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Whimsy

Chapter Text

What a magical world.

Those were the thoughts that ran through Kenmei's mind over and over again. The young woman was in pure astonishment as she gazed out of the window she was seated next to, watching the clouds floating by. It was just absolutely gorgeous, the sky a soft gradient, brilliant blues mixed with oranges and reds from the rising sun. Splashed across that brilliant canvas were clouds of radient lavenders, tinted with soft pink hues. True, it was a sight that Kenmei had often seen. However, she had never seen it from thousands of feet in the air.

She shifted herself closer to the window, pressing her side and shoulder against the wall of the flying... contraption. She had grown up always seeing and hearing the loud, disruptive machines used by the humans. They had always flown through the skies above her small town, disturbing the quiet and peaceful paradise. At least, it was always a paradise in her eyes. But now, she was hundreds of miles away from her sanctuary, gliding through the sky in a contraption even more mysterious to her than the planes of the humans.

It was a flying machine that was only ever told to her in stories by her mother. A flying machine that was made to transport special people for one purpose only. It was pure magic, quite literally in fact. It was fueled by the collective energies of its passengers, each and every one of them providing a unique aura to power the craft. Twenty-two people, they had said when she boarded the flying craft. It took at least twenty-two Witches and Creatures to make their journey possible.

An odd fact to be given to them at the beginning of their flight, Kenmei had thought. There were others given to the group, but she was too excited to even remember them now. In fact, her excitement was so intense she couldn't believe she was able to sit still in her seat. It was nearly mind numbing to her, the fact that she was actually chosen from the numerous other young Witches in her town. She was finally getting her change to attend The Academy, just as her mother had many, many years before her.

TCWA, or better known to the magicial community as The Creature and Witch Academy. It is, and always has been, a highly prestegious and exclusive institution for those with special powers. Only twenty-two new students are accepted every year out of the thousands that send in their applications. Kenmei had sent in an application for the last three years, and this time she finally got an acceptance letter.

Though, it was a bittersweet moment for her. Her mother had sadly passed away two years earlier, and so she was only able to celebrate the occasion with her older brother. Kendai, although born with no special powers, understood the significance of this acceptance. Though he was sad to see his sister go, he supported her dream and urged her to go. Kenmei had been hesitent, due to Kendai's deteriorating health, but she took his words of encourgement to heart.

Now, she had no regrets. This was the chance of a lifetime, and she was not going to take any second of it for granted. The closer and closer they got to The Academy, her excitement only continued to build. It seemed, however, that she was not the only one bubbling with excitement. Kenmei's thoughts were pulled back into reality from loud voices somewhere behind her.

Sitting up away from the window, she turned her head and peeked over the back of her seat. Near the back of the end of the flying craft, a younger girl with pale blue hair was bouncing about in her seat, so high that she was even visible from Kenmei's spot in the front. She was ranting on and on about her excitement, a grin stretched so wide across her face Kenmei was sure she could see all of her teeth.

“This is so amazing! How come no one else is as excited as I am?! I mean, we got accepted! This is so exciting!” As she threw her arms up into the air, almost screaming her last sentense, electric sparks flew from her body, bouncing about the inside of the cabin. Kenmei cowered down, as did the majority of the others, doing their best to dodge the lightening. The flying ship rattled and wavered a bit from the sudden burst of power, causing many to scream and cry out in fear.

The young woman in the back stopped her bouncing and covered her mouth, giving a loud gasp. “Oh no, I'm so sorry!! My magic gets out of hand sometimes when I'm excited..” She began to laugh nervously, fanning herself with a hand as she grew nervous at everyone staring at her. Kenmei peeked back up over the back of her seat once she was sure it was safe.

She wasn't fearful at all, but actually quite intrigued. This girl was from another town than her own, through she did not really know where. She had never known a Witch that used lightening before, and definiately had never seen one almost electricute everyone in the immediate area. She seemed like a nice person, however, and Kenmei wondered if they would have the chance to meet.

Beyond the studies, that is what she was truly scared of. Making friends had never been Kenmei's strong point, as she was quite shy and more than a little awkward. Though, she knew it was something important that she had to do. She wouldn't be able to survive the four years at The Academy without friends.

As she settled back down into her seat, she turned her head to look once again outside at the sky. 'Perhaps when we land... I'll try and introduce myself...' Kenmei thought to herself, moving some of her hair out of her face and back behind her left ear. 'Though.. I wonder who I'll be paired with...'. As she grew nervous about the thought, she started to run her fingers through her hair.

At the beginning of each school year, the Witches were paired with a partner Creature. Kenmei had not been given too much information about it yet, as they were going to be given all instruction at orientation when they arrived. Though, from what she had been told by her mother, whoever someone was paired with could either be a lifelong bond, or a horrible experience. Her mother had been fortunate and had been paired with a Creature that was her best friend and partner, until she got too ill to work.

Kenmei could only hope that she would have the same luck. Though she was confident in her skills, Kenmei was not a fighter. Like her mother, she had inherited Healing Magic, and as such she was defenseless agaisnt attackers. She knew she would be placed with a Creature that was profound in offinsive magic, someone whos aura matched her own.

How the High Witches and Creatures were able to pick and match the young students together was beyond Kenmei's knowledge. She could only hope that whoever she was paired with, that they could make it work. What she did know, is that whoever was chosen to be your partner, there was no changing it until the next year. That fact is what make a pairing a total disaster.

Kenmei shook her head, forcing herself to distract from those thoughts by flattening out her pleated skirt against her thighs. 'Stop being so negative, everything will turn out amazing. Everything will be--' Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted as she glanced back outside her window, beginning to see the very tips of a large structure peeking out over the clouds.

As if driven by an unknown force, her body one again pressed itself against the wall next to her, her cheek flat agaisnt the cold glass of the window. She gazed, wide-eyed, at the castle the came into her view. It was beyond any porportion that Kenmei could measure, with each tower rising higher than the other. Surrounding the enromous structure was a city, though Kenmei could not tell what the buildings were

What amazed her the most, however, was that all the structures were on a floating island. She couldn't believe it, land floating in the sky? It was absolutely incredible, with clouds pooling around the base, swirling in a slow but constant vortex. All around it, she could see different flying machines and even some people flying about on other magical tools.

Kenmei's excitement only grew, somehow pressing herself even tighter to the window to see even better. Though, it started to become a little too much excitement for her. She could feel her stomach starting to bubble and boil into nausea. Was she really good enough for all of this? She was from a poor family and was getting by only on a scholarship. Already, she felt lower than everyone else here, without even knowing anyone.

She swallowed the hard lump that had grown in her throat at these thoughts, peeling herself away from the window and settling back into her seat. Excitement gave way to nervousness and she could feel her hands beginning to shake. How could she possibly do this, having no friends and no experience in such a populated place? She already wanted to give up, turn around and just go back home to her brother. Though, she knew that was not an option. Though it was terrifying, it was the best opprotunity she had even been given.

Breathing in deep, she held the air deep in her lungs for a moment before releasing it, trying to calm herself as she closed her eyes. She could not let her anxiety get the better of her. She had to control it, to keep the monster at bay. Shifting her position in her seat a bit, she opened her eyes and looked back outside. Instantly, she felt the same warm, comforting feeling she had felt a few minutes before as she gazed at the clouds.

It truly was a magical world.

Chapter Text

“This place is nothing but a damn shit hole!”

As these words echoed across the dining hall of the castle, a young man slammed his hand onto the table before him. Between the palm of his hand and the surface of the table was a wrinkled, abused piece of parchment. He glared at paper, his crimson eyes locked onto a specific word that was glaring right back at him.

Failed.

Failed? Failed! For one thing, that wasn’t even possible, and second, that wasn’t possible! He was one of the most powerful Creatures in this whole school, how could he have failed the entire year.

“This isn’t possible! This is bullshit, someone made a mistake!” He yelled out again, snatching the paper back up to observe it again. There it was, just as bold and clear as it had been the other million times he read it over. It was true, he had failed the year, and as a result, he would be held back a year from all his other peers.

It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t his fault the Witch they stuck him with was a weak, spineless woman with no drive to succeed in anything. She had left the school in the middle of the year and ran back to her home, but why did that affect him? He still did all his class work, excelled at every skill test, and even beat other Pairs at competitions, by himself.

Before he could blurt out any more complaints, a boy seated next to him cut him off, snatching the paper from him. “Judar, shut up. It says right there, your Witch left, and complained it was because you treated her like shit. You know your final is for you and your Witch to move on together.”

Judar turned his glare to the boy that had snapped at him, crossing his arms tightly across his chest. “Don’t tell me to shut up, Hakuryuu. It says in the school rules that if you partner leaves, it doesn’t affect you. I read it!” He reached into the pocket of his coat and pulled out a cell phone, instantly unlocking it and starting to scroll through the page he already had open. “I can prove-“

“You don’t have to prove anything, Judar, I know what it says.” Hakuryuu placed the paper back down on the table, rubbing his eyes a bit as a headache started to build. “But that doesn’t matter. Your Witch complained about you. She said it was your fault she was leaving, and so you don’t get to pass.”

Judar only continued scrolling on his phone, fixated on finding the exact wording he had read in the past. Another boy at the table chuckled, pointing at Judar with the fork he was currently eating with. “Poor Judar, has to be kept behind with the newbies.” He placed his fork down before moving some of his blond hair back out of his eyes. “You poor Kit.”

In an instant, Judar’s gaze moved from his phone and morphed into an icy glare, locked onto the boy that had mocked him. A girl at the table bounced a bit in her seat, waving her hand in the middle of them to try and break the tension. “Dear Alibaba, Judar, don’t fight like that! This is a sad thing, he’s the only one that got held back!” An audible yelp followed her sentence as Judar’s glare moved to her, though it only darkened. “D-don’t look at me like that!”

Alibaba flicked a piece of food across the table towards Judar. “Hey, keep your dirty looks to those that deserve them, Kit.” Judar slammed his phone onto the table, standing up so roughly that his chair skidded away and fell over behind him. “Don’t fucking call me ‘Kit’, you idiot!

‘The Kit’. Judar hated that phrase. It was a demeaning word used towards Creatures that were in their first year. It was a way to bully and to tease them, making sure they knew their place. Judar has been waiting for the day when he could use the phrase on other new, naive little Creatures after he became a second year. But now, all because his old Witch partner was a weakling, he was held back.

He knew he would be ridiculed and teased by his so-called friends for this. Even though he is the most powerful in the group, it didn’t matter. Now, as he glared at Alibaba from across the table, he felt the need to just skewer him with ice. That stupid idiot, barely even scraping by with Kougyoku as his Witch, and that was just because she was extremely studious. She always stood up for him, and here she was, doing it again as she waved her arms to try to get them to break their tension.

Getting annoyed with the contact movement of Kougyoku’s arms, and the stupid look on Alibaba’s face as he chewed his food, Judar looked away. With a huff, he reached down and picked his chair back up, sitting down once it was in place. “I don’t even fucking care.” Alibaba raised an eyebrow, glancing at Kougyoku as she sat back down.

“Hey, I’m not the one that is ashamed to be a Creature. Look at you, you still hide your ears and tail with your clothes.” He pointed to the beanie Judar had fashioned on the top of his head, once again using his dirtied fork. Judar ignored him, going back to scrolling on his phone. He had enough of Alibaba’s voice, though he was really just tired of this whole situation.

Though, Alibaba’s words did ring about in his ears for far longer than Judar would like. He wasn’t ashamed to be a Creature, he just wanted to hide his features. There was nothing wrong with that, many other Creatures in the school did the same thing. No, Judar did not hide his features because he didn’t like being a Creature. He hid his features because of a different reason, one that would cause his friends to only tease him more.

In fact, Judar hid his features because they were… cute. They were too cute, and he hated it. Even from a child, he had always been told his cat features were ‘adorable’ and everyone always wanted to rub his ears. He couldn’t stand it, so in his young teenage years, he decided to start dressing in a way that would hide the features. This included beanies or hats, and long coats that concealed his tail. During the hotter months, he would deal with having his tail visible, but the ears he always kept hidden.

Hakuryuu sighed, sinking down into his chair as he scratched his forehead a bit, having to maneuver around the small horns that protruded from his scalp. “There is a way you can try to skip second year, you know. If you and your new Witch are absolutely amazing together, you both can take the extra exam to be bumped up to third year. Though, that’s only offered to, what…”

He tapped his finger on the table a bit as he calculated in his mind. “I think 3 pairs out of all the ones in the school. So, if you both try hard enough, you could do it.” Judar glanced at Hakuryuu as he spoke, placing his phone back down on the table as he gave a loud sigh. “But what if I get paired with someone who’s shitty again.”

Kougyoku spoke up from across the table, though her voice was muffled as she held bobby pins with her teeth as she adjusted her hair. “Witches depend on their creatures to make them powerful, Judar, you know that. If you want them to be powerful, then you have to help them! That’s the whole point!” She gave a gasp as she dropped all of her bobby pins, getting so into her speech that she forgot she was holding them.

With a grumble, she let her hair fall loose so she could bend down and pick them up. “Just don’t be a jerk to them!” Judar rolled his eyes, using his arm to prop up his head as he lied it in his hand. “What if I get stuck with a stupid girl again. They’re always the weakest.” He didn’t react to the glare he got from Kougyoku as she sat back up, returning to fixing her hair. “That isn’t true! Hakuei isn’t weak. And neither am I!”

Judar scoffed, causing his bangs to shift from the small puff of air that escaped his lips. “Hakuei isn’t weak because of her bloodline. Just like Hakuryuu. I mean, they’re fucking Dragon Creatures for fucks sake.” Judar sat up, reaching over and flicking one of Hakuryuu’s horns, only receive a smack as Hakuryuu swatted his hand away. “Hakuei is the only Witch in that family, besides her mother, who just happens to be a High Witch.”

Kougyoku gave a bit of a pout as she finished fixing her hair. “My family is from a strong bloodline, too. At least, my father is. My brothers are all three very powerful and one of them is a Master Creature! So that’s not-“ Judar leaned back in his seat, giving a loud sigh as he grew sick of her ranting. “I get it, I get it!” Kougyoku seemed to puff up at Judar interrupting her, crossing her arms tight over chest as she pouted, face turning red.

“You’re so mean, Judar. You’ll never find a Witch that can deal with your attitude.” She turned her head to look away from him in defiance. Judar rolled his eyes as he stood, starting to walk away from the group. “Whatever. None of you are being helpful.” Hakuryuu turned his head a bit to watch him leave. “None of it is our fault, Judar. You might as well stop pouting.”

Judar only shoved his hands into his pockets as he continued to leave, almost stomping in his child-like tantrum. None of it was his fault, he had just been trying to push his Witch the whole year so that she could improve. It wasn’t his fault that she was weak and couldn’t handle the pressure.

Though, as he continued to walk down the hall, his thoughts began to race. Was he really too hard on her? Could it really have been his fault this happened? He did push her a lot, and she ended up crying often or just running off. As a sigh crossed his lips, Judar stopped walking once he reached the edge of a balcony.

Propping himself up with his elbows, Judar leaned on the edge of the short stone wall, gazing out at the sky. The early morning sun had risen completely, and the clouds were starting to dissipate. Up here, thousands of feet in the sky, he had always expected it to be freezing. He guessed, however, that they must have some type of climate controlling magic that helped it stay inhabitable. He would have to keep that in mind.

He took a moment to pull the beanie off of his head, scratching his scalp around his sore, fluffy ears. Having to keep them flattened against his head to hide their shape always made them sore and stiff. Getting to remove his beanie was always a relieving, pleasurable experience.

Swiveling his ears about a bit to stretch them out, he looked down over the city below him. Near the edge of the city was a large building that acted as an Airport, for incoming and outgoing travelers to stop at. Judar knew that it was a security precaution, as everywhere else around the floating land mass was protected by a magical spell. No one could get on or off the island without first going through that building. Another detail he knew he would have to remember.

As he made his mental note, he noticed a very familiar, large air ship approach the port building. Immediately, he felt a twinge of annoyance radiate through him. “Newbies… They’re finally here, I guess.” He pulled himself away from the stone wall he was leaning on to stand up straight. He gave a large stretch before pulling his beanie back into its place on top of his head. He knew what was going to come up next, and the thought almost made him sick.

Orientation. All first and second year students had to attend, as this was when the Witches and Creatures were paired together. Typically, second years get to keep their partner and not have to worry about meeting someone new. Though, sometimes, first years come in with Auras that match better, and the second years are switched around. The third and fourth years are lucky, Judar had always thought. They didn’t have to bother with this madness, as they got to keep their partners without worry.

Judar leaned his head back a bit, his ears giving a twitch as a loud bell rang throughout the air. That stupid bell, Judar had enjoyed not having to hear it during their two month break from studies. But now, it was back, and he knew exactly what it meant, turning on his heels and heading back the way he had come.

“Guess it’s time to go meet my new Witch.”

Chapter Text

Kenmei took in a huge breath, staring at the back of the head of the person in front of her. They were currently in line to exit the flying aircraft, which had finally come to park at its destination. With her carry-on bag held tightly in her grip, she could feel her hands starting to sweat and her knees tremble. This was it, they were finally here, and she was about to take her first steps towards her future.

As the line moved forward, it took every ounce of self-control to not turn around and sit back in her chair, demanding they take her home. She was terrified and anxious, hoping that everything would just go smoothly for her these four years. That she would get a great partner, do her studies, and graduate to be a certified Witch.

Beginning to descend the steps of the aircraft, she gripped the railing attached to the wall besides her to keep herself balanced, scared she might trip or fall. That would be the worst thing she could do in front of all her new peers. 'You can do this,' she thought to herself, trying to keep her thoughts calm. 'This isn't that big of a deal. It's just high school all over again. You got this...'

As she took her final step off the aircraft, the first thing she noticed is how the click of her heel echoed throughout the large room of the airport. This surprised her, as it was horribly loud and busy, with hundreds of other Witches and Creatures running about. She could hear beeping, frantic voices and the sound of magic spells from all around her. As she listened, she became overwhelmed, freezing in her place at the doorway of the aircraft, one foot still inside.

She knew it, she knew this would be too much for her. She had spent her whole life in a small, quiet town that never had anything exciting happen. And now, she was in this strange place with so many people and so much happening. As she felt her chest beginning to tighten, she didn't notice the other person coming down the stairs behind her.

Her body seized as she felt a light tap on her shoulder, quickly turning her head to look at who touched her. Smiling at her from a few steps up was the girl with the light blue hair, the one who had almost electrocuted everyone in the aircraft. The girl gave a small wave, looking down at her with kind, lavender eyes. “Are you okay?”

With the feeling of embarrassment bubbling in her stomach, Kenmei nodded a few times, forcing herself to continue walking forward, the click of her heels ringing through her ears with each step. She turned, watching as the girl took a huge leap off the last step of the ship and onto the floor of the port, throwing her arms up into the air when she landed as she gave a large stretch. “It feels so good to get off that ship! I’m so excited that we're finally here!”

She turned a grin up towards Kenmei, who could only muster a small smile back. Kenmei admired this girls carefree attitude, wishing she could be the same. She had always known this trip would be a struggle, that her anxiety would overcome her more often than not. But, she knew she had to fight it, and she thought that making a friend might just help.

Clearing her throat a bit, Kenmei gave a timid nod. “Y-yes... It's very exciting.” She shifted her bag from one hand to another, trying to not be awkward. The girl's smile only grew wider somehow, bouncing a bit in her spot. “Yes!! Oh, I'm Nanami, by the way.” She turned towards Kenmei in a sharp motion, holding her hand out.

Kenmei glanced from Nanami's face, back down to her hand a few times before she timidly reached out, shaking it gently. “Hello.. I'm Ke-” Her sentence was interrupted as an electric shock shot through her body, causing her to give a small yelp and release Nanami's hand quickly. “Ouch!” She brought her hand closer to herself, shaking it a bit to try and relieve herself of the numbness.

Nanami gasped, covering her mouth with both of her hands. “Oh no, I'm so sorry! I-I have a hard time controlling my magic when I'm excited, you see. Please don't be mad at me!” She took Kenmei's hand in both of hers, seeming genuinely upset about the incident. Kenmei gave a small shake of her head, actually giggling a bit. “I'm not mad at all. Nanami, that was amazing!”

Confused, Nanami raised an eyebrow at Kenmei, wondering why she was not on the floor writhing in pain. Usually, a shock like that would have someone incapacitated, but Kenmei seemed to have only felt a small twinge. “Huh? What do you mean? How are you not totally dead on the floor right now?” Nanami brought Kenmei's hand closer to her face, twisting and turning it a bit to see if she had some sort of device on it that deflected magic.

Kenmei's giggle turned into a light-hearted laugh, waving her free hand in the air a bit, her bag resting on her arm. “I'm a healing mage, you see. As such I'm naturally resistant to pain. But your lightening magic, it's wonderful! I've never seen it before!” Nanami's gaze moved from Kenmei's hand to her face, completely bewildered. Though, a smile soon crossed her features again, finding Kenmei's enjoyment of her magic quite flattering.

Her face light up bright red, bringing a hand up to fan herself. “Miss Kenmei, please, you're embarrassing me!” She released Kenmei's hand, nudging her in the side gently with a sly grin stretched across her face. “I'll be sure to shock you more often, then.” Kenmei's giggle continued, starting to walk forward with the rest of the group, being directed by a new person. Kenmei turned her attention to this person as they began to speak, first observing her features.

She was a tall and shapely woman, with brown, curly hair that rested over her shoulder. Kenmei noticed that most of the men in the group were not focused on the woman's words, but actually her large breasts, which were nestled tightly into her fitting top. On her head, she wore a Witches hat with a special crest, which Kenmei assumed meant she was staff of the Academy. Interesting, she thought, that such a woman oversaw the new students.

Kenmei was not the only one thinking this, as Nanami leaned in to whisper to her. “I bet she's in charge because she can keep all the boys in line.” Kenmei covered her mouth to muffle a quiet giggle, Nanami following her example. After her giggles subsided, Kenmei returned her focus to the woman at the front of the group, knowing she needed to actually listen to her words.

“Anyway,” The woman shook her head, and Kenmei had guessed she had gone off on some unimportant tangent. “My name is Isira. My job here is to make sure all new students have all the information they need and are comfortable as they start their new journey here. Each of you will meet with me or another of my associates privately so that we may guide you through your experience.”

Isira turned and began to walk, instantly being followed by the group. Kenmei and Nanami hung towards the back, as most of the guys in the group clamored over each other to get a better view. Kenmei looked down at Nanami, a bit annoyed with how they were acting. “They act like they've never seen a woman before.”

Nanami nodded, giving a huff. “I know, there are two perfectly fine specimens right here!” She hooked arms with Kenmei, sticking her nose up in the air. Some of the people in front of them heard her, and turned to look at them with a confused stare. Kenmei felt her face flush red, trying to avoid their gaze, while Nanami only stuck her tongue out at them.

“What?!” Nanami waved their hand at them in a 'go away' motion. “Look forward and listen to the sexy teacher, go on.” The students looking at them did so, walking a bit faster as to get away from them. Kenmei gave a small frown, worried Nanami's actions would alienate them from the group. “N-Nanami, please.. We need to be trying to make friends with everyone, don't we? What if they end up being our partners..”

“You're right!” Nanami brought her hand up to cover her mouth, a habit, Kenmei guessed. “I'm so sorry- wait.” She turned her gaze up to look at Kenmei, shocked and concerned. “I don’t know your name! I shocked you before you could tell me!” Kenmei gave a soft smile, shaking her head. “Please, it's okay. My name is Kenmei.”

 

Nanami's face seemed to light up, another wide smile stretching across her face. “What a pretty name! I really hope we can be friends.” She leaned a bit closer, whispering. “To be honest, I'm really scared. I just act like this to keep myself from going insane.” Kenmei nodded, feeling her face flush a bit from the compliment. “Yes.. I'm very nervous, too. My anxiety can get the better of me, sometimes.”

“Well don't worry!” Nanami proclaimed loudly, causing more people to glance back at them. “We'll be each-others support!” Another wide smile crossed her features. “And I'm sure we'll make even more friends. Just have to keep your chin up!” She bumped her hips into Kenmei's gently, causing a smile to grow on Kenmei's lips.

This wasn't going to be as bad as she thought.

 

Or, maybe it was. Now, after a quick tour of the town on the way to the castle, she was standing in her group, looking up at all the upper classmen. They had been taken into a room by Isira and instructed to stand in a line. This was all horribly embarrassing and Kenmei almost couldn't take it. She could feel the eyes of each and every other student looking down on her.

Was this seriously orientation? To be stuffed in a room like this in front of everyone? Was she going to have to introduce herself? She knew she couldn't do that, she knew she would stutter or choke on her words, maybe even faint. Suddenly, Isira began to speak, causing Kenmei's body to give a small jerk in surprise. She heard a couple students in the crowd chuckle, hoping that it wasn't at her.

“Welcome back students, both old and new. I know some of you went home for the holiday this year, it's great to have you all back!” Isira spoke to the crowd of students seated in front of her, smiling at them. “Yeah, you're a sight for sore eyes, Miss. Isira.” A boy in the crowd spoke, only to get a slap on the arm by the girl next to them. The crowd began to laugh, and so did Isira. Kenmei gave a small frown, finding that comment quite degrading. Though, she assumed Isira was used to it, by the way she acted towards any looks or comments she got. Kenmei didn't even know how she would react to something like that if it was said towards her.

Isira began to walk a bit as she spoke, gesturing towards the row of new students. “I want you all to welcome your new peers. We have ten Creatures and twelve Witches this year. We had to do a little bit of rearranging due to one of our dear Witches leaving us this past year-” “Yeah, good job, Judar!” Isira pasued as she was interrupted, looking up to where the voices came from.

Kenmei followed her gaze, noticing one boy stand up to smack the one who had spoken. The first thing she noticed about him was his extremely long hair, and the fact that he was wearing a beanie when it was quite warm that day, especially in this room. 'Judar, huh? I wonder what happened...' She gave a small frown when the blonde boy Judar has smacked stood up as well, grabbing Judar by the front of his shirt. “Don't hit me, punk!”

Isira frowned, clapping her hands loudly and causing the boys to stop what they were doing to look at her. “You two stop it and sit down! We have enough issues with you two fighting outside of approved skirmishes, and you've both only been here a year.” She gave a small cough, her voice quieting down. “Please, just sit.” Glaring at each other, the boys released their grips and sat down in their seats.

The rest of the students began to mumble and gossip quietly, and Kenmei noticed an irritated look cross Judar's features as he slumped down in his chair. Her curiosity only grew, but her attention was brought back to Isira as she started talking again.

“Anyway!” She spoke loudly enough so that everyone stopped talking, bringing their attention back to her. “Today is not just for introductions. Today, both the new first and second years will have their evaluations given to them and their partners assigned.” Just as she finished speaking, many of the students in the crowd began to groan and complain.

“Now, now! Don't start fussing. I know most of you second year students have already grown close to your partners, but sometimes, a better match comes in for you. Believe me, though you may like your partner, many of you are not compatible in an... Professional setting.” She walked closer to the line of first years. “That is why you may be switched up with someone who is a first year. It is scary, but it will work out for you in the end.”

“And no!” She quickly turned around, pointing towards a random person in the second year crowd. “I dont care if you're dating your partner. That will not stop you from being switched!” The third and forth years in the crowd began to chuckle and giggle at them, finding amusement in their suffering.

Kenmei could notice visible discomfort in the second years, a bit worried about how that would affect her next year. She would hate to grow a relationship with someone, just for her partner to be ripped away and replaced with someone else. Isira interrupted her thoughts as she began to speak again, grabbing a piece of paper from her pocket.

“It seems like all the second years this time around do not have a third year partner. That is a good thing. Usually they are omitted from the rule.” She began to read her paper, though continued speaking. “These decisions are made by the Master of the school, after evaluating your different Auras and seeing who you'd match best with. It is not always the 'strongest with the strongest' or 'the fire Mage with the fire Creature'. Things don't always work out like that. As you all should know, Aura matching is more than just power. It's personality compatibility as well. If you're paired with someone, it's for a reason.”

She pulled a pair of glasses out from her other pocket and put them on, getting ready to read off her list. “Those of you that I call from second years, please come down.” She cleared her throat a bit as she began to call names. By the time she was done, only 9 other students had joined the first years down on the lower level. Four Witches and five Creatures, though one of them stood off away from the others, as instructed by Isira.

That one, Kenmei noticed right away, was Judar. He seemed to be in quite a foul mood, his hands shoved in his pockets and an icy glare locked on something random in the room. Isira had called him as a Creature, but she did not see any distinguishable features. Kenmei felt a lot of curiosity towards him, though she kept herself from staring, looking at Isira as she walked between the two groups.

“Sadly, a couple of these students have been held back a year. Two of them were held back to second year, and one of them held back to first year. The others, however, require a partner change, as decided by the Master. Kenmei looked down the line of those that were called down, very curious about them. She noticed that the blonde boy from before was down here, standing next to a very upset girl, who looked like she was about to burst into tears.

Along with them was another Witch and Creature pair, but they did not seem very upset by the change, like they had assumed it was going to happen. In fact, they looked very similar, like they were related to each other. Kenmei shifted in her spot a bit, waiting for Isira to speak. But, before she could, one of the first years in Kenmei's line suddenly started to weep, backing out of the line. It was a younger girl, who was obviously very overwhelmed.

“I-I can't do this! I want to go home!” She suddenly turned and ran out of the room, followed by a different High Witch that was standing by the door. Isira frowned, giving a small cough. “Ah, well... It seems like we are already down a first year. Maybe I talked too much?” She turned back towards the group, seeming concerned.

“Excuse me, Miss Isira.” One of the Witches in the second year line spoke, the one who looked very similar to the Creature she stood next to. “As you know, I was only assigned to my brother because he did not match up with anyone from his year. I am going to be returning to my teaching position this year.” She gave a small bow, backing out of the line. “Please, assign my brother to someone better suited for him. We have discovered we do not work well together in this manner.”

Isira raised an eyebrow, shifting on her feet a bit. “Ah yes, I remember now! Of course, there is actually a Witch in this years group that is perfect for him. At least, in the Masters eyes.” She turned towards the first years line. “When I call your name, please come forward. And do calm down, you all look like you're about to just pass out.”

Kenmei swallowed the lump in her throat, nervously playing with her hair a bit. Isira looked back down at her list. “Let's see... Aladdin. Nanami. Kenmei. And Morgiana. Please come forward first.” Instantly, Kenmei felt her stomach lurch forward. What was this? She was being paired with a second year? How is that possible?

She felt Nanami tug gently on her sleeve as she walked forward, causing Kenmei to move forward as well. Feeling her whole body shaking, she looked at the others who came up. One was a very small boy, very young, though he was obviously a Witch. The other was a young girl as well, though she had an intense face. Kenmei could not see any other features on her besides some markings on her skin, guessing she was a Creature.

Isira pointed from the blonde boy to the small blue haired one. “Alibaba, Aladdin. You two are the first pair. Aladdin is an exceptional young mage with fire as his main. Alibaba is also adapt at fire magic as a Phoenix Creature.” Alibaba glanced at the girl he was standing next to as she hiccupped a bit, trying to hold back her tears. The small boy, Aladdin, walked up to Alibaba and held out his hand. “It's nice to meet you! That's amazing that you're a Phoenix Creature, those are pretty rare!”

His ego obviously growing in size, Alibaba gave a large grin, shaking Aladdin's hand. “Thanks! It's nice to meet you too!” Aladdin moved back into his line, rocking back and forth on his feet a bit, obviously pleased with his pairing. Isira continued with her pairings, pointing as she said the names. “Nanami, Hakuryuu, you're the next pair. Nanami is an... well, lets just say she almost electrocuted everyone on the ride over here.” The crowed laughed. “And Hakuryuu is a talented Dragon Creature, with both plants and illusion magics. He's also very skilled in hand to hand.”

Kenmei looked down at Nanami, noticing that her face had basically turned into a tomato. Nanami was about to walk forward when Hakuryuu did so first, giving a small bow. “It's a pleasure.” Nanami could only think to hold out her hand, her body shaking. “N-nice to meet you!” Hakuryuu stood up straight, a bit perturbed by Nanami's gesture. Still, he took her hand and shook it gently before returning to his spot in his line.

Nanami leaned in closer to Kenmei, whispering as quietly as she could. “He's so handsome, I'm never washing my hand again.” Kenmei couldn't help but to give a small giggle, though it caught in her throat as she heard her name next. “Kenmei, Judar.” Isira stopped, looking between the two with a bit of a concerned expression.

Kenmei looked over at Judar, who was now looking at her with that icy glare. She felt her stomach instantly drop, shifting about in her spot as she tried to avoid his stare. Isira continued, giving a sigh. “Kenmei is a healing mage, though she has shown signs of being adapt at water magic as well. Judar is a Cat Creature. As a Witch, Im sure you understand how special that is.” Isira turned her gaze towards Kenmei, who looked back up at her in awe.

A Cat Creature? Is that really what Isira had just said? She gave a small nod, deciding to keep her bewilderment to herself for now. “Y-yes ma’am….” Isira paused for a moment, as there was an awkward silence through the room. Neither Kenmei nor Judar approached one another, one of them too embarrassed and the other too angry to move. So, with a roll of her eyes, Isira went on to pair the rest together.

“Kougyoku and Morgiana. Kougyoku is a water mage, and though Morgiana does not have any magic abilities, she is very physically strong as a Lion Creature. Some of them are born with magic, and some are not, though that does not make them any less amazing.” Morgiana took a few steps forward once Isira was done and gave a low bow. “It's a pleasure to meet you.”

Kougyoku, still trying to control her emotions, sniffed as she turned her head away, crossing her arms tightly over her chest. “H-hello! There's no need to bow!” Morgiana stood back up straight after a moment, backing back up into her spot. “My apologies.” Isira pointed towards a door near the end of the room. “Please go into that room. There you will be assigned rooms and class schedules.”

The group started to walk that way, with Hakuryuu and Nanami leading, as neither hesitated to move forward. As the other pairs walked together, Kenmei looked back to Judar, who had not yet moved. He stared back at her for a moment before he started to move forward to follow them, never removing his hands from his pockets.

Kenmei gave a small sigh as she followed after him, rubbing her arm. This all felt like a huge mistake, how could she possibly be paired with someone like him? Though, she did her best not to judge too early. If they were paired together, there must be a reason. There just has to be a good reason...

Right?

Chapter Text

"Name?"

Kenmei gave a small jump from shock as she approached the table in front of her, not expecting to be asked a question so quickly. Though, she had been in a bit of a daydream, but some could have considered it a nightmare. This is not going at all like she had hoped. In fact, it was so awful she wanted to run out the door like that young girl had before.

Now, she was staring into the freckled face of the man sitting at the table before her. All she could think about immediately was how awkward she was. He had asked her for her name, right? That's what he asked? Was he actually talking to her, or to Judar standing next to her?

As she watched the man raise an eyebrow, she snapped herself out of her daze, bringing a hand up to push some of her hair out of her face. "O-Oh, I'm sorry… I-It's Kenmei. Cai Kenmei." She shifted about on her feet a bit, nervously running her fingers through a lock of her hair as she tried to stay calm.

The man gave a nod, though a soft smile crossed his features. "You seem so nervous. There's not need to be." He looked down at his paperwork as he started to write, and Kenmei noticed the grey ears perched on the top of his head for the first time. Cat ears? He's another Cat Creature? But, he's obviously not a student or lower ranking… That medal is huge!

Kenmei placed her arms behind her back as she observed the medal that was clasped onto the front of the man's shirt. It was extremely ornate, so much so that Kenmei couldn't make much of it out. Her curiosity got the better of her and she spoke out, though her voice was quite timid.

"I'm sorry, what does your medal mean?" She took a small step closer to the table, though was sure not to get too close. The man glanced up from his writing for a moment before he went back to it, speaking as he wrote. "Oh, that's right, you haven't been introduced to the faculty yet. I'm Ja'far, the Creature Partner of the Master." Kenmei's face instantly flushed red, feeling her stomach instantly twist into knots.

Ja'far? The Ja'far? One of the most powerful Creatures of their time? And she was talking to him? In all honestly, Kenmei knew this feeling in her gut was pure 'fangirling', but she just couldn't stop herself. "I-I've read so much about you! We don't have any technology where I grew up but, so I really didn't know what you looked like. But it's a pleasure! Your lightening magic is near impossible to beat, I've read! Lightening magic just fascinates me."

Ja'far chuckled, finishing up his papers and putting them into a folder, before placing them into a box. "Please, you flatter me, Miss Kenmei. But, you know, your partner there is adapt at lightening magic himself." Kenmei noticed a change in Ja'far's expression as he spoke, as if he was displeased with Judar's presence. "Though he would do better and be more successful if he could change his attitude."

Kenmei frowned a bit, glancing up at Judar, who had been silently standing next to her the entire time. He was still glaring off at something random in the room, though it was a different type of stare. Instead of angry, he looked a bit… jealous or maybe even pouting? That's the only word that Kenmei could connect to the expression on his face, though she wasn't sure why he would be. Was it because she was praising someone else?

"Although, maybe with the right partner, his performances could change." Ja'far continued to speak, pulling out a tote bag from under the table and placing a folder of papers in it. "Either way, here is just a welcome bag Isira puts together for all the first years. Inside it is your schedule and room accommodations. Please go into the next room over there to continue your orientation."

Kenmei smiled as she took the bag, starting to become more excited than nervous at this point. She had met such a powerful person, and the fact that he was so kind gave her great hopes for the rest of the faculty in the school. "Thank you! I re-" She gave a small gasp as she was interrupted by Judar, who had turned to walk past her to their next destination, though he had bumped his arm into her as he passed.

With her face flushed red, Kenmei rubbed her arm, a bit embarrassed and frustrated. "Well that was a bit rude..." Ja'far sighed, rubbing the side of his face as his ears flattened against his scalp. "He's a tough one to deal with… Maybe you will be the one to straighten him out. No one else has been able to. Either way, you're welcome. I'm sure I'll see you both in my course." Another soft smile crossed his lips, and Kenmei calmed, giving a nod.

"Yes, okay… Thank you again!" She turned and quickly followed after Judar, jogging a bit to catch up with him as he was waiting by the door to the next room. As she approached him, Kenmei gave him a bit of a sidewise glance, passing him to enter the room. Judar raised an eyebrow at her, following her in. "What's that mean look for."

Kenmei kept walking, hoping that she would be able to hide the crimson in her cheeks. "Y-you bumped into me. That wasn't very nice of you." Judar rolled his eyes, pulling his hands out of his pockets. "Oh please, that was an accident. Kind of. A little on purpose. You were talking too much."

Her heels clicking on the stone floor loudly, Kenmei stopped walking and snapped around to look at him, a stern expression on her face. "Seriously? We haven't said one word to each other before now, and you're treating me like that?" Judar had to quickly halt himself, almost running into her from her abrupt stop.

His expression morphed back into an icy glare as he stared down at her, standing at least a good half a foot taller than her. His cold expression and height instantly broke Kenmei's spirit, causing her to look away and become overwhelmed with embarrassment. How could I have been paired with someone like him? There's no way our personalities match… Or balance out or whatever they said…

"You know, I'm just frustrated." Judar spoke up, causing Kenmei to only glance at him before she continued to keep her head down. "I've had nothing but shit happen to me the whole time I've been here." He crossed his arms, causing Kenmei to finally look back up at him, guessing his change in posture meant he was relaxing.

As she looked up at him, she could see that his expression had relaxed, though it was still very difficult to read. His eyes, she noticed, were quite dull and void of emotion, even though their crimson color was so vibrant. Kenmei could feel warmth beginning to fill her cheeks, finding herself observing more of his features and starting to admire them.

I didn't notice that he's kind of… really cute. Kenmei knew she was staring, but she felt fine if his eyes were looking elsewhere. Judar began to speak again, pulling Kenmei out of her daze. "I had a really bad experience with my past Witch… she's the one that ran off and got me held back a year." He finally looked down at her, his face scrunching up in confusion at the shocked look on her face. "What?"

Kenmei, who couldn't help her confusion from becoming visible, tilted her head to the side a bit. "What? What do you mean held back? I thought you were a second year?" She placed one of her hands on her hips as she shifted her standing position, a scolding tone in her voice. Judar instantly became irritated with her tone, putting both of his hands on his hips as well. "Well excuse me, miss priss. Sorry I don't meet you to your expectations." He narrowed his eyes at her a bit, obviously quite bothered.

"Little Miss-Perfect-Entry-Test-Scores. You're a healing mage. What do you really expect to get out of a place like this, huh? You can't fight, you can't use any other elements. You know-" He pointed his finger at her, his rage really starting to build, now. "-I can't believe I'm stuck with someone like you again. I think this aura thing is all bullshit. Why would they pair one of the most powerful in the school with one of the weakest? I think they're just punishing me-"

As Judar continued to rant, Kenmei began to drown his voice out as her emotions started to take over. She heard only ringing in her ears as she hung her head, gripping the handle of the tote bag she had so tightly that she could feel her nails starting to dig into the skin of her palms. She could feel her chest tightening, her stomach twisting into knots, and the burning within her sinuses as tears began to well. She had to stop him, had to make him stop talking to her like this or she knew she would have a panic attack.

"Judar!"

The ringing in her ears stopped abruptly when she heard an unfamiliar voice boom through the hallway they were standing in, causing her body to give a light jerk from surprise. She glanced up a bit, noticing Nanami and her new partner Hakuryuu coming towards them down the hall. Judar stopped talking, turning his head to see who had called him. He rolled his eyes, shoving his hands into his pockets and slumping back to lean against the rock wall. "What do you want, Hakuryuu."

Nanami gave a small gasp as she saw Kenmei's defeated state, dropping her tote bag and running over to her. "What did you do to her!" Nanami wrapped her arms around Kenmei, not noticing the wince that crossed Judar's face as she spoke. "Fuck, your voice is annoying." He looked at Hakuryuu, pointing to Nanami. "How can you even stand being near that for more than two seconds?"

Hakuyruu did not answer him, only staring at him with a stern, irritated look as he picked up Nanami's bag for her. Judar took a quick glance from Hakuryuu to Nanami, raising his eyebrows as he expected an answer. "Hello? Did she make you deaf?" Hakuryuu sighed once he stopped next to the three, reaching up to rub his face. "Judar, seriously, why are you being an asshole?"

Judar shoved his hand back into his pocket, scoffing as he looked away. "I am not being an asshole. I'm just fucking irritated, is that a crime?" Judar followed Hakuryuu's finger as he pointed at Kenmei and spoke. "Making your new partner cry kind of is. That is being an asshole." Kenmei blinked a few times, not even noticing that her tears had fallen. She reached up through Nanami's grip and wiped her face, holding her head down again to try and hide it. "S-sorry, I didn't mean to cry."

Nanami released the hug, glaring at Judar as she tried to comfort her new friend. "You don't have to apologize! You didn't do anything wrong. He should be the one saying sorry!" Judar scoffed again as he stood up straight, glaring right back at Nanami. "Shut up, your voice is fucking annoying!" Nanami only raised her voice, taking a step closer to him as electricity sparked around her a bit. "I don't have to shut up if I don't want to, meanie!"

A sputtered chuckled escaped Judar's lips, an amused expression flashing over his features for a second as he removed his hands from his pockets. "'Meanie'? Are you kidding me, what are you, five? Stop talking to me, before I seriously make you cry." Nanami crossed her arms, holding her head up in confidence. "You can't make me cry." Hakuryuu shook his head, stepping between them. "Enough, enough. You're both acting like little kids."

Nanami gave a small frown, backing off a bit and back to Kenmei's side. Judar gave an irritated groan, leaning back against the wall again. "Just back off, Hakuryuu, it's none of your business." Hakuryuu frowned, crossing his arms. "Well, I stepped in, that made it my business. You must make this partnership work, Judar. Or you'll get kicked out. Remember what you were told? I thought that'd be enough to scare you." Kenmei felt her heart skip a bit at Hakuryuu's words, looking up at Judar for the first time since he got angry. For a moment, she saw worry flash across his face. Then, she saw a hint of regret.

Her stomach clinched tightly once his eyes landed on her, their eyes catching for a moment before anger once again took over his features. He roughly pushed himself off the wall, storming down the hall away from them. "I don't need to listen to this bullshit! I'm going to my room, fuck off." Kenmei could only stare in the place he had been, feeling her heart pounding through her whole body as she tried to stay calm.

Within a moment, Kenmei snapped herself back into normalcy, glancing from Nanami to Hakuryuu as she took a step back from them. "I-I'm sorry. That must have been very uncomfortable..." She reached up and wiped her face again, still feeling her body trembling. Hakuryuu sighed, handing Nanami her tote bag, which she took back gently.

"I've been his friend for a long time, we grew up together. He's a very difficult person. He can be very mean when he feels he's been wronged... and there really isn't any changing his mind. Most likely, he'll ask you to prove yourself... That you're worthy of being his partner. He has an ego that's through the roof and you'll discover that affects a lot of his interactions with others."

He started to walk down the hall, motioning for Nanami to follow. Nanami gently took Kenmei by the arm and led her along with them as Hakuryuu continued to speak. "He won't be at the rest of Orientation." Kenmei followed along where she was pulled, hanging her head a bit, dreading the thought of the rest of the day.

Chapter Text

As the day continued, Hakuryuu's words rang true. Kenmei spent the rest of Orientation without a partner, feeling like a true third wheel as she kept close to Nanami, who was having a great time getting to know Hakuryuu. It all flew by in a blur, and by the time it was over and night had fallen, Kenmei could hardly remember what had even happened. She had even more things in her tote bag that she couldn't recall putting in there, and even had a witches hat upon her head that she hadn't hardly noticed.

Now, as she walked down the hall with Nanami and Hakuryuu, trailing behind them, she reached up and gently touched the hat, feeling an overwhelming wave of sadness flood her. She had been so caught up from the fight that she hadn't even remembered being awarded her first level witches hat, one of the most important ceremonies of Orientation.

As her hand fell to rest on the broach that was pinned to her blouse, the sadness began to well into anger. That stupid argument had numbed her so much she couldn't even retain the happiness of her first-year broach. All of it of it was Judar's fault, he had been the one that ruined it all for her. This once in a life time celebration, and he had destroyed it.

Gripping the broach tightly on her shirt, she picked up her pace, storming up to the two in front of her. She squeezed between them, speaking loudly as to interrupt them. “I need you to tell me where Judar's room is!” The group paused their walking, Hakuryuu looking down at Kenmei with a surprised and slightly irritated look. “What?”

“I said-” Kenmei crossed her arms as she repeated herself. “-Where is Judar's room? I have to talk to him, now.” Hakuryuu raised an eyebrow, glancing at Nanami before back at Kenmei, obviously confused. “Uh... well, we are all going there. It's down the hall, the red doors at the end.” Kenmei didn't even take a moment to ask why they were going there too, before she turned and quickly made her way down the hall.

Nanami giggled at the look on Hakuryuu's face, starting to walk again. “I don't think she realizes we all room together.” Hakuryuu sighed as he followed her, rubbing the back of his head. “I guess not... She must have forgotten or something.” He gave a small sigh, crossing his arms. “I think that fight freaked her out or something. She's been acting weird all day.

With a nod, Nanami gave a stretch as she watched Kenmei burst through the doors down the hall. “I just met her on the ride here, so... I don't know her very well, but I think she lets her emotions get the better of her.” She gave a small wince as she heard Kenmei's voice yelling Judar's name before the door closed. “Perhaps we should wait a while...?” Hakuryuu gave a soft chuckle, which only caused Nanami's face to catch on fire. “Perhaps we should. Come, I'll show you this floors entertainment rooms, showers and the like.” He turned down a different hallway, prompting Nanami to follow.

Kenmei stood in silence, only the echo of her voice bouncing around in her ears. She has just called his name, expecting to have just walked in on him. However, the large room she stood in was not what she had expected at all. It was furnished as any luxury living room would be, though the thing that caught Kenmei's eye was the floor to ceiling book shelves that lined the entire back wall, split only by a large window. There was a ladder pushed all the way to the right side, something that Kenmei guessed could move about to reach the higher levels.

Growing up with no technology, Kenmei had been dependent on books as entertainment from her childhood. In truth, she loved them, and as she approached the massive selection, she could feel her anger calming. There must have been hundreds of books here, though she took her chance to run her fingers along the spines of the few in front of her. Dust began to gently float away from the books at her touch, and Kenmei guessed they had been neglected for quite a long time.

Before she could pull one from the shelf, she felt a cool breeze fall upon her, causing her to shiver. She glanced around a bit, before she noticed that the large window next to her was open. As she inspected it further, she could see that the window had a built in door that lead out to a large balcony. Growing curious, Kenmei placed her tote bag down and gently removed the Witches hat from her head.

Placing it on a near by chair, she moved closer to the window, gripping the handle of the door and gently pulling it further open. It made a soft squeak as it opened, the hinges protesting against the movement of the door, until Kenmei had it opened enough to be able to step outside. The first thing she felt was the chill, instantly moving her arms to wrap around herself as she shivered. She tilted her head up to look at the sky, first noticing that there was no moon that night. It was dark out, the only light coming from the room behind her.

“What do you want?”

Kenmei felt her body seize, knowing she must have visibly jumped as she quickly turned towards the sound of the voice. She could see a figure sitting on the edge of a balcony, but she couldn't really make out who it was. However, she could recognize the voice by now, having listened to it tear her to pieces earlier.

The sound of it brought back her anger that had calmed and she dropped her arms back to her sides, glaring towards the figure as her eyes began to adjust. Judar's from began to become clear in the darkness, and she could see that he had completely changed clothing. Though, that mattered little to her at the moment, as her thoughts raced with what she wanted to scream at him about.

Judar narrowed his eyes at her, becoming irritated at her silence. “Hello? Did you forget how to talk?” He turned his body around, placing his bare feet on the floor of the balcony before standing. He was no longer dressed in the large coat he had been wearing previously, but was instead in baggy, black sweat pants and... no shirt?

Instantly, Kenmei felt her face flush hot like fire, shuffling in her spot before crossing her arms again. Though she couldn't see him well, she could tell that he was fit, and she knew she was going to have a hard time hiding her embarrassment. She cleared her throat a bit, saying the first thing that came to her mind, though it seemed stupid after she said it.

“Where are your clothes? Aren't you cold?” Her voice was shaky from embarrassment and the chilly temperature, feeling her body shivering against the cold breeze. Judar only scoffed, rolling his eyes as he crossed his arms. Kenmei could see that he still had the beanie on his head, though it seemed off, like he had hurriedly placed it on before she saw him.

“No, I'm not cold. I've been alone all day, I think I can dress how I feel like. There's no rules about being in your own quarters in sweat pants.” His tail began to swing in irritated behind him, though the instant he noticed Kenmei look at it, he leaned against the wall of the balcony to keep it still. He didn't want her staring at it.

“I asked you what you wanted, stop standing there like a weirdo.” Kenmei could hear the irritation and defensiveness in his tone, moving her eyes from his tail back up to his face. “I.. I wanted to talk to you about earlier...” Kenmei took a few steps closer, though stopped when she noticed his glare fall back down to her. Her eyes fell to the ground, moving her hands back down to her sides as she flattened her skirt out a bit.

“Can't you look at me like a normal person? I'm not here to be your enemy, you should stop treating me like one.” Her voice was soft and timid, almost too soft for Judar to be able to hear. Judar uncrossed his arms and sighed, leaning his head back against the wall as he closed his eyes. He knew she was right, but he was finding it near impossible to even begin to like her in any way. He could feel that she was weak, and he knew this would just be another failure.

“I don't think you're my enemy. You're just weak, you're not the right type of person to be my partner.” Judar's voice had calmed, though not because he wanted to be gentle with her. He was honestly tired of talking about this, and tired of yelling. Being angry exhausted him, and he was more angry than not these past few months.

Kenmei shook her head, taking another step closer, even if he didn't like it. “I am not weak. You don't even know anything about me yet, how could you say that? You don't know what I can do.” She crossed her arms again, tilting her head up a bit in confidence. “I could drop you on your ass right now and even if you tried anything, you couldn't hurt me.”

Judar began to laugh, mocking her. “I fucking doubt that!” He leaned up off of the wall, starting to walk towards her. Kenmei instinctively moved back, through tried to not look scared. “Well you shouldn't! What me to show you?” She put her hands on her hips, glaring up at him as he gave her an equally dirty look.

“What are you waiting for?” He continued to mock her, stepping even closer. Kenmei became uncomfortable with the closing distance, reaching her hand out and placing it on his chest. “Fine!” The instant her hand touched his skin, it began to glow a pale blue for a moment before she took her hand back. In seconds, Judar became incredibly weak, stumbling back a bit before he lost his balance, falling onto his backside. He lied down, bringing his hand up to cover his face as the rate of his breathing increased.

