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A Winter Haven

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The flurry of snowfall continued to plummet onto the grounds of Gensokyo, everything in sight coated in a bright white blanket of it.

Not a speck of what lay beneath  was showing through as brave villagers and playful youkai trekked along side the bitter cold to carry out their usual tasks. 

Most residents were bundled up within the toasty environment of their homes as their businesses halted for the day and the school was closed; much to their appreciation to Keine for doing that. 

As tranquillity of the land was shared throughout it, the scene at Eientei was a bit more livelier than usual however. 

 

The battle between Team Lunairies & Team Wintereiestial was raging on. 

"Duck!". 

"Huh, where!?". 

"No, Tenshi, Reimu means duck! As in giant snowball in ya face in 3, 2, uhm..".

"1, Cirno,1 comes next" Keine answered with slight frustration from within the mansion whilst under the kotatsu. 

Cirno's unprepared calculations cost her dearly as both Reimu & Tenshi had flung a barrage of snowballs at the ice fairy, courtesy of Letty. 

"No fair!" she sputtered out and picked herself up from Reisen's well-timed catch, "Thanks". 

"All is fair in love and snowball warfare" Tenshi grinned and jumped back behind the shield she and Reimu had crafted. 

"Think you can rustle up some icy ones?".

"Well, we could but that would be dangerous" Letty replied at the glint in Tenshi's eyes precariously, "If we were to injury either of the lunarians, I dread to think what Keine and the other lunarian Princess from the moon would do".

"Trust me, the last thing you want is to feel Yorihime's wrath" Reimu shuddered and not because of the snowball in her hands. 

"She doesn't scare me! I'm dating her sister so even if she does get mad, Toyohime will tell her off" the celestial replied with a smug look. 

Letty realised that the rumours of Tenshi preferring to live in the fast lane were true to the core. 

"Tenshi, we're not trying to kill them" Reimu thankfully chided and hit the woman on the back of her head. 

"You're no fun anymore!". 

"Yeah yeah, quit talking and get rolling". 

Yorihime sighed at the celestial, more so because it was Toyohime who had most likely taught her that philosophy. 

"At least Toyohime's teaching of Tenshi is much more productive than her training sessions with the Lunar Army" Yukari quipped and earned a light glare from Yorihime. 

Eirin laughed after sipping her tea and watched Tenshi turn to face them. 

"I don't want to hear that from somebody who got her a-". 

"Language". 

Keine gave Tenshi a stern but playful glance. 

"I don't want to hear that from somebody who got her gluteus maximus acquainted with Toyohime's foot!". 

Yukari would've been annoyed at that retort but she had to give it to Tenshi on her superb censoring. Apparently Keine's sessions with her were paying off. 

Kaguya giggled whilst preparing more ammunition for Reisen with Cirno, "You can take the teacher out of the classroom but you can't take the classroom out of the teacher" she winked at Keine. 

Reimu smirked at Tenshi, "That aside, defending your lover's honour huh?". 

"Oh please, like you didn't string up Marisa to a tree for stealing Alice's doll last week" she snickered back to her partner. 

Alice was also enjoying the goading session with amusement, said doll hovering around between her and Keine wearing a outfit similar to the shrine maiden's. She was basically a mixture of Reimu and Alice; different from any of Alice's other dolls as she had brunette hair and blue eyes. 

"That doll is sentimental!". 

"Yeaah, suree!". 

Kaguya, Cirno and Reisen retreated to their ditch that they'd carved out in the snow. 

"Alright, mutiny is most likely going to happen between them two" Kaguya stated whilst scanning the area for more advantages, "We need to think of something fast while they are busy". 

Cirno appeared confused as always, "What now?". 

"Reimu & Tenshi are to going to fight each other with any luck" Reisen answered, "It is Reimu's chance to show off in front of Alice & Tenshi's chance to show her up". 

The ice fairy's eyes widened in amazement as she fist pumped the air and mumbled out a plan that made both lunarians shake their head at her misunderstanding. 

"It's a good thing fairies cannot die" Kaguya chuckled as she and Reisen followed Cirno to the drawing board. 

They weren't sure how the fairy managed to get that there. 

 

Meanwhile, all eyes in the room turned to Alice as the battle outside went into its brief intermission. 

The blonde took in the obviously humoured face of Yukari and the more subtle grinning from the other women. 

"What..is it?". 

"Reimu can be a lot of things but sentimental is not one of them" Yukari said and leaned forward on her elbows, "Is there something we should know about her attachment to ReiAli 2.0 over there?" and pointed at the doll that was now on Alice's shoulder. 

