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The day begins with furious chopping and dedicated handling of cookware. Clothed in the garments of a master chef, a pink apron with a deformed cutesy bunny head stitched on the front, you prepare a magnificent morning banquet for your sleeping princess. Someday you'll make a great housewife, so your thoughts conclude. It's a little disconcerting but it doesn't feel exactly wrong either. Stay-at-home dads are all the rage in some countries, you tell yourself. Gender roles are just silly social convention that definitely are of no relevance to you. No way that an old forgotten mansion in the middle of the woods with polished wooden floors and some very traditional-looking inhabitants would be insistent on the old ways.
If they were, you could always stage a protest with the modern-looking Reisen, burning bras and decrying your oppressive patriarchy. Freedom and sexual liberation for all! No being put down by the man! Of course one flaw with that reasoning is that it's really a matriarchy (who is in charge is a matter of debate – but it ain't you) and you don't cross-dress. Maybe if Kaguya asked you to, but even then it would be weird. The manly party of you categorically rejects an absurd idea like that. No matter how pretty you might feel That said, there's something alluring about silk and lace that makes you feel a little bit funny. When you think about cool silk sliding across your legs it causes you to redden a little. It's best not to dwell too much on the why of that.
Your strange thoughts and, frankly, altered state of mind almost cost you a fried sausage. There's a fine line between golden and crispy and burnt. A competent chef knows when to cycle in the next item and only waste the minimal of time. Everything has to be just right, absolutely perfect. Nothing less will do. You have your pride. A man without ideals and, dare you conclude, the relevant ethos is nothing. Hill of spatulas be damned. It was the only path. No regrets.
It's in this silly state of being that you continue and finish the breakfast feast.
It's a lot of food. More than enough to feed a small family. Quite the variety too. Everything from the classic scrambled eggs (it should be noted here that when cracking and whipping up the eggs you felt something akin to true peace, like achieving some form of limited enlightenment) to fresh juice and beyond. It's a bit of trouble to carry everything, even with trays, and it requires all of your concentration. Surprisingly, you don't drop anything.
“Wakey-wakey,” You gently stroke her head. Her eyelids fail to open and her nose twitches. It's like she's resisting being woken up. Not a problem ultimately. A gentle nudge there and a few soft words have the princess up and awake. You smile and try to not sound too patronizing. It's hard not to come off as patronizing, “My dear sleepy princess, I've made a grand breakfast for us.”
“Mm,” She rubs her eyes, “Smells good.”
“My treat to you,” You present her with a tray. She sits up and looks at the contents with a sleepy smile. If she had bed hair it would be a picture perfect moment. One to tease her over later. Her delicate pajama is truly only something a princess would wear. Flowing and delicate, embroidered front and with straps. This has the added benefit of exposing her shapely shoulders and exquisite neckline to the world.
As she digs in, she seems to slowly awaken some more. You're glad that she seems to enjoy it, you certainly like the rich breakfast. Made with love, so there's no way it wouldn't be tasty. You wolf down your own cooking earnestly, seeing that she apparently likes the meal. Damned good. And to think that you almost turned your mind to steel in order to get things done.
“If I didn't know any better,” Kaguya soon has the clarity of mind for banter, “I'd say that all of this fried and rich food is your way of telling me that I'm too skinny.”
“Hm, maybe I do like my women with a little meat on their bones. Waifs aren't really my thing,” You stroke your chin as if pondering the subject.
“Now I can't tell if you're joking,” She shakes her head. It doesn't keep her from eating another bite of crispy golden deliciousness though.
“Don't worry, I'd love you even if you were a little... pudgy,” You use a non-offensive term, “Anytime you want to exercise, I'm available by the way.”
The truth is that she's the very model of perfection. Maybe it's your affection that blinds you to her flaws but there's no part of her that you don't love. Is there room to improve upon perfection? You don't think of it like that. You love her for who she is and if she really did fill up her dress just a little more you'd be fine with it. Same goes for the opposite happening, her already slender figure might become even more erotic. An already very shapely bosom could become even more pronounced by contrast to a more streamlined figure. It makes little logical sense. Then again, it doesn't have to make sense. Your imagination works on both scenarios at full steam, truly happy with either. An active imagination is truly a wondrous thing.