“Wha-what the fuck did you do?” He attempted to speak, his words slurring as his head spun. He couldn't move, nausea taking over his body as his limbs fell numb. Kenmei covered her mouth, guilt flooding her as she quickly walked to his side. “I-I'm sorry! You told me to do it... I just... All I did was remove energy from your body.”

Judar removed his hand from his face, attempting to glare up at her, though he was having trouble focusing on which body was the real one. “Wha.. What the fuck do you mean? How did you do that?” He let his arm fall to lay flat against the hard rock floor, still breathing heavy as he tried to calm the sickness in his core. “God... I think I'm going to puke..” Kenmei sighed, kneeling down next to him. “I dehydrated you a little. I can fix it...”
As she placed her hand back on his chest for a moment, Judar could slowly feel his body returning to normal as the nausea subsided and his dizziness vanished. He gave a groan as he reached up and rubbed his eyes before pushing himself to sit up, causing Kenmei to stand and back up a little. Judar sighed, leaning back on his hands for a second.

“Alright, I'll admit. That was kind of badass....” He gave her a look as he saw her expression light up a bit, pointing at her. “But that doesn't mean anything! Don't get all happy.” He reached his hand out a bit more, hand outstretched. “Going to help me up?” Kenmei felt her face flush again as she stared at his hand a moment, nervous about grabbing it.

Swallowing the lump in her throat, she reached out and timidly took his hand, prepared to quickly help him up and let go of him. But, the instant she took hold of his hand, a sly smile crossed his features as he gripped her hand tightly. “Oops, you made a mistake.” Instantly, pale purple sparks flashed from Judar's hand and ran over Kenmei's body, causing her to jerk lightly and snatch her hand back, shaking it.

She backed away, turning her back to him as she bounced on her feet a bit, trying to subdue the tingling in her hand and arm. “Ouch! Why would you do that, I was helping you!” She turned back to look at him, only to be met with a shocked look on Judar's face. It reminded Kenmei a lot of how Nanami had looked earlier that day, when she was surprised that Kenmei hadn't been hurt by her shock.

Rubbing her hand still, Kenmei turned her body back to face him fully, though he only continued to stare at her in in disbelief. “I told you... You wouldn't be able to hurt me like everyone else.” She moved her arms behind her back, nudging her foot into the stone floor. “My healing properties... They block pain.” Judar narrowed his eyes at her a bit, slowly raising himself to stand, never taking his gaze off of her.

“Healers can't do that. You have something else weird.” He took a few steps towards her, though Kenmei only shook her head. “No, it's actually quite common with heal-” “No! There are some here and I've never seen that before.” Judar interrupted her, crossing his arms as he grew frustrated. Kenmei frowned. “I'm pretty sure I know about my own magic, Judar. Thanks.”

Judar felt a twinge of annoyance at her tone, bending over a bit to glare at her more eye-level. “Don't use that tone of voice with me, I know what I'm talking about!” Kenmei rolled her eyes. “Obviously you don't. Does anyone ever tell you when you're wrong? Ever?” She turned away from him and started to walk back towards the window to go back inside.

“I don't know what happened between you and that other Witch. But I'm not her. I may be shy but... I'm not going to let you walk all over me. I can prove that I can be a good partner. But you have to be willing to work with me.” She stopped at the door and turned, though she jumped as Judar was right behind her, having not noticed him following.

Now in the light coming from the room, Kenmei could really see him. He was thin, though Kenmei could almost go with the term scrawny. However, his torso and arms were built to near perfection for his weight, and the work that he had put into his figure was obvious to her. She could feel her face beginning to burn once again, the heat going all the way to the tips of her ears. She was sure he could see the redness in her cheeks as she did everything she could to not stare at him, quickly running her fingers through her hair as she turned back to the window. “W-what?!”

Judar gave a sly smile, using one hand to prop him up on the window while his other rested on his hip. “What are you all flustered about? Never seen a man without his shirt before?” Kenmei quickly reached for the door handle of the window and tried to open it, only to find that it was stuck. “Y-yes I have! Why are you even saying that!” She tried to jiggle the handle, but was only met with defeat.

Leaning on the window, Judar laughed, crossing his arms. “Oh, please. You're trying to be so high and mighty, but you can't even look at me. How are we even going to train together if you cant look at me without a shirt on?” He watched her struggle with the door handle, finding it amusing. Kenmei kept her focus on her task, shaking her head. “You're going to wear a shirt when we train!”

Judar scoffed, trying not to laugh at her failing attempts. “Fuck that. You're just going to have to get over it.” He reached over, gently smacking her hand away as he took hold of the door handle. “Christ, you're turning it the wrong way.” Instead of pushing the handle down, he pulled it up, and the door clicked open.

He pushed it all the way open, catching her eyes as he looked down at her. She only stared at him for a moment before she started to head inside, though she was stopped as he grabbed her by the wrist, pulling her back. “Hang on a second.” Kenmei stumbled back a bit as he pulled her, glaring at him in annoyance as he stood in front of the door. “What? Going to just tease me more?”

Judar shook his head, putting his hands on his hips. “Look. I don't trust people easily, and I don't get along with hardly anybody. But..” He reached up and rubbed the back of his neck, seeming like he was having a hard time with his words. “Tomorrow is Broom Day for the first years. That other Witch and I couldn't get off the ground. If we can, then I'll see about working with you. If you can't even get a broom off the ground, then none of this is worth my time.”

Kenmei felt her stomach clinch a bit at his words, rubbing her arm as she grew nervous. “Well.. Fine.” She looked up at him, a bit surprised to see that he actually wasn't giving her a dirty look. “But.. Can you not think of me as an enemy? We have to try to be friends.” She held her hand out to him, trying her best to control her trembling. “If I do my best, I expect the same from you.”

Judar stared down at her hand for a moment before reaching out and taking it firmly, giving it a small shake. “Fine... Uh.. What was your name again?” Kenmei's kind expression turned into a glare in a second, snatching her hand back from him and forcing her way past him to go inside. Judar huffed, following after her. “What, what did I do?!”

“My name is Kenmei, you idiot!” She snatched her bag off the ground and grabbed her hat off the chair, shoving it back onto her head. Judar shut the door to the window behind him, a bit puffed up and irritated at her calling him an idiot. “I just couldn't remember, damn woman! Chill out.” He looked over at the main door to the room as it opened, Hakuryuu and Nanami walking inside.

Nanami smiled at Kenmei as she came inside, placing her stuff down. “Did you see all the rooms yet?” Kenmei frowned, glancing around before looking back at her in confusion. “What do you mean?” Nanami sighed, walking over and putting her arm around Kenmei's shoulders. “You were so upset you ran off before we could explain... Or you forgot what was told to us or something, but..”

She pointed at the boys, then at herself, Kenmei following her finger the whole time. “Those boys and us... we share this... loft thing.” Kenmei instantly felt her face catch on fire again, shaking her head as she covered her mouth. “W-what, no, we can't do that, that's- that's not normal.” She looked over Judar as he started to laugh, heading towards a different door in the room.

“It is in this hell hole. Two pairs of Partners share a loft, each person gets their own bedroom. There's only one bathroom with a toilet. Everything else is down the hall, we all get to share the same bathing space.” He found amusement in the growing concern and redness in Kenmei's face, almost unable to hold his composure.

Hakuryuu rolled his eyes, walking towards his own door. “Stop, Judar. As her partner, maybe you should give her a tour instead of picking on her about it?” Judar rolled his eyes, scoffing as he opened his door. “Fuck that, I'm going to bed.” With that, he walked inside and shut the door loudly. Kenmei shook her head again, lowering her voice so only Nanami could hear her.

“We can't share a living space with men.” She shifted in her position, so embarrassed she almost couldn't stand being in the same room as other people. Nanami couldn't help but to give a small giggle, placing her hands on Kenmei's cheeks gently, squishing them a bit. “Calm down! You must have grown up really conservative.”

Kenmei only nodded, glacing over at Hakuryuu as he headed into his own room, shutting the door behind him. “H-how are we supposed to do anything?” Nanami shrugged. “Towels? Robes? Uhm.. I'm honestly not sure, but I bet we can figure it out!” She gently started to lead Kenmei towards one of the unclaimed doors, upon which rested a sign with Kenmei's name on it.

“Here. Why don't you go inside and get some rest. It's been kind of a crazy day, and I'm not sure what you and Judar talked about, but you looked pretty upset when we came in. Why was he shirtless, by the way?” Nanami lowered her voice, opening up the door and allowing Kenmei to walk inside.
Kenmei sighed as she did so, glancing around. “He said he likes to be that way...” She put her tote bag down, noticing her other luggage had been delivered her for her. Nanami only giggled, fanning herself with her hand a bit. “Oh, lucky you. I hope Hakuryuu is the same.” She began to laugh at the shocked look Kenmei gave her, starting to shut the door. “Kidding, kidding! Kind of. Goodnight!”

As the door clicked shut, Kenmei could only shake her head, reaching up and taking off the Witches hat. Placing it down onto the dresser next to her, she walked further into the room, observing it. It was fully furnished with everything needed in a bedroom, including a desk and chair, with a little corner set up with a small couch and bookshelf. Across from that was the twin size bed, sitting underneath a large window that had its curtains drawn.

She noticed how bare of decorations it was, guessing they left it that way so she could decorate it herself and make it her own. In a way, she enjoyed that fact, knowing that this would be her home for the next four years. She paused from her observations, taking the moment to open up her large suitcase and pull out some clothing to sleep in. As she pulled the soft silk sleeping gown over her figure, she began to feel sleep tugging at her mind, drawing her towards the bed. She flipped off the lights as she passed the switch, pulling apart the sheets and crawling into the soft comfort of the bed.

The blankets hugged her body as she settled in, though she could feel a twinge of loneliness knock at the back of her mind. She missed her brother and the quiet, calm place she called home. Now, she was in a castle filled with strangers, and tied to someone she wasn't sure she could ever truly bond with. But, as sleep overcame her, these thoughts were locked away for another time.

For now, she needed this sleep, for this truly was going to be the hardest four years of her life.

Chapter Text

Kenmei awoke with a start, quickly sitting up in her bed and clutching her clovers to her. Breathing heavily, she looked around the room, the sunrise casting a dim glow across the surfaces that surrounded her. Remembering where she was, she took in a few deep breaths, reaching her hand up to wipe the sweat from her face. A nightmare, she guessed, must have shaken her from sleep, although she could not remember what it was about. She typically never remembered her dreams, but it was also uncommon for her to have a nightmare in the first place.

As she relaxed her body, her hand falling back into her lap, she released a sigh. Looking to the window beside her bed, she could see a bit of sky through the curtains. It was barely sunrise, the dark violet clouds starting to grow a pink hue as the sun rose. Kenmei scooted herself closer to the window, grabbing the curtains and pulling them open to allow more light into the room. The view of the sky instantly calmed her, observing every cloud in her line of sight. It greatly reminded her of the clouds she has seen the morning before, the ones that had calmed her on her trip to the Academy.

After watching the sun rise for a few moments, she closed the curtains back into place and moved to the edge of her bed, placing her bare feet onto the cold stone floor. This made her shiver as she stood, thinking to herself that she needed to purchase a rug to cover that area, finding the cold undesirable so early in the morning. Still a bit disoriented from her nightmare jolting her awake, she started to make her way towards her luggage still resting on the floor. The largest suitcase was still open from last night, her clothing a bit of a scattered mess just from the small amount of digging she had done.

Feeling annoyed at this, she flipped the light on and dragged the suitcase closer to the dresser in the room. By the current state of the sunrise, Kenmei assumed that it was still only around six o’clock in the morning, so she had some time to put her luggage away. Though it was a boring task, it helped Kenmei calm her nerves from her nightmare, finding that the repetitiveness kept her mind focus on that task. Before she even realized, she had put all her clothing away, most in the dresser and some hanging in the wardrobe that rested next to it. Her luggage was stored at the bottom of the wardrobe, the bags and smaller suitcases all inside of the large one and tucked away nicely.

Kenmei smiled a bit as she placed her hands on her hips, feeling accomplished, even though it was such a small task. Getting her clothing put away made this room feel more like home, and it was easier for her to adjust. She glanced over towards the window, able to see behind the curtains that she sun was now much higher in the sky. Becoming nervous she would be late, she grabbed pieces of an outfit and the supplies she had brought with her for general self-grooming and hygiene.

From what she could remember, she had been told that each floor level shared a bathroom, although she could not remember where it was. A bit embarrassed that she would have to ask one of her roommates, she made sure her nightgown was covering her body and started to head out of the room into the main living space. Before she could even take a step out, she gave a screech, nearly dropping all of her things as she tried to cover her face.

“J-Judar! What are you doing, where are your clothes!” Kenmei's voice, though quite shrill, was muffled by the clothing she pressed against her face. Judar turned to look at her from the position he was standing, not surprised or shocked at all by her screaming. He continued to work a toothbrush in his mouth as he brushed his teeth, staring at her with a blank and tired expression. He was dressed in nothing but some dark red boxers, his long hair falling loose behind him.

"What's your deal?" Judar spoke through a mouth full of toothpaste, starting to head towards the small restroom connected to the living room. Kenmei kept her face covered, feeling her heart pounding through her whole body and her face burning. "W-why aren't you dressed?" She only lowered the clothing to peek out when she heard him spit into the sink and the water running, guessing he was in the restroom.

After a moment, Judar finished washing his mouth out, placing his toothbrush back into the small container on the sink that was his storage. "Maybe because I just got up? You're not really one to talk, you're still in a nightgown." Kenmei covered her face again as he came back out of the restroom, too embarrassed to look at him. "That doesn't matter, at least I'm fully covered!" Judar rolled his eyes, starting to head towards his bedroom.

"Whatever. You should probably hurry up, we only have an hour until we have to be at the Broom bullshit." He stopped at his door to look back at her for a second, catching her eyes as he saw her peeking over her clothing again. His ears flattened back against the top of his head and he quickly walked into his room, closing the door. Kenmei frowned, lowering her clothing down away from her face. To her, that was an odd reaction, as he hadn't cared about her seeing him just a moment before.

She wasn't sure what it could have been that upset him, but she didn't have time to think about that. He was right, she had to hurry and finish getting ready or they would end up late. But, she still did not know the direction of the bathroom. Timidly, she walked over to his door and knocked, hoping he wouldn't be too irritated with her. "Judar, I don’t know where the bathroom is..." Within a few moments, the door opened a bit, Judar staring down at her with an irritated glance.

He had his beanie placed on his head and his hair was pulled over his shoulder, in the beginning stages of his large braid. "You don't what?" Kenmei felt her face flush again, looking everywhere but at him. "I don’t know where the bathroom is..." Judar was silent for a moment before he sighed, rubbing his face. "It's uh... The women's one is down the hall to the left. It's big doors and even has a sign. You can't miss it."

Kenmei took a moment to glance up at him as she nodded. "Thanks... Did I upset you a second ago? When you were out here?" She couldn't help but feel a little bit guilty, though she wasn't sure if she had actually upset him. Judar raised an eyebrow at her, and Kenmei could see one of his ears twitch behind his beanie. He opened the door a bit more, leaning on the doorframe.

"Did you upset me? What makes you think that?" He tapped his fingers on the door as he kept his grip on it. Kenmei shifted in her spot a bit, unable to help a glance at his torso. "I don’t know, you just ran into your room and your ears got all-" "Wait, wait, wait-" Judar interrupted her, waving his hand in the air a bit. "You saw my ears?"

Kenmei frowned, giving a small nod. "Yes?" Judar's expression shifted into one of frustration and he started to shut the door, waving her away. "Just go get ready, you're going to make us late." Before Kenmei could reply, he shut the door on her, causing her to take a few steps back in surprise. A frown crossed her features as she heard the music inside get louder, guessing he was completely done talking. She held her clothing and bathing items closer to her, staring at the door for a moment before turning and starting to head out to the hallway.

----

Nanami bounced in her spot, clasping her hands together as a smile almost broke her face. "I'm so excited! I've always wanted to fly a broom!" She bumped into Kenmei gently, looking up at her, hoping she was sharing her excitement. They were standing in line outside of a door, waiting for their cue to enter. Where this door went was a mystery to most in the line, especially all the new first years. Kenmei could only muster a small smile, her nerves getting the better of her. "I have, too." She knew that she couldn't hide the nerves from her voice, starting to feel a bit sick to her stomach.

Truthfully, it wasn't the flying that made her nervous. It was what Judar had told her the night before, about how everything could end for them if they couldn't get the broom into the air. She was scared that they wouldn't be able to do it, and the fact that he hadn't said a word or even looked at her since that morning only made her nerves worse. She still didn't understand what she must have done to upset him so much, and she had been too scared to ask.

Nanami frowned when she noticed Kenmei's lack of enthusiasm, nudging her in the side gently. "Hey, what's wrong?" Kenmei only shook her head, giving a sigh. "Nothing, nothing." She lowered her voice, glancing at Judar before she leaned down to whisper to Nanami. "I think I pissed him off this morning somehow... Where were you, by the way?"

Cupping her mouth as to be quieter, Nanami whispered back. "Hakuryuu had me up early learning practicing how to balance out our Aura wavelengths. He said it was really important to this task, since you can't fly without that power." Another huge smile stretched across her face, seeming proud of herself. "We were able to do it I think! You and Judar didn't try anything like that?" Kenmei frowned, standing back up straight as her anxiety about the situation only grew. "Uh... No. No we didn't."

Nanami gave a bit of a wince at her words, placing her arms behind her back as she stood up straight. "Ouch... Well, just hope for the best, I guess." Kenmei sighed, reaching up to run her fingers nervously though a lock of her hair. "Yeah..." She took a chance to look up at Judar, nearly jumping out of her skin when she saw him looking down at her with an icy glare.

She crossed her arms, turning to face him a bit more. "What are you looking at me like that for? Why are you so mad at me, anyways?" Her eyes were drawn to the top of his head as she once again saw a twitch, though she didn't get to look for long as Judar reached up and waved a hand in her face. "Hey! Stop looking at them." Kenmei blinked a few times in confusion, watching his hand before her gazed moved back to his face, a frown once again returning to her features.

"What's wrong? It's just your ears, why can't I look at them?" She grabbed his arm to make him stop waving his hand, though he only snatched it back away. "Because I don't want you to! You weren't even supposed to see them this morning." He reached up and adjusted his beanie and Kenmei could no longer see any sign of his ears. She sighed, rubbing her face.

"Well I did see them, so you might as well get over it. It's not my fault you forgot to wear your stupid beanie." After she removed her hand from her face, she moved her gaze back up to him, once again feeling a shock rocket through her body as his glare pierced through her. Swallowing the lump in her throat, she turned back around to face forward, taking half a step forward to be closer to Nanami.

Kenmei could feel her heart racing, pounding so hard she could feel it through her whole body. This was never going to work, she knew they would never be able to be true Partners. This whole Broom task was going to be a complete failure, and she would end up without a Partner and behind held back a year, all because Judar was stubborn and just downright mean. As her anxiety began to spike and her chest began to tighten, she heard someone speak loudly to the group, though it sounded like a muffled yell though her ringing ears.

The door in front of the group opened, and Kenmei knew this was going to be the end.

Chapter Text

Kenmei could barely feel her body moving as she followed Nanami forward, keeping her head down. The room they walked into was silent, though she dared not look around, for fear of her anxiety getting out of control. Why was it so silent? Was this occasion not in front of all the other students like she had thought? If so, then that made her feel a bit better, growing the courage to finally lift her head a bit and peek around the room.

Sure enough, they were in a large room, which almost resembled a ballroom, with its pristine marble flooring and huge windows that reached all the way up to the domed ceiling. One extremely large chandelier hung from the very center of the large dome, and Kenmei could hear soft clings as the exquisite crystal pieces swayed. Quite a few of the large windows were open, causing a steady breeze to fill the room. Once it hit her, it caused Kenmei to give a slight shiver, rubbing her arm as the line stopped.

Turning to face left with the rest of the line, she was greeted by the site of four High Witches and Creatures, each standing with sets of brooms laid out in front of them on the floor. Kenmei shifted in her spot a bit, nervously playing with a loose strand of hair that rested over her shoulder. She only recognized two of them, which was Ja’far and Isira. They stood close to each other, speaking quietly amongst themselves, which was something Kenmei found quite perplexing.

One of the other two Kenmei did not recognize was a very tall, well built man with long purple hair. He stood with a very prideful stance, one arm resting behind his back while the other held onto an extremely ornate cane that rested at a little higher than waist length for the man. Though, as Kenmei observed the cane further, she could tell that it was in fact a wand. Seeing this made her instantly feel a bit jealous, knowing that she would not be awarded her wand for a couple more days.

Her thoughts were pulled from the wand by another woman who was in the group as she started to pace a bit, able to hear the woman’s intricate hair piece jingle with each step. She was tall, dressed in very beautiful, ornate oriental clothing with red hair that fell to her shoulders. She was observing the group of students with intense orange eyes, but what really caught Kenmei’s attention was how large breasted this woman was. They were much larger than Isira’s and much more pronounced through the clothing the woman was wearing. As Kenmei glanced down the line, she could hear others whispering amongst themselves as they gazed upon the woman.

Kenmei could not truly tell what the woman was, though she could see she had pointed ears and what looked like scales along her cheeks, tops of her ears and the tops of her hands. She was very curious, though did not say anything, expecting that she would be told in time. Though, she was starting to fee a bit uncomfortable. The silence from the group in front of them was a bit maddening to her, as she wanted to get this awful task over with. Taking a moment to glance up at Judar she could see that he was also extremely uncomfortable, probably wishing the same thing she was.

Out of nowhere, Isira started to speak, startling Kenmei and causing her to give a light jump. She hated that she was so easily startled, able to feel Judar’s eyes on her, knowing that he was judging her for that fact. Still, she kept her focus on Isira, listening to her words closely. She knew that she had to do everything in her power to pass this test, not only to prove herself to Judar, but also to herself.

“Good morning everyone! I hope you all slept well on your first night. Well, most of you had a first night last night.” Isira laughed to herself a bit, waving her hand in the air a bit, as if she were trying to wave away her small mistake. “Either way, I hope you got some sleep, because this is a big task for you today!” She began to pace in front of the group of students, walking along the line of brooms that rested on the floor. “Not only is it a test to see if you can fly, but also a test to see if you can balance your aura with your partners. A Witch cannot fly without their partners powers, and vice versa.”

She used her hands when she spoke, pointing in different directions and waving them about in the air. “However, once you establish a strong bond with your partner, either of you could fly alone at any time. Though, that takes a few years of practice, and is actually one of your final exams during your last year. But that’s getting a head of ourselves!” She clasped her hands together, causing an echo to bounce through the large room.

“Let’s start with a demonstration!” She held her hand out over one of the brooms, and within a second the broom flew up into her hand. A few of the students began to mumble amongst themselves, surprised at what they had just witnessed. Kenmei glanced at Nanami, noticing she was bouncing in her spot a bit, obviously excited as well.

Isira had a large smile on her face, holding the broom in both hands. “Brooms aren’t specific to you or your partner. Any broom will do, though oddly enough, the more you use a specific one, the better it responds to you. Which is interesting, as a new broom could… Not listen to you, in a way. That’s another challenge for you, but it won’t be as difficult as getting it into the air.”

She held the broom out in front of her and released it, allowing the broom to float in midair. There was more surprised mumbling from the group, though Isira continued to speak over them. “Basically, there isn’t really a specific magic to control them. You just will them to do as you wish, if they listen to you or not depends on your skill and connection to your partners aura.” The broom lowered enough for Isira to turn and hop onto it, sitting bridal style.

“Our beginner brooms are made to be a bit longer to accommodate two people. As you go through your training here, you will have the option to go to single person brooms. But again, that’s way down the line. As you can see…” She began to float up into the air a bit. “I have complete control over this broom as a single rider, even though my partner is not here.” She lowered herself back to a lower level, scooting up on the broom a bit.

“Though if someone who was not my partner attempted to ride with me…” She looked back at Ja’far, who had a displeased look on his face as he approached. “This is embarrassing, Isira… Why do you always have to choose me to help you with this.” He came around the side of the broom, getting ready to jump on. A sly smile crossed Isira’s features. “Oh come now, it’s only once a year. Besides, the Master approves me to use his partner as a demonstration.”

Kenmei’s eyes quickly flashed to the man with the purple hair as he began to chuckle. Master? As in the Master of the school, Sinbad? In an instant, Kenmei became extremely overwhelmed, unable to believe she had been in the presence of the schools Master this whole time and didn’t recognize him. Though, her focus was pulled back as to the demonstration as Ja’far attempted to get onto the broom, only for it to fall out from beneath them, clattering onto the floor.

As the group gasped, Ja’far and Isira were able to land on their feet, though Isira stumbled a bit, laughing. “As you see, anyone who is not your partner cannot ride with you. The broom will fail you, even if said person is your lover, such as Ja’far is my husband. The brooms don’t care. We still aren’t really sure why this happens, as we should still have complete control over them, but… It is what it is, I guess.” She held her hand out over the broom, causing it to rise back up to her hand.

“Now. I hope all of you went though your bags I gave you yesterday and read over how to balance your aura with your partners. It’s very important, and I believe it was instructed to you during Orientation a couple of times.” Isira tapped the end of the broom on the ground as she spoke, though Kenmei could barely even hear her over the pounding of her own heart. Seriously? Her and Judar were supposed to train, like it was an assignment?

She could feel her nerves welling back up, shifting nervously in her spot. Just great, she thought, another thing Judar completely ruined for me. I can’t believe this! She crossed her arms tightly over her chest, starting to become frustrated. She was going to look like an idiot in front of everyone because they hadn’t practiced as instructed. She took a moment to look up at Judar, who only looked back down at her with a bored expression. Kenmei couldn’t hide her contempt, giving him a slight glare before she looked back forward, listening to Isira again as she continued to speak.

“Let’s get started then. Witches, I’d like you all to hold out your hand and call a broom. If it comes to you, then you may go off with your partner to a more secluded part of the room and attempt to bond your aura. Sun Li, one of our campus’ spiritualists, is here to assist any of you that are having trouble.” Isira gestured to the other woman standing with them, who gave a small, polite bow towards the students.

“Once your aura has a distinct bond, then you should be able to fly! Or, at least get off the ground.” Isira finished off with a grin, waving her hands towards the brooms. “Come now, try it out!” Kenmei glanced around as the other Witches started to raise their arms, attempting to get a broom to come to them. Her attention was turned to Nanami, who was already bouncing a bit in frustration that it wasn’t coming to her. “Oh, come on!” She squeaked, obviously annoyed that it did not come to her right away.

Though, all around her, some of the other Witches were able to get a broom to fly to them with little difficulty. Feeling a soft nudge on her arm from Judar, and a hiss between his teeth to hurry up, Kenmei lifted her arm and held out her hand like the others. Using all her focus, she began to will a broom to come to her. The one she was focused on began to shake, clattering against the floor before it rose up and flew straight into Kenmei’s hand.

With a gasp, Kenmei gripped into it tightly with both hands, fearful that it was going to fly away from her again. “I did it!” Nanami gave a pout, still trying to get one to come to her. “Man! How come I can’t do it!” She felt a shock fire through her spine as Hakuryuu moved to stand behind her, placing his hands on her shoulders. “Please relax. It won’t come to you if you’re upset.”

Her face painted in deep red, Nanami took in a deep breath, closing her eyes for a moment as she tried to calm. “Relax… Just relax, Nami, you got this.” Kenmei couldn’t help but to giggle a bit, staring at the broom for a moment before turning to Judar. “I can’t believe I got it!” Judar only stared at her before he gave a huff and started to walk away, completely crushing Kenmei’s pride. Though she felt hurt for a moment, her irritation instantly bubbled up and she stormed after him, gripping the broom so tightly she was sure she might break it.

“What, I don’t get a ‘good job’ or anything? I mean, I got it on my first try.” She tried to keep her voice low, not wanting everyone to hear them argue. “If you can’t even be a little supportive, then this isn’t going to work.” She stopped suddenly as he did, taking a step back as he turned around to face her, an annoyed expression on his face.

“It doesn’t matter if you get the broom to you. What matters is that we can get it up.” He pointed at her, narrowing his eyes a bit. “I saw that look you gave me earlier. You still think it’s my fault we didn’t do any of that bullshit bonding garbage, right?” Kenmei pushed his hand down, hating it when he pointed at her like that. “Oh stop! It is your fault! If you wouldn’t had yelled at me before orientation, I wouldn’t have been so upset. All of our problems are because you won’t cooperate.”

Judar’s annoyed stare was morphed into an icy glare by the time she finished talking, crossing his arms. “You think so? Well maybe if you weren’t so sensitive and such a big baby, you wouldn’t have been so upset by what I said. Now, make the fucking broom float so we can get on with this.” Kenmei only held the broom closer to herself, still glaring up at him, though she could not stop her eyes from growing teary.

“I thought we already talked about this last night. Why are you being so mean again? Just because I saw your stupid ears? You’re a Creature, you have ears! I don’t get what the big deal is!” She took a few steps back from him, holding the broom out in front of her. As she released it, it fell to the ground with a loud thwack, bouncing and rattling against the ground.

“Damn it!” Growing angry, Kenmei kicked the broom, causing it to fly forward and smack into Judar’s shins. Judar gave a jump back, reaching down to rub his now throbbing left shin bone. “Ouch! What the fuck, why did you do that?!” Kenmei crossed her arms, pouting as she turned her head away from him. “I can’t do this! Not with you acting like such a jerk!”
“Excuse me…”
Before Kenmei could speak again, she looked up towards the gentle spoken voice, seeing the red-haired woman from before approaching. Kenmei could recall her name was Sun Li, but was not sure what she wanted with them. “Y-yes?” Li approached them, gently placing her hand on Kenmei’s back. “My dear, what has you so flustered? I could hear you Aura screaming all the way across the room.”

Kenmei felt her face flush a bit, growing confused. “Screaming…? O-oh, I’m alright, I’m just… Having some issues with my Partner I guess.” Judar huffed, shoving his hands in his pockets. “I’m standing right here, don’t talk about me like I’m invisible.” Li’s stern gaze turned towards Judar, though he only glared back at her, obviously not caring to remember that he needed to respect his superiors.

Li began to walk towards him slowly, pulling an object out of her bosom. As she flicked it open, it became obvious that it was a fan, which she promptly began to fan herself with. “Young man… Your Aura is awful. I can see why we paired you with one so delicate.” Judar rolled his eyes, turning his head to look away from her. “Whatever. You people don’t have any idea what you’re doi- OUCH!!” Before Judar could finish talking, Li reached up and snatched one of his ears, still outside of his beanie, and pulled down, causing him to bend over.

Kenmei gasped, covering her mouth, though she decided to stay out of it. It did make her feel a bit guilty seeing Judar struggle with the pain, but she also knew that he deserved it. Li kept a firm grip on Judar’s ear as he struggled, grabbing her wrists and trying to make her let go. He could not win, however, as each movement he made only cause the pain to grow worse.

Li snapped her fan shut, staring down at Judar with an intense glare. “You have no respect for anyone. You hardly even care about yourself. That’s what you’re so bitter towards everyone.” She released his ear, giving him a slight push back, which caused him to stumble a few steps before he righted himself. Reaching up to rub his sore ear, he glared down at the floor, not even sure what to say to her.

“Even as a Cat Creature, you have a nearly impossible Aura to pair with anyone.” Li continued to speak, opening her fan back up. “You’re so cruel, even to someone with an innocent soul. That’s why we must pair you with one. If we paired you with someone like yourself, you both would do nothing but cause chaos.” She paced about a bit as she spoke, turning her gaze towards Kenmei, though it softened.

“I know it’s difficult to deal with, being paired with someone who is so heartless. At least, that’s all he cares to show of himself. Once you bond your Aura with his, you’ll be able to see that deep down, he’s actually just a sensitive little brat.” Kenmei felt her face flush a bit, noticing Judar grow highly embarrassed, turning his body away from them both. She hung her head a little, moving her arms to rest behind her back, not sure what to think about Li’s words.

Li came back to Kenmei’s side, once again placing her hand on her shoulder. “My dear… What is you name?” Kenmei looked up at her, trying to avoid being shy. “Kenmei… Cai Kenmei.” Li smiled, stroking some of Kenmei’s hair gently. “Miss Kenmei… It is not just him that needs to cooperate. I can tell your spirit is already broken from the way he has treated you since your arrival. However, for your Aura to bond, you cannot feel any contempt for him. You must forgive him, and he must accept you. Do you understand?”

Kenmei frowned, looking back over at Judar. “I thought that we had done that last night, but… He’s been throwing a hissy fit all morning just because I saw his ears.” Judar turned his head to glare at her, standing away from them with his arms crossed. “I don’t want you to judge me for them!” Li began to laugh softly, covering her mouth with her fan. “See, I told you he was just sensitive.” Judar stormed over to them, pointing his finger in Li’s face. “Don’t talk about me like that!”

Li’s soft gaze instantly turned back into a harsh glare, snapping her fan shut and smacking Judar’s hand away with it. “You need to learn your place! You will never get anywhere here with that kind of attitude. I don’t care how frustrated you are with your Witch situation, you just have to suck it up and be a man about it!” Li’s voice grew louder the more frustrated she got, until Kenmei and Judar were both cowering a bit away from her.

Clearing her throat a bit, she glanced around, noticing that some other groups had turned to stare at them. Li opened her fan back up, beginning to fan herself to calm down. “Anyway.” Her voice once again calmed to it’s gentle, elegant state. “I want you to face each other now.” She used her free hand to gesture from Judar to Kenmei, who both looked at each other with contempt. Kenmei sighed, crossing her arms as she turned to face him completely. “Okay…”

Judar glared at her for a moment before he did the same, his hands shoved into his pockets. “Fine.” Sun Li gave a small smile, putting one hand on each of their shoulders, pulling them in to stand a bit closer. “Come on, now, don’t be shy.” They both reluctantly moved forward, and Kenmei could tell her face must be visibly red. Judar resisted Li’s push, until he gave in and stumbled a bit forward, refusing to look at either of them. “This is stupid, what are you doing?”

Li lightly smacked the back of his head with her fan, causing him to look forward with an irritated glare at the floor. “This, Judar, is the practice that you both should have done last night, according to Isira’s instructions. I’m going to walk you through it, since apparently you’re too big of a baby to do it on your own.” Judar grumbled, starting to get annoyed with her belittling him so much. Kenmei gave a small frown, uncrossing her arms as she waited for instruction.

Judar removed his hands from his pockets as well, though placed on hand on his hip as he started to grow impatient. Li once again gestured between them, using her fan this time. “Now, place your hand on your Partners chest.” Kenmei felt her face instantly began to burn, looking at Li wish surprise. “What? T-touch him?” Judar gave a huff, removing his hand from his hip. “It’s not like I have cooties or anything, damn.” He reached his hand out, placing it on her chest, the tips of his fingers resting against her collar bone.

Shaking, Kenmei reached her arm out as well, timidly placing it on Judar’s chest. By how freezing his hand was against her skin, and the fact that she could feel his temperature through his shirt, she could tell that he was a very cold natured person. She could feel his heart beat against her palm, and for some reason, the rhythm began to calm her nerves. Kenmei finally looked up at him, noticing that he seemed quite relaxed as well.

Judar thought that this feeling as odd. Her skin and her aura were so warm he could feel it radiating from his hand and through to the rest of his body. He felt comfortable and calm, almost as if he had known her his whole life. It was stupid, he thought, but the longer his hand rested against her skin, the stronger it started to feel. Li gave a sly smile as she noticed them both calm, fanning herself a bit after flicking open her fan. “Oh my… That’s a good sign.”

Kenmei pulled her eyes away from Judar to look at Li, confused. “What?” Li was observing their arms, leaning in a bit closer. “You cannot see it, but your aura is traveling down his arm, and his aura is going up yours. They’re both very different colors, his is purple and yours is blue. They’re quite beautiful colors together. I do not understand why you both were bickering so much, you should be able to bond easily.” She leaned back up, looking at Judar.

“It feels good to have a Partner with such an Aura doesn’t it? If I paired you with someone more like yourself, you’re be quite miserable. It would be nearly unbearable, actually.” She began to walk around him slowly, her eyes locked on his torso. “Hm… I feel something odd about you, though.” Judar scrunched up his face in confusion, glancing down at her. “What?” Li gave a small frown. “You’ve bonded with someone else before… Someone who we did not assign you. Have you not?”

Judar quickly shook his head, his instant reaction catching Kenmei a bit off guard. “What? No, no I haven’t done anything like that. Maybe you’re seeing some attempt I had with that other Witch or something…” He began to grow uncomfortable with her pacing around him, giving her an annoyed glare. “Come on, stop looking at me like that, it’s fucking weird.” Li stopped her pacing, staring at his face for a moment before she turned away, shutting her fan. “Oh well. Maybe I’m reading incorrectly.”

Obviously bothered, Judar narrowed his eyes at her for a moment before he looked back down at Kenmei, who was looking up at him quizzically. He felt embarrassed, though he tried to hide it, once again avoiding her gaze. “Come on, can we get this over with.” Li nodded, tapping his arm with her fan. “Yes. I need you both to focus. You should be able to feel each other’s Aura, it will have a distinct characteristic.”

She looked between them both, observing. “For example, when I bonded with my Partner, his Aura was like fire. It was almost unbearable during the bonding process. And mine, to him, was like poison coursing through his body.” She giggled as she noticed the disturbed expression on their faces, shaking her head. “It only lasts during bonding. Then it fades away. Kenmei, I expect your experience will be much less pleasurable compared to Judar’s. His seems to be… Cold, like ice. While yours is warm and healing.”

Kenmei frowned. “How are we supposed to get in touch with that?” Li smiled taking a few steps back. “Focus on the characteristic that sticks out to you most while you are touching him. The more you focus on it, the more intense it will get. You cannot remove your hand from him, understand?” Kenmei nodded, turning her attention back to her hand that was placed on Judar’s chest.

Judar raised an eyebrow, though he started to do the same, guessing they had to do it at the same time. Li observed them closely, starting to notice a change in Kenmei’s expression after a few minutes. Kenmei could feel an intense cold shooting up her arm, while sharp pains stabbed at her nerves. She clinched her eyes shut tightly, shuffling in her position, but she did not remove her hand. “I-I have to let go!”

Li shook her head, stepping closer. “No, you have to hold on. It’s almost over, Judar’s almost got it, too.” Judar was in an almost completely dazed state as he stared down at the writhing Kenmei, though it wasn’t because he was impartial to her pain. In fact, focusing on her warmth and the calming feeling that radiated from her was basically incapacitating him. As his mind continued to drift further and further into blackness, his hand suddenly dropped from her chest and he fell backwards onto the ground.

Kenmei instantly squatted down in her spot, gripping her arm from the intense pain she was still feeling. She could not move her fingers, feeling as if they had been frozen in place. “W-what happened! Did it get messed up?” She looked up at Li, though noticed Li was giggling again softly. “Oh no, Kenmei, that was a successful bonding. Look at him.”

As the pain started to subside, Kenmei started to stand, slowly making her way over to where Judar had fallen. Instantly, she felt a twinge of annoyance bubble inside of her as she observed him snoring loudly, obviously deep into sleep. “H-He fell asleep! That’s all he got!” Li laughed, walking over to stand next to her. “That’s what your Aura does. It’s a very calming feeling, one of your healing properties. I just hope he will wake up, so you can finish your trial.”

Kenmei frowned, looking at Li before looking around the room. She instantly felt her stomach drop, noticing other pairs already flying around the room on their brooms. “We can’t be the last ones! That would be awful…” She moved closer to Judar, nudging him with her foot, though there was no response. Li smiled, finding her worry quite adorable. “Please, Kenmei, don’t worry. With a bond like that, you should be able to fly easily.” Kneeling next to Judar, Kenmei gave a sigh. She shook him a bit more, but to no avail.

She had to wake him up, one way or another.

Chapter Text

Kenmei gave a frustrated sigh as she flopped herself down to sit, crossing her legs. Leaning her elbows on her knees, she hid her face in her hands, almost to the point of tears. “This is impossible! How could he be in such deep sleep?” She had been trying to wake Judar for going on thirty minutes at this point, but nothing she did was successful. He only continued his peaceful snoring, often just turning his body or mumbling in protest to her actions.

Li sighed, still standing by as she observed. She had attempted to give some tips to wake Judar, but even her suggestions were met with failure. “I’m sorry, my dear…. I truly am not sure how to wake him at this point.” Kenmei rubbed her eyes, a defeated groan escaping her lips. “This is the worst… How could my Aura do this?” Li walked over to stand next to her. “It’s your healing properties. That probably won’t make much sense until you start learning more about your powers. But they are a lot more powerful than one might think.”

After glancing up at Li, Kenmei’s eyes fell back down to look at Judar’s sleeping form. Indeed, he did look peaceful, and though his snoring was a bit obnoxious, she thought he looked quite… cute. Feeling her face flush at the thought, she quickly stood, fixing her hair a bit to try and distract herself from those thoughts. A voice suddenly called to her from somewhere behind them, causing her to give a small jump before quickly turning around.

It had come from Nanami, who was currently flying in the air towards them on a broom with Hakuryuu sitting behind her. Kenmei felt her heart drop a bit, feeling like they were falling way behind because of this situation. Nanami came to an abrupt halt once she reached them, causing her and Hakuryuu to almost fall forward off the broom.

“Ah! Sorry!” She looked back at Hakuryuu, who seemed a bit flustered that he had to lean on her to not fall off. “It’s fine….” He quickly hopped off the broom, as if he were a bit terrified to be on it. Though, he quickly regained his mature posture, looking down at Judar. “Why is he sleeping?” Kenmei’s frown grew, rubbing her arm a bit. “Well… We tried to bond our Aura or whatever, and mine made him totally pass out like that. I can’t figure out how to wake him up.”

Hakuryuu started to walk around to where Judar’s head was laying, kneeling next to him. “That’s easy. Just get ready.” He reached forward and gripped Judar’s beanie, taking it off his head before standing back up. Kenmei watched curiously, seeing Judar’s ears twitch lightly once they were uncovered. “Get ready? For what?”

“Just wait for it.” Hakuryuu crossed his arms, still holding onto the beanie. Within a few moments, Judar began to shift uneasily, his peaceful expression contorting into one of discomfort. Suddenly, his eyes shot open and he sat up with a gasp, both hands instantly reaching up to feel for his beanie. When it was not there as he expected, he clasped both hands over his ears, starting to search the surrounding area around him for it.

His searching stopped abruptly when his eyes landed on Kenmei’s feet, quickly looking up at her face. His expression quickly turned from worried to an irritated glare, turning his body to face her. “Where is it?!” Kenmei jumped a bit at the volume of his voice, shaking her head as she backed away a bit. “I-I don’t have it!” Judar used his legs to scoot himself closer to her, only causing her to back up. “You’d better give it back!”

Before Kenmei could say anything else, Hakuryuu interrupted her, giving Judar a light kick on the leg. “Judar, shut up. She didn’t take your stupid beanie. You’re acting like a child.” Judar’s glare turned to Hakuryuu before Judar twisted his body to face him as well. His hands still clasped over his ears, he attempted to kick Hakuryuu back, but to no avail, as Hakuryuu easily stepped out of the way. “Then you have it! I’d expect bullshit like this from Alibaba, but not from you!”

Hakuryuu rolled his eyes, uncrossing his arms and tossing Judar’s beanie onto his face. “Alibaba? Him and his new partner already passed their trial and have left. While you’ve been sleeping, almost all of us have finished.” Judar snatched the beanie and quickly shoved it back onto his head. “What the hell are you talking about, I haven’t been sleeping that long.”

Kenmei spoke up, though her voice was a bit timid. “It’s been about half an hour…” Judar looked at her before he started to look around the room, noticing that there was only one other pair trying to get their broom into the air. All the others were either currently flying or had left, finished with their task. In an instant, Judar quickly hopped up and grabbed the broom from the floor. “Then hurry up, we have to do this!”

He tossed it to Kenmei, who was able to catch it, though she flinched away a bit. “You don’t have to throw it at me.” Judar took a moment to adjust his beanie, glaring at her. “We don’t have time for you to complain.” Kenmei gave him an irritated look right back, holding the broom closer to her. “It isn’t my fault you wouldn’t wake up!”

“Guys, guys!” Nanami got between them, standing now, as she couldn’t fly the broom alone. “Just calm down. You won’t make it work if you’re mad at each other.” Kenmei sighed, rubbing her face. “Okay…” Nanami backed away as Kenmei lifted the broom out in front of her, staring at it for a long while. She closed her eyes tightly, letting out a shaky breath as she released her hold on it.

Instinctively, she gave a small wince, expecting to hear it fall onto the floor. But, to her surprise, she heard nothing but the quiet gasps of the people around her. Reluctantly, she slowly started to open her eyes, giving a gasp and covering her mouth when she saw the broom floating in front of her. “I did it!” She couldn’t help but to do a few happy hops in her spot, Nanami following her example, clapping in excitement.

“I can’t believe I did it!” She faced her open palm towards the broom and lowered her hand, attempting to get the broom to go lower so she could get on. Her excitement only grew when the broom followed her direction, lowering to a little under waist height. She looked up at Judar as she walked closer to it, a bit surprised to see that he also had a grin on his face. “You’re actually happy?”

Judar snickered, grabbing onto the broom to prepare to jump on. “Fuck yes! You actually fucking did it, that’s insane.” Kenmei could feel the heat rise in her cheeks from his praise, feeling her heart racing like mad. Li smiled, once again fanning herself. “Wow, he’s actually not complaining. That’s a first.” Judar turned his head to shoot a glare towards Li, before he looked back at the broom. “Shut up. How am I supposed to sit on this damn thing?”

Kenmei turned herself around and hopped up, sitting bridal style on the broom. To her surprise, it did not dig into her skin like she expected. In fact, it was almost like she was sitting on a flat surface, and she assumed it was one of the things that made the brooms so magical. “Don’t worry about that right now, just try to get on and see if it falls.”

Grumbling a bit, Judar gripped the broom with both hands and swung his leg over. “I’d just rather a couple things not get squished, if you know what I mean.” Kenmei kept her grip tight on the broom as it swayed a bit from his movement, feeling her heart skip a bit from his comment. “That’s something we all do not need to know, thank you.” Judar snickered a bit, settling into place. Realizing the same thing Kenmei had, he grew less cautious and relaxed his sitting position.

“Damn, this is cool. Okay, let’s go!” He lifted his feet off the ground and the broom gave a dip, causing Kenmei to yelp and fall backwards a bit. She kept her grip tight, however, and was able to catch herself by bending her knees around the broom, the wood pressing into the backs of her knees uncomfortably. The others around her began to laugh, though Judar’s cackling was the loudest. “Holy shit, you’re such a klutz!”

Kenmei glared at him as she righted herself, her face burning. “B-be quiet! I am not a klutz…” She adjusted her position a bit before she looked over at Li, needing some guidance. “Uhm… How do I make it move?” Li smiled, still a bit giddy from laughing at Kenmei’s accident. “You just will it. In your mind, as if it’s just another limb.”

Swallowing the lump in her throat, Kenmei looked back down that the wood, trying to really focus on it. She could feel Judar shuffling impatiently behind her, which then made her focus on what she could feel of his Aura. This was different, before the exercise, she could not feel his energy at all. Now, it was like a cold blanket that covered her, radiating from him and seeping into her skin.

As she realized this, the broom began to vibrate, slowly starting to rise into the air. Giving a small gasp, she gripped the wood tighter, taking a moment to look back at Judar. He had a look of pure excitement on his face, and Kenmei could see his ears twitching wildly under his beanie. “C’mon, c’mon, give this thing some gas!”

Kenmei gave a small smile before she looked back forward, noticing they were already at least ten feet above the ground. Nanami waved up at them, bouncing a little. “Go, go, go!” Releasing a sigh to calm down, Kenmei turned her complete focus back to the broom. As she willed it, it started to go forward and rise higher into the air simultaneously, moving at a slightly faster, but steady speed.

Judar began to laugh, looking down around them. “This is so fucking awesome! I can’t believe you did it!” Kenmei felt her heart flutter at his praise, taking a moment to glance back at him. “I can’t believe it, either… I was nervous, after everything you said to me. But, I think that we could be successful.” Her butterflies grew worse as she started to grow embarrassed. “Successful as Partners… I think.” Judar stared at the back of her head for a moment, narrowing his eyes as he observed her timid posture and meek voice.

“Well, yeah. Probably. If you can learn how to fight. Don’t think you’re off the hook just because you can fly a broom!” He nudged her foot with his, causing Kenmei to look back at him with a shocked expression. “What? What are yo-“ She was suddenly cut off as the broom began to rapidly fall, causing both aboard it to start screaming.

“F-Fuck, make it stop, you moron!” Judar screeched, his eyes locked on the rapidly approaching ground. Kenmei clinched her eyes shut, doing her best to focus. “Don’t call me a moron!” The broom came to an abrupt halt, causing both of them to nearly fall off of it. As they righted themselves, Kenmei took in a few quick breaths, trying to calm her racing heart. “Oh my god, what happened.”

She turned her head to look back at Judar, finally noticing that he had, at some point during the fall, snatched onto her arm and was still holding it tightly in his shaking grasp. Judar was still staring at the ground, seeming to not notice what he had done yet. “I don’t know! Maybe we shouldn’t talk and fly-“ He cut himself off as he looked at her, noticing her bewildered expression.

He narrowed his eyes at her, becoming irritated. “What?” Kenmei cleared her throat a bit with a small cough, beginning to blush. “Uhm… Can you let go of my arm? Please?” Judar continued to stare at her quizzically before he looked down at her arm. In an instant, Judar released her arm and scooted back on the broom a bit, crossing his arms tightly over his chest as his face flushed red. “I didn’t do that on purpose!”

Kenmei moved her arm a bit closer to her body, still holding onto the broom. “I-It’s alright, I don’t think you did…” The air around them grew heavy and awkward as Judar stared off at something random, obviously embarrassed at his unconscious action. Kenmei moved some of her hair out of her face, deciding to focus back on the broom instead.

Before she could make it move, however, Judar spoke up. “Hey, let me drive it.” Kenmei looked back at him again, confused. “Huh? What do you mean, you can’t use it.” Judar narrowed his eyes at her, though a sly grin crossed his features. “Wanna bet?” He gripped onto the broom again, causing Kenmei’s heart began to race. “Judar, Creatures can’t fly on brooms without their Witch controlling it.”

Judar shook his head. “That is where you’re wrong. Didn’t you listen to Isira? She said that we’d be able to fly alone eventually. So that means…” Suddenly, the broom took off at high speed, causing Kenmei to instantly start screaming as she was pushed back on to the broom. The pressure caused her end up nestled between Judar’s legs, her back pressed up against his torso.

Without much thought, too focused on controlling the broom, Judar moved his arms around Kenmei to grip the broom in front of her. Kenmei couldn’t bother with being embarrassed, feeling her entire body welling with fear as the broom sped around. Judar laughed, not really caring that she was pressed so tightly against him. “This is so fucking awesome!”

Though, his focus was broken as he could hear his name being called from below. Slowing down the broom, he took a moment to look down, seeing Isira angrily waving and yelling at him, gesturing with a pointed finger towards the ground. “You get over here! Now!” With a roll of his eyes, he slowly began to lower the broom and coming to a halt next to Isira.

Before anyone could say or do anything, Kenmei wiggled herself off the broom, stumbling towards the open window they stood next to. “I’m going to be sick!” Judar huffed as the broom fell out from under him, though he landed on his feet. “Damn, do you get motion sick or someth-“ Before he could finish, Isira snapped her fingers in front of his face to get his attention. She looked up at him with a sour expression, obviously very upset.

“What was that! Not only did you put yourself and your partner in danger, but you should not take control like that!” Isira scolded him, waving her hands about in the air as she spoke. “That is absolutely ridiculous! How did you even do that in the first place? Creatures should not be able-“ “Isira, please, it’s alright.” Isira turned to look at Ja’far as he interrupted her.

Though Ja’far had an irritated expression, he seemed calm about the situation. “It’s because of what he is. Cat creatures can harness new powers much faster than other creatures. It was the same for me, in fact, when I first started learning with Sin.” Sinbad gave a small chuckle, standing next to Ja’far in the same prideful stance he had at the beginning of the trial. “It’s true. He ran us into a wall, in fact.”

Ja’far’s irritated expression softened a bit as he chuckled. “It’s true. So, don’t worry so much.” Isira gave a bit of a pout before she turned back to Judar, who had a smug expression on his face. Isira wagged a finger at him as she went back to her scolding. “Don’t look so smug just because you got off easy. What you did was very reckless, and I do not want to see it again.”

