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RP A Loving Commitment

Rizzo

Well-Known Member
Hanako's Palace
Nature Walk through Garden
1500 hours


There was a newfound warmth in Masumi's light blue eyes that sparked in each of them as a slow smile spread across her sienna-skinned cheeks. It had been too long. Too long since breathing an atmosphere's air and having had feet on solid ground. It had been too long since wearing casual clothes like the loose white top that showed the black sillhouette of her intricate undergarments and charcoal jeans she wore now. Too long since many things. Trivial things, when compared to the last time she had smiled.

She was smiling for no better reason than because she had seen him, her love, her pet, Candon.

Candon's muscles pressed gently against the fabric of his solid black tee shirt as he sat bent over his lap. The bench he waited on had become naggingly uncomfortable as he'd been waiting, a fault of his own for arriving early. He could at least appreciate the shade of the tree the bench had been built under as he pressed his hands into his knees. Anxiety was always by his side but today it especially stood over him as he awaited Masumi. It had been months since they'd received the differing orders that had kept them apart so long.

With nothing to do but wait he pressed his hand against the pocket of his beige slacks to check the contents, no different than the pre-mission triple checks he'd been known for. Like a battle he had no idea what to expect. Would she be arriving with a new boyfriend? Perhaps she wanted to just touch base with a close friend? Unreasonable thoughts that he couldn't shake circled his idle mind as he once more worried about things that hadn't yet happened.

The bright, glossy smile was tucked behind Masumi's lips as she stepped down a flight of wooden stairs, flowering treeson each side. Her foot hit the bottom step running a moment before she floated to a few inches above the ground and speedily made her way to Candon, under the tree that cast a dappled shade on his form. She could see black hair and a brooding expression as dark as the crop of locks on his head. She faltered in her floating. She didn't trip, it was more akin to a rushed slowing and stop. Her pink brows fell down over her eyes and she took on a reserved air as she stepped with laceup tennis shoes towards Candon. The first footsteps were close enough and loud enough on the asphalt that led to the grass his bench was sitting on.

Candon's heart skipped as he heard the gentlest scuff of shoes. There was no doubt in his mind, he knew the sound of Masumi from anywhere. Reality froze as euphoria burst from his heart. His gaze turned to Masumi as his mind urged him to move run to her, yet nothing happened. The desire to move and inability was nauseating as he swirled in an indestructible whirlwind of emotion without moving an inch. Like a short-cycled aether generator he urged himself to his feet, once- twice- thrice to no effect.

Tears welled in his eyes as he made one more push to regain control. At last standing he drove himself forward, arms opened to embrace her.

The pink-haired woman was in his arms a few moments after they had opened. Having regained some semblance of hurriedness, she had again let her feet off of the ground when he had lifted his head with tiny tears in his eyes.

In his mind, he would hear her say, "Okiniiri," her voice was slow and soft, unlike her rushed movement to bury her head into the side of his neck, "I have missed being in your arms."

The anxiety melted away as her voice sounded within Candon's troubled mind and finally, after months of living on the edge of a knife, all was well in his life.

"'Sumi," he whispered aloud as he gripped her tighly, tears falling freely as he couldn't find a word beyond her name. Seconds rolled by in an instant as they embraced each other. Her pink hair became wet with what fell from Candon's eyes, then his tee shirt clung to his skin under the collar and Candon's neck was moist with Masumi's similarly free-flowing tears of joy.

Concern and worry of the past many months were alleviated just by holding him. She had not allowed herself to cry even in the grimmest of moments and so now, the warm tears were accompanied by two hands able to hold the love of her life and an open, unwavering smile.

"Candon..." She brought her face away from his neck to be able to speak more clearly. Eyes on him, she said, "Candon, I love you."

The words sank to his heart, a warmth he'd been missing for too long began to spread to his face as he now looked back into her deep blue eyes. They were the same loving eyes he'd never forget and yet they seemed different, almost older in a sense. The guilt of having not been with her to have seen what she had would have to taunt him from afar as the joy of this reunion was all he could think about.

"I love you," he repeated, unable to say it any better, "it was torture without you." Stroking her back he tried to collect himself, "how'd it go?"

