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“Ta-dah!” You let go of her hand, having guided her to the spot you prepared. You watch with a grin as she opens her eyes.
She takes in the sight before her with a smile on her face.
There’s not much to be seen, truth be told. It’s just a run-of-the-mill small room deep within the bowels of Eientei. It’s nestled away in a part of the manor that no one really goes to, something which you consider an advantage - it lessens the likelihood of any interruptions and reduces the chances of having prying pairs of eyes watching. The room itself would be unremarkable if not for the special touches you’ve given it; In addition to the scattered flowers and wicker baskets that give the place an exotic island motif (so you hope, anyways) there are scented candles lit and placed strategically around the room. Their aim: to give the place a very cozy and intimate feeling.
“So those candles are why it smells like vanilla,” The princess says approvingly, inhaling the aroma in full, “I was puzzled why anywhere here would smell like that.”
Her gaze falls upon the centerpiece of the room - a very improvised massage table. Owing to the rarity of massage parlors in Gensokyo (the adverts in the village were for something else entirely you discovered), you spent the better part of a week designing the thing. You cobbled it together from a few wooden things borrowed from here and there and covered it with a gigantic cushion you made from resewing smaller pillows. You tried it on yourself earlier, and found that it was suitable for prolonged use, despite sometimes creaking.
“What’s that for?” She asks, cutting into the subject of why you brought her here.
“As I said earlier, I have something special planned for tonight.”
“Yes, yes,” She interrupts, “You’ve had me in suspense for the better part of these three days, you realize. After waiting patiently and being led with my eyes closed I think it’s safe for me to guess that we’re finally going to do what you had planned.”
“Tut, tut,” You wag your finger playfully at Kaguya. Though she may not admit it, she’s an awfully impatient customer when it comes down right to it. It’s clear that she can’t handle surprises. Since your casual announcement for her to await something special in the coming days she’s been pestering you non-stop with both direct and indirect questions. You play with her, keeping a straight poker face, “This is something to be savored, to be enjoyed to its utmost. It’s no good if you’re all wound up. The whole objective of this exercise is to get you to relax.”
“I’m relaxed enough, can’t you see I’m relaxed?” She forces a look of happiness that would not even fool a child.
“Well, “ You take her soft hand into your own again, “Why don’t you come in and I’ll explain what’s going on.”
You guide Kaguya to sit on the massage table. The old wood groans slightly with the addition of her weight. Pacing yourself deliberately, you walk slowly to the door and close it. It’s hard to be so calm and collected in face of Kaguya’s impatience - she has the same look about her as a child staring at a finely wrapped birthday present. It may only be because her anxiety dwarfs you own that you’re able to take your time.
“I’ve even prepared some music for this occasion,” With a flick of your thumb, you activate the remote in your pocket. The cool notes of smooth jazz play softly in the background.
“Shirou... it couldn’t be that you think to-” You can practically feel her excited heartbeat from several steps away. Anxiety, excitement and uncertainty all register on her face in quick suggestion.
You bend down and reach for a small box by her legs. Brushing past her foot accidentally makes her twitch.
“It took me forever to get things just right,” You explain, unfazed, “I owe too many favors for all of this. It was a pain to get these in particular.”
You pop open the lid of the small rectangular box, revealing a row of small tinted bottles. Each one has a different amount of liquid and each one serves a slightly different purpose. Not allowing a smile to slip off your lips even for a moment, you continue to explain, “These are all different oils I planned to use with you. They feel good to the touch and will help leave you satisfied.”
In order to emphasize the good qualities of your oils, you uncork the first bottle and offer her a whiff of the sandalwood or whatever it was.
“Ah, that’s nice alright. But I don’t get it,” She scrunches up her lips as she asks, “just what exactly is all of this for?”
“To put it delicately,” You bring up the line you rehearsed for the moment, “I think your ladyship has several issues she might not be aware of. And I, as your loving and faithful retainer, have seen it my duty to do what little I can to be of assistance.” You wait for her uneasy smile, coming as a reaction to your hammed-up performance. Seeing the unsteady way she waits for you to go on, you get on your knee and continue, “I have decided that the best way to render assistance would be by allowing you to release all of your built up tension. Therefore, if it please your radiant person, I have placed myself at your disposal for the purpose of a most gratifying massage. With these unworthy hands I plan to massage and scourge all what which beleaguers you.”
“...have you stopped to consider the possibility I might refuse your offer, as generous as it may be?”
“The thought crossed my mind. But I perish such thoughts,” You smirk, “just as I plan to perish your unease.”
“I appreciate the thought, I really do,” She sets you up softly for the inevitable ‘but’. She stops to look around, as if taking note of all the special little details of your effort, like the tiki-esque cutouts plastered on the walls. She then asks the obvious, forgetting her original sentence altogether, “Where did you learn to give massages anyhow?”
“Here and there,” You reply simply. You tell her the truth, “I don’t think I’m too skilled at it, but I once downloaded a video course, the pillows I worked on sure looked happy afterwards. That and I kind of have been practicing on the rabbits. They didn’t complain so I guessed I was good enough.”