Judar nodded, though he rolled his eyes a bit. “Yeah, yeah… Can we be done now, I’m pretty sure we passed the test.” Isira sighed, rubbing her forehead as she started to grow a headache. “Yes. Go check on your partner and get out of here.” She reached into her pocket and pulled out two small, red jewels, handing them to Judar. “These are for your broach, make sure to give one to Kenmei for hers.” Judar looked at them for a moment before he shoved them into his pocket, turning and walking away. “Thanks, teach’.”

Scrunching up his face a bit in disgust, Judar started to walk closer to Kenmei, though he could hear her retching. “Uh… Are you cool?” Kenmei kept herself leaning over the window sill, though she shook her head a bit. “That made me… so sick-“ She was cut off as she vomited again, leaning further out of the window. Judar stopped to stand next to her, leaning his arms on the edge of the rock surface. “Hit anybody down there yet?”

Kenmei took a second to glance up at him, though she felt her head spin, and she looked back down. “There’s no one down there… Just grass.” Judar sighed. “That sucks. Would have been funny.” He leaned the broom against the wall next to them, being sure to look away as Kenmei couldn’t help but vomit again.

She coughed as she finished, taking a second to spit before she leaned back up a bit, starting to feel her stomach settle. Judar looked at her, giving a small frown. “Can’t you just… make yourself not nauseous?” Kenmei sighed, reaching into her pocket and pulling out a small rag she carries with her, wiping her mouth. “No. I can’t. When I’m in the middle of some type of sickness, be it fever or throwing up, I cannot heal myself from it.”

Judar huffed, the small amount of air that escaped from his mouth disturbing the bangs that hung in his face. “That’s stupid. What good are your powers then?” Kenmei leaned back on the wall again, her breathing a bit heavy as she tried to calm herself. “To help others. Not myself.” Judar stared down at her for a moment, watching her chest rise and fall with her breathing. He turned his gaze back outside to the clouds, adjusting his standing position a bit.

“How… lame.” He nudged her in the arm gently, though Kenmei only rolled her eyes. “Please, I’m not-“ “Sorry for being such an ass.” Kenmei nearly felt her heart jump into her throat at his interruption, almost unable to believe what he had just said. She turned her head to look at him in shock, leaning in a little. “What did you say?”

Judar refused to look at her, staring off at the clouds with a pouty, reluctant look on his face. “I’m not repeating myself. You did better than I expected today.” Kenmei felt her face starting to flush, growing too embarrassed to look at him. “You did… a good job, too….” They stood together in silence, watching the morning clouds slowly passing them by. As her embarrassment grew, Kenmei could not tell if those were butterflies fluttering violently in her stomach, or the cursed nausea that had been attacking her.

Maybe this meant good things were yet to come.

Chapter Text

“You’d better eat, we are training in a little while, I don’t want you complaining!” Judar scolded Kenmei though a mouth full of fruits, sitting across form her at a table. Kenmei was looking down at her bowl of food with a disgusted expression, her stomach still sour from her vomiting earlier. She had gotten just a simple salad, thinking her stomach could handle that, but just the look of it made her want to vomit again.

“I can’t just stuff my face after throwing up like that, Judar, give me a break.” She pushed her bowl away from her a bit before resting her head in her hands, propping them up with her elbows on the table. Judar narrowed his eyes at her, pushing her bowl back towards her hard enough to gently tap onto her elbows. “Oh come on! You’re just going to feel worse.” He went back to stuffing his own food into his mouth, causing Nanami to stare at him in disgust from her place next to Kenmei.

Kenmei only nudged her bowl away again, giving a sigh as she removed her head from her hands. “I don’t think anyone can eat with the way you’re stuffing your face.” Judar glared at her as he chewed, taking a moment to swallow his food before responding. “Me? Have you seen Alibaba and the Blue-Haired-Wonder down there?” He pointed to his left, prompting Kenmei to look in that direction.

Sure enough, a few seats down, Alibaba and Aladdin were eating like rabid animals, as if they hadn’t eaten in days. Hakuryuu looked quite uncomfortable in his seat next to Alibaba, shifting himself away slightly. “Alibaba always eats like this. Though it looks like he has a Partner now that can relate.” He gave a small wince as some food splashed onto his cheek, reaching up to wipe it away. “Gross…”

Alibaba only laughed through his mouth full of food, obviously cheerful. “How could I not eat! We freaking kicked ass today at the broom trial, we were the first ones done!” Aladdin threw his arms up in the air, also speaking through a stuffed mouth. “That was so much fun!” Judar leaned over the table a bit to look down at them with an annoyed glare. “How old are you, kid?”

Aladdin swallowed his food, looking to Judar with a confused glance. “Huh, me? I’m ten! Or, well, I turn eleven soon.” Judar grumbled in annoyance, turning back to his food. “This place is taking in little kids now? What a fucking dump.” Hakuryuu huffed, eating his food politely. “He beat your entry scores, Judar.” Instantly, Judar started to cough and choke on his food, slamming his closed fist onto the table.

At the end of the table, Alibaba and Aladdin began to laugh at him, along with Nanami who giggled quietly. After recovering, Judar glared at Hakuryuu in annoyance. “Whatever! You’re such a liar.” Hakuryuu turned his head to look at him, giving him an equally annoyed glare in return. “You got a score of what… ninety-six or something like that?” Judar’s glare melted away into a smug grin, turning his nose up in pride.

“Damn right I did! I was the highest out of everyone-“ “I got a ninety-eight!” Aladdin called down the table, prompting more laughter from Alibaba, who began to mock Judar. “You got beat by a little kid!” Judar stood, slamming his hands onto the table as he glared down towards them. “Shut the fuck up! So did you! You barely even passed, with your shitty score of seventy-two!”

Alibaba instantly stopped laughing, glaring right back at him. “Hey! I obviously still did good enough to get accepted!” “Will you guys shut up!” A voice from the other end of the table shouted as food flew across, slices of an apple hitting Judar and Alibaba. Both boys turned to see who had interrupted them, seeing Kougyuoku staring them down with a frustrated pout.

She crossed her arms rightly over her chest, turning her head away a bit as she continued to pout. “You’re both so annoying!” Judar huffed as he sat back down, starting to munch on his food again. “It’s not my fault your old partner is a prick.” Alibaba gave a small frown, rubbing the back of his neck a bit. “Sorry, Kougyoku…” His frown grew when she didn’t even look at him, instead she went back to eating her food quietly.

Nanami leaned forward a bit, whispering to Hakuryuu across the table from her. “What was that about?” Hakuryuu finished the food in his mouth before he leaned in as well, speaking quietly. “They were partners before the switch at Orientation. I think she’s bitter that Alibaba is getting along so well with Aladdin.” Nanami gave a small frown as she leaned back in her seat. “Aww. That’s sad.”

Hakuryuu shrugged, returning to his normal position as well. “It happens. I’m sure she’ll get over it at some point.” Nanami looked up at Kenmei, a bit shocked to see that she still had a sour face. “Still don’t feel well?” Kenmei shook her head, still glowering at her food. “I just can’t make myself eat.” Judar reached over again, pushing the bowl towards her once more. “Just try to!”

Kenmei looked up at him, obviously annoyed at his ruthless attempts to get her to eat. “And what happens if I eat and get sick again?” Judar glanced around a bit as he thought, eating the last bit of his food. “Then too bad. You still have to train.” Kenmei crossed her arms. “And what if I don’t eat?” “Then too bad!” Judar spoke as he stood, grabbing his trash to go throw it away.

Sighing, Kenmei grabbed her fork. “What type of stupid training do we have to do today, anyway?” Hakuryuu shook his head, as Judar was too far away to hear her question. “There really isn’t anything planned for today. He just likes to train. I’m sure he wants to see what you can do.” Kenmei frowned, stabbing some of her food with her fork. “Train? But I can’t fight, I’m a defensive mage.”

Hakuryuu gave a small chuckle. “That doesn’t matter to him. You’ll find that out soon enough.” Kenmei frowned as she looked up at Judar, watching him sit back down. Kenmei guessed he had ran back to the food area, now holding a plate piled up with desserts. He glanced at her before he started eating. “What are you looking at me like that for?”

Kenmei looked back down at her bowl, feeling a bit flustered as she picked at her lettuce. “Just trying to figure out what type of training you expect us to do today. We don’t even know each other’s powers yet.” Judar shrugged. “Obviously. That’s what I want to do, on top of seeing what type of shape you’re in. You’re a little flabby, so-“ Judar couldn’t even finish speaking as Kenmei’s entire bowl of salad was instantly tossed onto him, causing him to flinch away and stand up.

He started down at himself, now covered in vegetables and whatever salad dressing Kenmei had poured over her salad. “Hey! What the fuck was that for!” He turned a glare towards Kenmei, but was met with her back as she stormed away, attempting to pull down her sweater in obvious frustration. Judar huffed as he flopped back down into his chair, feeling sticky and disgusting from the salad dressing. “What the hell happened?”

Nanami waddled a finger at him, starting to stand. “You can’t just call a girl flabby, Judar!” She turned and took off after Kenmei, though had no idea which way she had gone. Judar pouted, snatching his plate of sweets as he stood up again. Hakuryuu looked up at him. “Going to apologize?” Judar rolled his eyes, stuff his face with the sweets as he walked away. “No, I’m going to go fucking shower.” Alibaba snickered, leaning back in his seat. “You’re an asshole, Judar!”

“Shut the fuck up before I rip your feathers out!”

-----

Kenmei sniffed as she continued to walk quickly down a hallway, not sure where she was heading. She wasn’t sure why Judar’s comment had hurt her feelings so badly, she knew that it wasn’t true, but the fact that he still so bluntly said it made her feel awful. Growing up, she had always felt quite self-conscious about her body, though she started trying to eat healthier when she became a teenager.

In the few years before she was accepted to the Academy, she had lost quite a bit of weight, gaining the concern of her brother. She had become proud of herself, but her confidence was crushed by such a small comment by someone she had just met. Why would it matter so much to her? Was it because she had wanted nothing but his approval since she arrived?

Perhaps that was the cause of her overreaction. She had wanted him to accept her, but it had been nothing but constant ridicule. Even though he had praised her after their successful attempt at flying a broom that morning, it only lasted a moment, and he went back to picking on and belittling her. It was extremely frustrating, and after this last jab at her, she just had to get away.

Though what she wanted to do, she had no clue. All she knew was that she would be content not seeing Judar’s face for the rest of the day. Though, she could feel her frustration fading, and she decided she’d rather just go to her room. Maybe she could read a book and just try to get the madness of the last few days out of her head.

Before she realized it, she had come upon the red doors to their loft. She pushed the doors open and headed inside, instantly noticing how deafening the silence was. She took a moment to glance around, finding everything quite ominous and eerie, though it didn’t look any different than when she had left that morning. Feeling uncomfortable, she quickly made a dash for her room, going inside.

Once inside the comforts of her own room, she gave a relieved sigh, instantly feeling stupid for reacting the way she did in an empty room. She just had the feeling someone was watching her, but she must have been imagining it, her nerves still shot from what happened during lunch. She gave a small nudge to her door as she started to walk away from it, though she failed to notice that it did not click shut.

----

Judar grumbled, angrily shuffling a towel upon the top of his head in an attempt to dry his hair and ears. He had just left the showers, one arm holding his dirty clothes while he used the other to wrestle the towel. He was now dressed in nothing but a long towel that hung to his waist, water still dripping from his skin and long hair, which he had bundled into a bun at the base of his head.

He couldn’t believe that he had to take a shower like that, all because he had made some snarky comment that Kenmei couldn’t handle. And for her to throw her whole salad on him? Ridiculous, he knew it was going to take multiple washings to get this nasty smell of salad dressing out of his hair. It made him completely furious, and he would be completely happy without having to see her face for the rest of the day. If he did see her, who knows what snappy thing might come out of his mouth.

A loud yawn escaped his lips as he pushed open the red doors to the loft, instantly noticing a light coming from Kenmei’s door. Becoming curious, he quietly shut the door, listening in to see if he could hear anything. As he silently moved closer, he could make out what sounded like classical music, and he immediately thought about how much of a nerd she must have been.

He came to a stop along the wall that was attached to her door, trying to listen closer to see if he could hear anything else. There was a soft flap of paper and rustling of fabric, and it took Judar a moment to realize that she must have been reading. Damn, she really is a nerd. This classical crap while reading? Judar’s thoughts grew more curious, wanting to peek in and see.

But he knew what could happen if he got caught. He could get in serious trouble, with her and with the school. They took that type of misconduct very seriously here, and he was a bit nervous about what could happen. Though, as he heard a soft sigh from her, he could feel a heat starting to rise in his cheeks. His heart began to pound a bit harder, and he knew he wasn’t going to be able to resist taking a peek.

So, carefully, he moved himself to stand in front of the door, resting his hand on the door frame for support as he leaned in a bit closer. At first, he could not see anything, until he shifted his head a bit to the left, finally noticing her. He instantly felt the heat in his cheeks rise and a violent fluttering in his gut as he observed her.

Kenmei was sitting in a blue puffy chair that was up against the wall of her room, her legs nestled up against her in the chair as she leaned on one of the arms. Her book was resting in her lap and she had her head propped up with her free hand, her eyes glancing over the pages. She had an almost dreamy look on her face, a soft smile resting on her lips. Judar noticed that her long hair was now pulled up into a messy bun on the top of her head, though it fell and stuck out in random places.

From the top of her head, his eyes began to trail down, observing her features as if he had only just seen her for the first time. To him, everything about her looked soft, or at least that was the only word he could think to describe her. Her face shape and expression were so fair, now that he was able to see it better with her hair pulled out of the way. Her neck and shoulders were lean, her collar bone well defined.

As he thought about it, he remembered touching her collar bone earlier that morning, and he regretted in that moment that he could not recall how her skin felt. He moved himself a bit closer to the door as his eyes traveled further down, feeling the heat in his face grow as his eyes moved to her breasts. Immediately upon looking, he felt a twinge of guilt rise in his mind. He knew he shouldn’t be doing this, he didn’t even know her well. But, he grew lost in the excitement of the danger, feeling his heart starting to pound.

First of all, he could tell from observing her breasts that she was not wearing any type of… support. Though, he could not truly tell their shape, as the off-shoulder shirt she was wearing was quite baggy. He knew that they were of decent size, at least in his opinion. What really set off the butterflies in his stomach was the fact that he could quite clearly see the shape of her nipples, and they were currently very perky. He wasn’t quite sure why that would be, but he wasn’t really complaining, either.

His eyes moved down to observe her legs, or what he could see of them, which was mostly her knees, shins and feet. There was nothing particularly remarkable about them, except for the slightly larger than normal gap she had between her big and middle toes on each foot. Though he found that a bit weird, it didn’t manage to distract from the rest of her body, which damn well met his standards.

Shaking his head, he forced himself to look away, getting angry at himself for even thinking of that. He wasn’t at this school for women, let alone his new partner. He was here for a reason, and he had to succeed, knowing he could not let a woman get in his way. Though, it had been quite a while since he had any type of sexual contact, most of that having come from his home village. Though he wasn’t proud of every encounter, and he had failed to mention many of them to even those closest to him, he had been quite sought after there.

But that was not the case here at the Academy. Not only did he not see anyone that caught his interest, but he didn’t seem to be catching anyone’s either. So, if he was remembering correctly, it had been at least over two years since he had felt a woman’s touch. He couldn’t really help himself from at least observing her, knowing that he would not allow anything else to happen, especially not with his partner. Though, his attention was drawn back to the room as he heard shuffling, his curiosity getting the better of him.

Kenmei had shut her book and placed it on top of the dresser she was sitting next to. Leaning back in her chair, she took a moment to stretch out her arms and legs, and Judar could hear bones popping as she did so. As she stretched, Judar could clearly see that the shirt she was wearing was cropped, exposing her stomach. Even as she finished stretching, Judar could tell her stomach was flat, though was not as toned as he, for some reason, expected it to be. He did notice the small, but still visible birthmark on the left side of her stomach, closer to her hip.

He felt a twinge of fear build up in him as she stood, immediately feeling the urge to run away in fear of her noticing him. But, he could not seem to make himself, moving in a bit closer to the door, able to feel his heart pounding through his whole body. The first thing he noticed as Kenmei pulled her hair out of it’s bun was the mass amounts of freckles that covered her body. He hadn’t ever noticed how many they were, covering almost every inch of her limps, chest and across her cheeks.

To him, they just boosted her level of attractiveness, giving a unique element to her character. No inch of her skin was the same, and he found himself wishing he could observe it closer. Kenmei ran her fingers through her hair a few times to rid herself of tangles before she turned, opening her dresser to start digging through it. Judar immediately edged even closer to the door, growing a little too excited about getting the change to observe her back side through the shorts she was wearing.

Though, he misjudged the distance, and his forehead smacked into the door, causing it to creak and open more. Freezing in his spot and holding his breath, Judar observed as Kenmei gave a small jump, halting her movements. He could see her shoulders move up and down as her breathing rate increased, obviously extremely anxious. The instant she slowly started to turn her head, Judar backed away and made a mad dash for his own room, almost losing the towel around his waist in the process.

He shut the door as quietly as he could once he was inside, leaning his back onto it as he breathed heavily. God damn it, I’m so fucking stupid. He brought a hand up to rub his face, listening closely to see if he could hear anything. After a few moments, he heard the creek of her door open, and the soft sound of her voice calling out, asking if anyone was there. Judar did not move or many any sounds, though he did take the chance to swallow the lump in his throat.

But, Kenmei said something that sent a shock though his body. “Water?” He heard her say, and he knew he had totally fucked up. He had left a puddle of water from his hair still dripping in front of her door. Now he knew she would find out someone had been standing there, and who else could it have been but him? He leaned his head back onto the wood of his door, causing it to give a light thud. He knew he could never let her find out he had done that, and he had to get better control of himself.

Outside of his room, Kenmei’s eyes glanced up from the puddle she was observing as she heard a small thud from Judar’s door. Immediately, Kenmei felt her face flush red and begin to burn, her heart racing. Had he seen her? Or worse, had he been watching her? She knew this puddle was way too big for him to have just stopped by for a second, seen she was reading and left. He had to have been standing there for at least a few minutes. Feeling her embarrassment bubble into annoyance, she started making her way over to his door, following the trail of water.

After standing in front of it for a few moments, she gathered her courage and knocked.

Chapter Text

Judar jumped, feeling as if his heart was about to fly out of his chest. He quickly moved away from the door, almost tripping over his own feet as he dashed forward, having to grab onto this dresser to keep from falling. It rattled loudly, and he gripped it tighter, trying to keep it from making any noise. Fuck, what do I do?! His mind was racing, unable to make even a single word escape his lips. He started at the door, his face flushed hot and his breathing heavy. He knew he was totally fucked.

There was another light knock on his door, and her voice spoke softly from behind it. “Judar? Are you in there, I can hear noises….” Judar shook his head, rubbing his face as he tried to calm down. He took in a huge breath and released it silently, shaking his arms to try and relieve himself is his tension. Doing his best to sound irritated, like she had interrupted him, he answered her, staying away from the door.

“What do you want? I’m kind of in the middle of something.” Though he tried his best, his voice still shook, and he guessed he was even more nervous than he thought. There was silence for a moment, before Kenmei spoke again. “I really need to talk to you. Can you open the door? Please.” Judar glared at the door, feeling his face flush a bit hotter. He adjusted the towel around his waist, hoping the fact that he was practically naked would make her go away.

After making sure it was secure, he reluctantly made his way over to the door, grabbing the handle with a shaky hand. He shook his head once again to try to calm himself before he stood up straight, doing his best to look irritated as he opened the door. Though, his façade failed him the instant he looked down at her, seeing her staring up at him with that annoying soft expression and still dressed in the same clothing. He cleared his throat as he crossed his arms, leaning on the door frame to try and be casual. “What?”

Kenmei’s face flushed red as she looked at him, instantly trying to avert her gaze. She couldn’t believe that he had answered the door nearly naked like that. “Where are your clothes?” Judar huffed, glaring down at her in annoyance, though his cheeks were still flushed. “I told you I was in the middle of something. That something being getting dressed. Though you’re one to talk, you’re hardly wearing anything!”

Instantly, Kenmei crossed her arms over her chest, shifting nervously in her spot. “O-oh… Sorry, I guess that I got distracted by what just happened… I forgot to put a robe on or something.” Judar raised an eyebrow, trying to act clueless. “What do you mean? What just happened?” Though he did his best to control it, his voice still shook, and he could tell Kenmei noticed as she looked up back up at him inquisitively.

“Well…” Kenmei glanced back towards her bedroom door, following the trail of water across the room until she was gazing at a small puddle by her feet. “I found a pretty big puddle by my door…. And I thought I heard someone by it. Was that you?” Judar started shaking his head before she even finished talking, making Kenmei instantly doubt anything he was going to say.

“I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.” He was obviously very flustered, and Kenmei’s irritation was only growing. She frowned, narrowing her eyes at him. “Judar… Your hair is dripping everywhere. Just tell me the truth.” Judar stared down at her, feeling his heart starting to pound again. He could not admit that he had been staring at her, he just couldn’t. He would be completely fucked if he did that, and he just could not find it in himself to admit it.

Finally, he sighed, bringing a hand up to run across his face. “Look, I went to do your door to apologize, But I heard your music, saw you reading and all, so I didn’t bother. But, just like you said, my hair is dripping everywhere. So the little bit of time I stopped there to check, it must have dripped. I mean I did pause for a little bit to think about taking to you anyway or not.” He kept his arms crossed over his chest as he spoke, and avoided looking at her, attempting to sound believable.

Kenmei’s frown grew a bit as she listened to him, noticing his odd posture. It was unlike any behavior of his she had seen so far, and she was becoming suspicious. What really made her unsure was the fact that he said he was going to apologize. From what she had gathered, he did not seem like the type that would do that and admit fault. Still, she felt like she needed to give him the benefit of the doubt, deciding to believe him for now.

Giving a nod, she uncrossed her arms once he finished explaining. “I see. So you wanted to apologize?” Judar stood back up straight, though kept his arms crossed tightly. “Uh… yes? That’s what I said.” Kenmei shrugged, staring up at him with a firm gaze. “Then do it. I’m here now.” Judar felt his stomach lurch a bit, instantly regretting his lie. Now he would actually have to apologize to her, something he hadn’t even planned on doing in the first place.

Obviously growing impatient, Kenmei’s eyes shifted about a bit, tapping her foot on the ground as she placed her hands on her hips. “Well?” Judar gave a huff, turning his nose up at her. “Pfft. You’re being kind of rude, maybe I won’t apologize.” Kenmei gave a small gasp, instantly giving him a pouty glare. “I am not being rude! I’m just….” She paused, trying to decide exactly what she wanted to say to him.

“I guess I’m just having trouble believing you. You haven’t exactly given me much reason to trust you….” She moved her arms to rest behind her back, looking down at the floor. She was quite timid in confronting him at this point, not sure if she was saying the right things. Judar put his hands on his hips, leaning forward a bit as he grew frustrated, a scolding tone in his voice.

“Well excuse me. I’m not the one that threw food on their partner just because they made a snarky comment. Do you have no sense of humor or anything?” Judar did not let down on his attitude, even as Kenmei grew visible uncomfortable. “I mean, seriously. Are you that uncomfortable with the way you look or-“

“Yes.”

Judar paused as he was interrupted, staring down at her for a moment before he stood up straight. “Why?” Kenmei kept her eyes on the ground, nervously pulling up the sleeves of her shirt to cover her shoulders. “I don’t think I have to give a reason to that…” Judar gestured to her body with his hand, before letting it slap back down to his side. “Well, there really should even be a reason for you to be uncomfortable. I mean, seriously.”

Kenmei swallowed the lump in her throat, feeling her stomach bubble violently. “You hardly even know me. You wouldn’t know if there was a reason or not.” Judar crinkled his nose a bit as he looked down at her, growing a little frustrated with her attitude. “Really? Well, just from looking at you, you don’t have a reason to be. You’re not fucking flabby. You have a weird fucking gap between your toes, but who the fuck cares!”

As he made this comment, Kenmei looked down at her feet, instantly trying to hide her toes by scrunching them up and trying to cover one foot with the other. “Y-you noticed that?” Judar frowned, noticing her becoming more and more self-conscious about herself as she stood before him. He sighed, rubbing the back of his neck, calming down a bit. “Look… I’m-“ He felt his words catch in his throat as she looked back up at him, her expression so timid and embarrassed it even made him want to crawl away and hide.

He looked away from her, knowing he wouldn’t be able to speak if he kept a locked gaze with her. “Just… You shouldn’t be so damn embarrassed about yourself, alright? And I’m sorry if my joke upset you. I didn’t mean it like… seriously.” His voice got quieter as he spoke, as if he were ashamed of the fact that he had to apologize to her. “You look… fine. But you shouldn’t walk around dressed like you are! If you’re embarrassed of yourself.”

Kenmei shook her head. “I-I don’t, I was just… Upset, I didn’t think, I guess….” Judar pointed at her, though it was towards her chest area as he glanced around, not able to look at her. “But…. Seriously, you aren’t wearing… whatever type of support you should be.” Kenmei felt her face flush as she glanced down at her breasts, crossing her arms over her chest again. “Well…. I-I kind of never do…. You haven’t noticed?”

Judar felt heat rise up from his chest, the tips of his ears burning as he turned himself around, trying to hide his embarrassment. “I’m not going to admit that!” His heart fluttered a bit when he heard her giggle behind him quietly, taking a moment to glance back at her over his shoulder. She was still staring at the ground, though she had a soft smile on her face. “Okay…. Well, I forgive you. And I’m sorry for throwing my food on you…. That was really immature of me.”

After staring at her for a moment, Judar turned back around. “It’s cool. I guess I deserved it.” He held out his hand towards her, though he had it balled into a fist. “We’re cool, then?” Kenmei stared at his hand for a moment before she timidly brought her hand up, placing her closed fist against his in a weak fist bump. “Y-yes…” Judar snickered, surprised she even played along with that. “Oh come on, that was weak. I expect better next time.” Judar brought his hand down, placing it onto his hip.

“Can I get dressed now? It’s getting kind of chilly.” Judar motioned to the top of his head, his hair still dripping wet. Kenmei gave a small gasp, uncrossing her arms. “Oh, yes. Let me help you first.” Before Judar could ask what she meant, she reached over and gently grabbed a lock of his hair that had fallen loose over his shoulder. Within a moment, his hair was instantly dry, coming loose out of the knot he had it in and falling free.

“There.” Kenmei released the lock of hair, letting it slide from her fingers. Judar reached up and felt the top of his head, a shocked look on his face. “Woah, what the fuck?” He removed the towel that he had perched on the top of his head, having been using it to hide his ears, but he was in too much shock to really care at that moment. “How’d you do that?”

Kenmei smiled, watching as his ears twitched. “Well… I just evaporated the water from your hair. I know some water magic, too…. It goes hand in hand with my healing magic, you see.” Judar gave a huff, quickly covering his ears back up as he saw her looking. “Huh… See, that’s why I want to train. I don’t know jack about what you can do.” Kenmei nodded. “And I don’t know what you can do either. Maybe we can show off a bit later?”

Judar noticed how her tone had changed, how her embarrassed gaze had switched to a soft, sweet smile, though her cheeks were still quite pink. He felt his heart skip a bit, doing his best to hide his embarrassment. God damn it, I hate that she’s so fucking cute. He cleared his throat a bit, turning himself to face a bit towards his room as he waved his hand in the air. “I thought you didn’t want to.” Kenmei rocked on her feet a bit, moving her arms back behind her.

“Well… I wouldn’t mind.” She gave a small frown as her stomach growled loudly, instantly bringing her arms around to hug her stomach. “Ugh… Maybe after I eat something first…” Judar snickered, grabbing hold of his door. “See, I told you, you should have eaten! You should listen to me more often.” He waddled a finger at her, though he pulled his hand back when she just smiled at him.

“I’ll be sure to keep that in mind. See you in a little while.” She turned and started heading back to her room, careful to not step in the water that littered her path. As she walked away, Judar started to close his door, though left it open just enough so he could watch her. His face was on fire as he couldn’t help but to focus on her backside as she walked. And she’s got a nice ass…. This fucking sucks. He quickly shut his door when he noticed her starting to glance back, though tried to not make it seem like it did it in haste.

Taking in a deep breath, he leaned back against his door, bringing his hand up to rub his face. He can’t believe he actually got away with her not finding out the truth. Even better, he thought, that she seemed more fond of him because of what he has said. Still, he couldn’t help but to feel a little guilty about lying to her. She seemed like such a kind and honest person, and he was using that against her, playing with her emotions. Pulling the towel off the top of his head, he started to head over to his dresser, starting to dig through it for clothes.

Still, Judar knew that he had to get better control of himself. She was his partner, and that was that. He could not allow himself to start feeling anything for this girl, as he knew it would get in the way of his goal. He had to keep himself emotionally distanced, not just from her, but from everyone. Growing frustrated with himself, he pulled on clothing that was fit to train in before starting to work a brush though his hair.

This was going to be a lot harder than he expected it to be.

Chapter Text

“Hurry up, woman, you’re so slow!” Judar knocked on Kenmei’s bedroom door with the side of his fist, irritation apparent on his face. “You were so ready to go train before.” He leaned in a bit closer to the door, waiting for a response. Instead of words, all he heard as an irritated, loud sigh and the sound of her wardrobe closing. He leaned on her door, crossing his arms. “We were supposed to go like… an hour ago.”

“Yeah, I know, Judar! I just don’t have any clothes for that! I’m trying to find what to put on.” Kenmei’s voice finally called from inside, currently digging through her dresser. “I guess I didn’t think to pack work out clothing….” Judar rolled his eyes, reaching up to rub his face as his tail swished about behind him in frustration. “Well then you’re going to have to go shopping for some in town.” Nanami’s head suddenly popped up over the back of the couch, looking back towards him. “Shopping?! When?”

Judar glared at her, giving a small flinch at the sound of her high-pitched voice. “For fucks sake… Not right now! She has to wear what she’s got, you two can go be girly tomorrow.” He looked back at the wood of the door, hearing the sound of shuffling. Nanami pouted and sat back down, going back to her game on her phone. “You’re so mean, Judar!”

With a roll of his eyes, Judar shifted his position to lean against the door with his back instead of his shoulder. “You’d best learn to get over-“ Before he could finish speaking, the door opened up behind him, causing him to give a yelp as he fell backwards. Kenmei gasped as she moved out of the way, taking a few steps back, only able to watch him fall.

“Ow, fuck!” Judar yelled as he landed on his back, his head smacking against the floor. He reached up and put a hand on the back of his head, rolling over onto his side. “What the hell is your problem!” Kenmei covered her mouth, doing her best not to release the laughter building inside of her. She knelt down, putting her hand on his shoulder gently. “I’m sorry, Judar, I didn’t know you were leaning on the door.” Judar shrugged her hand away, sitting up as he continued to rub the back of his head. “Damn it…”

He gave a wince as he could hear Nanami’s laughter from the living room, noticing that she was once again looking over the back of the couch. “Ha! Karma!” Judar gave an irritated grunt as he used his legs to scoot himself back a bit, then slammed the door shut loudly with his foot, tired of hearing her voice. Kenmei felt her face flush, as they were both now in her room with the door closed.

“U-uhm…” Kenmei moved to sit down on the floor closer to him, on her knees with her legs tucked under her. “Are you okay?” Judar only glanced at her, his glare so sharp she thought he could carve a hole in the floor. His face was flushed deep red, however, and Kenmei could tell he was embarrassed. “I’m fine…” Judar mumbled, still rubbing the back of his head.

Timidly, Kenmei slowly reached her hand over, placing it on top of his hand. Instantly, Judar pulled his hand away and shifted his body away from her, his glare moving from the floor to her face. “Hey!” Kenmei gave a small jump at his reaction, though she kept herself calm, pulling her hand back. “Let me help you. I’m sure that hurts, right?” Judar continued to stare her down, the pounding in his head making his vision blurry.

It would be weak of him to let her help, to allow her to heal him or whatever it was she was going to do. He already looked like an idiot by falling, how could he possibly allow his pride to be damaged more? He looked away from her, putting his hands on the ground to start pushing himself up to stand. “Tch! I don’t need your help! I’ve taken worse than this, it’s just a bump.” But, as he started to push himself up, his head started to swim and he paused, only making it to his knees.

He gave a groan as he winced, reaching up to rub his head again. “Fuck…” Kenmei rolled her eyes, gently putting her hand on his shoulder and making him sit down again. “You have a horrible potty mouth, and you’re too stubborn. No one has to know I help you, if that’s what you’re worried about.” Judar refused to look at her, glaring at the wall with a pout on his face. “I said I’m fine!”

“Well, you’re not. Are you going to shut up at let me help you?” Kenmei attempted to sound serious, but her voice still cracked with shyness. Judar finally looked down at her, his glare softening a bit as he looked her over. She had a stern look on her face as she stared up at him, though the pink in her cheeks gave away her embarrassment. With a roll of his eyes, he looked away from her again, removing his hand from the back of his head.

“Fine! Just hurry up.” He mumbled, obviously trying to save what he could of his pride. Kenmei shifted herself a bit closer, reaching up and gently placing her hand on the back of his head. She kept her eyes on what she could see of his face as she focused, the palm of her hand starting to glow a pale yellow. Almost instantly, Judar felt as if his whole body grew lighter, his expression relaxing as the pain started to fade. It was an odd feeling, as if he were floating, nearly every sense in his body going numb. He closed his eyes, feeling as if he were going to fall asleep. “That feels… weird.”

Kenmei gave a small smile. “No more pain, right?” Judar only gave a small shake of his head, fighting himself to not fall asleep where he sat. After a few more moments, Kenmei removed her hand, and Judar could slowly feel his senses returning to his body. It started from his toes and finger tips, slowly working up his limbs and warming his core. By the time the warmth reached his head, he felt no pain. Instead, he felt almost completely rejuvenated, as if he had just gotten the best night’s sleep ever.

He rubbed his eyes, looking down at her as he began to recover. “Uhm….” Kenmei smiled at him, starting to stand up. “You don’t have to force yourself to thank me. You’re welcome.” Judar huffed, giving her a look as he hopped up to stand as well, feeling like he had a ton of energy. “You didn’t even give me a chance!” He adjusted his beanie, turning his back to her. “How rude of you.”

Kenmei raised an eyebrow, crossing her arms. “Uh huh. Well, go ahead, then.” Judar grumbled a bit as he turned around to face her again, glaring down at her with an irritated look. “You can be seriously annoying, you know that?” Kenmei gave a small smile, tilting her head to the side a bit. “I can? I didn’t notice.” Judar felt his face flush, crossing his arms as well. “Yeah, you can!”

With a soft laugh, Kenmei turned back to her wardrobe, opening it to pull out some shoes, which she had forgotten to put on. “You’d best learn to get over it.” She flashed him a sly smile as she pulled her shoes on, which made his face flush hotter, knowing she was mocking him from earlier. “H-hey! Don’t make fun of me!” He pointed at her, his other hand resting on his hip. “You’d better watch it, or I’ll make training difficult!”

“Ooh, I’m so scared.” Kenmei continued to tease, sly smile still on her face as she started to pull her hair up into a tight bun on her head. “Terrified, in fact.” Judar’s face only flushed darker, his patience with her dwindling. “You know what? Fine, you’re going to regret that!” He turned and opened her door, storming out. Kenmei giggled as she followed him, still putting her hair up. She shut her door with her foot, watching him go towards the main door.

Nanami peeked up over the couch again. “What’s going on?” Kenmei looked over, noticing that Hakuryuu had joined her on the couch, though he wasn’t looking at them. Kenmei finished with her hair, adjusting her top. “We’re going to go train or… work out. Something, I’m not really sure.” Her gaze quickly turned to Hakuryuu as she heard him snicker, watching as he stood. “I have to see this.”

Judar glared at him from the door, shaking his head. “No, you stay here! You’re just going to get in the way.” Hakuryuu had an amused smirk on his face as he adjusted his sleeves, looking at Kenmei. “Are you worried?” Kenmei gave a small frown, shrugging. “Well… I don’t know, should I be?” Hakuryuu chuckled, pointing towards Judar. “He cant even beat my sister at arm wrestling.” “Hey!” Judar’s voice boomed across the room, drowning out Kenmei and Nanami’s giggles.

Nanami pointed towards Judar as she fell to lay on her side on the couch, giggles turning into a full-blown laugh. “Oh my god! You're a wimp!” Judar stomped his foot, and Kenmei could only relate him to a child throwing a fit. “I am not a wimp! I could kick your ass, all three of you, right now if I wanted!” Nanami stared at him wide-eyed, wiggling her fingers at him as she made an eerie oooh sound at him. “So scary!” She spoke with a fake scared tone, before her laughs immediately interrupted her.

Kenmei made her way over to Judar, doing her best to restrain her laughs. “Well, you must do something to work out, or you would have the body you do.” Judar crossed his arms, turning his nose up at her as he huffed. “See! Proof that I-“ “That you do just enough to keep your show off abs.” Hakuryuu interrupted him, also starting to make his way over. Nanami busted out into laughter again, hopping up off the couch to stand.

Judar’s face somehow flushed even darker, though it was obvious that it was from anger, now. “Shut up, Hakuryuu! You’re saying that on purpose just to make me look bad!” Hakuryuu shook his head. “No, it’s the truth.” Kenmei smiled, rocking on her feet a bit. “I don’t really think that’s a bad thing. If his magic is powerful, why would he need to be physically strong, right?” Judar looked down at her, still obviously pouting. “I can’t tell if that’s a compliment or not!”

Kenmei shrugged. “Well… I don’t mean it in a bad way.” Judar only stared at her for a moment before he turned and walked out of the door into the hall way. “I’m not talking about this anymore!” Kenmei giggled as she followed him, having to catch the door as he let it go. “Aw, come on, don’t be so upset about it.” Hakuryuu looked over at Nanami, giving her a nod to follow. Nanami quickly dashed over, still snickering as she followed him out.

---------------

Kenmei collapsed onto her hands and knees, feeling her chest tighten as she tried to catch her breath. She watched as the sweat dripped from her forehead and nose, landing on the grey tile of the floor in small droplets. She had just spent the last few minutes running laps around the large training room as Judar tested her endurance. If she was calculating right, she had run close to a mile before she had to stop, unable to take another step, fearful of her lungs collapsing in on her.

She took in a huge breath and held it as she moved to sit down, releasing the breath as she flopped down. Her breathing still heavy, she looked over towards Judar, hearing him yelling at her from across the room. “That’s all you can run? I though you said that you did a lot of running at home!” Kenmei pushed herself up to stand, starting to walk back over to him. “I did! But not that much. Why are you making me do all of this anyway?”

Judar crossed his arms, watching her as she walked over. “I just want to see how strong you are physically right now.” Kenmei raised an eyebrow at him, adjusting her top. “Uh huh. Well I did your push-ups, your sit-up, your running, your jumping jacks, I don’t know what else you want from me.” Judar narrowed his eyes, tapping his foot a bit. “I just wanted to see.”

Coming to a stop in front of him, she placed her hands on her hips, her breathing still a little heavy. “Didn’t we come here to see magic, not physical strength?” Judar shook his head. “We came here for both!” Tilting her head to the side a bit, she stared up at him with an annoyed glare. “Right. So when do I get to see your physical strength?”

“You don’t need to see mine!” Judar removed his coat, tossing it towards the wall. Hakuryuu glared at the coat in annoyance as it almost hit him, having to lean to the side a bit. “That’s because he’s weak!” Nanami snickered as Judar turned towards them, pointing at them. “Shut up, Hakuryuu! You don’t know shit!” Hakuryuu raised an eyebrow at him, crossing his arms. “I’m pretty sure I know. We grew up in the same place.” 

“That doesn’t mean anything!” Judar turned back to face Kenmei, a bit surprised to see her staring up at him in annoyance, her arms crossed tightly over her chest. He couldn’t resist a quick glance at her chest as her breasts squished together under her tight top, feeling his face flush. Though, he instantly started to walk away, hoping she hadn’t noticed. “Stop looking at me like that.”

Kenmei sighed, rocking on her feet a bit. “I just want to get this over with. I’m tired already! I wont even be able to do any magic because you wore me out.” Judar stopped walking once he had at least ten feet between them, turning to face her. He placed his hands on his hips, a sly smirk on his face. “What, you’re ready to sit down?” Kenmei gave a small frown, growing a bit nervous from the look on his face. “Uhm… Yes?”

“Let me help you, then.” Judar slid is right foot slightly to the side and Kenmei watched in shock as ice spread from his foot all the way across the floor towards her, going out in all directions. She tried to back up from it, but it reached her too quickly, causing her to slip and fall backwards onto her back with a scream. Judar instantly started to laugh. “What a klutz!” Kenmei winced as she sat up, feeling a chill run through her whole body. “What the heck!”

She looked towards his feet, noticing for the first time that he was barefoot. Her eyes trailed up to his face, annoyance bubbling inside of her at his smug expression. She attempted to stand back up, falling back onto her knees a few times before she was successful. “What, so you can make ice cover the ground, how impressive.” Her sarcastic tone instantly frustrated Judar and his smug expression faded into a blank stare.

“How impressive.” He mimicked her as he held out his hand, giving a small flick upwards. The instant he made the motion, spikes of ice flew upwards right in front of Kenmei. She gave a scream, though as she made a motion to step backwards, she slipped on the ice, falling onto her back once again. As she moved to sit up, the ice on the floor suddenly spread out over her hands and legs, trapping her on the ground.

Kenmei gave a frustrated grunt as she tried to pull herself free, feeling her limbs starting to numb from the cold. She tilted her head up just enough to look at Judar, seeing him still laughing from his spot. “T-this is not very fair!” Judar shook his head as he started to walk over, and Kenmei noticed that the ice melted away from his path. “You can't play fair, you'd never win anything.” He stopped a couple feet away from her, and with a slight tilt of his head, the spikes of ice suddenly snapped downwards. Kenmei stared up at the spikes in fear, as they were not pointing right at her, helplessly trapped.

Though, as Kenmei calmed, she began to grow her own ideas, wiggling her hands within the ice the best she could. She looked back up at Judar, noticing the sly smirk still present on his face. “That's not true, Judar. Though if that's how you want to do things....” She began to focus on the ice around her limbs, steam soon slowly starting to rise from them. Judar's smug expression faded as he noticed this, uncrossing his arms as he took a few steps closer. “Hey, what are you doing?”

Within a moment, the ice around her melted and formed into water that she could hold in her palms. Before he could react, Kenmei took the chance to throw the water at him, hitting him in the face and chest. Judar gave a yelp in surprise, quickly reaching up to try to wipe the water from his face. “Hey!” Kenmei took the chance to sit up, reaching down to touch and melt the ice that held her legs. Once free, she quickly stood, kicking off her shoes.

Judar turned to look at her once he cleared his face of water, staring her down with a now familiar sharp glare. “What the fuck was that!” Kenmei took a few steps back, the ice melting into water around her feet. She still held some water in her hands, ready to throw it at him again if he tried to come close. “Did you forget I could use water magic? Ice is water, technically. Though, I don't have a wand yet, so I'm limited to what I can touch with my hands or bare skin.

And as you know, I can't do any fancy spells. Witches have to have wands to be able to use their powers outside of their aura radius. Creatures don't.” She couldn't help but to give a sly smile at the expression on his face, guessing he hadn't thought she would do anything to fight back. “And since we're bonded, I can use your magic! I couldn't do this with anyone else's ice.” Judar narrowed his eyes at her, water still dripping a bit from his wet bangs. “I know all that already, you don't have to lecture me.”

Kenmei gave a small shrug, bringing both her hands together to meld the water into one larger mass. “Well, I guess you just forgot I could use water magic, then.” Judar huffed, shifting his right foot slightly outwards. As he did this, all the ice vanished into steam. “I didn't forget. I just didn't expect that you could use it after all that running around I made you do.” Kenmei moved her hands up and down a bit, causing the water to move with her and jiggle about. “I didn't think I'd be able to, either.”

Judar shook his head, moving to hold his arm out in front of him, his hand in a position to snap his fingers. Kenmei stared at it, growing instantly nervous. “What is that for?” Judar gave a small shrug, an almost bored look on his face. “Well, I still have something else I need to test.” Kenmei narrowed her eyes at him, positioning the mass of water in front of her body. “And what would that be?” A smirk crossed Judar's face, holding his hand up a bit higher. “Your pain tolerance.”

Kenmei gave a gasp as he snapped his fingers, sparks of pale purple lightening flying from his body towards her. Thinking quickly, Kenmei pushed the water outwards, spreading it to act as a shield, blocking her body from any impact of the lightening. “M-my pain tolerance! What are you talking about?” Judar continued to send bolts at her, causing Kenmei to take off running.

“You're the one that said your tolerance is higher than a normal persons! I want to see that!” Judar had to yell over the sound of his lightening as it crashed into the ground, causing small craters to appear in the stone. Kenmei shook her head as she continued to run, feeling like she were a mouse being chased around by a cat. “We don't have to do that like this!” She could hear the loud sound of protest from the sidelines, guessing Nanami was yelling at Judar to stop, but she couldn't allow herself to be distracted.

She noticed, however, that Judar had heard Nanami as well, as the attacks stopped. Kenmei slowed herself down to a stop, looking over to see Judar staring over at a very frustrated looking Nanami. Nanami pointed at him, her other hand on her hip. “You're being so mean! What type of way is that to train with your partner? You're just running her around!” Judar shrugged, a sly smirk coming across his features. “I don't see what the big deal is. It wouldn't hurt her anyway.”

While they spoke, Kenmei took the moment to reach up and fix her hair out of her face, attempting to slow her breathing. Judar turned his attention back to Kenmei, noticing that she was distracted. He snickered as he knelt down, placing his hand on the stone floor. “You shouldn't let your guard down!” Lightening spread from his hand across the floor faster than Kenmei could react to, and the bolts hit her body. She screamed as the shock flew through her body, causing her legs to cripple. As she fell onto her knees, pain continued to course through her body from the shock, causing her to gasp for air.

Instantly, Nanami ran over to Kenmei, having still been standing. “Judar! Why did you do that?” Judar rolled his eyes as he stood up straight, crossing his arms. “Whatever! I wouldn't have done it if I didn't think she could handle it.” Nanami knelt down next to Kenmei, putting her hand on her back gently. “Are you okay?” Kenmei nodded, though she had tears streaming down her face as she continue to gasp. “Y-Yes... I'll be alright..” Her voice was hoarse, having trouble getting any words out.

Nanami turned a glare towards Judar, so angry she almost wanted to shock him herself. “How strong was that attack!” Judar shrugged. “I don't know. Could have put you in the hospital. Probably could have killed a normal human.” Nanami gasped, covering her mouth. “And you hit her with that!” Kenmei moved to sit on her knees more comfortably, now able to breathe normally. “It's okay, Nanami. He wanted to see my tolerance, now he has.”

Judar observed them for a moment before he started to walk over. “Just because your tolerance is good doesn't mean shit if your recovery time is slow.” He knelt down in front of them, holding his hand out to Kenmei. She stared at it for a moment before looking up at him, tears still staining her face. “Guess I need to work on that... But you need to work on being more fair in fights. The way you fight... reminds me of what we're supposed to be against.” She took his hand timidly, a bit scared that he would shock her again.

Standing, Judar helped pull her to her feet. “Don't be so dramatic. You'll see that not everyone in this school is a fair fighter.” Kenmei stumbled a bit, leaning on him for a second as she felt more pain shoot through her legs, making them weak. Judar felt his face flush as she leaned on him, placing a hand on her back out of instinct to try and support her. He watched her face as she winced, more tears rolling down her cheeks.

Glancing around nervously for a second, he swallowed the lump in his throat, placing his hands on her shoulders to push her gently up off of him. “Oh, suck it up. You can handle it.” Kenmei reached up to wipe her face, regaining her balance before she looked up at him. “I can... You're right. I never really thought I'd be able to handle an attack like that.” She looked down at herself, and Judar could tell that she was feeling proud. This was completely different from any reaction he would have expected out of her. He actually though she was going to be mad and storm out of the room, but instead it was like he had almost inspired her.

Judar felt his face grow hotter as she flashed a smile up at him, hating that he found her attitude attractive. He released her shoulders quickly, just noticing that he had still been holding onto them, and took a few steps back, crossing his arms. “Whatever.” Kenmei's smile grew, wiggling a finger at him. “You also need to learn to not be such a showoff!”

Chapter Text

Ch. 12 – She Likes Him

Kenmei giggled lightly as Judar threw his fist up into the air, his excitement apparent in his bouncy steps. “Fuck yes!” He cried, large grin on his face. “We totally rocked that physical exam. I told you our training together would pay off.” He nudged Kenmei lightly in the arm, causing her to smile up at him. “We did! That was pretty fun. I was really nervous, though.”

Judar wave his hand at her dismissively. “Nah! Nothing to be nervous about.” He moved his arms to up behind his head, snickering. “Though, you can tell you were nervous. I thought you were going to shit yourself when we were first called!” Kenmei gave a small huff, smacking Judar in the shin with the thin end of her metal wand.

With a yelp, Judar began to hop on one foot, gripping his shin tightly. “O-ouch! What the fuck was that for!” Kenmei only gave him a sly smile, swinging her wand from side to side a bit, clinking her nails on the large topaz stone at the top. “You need to behave.” Judar pouted in irritation, giving her a playful punch on the shoulder once he could walk properly. “You know, for being so quiet and shy, you're kind of mean!”

Kenmei rubbed her arm, pointing her wand at him in a threatening manner. “I'll show you how mean I can be.” She couldn't speak those words with a straight face, beginning to giggle again as Judar narrowed his eyes at her. “Don't be so weird.” Kenmei brought her wand back closer to her body, twisting it in her hands a little as she looked back in front of her. She stared at her feet as she walked, starting to feel her cheeks grow warm.

It had been six months since she first arrived at the school. All of it had gone by in such a blur, filled with nothing but studies, training and spending time with her new friends. Though it had been a very magical experience so far, Kenmei had found herself in a dilema she had never hoped to have to face. Yet here she was, walking right next to her problem, wishing every second that she could be standing closer to him.

Though she had tried her hardest to prevent this, it had happened. Kenmei had grown a huge crush on her stubborn, bratty partner with the worst attitude she had ever seen. Every day that she spent with him only made her feelings grow, and it was nearly impossible for her to not show it. He had even pointed it out to her the other day, mocking her for acting so cutesy. Kenmei could not help herself, however, as she had grown to see past the act Judar put on for everyone.

She had seen it, the passionate nature that Judar hid from everyone. Magic, besides food, was everything to him. He constantly wanted to talk about it, learn new things, and was even interested in reading some of the books Kenmei had shown him. When he wanted to be, he was kind and helpful, especially when it was only the two of them around.

The past couple of months, however, had been difficult on her. Kenmei wanted more than anything for him to notice her interest, but any attempts had failed. He always had a tendency to dismiss her, mock her, or not say anything at all. It was like he just didn't notice, that he was completely oblivious to any of it. It frustrated her greatly, and at this point, she wasn't sure what else to do.

Recently, she had thrown the idea of just saying it to him to Nanami to get her opinion, though Nanami had said that might scare him away. Kenmei knew that this was true. She knew that if she attempted to tell him what she felt, he may just totally break her heart and not even feel bad about it. That was the thing she feared most, was that he would be cruel about it.

Though she had seen his softer side, it was an extremely rare occurrence. Judar had a very crude personality, and it was obvious that he cared very little for anyone besides himself. It was usually always about him, what he wanted to do, to eat, to practice. In truth, it was tiring, but Kenmei had grown accustomed to it. In fact, she didn't mind indulging him more often than not. She had found that she liked pleasing him, seeing his smile and hearing his cocky laugh actually brought violent butterflies to Kenmei's stomach.

She knew that she had grown addicted to that feeling, that feeling of excitement when he praised her, touched her, or even just looked her way. It was a wonderful thing to her, and she found herself wanting it from the moment she awoke in the morning to the time she lied her head down for a restless sleep. Kenmei had even caught herself dreaming of him quite often, and though this made her feel a little ridiculous, she didn't mind it.

His personality was not all that drew her to him, however. In her eyes, he was beyond gorgeous, from the tip of his fluffy ears to the very tip of his toes. Though she could admit that he was a bit on the thin side, she couldn't help to to find herself craving to run her fingers across his stomach. His body was near perfection to her, and she had seen almost every inch of it by now, except for what he kept hidden under a towel when he went to and from the bathrooms to bathe.

