As far as jobs went this one was a bit more special than usual.
For one thing the spirit, a high school girl who got sick and died before having the chance to transfer to an American school, wanted the experience of going to ‘prom’.
Anything he knew about prom was from the American movies his grandpa had back when he was a kid. What he understood was that it was just some big dance that senior students enjoyed as a goodbye to high school.
Upon hearing that request, Rinne was about to send Rokumon to get an illusionary lantern when prom ghost demanded that she get the full treatment; getting a dress and make-up, a date and basically everything. A very demanding girl indeed.
Rokumon had got the word out to any local teenage spirits that a prom for them was being planned and they were welcomed to come. Sakura Mamiya, having introduced them to the ghost, offered her to help in any way she can (because she was angel). That was all.
It got slightly out of hand when Tsubasa heard, accusing him of trying to do something funny to Sakura Mamiya, Ageha heard, who squealed at the chance of a ‘date’ with him, and then somehow Suzu heard, probably from Ageha’s own black cat Oboro, which lead to Kain nearly shutting down the event.
Rinne grimaced at the thought of potentially wasted money; too much effort was put into this to just shut it down.
They were lucky when nearly all the surrounding teenage spirits in the area showed up excited for the idea, especially those with social and love regrets. Since it was that much of a hit Kain had to step down and let them continue on.
(When he said it was alright his expression was like that of an elementary student having realized to late that they forgot their lunch.)
They had to plan a dance in three days so work was nearly nonstop for those involved. He can be the first to admit that he didn’t think that there would be this much work when it came to a planning a dance, just lay have a place, give out invitations and make sure there was music simple enough.
Apparently there was more to it than he originally thought.
And so after putting a very strict budget, they went to work and all things considered it wasn’t that bad. The three fourths shinigami took in the scene in front of him from his spot near the water station. In his black rental suit, that looked the most okay-ish, he over looked the ‘prom’, a farm by a lake that Tsubasa rented for today. Decorations, which were both bought by Ageha and borrowed from granny, including hanging lanterns were hung around to make it look fancy.
At the entrance of the barn was a small basket on a table that had corsages that Rinne had to make as per the spirits request. The most painful thing about it was the little sign next to it saying they were free, nearly lost a pint of blood through his tears for that.
He could catch a couple of the young ghosts making grabs at the flower bracelets, and made a mental note to restock when there was only a few left.
In one corner one of the workers from the shirushigami was working as a Dj, with a laptop on a podium and larger speakers on either sides of him. From what Rinne guessed Kain and the rest of the shirushigami were lending it to them.
From what it looked like though the guy looked to be having more fun with being a Dj then doing anything else.
Many young spirits were wondering around with excited energy. The department of mortal census bureau had given out tuxedos, suits, and a couple of dresses for the ghosts to use in order to feel a part of the experience so nearly all of them were dressed up.
Some were on the dance floor moving and dancing to whatever song that came up while others wondered around taking in the sights. More than a few were mingling.
Rokumon was at the other side of the barn from where he saw, acting as a photographer with a special spirit camera that granny especially lent out to them. The little black cat was taking pictures of the spiritual attendees as either couples or new friends who met at the dance.
(That reminded him that he had to keep his eyes open in case any of the young ghosts decided to fuse into an evil spirit, no need to ruin a prom with something like that plus it would not be covered by their budget.)
Tsubasa, who had to come in early to help him and god that was awful, was also working as security to make sure that no unwanted creepy older spirits or evil ones who were uninvited would crash the event. They didn’t need spirits harassing the younger ones and causing a scene, especially the ghost that really wanted prom.
Though the word ‘work’ was a loose term considering how the exorcist kept being distracted by some of the ghostly attendees and that he kept looking around for a certain twin braided haired girl.
But aren’t you doing the same thing? A snide voice inside of him asked. Rinne’s face soured a bit as he looked over at the entrance.
The fact was that Sakura Mamiya, Ageha, prom spirit; was her name Kaoru or Karin?, and he’s guessing a few of the female spirits who promised to be there had not shown up at all so far.
Ageha he could understand, and hope she wouldn’t show up but he doubt that would happen, the shinigami girl was pretty lazy on things, but Sakura not being here yet?
