddess and win? - he turned away from the trees and back towards his tent where his hard, uncomfortable bedroll was waiting for him. He’d only taken a few steps when he bumped into someone going in the opposite direction and, stumbling, he reached out automatically to steady himself. It was then, naturally, that he realised he had a tight grip on the arm of none other than Gou Kamiya, captain of Matsuzaka’s personal guard and instrument of Freya’s humour at his expense. Kamiya’s face was mere inches away from his, his eyes wide in surprise, seemingly as caught off guard as Jin himself.

“Sorry,” Kamiya apologised stiffly and Jin inclined his head briefly in acknowledgment, fully expecting the man to pull away - they hadn’t exactly got off to the best start, after all, even before... that - so when Kamiya didn’t budge it left Jin a little nonplussed. Well, he’d be moving out of the man’s way anyway, right, because he was heading back to bed. Really, he’d be moving any moment now. Any moment now. He wasn’t thinking about how it had felt to kiss the other man this morning, how maybe it would be okay to do it again; he wasn’t thinking about close the other man was, still caught fast in Jin’s grip, and his heart definitely wasn’t beating faster due to being in such close proximity. Really, he was going to move any second now.

“Captain!”

They both jumped, breaking apart at the sudden call, the moment - or whatever you wanted to call it - completely broken. Not that anything had been going to happen, because it hadn’t. Kamiya muttered something Jin couldn’t quite make out, then gave him a brusque nod before turning away, heading in the direction of the shout, disappearing into the darkness within seconds. Muttering a few imprecations of his own, Jin stomped back towards his tent, even more out of sorts than he had been before he’d come outside.

Ryoko would know what to do, he reminded himself firmly, gingerly lowering himself down onto the bedroll. Or at least he hoped she would, because this was getting frustrating.

***

When they finally arrived at the temple it was in the middle of the afternoon and Naoto was definitely beginning to feel the heat pressing down on him, leaving him looking forward to refreshments. It had eased his mind somewhat that Kamiya and Hakariya had been studiously avoiding each other all day: at least he didn’t have to worry about them distracting each other at what might be a critical moment. It didn’t mean he wasn’t curious about what had prompted the avoidance but he wasn’t about to ask: it was bad enough that he still seemed to be sending people into each others’ arms simply by riding past them. But they were here, finally, so maybe once they’d freshened up a little bit some answers would be forthcoming.

He ignored the stares - he’d become accustomed to people watching him over his time as the lord of Tawlon Province - but he was acutely aware of the flowers still springing up around him as he walked and there was the occasional couple falling all over each other: apparently even in the heart of Freya’s temple the people weren’t immune to whatever this thing was. His attention was caught by a young woman walking towards him and if it hadn’t been for the fact that her robes were of higher quality and a little more elaborate, he would have taken her for an acolyte.

“That’s Ryoko,” Hakariya murmured just behind him, confirming Naoto’s half-formed suspicion. It was also interesting, he noted, that for all his professed friendship Hakariya was being very subdued. Maybe it was nothing more than seeing an old friend so suddenly elevated - formal vestments didn’t exactly encourage familiar greetings - but it could just as easily be something else.

“Lord Matsuzaka, I would assume,” was the polite greeting, followed by a thoughtful look as the High Priestess studied him briefly. “So you’re the one. You’re not exactly what I was expecting.”

She'd known, he realised, caught off guard. She'd known what was happening to him even before he'd arrived, possibly even before it had happened. It made him wonder what else she knew. “What were you expecting?” he asked bluntly and she raised her eyebrows at him.

“A woman,” was the prompt reply. “In all of our recorded history there hasn’t been a man chosen by Freya for these manifestations.”

“This has happened before?” he asked sharply, hope building rapidly. “Do you know how to stop it?”

“There are certain ceremonies,” the priestess replied noncommittally. “Ah, forgive me for keeping you out in the sun, especially after your journey. If you would care to follow the Sister here refreshments will be provided for you and your escort.”

A young woman just behind the High Priestess shyly introduced herself as Sister Ai and gestured towards a building that looked blessedly cool and while Naoto was disappointed that precious little information had been forthcoming thus far, he was also glad of the opportunity to get out of the sun and cool down a little. There was a table just inside, with glasses set out for all of them and two jars of water placed in the middle so they wouldn’t run out before everyone had drunk their fill. Whatever else the Order might be, they had an efficiency that Naoto approved of.

