[x] But she looks so warm...
Carefully, to avoid seeming too eager, you begin inching closer to her, few steps at a time. She keeps still, wagging the tofu a little. Her lips curl to a smile as she notices that your eyes follow the movements of her hand.
"Come on... I won't eat you."
Wag, wag... Your tail flips from side to side, revealing the nervousness which inherently comes with having an animal form. She's close, she's big. Her scent is strong; you store it in your memory in case it's needed later. It's hard to tell people only by scent, though. It's possible, yes, but you prefer other methods if possible. Scent is somehow... indefinite. Using it to recognize someone always leaves you with a 'what if' -feeling.
When you're about one meter from her, you stop. One part of your animal instincts tell you to run, and another one tells you to... stick to her? You're not quite sure. Anyhow, the cold is really starting to get through your fur now. Shivering again, you dart forward to snatch the treat. A wall of warmer air meets you just as you're about to devour the delicious morsel that she is holding. So warm... Closing your teeth around the thin piece of tofu, you hesitate for a moment too long. Her hands scoop you up from the ground, curling themselves around your (relative to hers, anyway) small body like you were a pet of hers. You don't resist too much for two reasons: firstly, you don't want to hurt her with your claws by flailing around and secondly, she's just so damn warm that you don't even want to escape.
“Got you!~” The up to now thin smile on her face transforms into a satisfied grin. “Hey, Reimu! I'm coming in!”
For a moment you feel very heavy. You very nearly panic because of the rapid change in situation, but Reiko pressing her chin on your head calms you down a little. Reiko as in Reimu's mother: that's her first name. Calling her just Hakurei would be confusing. She's just about to land as you try to move into a more comfortable position, looking up while doing so. She seems to be focused on the door in front of you. Trying to remind her that she's still holding a small piece of the tofu, you lick her chin once. This causes her to lift you a little higher and bury her face on your shoulder. It isn't very comfortable for you, as her cheek bones press against the tendons on your shoulder bones.
“So cute~” You hear the door slide open, then close behind you again. She really seems to know her way around here – no wonder. “Reimuuuu! Look what I found! Isn't he cute!”
“Yes, mom. Very. Now, where were we again? Ah, how's the new guy doing? Or I guess I shouldn't call him new anymore, it's been half a year already...”
Reimu doesn't sound nearly as excited as her mother. She's chewing on some of the dried meat you smelled earlier while talking to Sakuya Izayoi, head maid of the Scarlet Devil mansion. The person she's talking of has to be Chris, your friend of sorts. You were tasked to keep an eye on him when he first arrived. Then, before you knew it, you were fishing with him at the Misty lake.
“Aww... So cold. I just came to say hi.” Reiko pouts as she gets ignored by her daughter. “You're not going to even offer tea to your own mother?”
“...Fine, go make some. I don't have any at hand and I'm busy right now. Also, could you see if the rice is ready while you're at it? -so, he's been busy lately?”
Reimu lacking interest in you is more surprising than her laziness. Her mother brought in an apparently wild fox and she doesn't care? They say that she's easygoing, but...
“I'll make some for you two, too.” Reiko suddenly releases you, setting you on the floor. “And you're going nowhere, get it?”
Eh... The door's closed and you can't open it on your own, so that's kind of a given. Out of options, you sit in the corner closest to the fireplace and listen to Reimu and Sakuya talk while Reiko is gone.
“...so yeah, things are pretty silent at the mansion right now, only notable thing is that Meiling seems a little down. Lonely, I guess. She seemed somehow hopeful when Chris arrived but quickly fell into boredom afterward as he nearly ignored her. Not much we can do about that. Oh, and have you heard? They say that the weather's an incident. Miss Patchouli's observations seem to hint at that, too.”
Your ears perk up as Sakuya mentions the word incident. Sakuya's eyes are fixed on Reimu, who keeps on chewing the meat with a dull expression.
“Mmh, we'll see. I'm saying that they're jumping to conclusions. It's true that it's been unusually cold, but the old hags in the village remember many such winters. Plus it's January, not spring like last time.” Reimu scratches her chin while looking at the ceiling. “...Maybe I should pay a visit to the sky god. She should know if something's off about the weather. At least, it should calm down the villagers if they hear that I've done something.” She glances at the kitchen door as the sound of boiling water reaches her ears. “Tea?”
“Please.” Sakuya bows her head a little. “No sugar, as always.”
“Right.” Reimu pushes herself up and heads to the kitchen. “Coming right away.”
Sakuya eyes you curiously as Reimu leaves. You tilt your head and stick out your tongue. She smiles and looks away. Then-
“Nice to see you around, Seimei Modoru. I don't think I even said it before, but we always knew of your presence.”
