“Good morning, Katsuki!” Koge chirped happily to her lover as she approached him, her voice barely audible over the clacking of horse hooves on the stone street near by. Crimson eyes tore away from a book to gaze upon her, though their curiosity was quickly narrowed into annoyance. “Tch, you’re late, Utsuro.” Snapping the thin book closed, Bakugou tucked it away into his deep red vest, the golden buttons that adorned it shimmering against the sunlight with his movement. “An hour late, in fact.”
A small pout crossed Koge’s lips as she reached him, reaching up to push some of her white hair back behind her ear. “I’m sorry love, I didn’t have a very good morning. We’re still on time for breakfast with your parents, though, aren’t we?” She took his arm as he offered it to her, the high quality fabric of his black blazer soft beneath her touch. Bakugou nodded as he started leading them down the street, his mere presence enough to split the lower citizens away from their path. It had always amazed Koge how wealth and status could affect a person’s life, both for better or for worse. She did have to admit that never having to trip or bump into anyone when walking beside her lover was wonderful, as she was practically invisible to everyone else.
“Unfortunately, we are still in time for that fucking disaster. I almost wish you would have been later so we could avoid it.” Bakugou looked down at her, just his gaze enough to bring heat into her cheeks. “Why did you have a bad morning, Utsuro? You seem happy enough.” Koge gave a soft hum, reaching across her chest to caress his upper arm with her free hand. “Well, it was nothing, I guess. You’re just going to think I’m silly.”
“Then my opinion of you wouldn’t change.”
Koge narrowed her eyes at him, though his snarky smirk only made her heart race. “You’re the one that’s silly. No, it’s a serious thing I had a dream about, but you’ll just call me stupid.”
“A dream made you an hour late? Utsuro, are you fucking serious?” Bakugou glowered down at his lover, who only pouted further. “Shut up, Katsuki! See, that’s why I didn’t want to tell you! C’mon, it really upset me, okay?”
“How?” Bakugou urged her to walk around a puddle, to which she silently complied. With a small sigh, Koge lied her head against his shoulder, tightening her grip on his arm a bit. “I just… Well, I had a nightmare that you just… vanished. I came out to meet you one morning and you weren’t here. I couldn’t find you, and everyone around me didn’t recognize your name. It was like you never existed…”
“Vanish? Where the fuck would I go, Utsuro?” Bakugou came to a stop, awaiting the arrival of their carriage to take them up to his parents home. When she didn’t respond, he turned to face her, placing both hands firmly on her upper arms. Still, Koge did not look up at him, obviously fighting back the urge to cry. “I don’t know, Katsuki. It was just so horrible, you know… To wake up like that and you’re just gone.”
“Well, I’m not.” Bakugou cupped her cheeks, squishing them together gently as he tilted her head up to look at him. “I’m right here and every day I’ll be in that same damn spot waiting for you. Right next to that ugly ass broken statue. So get it out of your head.” Koge gave a small sniff as she looked up at him, gently placing both of her hands over his. “You mean it?”
“Anything that’s keeping me from you is against my will. And I’d fucking fight it, you know I would.” He placed a rough kiss on her forehead before taking her lips, something he very rarely did in public. His kisses always made her entire body tingle excitedly, moving closer and pushing herself up on her toes to reach him better. When he finally set her free, he stroked her cheek gently. “You brat. Upset over a dream. You should know better. There’s a reason I put that ring on your finger.”
“We’re telling your parents today, right?”
“Yes. And you’ll be moving in, out of that shack.”
“No more leaky roof?”
Bakugou scoffed, releasing her and crossing his arms over his chest as Koge giggled. “That’s all you care about? Getting away from a leaky fucking roof?” Koge nodded, placing her hands on her hips. “Yes. I could care less about marrying you because of love or whatever. I just want to live in a big house and have lots of money.” Koge gave him a sly smile as she reached over to fix his vest, which had gotten a bit crooked. “All this talk about love and things has just been a ruse.”
“Tch, well aren’t you just a snarky bitch.” Bakugou’s amused smirk and teasing tone only made Koge laugh, turning to face the carriage as it approached them. “Only for you, my Katsuki. I’ll be your snarky bitch forever.” As the carriage stopped, Bakugou opened the door for her and allowed her in first, though he surprised her with a firm smack to the ass as she climbed in. Koge squeaked, nearly tripping over the last step as he stumbled into the seat. “Katsuki! You’re so fiesty today!”
Bakugou closed the door behind him as he entered the carriage, sitting down beside her. “I have to punish you for making me wait so long, Utsuro. That’s not even a portion of what you’re gonna get when I have you alone.” Fixing her bodice a bit as she sat down beside him, Koge gave a small roll of her eyes, glowering up at him. “Sometimes I wonder what I see in you.”
Bakugou cupped her cheek, turning her head to kiss her softly. “That’s easy.”
“Mhmm… I see how much you love me.”
“And I do.” A soft stroke of his thumb against her chin and his calm voice sent chills across her skin, her heart already racing as she craved his lips and his touch.
“I love you.”