"How it usually goes when you're not in charge," Masumi said, looking into his eyes while tilting her head. Her loose pastel hair fell to the side before she straightened her face to look at him more fully. "Tell me you have my orders somewhere up there," her eyes were searching his, "and that they're with you."

A soft smile returned to Candon's face for the first time since she'd left. His head shook as he tried to muster words.

"Orders, huh?" He mumbled. His posture straightened as they came to mind. "Kiss me," he commanded in the softest way he could, leaning in to meet her lips. Hers were there, ready to be shocked and, upon contact with his, they opened gently and her hands gripped Candon's torso tighter, thinking aloud to him.

"I love your orders so much, Okiniiri," Masumi's thoughts told him.

"Enough to be with me forever?" He responded telepathically.

"Enough for that and more," Masumi replied. She didn't know what more there could be to life than being with him forever, but she was willing to commit to it, regardless.

Breaking the kiss Candon stepped back and reached into his pocket, unnecessarily nervous.

"Masumi, I can't give you my real name but I will love you with my every breath for as long as I live," he stated, obviously rehearsed yet entirely sincere.

His hand retrieved a small box from his pocket and he took a knee.

"Masumi, will you marry me?"

Masumi nodded to denote yes, while her voice cracked out a question.

"Will you give me the name, 'Suites,' to take as my own? That's enough, more than enough, for me." Her hand went forward, past the box and to his cheek as she bent down to be eye level with his own striking blue ones.

"Ugh I hate that name," he barely managed past a laugh as he tried to catch his breath, "But Mrs. Suites..." His hands took her right hand as he thumbed open the small box. Placing a simple silver ring on her finger he looked back to her dazzling eyes. "I think I can live with that."

Masumi looked back at him, excited and ready, but her naivete showed as she asked, "What now?"

Candon didn't answer for a few moments. he'd focused so much on this moment he'd failed to consider anything else.

"I don't think I planned that far ahead," he finally admitted, standing back up with her, "this is Hanako's Palace, so I'm sure we can think of something. I guess we have a wedding to plan as well."

"What if we got married now?" Masumi asked, looking around at the location, known for its weddings. "Or would that be..." she didn't have the words for what it could be considered. "I don't know if I want to wait."

Candon raised an eyebrow, "Don't you want to invite friends?"

The question stung, she had lost friends from basic when she went on to study science. She had failed to make friends on the Eucharis. She had stuck to her experiments on Howard Station and 188604 and met no people that she would call friends. But, she knew Candon had them. She knew Candon had the personality and sociability she did not, and would not be selfish in the face of what would be their future together.

"I want to invite yours," Masumi said to him with a small smile.

On the other hand, Candon hadn't considered just how isolated Masumi had kept herself until this point. Reaching his hand around his fiancé he began walking further down the nature trail.

"I guess I don't take you out enough do I?"

Masumi tucked the side of her head onto his shoulder, making her long pink hair splay out behind the both of them, cape-like.

"I like how much you take me out, as it stands..." she said, letting one of her hand find purchase on his hips. "We have a wedding to plan, then."

The Next Morning

Two eggs slid gently from the pan onto a plate as Candon prepared breakfast. Steam rose in bundles from the pot of simmering tea in perfect harmony with the sizzling of the now empty pan. The small kitchen had everything he needed in a tidy, organized package to bring refreshments to his belove fiancée who still rested.

With two plates on a tray Candon brought the simple meal of eggs and bacon along with the pot of tea to the bedroom Masumi slept in. The Nekovalkyrja had been strung from mission to mission for months and the palace's beds were unlike anything a starship or fortress could offer. She was entangled in deep Ketsurui-crimson sheets and her bright blue eyes were hidden behind her dark, closed lids. Her cheek was pressed against the white pillow and, on the other side of her face, her elven ear twitched slightly as Candon entered the bedroom.

With a soft sound in a lilting tone, she murmured out, "I dreamed..." her eyelids opened slowly and searched the room, eyes settling on Candon as he approached, "of being married."

A smile Candon couldn't contain swept his face. He'd been only trying to fight back his anxiety over the calls he'd have to make to the dangerous people he called friends to invite them to the one place they didn't belong. But his anxiety was easy to ignore when he heard her voice.
"Did it involve me getting a job and a loan?" he joked as he sat the tray on the side of the bed.