"ReiAli 2. 0? If we ever have children, you are not naming them" Eirin added. 

"I get points for creativity don't I?". 

Eirin thought for a moment, her hand still around the youkai's waist, "Just barely". 

"You're a hard one to please, Eirin" Yukari chuckled. 

"I can't be the only one to find the thought of a child from Eirin and Yukari slightly daunting?" Keine spoke up, "Between being sages and your own individual presences, I imagine a baby with both of your genes could harness even more leverage".

It was Yorihime's turn to smirk, "Do you not think that a child from you and my cousin wouldn't be just as powerful? One with the ability over the instantaneous, the other the creator and destroyer of history. She certainly would not be one to trifle with". 

Keine focused her gaze on Kaguya, all bundled up in a scarf and hat like the other non-winter controlling women and pondered Yorihime's statement. 

She did have a point. 

"Well, yes there may be some enhanced elements regarding our child, though it does not quite match up to Eirin and Yukari's. Come to think of it, what about yourself and Reisen?". 

Yorihime's cheeks went as pink as the scarf wrapped around Reisen's neck while she and her team worked on something. 

"W-we haven't really discussed such steps yet. I mean that isn't to say that I have any qualms against progressing to motherhood with Reisen!". 

"Keine, I think you broke Yorihime" Eirin said whilst trying to retain a chuckle and placed a hand on Yorihime's shoulder to calm her down. 

"I don't know about you all but I am imagining their child to be a mirror image of Yorihime but with ears" Yukari smirked and placed her fingers over her own head to mimic Reisen's ears, "Ah that truly is endearing". 

"Now now, Yukari" Eirin interjected as Yorihime was either going to evaporate due to shyness or decorate the living room with the youkai's remains. But she herself thought the mental picture of that would be just as cute. 

Alice didn't mind talking about this as it moved the conversation off of her, so she thought before Yukari locked back onto her again when she noticed the puppeteer hiding behind her tea. 

"You still owe us an explanation" the blonde peered with a grin, "Are we on the right topic?". 

"Nowhere near but you knew that and wanted to tease Yorihime" Alice hit back as ReiAli 2.0 copied Alice's body language and appeared to huff out. 

"Some youkai simply do not change" the lunarian muttered. 

Eirin urged Alice to continue before Yukari & Yorihime went for round 3, "Please, you were saying?". 

The blonde picked the doll up and let her sit comfortably within her palm as she reminisced fondly of how her existence came to be. 

"Yukari isn't wrong about her being part me and Reimu.. " she said but quickly added, "In a strictly theoretical sense" as the faces of the women around her asked the unasked question of; biologically using your magic?

She ruffled the doll's hair and continued, "I actually made her after I met Reimu during that incident".

"Are you referring to Yuyuko's cherry blossom incident, that would have been the first time you met right?". 

Alice shook her head at Yukari's question, "Not quite. I mean the first time I met Reimu. When she came to Makai". 

"Ah the demon tourism issue that went on" Keine confirmed, "That was interesting to say the least". 

"It's surreal to see how much time has flown by but yes, meeting Reimu and battling with her left a big impact on myself".

Out of all the scenarios, helping Reimu clean up the shrine after the incident was one of the more pleasant ones. 

"Love at first sight was it?" Yukari grinned as the blonde seemed to have gone into her own dream world. 

"Love, adoration, familiarity, I couldn't really say to be honest" Alice replied, the smile still evident on her face, "I thought she was intriguing. Even back then, when she put her all into everything to a point where you can see it in her face, it was an incredible sight". 

The blonde craned her head to look at the carnage outside that was about to resume. She could see Reimu giving out orders to Tenshi and Letty, her nose pink now & her eyes sparkling with enthusiasm. The full sleeved caplet that she had made for the brunette kept her warm, as did the boots and gloves. 

Reimu simply tugged on Alice's heart in ways she didn't believe was possible. 

The other women could see how struck Alice was, completely oblivious at the fact that she had zoned out again just by watching Reimu being Reimu. 

A woman she wouldn't want any other way. 

"After I left Makai to pursue my own path away from my upbringing, it was Reimu that haunted my memories and Gensokyo seemed like home" the woman continued, "The whole demon tourism situation was still ongoing, which I think is what led Remilia & the Scarlet Devil Mansion here to begin with but, being in the forest hid me away from being recognised. I hadn't anticipated meeting Reimu again during the cherry blossom incident".

"As clichéd as this will sound, life has a strange way of bringing two people together again after a departure that seemed permanent" Eirin added gently and smiled at the magician in understanding, "I can vouch for that myself". 