He remembered the last time he saw her was yesterday and how she said she wouldn’t be able to help set things up because “Karin and some of her new friends really want to go out looking for dresses. Ageha offered to help and ended up roping me into helping, I’m really sorry Rokudo kun”
She looked so crestfallen at the thought of not being able to help to help him; the least he could do was reassure her that it was fine and that Tsubasa would help anyway so don’t worry Sakura Mamiya.
The soft smile she gave him after he said that… It would have been worth a whole month working with the love-sick exorcist teen.
But the dance has already been going on for an hour and a half and none of them have showed up still.
Since the first day he met her, the human girl who can see ghosts, she has never flaked out on him when it came to a job request. If anything happened she would always let him know but not this time.
The red head took a swing of his water to calm his nerves, she and the girls were taking their time and while it was concerning (and how if the prom girl didn’t pass on Kain promised that he would have a reduction on his pay) he knows he can trust her to come.
Besides I’m nowhere near as bad as Juumonji Rinne thought as he caught a glimpse of said exorcist coming near his hiding spot.
It looked like he was denying some of the female spirits a dance because, as he was hearing, he was ‘saving a dance with someone else’
Guy is practically glowing as he said that, ugh can he even hear himself?
The three-fourths shinigami rolled his maroon eyes at the scene and turned away before he was spotted and settled more into his corner.
He let whatever new pop song that was currently popular washed over him as it played from the speakers. It was kind of hard with some of the girl spirits squealing how they loved this song!
Was this some popular boy band song? He thought trying to distract himself.
Really he would take any distraction at this point because besides his payment worries, the red head was honestly still getting jitters at the thought of Sakura.
… God danm it he really was nervous about her though. The anticipation of her coming was killing him already I mean were they still getting ready? Did they even have dresses?
This wouldn’t even be the first time he’s seen her in a dress, let alone the first time she helped on a job request, but for some reason here and now he was still tense over seeing her.
Granted he has always been in a bit on edge when it comes to Sakura Mamiya, first because there was always a chance of her being in danger. The second reason though…Rinne groaned as he felt his cheeks grow warm.
He could barley think about his crush without getting flustered over them!
He has already accepted that what he was feeling towards Sakura Mamiya has definitely grown beyond friendship; and how he was going to take it with him to the wheel of reincarnation before he ever told it to her.
Sakura Mamiya, being the angel that she was, has shown him nothing but friendship and kindness with no inclination of wanting more; so the idea of going up to her and blurting out what his feelings have been for a while now…
The thought of having her grayish-violet eyes turn sympathetic as she turned him down was not something he wanted turn into a reality.
He’d rather face being in the red forever than ruining their friendship all because he couldn’t control his stupid crush over her.
Regardless though something in him just told him that this would be different.
Get over yourself already He thought, berating whatever was telling him to be on guard about the girl. Thisis not a cheesy romance story where you get the girl, nothing is going to happen.
And then the barn doors widen as new guests arrived, specifically the girls.
“Rinne-sama look Sakura, Ageha and our client are here” His contract cat loudly whispered to him, effectively nearly scarring him to death and almost dropping his water.
Apparently he has been brooding for so long, that he missed the fact that Rokumon decided to take a quick break and made his over to his side.
Rinne looked at his side in silent exasperation at the small black kitten, dressed in only a blue bow tie, as the cat looked excitedly at the entrance.
Naturally he followed his line of sight only to suddenly suck in his breath and hold it.
He was grateful that he finished his drink because as he saw Sakura Mamiya finally make her entrance just after Ageha, he ended up dropping the paper cup.
Each of the girls were very clearly wearing dresses that none of the shirushigami issued out, meaning the borrowed from Ageha, and that ended up making them stand out from the crowed.
Karin, prom girl, had the most elaborate dress; in shades of purple, puffy and everything while Ageha had a close second; a baby pink dress that was short at front with trailing ruffles at the back with a large fancy patterned ribbon tied around.
Neither of them had anything on Sakura Mamiya though.
