A Quiet Neighborhood
The Suburbs of Osaka
Two Weeks After the First Day of Class
The Osakan suburbs were a gentle, yet neatly-ordered array of houses. The Kagamis lived in the southern area where the air was a bit quieter, and the sounds of tourism didn't pollute the afternoon so much. Everything about this place spoke of a quaint atmosphere, and was a bit more upscale than the childhood home that Miyuki had been brought up in. There was a pleasant aura to the homes that surrounded it, as if there was a spell cast upon it, all the residents were content, and even the weather seemed to bask in the comfort of it all. The sky was a brilliant blue, with cottonball fluffs obscuring the radiance of the sun, making the normally hot Osaka rather comfortable today. Despite all of this, Percival Caxton was sweating bullets.
The Alchemist of Gwynedd was a man of many talents and crafts, reflecting that of a renaissance man in the modern age of magic. Yet, there wasn't a potion or formula in existence that could cure the dread seated in his chest. Miyuki had talked him into reconnecting with her family, all of them. The plans had been made with plenty of time in advance for everyone to welcome him back, but something in the Welshman made it feel like there wasn't going to be much welcome behind the front door. How long would be considered acceptable for a man to suddenly dissappear from a lady's life and suddenly come back out of the blue?
Hopefully, it was at least three years. That's how long Miyuki had waited for him, until her patience ran out and she went tearing into heaven itself to retrieve him. Part of him was only doing this because it would mean alot to Miyuki and the Kagamis to see him. The other part knew it was inevitable if he wanted to keep the Ice Queen in his life. The two were childhood friends, bound together since the moment they met in Nishi-Ku Academy. That high-school was the start of their relationship, not just with eachother, but with magic and all its ups and downs.
After high-school, they had experienced a great deal of tension in their partnership. Miyuki wanted to pursue work and the depth of her magical power, as the world always needed potent evokers. Percival sought to expand his knowledge in the sciences and medicine, gaining a degree in Pharmacy. Because of this, they lived apart, Miyuki helped cultivate Safeholme, growing the school with the others. Percival studied at Tokyo University, moving north to focus on his studies. The two of them promised that they would make it count when they could be together again.
Now, it was time to make good on that.
"Mmngh..." grunted Percy, wrinkles forming on his furrowing brow. Miyuki could feel his hand sweating despite the weather. "... your parents are doing pretty well."
Miyuki squeezed Percy's hand, taking in the much nicer than normal weather. 'Much nicer than the forecast said, by quite a significant amount',she thought, a bit suspicious but not saying anything, though she did glance over at the man beside her with a hint of knowing in her smile.
"My parents are doing quite wonderfully, and they are rather looking forward to seeing you again, in fact, they have been busy preparing the house for your return." Grabbing Percy's forearm with her right hand, Miyuki pulled the man in closer, the apparent physical strength of the fit and atheletic Ice Queen apparent compared to the thin and gaunt Alchemist's rather lacking physique. "Now remember, you are allowed to refer to them as 'Ayame-San' and 'Kin-San', but don't get too familiar with them, since you have been gone for so long. However, simply calling them Mr or Mrs. Kagami would be a bit rude since you have met them several times before." Miyuki led Percival down the street with determination, coaching him on how to act in such a familial situation since it had been so long for him.
Not much had changed from when they were younger, even when he had two arms to tug on, Miyuki had always been dragging him about. The Alchemist had long resigned himself to his fate, then and now, putting on a brave face for her. He tried to nod along to everything that was getting briefed all-at-once, but couldn't seem to shake the uneasiness in his chest. Perhaps everything felt too perfect, as if life would try to snatch away this happy moment if they weren't careful.
The one-armed, severe westerner was quite the sight next to the eastern beauty that drug him along. One would often expect the opposite, or at least expected it a few more years down the line. Housewives turned heads to look at the two as they strolled, a salaryman couldn't help but stare, a few kids watched from the wall.
"Yes, don't walk in with your shoes on, don't stick your chopsticks into your rice," rattled Percy, snapped out of his dread for a moment as a wave Miyuki's enthusiasm, "and especially do not do..."