Why did that dream always have to come back to haunt her? That memory, one which she savored and yet resented at the same time. She could still feel his touch, taste his lips and hear his voice so clearly that she could have sworn that he was beside her in bed. But, he never was. Every day Koge awoke cold and alone, her warm blankets doing little to ease the chill in her core. Laying there now, still and quiet, she wished desperately to feel a presence behind her or a rough hand to wipe away the warm tears that rested on her cheeks. She could feel how they pooled on her pillow, soaking into the white fabric to only further her annoyance of them. This wasn’t the first time she had woken up crying in her many years of life, though it had become more of a recent occurrence as of late.
With a sigh, Koge reached up and wiped her cheeks, freeing her skin of the annoying wetness. Opening her eyes only brought on more tears, however, and she was quick to smother those as well, doing her best to blink away the blurry screen of tears and sleep. She felt heavy and exhausted, both in mind and body, and she figured that she must have been thrashing badly in the night. Though, she assumed that a maid had come in and tucked her back into bed, as her blankets were pristine over her body. It was a bit odd to her that they hadn’t tried to awaken her then, but perhaps they had and she had just been too out of it to respond.
Using what strength she could muster, the young woman sat up, giving a small shiver at the tickling feeling of her white hair cascading down across her back and shoulders. Gazing about the room, she brought her left hand to her chest, fiddling with the ring that adorned her third finger to make sure that it was still there. Her prized possession never left her skin, being the last truly important gift her lover had given her. Everything else in the room was reminders and memories, but none were as important as this silver ring. Engraved with intricate details of vines and flowers, it had no stone, but the fact that it had been made especially for her was enough to make it special. Though, it could have been a piece of wood or wax and Koge would have still said yes.
Throwing the blankets off of her legs, Koge slipped her chilled feet into some slippers beside her bed, standing and shuffling her way towards the raging fire place. If the blankets being fixed hadn’t been enough to tell her a maid had been here, then this fire surely did. With a small yawn, Koge warmed herself, crossing her arms over her chest. The shift she wore was thin silk fabric, leaving little to the imagination and no source of warmth at all. Why she continued to wear it even on this cold nights, she wasn’t sure. Perhaps it was because she was still used to his warmth in bed, so hot and comforting that she never needed to dress warmer.
Before her thoughts could travel far, there was a soft knock on her bedroom door, pulling her attention from the flames. “Come in.” With her approval, the door opened, a young woman with curly dark red hair making her way inside. “Good morning, My Lady. I’m surprised to see you up so early.” Koge turned her pale blue gaze back to the flames, glad to hear the door click shut. “Nene, you know you don’t have to address me like that. I got you this job because you’re my friend.”
“Ah… I know, Koge. I just… Lady Bakugou gets so upset sometimes, I’d just rather not have a lecture. But behind closed doors, if you don’t tell, then I won’t.” Nene placed a tray of tea down onto a small table that rested beside the bed. Koge rubbed her arm, looking back at Nene curiously as she poured steaming tea from a pot into a small cup. “What did you mean I’m up early? Did you not come in here and start the fire?” Nene’s face scrunched up in confusion, leaving the tea black and unsweetened as she brought it over to Koge. “Huh? No, it wasn’t me. Perhaps it was someone else. I’ve been spending the morning making the last sewing adjustments to Lady Bakugou’s dress.”
Koge took the cup as it was handed to her, peering down into the dark brown liquid. “Hm, I see. I guess it was someone else. It sure is nice, though, to wake up to a fire. It’s been a while…”
Nene paused for a moment as she fixed the bedding, glancing at Koge before returning to her duty. “Ah yes, Katsuki used to do that for you, right? Well, if you want it, I can make sure it gets done for you.”
“Perhaps… I’ll think about it.” Koge sipped from her tea, moving a bit closer to the fire. “Will you be joining me in town today? I’m going to the Apothecary for some training and then to get flowers.” Nene smiled, fluffing and placing the pillows. “I would love to! The flowers need replacing already?”
“Yes,” Koge finished off her tea before she continued. “This cold has been making them die faster. And, I think Eijirou has come back to town finally. I thought I saw him walking around yesterday, I’m sure he’ll be excited to see you.”
Nene’s face flushed, giving a small cough as she gathered Koge’s clothing from the wardrobe. “O-oh, he is? It’s been so long… Three months? I’m sure he’s forgotten about me completely!”
“That isn’t possible. That boy is smitten with you.” Koge placed her cup of tea down before changing into a fresh shift, beginning to place the rest of her layers on as well. “He’s just so odd… with those teeth and he likes to run around barefoot!”
Nene giggled softly. “Ah well, the teeth can be explained but hating shoes is a different matter. It is really nice of your mentor to take him in though! You’ve just gotten jobs for all your friends.” She stepped up to help Koge tie her corset, smile fading a bit as she did so. “Hm… you’ve lost more weight. Your mentor won’t be happy if he notices…”
“Sir Eguchi will notice… but I… this is turning out to be harder than I thought. It’s getting close…”
“I know, Koge… And I know sometimes you get a little annoyed with my talk of spirits and the supernatural, but that fire this morning. None of us would have started that without a warning. Maybe… it’s a sign from him.”
Koge was silent for a while, until a cool breeze caught her attention. Glancing over, she noticed for the first time that the white lace curtain was slightly more parted than usual and the window was left less than an inch open.
“Maybe, Nene… Maybe…”