(japan x reader)
Your heart throbbed at the emotions portrayed by the monochrome characters on the page; the protagonist seemed both forlorn and furious at the same time as he held the girl he'd been unable to save in his arms, not caring about the crimson liquid that stained his skin. Turning the page you saw the crazed smile of the antagonist before the final chapter ended.
"No!" Groaning in frustration at the cliff-hanger, you closed the sixth book of your current manga series before leaning your head back against the rough bark of the sakura tree. A lone petal landed on the tip of your nose that was now pink with the early April chill. Pushing yourself up from your position at the base of the trunk, you returned the book to your bag and began to stroll among the enchanting trees that were in full bloom all around you. Just as you were beginning to feel a little less than warm surrounded by the crisp spring air, a familiar voice called out to you; soft, yet clear enough to be heard amongst the rustling trees.
"__________-chan!" Even without the use of the honorific you would have recognised that voice anywhere, and it brought a smile to your lips.
"Hey Kiku!" You span to face the young Japanese man who was walking towards you with a slightly surprised expression. "What are you doing out here?"
"That's what I was going to ask you __________-chan. It is still cold out here, why aren't you wearing a coat?"
"Ah well, I kinda came out on a whim and didn't really think about the weather too much."
"You must be freezing, come with me and I'll prepare some tea to warm you up."
"Sorry to be a pain Kiku." He just shook his head gently, being ever so polite as usual; but you didn't fail to catch the fleeting smile that crossed his lips.
"Not at all."
You walked side by side with one another for several minutes without a word. The silence was not an uncomfortable one; however you did wish that your reserved friend would say something.
You were instantly greeted by warmth as you stepped over the threshold of Kiku's quaint, Japanese styled home; the building's peaceful atmosphere could calm you in an instant, much like the owner himself.
"Please make yourself at home, I will prepare the tea." The quiet oriental man gestured towards the room to your left before heading through the opposite door. Ignoring his instructions, you rolled your eyes and followed him into the kitchen. "__________-chan, I can prepare the tea if you wouldn't mind waiting in the other room…" He trailed off as your eyebrows rose fractionally.
"Kiku, I've been here a hundred times already. Trust me when I tell you that I mean this in the nicest way possible, but you need to stop being so damn formal! Relax, let Alfred give you a few tips…" You tilted your head to the side as you contemplated that thought and then corrected yourself with a rapid shake of the head. "Wait, no. Scrap that; don't listen to anything Alfred tells you, ever." You looked up at the sound of an amused chuckle only to see Kiku's face with the same neutral expression as always. "Anyway, the point is that I can help you prepare the tea at least."
"I understand, however you are a guest in my house and I do not believe that it would be the proper conduct for you to-"You placed one finger lightly on his lips, the physical contact immediately silencing him.
"You're too formal, chill." When you were sure that he wasn't going to protest you let your hand fall back to your side. Kiku let out a short sigh of defeat.
"In that case, if it would not be too much trouble, would you turn the kotatsu table on?"
"Still too formal, but you're learning." You grinned, spinning on your heel and exiting the kitchen only to reappear at the door a moment later. "Oh and Kiku? You're blushing."
"__________-chan!" The flush intensified as your laughter rang throughout the otherwise silent house.
After preparing the tea, Kiku entered the room he had previously gestured to and was greeted by your blissfully content expression.
"So warm~" You sang to no-one in particular before sighing happily, your legs tucked under the kotatsu. The sound of a tray being place in front of you made you look up to meet deep chocolaty eyes.
"Are you warmer now, __________-chan?"
"Yeah, thanks. I didn't realise that it would still be so cold in April." You sipped the tea thankful for both its warmth and sweet flavour.
"It is certainly cooler than usual." The silence that followed wasn't unusual in the least considering the fact that this was Kiku, but it was bugging you that he hadn't opened up to you much even though you'd known each other for so long.
"Hey Kiku, you could just call me __________ you know… I don't use a honorific for your name so it's not like you have to for me, we're friends after all."
"I couldn't possibly __________-chan; that would be disrespectful!"
"Then can you try speaking a little less formally to me? Even though I've known you for all his time I don't actually know much about you, it's a little sad." Kiku looked both stunned and a little flustered. "I want to know more about you, Kiku."