The woman felt a tug at her arm and a pair of lips kiss her on the cheek, in the broadest daylight imaginable. "... anything like that."
Miyuki turned beet red, and, if it were possible without Riley around, Steam would have come billowing from her ears, as she stopped in her tracks in response to Percy's kiss on her cheek. She blinked a few times, forgetting that the normally meek man was definitely capable of bold acts when he put his mind to it, she took a minute to gather herself.
"Yes, things like... like that." Her cheeks still rosy, the young woman pulled Percy closer into a quick embrace before she finally got back to the task at hand, though this time she pulled on Percy's arm a bit more gently as the came to the vicinity of Miyuki's Parents' house, which in differing from the last time Percy had been to the Kagami residence (Aside from being a completely different house in a different neighborhood) sported a much larger yard and garden, as well as a garage, and a newer black sedan in the driveway, which belonged to her mother, whom had finished her own college and started a career working at a business office downtown.
"Just be sure to be yourself, but also to mind your manners and follow Japanese customs."
"I think all three of those are why I'm worried," sweated Percy, his smug little smile gone from his earlier, audacious act. He took a moment to straighten his collar, having decided to wear a more casual button-up for the occasion. The normal vest and tie would have been a bit much, and he hadn't had many chances to wear anything comfortable lately. Another thought, crossed his mind as he caught sight of the new car. "Is Akihiko going to be here?"
The raven-haired girl shook her head, the well-kept locks shimmering in the sunlight. "No, brother has been busy with his tasks lately, and since he's essentially working for two bosses, coordinating those events takes up all his time. He even had to step down as headmaster of Nishi-Ku in order to keep up with the demands placed on him."
As she explained, she noticed Percy glancing at the car in the driveway, and answered his unasked question, "That is my mother's, she has also finished schooling and begun her career. My Father is on his fourth job since you last met them, but he still has the devil's luck and got hired on as a district manager for an international company, hence the bigger house."
With that, she took Percy through the gate, and walked him up to the door. "Well, then, are you ready?" she asked, motioning to the door.
"No, but" muttered Percy, scowling his face a few times to shake out the intensity in his features. His heart was beginning to beat wildly, but he tried to wave it off. She felt one last squeeze on her hand, before he worked up the courage to take the first step, "I don't think I'd make it too far down the street with you here. So, here we go!"
The welshman pressed the door-bell, feeling that it was the most ominous door-bell ring his ears had ever heard.
A few moments would pass before Percy would hear the sounds of footsteps in the hallway just beyond the door, though they were nearly silent, made by slippers on a hardwood floor, though the sound changed a little as the slippers made contact with the tile of the entryway, and then the door knob made a small noise as someone turned it, and then pulled the door open, revealing themselves to be none other than Miyuki's mother- Resembling her daughter in that uncanny way that Japanese women had a tendency to do, her face looked like Miyuki's, only a couple decades older, and though her body wasn't nearly as fit as her daughter's, they bore a similar overall build and shape, with the excption of Ayame being more than a few centimeters shorter than her child. She bowed, greeting the pair happily before ushering the two of them into the house.
"Ah, Caxton-san, welcome back to Osaka!" Ayame greeted the young man in Japanese, ushering him to remove his footwear and offering a pair of fresh slippers for his use inside the house, which proved to be a simultanously modern, yet traditinally Japanese suburban home, with a main hallway that led to a stairway, with several doors on either side leading to various rooms and spaces within the house. The elder Kagami woman turned, and then announced to the house that Percival-San and Miyuki had arrived, whiched caused another sound to happen. From a door that was possibly the kitchen or living room, judging by the clamoring of pots and pans that preceded the motion, a figure making their way through. Tall for a Japanese man, Miyuki's father appeared, wearing a simple chef's apron and holding a few cooking implements, he waved at the young Welshman, greeting him in a much more casual manner than his wife had.
"Supper is almost ready, so I hope you two are hungry," he announced, with a bit of a smile, "It's good to see you again, Percival-San, we were wondering how long you might be gone studying abroad!"