Yukari chuckled and stroked the lunarian's hand in hers beneath the table with her thumb, "Indeed. To think, if I hadn't have weakened the barrier between the Netherworld and Gensokyo, you two may not have crossed paths again". 

The thought was one that had accuracy and brought a bout of dread within Alice's stomach as she returned her gaze back to the doll and then Yukari. 

"I have a feeling you have a lot to do with many of Gensokyo's incidents, Yukari" Yorihime grinned after checking on Reisen. 

"Don't encourage her" Keine added with a laugh at Yukari's faux upset expression. 

"Well, on this occasion, I can hold some gratitude for Yukari's actions" Alice said which appeased the youkai, "Despite Reimu not recalling who I was at first".

"I wouldn't take that to heart, Reimu's attention span was atrocious as a teenager" Yukari quipped. 

Yorihime couldn't contain her own humoured scoff at that one as she sipped her tea. 

ReiAli 2.0 sat down briefly near Keine when she asked, "So how did she come into the equation to a point where Reimu was gearing up to go after Tenshi & exterminating Marisa?".

Alice answered Keine's curiosity as the doll fluttered around the table again, "I made her not long after the Makai incident. I suppose I didn't want to forget what Reimu looked like or who she was. It was unlikely for that to happen but having some sort of replica of her helped me come out of my own shell eventually".

"Has she always been functioning?" Eirin questioned when the doll came near her and she ruffled the brunette hair gently much to her delight. 

"No she hasn't. Even after getting reacquainted with Reimu, I kept her out of the way till Reimu spotted her" Alice answered and then quieted her next sentence due to shyness, "She had a lot of questions as to why I had a doll that was a copy of her". 

"Imitation is the best form of flattery I hear" Eirin supplied helpfully. 

Alice laughed softly at that as it was true in some sense. 

"After the initial shock wore off and she seemed to take to it, I brought the doll to the closest I could to being a sentient doll like I managed with Shanghai and gave her to Reimu after our first date".

"Ah so that does explain why there would be a death threat on the head of the one to take the doll" Keine said, "That is quite charming of Reimu".

"Certainly something that wasn't Reimu-like but under your influence, she's growing" Yorihime directed at the magician who cleared her throat at the complement, "I am relieved that she does have some positive influences in life as Yukari & Marisa cannot count as..responsible". 

"Excuse me, I refute that comment". 

"Speaking of irresponsible blondes.. " Eirin trailed off with an innocent smile at Yukari's indignant face," Where is Toyohime?".

 

A yelp was heard from the front and they all looked up to see Tenshi, Reimu and Letty in quite a predicament.

A more concerning sight was the overgrown Cirno who had kicked a tidal wave of snow which was ploughing in their direction. 

"Kaguya.. " Keine managed to say between a stifle of her laughter at what her lover had done. 

The Princess had used her abilities to give Cirno a grow spurt close enough to match Suika's giant form. She towered over all of the women enough to deliver a small kick to deploy the ultimate snow wave. 

"Eat snow, Team Wintereiestial!" she bellowed as the snow wave was a minute away from engulfing the other trio and possibly ripping out Eientei's gates, "Team Lunaires rule!".

"I guess this is it. I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye to Toyohime but I will accept that this is how I die". 

Tenshi's hat went flying backwards but the woman paid no regard to it and couldn't take her eyes off of their impending doom. 

The three women stared up at the snow barrelling forward with a grinning Cirno even more annoying as a giant. 

"How does that even work? Do you die again? Were you born a celestial? Do you think Alice will marry me?" Reimu sighed whilst awaiting her fate, "So many questions we will never get an answer to". 

"As an honour to have been a part of your team, I shall find out the answers after your demise" Letty added solemnly. 

Tenshi and Reimu both turned their heads to look at Letty who was stood between them as the celestial muttered, "It's alright for some..".

Naturally, nobody was going to die that day as Yukari had started to open up a gap to swallow the snow wave in, though someone else beat her to ensuring that the collision didn't happen. 

At least not to Team Wintereiestial. 

Just before it could bury them in it, a ferocious wind attacked the wall of snow and delivered it right back the Team Lunairies. 

"Oh sh-". 

Kaguya, Cirno and Reisen didn't have a chance to flee the scene as the wrath of the wind that had struck sent the snow over them but with the intent of letting at least a smaller wave land on the trio. 

"Cheaters never prosper!" a voice yelled out. 

"Toyohime?!". 

Tenshi would recognise her voice anywhere and whipped around to see her saviour stood there with a grin on her face. 