"It was much nicer than that," Masumi said, "even that sounds nice to a small extent, but mostly because we would be married in that type of dream. No, it was..." Masumi thought how to put words to the dream as she lifted herself from her position and brought herself close to him, kissing him gingerly so as to not disturb the plates in his hands. "It was nicer than I can put it." She sat at the small dining table made for two after pulling on her clothes quickly, selecting a revealing tank top and elastic short.

Joining her at the table Candon couldn't help but start thinking about how they wanted the wedding proceeding to be. No doubt it would be small but it was a once ever event that he'd hate to waste. Would they wear formal civilian or military attire? Any special colors? He'd never had any real interest in the part he now planned and he kicked himself for not paying more attention to the chick flicks his first roommate watched constantly.

"So," he began, setting down hiso tea, "I have no idea how a wedding is made. Where do we start?"

Masumi looked to him with wide eyes as she thought, then she looked down and approached the eggs with a fork and disassembled the yolk from the white of it, carefully putting the food on her fork before looking back up to him.

"I don't know."

"I guess we should probably figure out what we'll wear," Candon guessed, "do you think Hanako would host the proceeding?"

"I..." Masumi recalled the last time she had been spoken to directly by Hanko. "I don't think I would want that."

"Oh," Candon said, unsure of why though remembering some rough interactions between the shy girl and battle hardened commander. Still, he couldn't think of a person who could host the procession, however...

"What if we just do it ourselves? I'm a captain of a- of a.... shuttle?" he tried to justify, and then remembered the Kouken-escort he'd received from the Second Chance Salvage Company. He became a registered captain to accept it. "I forgot, I can file the paperwork. That Kouken-class is still registered in my name by the Yamataian government. Would that be okay with you, babe?"

Noticeably happier with this idea than the other presented, Masumi nodded before finally putting the morsel of egg into her mouth.

Having finished the bite a moment later, she said, "I'll find something to wear for myself and a cake, if that's possible."

Candon nodded as he ate another bite. A feeling of calm was ever present in the room as he thought not of the warfare that was his work, but rather the peaceful ideas of just showing their love made time seem to stand still this morning. And yet, there was the nagging idea that Candon was asking a lot of his shy fiancée with the wedding plans. Though he didn't exactly know how to approach the subject he was comfortable enough to be direct.

"Sumi, thank you for helping me arrange this. I know your ideal wedding is in a dark basement and I appreciate that you are willing to do this publicly."

She couldn't help but smile midway through his sentence after having been caught halfway through a bite of bacon. She chomped down and her smile didn't fade. She shrugged her shoulders as her eyes raised to his and finished chewing.

She spoke, "It's an important moment in our lives... I want to share it with you the way we both want to share it together. Making concessions for one another won't always be easy, but it will be necessary in the rest of our many years together. It's," she lowered her eyes. "It's the least I could do, doing it in a way that makes both of us happiest."

Candon reached over the small table and placed his hand on hers, "What is it you want in our marriage, Aijin?"

There was only one answer, "You."

With no other answer the future was open to whatever would happen, and finally he'd have a partner to share it with. If she wanted him, it was him she would have.

Standing up he pushed the table aside, walking straight toward her. Her breath caught behind her chest after a quick inhale and Masumi was soon looking at Candon with wide, hopeful eyes.

"Okiniiri..." she was able to say a moment before he was in front of her fully. "You are all I want or have ever wanted..." She let him draw nearer while she breathed in once more, making her barely-covered, tank top-clad chest rise.

Leaning over the buxom beauty Candon missed her lips to whisper in her ear, "You are what I never knew I needed."

His hands began a journey from her bubblegum hair to her shoulders, hooking the fabric there in his thumbs.

"I need you," he continued, with the same quiet, predatory voice he intimidated enemies with. With a quick pull he tore at the tank top to destructive ends.

An almost indiscernible sound came from between Masumi after he spoke and she clenched her pink bottom lip with her top teeth. Her shirt fell limply to the chair's seat behind her butt and she looked to him with a hunger that breakfast had not satiated.

"Hnnnngh," was the nearly undetectable sound from Masumi as she held the chair beneath her with a tight grip. She whispered so he could hear, "Then have me, if you need me."