The man raised his hand to Miyuki's father as he came into sight. He had almost forgotten what his cover story had been for the entire absence: studying in an institution in the United States.
"Kin-san, it's good to see you and Ayame-san in good health, goodness knows that it's been hard to keep up with the air in America," smiled Percy, giving a small excuse for his more haggard state. He was all sunshine and grins, but he hadn't made much movement from the doorway. The new house made him feel a bit uneasy, and furthermore, the use of his last name kept bouncing in his mind. "How have you all been? I'm sorry to say that my studies have consumed my life up until about a few weeks ago!"
He tried not to look nervous, but a sudden clear of the throat gave him away. The man's one hand went tucked behind his back, his smile carefully pinned to his face.
Kin smiled and Ayame blushed a little, acting as though charmed by Percival's words. "I've taken a trip to America before, so I can understand," the Kagami patriarch responded, waving Percy off in a friendly manner. "It will be just a few minutes before I get everything ready. Okaa-San, make sure to get the kids something to drink while they wait, please," he asked of his wife, before disappearing.
Ayame modded at her husband, and then ushered the two into the dining room, which housed a western-style dining table with chairs, which she offered to Percy and Miyuki. "Please, have a seat, I'll bring refreshments in just a moment," Ayame assured them, before likewise heading toward the kitchen. from the dining room, they could see both the living room, situated behind their chairs, and the kitchen, which was visible through an opening in the wall, where Kin was busy preparing some sort of food (The smell of something like a stew or mild curry was wafting in from that direction) While Ayame opened the refrigerator and retrieved a few glasses to fill.
"How are you handling it so far?" Miyuki whispered to Percy, as they sat down.
"I'm nervous. I haven't been this nervous since my Class B exam," Percy answered in a muted hiss, taking his seat next to his partner. He kept switching his eyes back and forth between Kin and Ayame, trying to maintain a careful observation of them both. The Alchemist was never this unsettled, but this wasn't the sort of trial one could study or prepare for. "I think your parents are a bit miffed. Your mum pulled out my last name at the door. Your father didn't come over to shake my hand like he used to."
His fingers seemed to twine with a ghostly hand on the table, the ice still thorughly unbroken beneath his feet. "Not to mention I likely look like a bloody ghost in my current state to them."
Miyuki gave Percy a concerned glance, and then rolled her eyes. "Well, it has been more than three years, and, yes, you do seem a bit ghostly. In fact I think I can see through you you're so pale," she giggled quietly at her little joke, before continuing to whisper to the young man seated next to her. "Just give them some time to get used to you again, it shouldn't take long at all. And beside, they did cook us up a nice meal and here comes my mother with the drinks!"
As Ayame approached, Miyuki straightened up and placed a hand on Percy's forearm, giving him a reassuring squeeze which did not go unnoticed by the watchful Kagami Matriarch, but she did her best to hide any sort of thoughts or reactions she may have had to the gesture.
"Tea is served, and supper will be out in just a couple of minutes," The elder woman announced pleasantly. "How was it that you took tea again, Percival-San? It's been so long I must have forgotten!"
The one-armed man curled his fingers into a fist, before smoothly putting his fist to his chin. A small smile spread on his face, almost laughing at the pleasant jest. Inside he was feeling the small cuts that Miyuki's mother kept handing out. The man gave a look at Miyuki, an evident little spark in the dark parts of his eyes.
"Straight, I was never partial to sugar or cream," answered Percival, quite innocently, his hand rolling on his wrist, "I quite like the taste of it, as is, I always thought that you steeped it just right."
Miyuki's mother blushed, shaking her head as if she was being teased.
"Oh stop it, Percy-san, making moves on the mother while her daughter sits right next to you," she joked, happily pouring him his tea, then doing the same for Miyuki, putting in a couple of sugar cubes for the more sweet-toothed girl. She also poured and prepared two more cups, one for herself and one for Kin, before chiding the younger pair with a quick "Now you two behave and we will all be seated soon." with that, she hurried back over to the kitchen to help her husband make final preparations on the meal.