“It doesn't take a mind-reader to understand what you're saying,” She sighs, as if crushed by the weight of the world, “If strangers could see me now, they'd think me uncouth. Speaking of such vulgar things, in such a familiar way. I do like etiquette, you realize.”
“But you like being with me better,” You tell her, “If you seriously didn't like how I behaved you would have told me, right? I mean what sort of lady of good standing allows someone as ill-mannered as me act like they please?”
“Maybe I like bad boys,” She whispers with a frown.
“I heard that,” You tell her, “It's not that. You don't care for all the pomp and circumstance to begin with. All you care about is being relaxed, right? And I think I make you feel at ease.”
“Only sometimes,” She begrudgingly admits. By now she's finished eating, plenty of food is left untouched on her plate. You can't blame her. You were a little too overzealous in the cooking. Most people can't handle so many different types of foods in the morning. Or in the quantities served.
“Fair enough, sounds to me like you need to be a little more honest with yourself,” You remark. Knowing her it's just a matter of not knowing how to express herself. Like when she didn't know how she felt because she had no other experiences to compare it to. She was troublesome like that. There was clearly a gap in her upbringing, the normal part dealing with feelings and the realities of relationships. Maybe an older sister would have been just the thing for her, you find yourself thinking. That's a dangerous thought. A know-it-all bossy and nosy older sister type would have cramped your style. Forcing things along and you would either have been at this stage sooner or not at all, having since been teased to death over one of the many embarrassing incidents that happened in Eientei.
“Oh, shut up,” She puffs her cheeks, defiantly.
“Ok, I won't push my luck,” There's nothing to do but be the bigger person and back down. “Did you enjoy your morning service?”
“The food was wonderful, thank you,” She smiled. Then added, “Don't call it 'morning service', that sounds dirty.”
“The princess is a girl after all, huh?”
“Sometimes I wonder why I even like you.”
“Please don't say things that make my heart freeze.”
Kaguya giggles, “You make it easy to tease you. If you don't stop, you'll get your just desserts.”
You sigh, “Alright, I give.”
Evidently you can be rather more touchy and delicate than she is. Insecurity is something that continually haunts you, something that is central to your current woes. Your future, that is. Eirin has a lot to do with it and so does Kaguya. There's something missing, something that you haven't done probably. That's the only way you can justify not having succeeded in establishing a truly peaceful life.
“Is anything wrong?” Kaguya asks, “You're making a weird face.”
“I was just wishing that I could lose myself in the present without worrying about tomorrow.”
“Hm, you sound like someone with a lot of burdens to carry.” You can't tell if she's poking fun at you.
“It's hard to decide what to do, there's no obvious choice.”
“You always seem to know what to say to me.”
“That's not true,” You shake your head, recalling all those times when it felt like you were walking on eggshells around her. She's still a mystery in some ways, someone who can surprise you at any time. “I'm just stupid and stubborn, so I did stupid and impulsive things. A lot of it wasn't manly, it was just me acting spoiled.”
“And what's wrong with being a little spoiled?” She asks, as if forgetting all the downsides in the past.
“It's hard to be both reliable and spoiled. Add a little of the reality of nor wanting things to blow up and things are really hard to see through.”
“Sounds to me like you're expecting too much of yourself too quickly,”Kaguya chides, “I mean, I'm taking things slowly, not running away. Isn't that what you wanted from me?”
“I'm confident about how I feel about you so it'll all work out.”
“Isn't that a very childish way of thinking?” When you look at her you notice that you've genuinely annoyed her. Instead of the usual playful tease or embarrassed indignation there's real disapproval in her eyes.
“Sorry, but I just have to believe some things,” You explain, “Otherwise I wouldn't have made it this far I think.”
“I thought you were above believing in fate and that nonsense.”
