Word count: ~1,500 (for this chapter)
Rating: PG for this one. It definitely will get much higher later ;)
Warning: Is it a warning to say that this is a collab fic?
Summary: Once again, Aiba got cursed and was able to use magic. For some reasons, his magic worked on everyone excpet Jun. And although the unexpected power seemed nice, Aiba wanted to get rid of it.
Note: This is a collaboration between me (piggywhale) and yukitsubute. We alternate the writing of this story, and neither of us knows what is going to happen next (we keep it a secret from each other - for the fun of it :D ) New chapters will be posted every Friday, and this week is my turn.
This special collaboration is 20 chapters in total. We hope you will enjoy it <3
Previous: Chapter 1/ Chapter 2/ Chapter 3/ Chapter 4/ Chapter 5/ Chapter 6/ Chapter 7
Aiba and Jun followed the main road leading into the town.
Despite their best effort to conceal their strange clothing, Aiba realized they still looked out of place. The rugged robes they used to cover their normal cloth didn’t fit well with the crowd and everyone was eyeing them suspiciously.
“This is a bad idea. Maybe we should avoid people altogether and wait until I sneeze again. Then, we can return home.” Aiba mumbled under his breath.
“This robe is not really helpful.” Jun admitted defeatedly. “but there’s nothing else.”
Aiba sighed. It was true. There’s nothing we could find, and although Aiba tried wishing for contemporary cloth multiple times, it didn’t work out. Aiba couldn’t help worrying that his (or rather Jun’s) magic was not working the same way in this period they were in.
Aiba’s worry was transparent and Jun squeezed his hand hoping to cheer him up.
“Don’t worry about the cloth. Let’s focus on finding our great grand parents and maybe we can go home.”
Aiba didn’t understand why Jun’s words would give him so much warmth and comfort. But he focused on Jun’s words and tried to hold on to them for strength. The feeling of Jun’s lips still lingered on his own and Aiba felt better about this unfortunate adventure already.
Maybe this is not too bad, Aiba thought to himself, maybe when they solved this weird magical problem and returned home, something more would happen between him and Jun. It would be a dream come true for Aiba.
As Aiba’s thoughts wandered back to the kiss he shared with Jun earlier, he suddenly felt a sneeze was coming. And before he could stop himself, Aiba sneezed, big time.
“Achoo!” Aiba’s body gave in to the natural reflect and Aiba could only let himself sneeze in horror.
Shoot. Aiba mentally screamed in fright, realizing he wasn’t holding on to any part of Jun’s body.
Aiba reopened his eyes, fearing for the worst.
However, Aiba discovered that he was exactly at the same place, same time period. And Jun was still right next to him. In fact, Jun was looking at him in a mixture of fright and surprise.
“Aiba, you are still here.” Jun seemed to be as surprised as Aiba. “What happen to your magic?”
“I don’t know. It didn’t seem to work the same way as before.” Aiba didn’t tell Jun though that he also felt different since they got here, and especially after they kissed.
Something was different about his body and his magic. Aiba knew it but he didn’t want to worry Jun so he decided to keep quiet.
They continued to walk along the road and entered a more populated area. It looked like a small marketplace and there were more shops and stores along the road. With it, more people stared at them. It made Aiba felt uncomfortable. Jun noticed it. He stepped closer and squeezed Aiba’s hand a little. Aiba turned to Jun and saw him looking back with a warm, comforting smile. Jun was trying to reassure Aiba that everything would be fine.
Aiba’s quite sure it wasn’t. But he couldn’t help blushing and feeling happier anyway.
“Matsumoto-sama!” Suddenly a voice called from a side. Aiba and Jun turned to the voice immediately.
Right there, in front of a cloth shop they just walked past, was a small man standing.
Aiba gasped. The man looked exactly like Nino, but in traditional kimono and a different haircut.
Did Nino also travel back in time like them?!?
Nino ran toward them and bowed deeply when he reached their position.
“Matsumoto-sama, I didn’t expect to see you here.” The man said with a warm smile. Aiba looked at him intently and realized this guy wasn’t their Nino. He looked similar but not identical. This guy had a rounder face and a little broader build.