"Percy-san," the young man repeated in a whisper, looking at little more at ease. There was a small ruffling at his shirt as he pulled the cup to his lips. "I never thought I'd be so happy to hear my own namh--..."
The Alchemist was muffled as he tried to sip his tea, as he was now kissing a head of orange hair. A fiery little sprite poked up out of his shirt, drinking deeply of the tea in the cup. Jakku gave a dreamy little sigh, satiated by the piping hot brew, before she was forced back into the man's shirt with the bottom of the cup. "Little rascal."
Percy-san looked at Miyuki over his tea, the picture of innocence, "You were right, I just needed to relax a bit. I thought they'd be a lot more upset."
Miyuki laughed nervously at Percy's comment, partially because the small fire sprite had suddenly showed her head and nearly been seen, and partially because she had been around when her parents had learned of Percy's disappearance. She had to work quite hard to gloss it over, as well as hide the complete and total lack of communication from the young man.
"Well, you know, my parents are quite understanding people. Besides, you're back now so everything will be alright, right?"
"As long as you're here, it will be," affirmed Miyuki's man, setting his cup down. He gave her another small smile, not trying to be too overt in front of the parents. "I still need to mend a few bridges, but it's best we get around to the most important ones, first. That, and... well... This is may be the least deadly of the reunions I'm going to make."
A burdened sigh rolled off Percival's lips, his shirt ruffled about again, "I'm just happy I can spend a day with you without the world blowing up in the process. I think I missed that part in coming to your parents."
"Yes, well, my parents can't really do much beyond yell and maybe kick us out of the house," Miyuki joked, sipping her own tea as she paused her train of thought. "However there's no reason to test them. Just try to act like a normal person for a little while. I'll admit it does feel nice to be able to come here and just pretend we aren't anything special"
Miyuki's eyes widened a tiny bit as she noticed Percy's shirt ruffling again, and she whispered hurriedly "Did you have to bring her? We don't want my parents seeing anything from our world!"
"Currently, I don't have any way to deal with molten tears beyond catching them with my bare hand, so yes. I did." grumbled Percy, tugging his shirt collar to see two big orange eyes staring back up at him. Miyuki could just barely see the glow from where she sat. "She doesn't feel comfortable staying home by herself just yet, and moreover, she said she felt left-out."
"I'm sorry, Ms. Kagami," whispered Percy's shirt dolefully, "I didn't mean to cause trouble, I thought your parents were magic, too!"
The raven haired woman smiled at the little sprite and whispered to her "It's not your fault, little Jakku, I blame Percy for not treating you right." she giggled slightly, but noticed her parents coming from the corner of her eye and straightened up giving Percy a slightly more than gentle nudge to get his attention. The Alchemist nearly bent one way, much less strapping than his icy counterpart.
"I hope the tea was to your liking," Ayame asked, and without waiting for an answer she continued, "Otou-san has made us his famous Curry stew tonight!" her cheery announcement was followed by the setting down of plates at the table, followed by the pot of stew in case anyone had a healthy appetite and wanted seconds.
"Oh, stop it Okaa-san, it's not actually famous, just something I'm good at cooking," Kin responded to his wife, helping complete the table setting before the two of them sat down. "If everyone's ready, we shall give thanks for the food."
With that announcement, everyone bowed their heads and clapped their hands gently, uttering the traditional Japanese offering of thanks to the spirits "Ittadakimasu!"
The meal carried on in silence for a moment as everyone began to take to their utensils. Percy set aside a small dish to exchange his utensils upon, since he'd only be able to use one at a time. His chopsticks spread and preened into the stew, once he got a portion he thankfully stuck the hearty chunk of pork in his mouth. Then, for the first time in a long time, he felt a warmth that wasn't caused by some supernatural faerie, or the onset of hypothermia, or the false sun of the a ethereal land. In a moment, he felt many years of memories come back with a single taste.
His eyes watered with tears, a burdensome longing hanging heavy in his chest answered in just a moment. Little droplets spattered onto the table before he realized he had began to cry. The man leaned back, wiping the edge of his eyes and breathing hot steam out of his mouth as if to abate the fury of Mr. Kagami's curry.
