B5 — 52. Week 15; The Firsts Of Many


1. White (Our Closed-Hearted Kitsune!)

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White hadn’t experienced this kind of pounding in his chest since his first century, before his time with Inari as a Kitsune, and he turned back to smile at Tola, squeezing her hand; her flushed face and the way she glanced at their intertwined fingers swung him into a daze.

“Hehe.  Should we slow down a bit?”

Tola swallowed and smiled; he could hear her own heart thumping like a rabbit.  “Maybe a little…  How are you feeling—after what Sora did, I mean?”  she swiftly added, free hand attempting to keep her curly locks out of her face from the gentle gusts that swept through the streets.

“Hmm…  That’s a complicated question,” he whispered, progressing to a casual stroll and chuckling at their swaying nine tails, acting in sync to not touch.  “Sora truly is something special, but that goes without saying since she’s that hag’s niece.”

A curious tilt came to his date’s lips.  “Why do you call Lady Inari these names?  Everything I’ve heard about her has been nothing but positive.”

White’s focus went to the clear heavens, reflecting on her question for a short time before sighing.  “Male vulpes… are extremely rare…  One may be born every millennium between dozens of realms of Kitsune, as an example.  We’re in such high demand that, in a way, our only freedom comes from taking on this alabaster fur,” he mumbled, pulling around one of his tails to show her the shimmer and the markings of Inari.

“Most male vulpes are turned into slaves by more powerful female vulpes to satiate their desires, which was what happened to me my first five centuries.”

“That’s horrible.”

Tola’s gaze lowered, likely not expecting this kind of atmosphere to come from their first date, but White felt liberated; this wasn’t something he liked to share, yet, for the first time, he couldn’t sense the spiritual energy, magical forces, or dimensional shifts that kept him on-guard.

Sora had done something that not even Inari could, blocking him off from all supernatural phenomena by creating a hungering Null-Void filter within his Core; White wasn’t able to so much as sense Tola’s alluring aura, nor she, his, which made everything he was now experiencing 100% organic.

White swung Tola’s hand a little as he initiated a little stare that made her focus shift elsewhere; he would be in Sora’s debt forever for this gift.  “Hmm-hmm.  You don’t need to feel sorry for me, Tola…  You know, there’s something I’ve wanted to tell you, but it’s been difficult to share.”

“Oh?”  Tola asked, looking up at him as he took them toward the gate of the city; he had everything memorized, allowing White to formulate a plan.  “I have, as well…  White, it’s been… so hard being around you, to be honest…  I feel a little like I’m cheating on our deal by relying on Sora this much.”

White breathed out a long stream of air and tightened his grip while looking into her uncertain, aquamarine irises.  “What I wanted to say is… there’s something in the air when I’m around you, and I’ve wanted to tell you that I need a little piece of your time.”

Jumping off the edge of the cliff he’d climbed inside his heart, White knew from the first moment he saw Tola after Sora finished her experiment.

“Isn’t this cheating, though, White?”  Tola urged, seemingly stuck on the idea that she had to make it to Thursday to realize her end of this deal and making White laugh, managing his long white hair as he turned back to the street.  “Am I missing something?”  she sighed, ears and tails drooping.

A deep hum rumbled in White’s throat.  “Tola… you’re so naive and unaware that, heh, it makes my chest hurt…  I’ve never met a woman as stubbornly innocent in over fifty millennia.”

“Hehe…  I suppose I am rather inexperienced in a lot of things…”

A devilish smirk lifted White’s mouth, and his tails brushed against hers, making the petrified vulpes squeak, blush, and stumble for him to rescue.  “Haha.  And I love that about you.”

“W-White!”  she cried as he helped stabilize her.

“Tola… you’re everything the child in me wants that I never got to have growing up…  You aren’t cheating, Tola, you’ve advanced to the next level, and I can promise you, no one has ever been where you are with me now.”

“I’ve advanced to the next level… meaning?”  she tentatively asked, doing her best not to keep embarrassing herself, but White couldn’t stop teasing her, and he shook his head and wrapped a single tail around hers.