Unlike the rest of her group, she wore a long dress in two cool color tones that had a gradient to them. The dress was mostly a light blue that slowly became a darker shade towards the bottom with matching straps over and around her pale shoulders and a dark blue sparkly belt at her waist. There was also purple on the dress with the ruffled top, that he swears he wasn’t looking at for long and a bit from the bottom from where the blue parts of the dress opened up.
She was even wearing a necklace and bracelet that just added to her whole outfit.
What was more striking though was the fact this was one of the few times where her brown hair was not in pigtails and were actually let loose with minimal styling.
She’s beautiful was his first thought as he watched her trailing behind the other girls. An intense round of nervous butterflies flutter inside as he saw her looking around the barn. While the other girls looked to be squealing over everything Sakura was just, taking it all in with a small smile.
“Wow all of the girls’ sure look nice huh Rinne-sama?” The black kitten asked with an innocent smile, but Rinne knows Rokumon and knows that particular smile is anything but that.
He had a cautious expression; he needed to because the second his cat noticed what he was really feeling he doubt the pestering would ever end, as he responded “What matters most is that they actually got here so we can get the job down”
“But of course Rinne-sama” Rokumon answered with a knowing look that the red head did not appreciate at all “I better get back to the photo booth it looks like there’s a line now” the black kitten commented on as it was indeed true, a line was forming with some spirits looking more displeased by the minute.
Not wanting to keep him any longer lest a few evil spirits form, the sort of shinigami nodded and waved him off and the black cat had one last word to get out. “You should bring Sakura to get a picture of you two!” and he off he went.
He had a slight flush at the idea of having a private picture of them to keep and tried instead to focus his energy on finding Sakura in the crowd.
Because obliviously where she was, Karin the prom ghost was, he needed to keep an eye on his client after all didn’t he?
(At least that was what he was telling himself, god he had it bad)
She was on the other side from where he was, chatting with the other spirits though it looks like a couple of them splintered off to probably find some dates. Ageha was noticeably missing and if he had to guess, she was trying to go find him and pester him for a dance,
He quickly stepped more into the shadows of his corner, no need for her to find him so soon after all.
Surprisingly Tsubasa hadn’t appeared yet, considering Sakura was here finally. That meant the teenage exorcist was probably being distracted by the spiritual attendees. Some security guard he was.
Another pop song started to play and very quickly the other girls in their group went off to find their own dance partners. The only ones who were left were Sakura and Karin.
It looked like Sakura was calming down Karin the prom ghost who was anxiously looking around, waiting for someone to ask her to dance. And suddenly both of their eyes were on him.
His red eyes widen a bit as an embarrassed flush came over his cheeks, he wasn’t expecting to suddenly be caught staring or being the center of attention. Just as quickly he looked to the side only to look back, because why were they suddenly looking at him?
The two looked to be back to talking only the tone of it seemed to have changed, with Karin chatting more enthusiastically and Sakura trying to calm her down. The other girl suddenly pointed back at him which caused the girl who held his heart to look at him as well.
Maroon eyes and violet eyes met in what was probably five seconds; but felt much longer than that. He felt nerves and shivers going all through his body and held in his breath because this was feeling an awful lot like a moment and he refused to be the one to break away first.
Rinne was vaguely aware that Karin was still saying something to Sakura before the purple eyed girl all dressed up in the colors of a night sky lifted her dress just above the ground and started making her way over to him.
Wait a minute was she actually walking towards him?
Oh god she is!!
There was no chance of him trying to look aloof since she already knows he was looking at her, which meant the most he could hope for was that his shadowed corner was enough to hide his blushing face and ahh his freckles were probably standing out this whole time!!
Hoping that her all seeing eyes missed the pinkish hue on his face from a couple of minutes ago, the three-fourths shinigami forced himself to calm down and for the love of everything don’t make it to obvious that I have a huge crush on her
“Rokudo-kun” She said with an eased smile as her hands released her dress back to touch the floor.
“Sakura Mamiya” Rinne breathed out, feeling like his legs turned to jelly from how she said his surname. “You made it, was everything alright?”
“Mmhmm everything turned fine it was just that the other girls were really picky on what to wear” Sakura answered with her smile turning apologetic. “Ageha and Karin-chan ended up taking the longest, I’m really sorry about us all coming in late Rokudo-kun” She apologized.