"Ihhs hawht!" said Percy, trying to play off his sudden show like he had instead burned his tongue. He put on a look of a mild struggle with the heat, before making sure to wipe his eyes again, then getting his bite down. "Phoo! I haven't quite had a home-cooked meal like this in... years... It's very good Kin-san."
"They don't have home cooked meals in America, Percy-San?" Kin asked, chuckling a little bit at the young man's reaction to his cooking. "And you know you're supposed to blow on the stew before you eat it, right?" Ayame would cover her mouth politely as she let out a small giggle as well, which would be mirrored by the younger Kagami woman whom was sitting next to Percy, whom gently elbowed him in the ribs and gave him a bit of a knowing look as she was close enough to see the tears in his eyes and hear the tone of his voice more correctly.
"Well, I think it's more he didn't have anyone to cook those meals for him, as I assume he might have been a bit shorthanded in the kitchen," Miyuki quipped, elbowing Percy a bit more obviously in jest as she made a joke that many might think went too far.
Percy's eyes rolled back as he began to laugh, struggling with his impression of a scalding sensation in his mouth. He wiped his lips with a napkin as he chuckled the rest down, and set the chopsticks down. Much like a tsukkomi in a manzai act, he tapped the girl on the shoulder with his hands, showing that it was all in good spirit.
"Excuse me? My hand is just the right length," Percy rolled his hand on his wrist, chiding Miyuki like a doting husband, "thank you very much."
A tiny, stifled snicker was choked in the Caxton's shirt.
Miyuki's eyes widened a bit as she glanced at Percy's Chest, but thankfully her parents didn't seem to have noticed. She breathed an internal sigh of relief as Ayame and Kin were also laughing at the playful jokes that their daughter and the young man she had brought with her were telling to one another. They had long since been accustomed to Percival's appearance, except of course he hadn't always been so thin and frail looking, and so a joke like this was familiar, if a bit less than tasteful in certain company.
However, they were not that certain company, and seemed content to enjoy the playful back and forth.
"Oh, Percy-San, I see that your studies have not dulled your wits," praised Kin, smiling at the young man. "Being able to make a woman eat her own words is a rare talent, indeed," he jested, recieving a playful smack from his also smiling wife. "All in fun, all in fun!," the man assured Ayame, whom took the chance to hide behind a cup of tea.
"So how are your plans going for your future?" The mother asked, eyeing the younger couple across the table. "Since Percy-San is back from his studies, are we perhaps going to see the two of you finish what you wanted to start back before he left?"
Percival had been in the middle of eating up some of his curry when the question came up, he had been eager to get back to eating. Ever since his return, he had a ravenous appetite, especially for meals like this. Additionally, he was also getting quite a few questions like the one posed by Ayame. Kin always had a habit of dancing around a point to ease into it, whereas his wife was almost viciously to the point. The Alchemist saw a lot of Miyuki in her mother, with only that care-free attitude symbolizing her father.
This time, he was able to get his food down before responding, using the moment or so to formulate a response in his mind.
"I'm glad you brought that up," mentioned Percival, settling his utensils down again, "I've officially finished all of my studies, and I've taken a job as a Chemistry instructor at The Safeholme Institute. That private school that Miyuki-san works at, you know? So, considering that all my financial business is in order..."
The Welshman seemed to play with a proper way to say his next words, and then shook his head, "We don't really dance around the point where I'm from, so I'll be direct about it. I want to marry your daughter, and I was hoping to have your blessing in the matter."
Three sets of eyes went simultaneously wide, as the Kagami family stared in unison at Percival. Sure, they were all expecting this at some point, and had honestly been wondering if it was ever actually going to happen, but, for Percy to say it on their first reunion since his return to Japan, well, it was a bit too much for one of the raven-haired women. Ayame nearly went faint, and leaned over on her husband, whom helped prop her up, momentarily speechless, similar to their daughter, whom was currently staring at Percy, utensils loosely in her hand, the food she had been holding in them back in the bowl from whence it had come.
It took Miyuki only a moment to regain herself, and she cleared her throat, grabbing a napkin to politely wipe off her mouth as well as blot up a small splash of sauce that had found its way onto her shirt.