The lunarian winked at her, "So sorry for my lateness, you know how the lunar rabbits can be" she said as Tenshi ran to her to close the space. 

"When did you even get here to do that?" Tenshi questioned as she flung her arms around the blonde's neck and embraced her hard, "We didn't see it happening!". 

"When you are familiar with Kaguya's abilities to the extent that we are, it isn't hard to miss" Toyohime replied and pressed against Tenshi as much as possible, "You are freezing, let's get you inside". 

The celestial sighed pleasantly and nodded into the crook of Toyohime's neck. She felt her hat being placed back on her head and made some more gratuitous noises that thrilled the lunarian as she led her in. 

Near their shield, Reimu's knees buckled as the fear of being drowned in snow finally settled, Letty holding her up and taking her back inside the mansion. She weakly showed her hand up to Toyohime in thanks whilst shaking her head. 

"I should've known that they would plan something like that. If Cirno isn't dead, I'm going to kill her myself". 

"I may join you for that on this occasion" Letty smiled. 

"A divine intervention if I'd ever seen one" Yukari stated with an impressed sigh when Letty deposited Reimu into Alice's arms. 

"That is my sister for you..well, when she isn't slacking". 

"Hey, I do not slack, I pace myself". 

"Funny, Reimu says the same". 

"If I wasn't so cold & Alice was not here.." the brunette shivered out the rest of her threat to Yukari whilst pressed back against her lover's chest and drinking tea. 

"Seems like we are still missing a few" Eirin said and kept her eyes outside. 

Before Keine and Yorihime could share the same glance of slight worry, a rustling could be heard from the front that caught their attention. Eirin was on stand by just in case Reisen would've been exposed to much more than she could take though Toyohime knew the woman would be just fine; they had raised her after all. 

Two ears peeked out of the snow before the muffled voice got louder, 

"Princess down, fairy down!" Reisen exclaimed whilst jumping out of the pile up with Kaguya on her back and a now bite sized Cirno clinging onto her ears. 

The others could see the relief on Yorihime and Keine's faces even through their smiles as Reisen sauntered up to them and gave her own grin. 

"Master, you were supposed to be on our side" she commented after placing Kaguya where Keine was and giving Cirno to Letty. 

The ice fairy was knocked out for the count as ReiAli 2.0 watched on with curiosity. She poked one of Cirno's wings with amazement as it twitched, entertaining the tiny doll enough to move away from Reimu's petting. 

"Ah but the fight was not a fair one after all, Reisen, I thought we taught you better" she replied with a coy smile & ran her hand through Tenshi's hair. 

Kaguya was being warmed up by Keine as Eirin replied, "You have a certain someone to thank for her corruption" and not so subtlety pointed at the princess. 

"I prefer the term educating if you please". 

Tenshi snickered as she basked against the attention Toyohime was pouring on her, the smell of peaches feeling like home, "I'm having lessons with the wrong teacher in that case". 

"One teaches morals and the other teaches madness" Yukari said, "Do not worry Tenshi, you definitely don't have the first one". 

"Hey look who's talking! You're more shady than Rumia's dark circle!". 

"Ooh danmaku fired" Reimu laughed out whilst snuggling back against the magician. 

"Reimu..". 

"In Yukari's rare defence from myself, isn't your shrine referred to as the youkai shrine?" Yorihime stated as she dried Reisen's ears at the same time, "That does make your character fairly questionable too".

Yukari grinned and snuck a hand into a gap, opening it up in front of Yorihime & encouraging her to give a high 5.

To everyone's surprise, the lunarian actually reciprocated Yukari's act of camaraderie which annoyed Reimu further more and started the friendly banter again. 

 

Eirin was sure Yukari was not leaving Eientei today without being dipped in the snow at least once as the conversation flowed around them. The warmth of the room made a comforting sense of belonging settle in the lunarian's mind while she watched everyone interacting. 

The youkai's hand in hers squeezed, as if Yukari could feel her content state of mind and was grateful for it. 

Alice's words of time flying by and the pace at which everything could change resonated deeply for Eirin. She could not have imagined that all of these people in this room together would be chatting like they'd always been friends since day one. 

After Eientei's isolation, to see such a spectacle like the one Eirin was seeing and enjoying brought fulfilment to the lunarian. 

Because not only had she acquired the mutual love and respect from the woman sat next to her; all four of her students had also gained it from someone else. 

Everyone in that room, even the rousing Cirno, had faced their own demons to get to where they were now. 

That in itself was an accomplishment worth everything they had all experienced & as the seasons cycled on, Eirin hoped that some things would never change.