Realms of Destiny
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“Sousuke, can I come in?” Sousuke was startled awake at Rei’s voice accompanied by a few taps on the bathroom door.
Damn, I must have fallen asleep in the hot bath. Sousuke realized. I better get out.
“Sousuke, are you alright in there?” asked Reina again, having not heard an appropriate reply.
“Yes, I’m alright, give me a moment.” He grabbed a small towel and tied it around. “Come in.”
Reina entered. “I just thought you might need help with your ba—What have you been doing?” she exclaimed incredulous, the water in the bath has turned pinkish from the blood. Traces of his footsteps can also be seen moving from the bath towards the towel which he had turned slightly pink. “Let me see those wounds.” She rushed towards him, only to find that both his shoulder wounds, back wounds, and various other cuts have already stopped bleeding.
“The bleeding has already stopped, that must have happened before I fell asleep in the bath.” He tried to explain in order to quell her concerns, however, this only proved to agitate her further.
“You fell asleep in the bath? And you said you were fine!”
“I…I mean, I didn’t – “
“Did you or didn’t you fall asleep in that bath?” she glared at him, hand pointing at the evidence.
“I…did.” He admitted finally, he couldn’t lie to her. “But I’m fine! The nap closed my wounds see?” He tried to turn around quickly to show her the deepest cut which was the large one across his back; it had indeed closed.
“Just go sit down, I’ll do your back.” Said Rei, she was blushing slightly.
This was probably the first feminine thing she had ever offered to do for him, for a very long time. In the past, it had always been him washing her as a child. They are no longer children of course, and she could see that Sousuke knows what this gesture means. He blushed, smiled, and did as he was told.
Rei rolled her sleeves up to her shoulders and fastened it there with a piece of string, she then folded the trousers she had changed into up above her knees as well. She grabbed another stool and sat behind Sousuke. Her eyes were drawn immediately to the cut that ran from the top of his right shoulder diagonally down towards the left side of his hip, it wasn’t a shallow cut either, but his regeneration was able to stop the bleeding. As she picked up the scrubbing cloth, being careful not to get too close to the cut, gently running it from one shoulder to the other, she realized how broad his shoulders had become. He had always been the one who would walk three steps behind her, not the other way around, and having seen him every day, she didn’t realize that the boy she had grown up with, her ‘sempai’, had become a man.
“Is something wrong?” asked Sousuke, when she stopped to think about their childhood.
“Nothing. Just thinking you’ve got broad shoulders.” Said Reina, as she resumed her task.
“…is that a good thing?” though he was asking, he was already smiling. He then tried to turn back to look at her, causing her hands to slip.
“Oi! Stay still!” she reprimanded, pushing his face back towards the other direction. Under her breath, she mumbled. “What do you think? Baka-sempai.”
“You know, you’ve never really had trouble complementing me before.” Sousuke pointed out playfully.
“That’s because it’s different now.” Said Reina.
“I’m done, let’s get you to the bedroom so I can dress your wounds so that I can apply bandages.” said Rei, avoiding the question. She stood up suddenly and made to leave. What she did not expect was for him to grab her arm suddenly. The surprising gesture caused her to slip on the wet bathroom floor, landing flat on top of him. There was a crash and a clunk where the wooden stool and bucket was knocked over.
“Everything alright in there?” Her father’s voice came calling from the guest room where they have put Tora.
“Everything’s fine!” Rei shouted back. She turned to Sousuke quickly to make sure that he hadn’t hit his head. “I’m sorry Sousuke, are you alright?”
“No need to worry.” Added Sousuke from underneath, but more to himself and Rei, than to her father. Their faces were only inches from one another and the water on the bathroom floor was already tinged red, so she couldn’t tell whether or not his wounds have re-opened. But Rei noted suddenly that that was the least of Sousuke’s concerns, he was staring straight into her pearlescent grey eyes as both green and grey met.
“Don’t forget to put the medical kit away once you’re done with it!” Her father shouted again.
The moment was broken.
“Yes, father!” Rei shouted back, as she scrambled to her feet, holding out her hand to pull Sousuke up as well. “Come on, we better finish up with this and return it before father comes for it himself.” She added and led him into his bedroom which, on entering, she found out her father had turned into ‘their bedroom’.
Sousuke sat down on his half of the futon as Rei begun working on his injuries, anyone else would have needed stitches, but like her, even deep cuts would close overnight. However, the fall just now had indeed re-opened the wound and the blood was trickling down his back. She used a piece of cloth to dry it off before applying the bandages properly. She worked swiftly and before long she had progressed up to dressing the wound on his head. She applied the final piece of adhesive bandage on his face.
“There you go, that’s the last one.” Before she could remove her hands he put his over hers, and held it next to his face.
“Thank you.” He said softly. “Now will you answer me?”
“Answer you what?”
“Why you can’t praise me like you used to.” He said.
“Father was worried and he thought you’d need some ego-stroking after having tied with a boy, but I can see that you clearly don’t need that anymore.” She said frankly.
“Ouch.” He said in response.
“It is the wife’s duty to keep her husband’s ego in check. As things are, you’re already spoilt with compliments.” She improvised, to let him know that she was merely joking, and despite the tie, he was as valiant as ever.
“Where does it say that?” he asked, not being able to recall such duties among the things he’s been told.
“In Reina’s book of wife’s duties.” She said.
“Now you’ve hurt me.” Referring to her comment about him having tied with a child.
“I already bandaged you.” Said Reina, brushing his complaints aside by pretending not to get what he means.
“Ah, but you didn’t do a very good job.” Said Sousuke, following the train of conversation.
“Where?” she asked, looking at his body, checking that she’d done it up properly. “Looks fine to me.”
“Here.” He pointed to the cheek bandage.
“I don’t see anything wrong with it.” Said Reina as she looked.
“Look closer.” He told her.
Reina moved closer but still couldn’t see anything. She was edging towards him slowly, concentrating with all her might towards the bandage when suddenly he turned his face sideways and planted his lips on hers. He could feel her startle and tense up at first but as he moved his hands to caress her face, he could feel her relaxing and eventually kissing him back.
“That was sneaky, Sousuke-san.” Said Reina when the kiss broke off, her cheeks had gained a pinkish tinge, and she could feel a slight tingle on her lips. It was their wedding night, after all, it’s not like she didn’t expect this to happen. And yet… just yesterday he was still ‘Sousuke-sempai’. It’s not like I don’t love him - because I do. She thought to herself. Just…not the same kind of feelings he has towards me.
“I find that your kiss is the best cure in the world,” said Sousuke with a smile, the smile she had always loved. “Can I please have another?”