“This isn't quite like that,” You find yourself defending your feelings, “I just am willing to do whatever it takes so I'm saying that no obstacle is going to permanently set me back.”
Somehow you fail to convince even yourself. If you truly believed that then you wouldn't be anxious. You wouldn't mull over threats and what may happen in the future. Because everything would work out thanks to the power of love. Kaguya is right but it's not easy to admit. It's painfully obvious. Pathetic doesn't even begin to describe what your denial is like.
“Maybe I should get a job,” You mumble to yourself.
“Because it's the right thing to do? Isn't that just convenient reasoning?” She certainly does not pull any punches when she's upset, you find yourself thinking.
“I want to to be able to take care of you, no matter what happens. Independence is the way to go for any meaningful long-term plans to be put in place.”
“You shouldn't force yourself to do something just because of some absurd notion you might have about our lives,” It's Kaguya's turn to sigh. Her shoulders droop as she speaks, “In case you haven't noticed we aren't a young couple in the village who want to be together even though our parents forbid us to see one another. Getting a job and eloping won't improve things. As romantic as it may be,” For a brief moment there's a flash of a maidenly smile, “there's no real need to abandon our lives here, we don't go wanting anything.”
“You're basically saying that it would just be for my ego's sake?” I read in between the lines, “But then you'll agree that the status quo isn't perfect? It isn't healthy to live like this.”
“I'm not the smartest person in the world,” She sighs again, looking more downcast, “I don't have an obvious solution for whatever it really is that's making you worry. All I can tell you is what I've decided which is to live with the decisions I've made. In short, I assume the consequences for choosing the path I chose. You're not the only one in this relationship. I also wanted it.”
“It feels like I have to apologize,” You hold her by the shoulders gently. Her loosened clothes make her look thinner than she is. The truth is all that you can give her, “it's easier for me to think only about my perspective, that I've done everything and I've accomplished everything but you've also been there alongside me the whole time. You're acting with me. It was stupid of me to assume otherwise.”
“Don't get too hung up about it,” She smiles softly, “I think you knew that all along deep down, you're just trying to protect me. I don't need that kind of protection anymore. Being held by you feels nice though.”
“I could do this forever,” You wink before kissing her. She tries to protest, saying something about having just eaten and not having a chance to freshen up but you don't care. Her token struggle is briefer than usual. Physical affection is too pleasurable in the end. An unguarded Kaguya is proof of your intimacy. Breakfast was a great idea, after all.
There's no doubt anymore that any approach you take has to involve Kaguya. You had your chance to act independently and it's simply no longer an option now that you've been reminded of certain elementary facts.
“I never did ask you something really important,” As you gather up the dishes and trays you make small talk with Kaguya.
“And what would that be?” She asks as she gets dressed and straightens her clothes. Your gaze clearly makes her nervous as she messes up the button order on her blouse not once, but twice. You want to offer to help but that would likely make things worse.
“How do you like your eggs?”
“Oh. Is that it?” She pouts.
“What's with the disappointed look? No, nevermind, let's not get sidetracked.”
“Poached eggs are nice, and this one time I really liked when Reisen made what she called 'Eggs Florentine”. Fancy name for a tasty dish.”
“Don't worry though, I still enjoyed the scrambled eggs,” She sees through you quickly enough, offering what amounts to a 'good effort' metaphorical pat on the back. She's a thoughtful lover. Though your ego would prefer it if she worked on her timing a little. It's just not the same. Praise first, gentle correction for the future follows. That's the golden rule of letting someone know that they could have done just a little better.
“Oh spare me, just let me sulk in peace,” You complain with an exaggerated sniffle.
“I love anything you make or give me, you should know that,” She says something embarrassing like that with a completely straight face. It's a wonder how she's able to vacillate so strongly between her assertive self and her more bashful self. Women are frightening creatures, of that you have no doubt. Capable of cunning plans and cold-hearted manipulation. Even pure innocent Kaguya and her sheltered upbringing did not prevent her from being able to push your buttons.
 Get an outside opinion on how you're doing together (specify)
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