Candon's breathing quickened as the light turned green. Starting at her neck he began planting kisses in the direction or her exposed chest. Hands reached father down under her to lift her up and he gripped around her panty-covered buttocks.

She gave a quiet moan, "Mmmm, Candon..." She had said his name as the light, almost tickling, sensation of kisses cascaded down her.

Another aggressive pull and he lifted her out of the chair while she wrapped her arms around him, clasping in the back around his neck so that her lips could find a place on one of his temples, kissing it gently before pulling closer, so that she could nibble his ear gingerly.

The feeling of her body pressing into him so tightly enflamed his passion. Her scent was intoxicating, her words thrilling. The recovering drug addict needed his fix in the worst way and his intentions, well known by the well-endowed woman, would be carried out despite any obstacle as he carried her toward the disheveled bed they started the day in.

"Candon, Can..." she nearly let herself succumb to the lust before she continued, "...Candon, you better be ready to ask me to marry you again." she had a heated look in her eyes and a slow slur to her voice between kissing his collarbone and lifting her lips to speak. She added, "My last backup was yesterday morning and you're going to be the death of me."

"'Till death do we part...'" he quoted and pushed her onto the bed with a slight bounce. Stiching stretched and broke as the super soldier harshly pulled off his own shirt and dove onto the the Nekovalkerie.

Masumi kissed him fully and said telepathically, "Until death do we part..."

Three Hours Later

Candon lay behind his wife-to-be with closed eyes as he continually ran his hand across the curves of her body. Though his hand was busy with the repetitive petting his mind was occupied with matters of a different sort. With her shape thoroughly committed to muscle memory he paused at the widest point of her hip and backtracked to the narrowest point of her waist. He couldn't help but wonder what her feelings were on the idea he couldn't shake.

He found the possibilities of married life with her to be exciting, and also terrifying as it became another step closer to rebuilding the family he'd lost. With as many people as he'd killed there would be an unending line of people wanting him to suffer and die. By now most of these enemies knew they wouldn't last a minute fighting him, which made Masumi a prime target.

His hand continued to feel beneath the bosom he'd given so much attention to lately to explore the flat belly often hidden beneath. The ideas of children worried him. Would they too be a target? He was certain of it. Though Candon had long kept his own reproductive organs offline his own life was proof that there was still a chance of something happening. Usually it would require that Masumi want to have a child as well yet his own mother had become pregnant accidentally. The odds were infinitesimally slim, yet present.

Candon would bury his face into her abundant hair as he massaged her empty womb. He knew it might end poorly, but he needed to know her feelings on the matter. Was motherhood something she desired? Would she love him less for his caution? How could he even approach the subject?

As these questions and others like it consumed his thoughts his grip tightened around her waist.

Masumi's light blue eyes moved between the pillowy clouds above the ocean outside and Candon's hands as she felt the mid-day sun move across their bodies from the window.

"My pet," Her words were slow and mellow as they came out, "what's on your mind?"

Candon froze, as of caught in an illicit act.

'Damn, am I that transparent?!' he thought as he tried to think of an appropriate response, 'come on just ask her-'

"Do you want children?" He blurted out, "... I mean, not now or even in a year but...."

His mind drew a blank on how to proceed with his own question. Perhaps he himself didn't know his own feelings toward the concept. "So yeah, what do you think about kids?"

"I would want yours," Masumi said, feeling a shiver of warmth as she looked at Candon's expression while her own was of a soft smile. "I want them, with you."

'Damn, I knew it! This is great aweful confusing,' he thought with panic as he tried to keep his face from giving away the conflict in his head. Part of him already knew it wasn't working and made him wonder how he'd gone so long in the business of covert operations.

"I guess I'd be in trouble if you wanted someone else's," he tried joking, making an awkward situation worse.

"I'm worried about what kind of life our children would have," he explained, and realized he'd admitted a desire for multiple children, "I mean, any children we may have- or just one, I mean-"

"I'd like to think they would have the lives we would want for them," she said. "One full of learning and experiences that we only dreamed of. What has you so," she wanted to say 'worried' but knew that was too strong of a word, but couldn't find any others, "worried?"

'Wow, did I chose the right woman. I'm not hiding a thing from her,' he resigned with a heavy sigh. Rolling over he grabbed his communicator and returned, setting it on the bed between them. The volumetric projector illuminated a scene of the suite they had moved into on Howard Station.

