“Stop looking at me like that,” Mahiru huffed, glancing up with a frown before returning to focus on her map again.
Michiru smirked, jumping down from her fallen log and jogged towards Mahiru, keeping her pace. Her eyes were still fixated on Mahiru. “Like what?” She asked. As if she didn’t know why she was staring at Mahiru so intently with a purpose.
Mahiru glanced at her. She didn’t blush, but instead, she frowned harder, eyes down on the map. She paused, staring up at the sky, orientating herself before she turned east and folded the map away into her pocket. “Like you’re in love with me or something.”
Michiru rolled her eyes, still smiling, still admitting without words that yes— she was in love with Mahiru. “Newsflash Mahiru,” she sighed, her grin reaching the edges of her cheek when she saw the metal band on Mahiru’s finger. “I’ve always been in love with you.”
“I know,” Mahiru said before she growled, looking at a stone wall. Michiru wordlessly stepped to the side, positioning her hands to give a boost. Mahiru followed through the motions naturally, hanging onto the edge before pulling herself up with ease. She turned around, fixed her hair so it wouldn’t go across her eyes and reached her arms down for Michiru. “But it’s distracting.”
“How so?” Michiru stepped back, took a running start before jumping at the wall, climbing a single step up to reach Mahiru’s hand.
“Because,” Mahiru said as she used two hands instead of one until Michiru managed to place a foot down and help herself up to the rest. “Whenever I look up and you—” She stopped, frozen on the ground near the edge of a small ridge.
Michiru was already on her feet, dusting off the dirt off her arms and her legs. Her hair was getting long now; they haven’t visited a town in a few months. It’s getting overgrown, so much that there was the faintest hint of a curl. Michiru then swept her overgrown hair back from her face, her eyes still on Mahiru. There was that proud curl on her lips, and there was that love in her eyes that made Mahiru’s heart clench in the sense of longing despite being an arm away.
“And I?” Michiru smirked, her lips teeming with arrogance. She knew exactly what she was doing to Mahiru, and both of them knew it. And yet Michiru wanted to continue the charade that she didn’t know anything at all.
“I forget my words.” Mahiru ended plainly, her tone dry and bored despite her heart racing in her chest. Except it wasn’t really racing, just beating fast in a way that has been her norm over the last few years. Michiru hummed, still smiling with that mix of pride, warmth and fondness as she reached out a hand towards Mahiru. Mahiru accepted it, rolling her eyes at the kiss on her fingers.
“I’m so sorry that I’m deeply in love with you,” Michiru smiled, charming as always with that arrogance. “Will you ever forgive me?”
Mahiru scoffed, unable to stop the smile on her face as she helped herself up with Michiru’s help. “You’re not sorry enough since you married me.”
Michiru chuckled, the sound kissing the skin of Mahiru’s cheeks. It sent a chill down Mahiru’s spine, even when this wasn’t the first, nor the last time she would pull a little stunt like this.
“Touche~” Michiru whispered, adoring the soft warmth from Mahiru’s cheeks.
Mahiru coughed, moving away from Michiru, her back facing Michiru as she calmed herself and willed the heat on her cheeks to die. Then, she turned on her heels, a coy smile on her face, her hands behind her back. “But~” Mahiru teased, leaning back with a raised brow on her face. “Since you are saying sorry you need to do one thing to make me forgive you.”
Michiru nodded, walking towards Mahiru. The smile was still stuck on her goofy face. “Go on.”
When Michiru was close enough, Mahiru placed a hand on her cheek, almost indicating a kiss. Only to then push down on Michiru’s nose the second she closed her eyes and started to lean in. “Stop looking at me like that.”
She was serious when she said that Michiru was distracting her. Sure they were still on the right path, and she loved her wife dearly and wasn’t all that bothered deep down, but still! The knowing sensations that she was looking at her. The ability to precisely pinpoint the way her smile would curl, the way her eyes would gleam if she would turn around to face her. All of that within a mental image was distracting.
Michiru winced, massaging her nose before she laughed. She stood up taller, prouder, and Mahiru turned around once more to avoid her. She didn’t want her to know that in this small game they played, Michiru was currently winning. That laughter, even after hearing it for years, can still pluck her heartstrings the right way.
“I can’t,” Michiru simply said.
Mahiru sighed, not surprised with the answer. “Can you at least tell me why?”
Michiru hummed, the calming sound of her rhythmic tapping on her side she always did when she was thinking played in the air. “Because you’re beautiful.” The words were spoken like fact, decorated with the undercurrent layer of awe. Mahiru turned her head away from the sound, eliciting another chuckle from her wife.
Michiru then walked around Mahiru, her eyes still on her face. Finally, she stopped, directly in front of her. “And you’re a genius.” Another declaration of fact, said with sheer absolution like it was constant and real like gravity. Mahiru’s heart tightened, almost squeezing out the caterpillars from their cocoons to make the butterflies in her stomach. When Michiru reached out for her hand, she did not stop her. How could she? Deep down, her favourite texture was the small bumps of her hand brushing against hers.