Kin, still supporting Ayame whom seemed to have come back to her senses but decided to remain leaned against her husband, was the first to speak up. "Ah, It's good to finally hear those words, Percy-San. I was beginning to think that our little girl was never going to get marr-" his words were cut short with a chopstick to the forehead, an embarrased Miyuki fuming next to Percy. "Get on with it, Otou-San" she almost growled, trying to hide her increasingly reddening face.
"Hai, Hai~" Kin responded, in a joking sort of way. He too, cleared his throat and set his wife once again upright. "Percy-San, You have my and Ayame's blessings, though it looks like you might have some more explaining to do to our daughter before you can get on with everything."
"Just making good on a promise, Kin-san," smiled Percival, quite used to being the eye of the storm whenever it came to trouble. In fact, he seemed to be the only one taking the announcement in absolute grace. Even the small lump in his shirt began heating up to an almost unbearable temperature. "Before I left, I gave her my word that I would make up all of the lost time. She's stayed committed, and so have I."
The man eased his hand onto his stomach, catching the fire sprite who was beginning to burn a hole in his shirt. Yet, despite the evident pain, he smiled none-the-less. He seemed to be fanning himself out, by tugging on the fabric, but in reality, he was yanking out the sprite by one of her wings, just out of sight of the parents.
Jakku was as red as a torch and about as hot, she had her hands on her face, hiding her own embarassment.
"The coming months will be very busy, as the school is preparing for some big events, and we have some side-projects that need to be attended to," the Welshman's face hardened as Jakku balled up, still cupping her face. "I don't think we'd get a better chance than now, and I love your daughter very much. She's done more for me than anyone else has ever, and she's waited long enough."
The sprite slipped Percy's grip and hid back into his shirt again, threatening to burn another hole in it. So, the man pressed a hand on his chest, and bowed, "Please forgive a young man's headstrong nature, Kin-san, Ayame-san. I have thought about this for a long time."
Miyuki's mother could only nod along, while Kin continued to speak with the young Caxton. After all, it was the men's job to discuss these matters, even if it was a new society and gender roles were no longer the way they used to be.
"Seems like there is much to be done, then, Percy-San," Kin responded to the young welsh man. "However, I wouldn't rush too much. Take your time where you can. Tonight, let's celebrate, once Miyuki calms down, and complete a nice meal together."
Miyuki, for her part, stayed quiet, glowing a bit red on her cheeks as she stared at the table. if one were to see her face, it would be a smile, though the rest of her expression was enigmatic at best. She put her hand on Percy's thigh and squeezed, first gently but it steadily grew tighter and tighter as she tried to calm herself down so that she could return to reality.
"That's a great idea," the younger man inhaled as if quite taken. In reality, Miyuki was squeezing his leg very tightly, and Jakku had pretty much ruined his shirt up from the hem. He was thankful for having gained back some of his stamina, otherwise all of this would have been a bit much. In a careful manner, he rest his hand over Miyuki's, giving it a gentle squeeze as he tried to temper her a bit. The man had a reassuring smile, but was struggling to cope with the immediate consequences of his actions.
There was a rising scent of burning in the room, it was unmistakably of cotton. Percival pretend not to notice it, just patting the small wrinkle at the base of his burning shirt. "Perhaps we could take a short walk outside after dinner, or... would you like a little air now?"
The forming sweat on Percy's brow indicated he needed a little air now.
Miyuki took a moment before she realized that Percival was talking to her about getting some fresh air, and blinked a few times before looking up at him and realizing that she was squeezing his leg quite strongly. She let go, locking eyes with the one-armed man whom, she too was in love with.
"Ah, yes, I'm quite full, so, getting some air might be nice. You don't mind do you, Okaa-San, Otou-San?" Her question was met with an affirmative shake of the head from her father, whome gestured toward the door that led to the side yard.
"Feel free to get some air in the garden, if you'd like. We'll finish our dinners inside," the father told them.