The maid's sudden presence nearly freaks you out, causing you to snap at her fingers. Still, you let her hand land on your head. It feels kind of nice, having her pet your head. Closing your eyes, you let her do it. So, they knew? And you thought you weren't noticed at all...
“Hey, the tea's ready.”
Reimu informs Sakuya of the progress she's made. The maid leaves you alone yet again to enjoy the freshly-made drink. They begin talking about how things are in the village.. You lie down and enjoy the heat radiating form the nearby fireplace, listening to their meaningless chatter. You live in the village, you know what happens in there.
A moment later, after everyone's had their second serving of tea, and after Reimu's brought out the rice for her and Sakuya (Reiko didn't want any), you feel yourself getting lifted off the ground again. Waking from the half-asleep state you were in, you look upwards to see Reiko lifting you again. Seeing her calming smile, you let her carry you again.
“Bye Reimu! And miss Izayoi, too!”
“Bye mom.” “Goodbye, Mrs. Hakurei.”
They both wave goodbye as the former maiden of the shrine leaves. Outside the door, after closing it carefully, she deposits a few notes into the donation box. You'd do that too, but... yeah. Then you realize that she's got no intention of releasing you. Struggling only makes her hold you even tighter.
“I'll let you go soon enough, don't worry. Life would be boring without your food stall, after all.” Even she knows... But... It's supposed to be a secret. Not everyone can know it, can they? Rising into the air, she hugs you reassuringly. She lands soon again, and lets go of you afterward. “I'm on your side, don't worry. Now, could you change into a more talkative shape?”
Crossing her arms, she looks at you. Being like that makes her bust look even larger than usual.
Trusting her for now, you focus your thoughts on your body. Muscle transforms into water, bone into gas, flesh into quicksilver... Everything melts, bends, reshapes and stretches. Your tail shrinks back into a set of aborted bones, your fur shrinks into your skin, teeth change shape, legs grow...
In a moment, where there was a fox a moment ago, now stands a man of about 20 years in age. His hair is dark brown, heritage from his mother, and he wears rectangular spectacles made of iron.
“So, you had something to say, Mrs. Hakurei?”
Looking up to see her face, you cross your arms, too.
“Just that I'm on your side. I made a deal with the seven-tails. You do the talking, I'll do the shooting. If you do your job properly, I won't even have to do the shooting, and it'll be better for everyone.” She winks at you. “Also, here's my number. I was told that you're one of the few who owns a working mobeel-foone.”
Handing you a slip of paper, she draws out a small mobile phone from the same pocket.
“You want my number, too? Fine.”
After a moment of searching, the string of numbers appears on the screen of your phone. You're not really proficient with the thing, but you know how to make calls. So far, you've only managed to get 4 numbers – Ran Yakumo, Yukari Yakumo, Rinnosuke Morichika and Reiko just now. Ran and Yukari's numbers are something you've never used, though. Rinnosuke just gave them when you were told to get a phone.
“Okay, I think I'm done here. Take care.”
Reiko lifts off again and soon disappears into the still-continuing snowfall. Peculiar woman, she is. She likes to eat at your place, but rarely says a word. You would never have guessed that the seven-tails managed to recruit someone like her to join the kitsune. It'll transform them from “nothing” to “something” if she's to stay loyal. Still, you won't be any match to the major players in Gensokyo: The vampires, ghosts, lunarians, tengu, buddhists or the humans. Right now, everyone's too scared to make a move. A fight between two factions would leave them both weak enough to be conquered by the others. Perhaps the former lead figure of humanity joining the fray could bring some action... Nah, the seven-tails will probably keep it a secret until the right moment. The kitsune remain free only because their existence is known only to a select few. Prodding your Personal Eyesight Enhancement Device, as Eirin, it's maker, calls it, higher, you head back home.
Fifteen minutes, growing of a winter fur, and quite a bit of walking later you're home. It's not much, only a room with a bed, bookshelf full of books, a table and some other pieces of furniture. Most of the house is occupied by your food stall and your study/healing clinic. On the table there are some letters, each sealed with a fox-head symbol. You already know the contents, though. Your future assignments. There's also a letter from your mother about “important things concerning your future.”
 See what the other Miko and the gods are up to.
 Confirm the availability of medicine from Eientei in case of crisis.
 Check what your mother has to say.
See Chris and get him to tell the plans of the Vampires. Unavailable until /sdm/ story advances.
Yep, it's the end of the first ...thingy. I guess I can't really call these shorts. The next one should be a bit longer.
Again, if you have questions, ask away.