“And,” Michiru said pointedly, another grace of arrogance in her voice. “Here’s the best part by the way—” Mahiru’s breath hitched, taking all of her willpower to not turn around to Michiru. She knew what she was doing; Michiru knew what she was doing. Placing Mahiru’s right hand up and cupping against her cheek, angled in a way where Michiru could easily kiss the heel of the palm— it was such an unfair tactic. “You’re my wife.”
Mahiru steeled her gaze, glaring entirely even when the look had no weight when she turned her head to Michiru. The hard gaze didn’t stop Michiru from smiling, not when Mahiru’s thumb rubbed circles on her cheek. “So you’re entitled to stare at me with that dopy look in your eyes because I’m your wife.”
“Is it really that distracting?”
“Very.” Instantly Michiru’s smile faltered, and Mahiru’s eyes widened. “Not in a bad way—” She backtracked, and in the next breath, Michiru perked up, mischief returning to her eyes. “Just-- No, actually it’s really bad,” Mahiru reiterated, her cheeks heating up from embarrassment and the underlying sentiment that her wife was cute. “You’re not allowed to look at me.”
Michiru laughed at her just as Mahiru’s cheeks darkened. “Go, go make a potion or something you stupid alchemist,” she grumbled, waving her away with her free hand, all the while her right hand was still on Michiru’s cheek.
“Alright Alright,” Michiru grinned. “I’ll close my eyes.” Following her words, Michiru closed her eyes, her smile widening as she did. Mahiru took one long look and sighed, her shoulders dropping in disbelief whilst an adoring smile crept up her face. “There, are you happy?”
“Yes,” Mahiru laughed, still surprised at how stupidly and adoringly idiotic her genius wife was. “But also no.”
“No?” Michiru gasped, faking her surprise. Then, she stepped back and placed both hands on her chest in shock horror to add to the dramatics. “But my love,” Michiru cried. Mahiru shook her head, muffling her giggles with one hand. “I closed my eyes, I’m no longer looking at you.”
“You’re still smiling, like an idiot,” Mahiru pointed out, fully aware that she too was smiling like an idiot.
Still, with her eyes closed, Michiru sobered up the act. She continued that stupid grin she had all day as she pointed straight forward, unaware until Mahiru laughed that Mahiru approached her from the side. “An idiot who is in love with you.”
“Are you always this difficult?” Mahiru asked, smiling wide as she hugged Michiru from the side, cradling her in her arms as Michiru finally opened her eyes.
“Are you getting tired of my loopholes dear?”
Mahiru placed two fingers on Michiru’s arm and walked her fingers up her arm. The speed increased with every word until she reached Michiru’s nose like before. “You mean your difficult, annoying charm of yours to weasel your way out of everything to get what you want?” Instead of pushing her nose down like before, Mahiru bopped on it laughing when Michiru still wrinkled her nose. “No, because I also know how to close those holes.”
Michiru looked up at Mahiru, her eyes shining a reflection of Mahiru’s glow. “I always said you were a genius.”
“I’m your wife,” Mahiru teased, reaching down for Michiru’s hands, her smile so wide it ached her cheeks. “If I wasn’t a genius what else would I be?”
Instead of a beaming smile or an arrogant smirk, Michiru sobered up. The smile on her lips was small, lips slightly parted like she had so many words to say but didn’t know where to begin. The sight made a weight drop down Mahiru’s stomach, aching with such a yearning to just kiss that look Michiru made. The look that Michiru made from simply staring at her for too long.
In the end, after a silent moment that would be exploited and drawn out in sonnets and sympathies, Michiru blinked her wet eyes and smiled. “You would still be my wife.”
In the next breath, Mahiru leaned down, unable to hold herself anymore longer. Michiru reciprocated within the first touch, pulling her cheeks down, the grip reminding Mahiru that this reality of a luxury was real. Reminding Mahiru that yes, Michiru has always wanted her just as much as Mahiru would want her.
That was the beauty of Michiru. She claimed she was not romantic, only considerate and then proved herself wrong by pulling stuff like this. She would say simple words that seemed like nothing, only to have layered and deep meaning behind them.
Yes, Mahiru would still be her wife. Through rain and sunshine, sickness and health. Even through closeness or separation, they would still be in love, would still be wives. In the world where Mahiru would be lame and dull, where she would grow old and weary, and her brain has worn out of all its uses— Michiru would still love her. She would still be her wife.
And deep down, it filled an empty space in her chest that Mahiru didn’t even know she even had until the emptiness was noise again. And that was the unreasonable, unfair beauty of being loved by Michiru— she could soothe insecurities away long before they had a chance to begin.
And so, in an empty forest, on the run from a place that wanted to kill them, searching for a shelter to transform into a home, the lovers kissed until they couldn’t. They stole the world of its air, blending what it is into something they can only hold together.