"Ah, that's right __________-chan! That manga you were reading earlier, you do not possess the next volume correct? I'm sure I have it here somewhere, just a moment…" You frowned at the obvious topic change; you'd been so forward and he'd practically thrown your semi-confession aside. You couldn't decide if you were hurt or a little pissed-off; deciding the latter was easier to deal with, you left the heat of the table and followed Kiku over to the other side of the room where he was tracing the spines of manga one after another.
"Here it is!" A thin volume was thrust into your hands and the Japanese man hurriedly turned back to the bookshelf, grabbed a random book, and scuttled back to the kotatsu table. You watched his movements with a skeptically raised eyebrow before proceeding to seat yourself across from him; that was definitely unusual behaviour. However your suspicions subsided as curiosity got the better of you and your attention was captured the storyline of the book in your hands.
After several minutes of avid reading, a sudden movement from the other side of the kotatsu table caught your eye; Kiku had shut the book with a degree of violence you didn't know he possessed. You tilted your head questioningly at the furious blush that adorned his features. Damn that's adorable.
"What's wrong?" At the sound of your voice he stiffened up, almost as if he'd forgotten you were there. "Kiku?"
"Nandemonai!" Now you knew something was wrong; the fact that he was avoiding your gaze wasn't that unusual, but there was no way that the Honda Kiku you knew would raise his voice under normal circumstances.
"Now I know you're hiding something."
"Honto ni nandemonai desu!" You slid over the table, catching Kiku by surprise and if possible his blush increased at your proximity.
"Show me what's in the book Kiku." He jumped up and backed across the room, clutching the book to his chest.
"Uso ja nai." His darks bangs flew back and forth as he shook his head with denial, eyes squeezed shut.
"I swear, if you don't tell me what's going on right now I will break the rule."
"You wouldn't…" He croaked, pulling out of his native language.
"I will Kiku," You stood and walked across the room until you had him cornered; with his only route of escape blocked brown orbs widened. Truly adorable.
"__________-chan." A miserable whine escaped his lips as his options dropped like flies.
"Last chance, show me the book." A final moan of defiance left his lips before his most important rule was shattered. One simple step forward and the whole atmosphere felt different, somewhat calmer. So this was what it was like being in his personal bubble, the calm feeling washed over you and your reasons for the actions you were planning to take changed completely; what was caused by irritation only moments ago was now fuelled by pure intrigue. Brushing your fingertips across his cheek gently you marvelled at how smooth the now beetroot skin was. Moving your hand up into his hair you closed your eyes and enjoyed the sensation of the silky strands slipping between your fingers; Kiku's breathing hitched as moved closer to him, the physical contact between the two of you increasing. It was only when you opened your eyes that you realised how very close the two of you were. You're eyes met Kiku's and the pair of you simply stared at one another, neither daring to make a move. Finally you let your hand fall from the ebony strands within which your fingers had entwined themselves, looking to the side in embarrassment. To your surprise, Kiku's palm rose to meet your blushing cheek and, mimicking your previous actions, he ran his hand through your hair tenderly.
"Aishiteru." The phase was mumbled so quietly that you weren't sure if you'd heard correctly. A frantic string of Japanese filled the air and Kiku's eyes were squeezed shut once more as the words tumbled from his lips too fast for you to understand them. You began to giggle and as your laughter filled the air the flow of words slowed until there was only one over and over again. "Aishiteru. Watashi aishiteru __________-chan." Slipping your arms around his neck you pressed your lips affectionately against his, pulling away only as a dull thud sounded against the floor. You looked down to see that the book that had been the original objective had been dropped, probably in Kiku's shock, and it had fallen open to reveal and extremely intimate drawing of a man and a woman in traditional clothes. The room became deathly silent as both you and Kiku processed the situation; simultaneously one of you gave a snort of shock and amusement while the other spluttered in mortification.
"I didn't know you liked those sorts of books, Kiku." You did your best to keep a face of embarrassment and betrayal, but as soon as the Japanese man started to frantically flail his arms around in a paniced explanation, you broke down in yet more laughter.
"Sorry, but that face was too cute!" You stifled a giggle just long enough to look up at him and smile. "Aishiteru Kiku."