Every time they walked together, she felt the near unbearable urge to hold his hand or to grip onto his arm. She just wanted to touch him, but she knew he would freak out if she even dared without his permission, or without him touching her first. He often took her hand to help her up off the floor during training, or gripped onto her when they were in the middle of a battle exam. By now she had seen his weak side, with his inability to do nearly any physical work out besides sit ups, she always felt his grip was strong.

Though she had a hard time admitting it to herself, a lot of her attraction to his body was sexual in manner. Kenmei had never had a sexual partner up to this point in her life, having never liked anyone enough to want to be at that point. It embarrassed her greatly, and she couldn't even speak of it with Nanami. It was hard for her to admit, but the nights she felt the urge to touch herself were because of him, and he was the star of her fantasies, ever growing in frequency.

The thing that really attracted her to him were his eyes. Before him, she had never met anyone with such vibrant crimson eyes, and they truly fascinated her. Though, behind them, there seemed to be a void. A hollowness that Kenmei could not describe. It baffled her, why his eyes looked so empty at times, and yet so lively at others. She had assumed it was because of his past or his upbringing, however he had always refused to speak to her about this.

In truth, he was a complete mystery to her. If anyone asked, she would not be able to say a single thing about him, outside of what he showed at the academy. She knew nothing of his family, why he wanted to come here, what his goals really were. Kenmei had asked many times, but he had always grown very upset with her, so she learned to leave it be. She did feel like it was a bit unfair, however, that she had spilled her whole life to him and he wouldn't even tell her where he grew up.

But, she had grown to accept it. It was a part of him, and she had no reason to distrust or judge him. All Kenmei really knew was that she needed to figure out what to do about her feelings. She needed to find a way to get it across to him without scaring him, but she was constantly at a loss. For now, all she could do was continue being his friend, and hope that he would notice her affections.

Kenmei gave a small cough to clear her throat as they reached their living space, walking inside as Judar opened the door for her. “Thanks.” Judar only gave a nod as he followed her, giving a loud yawn. “Damn it, I'm tired!” Setting her wand down on a table, Kenmei turned to look at him, giving a small smile as she saw him rubbing his eyes like a tired child. “Aw. Well... I was hoping maybe you'd like to go get some tea with me?” She rocked on her feet a bit, a habit that betrayed her shyness.

Judar gave a sigh as he let his hands fall to his sides, looking down at her. “Tea? At that shitty little tea shop you always go to?” Kenmei rolled her eyes a bit, placing her hands on her hips. “It's not crappy-” Kenmei attempted to retort, though she couldn't find it in herself to curse. “-It's really a nice little place. And they have a peach tea I bet you'd like!” Judar seemed to perk up a bit at the thought of a peach tea, crossing his arms as he tapped his fingers against the fabric of his coat.

“Hmm... Nah.” Judar waved his had at her dismissively once again, something Kenmei had grown used to. “I don't want to go to that place. Take your squeaky friend with you instead or something.” He gave another loud yawn as Kenmei felt her heart grow heavy, though she tried not to show it. “Are you sure? I've been trying to get you to go with me for a while, you should give it a try.” She rubbed her arm, a bit fearful she might be pushing it.

Judar raised an eyebrow at her as he started to walk towards his room. “You're coming on a little heavy there, freckles. I don't want to go.” Kenmei's eyes feel to the floor, unable to help a dejected expression crossing her features. “Okay...” She got control of herself before he looked back at her, forcing a smile onto her face. “I'll see you later then.”

With a lazy wave, Judar went into his room, shutting the door behind him. Kenmei's front crumbled immediately, feeling every inch of her body grow heavy with rejection. Sluggishly, she grabbed her wand off of the table and started towards her room, bringing a free hand up to rub her face. She could feel the tears building up, that burning sensation in her senses and lump in her throat a common occurrence lately.

As she quietly slipped into her room, she propped her wand up against the wall, beginning to dig through her dresser for a change of clothes. She wasn't really sure why she had expected a different response from him. She thought that maybe this time he would say yes, that this time he would actually go do something with her that she wanted. That maybe he would give her a chance or notice her feelings for once.

He hadn't, and she wasn't sure why she had gotten her hopes so high. Though she craved to have him, these feelings were becoming more of a burden on her the longer they lasted. She found herself crying more often, as she had started to at that moment, the tears soaking into the fabric of the clothes that she held in her hands. She felt as if it were hopeless at this point, and she needed to find an answer to this riddle.

Growing frustrated with herself, she quickly wiped her tears away and began to change clothes, deciding that she was going to speak with Nanami again about this. She needed help, and as Nanami was the only female friend she had really grown to trust, there was no one else she could go to. Once dressed, Kenmei tossed her dirty clothing into the hamper in the corner of her room. She brought her hands up and patted her cheeks, taking in a few deep breaths.

Once she felt calm and the jitters from her most recent rejection subsided, she exited her room, glad to find Nanami coming inside from the door in the window, having been on the balcony. Nanami shivered as she came in, rubbing her hands together. “Man it's cold outside! I hope we get some snow!” She spoke happily to Kenmei, giving her a large grin.

Kenmei put on the best smile she could, giving a small nod. “That would be wonderful. But um... I have a favor to ask.” Nanami's grin faded, observing Kenmei's face for the first time. She frowned, crossing her arms. “Need to talk about doofus, huh?” Kenmei felt her face flush, nervously looking around the room. “Can we go get some tea....?”

...

Nanami sighed, propping her head up with her arm, head resting in her hand as he elbow supported her. “I don't want to sound mean, but maybe you should give up now. I mean, you've been trying for months. What else can you do?” Kenmei stared own into the liquid in her cup, watching it ripple as she tapped her nails against the glass.

“I don't know... I guess there's nothing I really can do. It's becoming a real burden, Nanami. Or, that's what it feels like now.” She brought the cup up to her lips and took a sip, the hot herbal tea warming her chilled body. Nanami pouted, kicking her legs as her feet didn't touch the floor. “You shouldn't feel that way! It should be a good feeling, to like someone like that.” Nanami reached over and grabbed a chocolate from the small bowl in front of her, popping it into her mouth.

“Maybe you should just tell him.” She spoke through her chewing, voice muffled. “Maybe it wont scare him as badly as we think.” Kenmei instantly shook her head, placing her tea cup back down gently. “No, no, that would just make things worse. He's too proud for that in the first place... He'd never accept a girl confessing to him.”

Nanami groaned in irritation, leaning back in her seat, tilting her head back as well. “He's such a loser! I don't even know why you like him.” Kenmei gave a bit of a pout, crossing her legs. “Well I can say the same for you towards Hakuryuu.” Nanami's face instantly turned bright red, reaching her arm across the table to try and smack her friend to hush her. “S-shut up! Someone will hear you!”

Kenmei shifted herself back a bit to avoid the hit, shaking her head. “No one can hear anything, everyone is talking so loudly in here. And don't try to hit me! It's true!” Nanami covered her face with her hands, shaking her head as she swayed a bit in her seat. “But Kenmei, he's such a gentleman, and even though he's quiet, he's so funny!” She began to bounce in her seat, growing extremely giddy. “He even picked me to hang out with instead of his other friend yesterday! I couldn't believe it!”

Forcing a small smile, Kenmei's eyes turned back to her cup of tea. She couldn't help but feel jealous, that Nanami was getting the recognition from her partner that she craved from her own. “Wow... Think he will ask you to the dance?” Nanami shrugged, still swaying in her seat a bit. “Oh I don't know! That would be so awesome though! But, it's still a few months away, I shouldn't get my hopes up.”

Nanami grabbed more chocolates and began to eat them, shocking Kenmei a bit as she shoved a whole handful into her mouth. “You should be care-” “Hey, Kenmei!” Both girls nearly jumped out of their skin, Kenmei turning a bit to see who had called to her. Waving at her from a different table across the room was a boy she had grown quite close with. He had a large, goofy grin on his face, using his free hand to move some of his honey blonde hair out of his face.

Kenmei could barely hear the giggling of Nanami across from her, feeling her face flush as she gave a small wave in return. She turned back to her cup of tea, feeling her stomach bubbling violently. “Ooh, Dyvar, huh?” Kenmei looked back up at Nanami as she spoke, instantly noticing the sly smile on her face. “Well, well, well. You know.” Nanami leaned in a bit, prompting Kenmei to do the same. Nanami spoke with a soft voice, sly smile growing.

“He asked me about you. He's hot for you, girl.” Nanami began to snicker as Kenmei put her hand on Nanami's face, pushing her back. “Shut up, Nanami! Don't say those things!” Nanami began to laugh, kicking her feel a bit as she placed her hands on her stomach. “Oh my god! You get so embarrassed!” Kenmei huffed as she crossed her arms over her chest, feeling as if her face were on fire. “You're so mean, Nanami. You're not helping the situation at all!”

Nanami wiped her eyes as she smiled, trying to subdue her giggles. “But I am! Maybe you should direct your attention elsewhere.” She gave a small nod towards the boy sitting across the room, prompting Kenmei to take a quick glance. Dyvar was no longer looking at them, but was laughing about something with his friends. Kenmei frowned as she quickly avirted her gaze back to her tea, feeling strange.

She had met Dyvar the first day she attended classes. Just like her, he was extremely studious, and prided himself on being one of the most intelligent second year students in the academy. He was extremely outgoing, friendly and did not seem to have a single violent bone in his body. He had told Kenmei once that he had always dreamed of helping people, and she related to him on many levels. He had become a very good friend to her, but liking him in a romantic way?

Honestly, she wasn't sure how she felt. Whenever she saw him, she felt very similar to the way she felt when she saw Judar. It was like butterflies fluttering in her core and a weakness in her limbs. But, she felt guilty. How could she feel this way about two boys? Even though she wasn't with him, she felt almost as if she was cheating on Judar. He was the first person she grew a crush on, and he was the subject of all her hidden fantasies. Could she really also like Dyvar?

Her thoughts were pulled from her as Nanami suddenly stood, grabbing her cup of tea. Kenmei looked up at her, confused. “Where are you going?” Nanami smile at her slyly, giving a small nod towards Dyvar again. “Enjoy. I'll see you back at the room.” Kenmei felt anxiety grow in her core, glancing around for a second before she noticed Dyvar heading her way.

She gripped onto her cup, not sure what else to do as she looked up at Nanami, a begging expression on her face. “No, Nanami!” Nanami only giggled as she walked away, a bounce in her step, as if she were pleased with herself. Before Kenmei could get up, she felt a jolt of shock fly through her body as Dyvar took the seat next to her, causing the chair to screech against the tile floor a bit.

“Hey!” Dyvar's grin faded to a worried expression when he saw her apparent nervousness, putting a hand on her shoulder gently. “Are you okay?” Kenmei felt her face burn and her stomach clinch violently at his touch, only able to shake her head. “Y-yes I'm okay, you just startled me a bit.” Kenmei quickly brought her tea up to her lips and took a few huge gulps, trying to calm herself.

Dyvar rubbed her arm gently before he sat back in his seat, though he still seemed worried. “Okay... Sorry about that, I didn't mean to.” Kenmei put her cup down, finally putting a smile on her face as she looked at him. “I-it's okay, really.” She watched as pink filled his cheeks and he chuckled, scratching the back of his head. “I had forgotten you came here so often! We need to come together next time.”

Kenmei could only feel her embarrassment growing, her heart beating so heavily she could feel it pound through her whole body. Was Nanami right? Could she really channel all of her feelings towards one person, someone who actually showed interest back? She gave a small cough, nervously starting to run her fingers through a lock of her hair. “That would be nice.... It's been a little while since we hung out, huh?”

Dyvar nodded, holding up his hand with three fingers showing. “Three weeks. I think. Somewhere around there.” Kenmei giggled, which prompted Dyvar to shyly put his hand back on the back of his neck. “You're right! We were studying for that written exam. I remember because Judar got angry I wouldn't train with him.” Kenmei felt a sharp pain in her chest as she spoke his name, and it must have been visible on her face, as she noticed Dyvar give a small frown.

“Is he being an ass to you again?” He spoke softly, knowing he had to tread lightly. Kenmei gave a small sigh as she shook her head. “Forget it, I don't want to talk about him.” Dyvar observed her for a second before leaning forward onto the table, nudging Kenmei with his elbow. “Hey, want to hear a tea joke?” Kenmei couldn't help a small smile from crossing her features, giving a small nod.

Dyvar grinned, holding up his hands, as if he were about to have a serious talk with her. “Why did the teapot get in trouble?” He quietly clasped his hands together, waiting for a response. Kenmei glanced around a bit, finding herself a bit stumped. “Uhm... I don't know, why did the teapot get in trouble?” Her smile grew, leaning a bit closer to him. Dyvar snickered, already finding himself funny.

“Because, it was naugh-TEA.” His snickering paused as he wanted to hear her reaction. They stared at each other for a moment before Kenmei began to giggle, covering her mouth as she shook her head. “Oh my god, that's awful!” Dyvar laughed, leaning back in his chair again. “Oh come on, I'm hilarious!” Kenmei shook her head, though was still trying to control her giggles. “You can't tell jokes that bad, I think it's illegal.”

Dyvar leaned back forwards, a bit closer to her, a wide grin on his face. “Yeah? Well, I'd be in serious trouble if that were true.” Kenmei calmed herself, looking up at him. It was odd, how she felt as if she were seeing him for the first time. He has such soft features and kind teal eyes, she felt as if she could completely open herself up to him.

In fact, she decided at that moment, she wanted to. She wanted to spend more time with him, get to know him and become closer. Maybe Judar was not the right path for her, as these months of disappointment had come to show. Maybe she needed to focus on someone who was truly kind to her, though that thought frightened her. At this point, however, she wasn't sure what else she could do.

She liked him, but she also liked him. All she could hope was that her decision would not cause chaos.

Chapter Text


My dear, you've finally let me in. It's been so long since we've talked.

"You kind of forced yourself in. What do you want?"

You know what I want. In fact, I wanted them at least once a month. It's been six, now.

"You can live without your updates that often. I've been busy, it's been kind of fucked up here."

Oh, I know how it's been. I had to take a peek myself though someone else. I thought you understood the conditions of our partnership.

"Partnership my ass. You're forcing us to do this."

I'm insulted. Don't you remember what I promised you? If you were successful, that is.

"I didn't forget. I just can't think about that right now. You promised us time to get stronger."

You failed your first year. He did not. Why should I offer you yet another year? You are strong enough.

"No we aren't. We couldn't do what you want at this point. You have to give us more time."

Hmm... Because I just like you so much, I'll allow it. Two years to get strong enough to kill him and get your prize.

"Thanks... I guess."

You seem distracted.

"It's nothing."

No distractions. For either of you. I cannot allow it.

"There are no distractions. We got this. Now leave me alone."

end interference

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Judar grumbled in irritation, staring down at a piece of paper in front of him. His friends were all sitting around him at the table they always inhabited during lunch hour, though Judar could not focus on eating at the time. He had a huge test next class, and his study skills were lacking as of late. He dropped his pen onto his paper, reaching up to rub his face as he sighed loudly.

“This fucking sucks. I'm going to bomb this test.” He spoke through his hands, muffling his voice. Nanami looked up at him, sitting across from him. “Well why didn't you study?” She turned her attention back to her food, picking out some bits she didn't like. Judar put his hands down, glaring at the paper. “I haven't been able to.... I suck at studying without help!”

Nanami raised an eyebrow, though still focused on her food. “Then how did you pass your tests last year?” Hakuryuu glanced up for a second, having an answer. “I helped him. Even then he barely passed.” Judar turned his glare towards Hakuryuu. “How about you shut up.” Nanami shook her head, reaching over and snatching Judar's paper so she could look it over. Judar didn't bother trying to stop her or get upset, leaning back in his seat.

Reading the paper, Nanami furrowed her brow. “Huh, this stuff is hard. Kenmei usually helps you study, right?” She lowered the paper from her face, noticing a very disgruntled expression on Judar's face. “What's that look for?” Judar crossed his arms, turning his head away a bit, almost to the point of pouting. “She doesn't care if I fail or pass, I don't even know where the fuck she is.”

Nanami frowned, placing the paper back down in front of him. “That's not true, of course she cares.” Judar rolled his eyes, leaning his chair back more so that he was balancing on the back legs of it. “No, she doesn't. Obviously. She told me she was going to help me study, but she's been doing other shit for the past few weeks. I can't even get her to come train with me!” Judar let the chair fall back to normal loudly, causing a loud clack to echo through the already noisy dining hall.

Hakuryuu and Nanami exchanged glances, Nanami becoming a bit nervous. “W-well I'm sure she has a good reason.” Judar turned his gaze to her, narrowing his eyes as he noticed a quiver in her voice. “What is it?” Nanami quickly shook her head, trying to focus on her food as she felt her stomach grow tight. “Nothing!” Judar reached over and grabbed her plate, causing her to give a cry and reach out for it as he took it away.

Judar held it back out of her reach, feeling irritation bubble within him. “Tell me what you're hiding!” Nanami swallowed the lump in her throat, beginning to fidget as her nervousness took over. “I-I can't tell you! She'll be upset with me!” “I dont give a shit! Tell me!” Judar threw a piece of her food at her, causing her to cover her face as she bounced in her seat.“No!” She cried out. “I promised her I wouldn't tell.”

“Tell him what?”

Nanami and Judar both looked at who has spoken, seeing Kenmei approaching, her school bag slung over her shoulder. Judar narrowed his eyes at her as Nanami's began to water, unable to help becoming upset. Judar slid Nanami's plate back to her as Kenmei sat down next to him, observing her as she looked between the two of them. He crossed his arms as he leaned back in his seat again. “Where you've been.”

Kenmei frowned, scooting her chair a bit closer to the table. “Huh? I stayed after class to study. Is that so wrong?” Judar reached over and placed his finger on his paper. “What about me? Forget you were supposed to help me study?” With a small gasp, Kenmei covered her mouth, shaking her head a bit. “Oh no, I'm sorry! I got so wrapped up with what I was doing, I... I did forget.” Judar rolled his eyes, crossing his arms again as he looked away from her.

“Surprise, surprise. You've been off in your own little world for weeks, now.” He kept his eyes on some random spot on the floor, not seeing Kenmei's expression sadden. She timidly reached over and placed her hand on his shoulder. “I'm not doing it on purpose. Are you really mad at me?” Judar shrugged her hand off, standing up. “Just fucking forget it.” He turned and started to walk off, snatching his paper off the table as he did, leaving Kenmei speechless as she pulled her hand back to herself.

As he stormed off, staring at the ground, he bumped into someone, though he did not stop walking. He only took a second to glance up as the person scolded him, the only feature he caught of the person was that they had honey blone hair. “Hey, watch it man!” The persons voice didn't even sound coherent to Judar as he continued walking, soon making it to the door of the dining hall.

He paused for a moment once he reached the door, taking a glance back at the table he had left as he gripped the handle. Immediately, he felt a mix of confusion and anger bubble inside of him as he saw someone setting a plate down in front of Kenmei, before taking a seat in Judar's chair. The anger grew as he watched the boy rub Kenmei's back before scooting closer to her, allowing her head to lay on his shoulder. It was the guy he had bumped into, he realized, and now he was wishing he had snapped back at him.

Before Judar could do anything or make sense of these emotions rushing through him, the door he was holding onto was pushed open, causing him to jump and take a step back in surprise. The person who opened it stopped abruptly, looking up at him with a shocked expression. “Oh sorry!” Judar didn't respond as he pushed past them, quickly starting to make his way down the hall, not noticing that he had unconsciously covered the entire door handle with ice.

Crinkling the paper in his hand, Judar shoved them into his pockets, glaring at the ground as he walked. He couldn't figure out why that had made him so angry. Why would he care if someone touched her like that? Why would he care if someone else brought her food? Kenmei was just his partner, and that is all he felt towards her. It didn't matter if another man was getting close to her like that.

Did it?

The more he thought about it, the more furious he became. But this anger wasn't as much towards the situation as it was towards himself. He didn't know why he was so upset, or maybe it was that he couldn't admit why he was to himself. Was he jealous that someone else was getting her attention? He shook his head as this thought arose, trying to rid himself of it. It continued to linger, however, and he could feel his stomach churn.

This just didn't make any sense to him. How could he be feeling jealous of someone else, and over someone like his partner? True, he had spent almost every day, all day with her since school started, until she became distant a few weeks ago. He had become accustomed to her presence and her willingness to do anything he asked of her, and that had all stopped so suddenly.

But the question still lingered, why should he care? Why did any of this matter at all? It didn't matter that she had other friends that cared about her, it didn't even matter if she got a boyfriend. Though, just thinking that made him feel instantly sick. That was stupid, how could she get a boyfriend and he have no idea about it? Surly she would want to share that with him, let him know what's going on and who she's with.

Who was that guy, anyway? Judar recognized him, but could not think of his name. It was someone he had seen around quite a bit, walking with Kenmei or claiming that they were going to study. Kenmei had even left Judar hanging multiple times when he wanted to train, saying instead that she wanted to study with this other... asshole. But what did it matter to him? It didn't affect him at all, he only liked to train because it let him blow off some energy. He didn't like actually being around her that much.

Did he?

No, of cousre he didn't! He could care less if he was around her or not. Kenmei was stupid and annoying to him most of the time, anyway. Especially lately, she was always acting so weird, constantly praising him or asking him to do things that seemed stupid and pointless. Like, going out for tea or reading a book together. He didn't care about doing that shit, and he didn't know why she even bothered to ask all the time.

Though, as he thought about this, a realization hit him. Did she like him? No, that's not possible, there's no way that she would fall for him. He was an asshole, and he knew it. He knew that he constantly treated her as an after-thought, and sometimes even like she was a burden. How could she possibly fall for someone with such a bad attitude as him. Even though he criticized himself this badly, he knew this wasn't completely true.

Judar had been kind to her after he got to know her better. Sure, she was nerdy and timid, but he often felt bad when he was mean to her. Like just now, when she had tried to apologize and he shrugged her off. He regretted that, and he had regretted it every time he had done it to her. Of course, he never let this show, too prideful to let anyone see his true emotions. But, why did he feel regret? Is it because he knew all along that she did like him, and he was being cruel?

It didn't really matter if she actually liked him or not. He couldn't condone those feelings anyway, let alone show any feelings back. He couldn't allow himself to feel anything for her, or anyone else around him. He just couldn't let himself, it was too dangerous for him and for them. Judar knew what would happen to anyone he let get too close to him, so he just couldn't let that happen.

He couldn't.

And yet, he did.

Judar knew that it was true, as he felt his chest tighten and his body become heavy. He had allowed her to grow those feelings towards him and did nothing to stop it. And what's worse, he allowed his own feelings to flourish. He was an idiot, and he knew exactly why that had made him so angry. He knew exactly why seeing that other man touch her brought him such fury. He knew exactly why he was so upset that she was no longer spending time with him.

He liked her.

...

“Miss Kenmei?”

Kenmei gave a small jump in her seat as her name was called, looking up towards the professor from her study papers. “Y-yes, Professor Li?” Sun Li gave her a gentle smile, fanning herself with her fan. “My dear, where is your partner? The test will be starting soon.” Kenmei glanced around nervously, feeling everyone's eyes on her. Her gaze fell to the seat next to hers, which sat empty. With a small shake of her head, she looked back up towards Li.

“I'm sorry, I don't know where he is...” She frowned a bit, looking back down at her papers as she remembered what happened during lunch. Across the room, Dyvar frowned, fidgeting in his chair a bit. Sun Li sighed, snapping her fan closed. “Please go and get him. There is still some study time left before the exam, and I know you don't necessarily need it.”

Kenmei observed her paper with sad eyes for a moment before she stood, giving a small nod. “Yes, okay.” Dyvar suddenly stood as well, speaking up. “Can I go with her, ma'am?” Sun Li looked towards him with a stern gaze. “Sit back down. I know you two are connected at the hip, but honestly, Kenmei can walk on her own.”

A few of the other students snickered as Dyvar sat back down, face bright red. Kenmei quickly scurried out of the room, embarrassed by the situation. Though, once she was in the hall, her pace slowed, starting to feel nervous. Judar was nearly impossible to find when he didn't want to be found. If he wasn't in his usual spot, then she knew this search was going to be impossible.

She made her way to her living area, quietly pushing open the red doors. She gave a small sigh when she saw he was not in the living room, still not feeling prepared to speak with him. She knew that this was not going to be an easy task, knowing that Judar was going to be stubborn and refuse to go. But, she also knew that most of this was her fault.

Guilt began to grow inside of her as she entered the room, already beginning to feel her eyes tear up. Kenmei knew that she had basically abandoned him at this point. There was no training, no hanging out, no talking on the balcony for hours on end. In truth, she just could not do it anymore. All of her efforts to gain his affections were wasted at this point, and she could no longer suffer emotionally. She had to direct her emotions elsewhere, though she hadn't thought of how it would affect Judar.

Even though her affections for Dyvar had grown greatly over the past few weeks, Kenmei still got that bubble of excitement whenever she did see Judar. She still felt that feeling tug at heart, and her wanting to be near him never ceased. It was painful, though Kenmei eased the pain by being with Dyvar. For the time they were together, she felt at ease. But, the moment they parted, she could only think of Judar and his smile when she was able to make him laugh.

Now, all she was able to get from him was a sour expression and an icy glare, as if he hated her. All of it was her fault. She was too weak to express herself to him, so instead she abandoned him. She paused in the middle of the living area, already beginning to sob. Even though he wouldn't admit to it, Kenmei knew she had caused him pain. In truth, she was more cruel than he was.

She took a few deep breaths as she wiped her face, forcing herself to calm as she continued towards the window that led out to the balcony. With a trembling hand, she gripped the metal handle and pulled the door open, taking her first steps out into the chilling cold. She shivered, rubbing her arms and she glanced around. At first, she saw nothing, until her eyes landed on Judar sitting in the ledge, up against the wall, just as he had been that first night she arrived to the academy.

He was bundled up tightly in a large, fluffy blanket, only his beanie and hair exposed. Kenmei could tell that he was sitting with his legs pulled up to his chest, his arms resting on his knees and his face hidden in them. Shivering violently, Kenmei took a few steps towards him, having to force herself to speak.

“J-Judar?” She spoke through chattering teach, feeling the few remaining tears on her cheeks grow hard as they froze in the cold breeze. Judar did not move, though his voice could be heard softly. “What do you want?” She stopped to stand next to him, hugging herself tightly. “T-The test. You're g-g-going to miss it.”

Finally, Judar lifted his head to look at her, expressionless. “I don't give a shit. I'd fail it anyway.” Kenmei frowned, shaking her head. “N-no you wouldn't. I know you're s-smart. You'd p-pass, even without my help.” She sniffed as she could feel her nose starting to run, reaching up to rub it with the back of her hand. Judar rolled his eyes, hiding his face into the blanket again. “It's not like you give a shit anymore. Your attention is obviously directly onto someone else.”

Kenmei moved a bit closer to him, unable to hear him very well. “What d-do you mean?” Judar gave an annoyed grown as he lifted his head again, turning his annoyed glare towards her. “You've been all over that other asshole. I can't get you to do jack shit with me anymore.” Kenmei felt her stomach clinch as she shook her head a bit. “That's n-not-” “Don't even give me that bullshit. It is true. Just admit that you're sick of me and leave me alone.”

Judar looked away from her, pulling the blanket tighter around him. Why was he acting so pety? It's like he couldn't help himself, unable to forgive her. He felt like she had straight up abandoned him, and he had come to the conclusion that he missed her. He was angry with her for being so distant, wanting all of her attention for himself. Yet, he refused to admit that to her, knowing that he couldn't.

After a moment of silence, Kenmei began to sob, prompting Judar to look up at her again. Still hugging herself, she had her head down, tears streaming down her face as she hiccuped. “That isn't t-true, Judar.” She still stuttered her words, her sobs and the cold still getting the best of her. “I'm not sick of you. I don't t-think I could e-e-ever get sick of you. But I just c-couldn't bring myself to be a-around you as m-much lately. It's hard.”

Judar frowned, relaxing the way he was sitting some. “What's hard? How is being around me hard?” Kenmei shook her head, her sobbing becoming more uncontrollable. “I can't tell you. You'll h-hate me more than you a-already do!” She brought her hands up to cover her face, unable to make herself speak anymore. Her chest felt as if it were about to collapse in on itself, and yet she couldn't stop the tears. She had held all of this in for months, and it was finally all forcing its way out.

Suddenly, Kenmei felt warmth wrap around her. She lowered her hands as Judar's arms wrapped around her shivering form, covering her with the blanket and pulling her to his body. The shock caused her sobbing to stop, though she continued to hiccup and shiver, staring at the fabric her cheek was pressed against with wide eyes.

“Will you shut up. I can't understand you when you're shivering and snotting all over like that.” Judar spoke softly, though there was an ounce of irritation in his voice. Kenmei felt the sting of tears begin to well up again as she felt him tighten the blanket around them, closing her eyes tightly as she gripped onto his shirt with her numb hands. “Don't do this to me...”

Judar sighed, beginning to loosen his grip. “Fine, I'll let-” “No!” Kenmei cried, suddenly wrapping her arms around his torso tightly. With a huff, Judar tightened his grip again as Kenmei began to weep into his shirt. “You don't make any sense.” He could feel his heart pounding heavily and warmth begin to grow in his cheeks as he held her. What was he doing? This was the worst thing he could have possibly done, even yelling at her would have been a better solution.

He just couldn't stand to watch her cry like that anymore. It was the first time he had seen her cry from being so upset, and it somehow made him feel guilty. He knew exactly why she was acting this way, but he wasn't going to bring it up. If she truly did have feelings, she was the one that was going to have to come out and say it. Then, he knew he would have to tell her that she couldn't feel that way. He would have to shut all of this nonsense down.

After a few minutes, Kenmei's sobbing calmed and she loosened her grip a bit, though kept her arms around him. “All of this is my fault.... I didn't mean to make you feel abandoned, or like I didn't care.... I've just been going through a lot. It's hard for me to handle.” Judar shifted his weight to his other foot, though still kept his hold on her. “I don't really get it. But whatever...”

Kenmei sniffed as she looked up at him, feeling the butterflies in her stomach flutter violently. “I promise that I won't do that to you anymore... But I made a commitment to something... to someone. I can't just break that.” Judar just stared down at her, once again with a blank expression. Seeing this made Kenmei feel as if his embrace was even colder than the air around them, and she became fearful of speaking another word.

Judar sighed, looking away from her. “I get it. You're dating that loser. Not a surprise.” Kenmei frowned, hanging her head a bit. “I wanted to... to tell you. But I was scared....” Judar shook his head a bit, an empty chuckle escaping his lips. “Of course you were. You should be.” Kenmei felt a twinge of panic fill her body, frown still present. “What does that mean...?”

“I'll tell you what that means.”

Chapter Text

Kenmei swallowed the lump in her throat as she stared up at Judar, waiting for him to continue speaking. He had paused, observing her features as he looked down at her. He could feel his heart pounding faster and faster the longer their bodies were pressed together, feeling himself becoming overwhelmed with emotions. The feeling of her chest pressing against him with every breath and how soft she was to hold was already driving him crazy, not sure he could handle it much longer. He knew he would fuck up if he kept this up, but he wasn’t sure how to stop himself.

“What… does that mean? Judar?” Kenmei repeated herself, pulling Judar back from his thoughts. She had watched as his expression turned soft, noticing he was becoming lost in his mind. She wasn’t sure why, or what he had been thinking, but she could feel his heart pounding and the soft pink hue of his cheeks. She assumed, however, that all of this was because of the frigid temperatures. It couldn’t be for any other reason, could it?

Judar blinked a few times when she spoke to him, giving a small cough to clear his throat. “It means… that…” He lifted his head a bit, glancing around as if he were thinking. He needed to phrase this correctly, not really wanting to scare her. “That… I will notice if anything happens that I don’t like.” He seemed a bit confused on his own wording, embarrassed to be talking about this. Kenmei tilted her head to the side a bit, confusion apparent on her features. “Huh?”

“What I mean is… Is that if I see him do something that I don’t like, you can’t expect me to be quiet about it!” His voice got louder as he spoke, nervousness getting the better of him. Kenmei blinked a few times as she stared up at him, noticing how odd he was behaving. “Judar… Do you want to tell me something else? You’re acting odd…” Kenmei moved her hands to rest on his sides, though she kept close to him, immediately seeing his cheeks darken as she moved.

Judar shook his head, becoming extremely frustrated. “No! I’m telling you! If I see something I don’t like, don’t expect me to be quiet about it!” Kenmei tilted her head down, eyes falling onto the fabric of his shirt. “Why’s that? Are you protective of me or something?” Judar huffed, fidgeting in his spot a bit. “You’re my partner! Of course I am!” Kenmei lowered her head a bit more, feeling her face beginning to burn once again. “I see….”

Truthfully, she had wished to hear something else from him, but she knew that would never happen at this point. If he had feelings to spill to her, she felt like he would have at this point instead of just playing around. All this situation was doing was making her fall for him even more. The feeling of his body and the smell of whatever scent he was wearing made her mind feel foggy and her stomach flutter, bringing her to never want to let go of him.

“Judar…. Can I tell you something?” She looked back up at him, feeling her heart skip a bit as their eyes met. She began to feel fear bubble inside of her, not sure what she was doing. This was the worst idea, the absolute worst. She had to stop herself, but she didn’t think she could at this point. She had to tell him.

Judar raised an eyebrow, seeming impatient. “What?” Kenmei’s mouth opened as she tried to speak, but the words caught in her throat, almost feeling as if she were going to vomit.

“I….” She gripped the fabric of his shirt tightly with both hands, moving herself a bit closer to him. “I, uhm…” Her embarrassment became almost unbearable, feeling her entire body trembling. “For a long time, I..” Judar began to feel anticipation course through his body, every time she paused felt like a stab to his gut. “Oh come on, out with it!” Kenmei looked down at his chest again, taking in a deep breath.

“Judar, I-“

“Kenmei?!”

Shock instantly bolted through both of them, causing them to jump and instantly release each other. Kenmei placed a hand on her chest as she took a few steps back, having to duck down under Judar’s arms to get away. Quickly looking back at the window, she saw no one, but heard someone walking in the living room. Kenmei looked back up at Judar as she tried to calm, though he looked just as shocked and freaked out as she felt.

Kenmei took in a few deep breaths, actually feeling extremely warm, even in the cold wind. “Y-yes? I’m out here.” Footsteps quickly approached the window, and within a moment, Dyvar’s head appeared through the door. He had a worried look on his face, quickly trotting outside to her. “What are you doing out here? Li sent me to find you, the test is starting.” He placed his hands on her shoulders, rubbing her upper arms gently. “It’s freezing, you need to go inside. What are you doing out here?”

Without speaking, Kenmei only glanced at Judar, unable to hide her embarrassment as she hugged herself, face flushed. Dyver looked in that direction, only noticing Judar for the first time. Judar had a glare on his face as he wrapped the blanket tightly around him, his face a deep red as well. “The fuck are you looking at?”

Dyvar frowned at his comment, putting an arm around Kenmei. “What’s going on?” Kenmei shook her head, almost seeming as if she didn’t want to be in his embrace. “I j-just came out here to find him.” The cold was starting to make her shiver again, teeth clattering a bit. Judar moved his eyes to Kenmei, though his expression instantly softened. “We were about to go back to the class room.” Kenmei turned her gaze from the floor up to Judar, feeling her heart skip a bit at his soft expression. He seemed almost sad, as if Dyvar’s interruption stopped something he had been waiting to hear.

A bit flustered, Dyvar began to lead Kenmei inside. “Well come on, then, it’s freezing out here!” Kenmei kept her gaze on Judar as she was ushered inside, only breaking gaze with him as the wall separated them. Judar sighed quietly, leaning his head back for a moment to glare at the sky. He already missed the feeling of holding her, and he knew that he wouldn’t have that chance again. Hearing his name being softly called from inside, he took a deep breath and headed that way, removing the blanket from around his shoulders.

Dyvar and Kenmei were already at the front door, waiting on him. They were speaking quietly, though Judar could not hear him, and he didn’t much care to. He tossed the blanket on the couch. “Alright, let’s fucking go.” Annoyed at the interruption, Dyvar glared at Judar in annoyance. “This is your fault in the first place, we wouldn’t have had to waste our time if you had shown up to class.” Judar scoffed, finding his attempt to be intimidating funny.

“Oh, ouch. I think you just hurt my fucking feelings. I don’t care what you think, blondie.” Judar placed his hands on his hips. “You didn’t have to come, anyway. Freckles is a big girl, she can handle herself.” Kenmei felt her face flush at the nickname, shyly hanging her head a bit. Dyvar rolled his eyes, starting to open the door. “How about you show some respect and call her by name.”

Judar snickered, starting to walk their direction to leave with them. “Nah, she likes being called Freckles. Don’t you?” He ruffled her hair gently once he reached them, though Dyvar didn’t give Kenmei a second to respond as he gently led her out of the door and out of Judar’s reach. “I doubt that. Hurry up so we can go take this test.” Dyvar snapped, starting to walk down the hall with Kenemi. Judar stopped the door with his foot, glaring after them.

He mumbled angrily as he followed, shoving his hands into his pockets. “Yeah, I’ll take that test. I’ll take that test and get a better fucking grade than you, prick.”

...

Judar sighed loudly, laying on the couch face down, head hidden under one of the throw pillows. He was once again wrapped tightly in his black fluffy blanket, obviously moping. “I can’t believe I bombed that god damned test.” Hakuryuu chuckled a bit, sitting on the couch across from him, a large book open on his lap while a notebook rested on the arm of the couch. He was scribbling notes into notebook as he was reading. “Well, you didn’t study. That’s what happens.”

“But I did study! I just… didn’t study good enough.” He lifted his head out from under the pillow, his beanie coming loose and falling off to the side. But at the moment, Judar didn’t mind his ears being exposed, since Hakuryuu was the only other person in the room. He lied his head on the pillow, his right ear twitching lightly at the sound of Hakuryuu’s pen scratching against the paper.

“That pen is kind of loud.” He complained quietly, shoving his face into the pillow. Hakuryuu shook his head, not looking away from his book. “No, you just have sensitive ears. Things are always louder to you when you take that thing off your head.” Judar grunted as he sat up, keeping himself wrapped tightly in the blanket. “Obviously.”

He watched closely as Hakuryuu needed to turn the page in the notebook, having to open it up to switch over the page. Judar snickered as he saw the brightly colored, girly pattern on the cover, a smirk crossing his face. “Wow, Hakuryuu, I didn’t know you liked flowers and puppies so much.” Hakuryuu’s face turned bright red and he quickly shut the notebook so the cover was hidden. “This isn’t mine!”

“Uh huh.” Judar slumped back into the couch, bringing his knees up to his chest, his toes poking out from the bottom of the blanket. “Who’s is it, then?” Hakuryuu went back to his notes, flustered. “It’s Nanami’s.” Judar rolled his eyes, wiggling his toes as they became cold outside of the confindes of the blanket.

“For fucks sake…. You shouldn’t take all her notes for her!” Hakuryuu turned an irritated glare towards Judar, slapping his pen down onto the notebook. He reached up and rubbed his face, giving a sigh. “I am not just doing it for her. She asked for my help.”

“She always asks for your help!” Judar leaned over a bit to pull the blanket over his toes. “You baby her too much, she’s got to learn on her own, you know.” Hakuryuu shook his head. “No I don’t. She learns on her own just fine. She’s just out with Kenmei right now and asked me to help her do the notes.” Judar scoffed, reaching up to scratch behind his left ear. “What’s so important that she had to skip out her studying?”

Judar watched as Hakuryuu’s face turned pink again, his eyes focusing on the book in his lap. “She’s dress shopping.” Judar scrunched up his face a bit in confusion. “Dress shopping? What for?” With a sigh, Hakuryuu closed the book and put it aside. “For the dance. I asked Nanami to the dance.” His gaze returned to look at Judar, though he was a bit surprised to see him staring back at him with such an intense stare.

“You asked that girl to the dance?” Judar glowered at him, leaning forward a bit as his ears lied back against his head. “Out of all the girls you know in this school that want to be all over you, you asked that squeaky brat?” His sour expression faded into one of amusement, covering his mouth with the blanket as he began to snicker. “She’s such a…” His snickering turned into a laugh, falling back over to lay down again, head on the pillow. “She’s so innocent! For someone like you!”

Hakuryuu crossed his arms, growing flustered. “What is that supposed to mean?” Judar rolled over to lay on his back, chuckles still escaping his lips. “You’re so… dark and brooding. You hate everyone! Almost, anyway. Yet you’re into this cheery, loud girl who can’t control the volume of her voice. She’s annoying!” He gave a wince as a rolled-up piece of paper hit on the side of the head. “Hey! Don’t throw shit at me!”

Bringing his arm back to himself after tossing the paper, Hakuryuu adjusted the way he was sitting, closing up the notebook to put it away. “You can’t really talk. You’re not different.” Judar turned his head to look at him, his right ear perking up in interest. “Huh? What is that supposed to mean.” Hakuryuu turned himself to lay back on the couch, his head resting on the arm rest. “You’re an asshole with no empathy. And yet you’re into a kind, shy and sensitive girl.”

Judar felt his face instantly begin to burn, turning himself so that his back was facing Hakuryuu. “Shut the fuck up! I’m not into anyone!” Hakuryuu chuckled, crossing his arms. “It’s obvious that you are. To me, anyway. Otherwise you wouldn’t spend so much time around her, even if she is your partner.” Judar sighed, pulling the blanket up over his head. “I don’t know, man. She makes me… feel good.”

“Then why don’t you tell her?”

Pulling the blanket tighter around himself, Judar stayed quiet for a moment. He knew why he couldn’t tell her and he hated that fact. “You know I can’t. You shouldn’t have, either.” There was silence between the two of them for quite a while, neither of them even moving. Soon, Judar gave a small sigh, pulling the blanket off his head.

“She gave us another year.”

Hakuryuu shifted uncomfortably.
“Okay.”

“We can’t fuck this up, man.”

“I know.”

Chapter Text

Kenmei watched in awe as Judar was scarfing down food from his seat at the table across from her, already almost through with his second plate of food. This was the most she had seen him eat in weeks, and though how much he could eat kind of freaked her out, she was glad. Things had been better since their talk on the balcony two weeks ago, and he seemed to be more accepting of her new relationship. By now, they had balanced out personal life with what needed to be done for school, and their relationship had grown comfortable once again.

“Judar, slow down, you’re going to make yourself sick.” Kenmei reached over tapped the top of his head, prompting him to glance up at her with a mouth full of food. He took a moment to swallow and wipe his mouth, leaning up to speak to her. “Whatever, I won’t get sick! I’m hungry, what do you want me to do about it?” Kenemi shrugged. “Well, pace yourself maybe?” With a roll of his eyes, Judar went back to eating, but he slowed himself as she suggested. “Fine, fine.”

Kenmei smiled, looking back down at her study work. “You can’t get too full, anyway. We have that battle final today and you never do well when you eat too much food.” Judar stopped eating mid chew, looking down at his plate. “Fuck, I forgot about that.” He spoke with a muffled voice, swallowing his food before he gave a loud belch, leaning back in his seat. He gave a satisfied sigh as he patted his stomach, noticing that Dyvar was staring at him with a disgusted expression on his face from his seat next to Kenmei.

Judar narrowed his eyes at him, leaning his chair back so he was balancing on the back two legs. “See something you like, blondie?” He spoke with a sneer, hating it when people stared at him. Dyvar grumbled as he looked back at his own food. “No, you’re just disgusting.” Judar snickered, popping another piece of fruit into his mouth. “As, Miss Priss is offended by the way I eat. Go sit with the other pompous assholes, then.”

Kenmei looked back up from her work, giving Judar a stern look. “Judar, please.” With a gasp, Judar stopped his chair from rocked and let it snap back down to rest normally on all four legs, pointing at Dyvar. “Hey, he started it! He was the one staring at me!” Kenmei shook her head, kicking him lightly under the table. “Doesn’t mean you get to be mean.” Judar pouted as he reached down to rub his leg, glaring down at his food. “Whatever…”

Nanami snickered, sitting on the other side of Kenmei. “Man Judar, you sure are whipped!” Judar scrunched up his face a bit, growing confused as he looked at Nanami. “Whipped?” Nanami held her hand up and made the motion like she was holding a whip, mimicking the sound with her voice. Judar felt his face flush as other around them at the table began to laugh, including Hakuryuu. Judar turned a glare towards him, throwing a piece of apple at him. “Shut up, Hakuryuu! You’re the one that’s whipped, you do anything Squeaker asks you to do!”

Hakuryuu was able to catch the apple as it was thrown at him, still chuckling. “There’s a difference between doing what is asked and doing what is told, Judar.” Judar huffed as he crossed his arms, obviously embarrassed. “I can’t be whipped if we aren’t even together!” Kenmei timidly hung her head, a bit embarrassed herself from the topic of the teasing. “He doesn’t do everything I tell him…” Nanami nudged her, a wide grin on her face. “You know he does! And it doesn’t matter if you two aren’t like a couple or something, you can still be whipped.”

“I am not!” Judar yelled, reaching over and flipping Nanami’s book shut in retaliation. Nanami gasped, smacking his hand away. “Hey, you made me lose my place!” Judar leaned back in his seat, a triumphant grin on his face. “Ha! That’s what you get for teasing me.” Kenmei couldn’t help but to giggle quietly, finding his idea of revenge in this situation to be quite adorable. Judar’s grin faded a bit when he heard her, becoming embarrassed again as he crossed his arms.

“So, do you know who we’re battling today?” Judar tried to change the subject, going back to eating some of his food. Kenmei shook her head. “No, it’s a surprise for the final. But either way, we’ll be fine, as long as you don’t over eat.” Judar paused his eating again before he put more food in his mouth, placing it back down on the plate and pushing it away. “Right, right.” Kenemi smiled sweetly at him, and Judar felt his stomach flutter a bit, avoiding looking at her.

Nanami sighed, trying to find the place she had been reading in her book. “I’m so glad we have a break for a few weeks. None of you are going home, right?” She exchanged glances with those around her, particularly Kenmei, Judar and Hakuryuu. All three shook their heads, almost in unison. “My brother isn’t at home right now, so there’s no reason for me to go.” Kenmei spoke up as she switched out her papers, starting to work on a different one.

“What about you?” Nanami looked at Judar and Hakuryuu, both who seemed a bit uncomfortable with her question. “Don’t you have family at home?” Judar scoffed, reaching up to adjust his beanie. “That’s none of your business, Squeaker.” Nanami pouted, turning her gaze to Hakuryuu. “Really?” Hakuryuu gave a small smile. “My family is here at the school working. You know that.” Nanami fidgeted in her spot a bit, embarrassed from him smiling at her. “O-oh yeah….”

Kenmei looked up as the bell for class rang, causing her stomach to bubble with anxiety. “Well… Looks like it’s finals time.” She started to stand, gathering her papers. Dyvar picked up her bag off the floor and placed it on the table for her, giving her a smile as he grabbed his own. “See you after class?” Kenmei smiled, putting her work into the bag. “Thank you. Yes, see you then.” Dyvar leaned down, but before his lips could meet hers, Kenmei timidly shifted her head a bit to the side, causing him to instead place the kiss onto her cheek.

Seeming unaffected by the obvious rejection, Dyvar rubbed her back gently and started to leave, smile on his face. Kenmei stared at her backpack, feeling her body tremble with embarrassment. She had yet to grown used to affection in public like that, especially when she could feel Judar’s eyes on her. She zipped up her bag, only glancing up when she thought she heard Judar speak.

“What?” She spoke with a shaking voice, noticing him looking down at her with a blank stare. Judar shifted his weight to his other foot, fixing his bag on his shoulder. “Did that upset you?” It took Kenmei a moment to understand his question in her embarrassed state, shaking her head as she began to tug at a lock of her hair. “N-no, I’m okay.” Judar snatched one last piece of fruit off his plate as he picked it up to throw it away, tossing it into his mouth. He turned and started to walk away, giving a shrug. “Okay, then.”

Kenmei frowned, picking up her staff as she followed him. She knew that Dyvar touching her in any way in Judar’s presence made him upset, though he had gotten better recently. Still, she felt bad upsetting him, trying to limit her interactions with Dyvar when around him. She soon caught up with him, bumping into him with her hip to try and lighten the mood. “Hey, come on. Usually you’re all pumped before a battle final!”

Judar huffed as he swayed a bit from her bumping into him, playfully nudging her away with his arm. “I am pumped! I’m just… a little less today, I guess.” Kenmei gave a small frown, leaning forward a bit to try and see his face better. “Huh? Why’s that?” Judar had a sour look on his face, suddenly stopping next to a trashcan, gripping onto the edges of it as he leaned over it.

“I ate too much fucking food.”

“I told you!”

Judar sighed as he stood next to Kenmei, placing his hands on his hips as he stared across the room. His eyes were locked onto their assigned opponents, which just happened to be the people he hated fighting most. Alibaba and Aladdin were on the other side of the fighting area, talking to each other quietly, though Alibaba was making movements like he was trying to get himself pumped. Judar rubbed his face, already annoyed. “This is bullshit. I hate fighting them, I mean I use ice and they use fire, for fucks sake. Can’t we have someone that uses wind or some shit instead?” He complained quietly to himself, though Kenmei could hear him fine. She looked up at him, tapping him on the chest gently with her wand twice.

“It will be fine, we’ve beaten them before. You’ll have to use lightening instead.” Judar sighed loudly once again, obviously pouting. “But I like ice!” Kenmei huffed, crossing her arms. “Did you forget I have water? Duh?” Judar tugged on a loose strand of her hair, causing her to wince and cry out a bit. “Don’t ‘duh’ me! I know you have water! But that doesn’t matter when their fire can make it evaporate, now, does it?”

Kenmei pouted as she smacked his hand away from her, crossing her arms tightly over her chest. “Fine, then. What do you want me to do?” Judar put his hands on his hips, trying to think. “I think it’d be better if I focus on Aladdin. Alibaba is a twat, he’s weak without Aladdin’s support.” Kenmei raised an eyebrow at him. “That’s not true. Alibaba could beat me if he wanted to. And I’m sure he does. Whoever wins this passes the class, no matter what their grades are. And you need that, you know.”

Judar waved his hand dismissively at her. “I’m passing this class, it’s cool!” He paused suddenly, a sour expression coming over his face as he gripped his stomach. “Oh god, my stomach.” Kenmei frowned, placing her hand on his arm gently. “I told you not to eat so much!” Her hand began to glow a pale yellow, temporarily relieving him of his nausea as she had done before class, and a few times before they were called to fight.

After a moment, Judar gave a sigh, standing up straight as he rubbed his face. “I hope that doesn’t hit me again during this….” Kenmei gave a soft smile. “Maybe being distracted will help.” She looked up as a voice began to speak, seeing Ja’far take a few steps towards the arena, waving his hand in the air to try and get their attention.
Lowering his hand once everyone was silent, he crossed his arms, looking between the two pairs. “Alright guys, you know the drill. Causing serious injury will result in disqualification and you will fail the final. If neither of you admit defeat or are defeated within fifteen minutes, a draw will be awarded.” As he spoke, a large screen that was connected to the wall to the side of the arena turned on, appearing with a paused timer, set at fifteen minutes.

Ja’far returned to his place further away from the arena, taking a seat. Behind him, other students from the class sat in rows of bleachers, all spread out and sitting in their own little groups of preferred company. With a small wave of Ja’fars hand, a barrier appeared around the arena, to keep spectators safe, as well as the surrounding architecture. “Ready.” He spoke loudly, placing his digital tablet onto his lap to take notes on about the battle.

Kenmei took in a breath, holding her staff and free hand out in front of her. As she released the air in her lungs slowly, her body began to glow a pale yellow. As she relaxed herself, the light around her body began to leave her, instead surrounding her in a barely visible bubble. She placed her hand on Judar’s am gently, doing the same spell to him, and soon they were both surrounded with a pale light. Judar gave a grumble, uncrossing his arms. “Man, that spell always makes me tired when we’re done.”

“Well, I’m using your own energy to protect you.” Kenmei removed her hand from him once done, looking across the arena as she saw fire, noticing Alibaba was doing a similar tactic, surrounding himself with flames so they could not get close. She realized that Aladdin had not done anything yet, seeming quite confident, from what she could see. Her attention was pulled back to Judar as he kicked off his shoes, tossing them away before he started to hop from one foot to the other, a wide grin on his face.

“Yeah, yeah, I get the concept, Freckles.” Larges spears of ice began to appear behind him as static sparked from his fingertips. Kenmei took a few steps away from him, giving him room. He tended to go a little crazy, having unconsciously injured or knocked her back quite a few times while trying to attack others. Judar always got so excited about this and had a difficult time holding himself back. Kenmei had grown to accommodate this, however, and learned to give him room unless he called for her.