"After you had left I decided to make decoys of ourselves with a pair of MimicComs that were simulating our own ST data. I installed cameras to keep an eye on them just to see what would happen, to see if we would be able to live on my own station in peace..."

As the two androids in the scene were getting dressed for another morning routine the grand window of the suite burst into space, collapsing the room and ending the recording.

"These androids didn't know they were a simulation... I don't just have people that want me dead 'Sumi, they succeeded. If we'd had a child in that room, she'd be dead too.. or he, just-whatever. I don't believe that I can protect us from the enemies I've made or the ones I continue to make," he confessed, completely exposing his weakness, "I don't want our child to have to live in fear. It's bad enough that you do."

Masumi's light blue eyes had gone wide like saucers as she watched the recording, then said in a hushed voice, "I don't think we're at the time of our lives to have children. Do you?"

Candon swallowed hard. Part of him had hoped she'd resist the idea but like him she knew how bad war could get. Revolutionaries, terrorists, Mishhuvurthyar.

All of them dangerous and all of them involved in their lives and it was still his own fault.

"No... we're not ready," he finally whispered, feeling like a failure, with every accomplishment now showing its price, "I don't know why I always have to fight... why I have to make enemies and allies... the war ended twice and- and it's like I just can't stop fighting it. It's not just the Mishhuvurthyar anymore, or even Kuvexians, I have managed to make the most dangerous people in the sector either love or hate me with the greater majority wanting me dead. And I knew this would happen, and I knew people would want to bring you into it our fights I just did it anyways. It's like I'm someone else when you're not with me."

His self-pity embarrassed him, though the relief he'd felt had set him free from defeat. He would ask the question again, "Masumi, I can only be myself around you. I want to be like we are now all the time, but the things I've set in motion I have to see through to the end. It may take years before I can settle down. If you stay with me I promise that you will be in danger from forces bigger than I can fight. You will have enemies you don't know and cannot see. Knowing this, will you marry me still?"

"I know this," Masumi said, moving her body close to Candon's. "I love you, I want to keep loving you as long as we possibly can. Despite the dangers. Depite the deaths we will inevitably face. We will still love."

Tossing his communicator off the bed Candon took Masumi into a loving embrace, touching his forehead to hers. Wordlessly they connected telepathically, sharing the feelings they couldn't express with words as they lay together in love.



End of the Week
Hanako's Palace
1000


At long last the day had come and again, for no good reason Candon was nervous. Seriously, if Masumi was going to leave she'd have done it a long time ago. I could have also been the fact that it would be everyone's first time being told that it was his wedding he'd invited his colleagues to attend. Colleagues that had a tendency to discharge firearms at surprises weren't the best people to surprise, but he could at least rest easy knowing that his latest bunch of enemies wouldn't have known how important a time this was to him.

The cars he'd arranged to transport his guests from the starport would be arriving at the minimally staffed palace soon for what was about to be the smallest wedding the facility had ever hosted while he waited at the entrance.

Alex was the first to arrive, getting out of a car in a new suit. He looked around for some indication on where he was supposed to go from here as he made his way into the palace slowly. The open doors of the palace's main entrance would catch his eye as to where he needed to be, yet no signs or even staff were in sight. Alex made his way in that direction, slightly nervous as he didn't see signs or staff. It seemed like this was where he was supposed to go, but there just wasn't anyone there yet. As he entered the palace, he kept an eye out for people.

"Alex!" Candon called from the end of the hall , happier than Alex had seen him in months and wearing something he'd never seen before. Traditional Yamataian clothing in the form of a haori jacket with blue embroidery hung over similarly colored hakama with a white kimono underneath.

Jax came next after Alex, stepping from the vehicle in a white tux with black pants. He wore aviators to shield his eyes from the sun, and hauled with him a small package measuring about 3'x2'x4'. It was wrapped with pristine, white paper and topped with a golden bow. He'd sort of figured out that this was going to be a wedding, so he'd planned accordingly. Though, he wasn't a hundred-percent sure, so he was prepared to simply toss the package back in the car. Or, hell, he might just give it anyways.

Alex saw Jax's gift and immediately kicked himself mentally for not bringing something. "Jeez" He began, "I feel awful. I didn't realize what was going on, and I didn't bring you anything." He said to Candon. He ought to have known, he thought to himself, that he should bring a gift of some sort.