The only person who didn’t follow them inside immediately was Hakariya and Naoto could see the pair standing outside having what looked like an awkward conversation. Well, again, it was none of his business, so he returned his attention to the meal laid out for them. If Hakariya missed this it was his own fault. Still, he would admit that the High Priestess wasn’t what he’d expected either: for one thing she was younger than he’d expected, possibly even younger than his own 27 years of age, and it was something of a surprise that such a cool and elegant woman would be Freya’s High Priestess. On the other hand, magic was another facet of the goddess so maybe Ryoko Amemiya was more of a mystic, representing a different face of Freya than the more familiar one.

***

There were no more answers forthcoming that day, which was beginning to push the boundaries of Naoto’s patience. He had no doubts that his brother Makoto would keep things running smoothly in his absence, however he didn’t appreciate being given the run-around, which was essentially what was happening. If he didn’t know better he’d swear Her Eminence High Priestess Ryoko was leaving him cooling his heels just to prove she could. Still, if she was, she was wasting her time: he already knew that as far as rank counted for anything in this situation they were, for better or worse, equal.

He also didn’t appreciate the waiting around because it left him with nothing but time to think about the ‘certain ceremonies’ he was expected to go through, and the more time he had to think about it the more he didn’t like it: Freya was a fertility goddess, after all, so he had a pretty good idea he knew what ‘certain ceremonies’ implied and he’d be damned if he just agreed to that without a fight.

***

“No,” he said firmly the following day, as one of the sisters of the order - not one he’d met before - started explaining what would be expected of him in the coming ceremony. “Absolutely not.” Gods, he’d just known it would come to this. Well, be damned if they expected him to just… perform like that, because it wasn’t happening.

“I thought you might say that.” Naoto didn’t jump, but only by sheer force of will: Ryoko Amemiya had a talent for appearing when - and where - least expected. This time she was standing in the doorway to his room, looking faintly amused. “There is another option which may be more to your liking,” she continued. “If you’d like to come with me?” Phrased as a question it was more a summoning than anything else and a tactic Naoto was familiar with, even if it wasn’t one he tended to use himself.

“Kamiya,” he said quietly and the captain nodded once, attention alert, at least for the moment. They followed the High Priestess through the corridors of the guest house until they reached the open meadow, which was currently in the process of being decorated with brightly-coloured banners as if for a fair or celebration.

“Amemiya,” he growled, not caring if he was treading all over protocol and courtesy by referring to her as such.

“Matsuzaka,” she replied coolly, not missing a beat.

“What is all this?”

“For the ceremony.”

“I already told you I won’t--”

“Yes,” she interrupted, “that was clear. Also expected, so I made alternate arrangements.”

Oh. “What kind of alternate arrangements?” he asked suspiciously, eyeing the festivities warily.

“As you know, fertility is only one aspect of our goddess,” Amemiya began. “There are others.”

“Magic,” Naoto replied with distaste but Amemiya nodded.

“Magic is one, yes. And the other?”

Other? Naoto racked his memory trying to drudge up the answer but nothing sprang to mind. Well, he’d never been religious anyway. “Don’t remember.”

Amemiya’s eyebrows rose slightly but she smiled anyway. “I’m not surprised. It’s her least-known face, after all.”

“This face being?”

“As you may be aware, the dead that fall in battle go to Odin. Correct?”

“I suppose.”

“As does everyone. However, everyone is mistaken: of those who fall in battle only half go to Odin, the other half goes to…?” She left the sentence hanging for Naoto to finish himself.

“Freya?” he replied warily as they approached a roped-off area in the middle of the meadow: it was the obvious answer and therefore he distrusted it.

“Exactly,” Amemiya replied, ducking under the rope. “Which is where this alternative ceremony comes in.”

Naoto thought he should probably see where she was leading with this but his mind was still drawing blank.

“The ceremonies require certain… fluids,” Amemiya continued. “And in most cases they are obtained as you would expect.”

“But not all cases?”

“No; although the last time the alternative was chosen was over two centuries ago.” Amemiya nodded at one of the sisters who handed over what looked like a katana, although from this distance Naoto couldn’t tell how well honed it was. “In situations such as these blood is considered an acceptable offering.” She handed the sword over to him, hilt first. “I assume this is more to your liking?”