Looking back at the two across the arena from them, she noticed Aladdin speaking to Alibaba quietly, pointing from her to Judar with his staff. She began to feel anxiety build in her core, knowing they had a plan while Judar and herself did not. Her gaze moved towards Ja’far as he spoke again, preparing to push a button on his tablet. “And….” He pressed the button on the screen, and a loud buzzer went off, echoing through the room as the timer above them began to count down.

Immediately, Judar and Alibaba took off running towards each other, leaving Kenmei stunned in surprise. This was completely different from what Aladdin and Alibaba usually did, which was both of them focus on Judar, leaving Kenmei able to stand by as defense. She looked back towards Aladdin, who was heading towards her quite calmly. “Hello, miss!” Kenmei frowned, holding her wand in a ready position.

Aladdin grinned, beginning to float up off the ground about a foot. “You seem surprised! I know we’re kind of friends, and I don’t want to upset you or anything.” Aladdin pointed his wand towards Judar, wind starting to swirl and become visible around his feet. “But we have to try something different this time! I can’t let you defend him all the time, it’s not fair!”

Kenmei kept her stance, though she began to feel nervous. “Stop being so patronizing…” She gasped as a huge gust of wind hit her, using her arm to block of face as she tried to observe what had caused it. Judar had jumped, using extremely powerful wind magic he had been practicing, hovering in the air as he sent spears of ice down towards Alibaba. Using his flames, Alibaba deflected what he could, though was soon completely surrounded by ice.

Before he had a moment to melt it, Judar sent down another huge gust of wind, pushing Alibaba back into one of the shards. Immediately, even against his hot skin, the ice gripped onto his right arm and back, holding him still. Laughing and almost seeming a little crazed, Judar covered himself in lightening, beginning to fall at a fast rate towards the trapped Alibaba. The lightening began to gather at his feet, and Kenmei could only relate him to a comet in the sky.

Knowing he could hurt himself with such an attack, she pointed her wand at him in an attempt to increase the defense of his energy shield. But, before she could even try, she had to use her wand to block herself as Aladdin attacked, clashing wands as he stayed floating. A grin still on his face, he pushed against her, though Kenmei was strong enough to hold him back. “I told you! I can’t let you help him.” Becoming frustrated, Kenmei gave a yell as she pushed him back roughly, simultaneously wrapping him in water to restrain him and throw him to the ground.

It was too late for Kenmei to use her defense spell for Judar, however, and he landed with extreme force on Alibaba. Right as he landed, lightening and flames engulfed the area, melting the ice. Kenmei cried out to Judar and began to run in that direction, but she was suddenly stopped by a powerful invisible force, sending her flying back and tumbling to the ground. After recovering herself, wincing from a new found pain in the hip she had landed on, she looked back towards Aladdin, seeing him once again standing as he used flames to evaporate her water into steam.

He once again had a smile on his face, and Kenmei assumed he used gravity magic to push her back. She had to admit, Aladdin was a much more skill magician than herself. He had the ability to control many different types of magic, which was not common, and he reminded her a lot of the Master of the school, Sinbad. He was the same way, able to control almost any magical element. She felt it a bit unfair, but she knew those feelings were just from her jealousy. She was not able to control anything but healing magic and water, and she knew Aladdin would not get close enough to let her touch him to be able to use her healing magic in a negative way to defeat him.

Kenmei’s attention was drawn back towards the flames, seeing two figures move away from them as they began to dissipate. She first noticed Alibaba, using the back of his hand to wipe away blood from over his eye as it dripped from a wound on the top of his head, hidden by his blonde hair. He had scratches and wounds covering most of the right side of his torso and arm, and Kenmei assumed he had blocked most of the attack with that side of his body.

Feeling a bit panicked, she looked towards Judar, though saw that he seemed nearly unharmed. The energy shield she had created blocked his body from harm, but she saw that the majority of his shirt and beanie were scorched beyond repair. He had an irritated glare on his face as he reached up and took the remains of his beanie off his head, tossing it away.

“What the fuck, Judar?!” Alibaba pointed at him, more flames surrounding him from his feet up. “What type of attack was that!” Judar rolled his eyes, his ears flat against his head in anger. “Oh shut up. It was supposed to finish you off.” Alibaba held his hands out in front of him, the flames gathering into his grip and taking the shape of a sword. “You aren't supposed to kill me, idiot!” Judar gave an empty laugh, ice gathering around his feet, beginning to rise of from the ground. “I can't kill you. I'd get expelled. Idiot.”

Judar ignored Alibaba as he began to yell incoherently at him, taking off the remainder of his shirt as he addressed Kenmei. “Why did my clothes get fucked up? Your barrier thing isn't strong enough!” Kenmei felt her stomach drop, glancing from him to Aladdin. “I-I couldn't protect you that time-” She gasped in shock as Aladdin came at her again, once again trying to hit her directly with his wand and forcing her to block with her own.

“You won't always be able to protect each other!” Aladdin slammed his wand against Kenmei's, though this time he used another gravity spell, sending her flying backwards even further than last time. As she landed, she felt a sharp pain shoot through her leg and torso, causing her to yell out in pain. It was not like her to be able to feel pain that bad, especially using a spell to protect her. Judar was right, her magic was weaker than normal. As she finally came to a stop, trying to push herself up from landing on her side, she tried to figure out why, but her mind was spinning.

“Mei!”

As she heard her name through ringing ears, she forced her eyes open. She gasped as she saw a large ball of flames heading towards her, barely able to bring up a shield of water to protect her in time. This is not good! She thought, her mind beginning to race. Aladdin is serious and I'm weaker than normal. What happened... She forced herself to stand, though pain shot through her leg and right side of her chest. She looked back towards Judar, noticing that his attention had been directed towards her, though he was holding his stomach.

“That's it...” Kenmei began to realize, stepping to the side a bit to test if she could walk. “It's because of your nausea!” She yelled towards Judar, becoming frustrated. “I did so many spells to keep you from puking, I don't have as much energy to waste on this!” Judar only stared at her for a moment, a baffled expression on his face, until realization hit him and he rolled his eyes with a loud sigh. “Fuck!” He turned back towards Alibaba, sparks once again surrounding him, gathering around his arms.

“I have to end this.” He prepared himself to attack once again, Alibaba raising up his flames in defense.

“I don't think so, Judar!”

Judar turned his head as he heard his name, completely unprepared.

The last thing he saw was flames.

The last thing he heard was his name being screamed from across the arena.

And the last thing he felt was shock before pain engulfed him.

Chapter Text

Kenmei stared in shock from her place across the arena, feeling as if her legs were weighed down by an unknown force. She could only watch as Judar sat on the ground, haven fallen to his knees and leaned forward, clutching his right arm to his chest. She was not able to see the damage Aladdin's attack had caused, but she was able to hear it. Judar was screaming and cursing, his body beginning to tremble and contort as he fell to his side, unable to stand the pain.

Then, she heard him cry out her name.

As if someone flipped a switch in her mind, her body began to instantly rush forward, any stab of pain she felt from her leg or ribs completely ignored. She could hear the voices of her superiors telling her to stay back, but those words were discarded from her mind the moment they met her ears. There was no doubt in the matter, she had to help him, no matter the cost to her body or if she got in trouble.

Kenmei collapsed down onto her knees next to him, immediately pressing her hands down onto his uninjured side to try and get him to stop writhing. But, as she was finally able to observe the injury, she knew that just soothing words would not help. Panic bubbled inside of her as she looked at it, the entire outside area of his right arm, all the way up to his shoulder and even along his chest was scorched. In some places where it was more severe, the skin had pealed away to reveal muscle tissue in circular patches and bits of skin were even blackened.

The stench of burning flesh instantly made her nauseated, having to bring one of her hands up to cover her nose and mouth. But, as she observed his agonized expression, she knew she had to be stronger to be able to care for him. She leaned forward a bit, placing her hand on his forehead to push his hair back out of his face. “Judar, I know it hurts, but you have to calm down. You have to let go of your arm.”

Judar was able to force one eye open enough to squint, looking up a her as he spoke through clenched teeth. “It fucking hurts!” Kenmei nodded, still using her free hand to try and keep him still on his uninjured side. “I know, I know. But I can help you if you listen to me.” She gave a gasp as Judar released his clutch on his ruined arm, instead clutching onto her with his healthy hand tightly.

“Then fucking do it!” He gave another yell in pain as his injured arm slid to the side, and Kenmei could tell he couldn't actually move it. It was also broken, she assumed, as some of the unaffected areas along the inside area of his arm had begun to turn purple with bruising. Kenmei stood for a second to quickly move herself to his injured side, feeling her entire body shaking.

“Miss Kenmei! Do not touch him!”

Kenmei quickly looked up, seeing Ja'far and others quickly starting to head towards them. Judar looked over as well, lifting his uninjured hand with what energy he had left. “S-stay away from me!” He slammed his hand onto the ground, creating a massive wall of ice that surrounded Kenmei and himself. Kenmei frowned as she felt the chill surround her, shivering a bit as she looked back down at Judar.

“Judar, what are you doing, they can help.” She gave a small wince as Judar gripped onto her arm tightly again, pulling her a bit closer to him. “I don't want them to help me. Only you.” Kenmei could feel him trembling and see the sweat beginning to coat his body, his hair beginning to stick to his face. She knew that this was completely irrational, that she would not be able to heal this wound on her own. Putting so much energy into such a serious wound at her current skill level would mean risking her life.

But, as she watched him continue to writhe, staring up at her with such an agonized, pleading expression, she knew she didn't have a choice. She nodded, once again placing her hand on his forehead. “Okay, okay... Just try to relax yourself... Please.” She quickly looked back up at the ice as she heard a voice, trying to focus on what it was saying behind Judar's gasps of pain.

She could tell it was Ja'far, and she knew she was going to be in deep trouble for all of this. “Miss Kenmei, Judar, put this ice down immediately!” Kenmei swallowed her fear, speaking up loudly. “Please, just let me do this!” There was a second of silence before Ja'far spoke again, his patience obviously growing thin.

“I cannot let you heal such a serious wound, you are not powerful enough to do that. What point would there be in helping him if you just end up killing yourself?”

Kenmei began to feel the burning of tears welling up in her eyes, knowing he was right. But, as Judar cried out again, gripping her tighter, rational thought was once again buried in her mind. “I have to do what I can!” She ignored the conversation that continued outside of the ice, knowing they were going to try and get through it, no matter what she said.

She moved herself to sit closer to Judar's head, speaking softly to him. “Judar, I have to move your arm just a little...” Touching what she could of his skin that was not burnt, she gently moved his arm to be laying out flat by his side instead of on his chest, even as Judar winced and tensed up in pain. She could tell, however, that he was holding back the best he could, actually listening to her for once.

Kenmei gently placed one hand on his chest while the other once again moved hair out of his face, resting gently on his sweat soaked forehead. She spoke softly to him as her hands began to glow their familiar pale yellow. “Just try to breathe and relax, okay? You'll feel better in a second...” Knowing it was more important at the moment, she first started to relieve his pain. This was not too complicated for her, but since she had used so much energy already, she could feel her body immediately grow weaker.

But, she felt it worth it as Judar stopped his struggling, his expression slowly softening. Within moments, he was breathing softly, his eyes finally opening. His expression was quite sluggish as he looked around, which was something Kenmei had expected. This spell usually put the person into a drunken like state of mind, unable to feel their body or register what was happening. After glancing around him for a moment, his eyes finally landed on her face and a small smile crossed his features, making Kenmei feel instantly better.

“Feeling okay?” Kenmei spoke with a gentle voice, now focusing her healing on repairing his skin tissue. Judar gave a small cough, though he nodded a bit. “Pretty fucking thirsty.” Kenmei couldn't help but to laugh a bit, removing her hand from his forehead and resting it on the top of his head instead, between his twitching ears. She began to feel tired, leaning forward to rest her forehead on his. “I'll get you some water soon....”

She closed her eyes, barly registering the fact that Judar had reached up with his uninjured arm, running his fingers through her hair gently. She hadn't even noticed that it had mostly fallen out of it's tie, but she found the feeling of his fingertips against her scalp incredibly soothing. So odd, she thought, that he would show such a kind gesture in this moment of suffering, even if his pain was temporarily stopped. For months she had craved such a touch from him, and she found it cruel that she only received it in such a situation as this.

“You look tired.” Judar spoke again with a hoarse voice. “You should nap... Freckles.” His hand fell to her face, his thumb gently stroking across her cheek. Kenmei smiled a bit, though she could feel tears beginning to swell again, knowing he would not remember any of this. “I can't right now... I'm helping you.” Judar's face scrunched up slightly as his hand fell, resting over hers that was on his chest. “Helping me... It feels good. It always does, when you help me. I should let you.. more often.”

Kenmei looked at his wounded arm, seeing that much of the burn was already healing over, though she could feel her mind beginning to slip away. “I hope I get to...” Judar scoffed a bit, turning his head a bit more towards her. “You will... stupid...” Kenmei watched as Judar's eyes closed, knowing he was finally slipping out of consciousness. She was glad, in a way, that he would be asleep during the rest of this.

As she heard the ice around them starting to melt and the voices outside, she could feel herself slipping. Every inch of her body ached and her head pounded violently, begging her to stop her magic. But she refused, pushing herself to the very end to heal as much of his skin a she possibly could. As she lost all feeling of her body, she slumped to the side, her face resting gently against Judar's scalp, able to feel his hair tickling her skin.

She could feel the wet tears begin to roll down her nose, glancing up as she could see blurry, dark shadows surround them and muffled panicked voices. Before she could understand what was happening, darkness took over and she spiraled down into unconsciousness. The last thing that filled her mind was Judar's wonderful scent.

Kenmei felt as if she had been falling forever. Even though she was lost in unconsciousness, she felt aware of this feeling, as if she had become detached from her body. She did not dream, she could not hear and she could not feel anything. She assumed that she she had died and that her soul would forever be falling into blackness.

Until, suddenly, she felt a soft touch on her cheek. Then there was nothing again for what felt like years, until she felt fingertips against her scalp. Kenmei began to notice things more and more frequently, like a soft voice in her right ear, a pillow being fluffed under her head, or the smell of flowers. A few times, she thought she could even hear the rhythmic words being read to her from a book.

She began to feel the presence of a bed against her body and blankets around her form. There was constantly something new pulling her back into reality, but the thing that pulled her to awaken was something she had never expected. A specific scent, one that she had come to adore, invaded her senses.

He's here. She thought. He's here and I need to see him. She could feel the pressure of her head tilting gently to the side, and an excited muffled voice fill her ears. Kenmei felt a grip squeeze her hand, and she squeezed back, beginning to feel herself starting to awaken. As her eyes began to flutter open, she saw a black figure hovering over her, unable to make out who it was. But, she could still smell him, and all she wanted was to hear his voice.

“J-... Judar?” She could still not focus, the light in the room blinding her as she turned her head away, becoming disorientated. She could feel the grip on her hand tighten, and a voice speak. “Kenmei? It's me.” Unable to recognize the voice at first, she looked back up at the figure, beginning to recognize features, though they were not what she expected to see. Shock pulled her out of her daze as she realized who she was staring up at, almost putting her into a state of panic.

“It's me.” The voice spoke again, becoming more clear. “It's Dyvar, Mei.” Kenmei stared up at the worried expression on Dyvar's face, feeling her heart begin to pound with panic. He wasn't who she had wanted to see, and she began to grow upset as she glanced around the room. Everything outside of a foot radius was blurry and black, still unable to focus on her surroundings. “W-Where is he?”

There was silence for a moment, the grip on her hand loosening a bit. “Where's who, Kenmei?” Dyvar spoke to her, bringing her panicked attention back to him. The wet sensation of tears streaming down her face broke Kenmei's panic as she looked up at him, her mind slowly starting to realize what she was doing. This was Dyvar by her side, the man she had promised herself to, and she was instead wanting Judar? She could see it on his face, that he knew exactly who she had wanted, and it was not him.

She took in small gasps as she tried to calm, looking around the room again as it started to become more clear. She could tell, now, that she was in some sort of hospital room. It was horribly bland and sterile, except for pops of color that came in the form of many different bouquets of flowers. Some were on the verge of dying, and she wondered how long she had been here. She attempted to speak again, but pain shot through her throat, causing her to reach up and grip it gently.

“I-I'm so thirsty...” She spoke quietly, closing her eyes as she began to feel her entire body aching. What had happened to her? She couldn't hardly remember anything and her mind was beginning to race. But, before she could focus on her thoughts, she felt a familiar grip touch her shoulder. She gave a small gasp as she opened her eyes, instantly noticing that she had been sat up some how and a cup was held out in front of her face.

Kenmei observed it for a moment, noticing that it was just a plain white paper cup with a blue bendy straw sticking up out of it. The first thing she observed was how that was her favorite color before she timidly reached up and took the cup with her free hand. She caught the straw with her dry lips and struggled to take a few sips from the water, feeling her stomach bubble with nausea the moment the water hit her tongue. Still, she was able to swallow it, and the cool water instantly soothed her sore throat.

The same hand that had handed her the cup came back and took it from her once she was done, and Kenmei could hear it being placed onto a table. As she stared at the blanket resting around her legs in a bit of a daze, she began to smell it again. A scent that was so attractive to her, it instantly caused tingles to spread across her skin. She once again felt a grip on her shoulder and she quickly looked up, instantly giving a gasp as she finally laid eyes upon his face.

Judar looked down at her, his expression tinted with worry. Though, as his eyes caught with hers, he gave a small grin, unable to hide his relief that she had finally woken up. “Hey, Freckles-” He gave a gasp as Kenmei instantly reached up and snatched onto him, pulling him down into her tight embrace as she began to sob into his chest. To keep from falling, Judar sat on the edge of her bed, allowing her to grip onto him.

“I knew you were here!” She tightened her grip once he was closer to her, unable to control herself. Judar felt his face flush as he nervously placed his arms around her, one hand resting on the back of her head to stroke her hair gently. “It's alright, Freckles. I've been here the entire time.” He kept his eyes on her, though he could feel the stare from Dyvar from the other side of the bed.

Soon, Judar was able to get Kenmei to calm, getting her to lean back on the bed as other Healers came to check on her. After an irritating long session of tests, Kenmei was left to visit and speak with those in the room,which was still only Judar and Dyvar at the moment. Kenmei watched the Healer leave before she glanced at the cup next to her bed, pointing at it weakly. “Can you.. hand me that?” Judar stood from his seat next to the bed and grabbed the cup, giving it to her before he sat on the edge of the bed again.

Kenmei drank slowly, her body feeling extremely weak. She sighed once she lowered the cup from her, looking up at Judar. “I was really out for a week?” Judar nodded, adjusting the way he was sitting so his tail wasn't trapped under him. “Yeah. Today was going to be a week and a day. But you finally woke up. For whatever reason.” He took the cup from her as she handed it back, setting it back down on the bedside table.

Messing with a loose thred on the blanket covering her timidly, Kenmei felt embarrassed to tell him why she had woken, especially with Dyvar there. She knew she had already upset him by how she had acted when she woke up, but he seemed to have forgiven her already. She glanced between the two boys, feeling her face flush a bit. “You were here every day?” Her question ended up targeted towards Judar, who's face flushed lightly as he nodded.

“Pretty much. I had nothing else better to do, so... And I was worried, you know, so whatever.” He waved his hand in the air a bit, obviously embarrassed to admit this as he couldn't even look at her when he spoke. Kenmei looked over as she heard Dyvar sigh, watching him as he stood. “What's wrong?” Dyvar walked over, though he had a smile. “I've been here for hours, I haven't eaten or slept. I'll leave you two to catch up for now, and then I'll be back in a while. I'm happy you're finally back.” He leaned forward and kissed the top of her head gently before he started to leave.

Kenmei could only watch him, unable to find words to say to him. She frowned as he left, hanging her head a bit. She felt as if she had been so cruel to him since she had woken up, but she couldn't help how she felt. She had wanted nothing more than to be with Judar in this moment, feeling overwhelmed with her feelings towards him. Judar frowned as he noticed her expression change and he reached over, giving her a small nudge. “Hey.”

Giving a sniff, Kenmei turned her gaze to look at him, feeling her stomach flutter as he had a calm smile on his face. “Do you remember anything from being asleep?” Kenmei shifted in her bed a bit, bringing a hand up to move some hair out of her face. “Well... It felt like I was falling... or maybe floating. Like I was disconnected from my body. I.. honestly thought I was dead.” She began to tremble a bit, eyes looking back down at her blanket.

“The first thing I noticed was a touch on my cheek. It felt so... wonderful. Like I hadn't felt a touch like that in years. I had felt nothing for what seemed like forever.” She noticed Judar shift a bit in his spot, but did not look up at him. “I heard voices sometimes. I even thought I could hear someone reading to me...” She finally looked up at him, noticing that he was staring off at something else with a red face.

She gave a small smile, hoping that embarrassed expression meant that some of those actions were him. “But what really got to me was... smells. I could smell the flowers. I could smell when someone brought food in here. And today, what woke me up was...” She timidly gripped onto her blanket, becoming shy about admitting this. “I think that it was you. Your smell.” Judar looked at her in shock, his face darkening even more. “W-What, I stink!?”

Kenmei shook her head, unable to help herself from laughing a bit at his reaction. “No, no! That spray you wear all the time... I could smell it. And I knew you were here. I just... I had to wake up and see you.” She timidly reached over and placed her hand on his arm. She felt her stomach bubble when he did not pull away, instead he only kept his gaze locked with hers.

“I wanted more than anything to see you... That's what made me wake up...” Kenmei looked down as Judar placed his hand on top of hers, gripping it lightly. Judar sighed, giving a small shake of his head. “I can see why you didn't say that around Miss Priss. I think he would have shit himself.” Kenmei frowned, feeling guilt once again rise up inside of her.

“I know... I feel awful that my first thoughts weren't of him. But your scent just reminded me of what happened before I passed out, and I...” She began to sob again, hanging her head. “I was so worried about you. I had to see you, I couldn't help myself...” Judar leaned forward a bit, hating to see her cry so much. “Well, you don't have to be worried about me! I'd probably still be in a hospital bed if you hadn't done so much.”

Kenmei wiped her face with the blanket, looking up at him as she grew confused by his words. “Huh?” Judar shook his head, holding up his right arm and wiggling it about a bit. “See? I'm totally fine.” Sniffling a bit, Kenmei lowered the blanket as she watched his arm. “There's... nothing left of it?” Judar gave a small shake of his head, pulling his sleeve up to his elbow.

“Well, sadly not nothing left. I have a little bit of scarring... But it's nothing serious.” He held his arm out towards her so she could see. Kenmei timidly reach out and gently traced the scars with her fingers. “I see... It really was too much for me.” Judar frowned, pulling his sleeve back down. “No, they actually told me if you hadn't done so much right away, everything would have been worse.”

He reached forward and placed a hand on her cheek, wiping some tears away with his thumb. “Seriously, Mei. I know I'm an asshole about this shit, but... Thank you.” Kenmei felt her heart began to race as she looked up at him, unable to believe he had actually thanked her so sincerely. She tilted her face into his hand a bit, unable to help herself from crying again.

“You're welcome, Judar...”

Chapter Text

“So you don’t remember anything at all from when I was healing you?” Kenmei asked curiously, walking with Judar down the hallway. Judar scrunched up his face a bit in irritation, looking down at her as he walked. “I already told you a million times I don’t remember!” He nudged her with his elbow. “You keep asking me that. Why, did I do something weird?” Kenmei shook her head timidly as her face flushed, holding her book closer to her chest.

“No, not at all, I was just… wondering.” She looked back up at him, immediately wondering why he was staring at the floor while obviously so flustered. She hadn’t meant to keep asking him this question, but she had just wanted to know so badly if he remembered what he had done. The way he had stroked her hair and her cheek so tenderly had filled her mind non-stop since she had woken, wanting nothing more than to feel it again.

Since she had recovered, Judar had returned to his typical attitude, however, and she had become a bit discouraged. A small part of her had hoped that would change him somehow, maybe bring feelings for her he hadn’t had or accepted to the front. But so far, there was nothing, and Kenmei felt as if her waiting was becoming pointless. It was hard for her to accept, that even such an event as that hadn’t made him feel more for her. 

But none of this was really true. It had made Judar feel more for her, but he was still determined to not let any of it show. Watching her every day for that week, motionless and barely even breathing, scared him. He had been worried that she would not come out of it, and the relief that finally met him when she did was overwhelming. It took nearly every inch of his self-control to stay as calm as he did, to not let his true emotions slip. On top of that, the fact that she had wanted nothing but to see him first brought him more joy than he was willing to admit.

Even though she had not said it, Judar knew that her feelings for him were growing stronger, even though she was still with Dyvar. He wanted to tell her to stop, to just get over him and be happy elsewhere, but he couldn’t make himself. He had grown to greatly enjoy the way she treated him, but he hated seeing that deep sadness in her eyes that he was causing. He did not like the thought of being the source of her unhappiness, but he wasn’t sure what he could do about it without ruining what relationship they did have.

Kenmei gave a small sigh, stopping as they reached an intersecting hallway. “Well, I promised Dyvar I would meet up with him. He’s taking me on a date of some sort to celebrate my recovery.” Judar stopped as well, shoving his hands into his pockets. “Hm… You don’t sound very excited.” Kenmei gave a small shrug, reaching up to push her hair back over her shoulder. “I mean, I am…. I just feel so exhausted, even after two days of being out of bed. It’s rough, you know. I just want to relax….”

Judar shrugged. “Well, why don’t you just tell him, then? If he cared, he’d wait a different day, right?” With a small frown, Kenmei shifted a bit uncomfortably where she stood. “I feel bad doing that. It’s not that big of a deal, really. I’ll survive. And we don’t have classes for a few weeks, anyway, so it’s not like I really have to rest.” Judar sighed, reaching over to pat the top of her head a few times. “Whatever, Freckles. Just don’t stress yourself, it would suck if you fainted to something.”

Though she blushed heavily and felt embarrassed, Kenmei smiled up at him. “Don’t worry about me. I can handle myself.” She playfully punched his arm, jumping out of his reach before he could return the favor. Judar huffed as he watched her walk away, putting his hands on his hips. “I’ll get you back for that!” Kenmei took a moment to turn and wave, large smile on her face, before returning to her path. Judar gave a small sigh as he watched her, clearly able to see the bounce in her step turn sluggish as she turned the corner.

He didn’t understand why she put so much effort and energy into this guy. There were times, like now, when she seemed like she really didn’t want to be around him, yet she did it anyway. Her thought process baffled him, though she didn’t share much of her thoughts or feelings about Dyvar with him, anyway. And truthfully, he was glad, because he hated that asshole. He couldn’t stand to see him near her, a little surprised at how angry it made him.

Judar also knew, however, that it was his fault in the first place, technically. If he would just get over his problems, accept her feelings and tell her his own, then things would be better. Things would be perfect, until it came time when it had to end. That was what he was most fearful of, having to end things when it got bad. He knew she wouldn’t stand by his side, no matter what he would tell her. In the end, he knew that keeping his feelings to himself was a better choice.

Once she was out of his sight, he continued down his original path, heading towards his room to take a well-deserved nap. After this week of pure stress, he wanted nothing more than to sleep for days on end, even though he knew that wasn’t going to be possible. He knew that his stress was going to continue to heighten, especially with the approaching dance next week. It wasn’t that he was worried about finding someone to go with, because he didn’t give a shit about going in the first place.

In truth, he was anxious about Kenmei going without him. She had been so excited about it, constantly talking his ear off. He did not want her to go with Dyvar, though he wasn’t sure why. At first, he had thought that he had been overthinking all of it, that it wasn’t even his business in the first place. Though after a while, he came to realize why he didn’t want them to go together. It was a petty reason, something completely unworthy of fretting over.

Judar hated the thought of him touching her, usually in any manner, but in this case the focus of his anxiety was sexual contact. The mere thought of Dyvar attempting to pleasure her made him want to puke and sparked anger in him. So many thoughts ran though his head when this topic came to mind, knowing he would probably never know the answers to any of them. Had they done it already? Did she enjoy it? Had he forced her, making her feel guilty? Is that why she cried sometimes after being with him?

These questions frustrated him, and he had almost been tempted to stalk them once or twice to find out. But he knew that would be too much, and she would hate him if she caught him. So, he was forced to suffer with the unknown, already positive that Kenmei would not tell him anything about it. But with the dance so quickly approaching and his anxiety about the subject through the roof, he knew he had to find out somehow.

Then, a thought came to his mind. There was one person who knew all Kenmei’s secrets, who was weak and easy to crack. Judar quickly picked up his walking speed, nearly jogging to get to his quarters, hoping to catch her there.

She would know for sure.

“Hey, Squeaker!”

Nanami tensed up at the booming sound of Judar’s voice, sitting on the couch that had the back facing the front door of their loft. She lowered her phone and peeked up over the back of the couch, her heart racing so quickly she felt like it might fly out of her chest. “W-what, Judar? You don’t have to yell!” Judar ignored her statement as he came over, jumping up over the side of the couch and landing next to her, causing Nanami to bounce slightly.

Judar turned his body to face her, sitting on the couch with his legs crossed. He leaned forward a bit, resting his elbows on his knees as he looked at her, and Nanami felt immediately nervous from his intense gaze. “What do you want?” She asked again, scooting closer to the arm of the chair as she grew anxious. Judar narrowed his eyes at her a bit, tapping his fingers on his bare foot.

“You and Kenmei talk about everything, right?” Judar spoke up, deciding not to waste any time getting to the point. Nanami nodded, holding her phone out in front of her a bit like a shield. “Yes, we do. What’s your point?” Judar shifted in his seat a bit, become a bit nervous. “Well I’m going to ask you something. And you better answer me with the truth! Don’t hide anything from me!” Nanami cowered down a bit, hiding her face behind her phone. “M-Maybe, Judar, I don’t know!”

Narrowing his eyes, Judar stared at her, finding it almost impossible to spit out what he wanted to ask. It was like a lump in his throat, refusing to emerge. Nanami lowered her phone a bit after a moment of awkward silence, glancing around nervously. “Uhm… Well?” Judar cleared his throat a bit before he gave an annoyed sigh, leaning back to lay on the couch, his legs still crossed. “You can’t laugh at me for asking this…”

Nanami frowned slightly, lowering her phone down to her lap. “Just ask me already!” Judar brought his hands up to cover his face, his confidence fading into embarrassment. “Mei and that asshole… Have they, uh…” He waved his hands in the air above him a bit, trying to find the best way to word it. “Have they, you know.” He couldn’t believe he was so flustered, finding it nearly impossible to say what he wanted. Nanami crossed her arms, starting to become annoyed, now. “Come on, Judar!”

Judar groaned loudly in frustration, pulling his beanie down to cover his eyes, nearly yelling out his question. “Have they fucked?” The silence in the room became deafening, the ringing in Judar’s ears driving him nuts. After minutes without a response or any sign of movement, Judar slowly lifted his beanie off of his eyes, tilting his head up a bit to look at Nanami. He could feel his face burning, and it only grew worse when he saw the shocked look on her face.

Nanami had covered her mouth, looking down at him with shock and embarrassment. “What did you ask?” She spoke through her hands, muffling her voice. Judar grumbled as he sat up, though he refused to look at her. “I asked you if she had told you anything about... if they had fucked yet.” He watched as Nanami's face darkened and she suddenly squealed in shock, quickly standing up and scuttling off in embarrassment.

“No, no, no! I'm not talking to you about that!” She sat on the other couch, grabbing a blanket and throwing it over herself. “You can't make me!” Judar huffed from his spot, standing and making his way over. “You'd better tell me!” The blanket moved with her violently as Nanami shook her head. “No, I can't!” Judar grabbed the blanket and tried to pull it off, though Nanami kept a tight grip on it. “Tell me!”

“No!”

Judar gave a hard yank to the blanket, causing Nanami to fall off the couch with a screech. Though, she did not get up, hiding her face into the rug on the floor. “Why do you even want to know about that!?” Judar sat down on the couch, placing his bare foot on the back of her head to try and annoy her. “Because, I'm just worried about her, alright!” Nanami only groaned as Judar used his foot to rock her head back and forth.

He could tell he was starting to get to her, he just had to keep it up. “Come on, Squeaker. I'm not going to do anything about it, I just want to know.” Nanami sighed, pushing his foot off of her head as she sat up, trying to fix her hair as she glared at the floor in frustration. “She'd kill me if she knew I told you that stuff...” Judar crossed his arms, glaring down at her. “Well, you acting like this is just telling me the truth, anyway. You wouldn't be acting so crazy if they hadn't.”

Nanami looked up at him, eyes a bit watery as she started to feel guilty about betraying Kenmei's trust. “You can't tell her I told you!” Judar nodded, expression becoming curious as he scooted himself closer to her, as if she were going to whisper to him. “Go on, go on.” Nanami pouted slightly as she crossed her arms, staring at the ground. “Well... It's a little bit complicated, I think...”

Keeping quiet, Judar kept his eyes on her, waiting for her to continue. Nanami turned to sit with her back leaning up against the couch, still on the floor. “The way she described it, it sounded more like he talked her into it the few times that they have. And you know Mei, she's too timid to really say no....” Nanami began to fidget with a lock of her hair. “It makes her uncomfortable... but she does it anyway. She just doesn't have that type of bond with him, I guess. Or those types of feelings for him.”

She turned her gaze to look up at Judar, who was now staring off at some random point in the room, expression unreadable. “Why are you worried about her? Did she say something?” Judar leaned back on the couch, reaching up to scratch his head under his beanie. “Not really. I could just tell something was kind of weird when we parted ways earlier. She didn't seem to want to go see him.”

Nanami nodded, looking back down at her knees. “She's been like that lately. I dont know why she doesn't just leave him if she's unhappy....” Judar sighed, starting to stand. “I know why.” Nanami looked back up at him, growing curious. “Huh? Why?” Judar shoved his hands in his pockets as he made his way to his room, his mind starting to absorbe the information given to him. It was such a mix of emotions that he wasn't sure how to process all of them.

He opened his door, but was stopped as Nanami asked him once again what he meant. He stood in his door way, tapping his fingers against the wooden door. He took a moment to glance back at her before he started to head inside, responding to her in a tone that Nanami could only describe as hurt.

“Because she likes me, and I'm an asshole. That's why she wont leave him.”

 

Judar gave a small yawn as he walked, making his way down the hall. He had grown insanly bored sitting alone in his room, and decided to talk a walk to try and clear his mind. Spending the whole time thinking of nothing but the conversation he had with Nanami was driving him crazy, and he had to try and forget about it. There was nothing he could really do, anyway, if Kenmei did not complain or say something to him. She would be angry if he said something, but would continue to be miserable if things stayed as they were.

He reached up and rubbed his face, beginning to feel lost. He had wanted nothing more than to tell her the truth, but he just knew in his hear that he couldn't. It began to feel repetitive, these thoughts that constantly crossed his mind. It was always the same thing, and Judar had started to become irritated by them.

Wanting to tell her the truth.

Knowing things could be better if he did.

Realizing that he could not allow that distraction.

Having to give up on something that he wanted so badly.

His thoughts were interrupted as he thought he heard a noise a little ways down the hall. It sounded like a soft voice, a whisper or a sigh. Though Judar usually minded his own business, he couldn't help but to feel a bit curious. He had been so bored for hours that even something so minor caught his interest. It was in the direction he was walking, anyway, so it wasn't like he was being weird and going out of his way to investigate.

Then, he began to feel a warmth in his chest. It did not bother him, though it made him only more curious, as this feeling came about when Kenmei was near. It has started ever since they had bonded their magic, and Kenmei had once told him that her right arm got cold any time he was near. It was odd, he had thought, but he was glad it wasn't something painful.

The first thing that came to mind was to play a trick on her, if she was coming his way. He enjoyed playing pranks on her often, and it was something they both laughed about together. Able to feel the heat in his chest grow warmer, he assumed that she was right around the approaching corner of the hall. But before he could even think of what he wanted to do, he could hear more noises.

It wasn't talking, but instead it sounded like soft rhythmic gasps and the shuffling of clothing. As Judar reached the edge of the wall before rounding the corner, he stopped, removing the beanie from his head so he could hear better. Joining the soft moans were heavy breathing and a wet, frequent slapping of skin. Immediately, Judar's face began to swell with heat as realization hit him.

That asshole was fucking her in the hallway.

Anger began to take hold of him, completely forgetting about the fact he was not supposed to interfere with Kenmei's life. Though the rage bubbled within him, he calmly stepped out from behind the wall, stopping once he was a few feet into the hallway. A few yards away, on the other side of the hallway, his eyes landed on the infuriating sight immediately.

Dyvar was holding Kenmei up, keeping her up against the wall as he pumped himself within her. Judar could then tell that most of the noises were coming from him, just by the look on Kenmei's face. Her arms were around his shoulders loosely, an almost pained expression on her face as she had her eyes clinched shut tightly. Though her face was red, Judar could tell that she was not enjoying any of it. Not a sound escaped her lips, looking as if she weren't even allowing herself to breathe.

The expression on her face made Judar want to put ice through Dyvar, just to kill him and be done with it. In fact, in that moment, Judar had never wanted to kill someone so badly. But, he knew as long as he held Kenmei, he couldn't use any magic. Though he wanted to move, wanting to pull him off of her and beat him, he couldn't. He felt rooted in his spot, his anger so intense he couldn't even feel his limbs.

Then, Kenmei's eyes began to open. First, she looked at her right arm as it bounced slightly with Dyvar's movements, her expression tensing slightly with each thrust he made. She looked up and down her arm, flexing her hand slightly. Judar knew exactly why she was looking at it like that. He knew that she could feel like icy tingle she got whenever he was near, and the fear that grew onto her expression only confirmed it.

Her eyes frantically darted around before they landed on him, her eyes beginning to instantly well-up with tears. Judar did not move, however, his glare clearly showing the depths of his anger. Kenmei gripped onto Dyvar's shoulders, though her eyes never left Judar. “D-Dyvar, stop...!” Though she asked, he did not stop, instead picking up his speed.

Kenmei clinched her eyes shut, the tears beginning to stream down her face. “Please, stop!” The crack in her voice and sorrowful expression prompted Judar to begin to walk closer, ice beginning to form around his bare feet. Dyvar's breathing only increased, holding onto her tighter to try and stop her wiggling. “Wait, I'm almost-”

“She said stop, you fucking prick.”

Dyvar seized at the sound of Judar's voice, instantly backing away from Kenmei and dropping her. She fell with a cry onto the floor, wincing from the pain that shot up through her hips. At lightening speed, Dyvar shoved himself back into his pants, trying to cover it with his long shirt. “W-What the fuck, man!” He looked at Judar, obviously panicked.

Judar kept his glare on him, the ice still spreading slowly from his feet, covering the floor. “Oh, sorry. Did I interrupt? My bad.” Dyvar, though he was shaking, began to move back towards Kenmei to help her up. “Yeah, you did, How about you-” Dyvar let out a scream as ice suddenly shot towards him, pinning him up against the wall.

“Don't fucking touch her. You're never touching her again.” Judar's glare only became more intense as he moved closer, the ice spreading across Dyvar's body. Still in shock, Kenmei pushed herself away from them, struggling as her underwear and hose were resting loose around her left leg. Judar took a moment to look at her, his expression softening for a moment as he observed her.

She seemed terrified, though her fear was no longer towards the situation. Instead, it was directed at him, the tears streaming down her face and expression just begging him to stop. Even now, after the uncomfortable situation he has just put her through, she still showed kindness towards him. Though she couldn't say anything, Judar could tell, and that only infuriated him more.

Dyvar let out a cry as he struggled against the ice, fear contorting his features. “C-c'mon, man, let me go!” Judar turned his attention back to Dyvar, his glare returning. “Shut up, you pile of shit. You're worthless. What makes you think that was alright, huh?” He took another step forward and Dyvar screamed, the ice tightening around him.

“She just woke up after being in a fucking coma! And you're first thing on a 'date' is to fuck her in the hallway, like she's a pile of meat!” Sparks began to fly from Judar's hands as they stayed resting at his side, just itching to shock him. “You're nothing but fucking garbage!” Judar raised his hand towards him, the anger inside of him bubbling to a high point.

“Judar, put him down, now!”

Shock hit him as he heard the voice, though it was not the voice he had expected. His gazed turned back to Kenmei, having expected her to try and stop him. But, she was still frozed in place on the floor, though she was looking down the hallway, now. Judar slowly turned himself to look, keeping his hand raised. Quickly heading towards them was Sun Li, a stern but concerned look on her face.

Li stopped once she reached the scene, taking a moment to observe it. First, she noticed Kenmei on the floor with her underwear still down, trembling from shock. Then, she saw Dyvar suspended against the wall by ice, the color beginning to drain from his face as the cold started to affect him. Finally her gaze turned to Judar, who was glaring at her with more hatred than she had ever seen.

Li walked over towards Judar, taking the risk of stepping onto his ice. “Judar, you have to stop. Put him down, before someone gets hurt.” Judar only continued to glare at her, sparks still flying from his outstretched hand. “Someone already did get hurt.” Li looked back at Kenmei, who was still looking at them both in fear. With a sigh, Li shook her head. “Judar, this isn't the way to help her.”

“P-please, Judar. S-Stop.” Kenmei began to sob from her place on the floor, leaning forward as she hid her face in her hands. Judar immediately felt the anger fade to worry as he watched her, beginning to lower his hand. How could he have let himself get so out of control? He was upsetting her more than Dyvar had, and had had just been trying to help her.

As he let his hand fall to his side, Judar hung his head in defeat, the ice melting and releasing Dyvar from his prison.

Chapter Text

“I am highly disappointed in all three of you.”

Kenmei hung her head a bit, gripping tightly onto the fabric of her skirt. On either side of her sat Judar and Dyvar, though Dyvar had moved his chair quite a bit away from Kenemi. He acted as if he were terrified to be in the same room as Judar, who had been giving him dark glares any time he even dared to move a muscle. The air in the room was thick and awkward, and Kenmei just wanted to run away from it all. She couldn’t believe that she was getting in trouble like this, as she had never gotten punished for anything, except for a firm scolding after she healed Judar without permission.

She took a quick glance as she heard Sinbad sigh, watching him as he leaned back in his chair, causing it to give a squeak in resistance to his movement. He stared down at some papers on his desk, resting the end of a pen at his temple, his expression heavy with disappointment. “Ms. Kenmei and Dyvar, this is the first time I’m having to put a write up on your record. I truly did expect better from the two of you, being some of our top students in academic ability.” Kenmei shrunk back a bit, as if she were wishing she could mold into the chair and vanish. Dyvar did not speak either, his eyes locked on the ground with a grave expression.

“Judar, however…” Sinbad turned his gaze towards Judar, who was currently glaring at a statue that sat on a bookshelf. “… This is your second one. I hope you realize that a third write up means suspension.” Judar rolled his eyes, turning his glare towards Dyvar. “I don’t even get why I’m getting a stupid write up! I stopped him, why am I getting punished!?” Sun Li gave a small frown, having stayed in the room after bringing them to Sinbad’s office. “What’s justice and punishment aren’t up to you, Judar. If you saw this, you should have come to get one of us or told us instead of attacking Dyvar like you did. You easily could have hurt him.”

Judar brought a hand to his face, starting to grow angry. “I wasn’t going to fucking hurt him. Teach him a lesson, yeah, but I wasn’t going to kill him or anything.” Sinbad tapped his pen against his cheek a few times. “How do we know that? You have a very short fuse and have sent many students to the medical wing for major injury during battles-“ “They’re fucking battles! It’s not my fault everyone doesn’t know how to use their own powers. What do you expect me to do, tip toe around-“

“I expect you to be respectful of everyone, including your opponents and your superiors!” Sinbad interrupted him, his voice booming across the large office and echoing off the walls. His loud voice caused Kenmei to give a light jump, cowering down even further. Sinbad kept a firm glare locked with Judar, beginning to grow impatient with him. “I’ll give you that third write up right now for this, if you want.” Giving a frustrated sigh, Judar crossed his arms tightly over his chest as he leaned back in his seat, doing his best to subside his anger.

Sinbad rubbed his forehead as he sat his pen down, taking a moment to gather his thoughts before he leaned forward. He rested his elbows on his desk, looking over the three sitting in front of him. “This type of behavior is not acceptable here. I will not be so lenient next time something like this occurs. You will all be receiving a write up and your ability to attend the winter dance has been revoked.” Kenmei and Dyvar both nodded timidly, though Judar refused to move or speak.” Sinbad gave a small nod towards Dyvar. “You can leave. I have something more I need to speak with these two about.”

Feeling her stomach starting to bubble violently with fear, Kenmei moved her arms to hug herself, refusing to look up at anyone as Dyvar stood. Judar turned a dark glare towards Dyvar, noticing that he acted like he wanted to touch Kenmei to comfort her. The instant he saw the glare, Dyvar quickly scurried off and out of the room, nearly slamming the door shut in his hurry. Sinbad sighed, deciding to ignore what Judar had done for the moment, turning his attention to Kenmei.

“Ms. Kenmei, I need you to look at me, now.” He spoke softly, as if trying to comfort her. Trembling slightly, Kenmei looked up at him, doing her best to hold back the tears that threatened to fall from her eyes. “Y-Yes, sir?” Sinbad glanced at Judar before returning his attention to Kenmei. “He said something about how he helped you. Was this a consensual interaction you had with Dyvar?” Kenmei’s face began to flush as she glanced around nervously, sniffling a bit. “W-well… It’s true that I really didn’t want to do that in the hallway. We had done it before, just in private. But he really wanted to do it there, and I… I guess I didn’t have it in me to say no. I thought it might just be easier to do it and be done with it all….”

Sinbad frowned. “We can seek further punishment if you want. With how you describe it, it seems more like he guilt tripped you or talked you into it. That is not something that should go without punishment, in my opinion.” Kenmei shook her head, keeping her eyes on the floor. “I appreciate your concern, but… A write up is enough punishment. I won’t be seeing him anymore….” She sniffed as she wiped the tears from her face before they could fall very far. There was silence before Sinbad gave a small nod, leaning back in his chair again. “Understood. You can both leave, now.” The instant he said these words, Kenmei stood and quickly left the room, leaving Judar behind.

“Hey, wait-“ Judar quickly jumped to his feet, taking off after her. “Mei!” Once he got out into the hall, he glanced around, noticing that she was walking very quickly down the hallway. He frowned, jogging to catch up with her. “Mei! Wait a second!” Once he reached her, he placed his hand on her shoulder gently in an attempt to get her to stop. Instead, she pushed him off of her, quickly moving away from him. “Don’t touch me!” Judar frowned, stopping in his place. “What? What’s wrong?” Kenmei stopped walking, but kept her back to him, still hugging onto herself tightly.

“What you did is wrong! How could you do that to me, and still expect everything to be okay?” Her tears were flowing freely now that she wasn’t in the presence of Sinbad, finally getting to let her emotions out. Judar took a few steps towards her, though stopped again when she flinched away from the sound of his footsteps. “Come on, Mei, seriously? Why are you so pissed off at me? I helped you, it was obvious on your face that you didn’t want-“ “Is that really why you did that?” She stopped him, finally turning around to face him. “Or was it because you just didn’t like the sight of it?” Judar became a bit stumped, only able to look down at her.

She was right.

Kenmei reached up to wipe her face again, starting to become more angry than sad. “You only did that because you hate him. It had nothing to do with me! If it had been about me, you would have comforted me instead of attacking him. You were being selfish!” In the back of her mind, Kenmei felt awful for yelling at him like this. She had never talked to him like this, and his visible defeated expression pulled at her heart. But she was angry, and she couldn’t let this be just swept under the rug. “Sure, maybe I did want someone to help me, to catch us so he would stop. B-but not like that! And not you of all people! I never wanted you to know or to see such a thing.”

She brought her hands up to her face, unable to help herself from sobbing again. “Now it’s gone! My relationship with him is gone! Not only that, but now my record is ruined, and I can’t go to the dance! You messed up everything…” Judar could only stand there in silence as she ripped into him, knowing that every word was true. He could have acted better in that situation, but he was so furious that he couldn’t control himself. He thought that he had been protecting her, but instead he had made it all about him.

“Mei…” He spoke after a moment, reaching up to rub the back of his neck. “I didn’t mean for that to go so badly for you. I really was just trying to help you-“ “Well you didn’t help me.” Kenmei snapped back at him, once again interrupting him. Her attitude and refusal to even let him talk started to irritate him, and it became apparent on his face. “How about you let me fucking talk for a second, huh? I get that you’re mad at me or whatever, but you’re kind of being a bitch right now.” Kenmei instantly felt as if her heart was torn to shreds, taking a few steps back away from him. “Don’t talk to me like-“

“Why, you’re talking to me like that.” Judar only continued to move towards her. “I felt really bad that your record got fucked up and all, but it isn’t my fault. Li was coming, you would have been caught either way. Then boo-hoo, you’d still have a write up and be unable to go to the dance. I guess the only thing different is that you’d still be dating that asshole.” Kenmei shook her head, her sobbing growing more intense. “Don’t talk so badly about him!” Judar started to feel completely baffled by her words, unable to believe it. “You’re still defending him? After all this bullshit and how shitty he’s made you feel?”

Kenmei fell silent as she shifted nervously in her spot, not really sure what to say to him. “He’s not a bad person, Judar, you just make him out to be one.” Judar rolled his eyes as he leaned his head back in frustration, reaching up to rub his face. “Are you kidding me? He’s not a good person if he basically made you fuck him in the hallway. You’re delusional if you actually believe that. What do you even like about that fuck-head anyway?” Kenmei shook her head, starting to feel sick to her stomach. “It doesn’t even matter now!”

Judar took another few steps towards her, only to grow angrier when she stepped away. “Yes, it does! I need to know why you feel so compelled to try and protect him.” Kenmei tried to speak through her hiccups, almost unable to keep speaking. “B-Because, he’s treated me so-so kindly…. He never once h-hurt me or yelled at me or made me f-feel small.” She took in a large breath as she tried to calm herself. “He could make me laugh and c-comfort me. I just didn’t like to have sex with him, but I did it anyway!” She reached up to wipe her face again, soaking the sleeves of her sweater. “He’s a great person!”
“You don’t think I could be like that?!”

Silence fell between them as they both stared at each other in shock. What had he just said? Judar hadn’t even thought about the words before they flew out of his mouth. He had grown so angry listening to her praise Dyvar, and overwhelming feeling of jealousy taking over him. That wasn’t what he had wanted to say, but now it didn’t matter. He had said it, and now he was going to have to deal with it. Kenmei only continued to stare at him, though her tears had stopped from the shock. “You… What do you mean? Judar… you’ve never…” She reached up to cover her mouth, her body visibly shaking.

Judar began to take a few steps backwards, feeling his heart starting to race as panic began to take over him. By saying that, he had reviled feelings he had never meant to. How could he possibly change this around or take that back? Should he just play along with it, and maybe she would forgive him? Or should he just bail and run away? The later option seemed like the most desirable, but he couldn’t seem to make his body move that much. He had to think of something, had to say something to try and avoid this.

“I-I didn’t mean what you think!” He could feel his face beginning to burn, unable to control his embarrassment. “I do treat you the same way! I’ve never treated you badly, maybe except for when we first met. Sure, I pick on you, but that hasn’t ever hurt your feelings!” Judar stumbled over his words, almost unable to talk. He knew he was probably digging himself into a deeper hole, but he wasn’t sure what else to do. Before he could say anything else, Kenmei turned and began to run down the hallway, though Judar could hear her sobbing as she went.

He began to go after her, but something stopped him, a nauseating feeling in his gut that told him to leave her be. Anything that he could say or do now would only cause more trouble, so he decided that just letting her cool down would be the better option. Confused and angry at himself, Judar turned and began to walk in the opposite direction. He had a feeling that she was not going to speak to him for a while, and the thought of that began to upset him. She had never been this upset at him, and he wasn’t sure how to handle it.

All he knew was that he truly was jealous of the relationship she had before this. He wanted her to talk about him that way, to praise and defend him like that. But now, he had a feeling that he ruined any chance he may have had in the future. There was no way that she could still like him in a romantic way after this, not if she was truly as upset as she acted. It was infuriating, but he couldn’t control it. Everything that had happened today was his fault for being such a jealous asshole.
He had to find a way to gain her forgiveness.

For an entire week, Kenmei avoided Judar like he was the plague. She would not answer her door for him and scurried off any time they were in the same room together for more than a second. No matter what he did or attempted to say, she would not give him the time of day. After a few days of this, Judar gave up, only becoming angry with her. He had no idea, however, that Kenmei was not doing this because she was still angry at him. The reason for her avoiding him was quite the opposite, actually, and she struggled to keep her own emotions in check any time she saw him.