“Our first time holding hands and tails,” he whispered with a fond smile, thinking of her stomach no doubt squirming; this was far enough for now, and he wanted to savor the butterflies in his own stomach.  “Meaning you’ve made it through the storm.  Whatever we feel from this point on, it’s because of us and not some forced magical or spiritual attraction…  You’re beautiful, Tola.”

“Oh.  Uh, thank you,” she smiled, and White could feel her pulse through her clammy fingers.  “Ugh…  You’re not making this fair.  I don’t know what you’re thinking when I look into your eyes, and… and my mind just won’t stop buzzing!”

“Haha.  Excuse me?”  White mused.  “I think I’m the one that needs some help, and I’m not the one with a family of Founders on their side.  How is that fair; what kind of aphrodisiac did they spray on you?”

“Huh?!  W-What do you mean—I-I don’t smell anything off,” she panicked, making white snicker.

“Mmh…  Rangoon creeper, jasmine bud, and… a bit of tuberose?  And here you are, acting a fool when your outfit, makeup, and scent already have me compromised.”  He held up a free hand, looking left and right with a laughing smile.  “I need some help; she’s abducted my soul!”

“Stop!”  Tola mumbled, ears twitching, but she couldn’t hide her smile.  “Geez… I’m not the prettiest woman you’ve met in over fifty thousand years.”

“When did I say that?”  White hummed, lifting an eyebrow.  “Heh.  I’ve met deities and Founders beyond compare… but you have something they don’t.”

Curiosity moved her light glare.  “Such as?”

A mysterious gleam touched his tone as he turned back to the road, drawing her through the giant gates that would lead them into the beautiful gardens surrounding the city.  “You see, that’s the problem; somehow, you take all the room in my medulla oblongata, yet I don’t know how, so, heh… I just need a little more time to get to know you better.”

“Hehe.  So, I’m the enigma now?  You know everything about me; don’t tell me you haven’t already looked through time to see my entire life.”

White’s head shifted to the right.  “Absolutely, I did; self-preservation, dear,” he whispered, “and I was a fool to do that… cheating myself out of learning more about you, so… I erased it from my memory two days ago.”

“Seriously?”  Tola asked, seemingly caught up in a dizzy spin at the revelation, and she withdrew her hand to clean it on the back of her shirt.  “Sorry…”

“For?”  White chuckled, holding out his hand for her to retake.  “I am serious, Tola.  Until a few days ago, I thought there was no way you would be able to hold back… because I was reaching my breaking point.”

He scanned the artistic flair of the gardens that Loral had grown in her spare time so the city’s occupants could have a place to reflect on their new freedom.

“If you want the truth…  I erased it because you were all I was thinking about.”

A lump dropped down Tola’s throat; despite all that was around them, she couldn’t seem to take her eyes away from him.  “My duties to my district and the world?”

“Hmm-hmm.  Not exactly,” White admitted with a long stream of air.  “The pain of seeing you walk thirty thousand years alone, or that’s what my heart remembers… bearing the weight of the world against the rest of the council that was resistant to your efforts to improve things… but there’s one thing I kept.”

“What?”  Tola asked, and White saw her tails unconsciously swaying again as she held her breath, waiting for the one action she’d done that he’d kept out of her entire life.  “What did I do—why did you keep it?”

“Hmm.  Give me a second to think about that,” White laughed.  “It’s… complicated.”

“Oh, yeah… I’m just…  I’ve, heh, lived a rather simple life compared to you, and I can’t think of anything that would stand out to all the realms, dimensions, and places you’ve been to.”

White forced a smile and squeezed her hand; she was opening up more and becoming less flustered, which he liked.  “It’s not about the places you’ve been… but the people you share them with…  Why don’t we sit down?”

Tola’s tail tightened around his—likely without even realizing it—as she nodded.  “My legs are… eh-heh, kind of getting tired.  Living as a human is… hard, and the feelings are so chaotic.”

“Are you sure that’s not just a you thing?”  White grinned, taking her to a clearing that opened up into an elegant marble fountain to sit on a bench—their tails phasing through the back from its imbued magical properties—unfortunately, his stomach growled, causing Tola’s ears to spike.

