Going out for a bite to eat is a classic date idea for a reason, right? You haven't really done it much, but since you have so much money now oh goodness
, you figure this is the best time to give it a go.
"I miiiight know a place to eat, if you wanna do that," you drawl.
Kokoro nods, letting her arms fall to her sides. "That is fine. Lead on."
"No problem!" You grab her hand and start walking, and she immediately falls in step with you, arms swinging as she takes exaggerated steps that, somehow, still leave her right at your side. She ends up teetering on one leg more than a few times as you go, and it's kinda odd compared to how reserved her speech is, but it's not like she can help how she talks; if she wants to express herself this way instead, that's great!
"So," you say, and she glances down at you. "Do you have anything you really like?"
"No." She holds up her free hand, finger raised. "Or, rather, I do not have any preferences."
You nod, happy with that answer. "Good! Good. I was thinking, well, something kinda simple?"
"Cool." You're leaving unsaid the fact that you don't really know any places to eat around here besides the one you got thrown out of, and, well, you got thrown out
of that one. Still, you've got money; if they won't take it just because you ate for free one time, that's their problem.
Kokoro seems perfectly happy with staying quiet as you walk, and you're happy to stay that way too, because wow, a girl is letting you hold her hand
, and this isn't something you get to do too often! Even the occasional odd glance from other people isn't a bother; you know you make for a strange pair, but Kokoro apparently doesn't mind the looks, so it's all fine.
You reach your destination restaurant after a few minutes, a wooden building with a square roof, the front home to several windows allowing light to stream in. There's a sign outside the door with colorful, sweeping brush strokes announcing the place's name; you don't really pay attention after that part, though, because you realize that maybe having Kokoro be here when the owner yells at you about your last visit wouldn't do you any favors in her eyes.
"Um," you say, looking up at her. "Maybe stay out here while I settle things? I might've, uh, made the boss of this place angry last time I was here."
She looks back at you, fox staring you down, and gives your hand a squeeze. "No."
You blink, not entirely sure how to feel about this. "Huh?"
"You are my date. If there's a problem, I will be here to defend you." She lays her other hand on the hovering fox. "This is the face of seriousness."
That's - actually really reassuring! "Okay, sure!" you say, and lead the not-quite-charge into the building.
It's one big open room in here, with a long wooden bar separating the kitchen from the rest of the room. Behind it is a man in a white hat and matching apron over his robes who's grilling meat, the scent of which hits you like a brick to the nose. In the eatery proper, there's square tables and wooden chairs scattered about, a good number of villagers seated around, and your eyes drift across the other people who've decided to grab a meal here: all regular humans, like the pair of large, muscled men cracking jokes at each other, the group of bookish-looking young men chatting animatedly over noodles, a couple in the corner whispering in hushed tones, and so on. Some look at the (honestly pretty odd) sight you and Kokoro provide, but they return to their own business quick enough.
You take one more step in, which is when a dark-haired teenage girl skids in front of you, face set in a frown as she plants her hands on her hips. "Hey! We already told you you ain't allowed-"
"I'm really sorry
about earlier," you interrupt, brandishing your loads of money
, and the girl's jaw clicks shut, even though the suspicion doesn't leave her eyes.
"Open it," she demands, more quietly than before. You glance at Kokoro and let go of her hand, and her mask shakes just slightly when you do. A quick untying of the string lets you open the purse up, and your greeter's eyes shoot wide open when she peeks inside. Suspicion returns not even half a second later as her scowl deepens. "Where did you get this?"
"It was a gift," Kokoro says before you can even open your mouth, and the other girl flinches under her unblinking stare. "Are there any other problems you have?"
"No, no, it's fine," she says, a strained smile crossing her lips. "Table for two?"
"Table for two," you confirm, and she spins on a heel.
"Right this way!" she says, bustling off, and both you and Kokoro see no reason not to follow her. You hardly manage a few steps when the chef looks up, spots you, and grows a magnificent grimace.
"Oi!" he calls out. "What's he doing here?"
"He brought money, Dad!" says your guide, and the way the man's expression flips is pretty spectacular.
"Get him a table!" he says, then returns his attention to cooking.
"Yup!" Sure enough, you're guided to a little corner spot, seated, and are witness to Kokoro pushing her skirt down when she sits; the thing is naturally puffy, but after a bit of work she gets it to stay close to her legs.
"So!" says your waitress, after you and Kokoro are settled in. "What would you like?"