Kenmei was avoiding him because she had become scared. That night that they fought, Judar had had admitted he had feelings for her, even though he had tried to hide it afterwards. Kenmei could see right through him, and though it was something she had wanted so badly, she was terrified now that she had heard it. What was she supposed to do, now? After such a fight, she couldn’t just go crawling back to him and begging for his affections. She knew that she had to figure out what she wanted to do and how she really felt.

Did she really still care about him as much as she had before? Any time she saw him now, she couldn’t help but to panic, running away and shutting herself off in her room. Her stomach would fill with violent butterflies and her heart would beat so fast she thought it might break through her ribs. This had to mean that she still cared about him just as much, if not more. In truth, she was not angry with him anymore. What he had done had hurt her, and she cried about it for a few days, but she had come to forgive him. She just could not approach him, his words ringing about loudly in her mind any time she saw him.

Now, a week had passed without her speaking even a word to him. It was the night of the dance, and she had begun to feel horribly depressed. She had helped Nanami get ready, then watched her leave with Hakuryuu, doing her best to hide her sadness. The dance was something she had been looking so forward to, and now she was left behind by her peers and friends. Instead of sulking in her room, where her gown for the dance mocked her, she stood on the balcony.

Here, she could hear the music coming from the ballroom, which was only a few stories down from their loft. They had the windows open, so the light and music poured out of the room and filled the otherwise silent night sky. It was chilly outside, but Kenmei felt numb to the cold from her sadness. She felt so alone in this moment, some stray tears chilling her skin as they rolled down her cheeks. It was pathetic, she thought, acting this way. She could be enjoying herself inside instead, reading a book or something else besides allowing herself to freeze outside.

She brought a hand up and began to run her fingers through a lock of her hair, watching the clouds as they passed by the bright full moon in the sky. As she looked at it, she could feel her heart growing heavy. Judar had always liked to sit out here and watch the sky when the moon was full like this. They would both sit outside for hours and just watch it, hardly even speaking. It wasn’t that they had nothing to talk about, it’s just that they enjoyed each others company without having conversations. Kenmei began to miss him greatly, wishing that she hadn’t treated him so badly. Now she felt like he may never forgive her, and that thought broke her heart.

Suddenly, fear shot through Kenmei as she heard the door to the balcony squeak open. She could not move and felt sick to her stomach, only lowering her head a bit. Who could that have been? It had to be Judar, he was the only one who was still here. Had he finally caught her in a place where she could not run? What was she going to do? She knew she was going to have to confront him, but she had no idea how. She shifted nervously in her spot, feeling her heart begin to race when she heart footsteps and the door shutting.

“You’re not going to run away again, are you?”

Chapter Text

Kenmei swallowed the lump in the throat, giving a small shake of her head. “W-Well I can’t really run anywhere…. Unless I jump over the wall, I guess.” She pushed herself up on her toes a bit to look down, a bit curious how far it was to the ground. “Then you’d really never have to see my face again….” Judar sighed as he began to walk over, soon taking his place standing next to her. “I don’t think I’d like that very much.” Kenmei began to feel her cheeks growing warm, noticing that he had stopped quite close to her. She watched him out of the corner of her eye as he leaned forward on the balcony wall. First thing she noticed was that he did not have a shirt on, which was a common occurrence, but she felt worried.

She finally looked up at him with concern. “Judar, it’s too cold to be out here like that.” Judar glanced down at her before he looked down at himself. “Huh? Oh, I guess I didn’t bother. I was just resting, and I saw you out here. I got a little too excited to finally catch you.” He gave a grin down towards her, but Kenmei quickly looked away, becoming overwhelmed with embarrassment. “I… I don’t really know what to say….” Judar nodded, reaching up to rub his cheek. “Yeah, neither do-“

“I forgive you, though. I honestly haven’t been mad at you this whole time….” Kenmei shifted to stand a bit closer to him, glad that he didn’t move away. She looked up at him, a bit shocked to see that he was glowering down at her. “W-what?” He shook his head, looking back out at the sky. “You have seriously got to get better about not interrupting me. That pisses me off, Freckles.” He playfully bumped his hips into hers, forcing a small giggle from her lips and smile to cross her face. “I’m sorry, I will. I promise.”

Judar gave a small yawn, adjusting the way he was standing. “So why were you avoiding me, then? If you weren’t mad at me this whole time.” He could see Kenmei’s face flush darker in the moonlight, and the timid expression that crossed her features told him exactly why without her having to say anything. “Well…” She spoke softly. “It was because of what you had said during our fight. It really caught me off guard. And made me think that… Maybe you have had feelings for me. I-“

She cut herself off, becoming aware of what she was about to say. She was about to confess her feelings to him, but she didn’t feel scared to. She felt more comfortable now than ever, and she felt like now was the right time to do it. “I’ve liked you for months now. Almost as long as I’ve been here, really…. I’ve wanted nothing more than for you to return those feelings. I tried really hard, but you never seemed interested, so I gave up.” She rested her cheek in her hand, propping herself up with her elbow that sat on the stone wall. She sighed, getting lost in her mind, as if she were daydreaming. “I just… care about you so much…”

Judar observed her silently, not really surprised by her words. He had already known about this and had been planning on shutting her down when she finally confessed to him. But now, he couldn’t. Instead, he had butterflies ravaging his stomach and his heart pounding through his entire body. He wanted so badly to admit his own, to ask her to be with him, yet he couldn’t make himself say a word. Judar looked down at ground below them, able to see the lights from the ballroom. For the first time, he became aware of the music. The bouncy music gave him an idea and he stood up straight.

Trying to control his nerves, Judar held his hand out towards Kenmei, and she looked down at it curiously. When she didn’t take it right away, he nudged her gently with it. “Hurry up.” Kenmei stared at his hand for a moment before she timidly gripped onto it, turning to face him. “What are you doing?” Judar gently led her away from the wall of the balcony, stopping once he reached a general middle point. “Well… Since you can’t go dance. I thought we could have our own party up here.” He pulled her a bit closer to him, gently placing his free hand on her hip.

Trembling, Kenmei placed her free hand on his shoulder, embarrassed to be touching his bare skin like that. “B-but…. I can’t dance.” Judar couldn’t help but to laugh, looking down towards their feet. “I can’r really, either.” Though she felt as if she might pass out from embarrassment, Kenmei kept her body close to his, finding his warmth comforting. Judar began to move them with the music, glad that it wasn’t too fast of a beat. Kenmei bit her lip as she moved with him, scared she was going to trip or do something else horribly embarrassing. “T-this is hard!” Judar snickered at her expression.

“Just relax! Loosen up, you’ll get the hang of it.” He continued to move them around the balcony, and soon enough, Kenmei was able to pick up on the rhythm and movements. Judar couldn’t help a smile crossing his lips as he watched her begin to enjoy it more, able to feel her body loosen. He knew he wasn’t the best at such sensitive situations, but he was glad he was able to make her happy in this moment. “You’d better get ready, I’m going to spin you.” He spoke with a teasing tone, smirking a bit as she looked up at him in shock.

“No, no, you can’t! I’ll trip.” She couldn’t help but to giggle, even though she was scared. “I’m too clumsy for that.” Judar snickered, stopping them for a moment as he released her hip. Kenmei gave a small yelp as she was forced to spin, though it was quickly followed by laughter. She felt so ridiculous, and yet it was the most fun she had in weeks. Judar pulled her back to him, chuckling at how she reacted as he placed his hand back on her hip. “See? You liked that.” Kenmei shook her head, still giggling. “No, that was scary!”

“Yeah, whatever.” Judar slid his hand around to rest on her lower back, pulling her body closer to his as the music began to slow down. Kenmei felt tingles shoot through her entire body as she was pressed lightly against him, feeling her face starting to flush. “What are you doing?” Judar cleared his throat a bit, obviously embarrassed himself. “It’s slow music. You have to slow dance.” Kenmei stared up at him for a moment before she gently pulled her hand from his grip, reaching up to gently place her arms around his shoulders.

“You’re right…” She felt her heart begin to race as both of his hands rested on her hips, keeping her body close against his. Kenmei found it nearly impossible for her to look him in the eyes, her gaze currently locked on his collar bone. They began to sway slowly with the music, though Kenmei could hardly hear it over the sound of her own heartbeat. It was so loud and pulsing through every inch of her body, her mind racing with endless thoughts. She couldn’t really understand the purpose of this dancing.

Was he doing this just to make her feel better, or was he trying to find a way to express himself? Was he ever going to tell her how he felt, or was this just another opportunity to leave her heartbroken? After something like this, she couldn’t stand the thought of him rejecting her, and her emotions broke through her happiness. She hung her head, sniffling as she fought back tears. Judar frowned, though he kept them moving. “What’s wrong?”

Kenmei leaned forward, laying her forehead on his chest. “I wish you wouldn’t do this to me…. I wish you would just tell me how you feel.” Judar was silent for a moment before he stopped their movements, moving to put his arms around her completely. “Mei… I’m nervous about that. Believe it or not I get freaked out about things, too….” Kenmei looked up at him, her sorrowful expression pulling at his heart. Even though she looked so sad, he couldn’t help but find her beautiful in this moment. The way the moon made her pale skin glow was mesmerizing to him, and he felt as if he could look at her forever.

“You don’t have to be scared to tell me.” She spoke softly, and Judar could feel his breathing and heartbeat begin to increase. The feeling of her body against his was intoxicating and watching her lips move as she spoke made his mind swim. “I’m not scared, I just…” He knew he had to stop this, had to end all of this once and for all. He couldn’t tell her. He just could not let any of this continue. He was at this school for a reason, and he knew that when the time came, he would have to hurt her. He knew that it would be easier to that now rather than later, as a rejection would surly end her feelings for him.

“Listen-“ His words caught in his throat as he tried, his mind becoming foggy with his cravings for her. She was so soft in his grip and she smelled so sweet, all thoughts of declining her affections pushed to the back of his mind. He knew that it was all more than just physical attraction at this point. He wanted to be with her, to be the one that made her happy for as long as he could. He knew that it would not last forever, but he thought that if he could make the best of it while he could, then it would be worth it. Maybe she would stick with him when the time came that he had to act, but he knew she wouldn’t if he didn’t make a move to grow closer to her.

He sighed, leaning his forehead on hers gently, though he kept his gaze locked with hers. “Mei…. You’re distracting me. I can’t think.” Kenmei tightened her grip on him a bit, trying to restrain herself form acting on impulse. “How am I doing that?” Judar swallowed the lump in his throat, the butterflies in his stomach threatening to burst. “Just by being yourself.” She smiled at him sweetly, moving one of her hands to rest against the side of his neck. “Here, let me help you.” She pushed herself up onto the balls of her feet, catching his lips with her own without giving him much time to process what she had said.

Judar was shocked at first, his surprise nearly causing him to pull away. Instead, he pulled her even closer to him, retuning the kiss with more intense passion, unable to control himself. Kenmei did not try to resist, matching his intensity level easily. Judar could feel his entire body beginning to burn, his excitement spiking. She felt and tasted exactly as he had always imagined, especially as their tongues met. He was shocked that she was showing little to no constraint, and he assumed that she had been holding this back for a long time.

Kenmei could feel her entire body bubbling with excitement. She had wanted this forever, for him to touch her and kiss her like this, and she let her excitement control her actions. Her body began to move as if it were controlled by another being, starting to move backwards, forcing him to follow if he did not want to lose her lips. Kenmei stopped once her back was pressed up against the stone wall, keeping her arms wrapped tightly around him. Her height making it difficult for Judar to kiss her comfortably like this, he took a moment to pick her up, bringing her head up to his height.

The feeling of her legs wrapping around his waist and the soft gasp she let slip through the kiss as he lifted her pushed him past the edge of any rational thought. He knew that if there was no interruption, either from her or an outside force, he would be making love to her tonight. Judar could care less about any consequences. If she was willing, then Judar would follow through, and he could tell by the way she pressed herself against him that she was very much willing.

Kenmei, in fact, could hardly contain herself. Every inch of her body was aching for him, and she could feel her underwear starting to become soaked. Her body was on fire and she knew that she would not be able to resist any further advances he may make. Though she wanted him, she couldn’t help but to think of the negative. What if he thought badly of her after this? What if he was done with her after they had sex like this? What would everyone else think about them? Would she be labeled a slut? Her mind continued to race like this, and as she felt Judar’s hand begin to slide up her bare thigh and under her skirt, her panic caused her to end the kiss.

Though heavy panting as she tried to catch her breath, she lied her forehead on his gently, tightening her grip on him. “Judar-“

“Kenmei! I forgot my phone!”

A loud slam of the front door caused the couple to seize in shock, though Judar clutched Kenmei closer to him rather than putting her down. Kenmei brought a hand up to cover her mouth, trying to process what was happening. It had been Nanami that had come into the living room so loudly, and Kenmei could hear her heels clacking through the room. There was silence for a moment as Nanami went into her own bedroom, but she spoke again as she came back out. “Mei?”

Kenmei kept herself silent, hoping Nanami would just end up leaving. She felt bad for not responding for her, but she knew that she could not let Nanami see her and Judar like this. Listening closely, she heard Nanami knock a few times on a door, and Kenmei assumed it was hers. When there was no answer, Nanami sighed, starting to walk again. “I guess she’s asleep… Poor thing…” Soon enough, the loud sound of the front door shutting reached their ears, and the two exchanged looks.

Within the same moment, they both began to laugh, Kenmei leaning forward and hiding her face in his neck. “Oh my god, that was scary!” Judar lied his head on hers, giving a long sigh as his laughter subsided. “It kind of sucks. Damn it, Squeaker.” Having it still placed firmly on the outside of her thigh, he ran his hand upwards along her skin a bit. “Totally killed the mood.” He brought is hand back around from under her skirt, sliding along the underside of her leg. Her skin felt like silk, and he wanted nothing more in that moment than to feel her entire body.

Nibbling on her lip a bit, Kenmei leaned back up off him until her eyes caught his. “Uhm… It’s kind of cold, right? Want to… go inside?” With a small nod, Judar gently began to lower her down, supporting her as she landed back on her feet. “I honestly didn’t even notice how cold it was.” Kenmei smiled, letting her hands slide lightly down his torso as she released her grip on him, before starting to head inside. “I’m surprised, you’re pretty much naked.”

Judar huffed as he followed her, feeling as if his face were on fire from her touch. “Uh, no, I have pants on.” Kenmei smoothed out her skirt a bit as she headed towards her bedroom door. She pushed the door open once she reached it, starting to head inside. “That’s still pretty much naked.” She took a glance back, noticing that he had stopped walking a few steps back. A small frown crossed her features, becoming confused. “Aren’t you coming?” She watched as Judar’s face darkened and he glanced around, shoving his hands into his sweat pant pockets in an attempt to hide his embarrassment. “If you want me to.” Kenmei rolled her eyes a bit, walking over to him and grabbing him by the arm, gently pulling him towards her room. “Oh, come on, stop being so bashful. It’s not like you at all.”

Grumbling a bit as he followed her, he shut the door behind him with his foot as he entered the room. “I’m not being bashful!” Kenmei giggled, releasing her grip on him as she walked a bit further into the room, towards her wardrobe. “You are! I expected you to snatch me up and take me in here yourself.” She opened the door to the wardrobe, stepping behind it so that Judar could no longer see her. Judar flopped himself down into the large, puffy blue chair she had up against the wall, a bit bummed she had moved out of his sight.

“Well, I expected you to be in a stunned state of embarrassment and pass out, completely comatose. Yet, you’re surprisingly lively.” He reached up and scratched his scalp under his beanie, snickering as she poked her head out from behind the door of the wardrobe, her hair no longer up in the bun she had it in before. She glared at him playfully, a bit of a pout on her face. “Don’t asses me like I’m some sort of science experiment or something.” She vanished again, and Judar could hear the shuffling of clothes.

“I’m not! I’m just saying, that’s what I expected of you.” He pulled his legs up into the chair to sit cross-legged, giving a yawn. “What are you doing, anyway?” Kenmei was silent for a moment before she stepped out from behind the wardrobe door, shutting it. “I was just… changing out of my day clothes.” Judar observed her for a moment, noticing that she had changed into a very large t-shit, which fell to her thighs. He could barely tell she was wearing shorts, and they were the little black ones he liked so much.  

He snickered, leaning his head back to rest against the chair. “Trying to hide something? That skirt was way sexier.” Kenmei’s face flushed red as she walked over to him, crossing her arms. “Whatever! This is just what I wear to sleep all the time.” Judar nodded, looking up at her as she reached him. “Yeah, those shirts and those off the shoulder crop tops. You’re a tease, even when you’re not trying to be.” Kenmei gently smacked his knee, starting to become embarrassed. “See, now you’re just picking on me. You were so sweet earlier.”

Judar shrugged. “Hey, this is the me you like, isn’t it?” He gripped onto her hand gently after she hit him, rubbing the back of her hand with his thumb. “It’s a compliment, anyway. I’m calling you sexy.” Kenmei looked down at their hands, her face flushing. “You’re not very good at compliments.” Judar shook his head, sly smile plastered on his face. “Nope. I try though, I guess that’s what matters.” He uncrossed his legs, placing his feet back on the cold stone floor as he looked up at her. He moved his hands to rest on her hips, noticing that her embarrassed expression fading into one of worry.

“Aw come on now, Freckles, we’re having a good time. What are you thinking about, now?” He ran his hands down her legs, stopping at her mid outer thigh. Kenmei crossed her arms again, giving a small sigh. “I’m just… I just want to make sure that this is the right thing.” Judar looked up at her in confusion, his eyebrow raised. “Huh? You’ve spent months crying over wanting me, now you can have me, but you think it’s wrong?” Kenmei quickly shook her head. “T-That’s not what I mean! I mean… I want you, to be with you.” She hung her head a bit, growing timid about the situation. “If you’d have me….”

With a sigh, Judar lied back in the chair again, reaching up to rub his cheek. “Eh, I’m not really sure, you’re kind of a shitty kisser.” As he looked back up at her, he couldn’t help but begin to laugh at the look of shock on her face, placing his hands on his stomach. “Oh my god, it’s a joke, Freckles!” He reached up and snatched her by the hands, forcing her to move forward and straddle him, though she had a pout on her face as she moved. “You’re so mean!” Judar placed his hands on her hips as he tried to calm his chuckles, shaking his head. “It’s a joke! You’re so sensitive today.”

Kenmei put both hands on his cheeks, squishing his face together. “Well it’s a sensitive subject! One which you should be more sensitive about!” Judar shook his head to rid his face of her hands, smirk returning. “Well, tell me this, would you be sitting on me like this if I didn’t want that?” Kenmei glanced around for a moment, crossing her arms again. “I suppose not….” Judar waddled a finger at her. “Would I have kissed you like that if I didn’t want that?” She lied her head back with a loud sigh. “Yeah, I get the point, but I need to hear an answer from you!”

Judar leaned forward, letting his hands slip up under her shirt as he put his arms around her. His hands rested on the bare skin of her back, pulling her body closer to him as his lips trailed kisses up her neck. Kenmei timidly put her arms around his shoulders, feeling her body tingle as goosebumps spread across her skin. “T-That's not an answer...” Judar stopped his kisses at her jawline, beginning to slowly run his hands up her back, her shirt going with them. “Do you want to be mine?” He spoke softly, letting his lips brush against her neck.

Unable to help her body from trembling, Kenmei leaned her head on his, positive that even he could feel how heavily her heart was beating. The words caught in her throat, she could only nod, shutting her eyes tightly from embarrassment. Her breathing began to increase as his hands reached her shoulder blades, and she could feel her t-shirt pulling up against the weight of her breasts. The sensation of them nearly falling out of her top felt so erotic to her, especially with his slow and teasing movements. Unable to stand the tingle in her body, she wiggled in her spot a bit, causing Judar to chuckle.

“Well, someone's growing impatient.” Judar removed his hands from her shirt, allowing it to fall back into place as he leaned back in the chair again. Kenmei could only look down at him, a bit surprised at how heavily she was breathing, and he hadn't even touched her in a sexual manner yet. Judar reached up, running his fingers through her hair gently. “If you want to be mine, Mei, then you are.” He let his hand rest on her cheek, able to feel the heat radiating from her skin. Kenmei swallowed heavily, giving another small nod as her body calmed a bit. She ran one of her hands gently down his stomach, letting her fingers trace the form of his toned torso. “I have a question for you, too.”

Judar gave a small nod, looking up at her. “What's up?”

“Will you take your beanie off for me?”

Chapter Text

Judar only stared up at for her a moment, confusion apparent on his face. “Huh? Take my beanie off?” Timidly, Judar reached up and gripped the beanie with both hands, becoming obviously anxious about it. Kenmei nodded, still running her fingers along his skin. “Please? I've only seen it off a few times... during battles or when you're scurrying around after a bath. I really want to see them.” Judar huffed a bit, his cheeks flushing a light pink. “Fine... but if you say they're cute even once, it's going back on forever.”

Kenmei giggled, shaking her head. “I promise I won't call them cute. Now take it off.” She bounced a bit in her spot and Judar snickered, a smirk crossing his face. “Woah, now. Be careful where you're bouncing.” Kenmei glanced down, feeling her entire body grow hot when she noticed she was sitting square on his crotch. “O-oh, sorry!” Judar shook his head, beginning to take the beanie off. “Hey, I'm not complaining.”

Looking back up as she noticed him remove the beanie, she finally gazed upon the ears that no one was ever allowed to see. She couldn't help but to smile, watching as they rotated and twitched a bit from his obvious nervousness. Slowly, she began to reach a hand out, wanting to touch them. “Can I?” With a grumble, Judar only nodded, crossing his arms over his chest. “You'll be the only person to- whoa, fuck!” Judar tensed up as she gently gripped onto his ears, feeling his body tingle violently. A completely different and weird sense of pleasure shot through his body, every stroke of her thumbs against the inside of his ears sending a new wave.

“Stop, stop, stop!” Judar reached up and grabbed her hands, pulling them away. “You went straight for the soft spot, there, Freckles!” Kenmei giggled, though she was a bit surprised at how he had reacted, wiggling her fingers within his hands to try and get free. “Oh come on, let me touch them again! I promise I won’t rub the inside.” Judar glowered at her for a moment before he released her hands, allowing her to do so. She gently stroked the outside before her hands reached the base, massaging his scalp around the ears. Her eyes moved to his face as he gave a soft groan, obviously loving the feeling.

Kenmei smiled as she continued. “Is it sore around there?” Judar nodded a bit as she sat up, putting his arms around her again as he hid his face into her chest. “It's always sore, because I keep them flat to fit in the beanie.” Kenmei had to sit up on her knees a bit for him to be in the position that he wanted, but she continued to gently rub his scalp, using her fingernails in some places. Judar only continued to melt further into her, groaning lightly. “Damn it, that's fucking amazing...” Kenmei soon stopped, putting one arm around his shoulders while she stroked his hair. “You shouldn't wear your beanie so much if that hurts your ears... You could cause damage to them that way.”

Judar sighed, a bit sad that she stopped. Still, he kept his face in her chest, breathing in her scent. “I can't go without something to hide them. People underestimate and judge me, just because of them.” Kenmei gave a small frown. “That's not true... Judar, everyone in this school already knows you're a Cat Creature and they know how powerful you are. I doubt anyone will say anything.” After a moment of silence, Judar lifted himself from her chest, allowing her to sit back down onto his lap. “I don't know, Mei. I'm not sure I can get used to it. I'm panicking just being in front of you.”

With a small shake of her head, Kenmei put both of her arms around his shoulders again. “It's okay. But I believe you can do it and I can help you whenever you're ready.” Judar gave a small chuckle. “How did this turn into a pep talk for my ear anxiety?” Kenmei gave a small shrug, leaning her forehead on his gently. “Let's talk about that later....” Judar kept his eyes locked with hers as he began to stroke her back again, at first over her shirt, until he let one of his hands slip under to feel her skin. It was like silk under his fingers and he already found himself craving to touch it. “You have seriously soft skin.”

Kenmei smiled, placing one of her hands on his cheek gently. “Thank you.... I'm glad you think so.” Judar kissed her lips gently before he started to make his way down, tracing her jaw line before reaching her neck. “You know...” He spoke between kisses. “I have a theory about you.” Kenmei closed her eyes, putting her arm back around his shoulder. “What's that?” She could feel her heart beat faster with each set of kisses, her stomach bubbling with nerves. Judar stopped at a certain spot on her neck, and Kenmei could feel him smirk against her skin.

“I think you're secretly kind of a freaky girl.” Judar let his hands run down her back forcing her to sit up a bit as he moved them down and across her backside. He squeezed the curves of her body lightly and she began to tremble, the thought that he was so close to her sex was driving her crazy, and she could feel it aching for his touch. Judar began to nibble lightly on her skin, pulling her attention away from his hands. “Huh?” He spoke softly, moving his nibbles along her skin, even as she began to wiggle a bit. “Are you?”

Gripping onto his shoulders tightly, Kenmei finally opened her eyes, trying to control her breathing. “I... I don't know what you mean by freaky.” Judar snickered, pulling her closer to him. “Let's see.” He picked a spot on her neck and bit down onto her skin, causing her to immediately moan out in pleasure. Her body trembled and twitched against his grip, even as he released his hold on her skin. He began to laugh, leaning back a bit to be able to see her face. Her expression had begun to cloud over with lust, and he could tell all his teasing had started to really get to her. “Wow, you seriously are kind of freaky. I bit you kind of hard.”

He looked at the mark he had left on her skin, a small smirk crossing his face. Kenmei rested her trembling body more into his, beginning to feel weak. “I... I think it's my healing properties.... Pain just doesn't register to me as much, so I guess I feel more pleasure. I don't really know....” She gave a small gasp as Judar gripped her tightly, standing up from the chair with her in his arms. “So you feel pleasure from certain types of pain?” Judar tried to make sense of what she had said, stopping at the edge of the bed. Instead of setting her down gently, he tossed her down onto it, his smirk growing as he watched her body bounce with the impact.

Instinctively out of shyness, Kenmei brought her hands up to cover her breasts, even though she still had her shirt on. “I suppose.... Maybe that's why I hated doing it with Dyvar so much. He just... couldn't please me. He was so gentle....” Judar began to crawl over her, grabbing her arms by the wrists and pulling them away from her body, holding them at her sides. “Maybe that's why you like me so much. Because I'm a little rough around the edges.” He released her wrists, moving to grip the edge of her shirt. He pushed it up right to the curve of her breasts before he took the edge of her shorts in his hands, folding down the top a few times to reveal more of her stomach.

He shifted his body down, keeping himself between her legs. Starting right at the edge of her shorts, he began to kiss her skin gently, heading upwards. “Is that right?” Kenmei closed her eyes as she tried to relax herself, each kiss causing a jolt of tingles to fly up her spine. “One of the reasons... You're a rough person... I guess I do like that. The way you touch me, it's not like you're scared you might hurt me.” She arched her back slightly to his touch, loving the feeling of his hands sliding up her sides as his kisses continued moving up her stomach.

Judar chuckled. “So you like to be pushed around a little?” Kenmei felt her face flush hotter as his hands and kisses reached her ribs. He gripped the edge of her shirt, though didn't move it quite yet, waiting for her answer. Kenmei gave a small nod, moving her arms to rest above her head. “I... like the thought of being controlled.” She couldn't really understand why he was asking these questions or why she was so willing to answer them. Her mind felt as if it were becoming flooded with her cravings for him, and she was willing to say anything to get him to continue.

“I see.” Judar began to lift her shirt, but before he could reveal her breasts, Kenmei felt a bit of panic hit her and she brought her arms back down, covering herself again. She looked up at him in panic, though just seeing him at this point send her mind into a fuzzy haze. “W-wait, Judar-” “No waiting.” Judar gave a small nod down towards her breasts. “Lift it up.” Kenmei felt her face flush as she looked down towards her breasts, watching her chest move up and down with her heavy breathing.

Glancing from him and back down to her chest, she gripped the edge of the top and timidly began to lift it up, her breasts bouncing slightly as they were released from the grip of the shirt. A smirk crossed Judar's face as he gripped them in both hands, beginning to massage and squeeze them. Kenmei shut her eyes tightly again, fighting back any noises threatening to spill from her lips. Her efforts were thwarted, however, as Judar moved to pinch and roll her nipples between his fingers. Soft gasps and moans slipped from her lips as her body tensed up slightly, her sensitivity heightened by her built up cravings.

Judar's smirk grew as he continued to play with her breasts and nipples, loving to see her body jerk from each new wave of pleasure. “Another question.” Judar soon sat up on his knees, gripping onto her shorts. Kenmei looked up at him, curious as to his movements and his words. Forcing her to lift her hips up a bit, Judar began to pull her shorts off, tossing them away once removed. He felt his own excitement grow as he saw she was wearing no underwear under those shorts, and he could feel his member pressing tighter up against his pants.

“Did you ever fantasize about me?” He noticed that she was now trying to hide herself by keeping her legs shut tightly, so he gripped onto her knees. Kenmei felt her embarrassment starting to boil over as he used only slight force to get her legs open, reaching up to cover her face. “D-don't make me talk about that!” Judar snickered, finally getting her to open her legs up in a relaxed position. “Come on, tell me.” He placed his hand on her lower stomach, gently running it up before starting to move it down. Kenmei's breathing became heavier the closer his hand got, and she let out a gasp as she felt his thumb run across her clit.

“I-I can't answer-” Moans interrupted her words as Judar continued to roll his thumb across and around the sensitive button, causing her body to jerk and wiggle against him. Unable to help it any longer, Judar pulled his pants down and out of the way to release his member, beginning to stroke himself as he continued to play with her. “Answer me, Mei!” The hand he was touching her with had started to become wet with her juices, noticing that she was even soaking the sheets she rested on.

Kenmei soon moved her hands to grip the sheets at her sides, though she kept her eyes tightly shut as she tried to contain herself. “Y-Yes, I did!” She opened her legs more for him, her body begging for more of his touch. “I've wanted this forever.” She gave a small gasp as she felt a different sensation, looking down. Judar had gripped her by the back of the knees and bent her legs back a bit, beginning to rub his member against her. He smirked down at her, though Kenmei could see that the need for pleasure was starting to get to him. “I can tell, you're pretty fucking wet.”

Unable to help herself, as if mesmerized by his movements, Kenmei kept her eyes on the rolling movement of his hips, watching his cock as it slid back and forth across her sex. Every stroke against her clit sent waves of ecstasy through her core, causing her to lay her head back as she moaned softly. Craving more, she reached down, gently placing her hand over him with a slight pressure. This caused him to press harder into her, the feeling of her touch forcing a groan from him. Kenmei was a bit surprised at how hard he was, and she could feel him already pulsing against her grip. She was able to tell from feeling him that the length and girth of his manhood was quite average, but she wanted nothing more than to feel him inside of her.

As he pulled his hips back out, Kenmei put more pressure on him, forcing his member in a different direction. Instead of going up, there was no other direction but to go forward, the slick surface of her skin causing him to slide into her. She gave a gasp as she felt each inch enter her, her body tensing up slightly as she lied her head back further. It already felt as if he filled every inch of her, her body beginning to tremble lightly. As his hips met with hers, Judar couldn’t help but to release a pleasured groan, bending her legs back a bit further. The feeling of her walls squeezing and pulsing around him began to cover his mind in a fog, only instinctive thoughts pushing their way through.

He gave a small chuckle as her body wiggled, obviously begging him to move. “You’re seriously impatient today.” He moved his body a bit closer to her as he kept her legs bent back, causing her to moan out as he dug deeper into her. She gripped onto his arm with one of her hands while the other kept hold of the sheets, her nails digging into his skin slightly. “W-why are you taking so long?” She tilted her head back down to look up at him, and Judar couldn’t help but to smirk at her begging expression. “Maybe because I like to watch you squirm around.” He slowly began to pump his hips, moving himself within her. “Or maybe because I want you to beg for it.”

Kenmei lied her head back again, her breathing beginning to increase from the feeling of him moving within her. Still, she craved more, knowing that he was holding back to tease her. “Please, Judar-“ She was interrupted by a gasp as he dug himself deeper into her again before he began to pick up his pace. The sudden shock of pleasure caused moans to begin to escape her lips, the volume of her voice surprising her enough to reach up and cover her mouth. Though his rhythm was smooth, his movements were rough, being sure to reach every inch of her that he could with each thrust. He released her legs, allowing her to wrap her legs around his waist as he leaned forward, propping himself up with his arms on either side of her.

Noticing that she was keeping her mouth covered and restricting the sounds he longed to hear, he grabbed her hand and pulled it away from her face. He forced her arm up over her head, catching her eyes with his as she looked up at him in surprise. “Don't stay quiet.” He spoke with ragged breaths, beginning to pick up his pace a bit. “No one can hear you.” When she still did not respond as he wanted, he slid his free hand behind her head, gripping onto her hair at her scalp and pulling it just hard enough to make her head bend back. A loud moan slipped from her lips, her body reacting to the sudden spike in pleasure as her back arched up a bit.

Judar couldn't hold back his own gasps of pleasure as her depths tightened around him from the movement of her body, already able to feel his orgasm coming on quickly. He refused to finish before her, however, knowing that he had to get her to reach hers first. The thought that she would judge him in a negative way brought panic to build in the back of his mind, and he wanted to make sure that she was completely satisfied before him. She seemed to grow tighter and tighter around him the longer he moved, making it more difficult for him to hold off.

Needing to distract himself, he leaned in and began to kiss and bite at her neck, sinking his teeth into her skin any time he thought he felt himself getting too close. With her arms now wrapped around him as well, Kenmei moaned out loudly and dug her nails into his skin with each bite, loving the feeling. She adored the feeling of his body and how it molded so perfectly into hers. Her adoration for him spiked her pleasure higher than she had ever expected, almost never wanting it to end. Soon, she began to feel a pressure building deep within her core, the familiar tingle of an orgasm running through her body. It only became stronger with each thrust he took, her breathing becoming staggered as she gripped onto him tighter.

Judar could tell from the way her body began to stiffen and the sound of her voice that she was getting close, pulling himself away from her to sit back up. He gripped her legs behind the knee again, pushing them all the way back until her knees rested on either side of her head in a fluid motion, keeping up his pace with little need to pause. The shift in position caused him to dig deeper into her and her walls constricted him even more, nearly pushing him to the edge. He kept himself in check, however, as he increased his speed and roughness in his new position, watching her expression as her orgasm began to take over her.

Her body tensed up violently and began to give light jerks as the massive waves of pleasure flooded through her body, her moans escalating to a high point. Her body constricted him so tightly that Judar couldn't hold himself any longer, removing himself from her. He released one of her legs, using his free hand to stroke himself until he finished. He panted heavily as he was finally able to release, his cum spraying onto her lower stomach, watching as it dripped down into her still twitching cunt. Now becoming aware of the sweat coating his body and rolling down his face, he released her other leg, allowing it to fall flat against the bed.

Judar observed her body for a moment, watching as her breasts moved up and down with her heavy panting and her body continued to quiver. He placed one of his hands on her side, slowly moving it up her body as he crawled back over her, resting his sweaty and sticky body onto hers. He kept himself propped up with his arms on either side of her head, unable to help but chuckle at her expression. “Are you okay?” He pushed her hair away from her face, releasing the sticky grip her sweat soaked skin had on it.

Kenmei finally looked up at him, wrapping her arms around him gently. She shook her head slightly, her nose brushing against his. “I feel numb.” Judar snickered, a grin stretching across his face. “Good, that's what I was aiming for.” Kenmei ran her fingers though his hair gently, careful of his ears, and Judar could see the pure adoration in her eyes. She felt so soft against him, and the look on her face filled his stomach with butterflies. He couldn't believe that he actually felt so much for someone, and he wondered for a moment if it was okay to feel like this.

But, as she pulled him down into a sweet kiss, all doubts vanished. Kissing her and laying with her like this felt so right to him, and he already couldn't imagine it being any different. Once the kiss released, Judar sat up, gently pulling himself from her grip as he sat down between her legs. He snickered a bit at how soaked the sheets were between her legs, pointing to a spot that was quite a few inches away. “Damn, do you squirt or something?” Kenmei covered her face as she grew embarrassed, closing her legs up. “S-shut up, I don't know!” She forced herself to sit up onto her knees, her body still shaking as her t-shit fell back into place over her body.

She glowered at him for a moment before her eyes fell to his hips, noticing that his member was still nearly completely erect. With a slight smirk, she reached over, placing her finger right on the tip of his penis, making him lean back a bit in surprise. “Hey, what are you doing?” A sly smile stretched across Kenmei's face, running her finger up and down his still throbbing shaft. She knew that by the end of the night, she was going to be completely warn out, but seeing him still so erect brought forth new urges that she didn't want to keep hidden.

“Looks like someone still wants to play.”

“You are a freaky girl, Mei!!”

Chapter Text

Kenmei suddenly woke, as if something had startled her out of her sleep. Sitting up in a panic, she placed her hand over her chest, feeling her heart beat as she tried to catch her breath. Her mind was in a fuzzy haze, unaware of what had woken her so violently. She couldn’t recall if she had a nightmare, or if there had been something that made a sound. Either way, the room was quiet, and the morning sunrays gleamed through the small sliver between her curtains. Calming herself down, she flopped back into her bed, head landing on her fluffy pillow.

Closing her eyes, she tried to pull her mind out of the cloud of sleep that still clung to her. She had trouble remembering what had happened the night before, but she became aware of how her body felt. She felt a bit sticky, as if she were in desperate need of a shower and she could feel the pull of tangles in her hair. With her eyes still closed, she stretched, giving a satisfied groan from the feeling. Her body and muscles felt a bit sore, and she knew that a hot bath would be on her schedule for the day.

Rubbing her face, she rolled over onto her side, suddenly noticing a the draft on her backside. She reached down and ran her hand across her skin, feeling a bit of panic when she noticed she didn’t have any shorts on. Then, she realized that she was completely nude, causing her to once again panic and pull her blankets over herself. She glanced around her room nervously, since she was facing towards it, wondering what was going on. She still could not pull any memory of the night before to the front of her mind, though she could see clothes on the floor.

Curious, she wiggled herself a bit closer to the edge of the bed to look down at them. Scattered across the floor were a few simple items of clothing, including one of her t-shirts and shorts. Along with them was a pair of black sweat pants and a beanie-

Wait, a beanie?

Bits and pieces of the night before finally started to come to her, completely pulling her mind out of sleep. She could feel her entire body starting to flush hot with embarrassment and her heartbeat quicken, slowly turning her head to the side to look behind her. She nearly jumped out of her skin when she saw black fluffy ears poking out from under the blanket, covering her mouth to keep herself from screaming. Everything she remember had actually happened? She hadn’t just dreamed it in her depressive state?

Swallowing the lump in her throat, she slowly turned her body over to face the lump under the covers, watching as one of the ears twitched and rotated a bit from her movement. Still, she could hear the light sound of snoring coming from beneath the blanket, and she could tell that he was still deep in sleep. Wondering if this was still a part of a dream, she carefully scooted herself closer, lifting up the blanket a bit to look under it.

She found herself unable to do so, however, as Judar had completely cocooned himself in the covers, only the top of his head visible. Kenmei assumed that’s how she had been left with little to no covers herself, as he had stolen more than half of it for himself. She moved her body right up next to his, noticing from the direction of his ears that he was facing her. Carefully, she gripped the edge of the blanket, pulling it down a bit to try and see his face. Thankfully, the blanket was not too snug against him, and she was able to reveal his entire face.

Kenmei felt her stomach flutter violently as she gazed upon his sleeping face, only able to observe how peaceful he looked. He was still snoring lightly, though he seemed to become disturbed by his face being uncovered. His features crinkled as he gave a bit of a grunt, turning his head to try and snuggle himself back into the blankets. Kenmei could only smile, gently releasing the covers back into place. She didn’t want to wake him yet, as she knew he wanted to sleep in late.

Still, her memories from the night before brought the urge to cuddle with him forward, and she wished that he wasn’t so wrapped up in the blankets. Instead, she kept her body close to the lump, leaning her head on top of his as she grew comfortable again. His ears twitched lightly at her touch, and he gave another groan, starting to wiggle a bit in his self-made prison. Suddenly, he began to unroll himself, and Kenmei scooted back away a bit. She thought she had woken him, but concluded that was not the case as his body flopped over onto his back once free.

She lied still in her spot until she heard the soft snores returning, making sure that he was asleep. He still had the blanket covering him from head to toe, his ears and top of his head the only thing protruding. Curious, Kenmei carefully began to lift the covers again, peeking down at him. She felt her face flush as she gazed upon his nude form, unable to help herself from staring for a moment. Although the way his torso looked was nothing new to her, the fact that he was naked in her bed made it seem like she was looking at him for the first time.

Her eyes quickly shot up to his face as he moved again, watching him as he stretched his body. She could hear cracking from some of his joints behind the loud yawn he let loose before he reached up to rub his face. Judar groaned in annoyance, rolling over on his side to face her. Panicking that he might open his eyes and notice her staring, she closed her eyes and pretended to sleep. She wasn’t really sure why she acted like that or why it would be bad if he saw her. In truth, she didn’t know how to act. If she recalled correctly from the night before, they had become a couple, and she felt scared.

Before her mind could wonder too far, she heard him softly call her name, though it was groggy with sleep. She did not move, wanting to see how he reacted if she stayed laying like this. After a moment, she felt him shifting closer to her and her heart began to pound heavily. She didn’t get much time to wonder what he was doing, however, as she felt his arms wrap around her and pull her body to him. Kenmei shifted her body slightly to be more comfortable against him, doing her best to keep up her façade.

Judar grumbled a bit as he hid his face in her hair, speaking her name again softly. Feeling bad for ignoring him and pretending to be asleep, she opened her eyes, gazing upon his collarbone. “Yes?” She spoke quietly, moving to put her arms around him. Judar squeezed her closer to him, and for a split second, Kenmei thought she heart an odd noise. She tilted her head up to look at him, causing him to move his head back a bit. A smile crossed her face at the look of exhaustion on his face, trying to hold back any giggles. “What’s up, sleepy?”

“Why are we awake already?” His words were almost slurred from his mind still being in a fog. “I wanted to sleep in.” Kenmei gave a small shrug. “I’m always up early… I was going to let you sleep, but you woke up yourself.” Judar shoved his face into her hair again. “I was cold!” Kenmei ran hand across his back a few times, able to feel the goosebumps. “Aw… I can tell.” Without any hesitation, Judar grabbed the edge of the blanket, tucking it into their bodies. Before Kenmei could protest, he rolled them both up into the blankets in the cocoon he had before, forcing their bodies snug against each other.

Kenmei tried to wiggle into a comfortable position, looking up at his face again. “You like to be like this, huh?” Judar only grunted in response, already drifting back off to sleep. With a bit of a pout, Kenmei reached her hand up and gently stroked his hair, wishing he would have stayed awake. “Poor sleepy thing.” She gently began to massage around his left ear, since it was not pressed against a pillow. Judar’s head turned away from her hand slightly, as if he was unconsciously giving her more access to his ear.

Not thinking much of it besides knowing it felt good to him, Kenmei continued her gently rubbing and scratching around the base of his ear. Suddenly, though, she thought she heard an odd sound, the same one that she heard a few minutes ago. She stopped her attention to his scalp, listening closely. It was very faint, but as she moved her face a bit closer to his, the sound became apparent. Unable to help a loud gasp in shock, Kenmei quickly brought her hand down to cover her mouth.

Judar grumbled in irritation from her waking him, opening his eyes to see her staring up at him in amazement. He sighed, closing his eyes again and turning his head into the blanket. “What are you looking at me like that for… I was asleep…” Kenmei could feel her face flushing, wondering if he even wanted her to know about this. “Judar… You, uh….” She removed her hand from over her mouth. “You just did something that I don’t think you wanted me to know about yet….”

“Will you just say-“

“You purr.”

It took a moment, but Judar’s eyes opened sluggishly, staring down at her. Kenmei watched as his expression changed to shock as realization hit him. His face flushed the darkest Kenmei had ever seen it as he pulled her closer, hiding his face in her neck, as he had nowhere else to hide. “N-No I don’t!” Kenmei tried to contain her giggles, knowing it bothered him. “You do, Judar, I heard it!” Judar shook his head, refusing to admit it. “Shut up, that was snoring!” Kenmei stroked his hair gently to try and calm him. “Don’t be so upset, it’s alright!”

“No, it’s not alright! No one is supposed to know that!” His voice cracked in his embarrassment, and Kenmei couldn’t help but feel bad for upsetting him. “I’m sorry, I guess I shouldn’t have told you I heard it….” After a moment of calming down, Judar removed his face from her neck, though it was still just as red as before. “I… I haven’t done that around anyone since I was a kid. No one knows I do that. Not even Hakuryuu.” Kenmei placed her hand on his cheek gently, stroking it with her thumb. “I won’t tell anyone. I promise.” Judar shook his head, only becoming more frustrated. “No, it doesn’t matter! I can’t control it, I’m just never happy enough to do it. And now that we’re like this, if you make my happy in public, I might not be able to hide it.”

Kenmei’s frown grew, noticing that he was really panicking about this. “Hey, hey… You have a lot of anxiety about how people portray you. I’m sure all Cat Creatures do it. Just like all of them have better eyesight and hearing. It’s just a part of being one.” Judar finally looked at her in the eye, knowing she was right. “It’s just embarrassing.” Kenmei put on a comforting smile, letting her hand rest on his cheek. “Well, I like it.” She leaned up and kissed him gently, and Judar reacted by tightening his grip on her as he returned the favor.

His touch and the way he kissed her put Kenmei’s mind at ease. She had been terrified that he had only said those things so he could get her to sleep with him, but now she could tell that he was genuine. It had been nothing but a fight to get to this point, and now that she finally had him, she refused to let anything get in the way of it. She began to giggle, though, as she heard him purr again, having to release the kiss as she laughed. “Are you going to do that every time we kiss?” Judar’s face flushed bright red again, glaring at her with a pout.

“No! I’m just happy right now, don’t make fun of me!”

Kenmei yawned as she stretched, pushing her wet hair out of her face. She had just returned to her room from taking a much-needed bath, her body and mind refreshed. Although the two had tried to sleep in, they ended up getting out of bed quickly, both of them feeling a serious need to clean their bodies. It was a bit difficult for Kenmei to part ways with Judar at the time, but she didn’t have to wait long for him to return, barging into her room without knocking as she tried to get dressed.

“Hey!” He walked inside, already dressed in his normal day clothes, including the beanie. Kenmei nearly jumped out of her skin, getting stuck in the shirt she was in the middle of pulling on. “J-Judar! Don’t do that!” She wiggled as she tried to fix herself, struggling as Judar laughed. He walked over, smirk stretching across his face. “What happened, how’d you get stuck?” He ran his fingers along her back, causing her to jerk away from his movements as his touch tickled her. Still she couldn’t pull her shirt down. “Stop, don’t tickle me! Help me fix my shirt, please!”

Judar only snickered, gripping onto the edge of the shirt and helping her pull it down. “There! You’re such a klutz.” Kenmei pouted as she adjusted the shirt, looking up at him. “Why did you come barging in here, anyway?” Judar huffed, putting his arms around her from behind gently. “Why can’t I?” Kenmei felt her face flush, unable to be annoyed with him for long. “You could have knocked, at least. You did scare me.” She reached up to put her arm around his neck as he leaned in, resting his head on her shoulder.

Beginning to sway them side to side slightly, Judar gave a large yawn. “You always smell good.” Kenmei smiled, leaning her head on his. She was able to feel his ears twitching about under his beanie. “Thank you. Can I put on my pants really quick?” Judar chuckled, beginning to kiss along the exposed skin of her neck and shoulder lightly. His hands moved to rest on her hips, keeping her body close to his. “Nope.” Kenmei’s heart began to pound, still not used to him touching or kissing her like this. “Why not?”

“Because.” He nibbled at her skin lightly as his one of his hands began to travel up her stomach, bringing the shirt with it. “You look better without them on.” Kenmei closed her eyes, her body already on fire. “Could have done something about that before we bathed.” Chuckling softly, Judar reached up and gripped her chin, turning her face towards him. He brought her into a kiss, his hand moving back down to her stomach once their lips locked. As his hand moved down her stomach, tracing her skin under the lip of her underwear, Kenmei knew she wasn’t going to be able to resist him if he continued like this.

“Mei!!”

The screech from the bedroom door caused the couple to jump in unison, bumping their heads together as the flinched away from the sound. Kenmei gave a yelp from the pain pounding through her forehead, looking over towards the door to see who had screamed at them. A gasp escaped from her throat as she covered her mouth, seeing Nanami gaping at them from across the room, eyes wide in shock. Nanami pointed at them, her shrill voice filling the small room and enhancing the intensity of her voice. “What are you two doing?!”

Panicking, Kenmei attempted to pull her shirt down far enough to cover her underwear but was unsuccessful. “N-Nothing!” Judar glared at Nanami as he rubbed the sore spot on his forehead. “What the fuck are you doing? The door was closed for a reason!” Nanami pointed at the door. “It wasn’t closed, you jerk! Don’t get mad at me because you don’t know how to close a door! Now tell me what you were doing to her!” Her arm swung around to point at Kenmei instead, who was blushing heavily as she tired to hide herself.

“Nothing she didn’t want.” Judar spat at her, crossing his arms. “Get out of here, Squeaker, it’s none of your business.” Nanami placed her hands on her hips, trying to act tough. “She’s my best friend, it is my business!” Kenmei stood between the two of them. “Hey, calm down! Stop yelling at each other!” Judar huffed as he fell quiet, though the look on his face showed that he clearly wasn’t done talking. Nanami’s posture turned to a timid one as she rubbed her arm, a bit of a pout on her face. “Sorry, Mei… I guess I was just surprised to see you two sucking face like that.” Kenmei could feel her face flush hotter at the term she used for kissing, shaking her head as she crossed her arms over her chest.

“Really, Nanami, it’s fine.” She glanced towards Judar before back to the floor, staring at her feet as she wiggled her toes a bit. “He wasn’t doing anything bad…. We, uhm…” She pointed back and forth from herself to Judar a few times, not sure how to say it out-loud. Nanami watched her, glancing back and forth between the two as Kenmei’s hand moved. She suddenly gasped again, covering her mouth as Judar winced from her high-pitched squeal. “No! Really?!” She bounced over and snatched onto Kenmei, hugging her tightly. “Oh my goodness, you did it!”

Kenmei hugged her back timidly, looking up at Judar as he started down at them with an annoyed expression. She looked back down at Nanami, overwhelmed with embarrassment. “Y-yeah…” Nanami soon released her grip, grinning up at Kenmei as she held onto her arms. “See, I told you he liked you, he’s just a bit fat weenie about it.” Judar reached over, flicking the top of her head. “Hey! I’m right here!” Nanami smacked his hand away, turning to glare up at him. “You put her through a lot of grief because you were too scared to say anything! You had better treat her right, I mean it!”

Judar grabbed Nanami by the shoulders and started to push her out of the room, irritated with her presence. “I plan on it, squeaker! Now get out before I seriously get pissed off!” Nanami wiggled away from his grip, glaring at him as she made her way to the door. “Fine! You two had better behave, though!” She shut the door behind her as she left and Judar let out a long sigh, looking back over towards Kenmei. Her entire figure was just radiating embarrassment as she stared at the floor, her face so red Judar thought she might explode.

He walked over, gently pulling her to him. “Come here, don’t look so gloomy.” Kenmei burred her face into his chest as she hugged him. “I can’t believe she saw us like that.” Judar gave a small huff, placing on hand on the back of her head. “It’s alright, Freckles. She had to find out somehow, right?” Kenmei shook her head a bit, feeling sick to her stomach. “But she saw us making out like that, that’s so embarrassing!” Judar snickered, causing Kenmei to look up at him in irritation. “What are you laughing at?”

“It’s called sucking face, Mei. Get it right.”

Chapter Text

How have you been? It’s nice to hear from you.

“You kind of threatened me last time if I didn’t keep in touch. It’s not like I want to.”

So obedient. I expect good news, then?

“No… I mean, I can’t really do much right now. I got written up, though.”

How naughty. For what?

“Nothing, it’s not important. I just have to be careful. If I get in trouble again, I’m out.”

Well, we can’t have that. Am I going to need to come in there after all?

“No, no. Hakuryuu and I can handle this. By the end of my third year, we’ll have it done.”

Hm. I’m having trouble believing that at this point. But, I will give you some more time, as I promised last time we talked. I need that relic, Judar, and so do you. If you want your family back.

“Fuck off with that shit. All of this is your fault in the first place.”

