Word count: ~1,500 (for this chapter)
Rating: PG-13 for this one, will definitely get 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 (a little late post for this week, sorry!)
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/ Chapter 8/ Chapter 9
Aiba was sitting quietly on the veranda next to the room he and Jun were sharing. They were housed here after the conversation with Ohno’s, Sho’s and Nino’s great-grandparents a few days ago. Ohno’s great grandparent insisted on putting Aiba and Jun in the same room even though the suggestion made Aiba and Jun blushed visibly. He made some excuse concerning the safety, but Aiba wasn’t sure he believed him. Moreover, there was that last words Nino’s great grandparent told them before he went back to his shop.
“It’s OK. You guys don’t need to sleep together to ensure the survival of this town,” Nino’s ancestor, who insisted that they should also call them Nino, Ohno, and Sho, like they called their great grandsons, teased, “but it sure would help tremendously if you do.” He winked at them suggestively.
Aiba felt like fainting, just thinking about the possibility. He couldn’t believe things would move forward so quickly between him and Jun. He was having a problem communicating how he felt toward Jun just last week and now he’s with Jun 24/7, mostly hand in hand and inseparable. Aiba was happy that Jun felt the same way about him, but he also couldn’t help feeling uncertain about rushing everything.
“You look serious. What’s the matter?” Jun’s voice entered Aiba’s consciousness. Aiba turned to see Jun was back from the bath. Jun was wearing a light-colored yukata and still using a small towel to dry his hair. Aiba gulped at the sight. After all these years, Jun fresh out of bath still could make Aiba’s heart fluttered.
Jun walked toward Aiba and sat down next to him on the veranda.
“Still worried about the ceremony?” Jun asked, referring to the wedding ritual they would have to go through the day after tomorrow. They had spent the past few days in preparation for the ritual which was claimed to help sustaining the life of this town and everyone in it.
“I still cannot believe that just a ceremony would mean so much for people here.” Aiba pondered aloud. Of course, Sho had explained them several times about the magical connections and the power that the ritual would create. What confused Aiba even more was that they didn’t even have to be really married in conventional sense, he and Jun just had to go through the ritual and proclaim their love to the gods, and that would be enough.
“What really matters is your love toward each other. As long as the love between you two are strong when you are presented to the gods, the town will be blessed by the magical power that the gods had given to our ancestors. That would be enough to sustain the life of this town and save everyone in it.” Sho explained to them earlier.
But it’s all too much for Aiba. His brain couldn’t understand the concept, and he’s worried the ceremony wouldn’t help save the town.
What if his love to Jun wasn’t enough? What if Jun didn’t love him the way he loved Jun?
Aiba let out a deep sigh. He didn’t think he would be able to do it.
“You are thinking too much again, Masaki.” Jun’s hand placed on Aiba’s lap as he said those words. Jun might not know exactly what went on inside Aiba’s head, but Jun always knew how to make Aiba feel better.
“What do you think of the ceremony, Jun? Do you really believe we would be able to save this town?” Aiba asked in uncertain voice.
“It may not matter much what I believe, but if there’s a way that I can do to help them, I would.” Jun replied with more confidence and added, “They say our love would help this place. Maybe that’s what we are meant to do. If we get it done, we can go back to our normal life.”
Aiba let out another sigh at the mention of their normal life. Despite Ohno insistence that the time travelling wouldn’t ruin their current time-stream and that Aiba and Jun would be able to travel through the same portal back to the same place and same time they came from, Aiba still wasn’t sure about any of that. There were too many things in the unknowns.
Seeing Aiba’s worrying look, Jun took Aiba’s hand in his and pulled him from the wooden floor.
“Come, take a walk with me. I know you will feel better with some fresh night air and a change in scenery.”
“But we aren’t supposed to leave the shrine.” Aiba protested. Ohno and Sho gave them a very strong warning that their safety couldn’t be guaranteed if they left the premises. It had something with the waning power of the town and the Matsumoto shine being the safest place for anyone in the family.
“I am sure a stroll in the shrine garden is allowed. It’s still inside my family shrine after all.” Jun assured Aiba with a smile that Aiba couldn’t refuse. Aiba appreciated that Jun tried his best to make Aiba feel happier. And that in itself already made Aiba happier. So, Aiba accepted Jun’s invitation. They walked together from the adjacent building they were staying, passing the oratory and stone walkway leading toward the main shrine, the place where they were to get married in the next few days.
They stood together on the stone approach. Their eyes fixating on the shrine main hall that was gleaming mystically even in the dark. This was the place of power for the town and their fates seemed to tie to this place without them knowing it.
Suddenly, Jun sensed something. He turned around and saw swirling black mists materialized around them. Aiba gasped realizing something was not right. The air around them turned foggy and heavy. It became difficult to breathe.
“What is this? Who are you?” Jun shouted to several figures in black slowly materialized from the swirling mists around them. Soon, they were surrounded by a group of men with evil looking masks. Aiba pulled Jun in. Their bodies pressed together. He wasn’t sure what’s going on, but whatever it was, Aiba didn’t think it’s good.
A feminine laugh came, and they turned in that direction immediately. They remembered the laugh. It belonged to Jun’s aunt.
“Aunt Kiko,” Jun gritted through his teeth, “I didn’t know you can time travel.”
Jun’s comment seemed to please his aunt because she laughed even more.
“My dear boy, thanks for the complement. But it’s not really like that.” She responded with her trademark ambiguous smile. “I am in the present time, our time, my dear. Technically, we are here together and not really here at the same time.”
Her explanation didn’t clear anything up for either Aiba and Jun. They kept looking at her in confusion.
“The walls separating time in this shrine is breaking down. I fear Matsumoto-sama, your great-great grandparent, must be very weak right now.”
The unexpected information frightened Jun and Aiba. They were told that Jun’s great grandparent disappeared a few weeks ago. However, it wasn’t at all unusual of him, and they shouldn’t be worried. Now, Aiba and Jun weren’t sure how much truth was in that story.
Seeing the reactions from Aiba and Jun, Kiko shrugged realizing her nephew and his boyfriend weren’t going to understand anything she tried to explain anyway.
“It’s a pity your parents didn’t give you any education on magic. You guys are so clueless.” She shook her head in disapprove.
“It doesn’t matter though. What matters is that in this breaking down world, I can do this.” She raised her hand skyward. With a flicker, Jun felt his hand emptied. He immediately turned to the empty side beside him.
To Jun’s greatest fear, Aiba reappeared next to Kiko. He seemed unconscious and was hold up by two masked men near Kiko.
“What are you doing?!? Let Aiba go!” Jun shouted. He couldn’t hide how frightened he was.
“We would rather have you, really, my dear. But we cannot touch you here in the Matsumoto shrine. You are completely untouchable. However, Aiba-kun here is different.” Kiko said with a pleasing smile but it didn’t reach her eyes.
“Let him go! You can take me.” Jun offered in almost a scream. His heart beat so fast it threatened to come off his chest.
“Tsk. Tsk. You are not listening. I said we couldn’t touch you.” Kiko shook her head. “I mean, literally.”
Jun saw Kiko, those men, and Aiba all began to resolve into dark swirling mist once again. Jun ran toward them, but he went straight through the blacken fog where Aiba and those men were. Jun never feared anything as much as he felt right at that moment.
Kiko’s last words whispered in his head,
“You can give us what we want, and we won’t have to hurt him.”