"It's nothing, I couldn't tell anyone," Candon assured Alex with a pay on his shoulder, "there's a few people still gunning for me and this would be the place to get me. I'm glad you made it."

A separate car would pull up shortly later, and Jack and Nora stepped out of the car. They greeted the party as they joined them. Jack wore a white tuxedo with black cuffs, and a red tie. Nora wore a white dress with red lace.

"Hello everyone," Jack said.

"Hello, and to you again Mister Suites," Nora said with a curt bow.

"Jax, Jack, Nora," he greeted in line, smirking at Nora. They knew what trouble they'd caused PsychoPomp in their first few hours of friendship. "Thank you for coming. My pool of friends is pretty limited and I'm told your supposed to have them attend these things."

"Well, I'm honored to have the privelege!" Jax joked, stepping forward and shaking Candon's hand. "Congrats! I'm happy for the both of you! Speaking of which, where's the bride-to-be?"

"Upstairs getting ready," Candon answered, "it takes time to look that good, or so I'm told."

Jax laughed and put a hand on his old friend's shoulder.

"Yes. Always. But never, under any circumstances, complain about it." Jax advised after settling down a little. This was just too great, his grumpy spy friend stumbling blindly into what was possibly his first long-term relationship.

Another black limousine pulled up shortly after the last one had left to find parking, and the mass of frills which exited the rear door first seemed to cause a mysterious upwards lurch in the suspension.

Tsuguka took one step out and then bolted to her feet, a dark blue hanbok dress swaying around her statuesk red form. There was something distinctly rigid about the way they were moving their legs, disguised under the mass of their cake-like tiered dress.

“…Oh… It’s… This is an actual occasion?...” A confused glance back and forth, regarding her old superior, but also giving Jax an enthusiastic, befangled smile. “Candon-Sama, what are you up to? Is this a… wedding?...”

Candon blushed slightly, knowing it would be completely out of his character to say yes. Still, he was an honest man toward his friends. "It is indeed."

A brief distraction as she darted a hand back into the vehicle; Wazu had taken the ride with her.

Jax grinned back at Tsuguka. Another time, another place, and things could have worked out. But their two diametrically opposed lifestyles and outlooks on life prevented things from going any further. Still, those three months after that wild beach party had been fun.

Wazu had only just finished afixing a colored pocket square with the appropriate folding in his jacket's pocket, taking Tug's hand and getting yanked out of the car thanks to the red neko. Vier had only been able to provide a few moments' worth of warning about the formality of the occation when they got a glimpse of it from the vehicle's window. The typical suit and jacket was also a good choice for the unknown, allowing for a quick retiring of the jacket should the situation call for it. The color-changing shirt allowing for a quick swap between a more casual blue pastel tone for nicer outdoor days, or even a print should that level of casualness have been called for... however this required movement in the other direction. The jacket had a bowtie and a pocket square hidden away in one pocket, cufflinks on the other. It was a simple, if rushed, matter to formal up for the occation, swapping out buttons on the cuffs with the metal links, adding in the pocket-square, setting the shirt to a bright-white. The bowtie... well, no time for that. It was left in the car. Color settings on the belt and shoes also needed to be adjusted, both set to a semi-gloss black. The monochromatic outfit being offset by the slight dash of green on the pocket square.

Before he could speak, he noticed Jax's package. Also problematic. A gift had not been secured prior to arrival. His datapad was in his pocket now, impossible to get to without seeming rude. Tugs was right next to him. Uh. Should he hold her hand? No. Unessisary. She could handle herself, he'd have a minute or so until Candon finished speaking with her at which point he would also need to have conversation prepared. Securing a gift would have to wait until he could get away.

"HEY SAINTLY!" Uso called out as her limo door opened. She was wearing her bodysuit, because she wanted to. It was clean though, a fresh, smooth black-blue with the thinner radiator panels along the legs and shoulders that were more normal for older-model nekos to wear when in uniform.

"Get tired of seducing women on all your spy missions? Or is THIS a spy mission?"

Following Uso out would be Vier. The woman +1ing for the aspiring space-empress, dressed in a simple black dress that hung off her shoulders. A black clutch in hand that certainly was holding something. She would approach Tsuguka and Wazu, waiting patiently just behind the gathering crowd.