You should learn to be more respectful towards me, my dear. I control you. You’d best remember that.
“Whatever.”

End interference

Chapter Text

“Judar?”

With a small jerk, Judar was pulled out of his thoughts, looking down at the source of the timid voice that had called his name. Kenmei was looking up at him with concern from her place next to him at the lunch table. The sound of everyone around them talking filled his mind along with her voice, and he was a bit surprised at the noise. It had been as if he couldn’t hear any of them for a while, lost in his own mind. Now, the sound of everyone was nearly deafening to him, taking a moment to reach up and rub his face as he grew tense at the volume. “What?” It was only after he responded that he realized his tone, regret instantly building in his chest, having not meant to snap at her.

Kenmei shifted in her seat a bit, noticing that he was uncomfortable, both by his movements and the sound of his voice. The way he snapped at her didn’t upset her, feeling bad for interrupting his thoughts. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bother you. You just looked upset.” She spoke softly, not only to try and not bother him further, but to keep others out of their conversation. Judar let out a sigh as he looked down at her again, noticing her worry. He knew that she was going to try and pry information out of him, to find out why he was so bothered and what thoughts had been plaguing his mind.

But he couldn’t tell her anything. He had wanted to from that first night they spent together a few days ago, about how he was just going to end up hurting her. That was all that had been on his mind since then, and yet he couldn’t bring himself to say anything or break it off with her. All these same thoughts that had held him back in the first place were now haunting him, filling him with regret. He should never have allowed himself to go this far, and now he was stuck. Judar had grown to adore her already, and the longer their relationship lasted, the more he feared the future.

“Don’t worry about me, Freckles.” He reached up and ruffled her hair, causing her to cry out in protest as she reached up to grab his hand. “Judar, don’t! It took me forever to do my hair today!” Judar snickered, letting his arm fall to rest around her shoulders. “You’ll live.” Kenmei pouted as she tried to fix the damage he had caused, not noticing his expression turn quite somber once again. With a frustrated sigh, Judar stood, need to get away from the table for a moment to clear his head. Kenmei paused her work to look up at him, growing worried. “Judar, where are you going?”

Already walking away from the table, Judar gave a small wave before shoving his hands into his pockets. “I need some air. I’ll be back.” A frown crossed her lips as she watched him walk away, able to feel as if something was wrong. She sighed in defeat, turning back to her plate of food in front of her. He had been like this for a few days now, distant and quiet. She had begun to grow worried that he was having second thoughts about them, though she couldn’t confirm that as he refused to talk to her about it.

She began to eat quietly, trying to decide what she should do. Kenmei knew she needed to confront him about this, or things would start to fall apart. After all her work to try and win him over, she couldn’t let it decay like this. As she ate her fruits, she decided that she would go and find him after eating. Today was their last day on break before classes started again, and she didn’t want to spend it so distant from him.

Lost in her own thoughts, Kenmei failed to see Hakuryuu rise from the table and leave the group silently.

...

“Did she contact you again?”

Judar was once again pulled from his thoughts by a voice, coming to a stop and turning to see the source. A frown crossed his face as he saw Hakuryuu standing a little ways down the hall, not moving any closer. He immediately felt irritated at the subject, glaring at the floor as he turned his back to him again. “Of course she did. A few days ago.” Judar crossed his arms as he heard footsteps heading towards him.

“Why didn’t you tell me about it?” Hakuryuu’s voice was cold and frustrated, though Judar could understand why. Hakuryuu was roped into this mess with him, but not by choice, of course. They had been conned by the same woman, if one could call her that. She was more like a demon, one that delighted in destroying everything she could. Judar and Hakuryuu had been a part of that destruction since childhood, though they hadn’t known it until a few years earlier.

Such a tragedy, she had always told them both. Losing your family in such a horrific way. It really is just tragic.
Two young children, one with his entire family killed and left with no one.

The other, losing his brothers and father while becoming horrifically scarred in the fire.

Both filled with contempt and hatred for the one who did this to them.

Both taken under the wing of a powerful magician who made them stronger under the promise of revenge.

Only to find out that it was she who had done this to them. It was she that had taken their family away, scarred them and used them for her own personal gain.

Now, magically bonded to her with no hope of escape, they were forced to do her bidding. A Dark Witch was not able to pass through the school’s barrier, after all, and she needed two young creatures strong enough to make it inside. Whom better than a Cat and Dragon creature, both who are strong enough on their own without having to rely on their partners. It was a perfect plan for her, simple in fact. All she had to do was ruin their lives as children and lure them into her embrace. Such a motherly figure she was, so caring and understanding of their situation.

To one child she became the only adult in his life, to teach him and nourish him into the perfect pawn.

The other, his mother never present due to duties away from their village, began to rely on her as his friend did. Revenge ravaged his mind, and she had promised it to him, if he were to follow her.

It had truly hurt when she first told them. To one, it was like a knife through his chest, this person he had come to see as a mother had been the one to hurt him so. To the other, it was more of an epiphany, that he finally knew who had done it and now he could exact his revenge.

But she had planned for that, of course. Before she told them of her true intentions, she had bonded with both of them, claiming that it would give them even more power to do as they wish. Having bonded with her made it impossible for them to kill her, however, as any attempt to hurt someone you’re bonded with would only backfire back onto you.

I know you must be angry with me. She spoke, manic grin across her face. But this is for all of us! Now you are both powerful enough to infiltrate the Academy and take the relic I desire!

One young teenager couldn’t believe what she was saying, the smile that stretched across her face breaking his heart with each word. The other struggled against the magic that held him down, wanting to kill her right then, even if it would mean his own demise.

Please don’t look at me with such sadness, Judar. Hakuryuu. I have something for you, if you succeed. Kill the headmaster and bring me the relic successfully, and I will reward you handsomely.

“What could you give us!” The scarred one had screamed at her. “There’s nothing you could do!” The broken one could only stare up at her, his crimson eyes locked on her with a dead gaze. He almost couldn’t even hear her, his mind clouded by hundreds of thoughts and emotions. But, as he felt her cold hand caress his cheek, he was pulled back to reality, her words finally resonating in his mind.

Your families. I can give them back to you. All I need is that relic.

It couldn’t have been true, they had thought, but what could they really do? They had nothing else to hope for anymore, their revenge denied, and their souls lost to her control.

So, they agreed.

Years later and now polished to near perfect pawns, the scarred and broken child stood in the hallway of the academy, the tension growing between them. Judar turned to face him again, letting his arms fall to rest at his sides. “Because it didn’t matter if I told you or not. Nothing’s changed.” The glare that Hakuryuu was giving Judar was dark, but it didn’t affect him. He was not intimidated by his friend’s anger, though it did irritate him. “What are you looking at me like that for?”

“You’re keeping something from me.” Hakuryuu responded, his frustration obvious in his voice. “You’re like her little dog, you’ll do anything she says!” Judar couldn’t help but to chuckle at the comment, reaching up to rub the back of his head. “Yeah, no. It’s called playing along. I’ve told you already, there’s no way she’s going to follow through with her promises. You should already know that.” He brought his hand back down, placing it on his hip. “If we want what she promised then we are going to have to take it ourselves.”

Hakuryuu shook his head, taking a few more steps forward. “That’s not possible. We can’t kill her.” Judar nodded, taking a moment to glance around and make sure they were alone. “We can’t, but if the relic does it for us, it’s fine. It requires someone to die before it will work. Why do you think she wants us to kill Sinbad? Then his soul will already be attached to it so she can use it as she wants. If we use it to kill her, it won’t affect us.” Hakuryuu narrowed his eyes at his friend. “I don’t know if that’s true.” Judar sighed, becoming annoyed at having to explain everything like this. “You have to stab someone with it for it to work. But the relic is its own living thing. It doesn’t work on the same laws as our own magic or weapons.”

“How do you know that!? How could you even-“

“Because she told me to kill our partners with it, too.”

Hakuryuu could only stare at his friend in shock, completely bewildered at the fact that Judar could say that with a straight face. “What?” Judar kept his dead stare locked towards him. “Don’t you get it? She gave herself away, a way that we can kill her and get what we want. If we can kill our partners here with it, then we can kill her with it. It’s obvious!” Judar couldn’t help a grin from stretching across his face as he grew excited about the thought. Hakuryuu’s expression softened as he considered the thought, crossing his arms over his chest.

“You’re right.”

“Of course I’m right!” Judar boasted, his excitement becoming physically visible as sparks flashed around his hands. “Then we’ll have everything we want! She’ll be dead, and we’ll have the relic for ourselves.” A frown crossed Hakuryuu’s features, his rational thought starting push though. “It won’t work. We’ll be hunted down if we take down Sinbad. It won’t matter if we have it, we’d lose everything, anyway.” Judar waved his hand in the air dismissively.

“We can just bring him back, too.”

“So we’d kill another person to bring him back? I don’t think you’re understanding your own description of how it works. Someone’s soul must be in it for it to work. The person that it kills. If we are planning on killing her anyway, we have to think of a different want to do this.” Hakuryuu brought his hand up to his head as he tried to think of a better plan, becoming a bit frustrated.

Judar sighed. “Maybe we can talk the girls into helping us.”

“Help you with what, Judar?”

Both boys nearly jumping out of their skin, Judar quickly turning around to see who had called to him. Kenmei was heading towards him down the hall, a curious look on her face. Judar put a hand to his chest as he tried to calm his rapid breathing, feeling as if his heart were about to fly out of his chest. “Mei! You can’t just sneak up on someone like that!” Kenmei stopped when she reached him, giving a small frown. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to. I had just wanted to come check on you. You seemed upset.” She reached over and took his hand gently, causing his face to instantly flush red, taking a quick glance towards Hakuryuu as he fumbled over his words, still not used to affection in front of his friends.

“N-No, I’m fine, Mei, seriously.” He tilted his hand up into hers so that their fingers laced, taking another glance down the hall only to notice that Hakuryuu had gone. Kenmei continued to stare up at him, confused and curious. “Is everything okay? What were you talking about?” Judar kept his eyes on the wall at the end of the hallway, his mind becoming flooded with thoughts about their conversation. “Everything is fine, Mei.” He finally looked back down at her, a bit taken aback by the amount of concern that radiated from her expression.

Casting her eyes down towards the floor, Kenmei shuffled her feet nervously, her cheeks flushing a bit as she grew embarrassed. “Okay, if you say so. I’m just worried about you.” Judar gave a small frown, knowing she must have picked up on how shitty he had been feeling these past few days. He brought his free hand up and placed it on her cheek gently, tilting her head back up to look at him. “Hey, relax. There’s nothing to be worried about.” Kenmei avoided looking at him, having a difficult time controlling her emotions, unable to keep herself from assuming his change in mood was because of their relationship.

“It’s not me, is it? You’re not… regretting what we’ve done, right?” She placed her free hand over his, tilting her face more into his hand. Judar could feel the heat from her cheeks, knowing she was on the verge of crying. He hadn’t noticed that she had grown so concerned about him or that his emotions were bothering her so much. Along with his confusion, he couldn’t believe that she would assume something like that. Sure, it had only been a few days, but he had thought he was doing a good job of showing that he cared about her.

“What? Mei, are you serious? Why would you think that?” He couldn’t control the annoyed tone of his voice, though he instantly regretted it as she became even more timid, hiding her face more into his hand. “I-I don’t know! What else am I supposed to assume? You’ve been upset basically right after… so…” Able to feel her starting to tremble a bit in his grip, he pulled his hand away and instead put his arm around her, pulling her body to his. “That’s stupid. You let your emotions get the better of you. I would have told you if I had a problem, wouldn’t I?”

Kenmei hid her face into his chest, his embrace helping to quell the tears from falling down her face. “I suppose… I’ve just been so worried, you know. I wish you would tell me what’s wrong.” Judar released her hand and moved to put both arms around her. He didn’t know what to tell her or what to do. He couldn’t keep playing like nothing was wrong, she was too intuitive to get away with that. He had to come up with something, anything that would make her calm down and stop worrying so much. The more she worried, the more she would pry, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to stand much more of that.

“Look.” He gripped her shoulders and pushed her back a bit, squeezing them with gentle force as she looked up at him. “How about we make a deal.” Kenmei frowned, crossing her arms tightly. “A deal?” Judar nodded, glancing around a bit as he thought. “I do have something going on. But I can’t tell you yet. If you promise me to stop asking, I promise that I will tell you. Eventually.” Kenmei raised an eyebrow at him. “What type of deal is that? What if it’s something like you have a secret girlfriend or something?”

Judar couldn’t help but to let out a small chuckle, shaking her with gentle force. “No! That’s not it. It’s something with my-“ He paused, smile fading a bit as he felt a stab in his chest from speaking the words. “-My family. My family, okay? It’s a big deal. But I can’t tell anyone about it yet. It’s a huge secret.” Kenmei continued to stare up at him as she ran the story though her mind, trying to decide what to do. She wanted to believe him, and she knew that she had no reason to distrust him. As she felt him tighten his grip on her shoulders, obviously becoming impatient waiting for a reply, Kenmei let out a reluctant sigh.

With a small nod, Kenmei moved closer to him, placing her hands on his chest gently. “Okay, fine. Deal.” She let her arms slide up and around his shoulders, giving him a stern look. “But you also have to stop being all mopey. It’s driving me crazy.” Judar chuckled, letting his hands fall to rest at her sides. “Are you trying to be scary? It’s not working.” Kenmei pouted a bit, feeling her cheeks flush. “I’m not trying to be scary, I’m being serious!”

Judar squeezed her sides, causing her to instantly bust out in giggles and try to wiggle away from him. “Don’t, that tickles!” A sly grin crossed Judar’s face as he moved himself closer to her, watching as her eyes widened in realization of her mistake. “Shouldn’t have told me that.” Before he could tickle her again, Kenmei wiggled out of his grip and quickly backed away, before turning and quickly making her way down the hall. “No!” Snickering, Judar began to go after her, but stopped as he felt a sharp stab in the back of his head.

With a small wince, he reached up and rubbed the back of his skull. It felt as if someone were digging their finger around in his mind, probing about. He knew that she was trying to contact him again, trying to dig in his brain for information. Refusing to let her in, Judar took a moment to glance back down the hallway, wondering if she had done the same with Hakuryuu. Behind the pounding in his ears, he heard his name and he turned around, noticing Kenmei had stopped to wait for him.

Though she had a concerned look on her face, she smiled, waving in a motion that said for him to follow. “Come on. We need to go put coats on.” Judar narrowed his eyes at her, confused. “Huh? Why?” He started to head over, still rubbing the back of his head to try and alleviate the pain as the probing finally stopped. Kenmei’s smile grew as he approached, placing her hands on her hips. “You said you’d go with me to get tea! They close in a few hours, let’s go!”

The look of distaste that crossed Judar’s features would have surly put anyone off, but Kenmei held her ground, grabbing onto his hand again as he reached her. “Don’t look at me like that! You said you’d go.” His expression staying put, Judar glowered down at her. “The thought is actually making me nauseous.” Kenmei rolled her eyes, reaching up to pinch his nose between her fingers. “Shut up, we’re going this time.” With a nasally soft yelp in protest, Judar reached up and pulled her hand off of his face.

“Fine! That peach tea better be good!”

Chapter Text

Judar sighed, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his coat. “Why are we walking? Can’t we use a broom or something to get there?” The air around his head began to fog up from his breath as he spoke. Noticing this for the first time, he opened his mouth and breathed out some hot air, chuckling as it steamed up. Kenmei smiled up at him, finding it cute that he was so easily amused by the steam. “It’s more fun to walk, don’t you think?” She was walking beside him, hands also in her pockets, as she was feeling a bit timid about trying to hold his hand or anything.

With a shake of his head, Judar continued to blow more air to create the steam. “No, I like to fly. You know that.” He looked down at her, feeling his face flush as he grew embarrassed, realizing she had been watching him make steam from his breath. “W-what?” Kenmei’s smile only grew, pointing up at him. “You’re entertained by the steam, it’s cute!” Judar grabbed onto the hood of her coat and pulled it up over her head until it covered her eyes. “No I’m not! It’s not cute.” Kenmei giggled, grabbing onto his hand with both of hers, getting him to release his hold on the hood.

“Nothing to be embarrassed about! I like it, too.” She opened her mouth and blew out some hot air, smile returning as she watched the steam. Judar grumbled, twisting his palm to face hers until he was able to lace their fingers, their arms retuning to hang between them. “It’s embarrassing for you to watch me do it.” Kenmei felt her face flush a bit, the heat in her cheeks more prominent against the chill of the breeze around them. She moved to walk a bit closer to him, unable to help her own embarrassment. Since it had only been a few days since the night of the dance, and she was still having some trouble adjusting.

Kenmei could tell that Judar was as well. Anything intimate or gentle was obviously awkward for him, and if it wasn’t sexual, he didn’t really know what to do. Though she wished he knew how to be more comfortable, she expected this, and knew it was something they were going to have to work though. This moment was one breakthrough, at least, as this was the first time he held her hand in public. Sure, they were around strangers, but she could tell that the thought of being judged for them being together made him nervous.

In truth, it made Kenmei nervous as well. It was actually quite common for Witch and Creature partners to become romantically involved, but in a school setting, it could easily spell disaster at a social level. Her fear was made worse by the fact that she had just recently broken up with Dyvar, and she knew that rumors would spread, as he was a popular person and friends with a lot of people in the school. If he talked bad, it would spread like wildfire, and she knew it would make things harder on Judar and herself. All Kenmei could do, now, was hope that didn’t happen.

She was pulled from her thoughts as she was jolted to a stop, pulled backwards by Judar. “Hey Freckles, get out of your daydream and pay attention!” Kenmei gasped as the loud woooosh of a large group of people on brooms passed them by, a couple of them yelling incoherent insults towards her for almost walking out in front of them. Breathing heavily from shock as her heart raced, Kenmei placed her hand on her chest, looking up at Judar. “I-I’m sorry.” Judar glowered down at her, his expression a mix of annoyance and worry. “What were you even thinking about?”

“U-uhm…” Kenmei stuttered, still trying to compose herself. “It was nothing. I was just… Daydreaming about us, I guess.” Judar started down at her in confusion, starting to walk as the group of people around them did. “Us?” Kenmei followed, feeling her embarrassment grow at the way he was looking at her. “I-It’s nothing weird or anything!” Judar snickered, nudging her in the arm with his elbow, still holding her hand. “Been dreaming about the other night, huh?” Kenmei shook her head and a sly smile crossed Judar’s face at how red her cheeks became.

“No, no!” Kenmei protested, though kept her voice down, not wanting strangers to hear. “No, that’s not what I was thinking about. I was thinking about… uhm… Things that make me nervous, I guess?” She decided to be honest with him, not wanting to hide anything. Judar nodded, reaching up to scratch his scalp under his beanie. “Things that make you nervous, huh? Like what?” Kenmei looked down at their hands, noticing his grip had become a bit tighter. “Well… Like this.” She held their hands up a bit before letting them fall back down.

Judar raised an eyebrow at her. “Holding hands makes you nervous?” Kenmei shook her head. “No, no. But I can tell it makes you nervous.” Judar huffed, looking away from her as he felt called out. “Hey, I’m not used to this relationship stuff in pubic like you are, Mei.” Kenmei squeezed his hand gently. “I’m not saying it’s bad. I’m just saying, that’s what I was thinking about.” Judar kept his gaze away from her, obviously bothered at her mentioning his insecurities. “It’s only been a few days, I’ll get used to it.” Kenmei nudged him gently, smiling softly up at him as he looked down at her.

“I know you will. I have to get used to it, too.” Kenmei placed her free hand on her chest, leaning on him as she pretended to be sappy. “You’re just so adorable, I want to hug on you all the time.” Judar scoffed, playfully pushing her off him, glad she lightened the mood. “Whatever, you’re just a leech.” With a pout, Kenmei leaned on him again, bringing her other hand around to grip onto his arm gently. “I am not a leech. You’re the one that’s been following me around this whole time.”

“Uh, no.” Judar brought his free hand around and put it over her mouth. “It’s time to be quiet.” Kenmei shook her head to rid her face of his hand, narrowing her eyes at him as she gripped onto his arm tighter. “You can’t make me be quiet.” A sly smirk crossed Judar’s features as he looked down at her. “No? You don’t think so?” Instantly becoming nervous at the look on his face, Kenmei looked away from him, hiding half of her face into his coat. “Never mind.” Chuckling, Judar pulled his arm away from her and put it around her shoulders, pulling her body closer to his as they walked. “That’s what I thought.”

Kenmei felt her face flush from embarrassment, though she welcomed the warmth of his body, keeping herself close to him. His grip on her was strong and comforting, and Kenmei could feel as if she had always belonged with him like this. It was girlish and fairytale like thing for her to think, but she couldn’t help herself. She knew he would laugh at her if she said this, so she decided to keep it to herself. The last thing she wanted to do was scare him off now, after everything was going so well.

Her attention was pulled from him by a fragrant scent hitting her nose, bringing her eyes up from the sidewalk. “Oh, here it is!” She pointed up at a sign that hung from rusty metal that protruded from the wood walls of an old, disheveled looking building. Judar glowered at the rickety building, a look of disgust on his face. “Oh no, I’m going to get some sort of disease from being in there.” With a roll of her eyes, Kenmei pulled herself from his grip and grabbed onto his hand, nearly having to pull him inside. “It’s not gross!”

“I don’t even like tea that much!” Judar hissed through clinched teeth, feeling his skin crawl as he entered the building with her. Though, true to her word, the inside was not at all as disgusting as the outside. Though it was still an older, vintage feel to the large room, it was well kept with couches, tables and chairs all around for customers to lounge in. In fact, it was bustling with activity. This, along with the fragrant smell of whatever tea was in the air made Judar feel a bit more at ease. “Huh. It’s actually not nasty.”

With a roll of her eyes, Kenmei started to pull him over towards the counter. “Stop saying things like that, it’s so rude.” Judar followed her without resistance, glancing over the large menu they had on the wall behind the counter.
“Hey, first impressions are a big deal, you know.”

Soon enough, the couple had their respective teas and were sitting across from each other a small round table. The chairs and table were taller than normal, and Kenmei kicked her legs a bit as they dangled about a foot off the ground. Kenmei smiled at Judar as she watched him drink his chilled peach tea, feeling a bit smug about the fact that he was enjoying it.

“See, I told you that you’d like it.” She nudged his leg with her foot gently, smile growing as he glanced up at her, face pink. Judar narrowed his eyes at her as he finished his current sip, placing the tea back down on the table. “Shut up, stop being so cocky.” Kenmei sighed, rolling her eyes a bit at his attitude. “Can’t you just admit that I was right?” Grumbling as he stared down at his tea, Kenmei watched his face flush darker. He had always had a trouble admitting when he was wrong, even for something as simple as this.

“Fine, fine.” He waved his had dismissively at her after a moment of contemplating. “You were right. This little shit hole has some good tea.” He reached across the small table and ruffled her hair. “Now stop pestering me about it!” Kenmei gave a small yelp in protest at him disturbing her hair, smacking his hand away gently before attempting to fix the damage. “Hey, don’t do that!” Judar only snickered, going back to gulp from his drink. After fixing her hair, Kenmei turned an annoyed glare to him, though it faded quickly as she saw how much he was enjoying himself.

After a quick sip from her own cup, she spoke softly. “You know, this is like our first date.” Judar stopped mid gulp to look at her over his cup, taking a quick second to swallow before he wiped his mouth clean. “Uh, yeah, it technically is, I guess.” Timidly, Kenmei reached her hand across and placed it on his, relieved when he turned his hand a bit to be able to hold hers back. “You, uhm… You’re happy, right?” Her question was quiet, almost inaudible to him, even as he sat so close to her.

A small frown crossed his features, his grip tightening on her hand a bit. “Hey, why do you keep worrying about that? I already told you I’d say something if there was a problem, didn’t I?” Kenmei nodded, sinking down into her seat a bit. “I’m sorry, I just want to make sure… I really want this to work out, for as long as possible…” Feeling her face flush from admitting this, she kept her gaze away from him, watching the steam rise from the hot liquid in her cup. Her stomach clinched as she heard him sigh, too nervous to look up at him.

“Yeah, me too, Mei. But if you’re a worry wort all the time like this, it isn’t going to be any fun. So chill out, yeah?” Judar spoke quietly, wiggling her arm a bit to get her to look up at him. Doing her best to control her nerves, she looked up at him, a bit surprised at the softness of his expression. Feeling the heat grow in her cheeks, she nodded, rubbing his hand with her thumb gently. “Okay… I’ll try not to be.”

“Good!” Judar proclaimed, chugging the rest of his drink before he stood. “I need another one. You want to share a cheesecake or something?” As he looked down at her with such a curious and excited expression, Kenmei could feel her heart flutter, unable to suppress her adoration. She smiled, releasing his hand. “I’d like that.” Judar grinned, though Kenmei could see a hint of mischief behind it. “Good, they have a peach one over there and I need it.” As he scurried off towards the counter, Kenmei looked back down into her cup. She watched her reflection in liquid, able to see how dark red her face was.

She still could not believe that he put her heart into such a flutter. Every time she looked at him and caught his gaze, she felt as if she were going to melt into a puddle. She didn’t know why her feelings were so strong for him, but she couldn’t help but to love him.

Wait- love him?

She immediately felt her face grow hotter than ever, bringing her hands up to hide her face. There was no way that she just admitted that to herself, she couldn’t actually love him already. Could she? No, no, it’s not possible. Or, maybe it was. She had adored him or so long, she must have not noticed that her feelings had really grown to that point. But, she knew that she had to keep this to herself. Saying anything like that so soon would surly scare him off, so she had to keep it quiet.

Suddenly, there was loud clanking on the table in front of her, causing he to jump and pull her hands away from her face. Placed in front of her was a full peach cheesecake, though her eyes quickly moved up to Judar as he sat back down. His expression was beyond gleeful, his excitement almost radiating from him. “This is so fucking sweet.” Kenmei blinked a few times and she looked back down at the dessert in front of her, feeling her fluttering heart instantly giving way to annoyance.

“Judar, that’s a whole cheesecake! I thought you were going to get one peace!”

Laughing, Judar pulled a piece out and placed it on a different empty dish in front of him, sly grin on his face.

“Fuck that, we’re eating this whole thing!”

“N-no, that’s too much!”

Chapter Text

“Oh my god, I don’t want to go to class!”

Alibaba’s frustrated complaint traveled down the lunch table to Kenmei’s ears, prompting her to look up from her book. Alibaba had his head resting on the table, Aladdin gently patting the top of his head. “Aw come on, it’s not so bad!” He said cheerfully. “Just think, we only have two months until finals, then we have another huge break!” He threw his arms up into the air in excitement, and Kenmei could relate. Sure, he was being a little too optimistic, but she was glad the school year was almost over.

Classes had resumed after winter break two weeks ago, and they were just starting to get into the swing of things again. Having been off for so long with nothing to do just to be thrown into studies again offset the balance for some, but Kenmei had welcomed it. She had been filling her days with Judar’s company, and when he was away she did nothing but read. Without his attention, she was horribly bored, so being able to study again actually brought her great pleasure.

Of course, she was teased for this. Judar was in the same boat as Alibaba, hating the thought of having to go to classes and suffer. The only class he was looking forward to was Ja’far’s combat class, but even then he complained. Even now, he grumbled groggily beside Kenmei, picking at the remainder of his breakfast. “Ditto.” Kenmei turned her gaze to him, closing her book. “Aw don’t complain so much. We have your favorite class today, that’s something to look forward to, isn’t it?”

Judar sighed as he leaned back in his chair. “Yeah I guess. But it’s still just lecture. No fighting at all!” He reached his arm over and around her shoulders, pulling her a bit closer to him to whisper. “Let’s skip.” With a small gasp, her cheeks flushed, Kenmei shook her head. “No way, that’s awful.” Judar snickered at her innocent reaction, sly smile crossing his face. “Come on Freckles, we’re already set to pass that class. Remember, because I got so fucked up during that last battle, they were disqualified, and we passed. That battle is like eighty percent of our grade!”

Kenmei couldn’t really argue with that. They were both passing as it was, but she knew that if they both skipped at the same time, Ja’far would notice and they would get in trouble. By now, anyone that bothered to care knew they were dating, and she knew that it would only cause more rumors to spread. These past few weeks had been filled with nothing but looks and whispers behind their backs. Though Judar could care less, Kenmei felt a bit outcasted, though she was feeling better from the support of her friends. Instead of weakening from the pressure, her relationship with Judar had only grown stronger.

He had been her defender in many cases, and the reason why no one had bothered them recently was because he had made it very clear that anyone who even tried would regret it. His reputation seemed to scare enough people off, and Kenmei was actually thankful he wasn’t exactly a popular person. Now with this offering of skipping class, she wanted nothing more than to spend the day with him and away from her peers, but she knew it couldn’t happen.

“We can’t, Judar. They’ll know why we are skipping.” She looked back down at her book, hearing him huff in disagreement. “Eh who gives a shit what they say!” Closing the book, Kenmei shook her head. “I’m not worried about the others, I’m worried about Ja’far. He might get angry, he hates it when partners skip class at the same time.” Sighing, Judar lied his head on hers. “Aw, come on!” He gave a small jump as a piece of food hit his face, turning a glare towards Nanami. “Hey!”

Nanami glared right back at him. “Don’t be a bad influence on her!” Judar only grumbled, standing as he knew the bell was about to ring to go to class. “I’m not! It was just a suggestion!” As he slung his bag over his shoulder, the bell rang, prompting Kenmei to start putting her book away. “We are not skipping. I haven’t skipped, not even once.” Judar glowered down at her, picking up his trash to throw it away. “Liar, you skipped when you were sick.” With a roll of her eyes, Kenmei stood, placing her bag around her shoulders. “Yeah, because I was sick. Dummy.”

“Don’t call me a dummy, dummy!” As he started to walk away, Kenmei followed after him, snatching onto his tail. He shrieked in protest, trying to get away from her. “Mei, let me go!” Laughing, Kenmei kept a grip on it, sly smile crossing her face as he looked back at her with a glare. “C’mon, you like it when I grab your tail, don’t you?” With a grumble, Judar turned back around, though Kenmei caught the red in his cheeks. “Not in public…” With a small giggle, Kenmei released his tail and moved to walk next to him, hooking her arm with his gently.

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

 

 

“Wait, we’re going where?”

The question came from a student seated behind Kenmei and Judar, though neither were interested enough in finding out who to turn around. Ja’far’s grey slick ears flattened against his head in irritation from the obvious lack of focus on the students end, looking up from the tablet in his hand. “I said that we are going to the forest below us. I’m pretty sure I stated that multiple times, did I not?” Now, the entire class turned to gaze upon the one who spoke such a stupid question, the unnamed student cowering down a bit in embarrassment. “Y-yes, sir.”

Ja’far looked back down at the tablet, currently selecting the students that were present from a list. “That’s what I thought. Now-“ His pleasant demeanor returned as his ears perked back to attention. “The whole point of this trip is to test your combat skills against something else, not against each other. There are creatures down there that are violent, but not unbeatable at your skill levels. They were actually placed there by the Headmaster specifically for this test, so be warned that it won’t be a walk in the park.”

Judar gave a quiet scoff as he leaned back in his seat, balancing it on the back two legs. Ja’far’s ear twitched like he heard him, but he did not say anything back. “You will be graded on how many points you get. The creatures in the training area all have tags attached to them. The requirement is to bring back at least one thousand points before you are too exhausted to continue. If you bring back less, you will be graded according to the amount you bring back.”

There was silence in the room as he paused, the tension increasing. Another meek voice from the group of students spoke up. “How are the creatures ranked by points?” Ja’far clicked a button on the tablet, and a screen appeared on the wall behind him. As he spoke, different images of shadows with tags on their ears appeared, each tag a different color. “Blue tags are worth one hundred points. Yellow tags are two hundred. Orange is five hundred, and red one thousand points. There are only two red tag creatures in the forest.”

He hit another button on his tablet and the screen closed. “Also note that this is timed. You all have one hour, and there are not enough creatures in the forest for all partners to get a thousand points.” Nervous murmurs began to fill the class room and Kenmei exchanged a nervous glance with Judar, who’s bored expression did nothing to quell her fears. Ja’far hushed everyone, walking behind his desk to place the tablet down. “This is a test of your teamwork, power and efficiency. You must decide, what is more practical? Going after as many small fry as you can, or taking care of the more powerful enemy?”

Beginning to dig through a pile of papers on his desk, he spoke again after a short pause. “Everyone go gather your things or chance clothes if you feel the need and meet at the airport station in one hour. If you are late or don’t show up, the ship will leave without you and you will fail the test.” He glanced up as he heard no one moving, ears flattening against his head again in annoyance as he waved at the group in a ‘shoo’ motion. “Go on, get out of here, you have an hour!”

Judar sighed loudly as the classroom became loud with the sounds of shuffling, bringing his chair to sit back normally with a loud clack. “Man, I am not in the mood for something like this today.” He looked up as Kenmei stood, noticing she was obviously in a rush. “Well we have to do it anyway.” She looked down at him, nudging him gently to try and get him up. “Come on, I have to go change clothes, I can’t do this in a skirt.”

Snickering as he stood, Judar grabbed his bag. “No? I’d like to see you running around-“ He was hushed as Kenmei put her hand over his face. She could feel him smirking behind her palm, feeling her cheeks flush. “N-no! I have to change, come on.” She reached down and snatched onto his hand, beginning to pull him out of the classroom as he continued to chuckle. “Please, Mei? No one else will see you, it’ll just be you. And me. In the forest. Basically alone.” Kenmei could feel her face flushing darker with each word, knowing exactly what he was getting at, but feeling like she shouldn’t even humor that with a response.

As they got out into the hallway, he nudged her gently a few times, a “Huh? Huh?” accompanying each nudge. Confident they were out of earshot of others, Kenmei shook her head, feeling as if her face were on fire. “No! We are going out there for a test, not to fiddle in the woods.” Judar instantly cracked up laughing, his voice booming down the hallway. “Holy shit, fiddle in the woods, that’s amazing!” Kenmei bumped her hips into his. “Shh! Don’t be so loud!”

Judar shook his head as he continued to chuckle, wide grin on his face.

“We’ll see if you can resist.”

“I can resist just fine.”

“Yeah, right, freaky girl.”

“I am not!”

 

 

“So, what do you think we should do?” Judar spoke from the blue chair, sitting in it sideways with his legs hanging down over the armrest. He was playing with his phone while he waited for Kenmei to get dressed, one of his legs bouncing slightly in impatience. Kenmei sighed as she struggled to find a good pair of leggings to wear, digging through her dresser. “Well, I think we could take down one of the big ones. Probably. But I bet that’s everyone’s idea. Crap!” She flung the article of clothing in her hand back down into the pile in front of her, frustrated. “They must be dirty, I cannot find my good leggings.”

Judar snickered, letting his phone rest on his chest as he looked over at her. “Guess it’s a skirt then. Or shorts. That’s what happens when you don’t have normal pants!” He snickered as a shirt promptly landed on his face, reaching up to remove it. “Just pick something already! It’s literally been thirty minutes of you just trying to pick something to wear. Honestly, it’s probably just going to get messed up anyways!” He tossed the shirt back to Kenmei’s pouting form, who reluctantly pulled a pair of leggings from her dresser.

“That’s what I’m worried about… These are my favorite ones and they’re all I have.” She began to pull them on, having no other choice. Judar observed her as she got dressed, noticing that she was quite bothered by the fact that she had to wear them. “Oh come on, they’re just clothes. If they get messed up, you can just get another pair.” He twisted himself to sit normally before standing, shoving his phone in his pocket before walking over to her. Kenmei gave him annoyed glance as she fumbled with the shirt in her hands, preparing to put it on. “Easy for you to say, you get more allowance than I do from the school.”

With a small shrug, he stopped to stand behind her, watching as she pulled her shirt into place before pulling her hair out from being stuck inside of it. “That’s true. But who said I wouldn’t get some for you, huh?” Before she could do it herself, Judar took her hair in his hands, gathering it all together before he began to braid it. Kenmei felt her face flush, though she allowed him to do as he pleased. “No one, I suppose… I’d appreciate that, though. If they get messed up.” Judar chuckled, reaching the end of her hair. “Oh come on, don’t be so shy. Say, ‘Judar, buy me that thing!’” He reached his hand across her shoulder, his hand palm up, as if waiting for something.

Kenmei looked at it for a moment before it clicked, quickly taking her hair tie off her wrist and placing it in his hand. “I couldn’t do that, that’s so… disrespectful.” Judar took it and tied her hair together at the end before placing his hands on her shoulders. “Eh, it doesn’t bother me that much. I never buy things for myself, so it’s kind of exciting to have someone else to buy things for.” As he leaned in to kiss her neck softly, he put his arms around her waist, pulling her closer to him. “I really don’t feel like doing this stupid test.”

A small smile crossing her face, Kenmei rubbed his arm gently, leaning her head back against him. “We don’t have a choice.” She noticed his ears twitching quite a bit beneath his beanie and she reached up, gently pulling it off his head. Judar only grumbled in slight defiance, though didn’t mind it much, as he had grown used to being around her without it. As she reached up and began to gently massage his scalp, the deep rumble rose up from his chest, and Kenmei couldn’t resist her smile from growing. “I love that.”

Judar only hid his face more into her neck and tightened his grip on her, as if he were trying to hide. “I don’t.” Kenmei giggled softly. “Don’t be like that. It’s nice…” She carefully twisted herself around to face him, letting her arms rest around his shoulders as he kept his face hidden. Though, right as Kenmei was about to place a kiss on his shoulder, she paused, fear suddenly rushing through her body as she saw the clock on her wall.

“Oh crap, we only have ten minutes to get down to the airport!”

“That’s enough time for a five-minute nap…”

“No!”

Chapter Text

Kenmei clinched her eyes shut tightly as she screamed bloody murder, her body pressed tightly against Judar’s due to the speed of their broom. Judar was in control of it, as he always preferred to be, and in this case the speed was necessary. They were nearly late to the airport, having only three minutes to get there from the time they took off from their balcony. Though Kenmei knew they had to go fast, she could feel her nausea building, the sting of the cold air only increasing her discomfort. By the time they landed, she could barely stand, gripping her stomach and moaning in pain.

Before she could recover, Judar snatched her by the hand and began to drag her inside of the building, forcing her to jog. “Come on, Mei, you’re going to make us late!” Though she could feel the vomit sting the back of her throat, she did everything she could to keep up, moving with him to dodge other people and avoid collision with luggage. Within moments, they arrived at the specific port, and they could see Ja’far getting into the airship. Panic surprising her sickness, Kenmei threw one of her arms up in the air, calling out loudly. “W-wait, sir!”

Ja’far’s ears rotated backwards as he heard her, stopping mid step through the doorway as he turned. A look of disapproval crossed his features as the two reached the ship, both breathing heavily and obviously exhausted from the rush. “I’m inclined to not let either of you on, you barely made it.” Kenmei placed a hand on her chest, trying to control her breathing and her nausea. “Please, sir, I’m sorry we’re late!” Ja’far gave a sigh, stepping down from the door to give them room. “I expected better from the two of you.”

“Oh, thank you so much!” As Kenmei gave a small bow in thanks, she felt her stomach churn and she quickly covered her mouth, Judar snatched her by the arm, starting to pull her up into the ship. “No puking! Come on, Freckles, we’re holding up the ship.” Kenmei gave an irritated grunt as she followed him, stumbling up the steps as she kept her mouth covered. With a small shake of his head, Ja’far stepped into the ship, pressing a button on the wall to close the door behind him.

As Judar headed down the aisle between rows of seats, he noticed that quite a few of the other students were looking at him with a range of emotions, from indifference to intense curiosity to shock. As he settled in his seat by the window, he grew highly agitated as a few of them even poked their heads around or over their seats to look at him. He sunk down low in his seat, hoping to hide from any unwanted looks. Hissing between his teeth, he crossed his arms over his chest. “Why is everyone looking at me?”

Kenmei, fanning herself to try and keep from getting sick, looked up at him. Before she could respond, her eyes fell upon the top of his head and she gasped, covering her mouth as she did. “Judar, your beanie-“ Judar cut her off not with words, but with motion, reaching up and instantly covering both of his ears with his hands. Panic overtook his entire being as he shrunk down even further, nearly trembling. “Shit! I can’t believe I didn’t notice!” Placing her hand on his chest, Kenmei kept her voice as comforting as she could, even though her stomach lurched as the ship began to move.

“It’s alright! Don’t panic, people will freak out even more about it if they see you freaking out.” She reached up and gently gripped one of his arms, but was unsuccessful in making it budge. Judar shook his head a bit, but still kept his ears covered. “No, I can’t go without it like this!” Frowning, Kenmei placed her hand on his cheek gently. “Yes you can. Soon we’ll be in the forest and no one will be paying attention to your ears. You can do this. No one is going to think any less of you.”

“Ear anxiety, huh?”

The couple both jumped in shock from the familiar voice, quickly turning their attention up towards the source of the voice, though Judar refused to uncover his ears. Isira smiled down at them, having been walking down the aisle when she overhead the conversation. Kenmei felt comforted by her presence, but she could tell that it only made Judar more anxious, feeling him shrink back against his seat. She gave a polite smile, a small nod joining it. “It seems so… He forgot his beanie because we were in a rush to get here.” The smile on Isira’s face only grew, waving her hand in the air.

“Aw don’t worry about that! Your ears are your pride, kiddo, they mark you as a Cat Creature! You must know that’s the strongest and more versatile creature there is, and you’re the only one in the school besides my husband!” Isira leaned towards them a bit, and Kenmei couldn’t help but feel a bit worried that her large breasts might fall out of her top. “He had really bad issues with his ears, too.” Isira spoke in a hushed voice, worried Ja’far might hear her. “He used to hide his, because he thought they made him look childish. And his are way cuter and more innocent looking than yours!” Judar grumbled, not sure her words were really making him feel any better. Before he could respond, Ja’far joined the group, looking a bit annoyed. “Isira, why are you talking about me like that?”

The woman beside him could only smile, her face flushing. “Aw, I’m just trying to help him! He’s so upset about his ears.” Judar sighed, turning his head to look at the window, noticing the clouds passing them by as the ship moved. “I don’t need your help.” Kenmei frowned, though Isira didn’t seem perturbed by his dismissal, pulling the magician’s hat off her head. “Here, then.” Her smile turning sly, she plopped the hat onto his head, over his hands. Judar gave a small jump at the action, pulling his hands away to allow the hat to settle onto his head as he turned to glare up at her. “I don’t need this dumb magician’s hat. I’m not a witch!”

Isira placed her hands on her hips. “Well you’re so scared of showing off that you’re a Creature.” Judar ripped the hat off his head, as it squished his ears down in an uncomfortable manner. “I’m not scared, I just don’t like people to look at them. What’s the big deal?” Isira shrugged. “It’s only a big deal to you, Judar. You’ll notice that today. I mean, some people have horns sticking out of their head or feathers dangling from their ears, like your friends. They don’t care, because they know it’s a part of them.” Ja’far sighed, placing his hand on Isira’s back gently. “I know where he’s coming from, our ears aren’t like those things. People associate these to a household cat, something cute. Adorable.”

Judar’s expression calmed a bit as his gaze moved to Ja’far, listening to him speak. Ja’far reached up, tapping the tip of one of his ears a bit. “It’s rough, because people underestimate you just from looking at them. Right?” Judar only gave a small nod, his body posture radiating irritation. But, his ears gave him away, as they were pointed straight towards Ja’far, as if he were intensely interested in his words. Ja’far couldn’t help a small smile crossing his features, holding his hand out as sparks began to flash around it. “That’s when you prove to them you’re not all cute and fuzzy like a house cat. After you destroy them, the look of shock on their face is intensely satisfying.”

Isira giggly quietly, giving Ja’far a sideways glance. “Oh my, that got morbid quickly.” Ja’far closed his hand into a fist, bringing it back down to shove it into his pocket, narrowing his eyes back towards her. “I apologize. But it’s true.” Judar snickered, the conversation obviously lifting his spirits as he handed the hat back towards Isira, who took it from him. “Nah, I get it. I can relate.” Ja’far nodded, one of his ears rotating a bit to the side as there was some loud chatter from the front of the airship. Both Kenmei and Isira couldn’t help but to giggle slightly as Judar’s mimicked the action, at the same time.

“Just use that as your confidence, if that is what helps. You have someone to support you and stand up for you. Don’t forget that.” Isira smiled as she adjusted her hat back onto her head. Kenmei felt her face flush violently as Judar’s gaze moved down to her, timidly shifting about in her seat. “I-I, uhm…” Judar chuckled, ruffling her hair gently. “Yeah, I wouldn’t put it past her to kick someone’s ass for me.” Kenmei couldn’t find it in herself to respond, amazed that her face somehow grew even hotter, embarrassed in front of her superiors.

As a loud noise came from the front of the airship again, Ja’far turned and started to head that way, obviously irritated. “Hey, calm down up there!” Isira flashed a grin at the two sitting before her, turning to follow Ja’far. “I expect to see you two get a red tag today!” Kenmei watched her walk for a moment before she looked back up at Judar, feeling his hand slide down from the top of her head to rest against the back of her neck. His eyes were locked on a random spot on the back of the seat in front of them, seeming to be lost in thought.

Kenmei reached over and placed her hand on his leg gently, instantly gaining his attention as his gaze moved to her. She smiled softly, able to feel that her face was still on fire. “Feel better?” Judar nodded, turning to sit normally in his seat inside of sideways like he had been during the conversation. “I think so… I mean, I don’t like that guy, but he’s right.” Kenmei leaned in a bit closer to him, a bit irritated at the armrest that separated them. “So, what are you going to do?” Judar started out of the window for a moment before he looked back down at her.

“We’re going to get a red tag and prove to everyone that I’m not a pussy.”

Kenmei couldn’t help but to giggle a bit, reaching up to cover her mouth as she did. “Pussy? As in, a cat?”

“Shut up, Mei!”

After nearly an hour of travel, the airship finally landed, and everyone was allowed off. Kenmei squinted a bit against the blaring sun as she stepped out into the grassy field, becoming suddenly overwhelmed with the fresh scent of nature. She hadn’t been out near a forest like this since she arrived at the Academy. The scent here filled her with nostalgia of her home town, beginning to miss it. As she stopped at the back of the group with Judar at her side, she looked up at him. She noticed that he was scaring into the forest before them intently, his ears perked forward, as if he were listening for something.

Though, her attention was pulled back towards the front of the group, as Ja’far began to speak again. “Alright, I already explained the rules up in the classroom, but I’ll say them again. Your team needs to come back with one thousand points to pass. Any lower than that and you will be graded accordingly. You can use any method to get these points, this includes stealing tags from other partners. The only thing you cannot do is seriously harm each other, though you should expect battles to break out between you.”

He shifted his weight to his other foot, glancing around the group before back at the tablet in his hands. “There are not enough tags for everyone to get a thousand points and you only have one hour to get it done.” Ja’far moved to the side to stand with Isira, who held her arm up in the air as she addressed the group. “If you find yourself in serious need of help, just shoot some type of signal up into the sky with your magic. We will be there to help you. Any questions?” Kenmei turned her gaze up to Judar, feeling herself grow a bit confused at the sly smile on his face.

“Go!”

Before anyone could even more, ice spread across the ground, gripping the entire class by their feet and trapping them in place. Snickering, Judar grabbed Kenmei by the arm and began to run towards the forest, pulling her along as the entire class screamed after them in protest. “Later, losers!” Kenmei looked back towards the group as they ran, watching as they struggled to free themselves. “J-Judar, that’s cheating!” Laughing now, Judar released her, knowing she could keep up. “Hey, Ja’far said we could do whatever as long as we don’t hurt them. That’s not hurting them!”

As they passed through the edge of the woods, they had to slow down, the density of the trees preventing them from moving very quickly. Kenmei frowned, feeling guilty as she continued to follow him. “You should let them go to give them a chance.” Judar took a quick glance back at her over his shoulder, noticing her discomfort. “Relax, Mei, I am. I just wanted to give us a head start. We must find one of those red tags first. There’s only two, remember?” Kenmei nodded silently, careful not to trip over the thick brush and tree roots disrupting their path.

She knew that he was right, and that his strategy was smart, but she still felt like it was unfair to everyone else. Though, she could hear them approaching the forest, now, and she assumed he had already let them go. Soon, they came upon an area of the forest where the trees were not so close together, and they could walk easily. “I saw you listening earlier, did you hear anything?” Judar nodded, though he didn’t look down at her, glancing around instead. “Yeah, I heard something loud moving around at the left side of the forest. I remember this exercise from last year. I didn’t get to go, but I remember a lot of people said these things are huge.”

Kenmei began to feel a bit of anxiety bubble in her stomach, walking a bit closer to him. “O-oh… Are these live creatures?” Judar shook his head. “Not sure, Freckles. I don’t think they would make us kill or hurt live animals. I think they’re machines or something.” Frown crossing her face, Kenmei held her staff closer to her. “Huh? Machines? What do you-“ She was cut off as Judar suddenly stopped, holding his arm out to block her. “Sh.” He spoke sharply, his ears rotated a bit, obviously listening for something Kenmei could not hear. Too nervous to stand there silently, Kenmei glanced around, whispering. “What is it?”

“A clicking noise.” Judar spoke just as quietly. “Or a… whirring. It must be one of them.” Kenmei’s frown grew, her stomach bubbling with nerves. “What do you-“ Before she could finish, she was suddenly stuck to the ground, a small figure coming out of nowhere and pouncing on her. Screaming as she felt the chill metal digging into her skin, she struggled and kicked the creature off. Fumbling to her knees, not knowing what to do in her blind panic, she struck the form a few times with her staff, the sound of metal against metal reverberating in her ears.
“Woah, Mei! Wait a second!”

Kenmei gasped as she felt her staff suddenly stop in mid stroke, looking around frantically until her eyes finally landed on Judar. He was looking down at her with a bit of a shocked expression as he held onto her staff, until a grin nearly broke his face. “Damn, Freckles! You beat the shit out of that thing.” He released the staff and she fell back to sit, panting as she tried to catch her breath. “What was that!” Her eyes fell to Judar’s feet as he nudged the still form that had attacked her. It was obviously made of metal and wires, sparks flying from the dented in areas where Kenmei had beat it. As she leaned in a bit closer, she could see that it was in the form of some animal, about the size of a medium sized dog.

“I guess they are robots.” Judar spoke as she knelt next to it, reaching over to pull the blue tag from the creature’s head. “Sweet, at least we got a hundred points.” He stood, walking over to Kenmei and holding his empty hand towards her. “Come on, we have to keep moving. Are you alright?” Trembling, Kenmei took his hand and stood, her legs feeling like they were made of jelly. “Y-yeah, I think I’m okay.” She looked down at herself, noticing a few scratches across her stomach where the creature had grabbed her. “Even though it snuck up on us, they seem to be weak enough…”

Judar put his arm around her, getting her to walk forward, though was there to support her if she needed it. “You literally beat the shit out of that thing, I didn’t expect that at all from you!” Kenmei felt her face flush at the praise, feeling a bit embarrassed about how she acted. “I-I was scared, I didn’t know what to do…” Judar snickered, allowing her to walk in front of him as the path got tight and bumpy again. “Your reaction time has gotten a lot quicker. I remember a time when you would have let that thing attack you.”

Kenmei huffed a bit, trying to focus on her walking. “Yeah, because your training is brutal. If I didn’t get better, you would have hurt me or something.” Kenmei could not see the sly smirk crossing Judar’s face as he walked behind her, his eyes on her backside. “Damn right. Had to get your flabby self into shape.” He reached forward and gave her backside a good smack. Kenmei let out a yelp, losing her balance and slipping off the tree root she had been balancing on.

Laughing, Judar snatched her before she could fall too far, gently lowering her down into a section of level grass. “I don’t think your klutziness can ever be cured, though, Mei.” Kenmei turned to glare up at him, her face bright red. “I wouldn’t have slipped if you hadn’t of slapped my butt-“ She was cut off as Judar put a hand over her mouth, trying to stifle his own chuckles. “Shh! There’s people nearby.” His ears twitched in the direction of crunching branches, slowly moving Kenmei backwards up against a large tree so that they were out of sight.

He removed his hand from over her mouth, letting it fall to rest on her shoulder instead. Kenmei felt her face flush darker as he kept himself closer to her, though she could tell he wasn’t doing it on purpose. All his attention was on the movement coming from behind the tree, his eyes fixated and ears rotating. Still, she couldn’t help but feel a bit aroused at the way he pressed against her, though she did her best to conceal it. She moved her free hand to rest against his side as he leaned in, whispering quietly into her ear. “It’s just someone else walking by, they don’t have any tags yet. Shame, I was going to steal them.”