“Heh.  A me thing, hmm?  You didn’t have breakfast like I did.”  A curious grimace crossed her face, free hand closing around her stomach.  “Maybe we could get something… light in a little bit?”

“Haha.  Sure.  Hmm…  Let’s just rest for a bit first…”

Closing his eyes, White sat back, fingers interlocking hers.  All his life, he’d seen in black and white, with things that saturated his blinded eyes to the color love could bring; he justified his loneliness, allowing the pain he’d experienced in his youth that had haunted his nightmares—things only Inari knew about.  It had been hard figuring out these emotions through this extended thirteen-week challenge.

The colors rearranged themselves in his head as he gave into the warmth budding within his heart from Tola’s touch and scent, drawing him to a boy—someone he’d followed through time fourteen thousand years ago.

Vision opening, White smiled and released his stress in a long stream; he followed the path of humans and vulpes through the garden, each with their own blooming story, yet Tola only had eyes for him as she patiently waited for her answers.

This was the first time he told his story to anyone; Mia and Inari could just read his spirit and Existence to perfectly grasp his life, but, told from his own mouth, Tola would be the only person he’d spoken these words to in over fifty-thousand years.

“Huu-haaa.  I think talking about myself will help you better understand why I kept that one memory.  What do you think?”

Tola resituated herself on the bench to get a better angle, wearing a smile and trying to pull her hand away, but White held firm, making her brow furrow before strengthening her grip.  “Yeah.  I’d love to hear more about your life; all I know about you is that you’re a Kitsune and a wonderful teacher to Rayla, Luna, and Emilia.”

“Hmm.”  White couldn’t keep his eyes still, wandering between faces and objects as his mind returned to his past.  “I was born into a nogitsune empire far across a neighboring omniverse—it was much like this, I guess you could say, only… far less controlled… ruled by vicious queens… and my mother offered me as a gift to her queen two weeks after I was born…  She was executed for it.”

“Why?”  Tola mumbled, realizing what kind of story this was going to be.  “Were people supposed to give all male vulpes to their queen right after their birth?”

White shook his head, following some of the little foxes—vulpes unable to transform yet—as they carried leaves in their mouths to race on one of the streams feeding into the fountain, recalling all the innocent young princesses he’d met throughout his five centuries inside that realm—it had always been the same for his battered and lacerated heart.

“It wasn’t that…  The queen feared it was in my mother’s genetics, and she wanted to have the only male vulpes across the realm, so… my mother and all my extended family, including the male slaves—of every race connected to my life—whether they were sold to other lands or exported to other worlds… she had all of them assassinated to keep her unique treasure one of a kind.”

Tola’s ears drew back, second hand reaching for his.  “You were her slave for five hundred years?”

“Heh.  I wish,” White wryly laughed.  “No… empires and kingdoms rose and fell often, and I became the center point for armies of vulpes to clash over.  I grew up knowing dozens of girls and women… all wanting different things from playing to sex to just my presence… before they were slaughtered before my eyes and I was taken in by this new ‘family’ that had murdered my old one… to fulfill their every desire.”

Aquamarine eyes reflecting the light as liquid gathered in them, he could see her linking to similar experiences in her own realm, drawing parallels with how Niomie ran the various districts and areas.

“Dungeons, secret affairs of women far older pushing themselves onto me, palaces, serving girls that would spirit me away to exploit me in their own way…  I never failed to cause bloodshed, hatred, and envy; the lust and greed of others made me numb to it all, but one thing no one ever did…”

He smiled and looked into her shining cheeks as she empathized with him, and he reached up to rub away her tears with his sleeve, searching for the words attempting to leave his throbbing chest.  She looked lost, unable to find a way to express her own emotions, yet she already was.

“Tola… for the first time since I was a child… I just want to dive into you…  You can swallow me whole if you want to.”

Lifting her hand to his chest, he felt the desert within his eyes filling with water.  “It’s all the things that you say without words… the things that make my heart start beating… the promises that keep me breathing.”