"I smell chicken," Kokoro says, stare still firmly on the other girl, who refuses to look her in the eye for any appreciable length of time. "I want it."
"Chicken sounds good!" you agree, and not just because Kokoro suggested it; properly grilled meat is a rare treat!
"Aaaaall right," says the girl, easing up a bit more when she looks your way. "You want it sauced up?"
"Sure!" you say, bobbing your head excitedly.
"I second that," Kokoro adds.
? 'Kay!" Your server gives you your total, which you can't help but feel is a bit disproportionate right up to the point she mentions your last visit here, whereupon you suddenly find it in you to pay extra. "Thanks a bunch! I'll be with you again shortly."
She hustles away, leaving you alone with Kokoro, who's now staring at you pretty intently, fox and all.
"You didn't pay last time." Her statement does a great job of making you wince.
"I was flat broke?" you protest, already knowing that's not gonna get you anywhere.
"Fairies don't need food." You know she doesn't inflect or change her tone at all, but darn if you don't hear an accusation in her voice anyway.
"I wanted some." You pout, looking away, because there's no way you can stand up to her stare head-on.
"Please do not do that again," she says, and you can feel
the disapproval even from her flat gaze.
"...Okay," you sigh, because what other answer are you gonna give her?
"And you're up!" says the waitress, back again with a little plate of grilled chicken in each hand. She sets it down and leaves you with a half-sincere ?Enjoy!"
You study your own dish intently; the chicken's coated in dripping red sauce, but this dissuades you not at all
as you grab the skewer, take a bite, and immediately
regret this decision, because oh gods above it burns.
Kokoro pauses with her own held near her lips. "How is it?"
You clench your fists, squeeze your eyes shut (don't cry don't cry oh no you're crying it's that hot), and go ?aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-
oh wait it's actually pretty good now that my tongue isn't melting."
Kokoro blinks as you swallow, then wipe the tears out of your eyes. She gives her own food a suspicious (you're guessing here) look, and nibbles at it. Her mask immediately shoots off, replaced by the surprised face from when you first met. You could almost swear her eyebrows rise just the tiniest bit as she chews.
After a few moments, she swallows, then takes another bite. "Mm."
She nods slowly, the fox coming back into place. "You were right about this."
Aha! Dating success! "Glad you like it!"
"I didn't say that." The fox trembles slightly when she speaks.
"Oh," you say. Crap.
"...I didn't say I didn't like it either." Kokoro cocks her head, half-lidded stare boring into your eyes. The fox's trembling grows stronger.
Just like that, Googly Eyes butts the Fox out of the way. "I am playing a joke on you."
"Oh!" A grin breaks out on your face. "Okay, you got me good with that one. Ten outta ten."
"I am quite good." And that's the fox once again! "We should talk now, I think. By which I mean you should talk and then I will respond."
"Isn't it supposed to go both ways?" you ask through another mouthful of chicken, because table-manners are for chumps.
Kokoro stares. "What do you like to do?"
Riiiight, you don't think there's any winning that one.
[PICK FOUR THINGS]
[ ] Fairy music isn't known for being elegant, but darn if you can't manage a lively flute solo! Your singing voice ain't too bad, either.
[ ] The other fairies call you Iron Gut because of your special ability to not get immediately plastered whenever drinks are passed around, unlike pretty much everyone else. As a weird side-effect, it doesn't hurt at all if someone hits you in said gut, which is really handy even if you don't know the why behind it.
[ ] You lift. You lift a lot of things. Logs! Fairies! Youkai! You've even heard that if you lift enough, there's a mystical prize waiting for you; a hernia!
[ ] You're decent at danmaku! Sure, you still got stomped by Cirno when you got cocky and had a go at her, but you lasted several minutes before you got wrecked.
[ ] You've always had fun with interpretive dance, actually. Sure, people laugh at you, but they just don't understand you're making art. (The art is in making people laugh.)
[ ] You are (NOT) an illiterate! Sure, you may not be able to read anything real complicated, but you're still better off than a large chunk of the fairy population.
[ ] You are made out of 'goes fast,' or at least can make a claim as such! You also got the skill to not smash headfirst into a tree when you're flying that fast through a forest, which is handy!
[ ] You can hold your breath for twenty minutes! Maybe more! It shouldn't be possible, but somehow you manage?
[ ] Write in?
start this to have fun with a few lesser-used touhous, after all. Glad it's working out for you too. >>187488
Aww~ I'm happy you enjoy it, anon.