"Thank you!" Percival bowed his head, his one hand moving quickly to gather up the chopsticks, spoon, and bowl with an eye-catching agility. He kept his respectful bow, nodding his head just so he could hide his damaged shirt, and turned on his knee to keep the facade, quickly making for the door once he got his balance. He worked the sliding door, and turned the corner as soon as he could.
Once he managed to set the bowl down outside, having nearly run out of the house at this point, he reached into his shirt and tossed Jakku out of his shirt. The sprite went tumbling, buzzing off the ground, glowing a hot orange.
"What are you doing!?" rattled the man in a hiss, the sprite covered her head.
"I don't know!" whined Jakku, "I'm sorry, Mr. Caxton! I didn't mean to burn your shirt, it was all just so overwhelming!"
"How am I going to explain these burns to the Kagamis, Jakku?" Percival continued his whispering, and wiped his forehead, before gripping the burnt ends of his shirt, "You said you could keep a low profile."
"I'm small, this doesn't normally happen!"
Miyuki followed Percy out of the door, leaving her own food on the table as she had quite lost her appetite to shock, nervousness, and surpirse. Before too long, the raven-haired young woman sat down next to the young man, watching his argument with the sprite unfold.
"You still don't understand girls, do you Percy?" she asked, holding out a hand for Jakku to come and sit on. "Little Jakku may be a fire sprite, but she's still a girl. Just imagine if I had the power to ignite myself? The entire house would be up in flames!" Miyuki used her free hand to pat the small spirit creature gently atop her head. Jakku stared into quietly into the woman's fingers, wiggling her legs, looking a bit sullen.
"By the way... When were you planning on telling me? You've kind of put the cart before the horse now, and to go and blurt that out in front of me? That ruins the surprise for whenever you propose to me!"
"I know, I shouldn't have done that," Percival put a hand to his head, having given a moment to cool off, physically and mentally. He rubbed a spot on his temple, one that had been giving him a lot of trouble lately. "It seemed like the right time, I've been sitting on it for a while. The proposal. A few years actually. About half-way through my isolation, I was using it as a reason to keep going."
A slightly burned hand went to the man's chin before it fell limply to his side. He shrugged, weakly accepting his gaffe, "I always intended to ask your parents first... So... I jumped on the opportunity. Just in case it wouldn't come again; you never know the future in our line of work."
Miyuki nodded, holding the fire sprite a little closer to her chest before responding to Percy. "I like to think that the future stretches out far ahead of us. All we need to do is work toward the future that we want, and if we try hard enough, it will happen. This is one of those futures that I've been waiting for, so, lets work for it, and believe that it's going to continue on ahead of us for quite some time."
She sighed, handing the sprite over to the Welshman, then leaned against him, grabbing his arm and holding it close. "That I was what kept you going speaks volumes, and I'm glad we were able to join back together like this. So let's keep on living like this is the only future that's going to happen."
The tattered man was pulled in tight with the enchantress that had ensorceled him so, and he stared into her eyes with a small bit of understanding, with a pinch of acceptance. His forehead met hers, and for a moment he felt like the two of them were back at their high school graduation. He remembered now, she had told him the same thing then, holding his one arm close: 'Keep on living like this is the only future that's going to happen.'
Out of everything that had changed in his absence, Percival Caxton was happy that wasn't one of them. He felt his ghostly arm try to reach around to embrace the woman, but he could only manage to bring himself closer. The sprite glowed between them.
"When did you start sounding so grown up," chuckled Percy, smiling quite genuinely for once.
Miyuki returned the smile, warmly, before answering the young man next to her. "Well, we are adults after all, just takes some of us a lot longer to realize that." She straightened up, having finally calmed down herself, looking over Percy in the late afternoon sun, the conditions still quite idyllic with the weather just right, a light breeze keeping them cool but not cold, rustling the leaves in the garden just so, and small birds and insects flitting about from flower to flower.
"Well, let me know when you're ready to go back inside, darling" she told the man beside her, putting a bit of emphasis on that last word. It was Percival's turn to flush a little bit as she dropped the endearment. He stiffened considerably, having been caught at his own game.
"If you've got a good excuse for the state of my shirt, dear, I'd say I'm ready."
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