Her bottom lip started to tremble, making White’s walls melt as liquid fell down his cheeks.  “Not one person in fifty thousand years has actively tried to push me away, nor help me at the same time… pleading for my sake instead of their own…  That’s what I want to say, Tola… what’s so hard for me to say is…”

Ears pulling back and tails finding hers, his fingers tightened, leaning forward to meet her lips with his; her soft lips sparked life within his isolated soul.  Her skin heated as he pulled back, mind and heart clear for what seemed ages as he smiled at her confused, innocent tears, quaking while trying to hold herself back from pushing forward for more.

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“Tola…  I think I’m falling in love with you, and it scares me to death… but I don’t think I care if I do die, so long as I can keep this new emotion.  Will you help me explore this new feeling?”

A messy smile brightened her shiny face as her chest fluttered and she gave in, advancing to kiss him again; it was longer this time—the first act she’d taken for herself—yet after five seconds, she pulled herself away, breathing heavily.

“I’d love to.  Mmh-hmm…  Sorry, ack—heh—Sora said she packed s-something for this…  Ah-hah, here it is,” she said, choking a laugh and thinking rapidly as her mascara ran a little while producing a small container of wet wipes.  “Hehe.  It reminds me of… of one of the romances Emi showed me.”

“Emi, hmm?”  White chuckled, accepting one to clear his own cheeks as the chaotic emotions settled; he’d never been unable to use magic to stabilize himself and could hardly believe what he’d just done.  “You have certainly grown more accustomed to talking to the little princess.”

“Hehe.  It’s hard not to when she drools on you at night,” Tola laughed.  “Huu-haaa.  Emotions are so hard!”

“Tell me about it…”  White whispered, catching several stunned people watching them; there was still a culture of idolizing nine-tailed vulpes and their council members, which was a shock when seeing one breaking down into laughing tears, much less kissing.  “Tola…  Huu-haaa.  Thank you.  Thank you for being you… and, for the record, to me, you are more beautiful than any other woman… tears, snot, and all.  Hehe.”

Tola’s gaze lowered, her puffy face softening, and he reached over to help clean off her makeup; it wasn’t like she needed it in any case.  Calming down—and seeming to enjoy him fussing over her—she asked, “What about the memory you kept from my past?”

“My one memory…  Hmm-hmm.  I think you’ll figure it out as we get to know each other.”

“White…”  she groaned, showing a slight pout as he smiled mischievously.

“I’ll tell you on Thursday.  Now, ready to get something to eat?”

Tola groaned as her stomach turned again, making White snicker.

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“Sounds like I have my answer.  Let’s see what the precious people of your district have learned since gaining their freedom.  In fact, why don’t you show me around the place you’ve built and protected for most of your life—I want to see what you’re proud of.”

Expression brightening, Tola took one last calming breath before nodding.  “I’d love to introduce you to everyone…  Oh, why don’t we start with the children over there!  I was there for their birth,” she chimed, getting up and offering him a hand.

Accepting it, White followed the charming blue-furred vulpes through the city, introducing him to the vulpes and humans she’d taken the time to personally know; it was funny to hear her lamenting about being unable to spend more time with each—she truly was a paragon among women.

They ate with those under her charge, heard about their progress in developing hobbies, and got their opinion on how things were progressing under new management; they were hesitant to branch out into new fields but were dabbling a bit.

Hours passed as he experienced Tola’s love of supporting people; she truly cared for each individual as a person, unlike most of the others on the council who had more self-interest with personal growth.  The woman’s own formidable cultivated power was all the more impressive—she was a natural at magic, despite her protests in comparing herself to him.

When night came, he dropped her off at Sora’s house, causing a stir when she kissed him before running inside.  White smiled and waved the chatty and giggling girls off while turning in a daze to wander the city; he had no clue where he was going—he didn’t care—there had been so many first times today, and he knew this was only the beginning.

Excitement bubbled to the surface, and he smiled at the bright overhead moon as he relived the three kisses he had today—Tola’s first three kisses.  What will tomorrow’s date bring?  Maybe I’ll sleep under the sky tonight…  It’s nice out.

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