It was. Naoto hefted the blade, checking the balance and the weight and decided that it would suffice: he noted with some surprise that the priestess was doing the same with another blade. “You know how to use a blade,” he commented and she graced him with the first genuine smile he’d seen, none of the distant politeness in evidence.

“I do,” she agreed, and now Naoto was beginning to understand why she wasn’t wearing her formal robes. “I was hoping you’d choose this ceremony.” She quirked an eyebrow in his direction. “Nothing personal.”

Naoto nodded slowly, feeling obscurely affronted for some reason.

“We still have some time before they finish preparations,” Amemiya said, studying the scene around them. “I suggest you make any preparations you wish while you still can.”

Somewhat mollified Naoto gave her a curt nod and turned on his heel, striding back in the direction of the guest house and the few belongings he’d brought with him. Whatever else he would have to endure for this to be over, a duel was infinitely preferable to the alternative.

***

"First blood," the main judge - a priest of Odin and therefore, in theory, a neutral - reminded them. "Begin."

As it turned out, Ryoko Amemiya not only knew how to use a sword, she was damn good with them, as Naoto found out rather quickly; he'd already known not to underestimate her but maybe he'd been doing it a little bit anyway. Only a little bit though, and the last vestiges of that rapidly faded as she constantly sought to sneak the blade past his guard: Naoto knew he had a lot of raw power as well as skill, but Amemiya was fast and he pitied the poor fool who ever went up against her for real because she was dangerous enough as it was now.

Her eyes gave nothing away as her blade darted in and out again so he concentrated instead on the movement of her shoulders and upper body, looking for the tell-tale signs of which way she'd go next. It wasn't much help. He wondered where exactly she'd learned to fight so well without giving away too many signals.

He hissed sharply as the blade sliced into his arm just before his sword found its way through Amemiya's guard, the blood dripping to the floor and reluctantly he lowered the blade. Well, he conceded, as celebrations for the completion of the ritual began, while he didn't like losing there was no shame in losing to someone as skilled as Amemiya had proved to be: she was a truly formidable woman.

"Good match," he congratulated her and she smiled, inclining her head.

"You too."

"It's definitely over now, though, right?" he asked cautiously, deciding it would be wiser not to comment on her beginning to fix up his arm, with bandage that had seemingly appeared out of nowhere.

"It might take a minute or two," Amemiya replied gravely, the corners of her mouth twitching slightly as she tied off the bandage, giving her away. "But otherwise, yes. It's over."

"Good," he sighed. "It was getting tiresome." He looked around and was startled to find Kamiya had disappeared. A quick search revealed Hakariya was also missing. He sighed again. "They have no excuses this time."

***

Jin yanked Kamiya into his room and slid the door shut behind them, ignoring the outraged complaints about Kamiya feeling like his arm was being pulled out of its socket and shoved the guy against the wall. With his hands resting against the wall, one either side of Kamiya's head, Jin glared at him. "Just so we're clear," he said firmly, trying not to be too distracted by having Kamiya in this position and all the potential the situation had. "I don't like being pushed into things. By anyone." Even into things like this, especially into things like this. Even if it was by a certain goddess who'd been very good to him up to this point, minor niggles aside. Although personally he thought She was still interfering to some extent because Kamiya hadn't yet made the slightest move to get away, and while Jin knew his fighting abilities were moderately okay, Kamiya was the personal guard of the powerhouse that was Naoto Matsuzaka: there was no way the man wasn't going to be an excellent fighter and more than capable of discouraging certain attentions.

"Then why are we here?" Kamiya asked calmly, and Jin thought it was probably just his imagination that the man seemed to be waiting for something. Or then again, maybe it wasn’t: Kamiya hadn’t exactly been hard to read so far, why would that have changed now?

Jin paused, weighing up his options and decided that if he'd come this far he might as well go the rest of the way. "To see if we can actually do this without being manipulated into it, that's why." The irritating haze that had always come over him in the other man's presence, making it impossible to think clearly beyond the urge to get the guy into bed nownownow, was gone, thankfully, but the attraction had remained and he was more than a little curious to see how this could work out. Kamiya-willing anyway.