Masumi stayed focus on the soon-to-be-maried man as she watched over the lobby of the palace. For a split second, she had peeked from behind a doorjam far from the lobby’s entrance. Above her round tsunokakushi head-dress, the kanzashi hair ornaments she wore jingled together gently, making a soft, perceptible noise. Moving away from the doorway, Masumi held her hands to her ornate dress' chest and then looked into her open palms. Sapphire eyes fell to the engagement ring she wore on her right hand’s mid-finger for a long moment until her palms closed on one another so that her right hand was on top.

Sparkling in the dim light of the hallway, Masumi’s eyes strayed from the ring and back towards the lobby. She stepped out of the hallway’s shadows and through the doorway, to the people that had surrounded the love of her many lives.

Complex layers of Masumi’s jūnihitoe, a regal and gargantuan kimono that she wore, pushed off of her tall frame by several inches, and in some places, by feet. Differing shades of the same hue of green she wore on the job were bisected by layers of stiff white robes that wrapped around her, obfuscating her thin waist and large bust. One stiff, scarlet uchiginu robe was shown as a crescent collar near the outer edges of the twelve layered kimono. A waist-length outer karaginu bathed her in white satin while the white mo, an apron-like train, was embroidered with greenery and strayed from her body by several yards, paving her path behind her.

Masumi moved through the corridor slowly and with calculated steps on steady crimson geta while making it past the side of the minute crowd to be beside Candon. Her eyes had danced around to each individual that had shown up, some of which she didn’t know. Every face she looked at seemed to make her own tighter as she concentrated on her expression to avoid showing a look of concern.

Once beside him, though, Masumi's eyes found his and she brightened noticeably as she moved her hand to hold his own.

“This is the beginning of many happy days. Thank you for asking me to do this,” Masumi told Candon through a telepathic connection.

Like water moving away from its source, the bride's pale blue eyes passed over the guests and she exhaled.

“Arigatou gozaimasu,” Masumi said, bowing her bundled and pink hair, making the kanzashi spill forward for a short moment before she righted herself upwards and they again settled above and around the white ring-like head-dress. She added, “Thank you for coming to our wedding. It means the many worlds to my… Eeto...” she paused after nearly saying a private name for the groom, then said, “To Candon. It means the many worlds to me, as well. Arigatou, arigatou.” She bowed her head once more while she repeated the last two thankful words and added, “Thank you, thank you…"

"We're all here so I suppose there's no point waiting any longer," he said, giving Masumi's hand a squeeze, "if you'll follow me we have a perfect spot by the lake we'll be using. Also, this wedding will be a little different than most of you will be familiar with so just remember to drink the sake at the end... you'll see. Oh and Nora, they already know to give you water instead so don't worry a bit."

Masumi's eyes had lowered and almost closed while Candon spoke and she looked to him before her former Eucharis teammate spoke.

"Oh my Masumi-San, you look exuberant!" Tsuguka put her fingers to her mouth. There was an underlying urge to examine the other party members given that they had mostly war veterans and the leader of a whole planet in attendence, but the neko was determined to make this about the bride. It was only correct protocol... And besides, Masumi did have her back in the short time they served together. "But you don't have any... Here! I'll hold your train! You just lead the way!"

The soldier didn't wait for an answer, taking up position on their own... Also wearing geta, judging by the clacking sounds. It was probably a really good thing that they could both float on air.

Masumi's smile cracked open and her bright teeth shone before being hidden away once more.

"That would be very helpful in keeping up with tradition and even keeping it clean. I know I will never have the occassion to be married again in this dress, so if you get tired of being back there," Masumi was literally looking over her shoulder at Tsuguka as she spoke, "and want to end your shift at my stern, know that I understand." Her dark black lashes fluttered as she inhaled after speaking, still looking over her shoulder at her red-skinned Nekovalkyrja sister.

"If it's attached to you, I'm looking after it, Masumi-San!" Tsuguka bunched it up in her fingers inadvertendly, not angry but genuinely excited. Their sharp smile was bubbling over. "I'm not going to get another chance to do this for you, so it's non-negotiable!"