“You didn’t visit my shop for ages. They told me you were very ill. It is such a relief to see you are doing well now. I still have your kimono you ordered months ago. I was about to deliver it to the shrine” The man kept going with a bright and honest smile. This man, however he might be related to Nino in the future, was certainly cheerier and chipper than their Nino.
The man looked at him brightly, as if expecting some responses from Jun. He didn’t seem to realize Jun wasn’t who he thought he was.
“Er, right, kimono.” Jun didn’t know how to respond. A few times, he opened his mouth to say something, but closed it almost immediately, due to the lack of words.
Seeing how Jun looked at him, the man gave Jun narrowed eyes. He squinted, and his look turned to one of concern.
“Are you alright, Matsumoto-sama? I am Ninomiya, your favorite tailor. Surely you remember me, don’t you? Or are you still unwell? You were sick for a really long time and I was getting really worry. It’s good you are well now.” The man tiled his head left and right checking Jun out. “You are okay now, right?”
Aiba looked at the Ninomiya tailor in surprise. It seemed this guy was Nino’s great-great grandparent. That explained why he looked so similar to Nino. But this guy certainly talked a lot more than Nino.
“Where is your carriage? Where are your guards? Why are there only the two of you?” Ninomiya bombarded Jun with more questions but then he gasped.
“Oh no, what are you wearing?” He seemed to forget all the questions and immediately pulled Jun toward the entrance of his shop. Aiba was dragged along. “This is terrible. You cannot be seen in this rag. What would people say about my shop if you go around the town looking like this?” Ninomiya cried as he dragged them past the front rooms into what seemed to be his work space. He left them there, apparently going to get Jun’s new cloth.
As soon as the shopkeeper left, Aiba jumped to Jun’s side.
“That was Nino’s great-great-grandparent! And he called you Matsumoto?!?” Aiba said in an excited voice.
“He must be talking about my great-great-grandparent.” Jun commented, equally excited. “Or at least, I must be related to this person because apparently we look the same.”
“If we find him, maybe we will learn more about our situation.” Aiba suggested hopefully. But before they could continue, the shopkeeper came back.
“Here you go.” Ninomiya handed Jun a half-folded cloth but the elaborate pattern of gold embroidered crane on the black and purple fabric. “I will help you change.” He added.
Aiba noticed that Ninomiya also brought another set of cloth with him. This one was of dark green color but less elaborated than Jun’s.
“Oh, right, that’s for your companion, Matsumoto-sama.” Nino said without meeting Aiba’s eyes directly. “I measured his size last time he visited the store with you. I hope it would be to your satisfactory.” The last sentence seemed to be directed toward Aiba. Aiba could hear a hint of fear and unease in Ninomiya’s words. It was almost like he’s afraid of Aiba.
But more importantly, Ninomiya said he visited this place with Jun before, did he mean their great-great grandparents were also together somehow?
Nino helped them into their kimono. Although both they had worn kimono several times over the years, Aiba could not help feeling Ninomiya’s kimono were special. He looked at Jun in full kimono and it took his breath away. Jun looked dashing and mystical at the same time, as if he was radiating power. And judging from the way Jun looked at him, it seemed Jun was also highly impressed with how Aiba looked as well.
“Oh, I also sent my helper to the shrine. You can expect your carriage to come picking you and your companion up any time soon.” Nino said when he finished helping them into their new cloth. He bowed to them when they were done.
“The shrine?” Aiba and Jun exchanged a worried look. It seemed they were being thrusted into an unknown too quickly.
“Of course, the shrine. Your shrine. Or you want to go somewhere else?” Ninomiya asked. However, before they could continue, there were commotions in front of the store. Sounds of men and horses were audible out front.
“The carriage must be here already. I know we can trust them to be quick and efficient.” The shopkeeper commented. He stood up again and headed out.
Aiba turned toward Jun, not knowing what they were supposed to do next. Yet, Jun met Aiba’s uncertain glance with a warm, assuring smile. He held out his hand and Aiba reached for it.
“No matter what happen, we will face it together.” Jun said as he held on to Aiba’s hand firmly.
Aiba nodded. Yes, Aiba thought, no matter what, at least they would be together.