You shift your arm slightly to the side, hoping to hide the spot where one of them bit you. It was totally a coincidence that he bit you and it was not related at all to the fact that you were massaging him. If anything, he intended to bite you even before you began. The others didn’t complain, that much was true.
“Alright fine,” Kaguya shakes her head, as if only now realizing that I was a lost cause. “You’ve gone though so much effort,” She says, “it would be a shame to put it all to waste. I’ll at least let you try.”
“Alright! Then there’s no time like the present, let’s get started.”
You tell her to lie down, getting ready your various oils and tools of the trade.
“I’d like you to take off your clothes,” You tell her.
“Your clothes. I need you to take them off,” You repeat.
“I’m not sure that would be best,” Kaguya is hesitant to comply.
“Oh, don’t worry, I won’t look,” You say, turning around. “If you wrap that towel over there over parts of yourself, I won’t have to see anything you don’t want me to. I assure you that my interest right now is that of a professional.”
“That’s not going to work,” She says, sounding pessimistic, “I’ll keep my clothes on I think.”
“Come now, I won’t be able to massage you properly if I can’t touch your skin.”
“...fine, I understand. A little bit won’t hurt I guess.”
There’s a short rustle as you hear her loosening buttons and her dress. After a moment she tells you she’s ready.
“This is enough, I don’t need a full treatment,” She preempts your protest. You find that she hasn’t stripped, instead having only loosened the top of her blouse. Her head is turned towards you and her hair has been pushed to the side, exposing her slender shoulders and the small of her delicate back.
“Well, I can work with I get, we’ll see about the rest later.”
With there being no further point in arguing, you get to it with your deft fingers. Betraying the confidence of a real internet superhero you impart your impassioned technique on her. You first get her to stop looking at you, leaving her neck straight. Then, the right type and amount of oil is applied to her thin and gently curving neck; You allow the oil to seep down towards her softly defined shoulders. The application of a tentative first rub with one hand is as satisfying as you imagined it would be. Her creamy skin is twice as smooth and pleasant to the touch as you imagined it to be. Her scrunched up dress abruptly cuts off access to the rest of her back below armpit height. Restraining your wild excitement, you focus on the task at hand.
“How are you feeling?” You ask as you move on down, using your hands to gently rub her as best you can.
“‘Kyaa~n, I’m like putty in your manly and capable hands!’ Is that what you want to hear?” She asks, not having lost her sense of humor despite the circumstances. In surrendering herself temporarily to you, you find that she’s become a lot more like the simple friend you used to have not too long ago.
“While that might make my heart skip a beat, my question is genuine. The point of this is to make you feel as relaxed as you can get.”
“Not bad, all things considered,” She replies, “But I wouldn’t go making this my career if I were you.”
“Duly noted,” You work on a surprisingly tense spot near the base of her neck, gently kneading and wriggling in a one-two motion between your palm and thumb. You chuckle, “I’d say I’m not doing too bad of a job, you’re acting nicer to me.”
“That’s just your imagination, I’m always this nice to you.”
“I suppose this is when I say something stupid to ruin the moment?” You muse, expanding the area of your work to the edges of her shoulder blade. She doesn’t say anything, presumably because she is concentrating on the gentle, but sometimes forceful, moves of your hands against her tense spots. You don’t let that daunt you, “Well since tonight is my treat to you I won’t do or say anything stupid. You’ll have to allow me to be stupid first.”
“I suppose that’s alright then, now enough talking and more rubbing, I do think you’ve got the hang of this.”
The massage only ends when you’ve run out of spots to rub. Kaguya perceptively notices when you’re about done and is quick to end the session, “That really was quite something and I’ve got to thank you for the great idea.”
Not quite ready to completely disrupt the mood, Kaguya sits on the table after fastening her dress securely as usual. She invites you to join her, and the makeshift masseur’s table creaks loudly under your combined heft. With you sitting, she presses up against your side as she usually does, her head softly resting on your shoulder. It’s a scene that often repeats itself when you’re alone, a scene that feels as intimate as it is serene for you. And, like you usually do, you find that your arm drapes around her back to hold her locked with you.
“That was really thoughtful of you,” She says quietly, her words almost being drowned out by the ambiance music, “I wouldn’t have suspected that you used the ‘net for this sort of thing given your track record.”
“In between games and chatting there is always some downtime, I guess I occasionally put it to good use.”
“Geez, what am I going to do with you?” She sighs, “If this were one of those this might be considered a flag or something. Sometimes it turns out that there’s someone else watching.”
The both of you fall silent, mulling over an acquired implication. Just like you can’t get the sounds from the scene out of your mind, it seems that she also has something she doesn’t want to think about. It seems to work to your benefit, as she then kisses you, in a way more spontaneous and passionate than usual. It feels like her way of giving proper thanks for your thoughtfulness, and you don’t waste the chance to show her your own appreciation by meeting her amorous parries with thrusts of your own.