Rinne was quick to respond, not wanting her feel bad over coming in later than expected “You don’t need to say sorry, you all got here all the same with not a lot of problems” he reassured. A moment later he had a half smile and added “Besides it sounds like Ageha and Karin were more of the reason than you were”
The brown haired girl smiled at that, recalling all of the trouble they went through for finding a dress before “Karin-chan was very determined to find a perfect dress and Ageha wanted to really standout”
“I figured as much” The broke shinigami said, it wouldn’t be at all surprising that Ageha, being the rich girl that she is would spend too much time looking for something wear.
Speaking of dresses…
Clearing his throat a bit, as well as gathering some of his courage, he opened his mouth and was about to hopefully say something sooth when very abruptly a voice was screeching out.
“RINNE-KUN!!!” a shrill voice called out, and god danm it was Ageha.
Not too long after Tsubasa, the missing security guard was coming into view, calling out to Sakura and more than likely wanting a dance.
Cursing the universe for being the worst as well as Ageha and Tsubasa, he grabbed Sakura’s hand and motioned for to come more into the shadows. One both were under covered the duo watched in baited silence as navy blue haired exorcist passed by them. Not long after, the same thing happened to the magenta eyed shinigami as walked by while muttering to herself that she swore she saw him around here.
They waited for a couple seconds before Rinne breathed out a sigh a relief, finally he can hang out with Sakura without the usual interruptions.
“Sorry about this” the kind of shinigami apologized for probably coming off weird. “I thought it would have been nice if you had a breather from them for a bit” he answered in what he hoped was in a nonchalant way.
He caught the expression she had with her eyes slightly wide and her mouth fell open, before she relaxed and an eased smile made its way on her face. “I don’t mind it”
The teenage red head felt Sakura’s hand giving a quick squeezed and added “Besides it has been awhile since we spent some time together on our own”
Rinne felt his cheeks get more heated at her statement as well as his heart speeding up. The last time she said something like that was at Matsugo’s school festival, where the mood was so right and perfect that he nearly confessed right then and there.
Kind of like now actually.
“Y-your right about that” the kind of death god said, trying desperately to take his mind off that memory and no I’m not going to do that, I’m on the job, I refuse to be like Tsubasa!
Was she trying to set the mood like last time? Did she even mean to set the mood? What does she really mean!?!?
As per usual, he couldn’t tell what the curly and wavy haired girl was thinking, he swore that she had the best poker face in all of Japan, but the fact that she was still smiling and hadn’t let his hand go was a good sign.
But he had no idea where to go with that.
“So um what were you and Karin talking about earlier? Before you headed over here that is?” He said to keep the conversation going and to hopefully not be awkward.
“Oh that? Well…” but before she could say anything else the music stopped and the Dj/ shirushigami started to make an announcement.
“Hello young ladies and gentle men! Due to a couple of restraints, we’ll have to move things along a bit quickly which means!” dramatic pause “It’s time for the slow dance! Guys grab that special girl or if your desperate grab anyone and have one final dance!!” he announced and effectively ruined Rinne’s night.
They were supposed to have more time than this; why was Kain, because that guy always finds some way to be petty to him and this just has Kain written all over it, making them end the dance early when they had a deal? This prom was supposed to be at least another hour. Barley any spirits managed to pass on and putting a time limit is going to make it way tougher.
“That’s not right” Sakura said and essentially taking the words from his thoughts. “This was supposed to be longer and Karin just got here not that long ago” and concerned was written all over her face as she looked up at him.
“Yeah it was” He answered with a voice of constrained anger. He was about to march up to the Dj booth and ‘ask nicely’
beat him up for answers when he felt a tug on the hand that was holding the violet eyed girls own.
“I think we just got our answer” she said while pointing at the entrance at what looked like Tsubasa, Ageha and few other shirushigami having a heated argument. It looked like the department of mortal census bureal was getting sick of the two looking for them and wanted to call it a night.
Those idiots are gonna cost me all of the money I had to spend on this whole thing Rinne thought as he glared at his two biggest headaches at this moment.