His voice sent tingles across her skin, gripping onto his shirt as he had moved closer to her. She nodded as she tried to hold her breath, worried that her heavy breathing would tip him off to how she was feeling. Though, it was obvious that Judar did not need any help noticing, as she could tell a smirk was plastered on his face. “Really, Mei?” He still spoke quietly, his breath hot against her ear and down her neck. “And you got all mad at me for talking about being horny in the woods.”

Kenmei shook her head, finally having to breath to be able to talk. “I-I’m not.” She had been right to hold her breath, now able to feel her chest press against him with every inhale of the cool air. “Yeah, I don’t think so.” Judar began to run his hands down her arms. “I can literally hear your heartbeat, and you have goosebumps. I don’t think that’s from the cold.” Kenmei wiggled her body a bit as he began to place kisses along her neck, though his body kept her firmly pressed against the tree. “Judar, we don’t have time for-“

A gasp interrupted her as he began to nibble at her skin, his hands moving to her hips. “We have plenty of time.” Using his grip on her hips, he got her to take a step to the left, getting up onto a rock that made her about half a foot taller. Taking the risk of moving himself away from her a bit, he got her to turn around, pressing her upper body against the tree while her hips fit snuggly into his. Though Judar could tell she was embarrassed, she was very much receptive, as she pressed her hips back into his of her own accord.

“Well?” Judar spoke as one of his hands slid forward around her hip, his fingertips teasingly tracing her skin under the lip of her leggings. Kenmei’s body began to tremble a bit from his touch, turning her face more into the cool bark of the tree. As she felt his fingers slip further in, Kenmei couldn’t stop herself from wanting him, her entire body burning. But, before she could respond, there was a huge explosion nearby, the shockwaves so powerful it put both of them off balance. Judar gripped onto Kenmei as he fell backwards onto a tree root that was protruding from the ground, slipping backwards into a gap between it and a rock.

Wincing from the pain of the rock against his back and the weight of Kenmei on top of him, Judar cursed out loudly, kicking his feet a bit. “What the fuck! Who did that?!” Both looked up to the sky, able to see smoke between the sliver between the leaves of the trees that surrounded them. Kenmei struggled to stand, grunting as she pulled herself up out of the hole. “It has to be a red tag! Someone found one first!” Cursing again, Judar pulled himself free as well, though he still winced from the pain in his back. “Shit, that almost broke my spine.” Kenmei placed her hand on his back, looking up at him with concern. “I can fix-“

“We don’t have time, we have to go get it!”

After another large explosion that almost knocked them back again, Judar grabbed Kenmei by the hand and began to take off towards it.

Chapter Text

After minutes of struggling through rough terrain and dense trees, they couple finally came upon the site that had disturbed them. In a clearing, which was obviously not natural, a huge mass of metal towered above a distraught looking Aladdin and Alibaba. A huge humanoid form, the metallic creature stood over ten feet, and filled Kenmei with fear. “O-oh my gosh, it’s bigger than I thought!” She whispered in a panic to Judar, who was gazing at the creature from their hiding spot behind a tree. Though, the size of the thing didn’t seem to be his main concern, as his gaze soon move to the pair facing it.

“Damn it.” He hissed behind clinched teeth. “How do I take it away from them…” Kenmei noticed a change in his expression as his eyes landed on the head of the creature, noticing the tag sticking out of the back of it’s head. Kenmei could almost see the idea and cunning building in his eyes, a small smirk crossing his face as he looked up into the branches of the tree they were next to. “I got it. I’ll jump down from a tree, take the tag, and then we run like hell back to Ja’far. Deal?” As Kenmei tried to respond, there was another explosion, and the creature stumbled back a bit, it’s mechanical insides whirring as if it were moaning in pain.

In truth, Kenmei thought it was an awful plan, but they didn’t have time to think about it. If they wanted the red tag, they had to do something, and fast. Unable to wait for her to respond, Judar jumped up and began to climb up the tree he had picked, leaving Kenmei a bit surprised at how nimble he was. Feeling her stomach beginning to twist into knots, she adjusted herself into a better position behind the trees, ready to run to his aid, should he need it. Judar had vanished into the trees above her, and all she could do was wait.

Thankfully, however, she didn’t have to wait very long. As the creature went to attack the two boys in front of it, Judar leapt down from the tree, easily landing on its shoulders. Without wasting a section, he grabbed the tag and pulled it out of its resting spot, gripping onto it tightly. As Alibaba got back to his feet from dodging an attack, he let out a loud gasp, pointing towards Judar as he noticed him. “Hey, what the hell, man!” Judar began to laugh, ducking out of the way as the creature tried to swipe at him. “You snooze you lose, asshole!”

Though, as Judar made his attempt to jump back up into the tree, the creature swung his arm around and snatch him by the leg in midair. Before anyone could react, the creature tossed him across the clearing with extreme force and he collided into a tree. Without hesitating or realizing she would blow her cover, Kenmei dashed out from her hiding spot and ran to him, ducking and dodging attacks from the creature. “Judar!” Gasping for air, Judar forced himself up onto his hands and knees, still gripping on tightly to the red tag in his right hand. “D-Damn it!”

Kenmei collapsed onto her knees at his side, placing her hands gently on his shoulder and arm. Though, the instant she touched him, Judar pushed her hands away from him, grunting in pain as he forced himself to stand. “Stupid fucking pile of scraps…” Kenmei quickly stood, knowing what the fire in his eyes meant. “No, Judar, we have the tag, we should run!” Instead of responding normally, Judar grabbed her by the shoulder and turned her, forcing her back up against the tree that he had slammed into. Before she could protest, Judar grabbed the edge of the collar of her shirt and pulled it down, before shoving the tag between her breasts. “Hold that!”

Slapping his hands away, Kenmei covered herself, face flushing as she glared up at him. “H-hey, don’t do that!” Judar ignored her, turning back towards the creature, which was once again preoccupied with Aladdin and Alibaba. “Judar, just ignore it and let’s go! You don’t have to attack it!” Kenmei tried to reach for his arm, but he pulled it from her grip, glaring down at her over his shoulder. “I’m going to kill that fucking thing! You stand back, you’ll just get in the way!” Immediately hurt by his words, Kenmei pulled her hand back to her body, unable to find it in herself to respond to him as he took off towards the creature.

He didn’t actually mean that… He’s just upset… Kenmei tried to talk herself down from becoming emotional, stepping around and behind the tree she was up against. She couldn’t even find it in herself to look at the action, even as she heard the scraping of ice against metal and Judar’s outcry of rage. He doesn’t really think I’m a burden… He couldn’t. We… Before she knew it, she was sobbing softly, reaching up to cover her face with her hands. She could feel the irritating scratch of the tag against her skin as she hiccupped, reaching down to feel it lodged between her breasts.

As she felt it beneath the cloth of her shirt, she began to think. This was all just a big ego trip for him. He had to kill that machine, to prove that he was the strongest in the class. This wasn’t just about passing the class, he needed this kill, and he wasn’t going to let anyone get in the way of it. Not even her. Sniffing as she tried to calm, she could hear him yelling at the other two boys to stay back, and this just confirmed it. He had to be the one to kill it, no one else.

But, she knew that this wouldn’t work. From what she could hear, his ice had little to no effect on the creature’s tough metallic exterior and lightening didn’t slow it down. Wiping the tears from her face, she peeked around the tree, watching as Judar dodged multiple attacks. Though she was scared, she knew she had to do something to help him, even if he didn’t want it. Carefully and silently, she began to make her way around the clearing, keeping herself hidden behind trees.

As she walked passed the gaps in the trees, she studied the machine, noticing that there were sections where the metal skin did not touch, and the wires beneath were visible. Those were the weak spots, she assumed, and she knew that is how they could kill it. She felt her heart weigh heavy as she watched Judar continually fail to injure it, but she began to fill irritated. Stupid boy, there was no way he could kill something like that on his own, especially not in his blind rage.

Soon enough, she was at their original hiding spot, behind the creature. Carefully, she began to climb into the tree, though the process was more difficult for her with a staff in her hand. After multiple terrifying slips and breaking of branches, she was finally at the top, perched on a large branch right above the machine. Though, she felt panic bubble through her as Judar let out a scream, having to bend down from the branch to be able to see what had happened. The creature had gotten Judar in his grip, his entire torso engulfed by metal. The creatures was obviously squeezing him, as Judar cried out and struggled to get away.

Knowing she couldn’t wait any longer, Kenmei jumped down from the tree, following Judar’s example. Though, she was less nimble, nearly sliding off the slick shoulders of the creature. Keeping herself ducked down, she used Water Magic to begin to fill the inside of the creature with water, letting it slip into the cracks. She had to move quickly, as the creature could try and grab her at any moment, then her magic would be lost and all the water would exit the creature through the same holes. Hearing her name, she looked up, seeing Judar glaring at her from his entrapment, though it was through one squinted eye.

“Kenmei, what the fuck are you doing?!” He yelled through clinched teeth, barely able to speak through the pain. Kenmei didn’t bother to look at him, focusing on her work and keeping away from the machine’s grip. “Helping you!” Somehow, Judar was able to wiggle an arm from the creature’s grip, trying to pry himself loose with it. “I don’t nee your help!” Finally, Kenmei turned an irritated glare towards him, catching his gaze with her own. “Yes, you do! Now shut up and do what I tell you before you get killed!” Kenmei could see the rage on his face, but she didn’t care. If saving his life was going to make him mad at her, then she felt that it was worth it.

Judar gasped as water suddenly started to pour out of the creature’s arm and all over him, only causing his irritation to grow. “Mei, what the fuck! What’s with the water!?” Kenmei began to prop herself up on the creature’s shoulder, ready to jump off. “When I tell you, freeze it!” Judar winced as the creature tightened his grip on him, able to feel his bones weakening with every second. “H-hurry up!”

“Go!”

The instant she cried this out, she jumped from the creature and to the ground, landing with a hard impact and rolling clumsily across the grass. Judar slammed his hand onto the creature, doing as he was told. Spears of ice punctured through the metal skin from the inside, starting from that arm and moving all the way up, until ice pierced through the torso and head of the machine. As it died, it released Judar, dropping him a couple of feet to the ground. He was able to land on his feet, though quickly fell onto his back, holding onto his side as he struggled to breathe.

Kenmei quickly made her way over to him, kneeling beside him. “Judar, are you-“ She stopped herself, suddenly becoming irritated as she started down at his injured form. Judar opened his eyes, glaring up at her through his disheveled bangs. “Do I fucking look okay? Why did you do that?!” Using one arm, he propped himself to sit up, still panting as he tried to catch his breath. “I told you to just stay out of the way, I could have handled that! I swear, you never listen to anything-“

“Shut up!”

Kenmei smacked him on the side of the head, no longer feeling like she could be quiet. Though she was hurt by his words, and she could feel tears welling, she knew she had to stand up for herself. “Don’t talk to me like that! You couldn’t do it, you were too blinded by your anger to even think!” Judar yelped as she smacked him, reaching up to grip onto the side of his head as he winced. “Ouch, don’t fucking hit me, woman!” Kenmei smacked his arm again as she stood. “I’ll hit you as many times as I want to! Maybe it’ll knock some sense into your stupid head!”

Frustrated and angry, Kenmei began to storm off back towards the main clearing, leaving him behind. Through it hurt him, Judar turned his body to face her, glaring at her back. “Hey, where are you going?! You’re just going to leave me here?!” Kenmei ignored him, vanishing behind the trees, leaving Judar, Aladdin and Alibaba staring after her in shock. Aladdin made his way over to Judar, looking down at him with an expression mixed with confusion and worry. “Judar, do you need help?”

Judar waved him away as if he were a fly, forcing himself onto his knees. “No, I don’t need help, you stupid kid! Get away from me.” Alibaba sighed as he walked over as well, snatching Judar by the arm to help him stand. “Stop being so stubborn, you’re the one acting like a kid.” Judar winced and cried out in pain as he tried to straighten his back to walk, his right side hurting so badly he could barely breathe. He knew he must have broken some ribs, and he wouldn’t be able to walk like this. Feeling defeated, the high from his rage starting to come down, he knew he was going to have to depend on their help.

“Just get me out of this stupid forest.”

Kenmei hiccupped and sobbed her entire way through the forest, tripping on roots and rocks as she went. She could feel the cuts and bruises beginning to line her shins from her multiple falls, but she still pressed on, wanting nothing more than to get out of the woods. She was completely emotionally devastated at this point, unable to believe that Judar would treat her like that. The whole ordeal left her feeling nauseous and her body sore, a headache pounding so deep within her head she could feel it through her entire body. He couldn’t have really meant any of that, not with how well he had been treating her since they first got together.

Maybe it was his rage, she thought. He was so angry at the creature that he wasn’t thinking rationally, the only thing on his mind being to kill it. It was that huge ego of his, he couldn’t stand for it to be compromised in any way, even if it meant belittling her. Could she really accept that? Was it always going to be like this, any time they were met with a challenge he couldn’t beat on his own? If she were being honest with herself, she knew she wasn’t going to be able to handle that. This was something they were going to have to figure out, or she wasn’t going to be able to stay with him, as a partner in any fashion.

The mere thought of that crushed her. She couldn’t stand the thought of leaving him, as she had grown to love him dearly. These past few days, she had been close to admitting this to him, but had grown too scared every time. Now, after this, she knew he didn’t feel the same way towards her. There is no way he could have, not with the way he had treated her. Still, the way he caressed her in private told her differently. It was a soft touch, his kisses passionate and his adoration apparent. It just completely baffled her as to why he would treat her in such a way, when all she had been doing was try and help him.

After a while of stumbling through the brush, Kenmei finally exited the forest into the main clearing, squinting in the bright light of the sun. After her eyes adjusted, she could see Ja’far and Isira still waiting in roughly the same spot they had been in, talking casually. Forcing his sore legs to move, she began to approach them, not even bothering to wipe the tears from her face. As she got closer, Isira looked at her, worry immediately crossing her features before she jogged over to meet Kenmei. “Oh my, are you alright?”

Not speaking, her breathing ragged from crying, Kenmei reached down into her shirt and gripped the red tag from between her breasts, removing it. After placing it into Isira’s hand, she made her way towards the airship, leaving both Isira and Ja’far staring after her in confusion. As she vanished into the ship, Isira turned her gaze up towards Ja’far, holding the tag out towards him. “Well, looks like they got a red tag and had a fight between themselves. I think your little speech boosted his ego a little too much, love.”

Ja’far stared at the tag with obvious disgust, not sure he wanted to take it. “That was in her shirt?” Isira nodded, moving to put it into her pocket instead. “Well, she didn’t have any pockets, I assume that was the safest place for it at the time. You saw how awful she looked, they must have had a hard time.” Ja’far’s gaze moved to look back at the woods. “Yeah, but where’s Judar? I know she wouldn’t have left him if he was really hurt.” Isira shrugged. “I’m sure he’ll show up. Like I said, I think they had an argument, from the way she was crying.” The two watched as more pairs of partners began to arise out of the woods, the hour nearing it’s final minutes.

Isira blinked in confusion as she saw the small, blue haired Aladdin come flying towards her, obviously making great use of his learned gravity magic. “Miss! Here are our tags, but Alibaba is helping Judar!” Aladdin placed two yellow tags and one orange tag in her hand. “I hope only one of us being here doesn’t make us late!” Ja’far shook his head. “Well, technically, yes it does. But there seems to be a special reason why both Alibaba and Judar are late. So I wont count it against you.” His eyes were pulled back as he could hear yelling from the tree line, seeing the yellow hair of Alibaba appearing first out of the thicket.

Sure enough, he had Judar’s arm slung over his shoulder, helping the still cursing and yelping boy along. Ja’far sighed, rubbing his face. “Looks like that red tag creature did him in. maybe I did boost his ego a little too much. I wonder how they killed it?” His gaze moved down to Aladdin, noticing him smile. “Miss Kenmei did it, actually! Well, helped him do it. She filled it with water, and then he froze it.” Isira nodded, putting the new set of tags in her pocket. “Interesting. That’s not a bad strategy. And I assume that he didn’t want her help, right?”

Aladdin nodded, looking back towards the woods. “Yeah, he was pretty angry. I think he still is, he’s been ranting about it the whole way back.”

Isira smiled, looking up at Ja’far. “Better keep them separated on the ship.”

“With how loud he’s still screaming, maybe we should call a second ship to come get just him.”

Chapter Text

As the group headed back to the Academy, Kenmei didn’t even glance in Judar’s direction. In fact, she sat in a different row, to where she couldn’t see him, and he would have to look up over his seat to even see the top of her head. This frustrated Judar greatly, as he wanted to talk about what had happened. Honestly, he had no idea why she was acting like this, and he was beyond annoyed with her. The pain he was in was only making his frustration grow, unable to believe that she wouldn’t even help ease his suffering. By the time they were halfway back, he had given up trying to get her to talk to him, as she wouldn’t even twitch at the sound of his voice.

Truthfully, Kenmei was doing everything she could to hold herself together. She was beyond furious herself, and anything he said to her nearly set her off into a whole new wave of tears. It was obvious to her that he had no idea what he had done wrong, and she was conflicted on what she should do. Should she tell him, or let him come to her to apologize? She knew that if she picked the second option, she would be waiting forever. He was not the type of person to go crawling back to anyone, not even to her.

Still, she could not find it in herself to talk to him, at least not yet. What he had said truly upset her, and she needed some time to think things over. Though, she also knew that he probably would not allow her the time. He was obviously annoyed with her, and she knew that once he could, he would confront her directly, and she wouldn’t have a set of chairs to hide behind then. Sighing, Kenmei reached up and gently wiped the tears from her face, leaning her head back on her chair as her mind and body both started to ache with exhaustion.

Suddenly, she felt the airship jolt to a stop and she jumped in shock. It was as if she had completely lost that hour of time. I must have fallen asleep… Her heart racing from the stop, she stood as the other students did, watching as they exited the ship. As she stood, she became aware of the pain in her shins and the extreme soreness of her body, wanting nothing more than a hot bath. Sighing, she saw a bit of activity out of the corner of her eye, hearing the familiar voice of her lover yelping and complaining. Alibaba was once again helping Judar to his feet and shuffle down the aisle of the airship.

As Kenmei watched him, she felt as if a weight had been tied to her heart. He was suffering, and she was being childish and stubborn. Him hurting her feelings like that wasn’t worth putting him though so much pain, and she began to feel incredibly guilty. Sucking up her pride, she quickly made her way down the aisle towards him, calling to him softly. “Judar, wait, let me help-“ She gasped as he turned a dark glare down at her, both her words and feet stopping immediately. Judar scoffed, his face scrunching up a bit in pain from the effort. “Now you want to help me? No thanks, I don’t need it.”

With a small nudge to keep moving, Judar and Alibaba continue their advance, leaving Kenmei behind. Crushed once again, Kenmei moved her arms to hug herself, hanging her head a bit as she tried to fight back her emotions. Her feelings were conflicted, fighting between being hurt and feeling guilty. She had been cruel to him, but he had been the same way to her. What am I supposed to do? Unable to help it, she began to sob, sitting down in the closest seat next to her, bringing one of her hands up to cover her face.

In her state, she didn’t notice Judar take one last glance at her before he fully exited the airship, concern peeking through the pained expression.

Judar was rushed to the medical wing where he was immediately met and treated by multiple healers. According to them, he broken a couple of ribs and nearly punctured a lung. There were a couple mentions of pulled muscles, something about his hip, and fractured foot. In truth, Judar didn’t pay attention to a single thing they said. His mind wondered in and out of consciousness through their treatments, and when he was finally able to fully focus, he was told by a nurse that he had been out for a few days.

Now, pretty much healed but forced to stay for observation, Judar sat fuming in his bed, irritated with the feeling of bandages on his body. The more minor things the healers had avoided dealing with, deciding to focus more energy on the major injuries. Judar couldn’t really complain, a few scrapes and bruises would heal over time, he was just glad to not be in pain anymore. Though his body was better, his mind was still in turmoil. Kenmei had not come to see him yet, and according to others, she had not been even once.

He glared at the phone in his lap, his current frustration focused on the fact that it had died. It had been his only distraction, and without his charger, he had nothing to do until someone came to see him. With this time alone, his mind was left to wonder, trying to figure out what exactly had happened in the forest that caused their fight. What the hell did I even do? The whole situation was fuzzy in his mind, having a hard time recalling any of it. Had he said or done something?

“Let’s see…” He spoke out loud, his eyes locked on a random spot on the ceiling. “That robot thing knocked me into the tree… I gave her the tag.” He crossed his arms over his chest, still thinking. “She couldn’t be this mad about me sticking it in her shirt. I told her to wait... or-“

“You told me to stay back, because I would just be in the way.”

Judar nearly jumped out of his skin, jerking so violently that his knees slammed into the small table that was holding his food over his bed for him. The food trey clattered loudly, spilling food on the table and across the bed. Yelping in pain, Judar reached forward to grip his knees, clinching his eyes shut tightly. “Fuck!” Angry, he pushed the table away from him, and it squeaked in resistance as it rolled away from the bed. As he watched it, his eyes finally landed on the figure in the door way, his anger instantly faded away into surprise.

Kenmei had her hands over her mouth as she stared back at him with similar surprise on her features, before she quickly made her way over. ‘I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.” Without asking, she started to clean up the food off the bed, avoiding looking at him. Judar leaned back again, his eyes narrowing a bit as he watched her with a blank expression. “Finally decide to come see me, huh?”

Regret plain on her face, Kenmei only chanced a quick glance up at him as she took the food to the nearby trash can, tossing it away. “I… I needed some time to think.” Judar scoffed, though kept his gaze on her. “Oh yeah? Finally realize you were the one who was wrong?” Kenmei stood still for a moment with her back to him, before she turned and made her way back over to the bed. She still could not look at him, though her emotions were plain on her face. “We were both in the wrong, Judar.”

“Uh, how is that? You’re the one that left me behind while I was seriously hurt.” He crossed his arms, blank gaze turning into a glare. Kenmei nodded, nervously running her fingers through a lock of her hair. “Yes, you’re right. That was wrong of me to leave you like that. But, you hurt me. What you said to me, a Partner shoulder never say, let alone a lover.” Tears began to fill her eyes again, but she kept them restrained, wanting to try and be strong in front of him.

Judar shook his head. “I didn’t even say anything wrong. I just told you to stay back-“ “No, you told me to stay back because I would just get in the way.” Kenmei cut him off, even though she knew it irritated him, she had to get the story straight. “And you got mad at me for helping you. That machine would have killed you if I didn’t do anything. You treated me like I was just a burden, like I was useless!” She hiccupped as her emotions started to get the best of her, though she still didn’t cry. “You were being stubborn! I saved you, but your pride and ego wouldn’t let you accept it!”

Silent as he absorbed her words, Judar’s gaze moved from on her to the phone in his lap, feeling like he couldn’t look at her. As she told him these things, the memories all flooded back to him and he remembered what he had said. She was right, he had treated her badly in the moment, but he still felt like her transgression was worse. “Yeah, I may have said something that hurt your feelings, but you left me sitting there with broken bones and unable to walk.” He turned his empty gaze back towards her, watching as her strong front began to crumble. “And you refused to even help me with my pain. I think that’s a little worse, don’t you?”

To his surprise, Kenmei nodded, agreeing with him. “No, you’re right. And that’s why I’m here, to apologize. I should never have done that, no matter what you said to me. My own pride was getting in the way of rational thought. I let you suffer, and I have no right to ask for your forgiveness.” She hung her head as her body trembled, no longer to hold back her tears. “I was cruel. I’m sorry!” She brought her hands up to cover her face, trying to hide her shame.

Judar could only stare at her, conflicted on his feelings. Sure, he was angry that she had done that to him, but he could also understand. He knew she was a woman with fragile emotions and that speaking to her in such a way would crush her. Though, he was so overwhelmed with anger at the time, he didn’t even think about how his words would affect her. He had assumed that she wouldn’t take it so seriously, that she would understand his frustration at the time. But, he was wrong, and he knew him talking to her like that in the first place caused all of this.

He reached up and rubbed the back of his neck, giving a sigh. “Come here, Mei.” Sniffling and hiccupping, Kenmei timidly made her way over. Judar moved over a bit on his bed, giving her some room to sit with him, and Kenmei took him up on the invitation. She sat beside him, though was more on her side to face him, hiding her face in his chest as he put an arm around her. Kenmei let one of her legs rest across his lap, keeping her body as close to his as she could. She missed his embrace these past few days and couldn’t help but to let out all her emotions as he held her.

Judar used his other hand to stroke the back of her head, allowing her to cry it out. “None of this would have happened if I hadn’t of talked to you like that. I’m sorry, too. But don’t expect me to be so forgiving next time you leave me like that.” Wiping her face clean, Kenmei tilted her head to look up at him, expecting to see his serious, blank expression. Instead, his expression was quite soft and comforting, and she felt immediately relieved. “Thank you… No matter what, I promise I’ll never leave you like that again. You promise to never leave me to the side like that again, too, right? I’m your partner, I’m here to help you.”

As she placed her hand against his cheek gently, Judar nodded, turning his face more into her palm. Her touch and smell of perfume on her wrist comforted him, and all thoughts of anger or frustration were erased from his mind. “I promise.” He placed his hand over hers, kissing her palm softly before moving his kisses slowly up her arm. Kenmei felt her face flush, her heart beginning to pound heavily against her chest as she watched him. Her entire body tingled with each kiss, and she was in awe of her own adoration of him.

She wanted to tell him so badly, about how much she loved him. These feelings felt just like when she wanted to tell him about her affections months before but was too scared to. It was exactly the same situation, and yet she couldn’t find the courage within herself to say it. She was pulled from her thoughts as his kisses reached near her elbow and he used a slight tug to urge her body further to the side. Following his silent instructions, she moved to straddle him, her hips resting snuggly into his.

Kenmei felt wary of his wounds for a moment but was put at ease as he put his arms around her, his hands caressing her back with a firm grip as he kept her body close to his. Though her body was on fire as his lips explored her neck, she was aware that this was a highly inappropriate place to be doing this. Someone could walk in at any second, be it a nurse or one of their friends. She knew their friends would hide it, but a nurse would surely tell. Neither of them could afford another mark on their record.

Judar seemed to be able to read her mind, his lips moving up to speak quietly into her ear. “Scared of getting caught?” His breath was hot against her skin and her mind was swimming, already feeling every inch of her body aching for him. “Yes… We could get another write up for this.” He nodded, though didn’t release his grip on her, moving his lips to her bare shoulder instead. “Yeah, you’re right. You’re just… So soft.” Kenmei felt her face flush at his words, and she could tell how badly he wanted her. His member was pressing up against her body, and having only a skirt on, the thin fabric of his hospital gown and her underwear were the only things separating them.

In fact, the length of his manhood was pressing perfectly along her sex. Carefully, Kenmei reached down and pulled his gown out of the way, until only her underwear separated their skin. Judar tightened his grip on her, able to feel her heat and wetness, even with the silk fabric still separating them. He cursed softly, hiding his face in the nape of her neck. Kenmei took a quick glance back at the door before she turned her head towards his, her face half hidden in his hair. “Maybe… just a little.” She spoke softly as she began to rock her hips slowly, rubbing herself against him.

Even with her underwear in the way, the feeling of him stroking against her clit as she grinded her hips against him put her into a state of bliss, moving to hold into his shoulders tightly. She had completely soaked through the fabric by now, and she slid across his throbbing cock easily. Though it felt amazing, Judar could barely stand it, his entire being begging to enter her. He could feel his tip press into the slightly hallow area of her underwear with each stroke, especially as her movements became more aggressive.

Kenmei’s body trembled as she gripped onto him tighter, only allowing soft, sharp gasps to escape her lips as she fought back the urge to moan. This only increased Judar’s frustration further, as hearing such noises only made him want to make love to her more. He could tell that she was already getting close to finishing, and though he could easily finish like this, he didn’t want to. “Mei…” He spoke a clearly as he could, moving his hands to grip her still rocking hips. “Let me… I need to…”

Without a second thought, Kenmei reached down moved her underwear out of the way while her hips were still back. As she brought them back forward, she caught his tip and he easily slid into her. Thought the blissful feeling of him inside her caught her off guard for a moment, she quickly picked back up the rocking of her hips. The new feeling almost immediately pushing him over the edge, Judar gripped back onto her tightly, holding himself back. At this point in their relationship, he had yet to finish inside her, even though she had told him once before that it was okay for him to do so.

Now, he was so overwhelmed with pleasure and his feelings for her that he wanted to badly. He spoke through ragged breaths, feeling her body beginning to constrict around him. “Can I?” Though his face was still hidden, he felt her nod, and her words only spiked his need for release. “Y-yes, I want it… I want you to…” Her restrained voice and obvious need to moan was too much for him, moving to grip onto her hips as he urged her to move faster. “You want me to cum in you?”

“Yes!" She gasped as quietly as she could, clinching her eyes shut tightly. "Please-" She inhaled sharply as Judar urged her hips to move up and down instead of rocking back and forth. He could feel her body quivering in his grip as he dug his fingers into her hips, knowing she was close. Even still, as she was finally pushed over the edge and he could feel her body pulse and squeeze against him, he forced her body to move.

The feeling of him moving within her through her orgasm was almost mind numbing as her upper body collapsed more into him, still moving as he wished. With a restrained groan, Judar forced her hips down snugly into his, and she felt his hot release into her. Her body still pulsing with pleasure from her orgasm, she continued to slowly grind her hips against his, causing him to shudder and wrap his arms around her hips tightly.

As the pleasure passed, Kenmei's movements came to a stop and she kept herself resting against him, still feeling as if her body were on fire. Kissing her neck softly, Judar let one of his hands travel up her back, stopping to rest at the base of her neck. "Damn it, Mei... I can't believe how badly I needed that." Kenmei leaned up off of him until their faces were level, moving her hand to rest on his cheek and stroke it gently with her thumb.

"You weren't the only one. I-"

Knock knock

Chapter Text

The two both felt as if their souls nearly left their body, but Judar recovered faster, pulling Kenmei into him and yanking the sheet up to her shoulders. Holding the sheet up with one hand, He gripped the back of her head and shoved it down into his shoulder with the other, making her give a muffled yelp. Though she struggled at first, she froze when he hissed at her to stop moving, and she quickly understood. Pretend to be asleep! Just as the door started to squeak open, she fell limp, her face hidden in the nape of his neck. She did her best to control her breathing, but her heart was pounding so heavily it took every bit of her self-control to keep her body from trembling.

She guessed that Judar must have been doing the same, because she heard soft whispers from the door. “Oh, they’re asleep.” The voice came from Alibaba, and the next to speak was obviously that of Nanami. “What?!” Someone shushed her, and she quickly lowered her voice. “Dang it, we came all this way and they’re asleep!” The door began to squeak shut again, and Hakuryuu’s voice spoke softly as it did. “We’ll come back later.” Once it clicked shut, the two on the bed kept sill for another few seconds, making sure that there was no sound or movement that would indicate the presence of anyone.

Kenmei only felt safe to shift her head a bit as Judar’s moved, a long sigh escaping his lips. “Holy shit, that was way too close.” Slowly, Kenmei lifted herself from him, the adrenalin from the shock causing her body to tremble. “M-maybe we should have waited until you were out of here.” Judar snickered, over the shock of the intrusion already. His hand came up and rested on the side of her neck, giving a soft stroke to her cheek with his thumb. “I wouldn’t have been able to, Mei. Like I said, I seriously needed you just then.” Kenmei felt her face flush from his touch, starting to become aware that his member had yet to leave her, even in its flaccid state.

“I think I should probably get off you, now… Just in case that happens again.” She lifted her hips and slid to the side to sit beside him, the wet feeling between her legs making her wiggle a bit uncomfortably. Judar chuckled at the way she acted, using the sheet to wipe himself clean. “There’s a bathroom right there, Mei.” She grumbled a bit in defiance, getting herself back into place against him as she had been previously, almost forcing him to place his arm around her again. “Well, someone’s clingy.” He spoke with a teasing tone, but still held her in a firm embrace.

Kenmei leaned up and kissed his neck softly, her hand sliding up to caress his cheek. “It’s been hard enough staying away from you, knowing you were mad at me. I don’t want to be away from you…” Judar brought his free hand up and placed it over hers, giving a sigh as he leaned back to relax.

“Don’t worry, I don’t want you to go anywhere. Though, I really do think a nap is in order.”

After a few more days, Judar was finally released from the medical wing once they healers were sure all his major wounds had been taken care of and that no complications were going to arise. Now, he was heading down the hallway, alone, his chosen path leading him towards the place he and Kenmei agreed to meet. Though outwardly he seemed quite content to any passerby’s, inside he was struggling to keep his composure. He could feel the probing at the back of his skull, that woman’s dirty fingers digging through his brain to try and reach him. At first, he tried to ignore it, but it was becoming increasingly more painful the longer it continued.

Eventually, he could no longer stand it, and he took a turn into small hallway that ventured off into who knows where. Though it wasn’t as private as he had hoped, it would have to do, as the pain was nearly unbearable. Getting as far away from the main hallway as he could, he rested his back against the wall, reaching up to grip the back of his head in pain.

“Fuck, alright! What do you want!”

Excuse me? Judar, my dear, my patience with you is growing very, very thin. How dare you not respond to me!

“I’ve been in the hospital after getting fucked up by a robot in class, I just got out. I’m not really in the mood to talk to you.”

I don’t care what reason you have for not wanting to speak with me. I want to know something, and I want the truth.

“What?”

Have you and dear Hakuryuu been planning to go against my orders?

“Why the fuck would we do that?”

Because you’re rebellious, and very intelligent. I wouldn’t put it past either of you to come up with a plan, such as… Oh, I don’t know, us the relic to kill me to exact your revenge? Then you would have a soul to use.

“That’s a little extreme.”

Is it? I’m sure that Sinbad would not hesitate to help you, considering how sympathetic that man can be. But, I hope you understand something, dear. I will do anything to obtain that relic. And you, whom I love so dearly. If you plan to get in my way, I will dispose of you.

“Love me? What a fucking joke.”

I do love you. I raised you since you were just a baby. Ever since I laid eyes on you, before I took you as my own, I loved you.

“No, you’ve loved what I am. Killing someone’s family and basically kidnapping them is not love.”

And yet, you follow me. My dear, please don’t fight against me. You will have everything you want if you just follow my directions. If you don’t, then I will have to kill you. You, Hakuryuu… and that sweet little partner of yours.

“Trying to threaten me, huh? You must have forgotten you wanted us to kill our partners. So, threatening her now to make me more compliant isn’t exactly going to work.”

You are making it very hard for me to trust you. This next coming school year, I may decide to take a different approach. You will hear from me then.

Judar felt immediate relief from the pounding and scraping in his skull, giving a loud frustrated sigh as he leaned his head back against the stone wall. “Damn that woman…” He hissed, closing his eyes as he tried to calm his anger. Before he could even begin to relax, he heard a soft voice speak at his side, and he immediately flinched away from the sound. Tripping over his own feet and loosing balance against the wall, he stumbled and fell backwards, landing hard on his backside. Wincing, he turned a squinted eye glare up towards the figure who spoke, preparing to yell at them. The words caught in his throat, however, as he recognized the form of Kenmei, standing a little way from him with a concerned look on her face.

Judar felt his stomach instantly bubble in fear, though he did his best to hide it, covering his expression with an annoyed stare up at her. “What the hell, Freckles? It’s not nice to sneak up on people!” Shit, how much of that did she hear me say? I had been speaking quietly, she couldn’t have heard much… Kenmei quickly walked over, kneeling down beside him in concern. “I-I’m sorry, Judar, I didn’t mean to. You didn’t show up to where we said we were meeting, so I came to look for you…”

Observing her expression, Judar could tell that the concern was not for his wellbeing. No, she was concerned about what he had been saying or who he had been talking to. His thoughts were only confirmed as she moved to sit on the floor, nervously beginning to run her fingers through a lock of her hair. “Uhm… What woman were you talking to?” Sighing and trying to stay calm, Judar shook his head, pulling his phone out of his pocket and waving it in the air a bit. “My mother-“ The words almost made him vomit. “-called me today. She never does, all she did was bitch at me.”

Kenmei’s worried expression flooded with curiosity, as Judar never spoke about his family to her. “Your mother? Really? Why did you say ‘damn her’?” Shoving the phone back into his pocket, Judar stood, holding his hand out to help her. “Because all she did was bitch at me. It’s annoying, you know?” Kenmei took his hand and stood with his support. “Oh, I see. You don’t have a good relationship with her?” Judar only shook his head, and wanting to avoid more questions, he just gripped onto her hand and began to walk, pulling her forward out of the hallway. Kenmei followed, and though she was still intensely curious, she could tell that he was becoming uncomfortable.

“I’m sorry, I won’t ask any more questions. You can tell me when you’re ready.” Lacing her fingers with his, she leaned her head on his arm, trying to comfort him. Within a moment of walking in silence, Judar relaxed, her company and sincerity soothing his irritation. “It’s alright, Mei. I’d just rather not think about it. Speaking of family, though… Are you going to take advantage of that weekend where we get to go home?” Kenmei’s attitude instantly brightened from solemn to eager, leaning up off him so she could look up at his face with a bright smile.

“I am! I told my brother we’re going to go see him!” She brought her free hand around to grip onto his arm, hugging it to her side gently. Judar raised an eyebrow at her, feeling his face flush. “We? Can I ever go with you?” Kenmei nodded, though her happy smile turned into a sour glare up at him. “You’re not excited?” With a roll of his eyes, Judar nudged her gently, looking away as he grew a bit flustered. “I never said that! I just didn’t know I could go with you!” Kenmei nudged him back, hugging his arm tighter. “You can, I already asked. Will you go with me to meet my brother?”

The reluctance was clear on his expression and only confirmed by his ears as they sat flat against his head. The thought completely embarrassed him. Meeting her family? Sure, it was the only family she had, and it was just one person. It was the fact that it was her older brother who she had talked about many times as being very protective. A confrontation was something that he did not want to deal with, and he was also nervous that it would damage what bond he had made with her to this point. Kenmei tugged on her arm gently, trying to gain his attention back to her, worry on her features. “Do you not want to meet him?”

Judar shook his head, his face flushing. “N-no, that’s not the problem. What if… uh…” He glared at the wall beside them as they walked, trying to avoid looking at her as he only grew more flustered. Kenmei frowned, leaning forward a bit trying to see his face. “What if what?” Judar shoved his free hand into his pocket, starting to feel defensive against her prying. “What if… he, uhm… Doesn’t like me? Or whatever.” His voice became a barely audible mumble by the time he finished speaking, and it took Kenmei a moment to realize what he was saying.

Unable to help herself, she began to laugh, bringing a hand up to cover her mouth as Judar turned his flustered gaze down at her. “D-Don’t laugh at me!” Kenmei shook her head as she waved her hand, her face flushing as she tried to contain her giggles. “Oh, Judar, you’re so cute!” Kenmei didn’t even get to see Judar’s face flush bright red before he pulled away from her walking faster as to escape the embarrassing torment. In fact, his reaction only caused her to laugh more, having her nearly doubling over.

“No, come back!” Forcing herself to regain some composure, she ran after him, getting in front of him to stop his advancement. Her hands on his chest, she used whatever strength she had to get him to stop walking, though she knew it would take a miracle from the Gods to get him to look her in the face. “Judar, I’m sorry, I’m not laughing at you. It’s just so cute that you would be worried that my brother wont like you. You don’t have to.” She reached her hand up and placed it on his cheek, her cool skin instantly warmed by the heat of his cheeks. With obvious reluctance, he looked down at her, one of his ears lifting slightly from being flat against his skull.

“Why wouldn’t I need to be worried? You said he’s protective of you. And so am I. We might, I dunno… clash or something?” He crossed his arms over his chest, and Kenmei moved her hands to rest at his sides instead. “He’s such a kind person. Really, you don’t have to worry about that. Okay? Just… be yourself! Or, maybe-“ She cut herself off as she started to think, wondering if him being himself was really a good idea around her brother. Judar grumbled as he noticed her pause, leaning down towards her a bit, causing her face to flush.

“Maybe you should just stop at ‘just be yourself’, huh?” He went around her to start heading down the hallway again. As he passed her, he gave her backside a good smack, forcing a yelp from her. He took off running before Kenmei could even have time to try and snatch him, cackling as he went. Face a dark red, she began to chase him, though was greatly slowed down by the weight of her school bag. “Judar, come back!”

Judar’s laughter only grew louder as he fled, rounding a corner and vanishing from her sight. “See ya!”

Chapter Text

Kenmei gave a small sigh at the feeling of Judar’s fingers running through her hair. Laying with her head on his thigh, her cheeks pressed against his skin, she stared at a particular spot on his black boxers. His touch was incredibly soothing to her, and it calmed her racing heart, brought on by a particularly bad nightmare. Judar had woken with her, and was now sitting up on the bed, leaning back against the stone wall as he played with her hair. Though he was a bit grumpy from being woken up before sunrise, he was used to her awakening in such a panic.

“Want to tell me what it was about?” He spoke with a groggy slur, his head leaning back against the wall with his eyes closed. Kenmei, having been laying facing him, turned her head slightly. Her eyes traveled from his hips, up his torso to look at his face, feeling a bit guilty for having woken him. She turned her face back into his leg, pulling the black fuzzy blanket tighter around her. Even though the nightmare had frightened her greatly, she felt comforted in the confines of his small, dark room. The only source of light was a small lamp she had turned on by the bed when she had woken, though it only cast a dim glow on them.

Closing her eyes, she gave a small smile at the feeling of his fingers massaging the base of her skull. “I honestly can’t remember much now… It’s okay. I’m sorry I woke you up.” Though she couldn’t see, she heard him shake his head. “Don’t worry about it, Freckles. We would have only slept another thirty minutes or something.”

Kenmei looked towards the window, even though she knew she couldn’t see anything. Hating the sunlight to bother him, Judar had put up a blanket to covered it completely, except for the very top where a sliver of light could come through. At this point, there was none, and she knew it was more like an hour until sunrise. “Did you even check the time?” Judar grumbled at this question, glaring over at his phone on the bedside table. “No, and my phone is too far away.” He yawned loudly, his fingers tracing the curve of Kenmei’s ear. She shivered at the feeling, goosebumps spreading across her skin. “Ah, that tickles!”

Judar chuckled, moving his fingers back into her hair. “Oops.” She turned her head to look back up at him, smiling. “That’s alright. I’m glad you stayed up with me. Thank you…” Judar nodded as he gazed down at her. “No problem. But I expect compensation for it later.” Kenmei felt her face flush, narrowing her eyes at him. “Compensation? What, like an extra thirty minutes added onto your daily nap? Going to bed early?” A small smirk crossed Judar’s features, and Kenmei thought he looked very malicious in the dim light.

“I’m going to leave that up to you. I’ll let you know when your debt has been satisfied.” He pinched her cheek playfully, though she reached out from the blanket and smacked his hand away gently, her face scrunching up in irritation. “Hey! Debt? Seriously.” She propped herself up on her elbow, looking back up at him with an annoyed pout. “That’s not fair, I can’t help it I had a nightmare.” Judar moved her hair out of her face gently, smirk still plastered to his face. “But you are taking sleeping time away from me.” He spoke with a teasing tone, though Kenmei still couldn’t tell if he was serious.

She reached up, pinching his nose shut. “Hush! You can sleep on the ride my village in a few hours!” Judar allowed her to grip him, though he did reach up and grab her wrist gently. “Oh yeah?” The grip on his nose forced his voice to increase in pitch and Kenmei couldn’t help but laugh, releasing him. She laid back down, her head once again on his lap, though she rolled over onto her back. A bit of a chill hit her as the blanket fell away from her movement, but she didn’t mind, finding that she was getting a bit hot with it wrapped around her.

Giving a good stretch as she yawned, she jumped a bit in surprise when Judar’s hand came down to caress her face. Letting her arms stay resting up above her head and across his lap, she looked up at him, her cheeks flushing at the calm expression on his features. His eyes followed his hand as he trailed it from her cheek, down her neck and along her collarbone. Though he was tired, the feeling of her skin was enticing, and it was made even more so buy the way it glowed from the dim light.

Kenmei thought that by now, she would be used to the way he touched her, but she found that it felt like a new experience every time. She wasn’t sure if that was because she craved it so often, or if it was truly because he could be very unpredictable. Experience had revealed to her that Judar had a thing for touching or caressing her, and though she always enjoyed the affection, she found that it wasn’t always consistent. She knew that it varied depending on his mood or his needs, and the thought of not knowing what he was going to do excited her. In truth, it didn’t really matter how he decided to touch her, as she found herself loving anything he did to her.

More often than not, he was rough with her, forcing her into a blissful submission and ravaging her until neither of them had an ounce of energy left. She loved his rough grip on her, his bites and his teasing. Even when stroking her hair earlier, the thought of his grip on it came to her mind. She often felt dirty for thinking of these things, embarrassed by her own cravings. Judar, however, encouraged them, often using it as a tease against her by forcing her to say what she wanted.

Though, right now, his touch was not like that. It was a soft and gentle touch that sent goosebumps rising across her skin and her stomach to flutter. It expressed his adoration of her, a physical expression, since he found himself unable to verbally. Kenmei wasn’t sure why, if it was his pride, embarrassment, or lack of understanding his own feelings. At first, it did bother her, the way he couldn’t express himself with words. She felt as if it were because he didn’t care about her, but she knew that wasn’t true. In time, she had come to understand that he had a very difficult time expressing himself verbally, and would rather show it. Even in actions so simple as stroking her hair while she recovered from a nightmare.

Kenmei loved this touch the most.

As his fingers traced the upper and lower curves of her breasts, the sensation almost felt to her like he was touching her skin directly, even though the cloth of her t-shirt separated their skin. His eyes coming back to meet with hers, Kenmei felt her face only grow hotter, as did the rest of her body. She both hated and loved how he could send her body into a raging mess just by looking at her.

Judar, however, greatly enjoyed it. He loved how she completely melted, either by a simple touch or look, and how she enjoyed letting him do whatever he pleased with her. She was submissive and fragile, and he loved bringing her to a point where she couldn’t even move, her mind completely numbed by pleasure. Though, it wasn’t just the sexual reactions he enjoyed bringing out of her. A gentle touch, like he was using now with fingers trailing across her stomach, always pulled her adoration for him to the surface.

He knew that she was too scared to say that she loved him. He could see it in everything that she did, every touch or kind gesture. And though he loved the affection, he was also glad she had yet to say it. He knew he wouldn’t be able to say it back. Not because it wasn’t true, but because he just wasn’t sure he could admit such deep feelings to anyone, or himself. He had never felt real love for anyone before, and it was a terrifying feeling. For now, he hoped that it would stay this way, and he wouldn’t have to upset her with his inability to admit something so crucial.

Judar was pulled from his thoughts by the sound of her releasing a soft gasp, feeling tingles spread across his skin. He first noticed how flushed her face was, her arms still resting above her head and her chest heaving slightly with heavy breaths. As if influenced by his thoughts, his hand had slipped inside of her underwear, pleasuring her. She was hot and wet already, and the wiggling of her body did little to quell his urge to touch her. Once she opened herself to him, he grew more aggressive, alternating between stroking her clit and slipping his fingers inside her.

Kenmei brought one of her arms down, gripping onto his forearm as her hips arched up towards his touch. She wasn’t sure where this had come from, but she couldn’t deny the pleasure. Eyes clenched shut tightly, she did her best to restrain any noises, know that their loft mates could hear them. It had been an embarrassing experience on more than one occasion, and she had learned that she had to stay quiet. Judar didn’t always let her be, and it was just another thing he used against her. He would pleasure her until she broke, and this moment was no exception.

She turned her head to hide her flushed face in his hip, able to feel the hardness of him against the back of her head. This only spiked her arousal more, and within minutes, she climaxed. Her body twitched as he mercilessly stroked her clit through the orgasm, only spiking the intensity of it and forcing her to grip his arm with both hands. As the waves of pleasure began to cease, Kenmei struggled to pull her energy forward, rolling over onto her stomach as Judar removed his hand from her.

His member had already escaped from the hole in his boxers, and Kenmei wasted no time, holding him in place with one hand as she ran her tongue up his length. Starting from the base and working her way up to the tip, she teased him a bit at first, knowing he enjoyed it, even if it did frustrate him. Eventually, she took him fully into her mouth, alternating between taking him in deeply and pausing to roll her tongue around his tip. The feeling of his hand coming to rest on the back of her head and the soft gasps he made were enough to excite her. Growing more excited in her urge to pleasure him, she took him in deeper, using her hand as well with a firm grip.

Judar almost couldn’t hold it, the feeling of his trip pressing against the back of her throat was driving him crazy. She was rough and her grip was firm, just as he preferred it, and he was always quick to lose himself when she did this. In the moment, he recalled the first time she had done this for him, and it was quite a negative memory. She had lost a bet, and sucking his dick had been the punishment. Much to his misfortune, she was terrible at it, and it ended up being a learning experience for her. Now, she knew exactly what to do to get him off, and he could have sworn she improved every time.

Feeling himself getting close, he stopped her, using a grip on her hair. Curious and confused, she looked up at him, her face flushed and breathing heavily. Keeping his grip, he urged her up and onto his lap, straddling him. Understanding what he wanted without having to speak, Kenmei moved her underwear over to the side, lowering herself down onto him. Pleasure rolled through her body once again as she began to rock her hips, doing her best to keep quiet. One hand gripped her hip while the other came up to tangle into her hair, pulling her upper body closer. His lips trailed her neck, kissing and nibbling where he pleased.

It was ecstacy, and they both found themselves completely lost in each other.

...

They made love until the sun shone brightly through the crack at the top of the window, and the blaring alarm from Judar’s phone interrupted them. Refusing to release Kenmei’s lips, Judar reached over and snatched the phone off the bedside table. Fumbling with it, he eventually pressed the volume button on the side, silencing the irritating alarm. His body resting on hers, he dropped the phone and brought his hand back around, tangling his fingers into her hair. Though his lips and grip on her hair captivated her, she eventually pulled away, knowing they had to get ready for the days travels.

“Even though I really don’t want to-” She had to pause as he kissed her again. “We had better get up or we won’t catch the ship.” With a sigh, Judar reluctantly pulled himself away from her, sitting up. His ears twitching in agitation, he yawned, scratching the back of his head. “Damn it. Time goes by too fast.” He scooted to the edge of the bed before standing, snatching his robe off of the ground. Kenmei watched him, rolling over onto her side as her body still tried to recover. “Don’t take too long in the shower.”

Judar looked back down at her, feeling his chest tighten a bit from the way she looked, a complete mess in his bed. “Tch, me? You’re the one that takes a million years. Now get up, it’s hard to resist you laying there like that.”

Within the two hours they had to get ready, both were bathed, clothed and packed to leave for the weekend. Kenmei was completely ecstatic, rocking on her feet as she stood beside Judar, waiting for their airship to dock. “I can’t wait to get home! I miss Kendai so much, and I really want you to meet him!” Judar grumbled as he glared off at some random person’s luggage that was resting on the ground, noting how much he hated the color of it. “You’ve said that like five times since we woke up.”

Kenmei gave a small pout, nudging him in the arm and gaining his attention, even though his scowl didn’t fade. “Don’t be mean. Are you excited to meet him?” Judar sighed, reaching up to rub the back of his neck. “Yeah, I guess. You know how I feel about it.” Kenmei hooked her arm with his gently, leaning her cheek on his shoulder. “I know, you’re nervous that he won’t like you. Don’t worry, he will.”

Judar looked away, flustered at the fact that she was right. “If he does or doesn’t, I don’t really care.” Kenmei gave a small roll of her eyes, knowing he was being defensive in his embarrassment. “That’s not true, you do care.” She looked up as their airship finally docked, using her free hand to pick up her carry on bag. “Maybe you should nap on the way, you grump.”

With a huff, Judar adjusted his bag on his shoulder, starting to follow the crowd to board the ship with Kenmei still latched to his arm. “I am not a grump. For your information, I’m actually in a pretty good mood.” Kenmei giggled, moving to stand behind him in line. “That scowl on your face says otherwise.” She took his braid into her free hand, running her hand along it.

Judar shivered, the feeling sending tingles down his spine. “I can’t guarantee how long my good mood will last if you keep picking on me.”

Sly smile on her face, Kenmei stuck her tongue out, making a small farting sound. She laughed as Judar glowered at her over his shoulder, her antics both humoring and irritating him at the same time.

“Freckles, you’re cute. But your cuteness-immunity to my wrath will run out.”

Kenmei could only continue to laugh, gently pushing him forward as the line moved.

“Oh no, I’m so terrified.”