As you hold her for a while longer, before she goes off back to her room for a very relaxed night of sleep, you hold positive thoughts. The effort you put into setting things up seemed to have paid off, even if you didn’t get to do the thorough job you originally intended to do. Seeing her earnest smile and feeling her soft lips and sweet kiss feel like more than ample compensation. And, if that didn’t seem enough, there’s also the fact that she’s acting genuinely more at ease than usual. It isn’t like you don’t talk about stupid things when you’re together, but now it’s like there’s no pretense required. In a way, you both seem to have forgotten the exact nature of your relationship.
The next day, as you clean up, you’re already thinking of how to next proceed. Of course, you can’t think of much and you have other priorities on your mind. Like returning all of the borrowed items before their absence is felt. You grin foolishly, reflecting on how there hasn’t been a dull moment in your life for quite some time now. While Tewi deserves some credit for that, the main reason for it is still probably sleeping in even though it’s past ten.
When you next see Kaguya, she’s back to her more reserved self. Though cracks in her armor do appear to be more obvious. With your can-do attitude and generous patience, you engage her as best as you can. Spending time with her is what you enjoy the most. Even more than Tewi’s underground poker tournament (with no betting ceiling, naturally) or Reisen’s improved carrot cake (as all great inventions, it was an accident - a bottle of rum you tipped on your piece made history). More days of quality time, of banter about the (largely irrelevant) industry news from the outside and of small but precious moments of closeness. It’s an unending cycle which is both sweet and aggravating.
If it were another person in your place, he might have gotten discouraged at how slowly things progress. They would not, most likely, appreciate the minute details in the cycle of daily activities that make things colorful and vibrant. Though much of your affection bears the guise of awkwardness, a lot of it is clearly shown through chance events and repeating situations. For example, when discussing your favorite magazines together, you often take up a position next to her as you read. In these moments, your gazes occasionally wander off the pages and cross, affirming a mutual affection that extends beyond a love for four-panel comics. In each other’s eyes lie the dignified feelings of affection.
Love, or this love at least, feels in many ways naive. You often feel the layers to Kaguya’s armor peel away as quickly as they come back, often exposing her soft and tender side long enough for you to ingratiate yourself. Nothing gaudy or as pointless as declarations of eternal love happen - her casual utterances - her proclamations amounting to not being able to imagine things being any other way convince you that you are on the right track. The secret little jokes you share while others are around (and invariably confuses them for it), shows the strength of the bond between you. The bond that had existed when you were the best of friends but is now surely transforming into something else. It’s enough to make you hopeful, to genuinely expect things to turn out for the best.
Despite the lack of direct affirmation of feelings from Kaguya, she shows an undeniable excitement in her general manner of being that you haven’t ever seen before. In her gait, in her poise and in the way she laughs at your dumb jokes. Though they are often muddied with lingering steely stoicism, her eyes are alight with laughter more often. It’s only when certain subjects are broached, the future chief amongst them, that she retreats into her defensive shell.
Talk, on one occasion, turns to a familiar subject: that of Reisen:
“She confessed she accidentally walked in on you when you were indisposed,” She remarks with a teasing smile. Though she is protective in her own way of Reisen, she notices the off behavior that the moon rabbit exhibits around you and often brings it up with regular jocularity.
“When was this?” You think back, drawing a blank, “I can’t remember anything like that happening.”
“Oh, she said she noticed and stopped herself from being noticed. She still watched you from beginning to end.”
“...I guess there’s nothing I can say, I mean, it’s really embarrassing for the both of us.”
“I suspect it might be a regular thing of hers, this voyeurism. It’s a delicate matter,” Kaguya appraises, “and I’m afraid I don’t know what to say.”
You think about what it is that Kaguya is trying to get out of you. She wouldn’t have brought the topic up unless there was some other angle to it, “I’m afraid I can’t say anything at all. Peeping is a bad thing and I certainly wouldn’t purposefully do it myself.”
“Oh? But if it’s not on purpose? Are you telling me you’ve done that sort of thing?” She asks, interested in what you have to say. It’s enough to make her put down her magazine and give you her full undivided attention.
“I’ve seen things I didn’t mean to. It’s happened a few times. Even though I didn’t have any ill-intent,” You gulp, thinking that maybe she knows about that one time. Certainly it seems like she’s playing cat and mouse with you and you suspect that maybe Tewi got bored and sold you out, “I happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, so I understand if something similar happened to Reisen. But I wouldn’t make a habit of it. And even if I knew that someone did something secret the same time, every day, I wouldn’t keep on returning.”
“How very noble of you. It sounds to me like she hasn’t been behaving very well...”
“Ah, well... it’s understandable that she might be curious, I mean.,. I am the only man around here, right?”
“Curiosity?” Kaguya seems to think about the concept carefully. With a twitch of her nose she concludes, “Well, I suppose that might justify things somewhat.”
There’s a nagging feeling that tells you that you’re really just talking about something else. Reisen doesn’t factor in at all. It’s just a feint. But the specifics elude you as does the question why she would bring it up now.
“So if she continues to do peep, what are you going to do?” She asks plainly. It’s your opinion that Kaguya may be showing a little too much interest in your answer.
 Invite her in to talk things through, no matter how indecent you might be
 Do nothing
or, instead of answering the hypothetical:
 Confess to having spied on her
 Ask her what any of this matters to her