All over, spirits were scrambling to grab a partner and heading to the dance floor with many bumping into each other. Luckily all of them were rushing and thus too busy to start a fight so at least that was one good thing. This dance so does not need a scorned spirit turning evil right now.
And before he knew it everything actually calmed downed.
Rinne and Sakura had their eyes glued to what was honestly a miracle. Ghosts were pairing off as they slow danced to some song that had a slow beat to it. He released a breath of relief as he spotted his client Karin with her arms wrapped around some guy spirit looking as happy as she can be.
“Looks like it all worked out huh?” She said with a smile on how things were turning out.
“By the looks of it yeah it did” thank god too.
An easy silence passed through for a moment, which broke when Sakura spoke. “When you asked earlier about what we were talking about… she was just trying to convince me that she would be fine on her own” She drew his attention with that sentence as his surprised red eyes turned to her while she was still looking out on the dance floor.
Was she avoiding eye contact? He thought as his heartbeat sped up twice as fast and taking note of how neither of them had let the other’s hand go this whole time. All because this moment felt really important somehow.
His eyes widen as he caught her eyes meeting his for a second before averting them. “She said I should just hang out with you since…it looked we both really wanted to see each other” She finished, finally turning to him with an embarrassed smile and… holy crap she was actually blushing.
Needless to say Rinne was stunned to silence at that.
The teenage sort of shinigami cleared his throat and look away for a moment, a bit overwhelmed by both how cute she looked at that moment and how hard his feelings for this girl slammed into him.
He really was way too deep into this.
“I-is that so?” he finally responded as well as cursing that slip of a stutter.
The girl hummed as a response as her eyes went back to what was happening across from them.
(She mostly did this as way to distract her from what Karin really said and how it was kind of making it hard to face him at the moment.)
Unbeknownst to Sakura however, Rinne was currently trying to both calm down his speeding heart rate and gather every ounce of courage in him to ask her to dance. He barely had any experience on dancing, and the random dance lesson from granny hardly counts in his opinion.
(“Granny for the last time nobody dances like that anymore-ow!! Ow!! My temples!”)
He had no desire to make a fool of himself in front of her but that slight fear he had was covered over that fact that he really wanted to dance with her. From where he was standing she was right there and it was now or never to ask her.
Because that little voice from earlier was screaming at him to make a move.
Because everything felt so right but incomplete that maybe her being in his arms swaying to music was the missing piece here.
Because maybe he actually could have a chance and all that was needed was the first step.
Because when was the next chance at dancing with her going to come?
Because he really wanted to dance with her.
The boy breathed in then out before turning to her and started taking some steps until he was in front of her. Her violet eyes widen at his action and he gulped down the last of his nerves and forced himself to look her in the eye.
“Well since we’re both here…do you want to dance with me?” He asked in a hopeful tone.
He watched he eyes widen again, only this time a steady blush started to grow as well. She didn’t answer in what was probably a couple of seconds but felt like hours. Before he could form out an apology and how she could forget what he said, the subtle squeeze to his hand silenced all thoughts.
She gave him her warmest smile and answered softly “I’d like that”
He returned her smile with one of his own and started to pull her a bit closer to the dance but far enough that they both still had their privacy.
Her arms hung around his shoulders and his hands rested at her waist and pulled her close to him. In that instant everything felt just right. Just them swaying along to the song and in their own world that only had them.
Just a boy and a girl dancing and nothing more.
“You look really nice by the way Sakura Mamiya”
In this moment that was all they were.
“Thanks you look nice too Rokudo-kun”
Because once they were done they were back on the job, and he was probably not going to earn much, Tsubasa and Ageha were going to complain and his bad luck would be back tenfold.
Right now though all that didn’t matter because he was dancing with his crush who he swears is truly an angel.
He didn’t dare think that one dance would change things, but it was a start that was for sure. Even if it wasn’t this right here, her looking at him like that would be more than enough.
Little did he know…
Unknown to both teens though, a small black kitten from his spot saw the scene and before anything could happen he used his camera to snap a picture.
Rokumon smiled as his lime green eyes scanned the picture and looked back at the future happy couple “They’ll thank me for this later”