Alex followed the group of people with some hesitance. He'd never been to a wedding before, but he got a bad feeling when Candon mentioned the sake.


Lakeside Shrine
1100 hours


After a brief time the kannushi and miko had joined them at the shrine. Candon had personally never placed much confidence in any kami yet had never had the confidence to discredit their existence. After all, even science couldn't explain everything he'd seen in life, especially after a tour of Ayenee.

The groom and bride entered into the shrine standing in front of a small bench height table closest to a small idol of an ancient Yamataian kami while space for the others stood in a similar arrangement to the left and right of the couple as the priest began the customary steps of purifying the couple and reciting from an ancient document called the Norito.

After a few minutes of reading it had come time for the vows, Sankon no gi. Three cups of increasing size lay before the couple. The kannushi poured sacred sake into the first and smallest of them. Taking the cup, Candon took three sips and handed the cup to Masumi who did similar and set down the cup. Again, sake was poured into the midsized cup and this time Masumi was the first to drink before passing it to Candon. Finally the last cup was filled and Candon was first to drink and Masumi to finish.

Together they approached the idol to make their vows, the kannushi taking the lead and Candon repeating in Yamataian language foreign to some present,
"This woman, I marry
No matter what the health situation is
I will love this person
Respect this person
Console this person
Help this person
Until death
Protecting fidelity
I swear."

The kannushi looked to Masumi to guide her through similar words,
"This man, I marry
No matter what the health situation is
I will love this person
Respect this person
Console this person
Help this person
Until death
Protecting fidelity
I swear."

The kannushi's gaze returned to Candon, "Groom, Candon Suites, you this woman marry and become her partner.
Will you in peaceful times, during sickness, this person love, this person respect, this person comfort, this person help, until death, do you promise to fulfil?"

"Yes, I promise," Candon confirmed, voice low with the slightest trace of shakiness.

He turned to Masumi. "Bride, Oshiro Masumi, you this man marry and become his partner. Will you in peaceful times, during sickness, this person love, this person respect, this person comfort, this person help, until death, do you promise to fulfill?"

"Yes, I promise," Masumi said with an air of stoicism that the ceremony had lended her. She knew Candon well and could hear the shakiness in his voice, but didn't let it seep into her words, as she felt confident in them beyone doubt.

The vow was made and the time had come for the exchange of rings. The couple presented each other's rings, Masumi received a shining white gold band with a simple middle, a single diamond that lay in a hexagonally pronged casing. The central, sparkling rock was quite large. Candon was given a band of black titanium with a silvery bare metal stripe around its center, a subtle reflection of his pure intentions through the darkness of his deeds.

"It is appropriate for the family and friends to now drink the sake," the kannushi invited.

Tsuguka raised her small porcelain cup of sake in the air and slapped her knee to get the attention of everyone else, ushering them to follow suit with the traditional ceremony. Almost all of the other guests were non-Yamataian, after all.

What bellowed from her lungs afterwards was a resounding “-KAMPAI!”, after which she tilted her head backward and poured the liquid into her mouth.

Two great friends getting married! This was a really good day!

"KAMPAI!" Uso shouted out, following suit and downing her drink.

"KAMPAI?!" Wazu also said, using far less certainty as he observed the people around him drinking, then himself took a drink.

Jax, unfamiliar with this kind of wedding ceremony, and having not listened to Candon beforehand, had already finished his drink before Tsuguka. He'd kind of figured that these were just nice, complementary refreshments for the guests in the warm sun. Realizing his mistake, he casually set the cup down so as not to draw attention and kept going with the flow, a light blush marring his cheeks.

Alex almost passed on the drink, as he wasn't comfortable with alcohol, however this was a special occasion. He took a sip like everyone else was.

Jack raised one of the offered glasses with a, "KAMPAI!", before downing the drink. The ceremony reminded him of his wedding, as well as his sister's and her wife's ceremony, which he had presided over.

Nora was confused at first, but followed her grandfather's lead. Raising her's as well before saying, "KAMPAI!" And downing it as well.

The kannushi placed the original offerings in a small wooden box while the miko began a ceremonial dance. Candon wouldn't bother with formalities any longer. Taking his new wife by the waist he kissed her passionately. Masumi's eyes closed as she was swept up in the embrace and a smile was on her lips, even while being kissed.
 
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