Kamiya seemed to be giving it some serious thought, which was something of a relief. If he said no... well, if he said no, then that was that, because there was no way that Jin would be able to change his mind. At least in the short amount of time they had left, anyway, because no doubt Matsuzaka would be out of here first thing in the morning and he wasn't sure his pride would let him follow Kamiya all the way back to Matsuzaka's place without a definite yes in there somewhere. From what little he knew of the man so far, Jin had concluded early on that Kamiya was possibly one of the most stubborn people he’d ever met, and that was saying something. If he was going to change Kamiya’s mind on something, he wanted plenty of time to work on it; time which he currently didn’t have, so when Kamiya met his eyes squarely, Jin tried not to feel too hopeful, because there was still time for this to go completely wrong and--

"Alright," was the only answer he got - well, the only physical answer - but, strange though the thought might be, Jin thought that kissing Kamiya was a lot more fun without divine prodding.

***

It was with a deep sense of satisfaction that Naoto saddled up his horse for the journey back home: so far this morning there were no signs of flowers blooming at his feet and there had yet to be so much as one couple flinging themselves at each other as he passed them. Things were definitely looking up. Now if Kamiya would just deign to show himself... ah, there he was. Looking decidely rumpled, although he was remedying that even as he walked over towards the stable.

"Not sleep?" Naoto asked blandly, suppressing a smile as Kamiya started babbling apologies and explanations and Naoto wasn't at all surprised when Hakariya's name came up. "Just... don't let him be too obnoxious," he sighed, waving a hand to silence the man. Kamiya blushed and nodded hurriedly before starting to ready his own horse for the ride home.

Movement out the corner of his eye attracted Naoto's attention and he turned to find Amemiya Ryoko standing in the doorway. "That eager to get rid of us?" he asked with a faint smile and was rewarded with a laugh.

"Not at all. I just came to see if you needed anything for your journey back."

"Not that I can think of," Naoto shrugged, wincing a little as the cut on his arm twinged. It hadn't been that deep, all things considered, but that didn't mean it didn't sting like the blazes. "But thank you for the, ah, alternate ceremony."

Amemiya shrugged in turn. "My pleasure. I wasn't entirely sure you'd decide you wanted to do it the other way."

Naoto felt his cheeks heating and for some inexplicable reason he could no longer look Amemiya in the eye until he regained some composure. "That's private," he muttered. "And you--"

"Oh, not necessarily me," Amemiya interjected. "We could have just left you alone with some earth and your hand, but," she grinned, an impish grin that seemed very incongruous with the reserved woman she'd been until now, "this way was more interesting."

Naoto blinked a couple of times, then found that no, he still didn't know what to say to that. Amemiya Ryoko was definitely a lot more sneaky than he'd thought and he'd already had a healthy amount of respect for her deviousness. No wonder she and Hakariya were friends. And speaking of which, there he came, sidling in, bag slung over his shoulder. He seemed to have picked some discretion up from somewhere, though, as there was nothing, not even a hint of impropriety, as he readied his horse next to Kamiya.

"Please feel free to visit whenever you wish," Amemiya continued, and there was that smile again, the sweet one he was beginning to associate with Amemiya at her sneakiest. Unfortunately he had no idea what was going on inside her head, what was prompting such an invitation. "Oh, and one thing I'd like you to keep in mind?" Just like that the smile was gone, replaced by a genuine seriousness. "Magic isn't what you think. There might come a time when you'll need it."

"Unlikely," Naoto replied stiffly. Hell would have to be freezing over before he'd consider using magic beyond the protection wards that came with his home.

"Just... keep it in mind, that's all." Amemiya gave him a weary smile, then the High Priestess mask snapped firmly into place as she smiled impartially at all of them. "Freya guide you safely home."

There came the quiet sound of automatic responses from his men before Amemiya turned and left the stable, leaving them to make their final preparations. It was only when they were several miles from the temple that Naoto remembered one of the other abilities Freya was known to have: the gift of prophecy.

Comments

Posted by: Ilthit (ilthit)
Posted at: July 22nd, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
joy!

*claps* :D You're the first to actually write a scenario! I don't know the fandom at all but I looked through the Wikipedia page and read it anyway. It tickled me pink to see how it played out. Very nice!

Posted by: au is always an option (scifisentai)
Posted at: July 22nd, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
earth tribe

Seriously? I'm the first? *grins* That's a first in itself. I actually really enjoyed writing for this and the research was fun in and of itself as well. And I'm glad you enjoyed it, even without knowing the fandom. :)

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