Chapter Twenty-Three: Wagashi:

When in the Noh theater
We watched Shizuka Gozen
Trapped in the snow,
I enjoyed the tragedy,
For I thought,
Nothing like this
Will ever happen to me.

--“XLV” from The Love Poems of Marichiko by Kenneth Rexroth 1978

July 8th, 2009.

Anna sat at her desk and wrote in her journal.

Wednesday: Asato and I kissed for the first time in ten years. We later slept together for the first time. I didn’t think he would be so big. It hurt at first, but I ended up enjoying myself.

Thursday: Asato and I said we loved each other and made love. This time didn’t hurt as much as it did the first time.

Friday: Asato and I vowed to keep relationship a secret. We made love and Rihoko walked in on us. (Must lock door more often.) I had fears later that night, but Asato said that we were in a relationship and eased away my fears.

Saturday: Asato and I made love again in the morning and spent whole day out together. We made love and exchanged childhood stories. He told me about his painful past. I kissed his scars and promised to heal them.

Sunday: I had more doubts early in the morning, but realized Asato and I were in a serious relationship. I came to love it so much. We spend the whole day cuddling in bed.

Monday: Asato and I made love that night.

Tuesday: Asato and I made love once again. He tongued me… down there.

Anna blushed at the last part. Oh wow!, she thought. The woman forced herself to keep writing.

One whole week; it feels like I’ve been on vacation, a very sensuous and intimate vacation. I can’t really gather all of my thoughts together about what’s been happening, but I just want more!

Anna’s fingers trailed down into her white lacy panties. She felt horny just thinking about last week.

Outside in the rain, reality gave the lovers a nasty wake-up call. Tsuzuki appeared on the path to Kimoto Manor. His eyes stayed locked on another holiday in the sun. The shinigami stopped in his tracks as reality blasted him in the face. Thanatos stood on the porch, smirking at him as she held a mini bottle of sake in her hand. The shinigami glared at her.

“Tsuzuki!” the bounty hunter called, “Just the person I wanted to see!”

“Thanatos, what the hell do you want?” he hissed. The bounty hunter smirked at him.

“Back to enjoy your little sex toy, I see,” she said. Tsuzuki narrowed his eyes at her.

“How did you find us?” he asked.

“Oh,” Thanatos replied, “I was at the bar a couple of days ago. I looked out the window and saw you with your little doll having lunch. I thought, hello opportunity! So, I have been following you guys around up to today.”

“You’ve been spying on us?!?” Tsuzuki asked annoyed. The bounty hunter took a drink.

“Oh, don’t think I didn’t see you guys last night!” Thanatos boomed, “You had your head between her legs making her moaning.” She chuckled to herself. “Such a shame really,” the bounty hunter said, “You to have to give up your doll so soon.” Tsuzuki saw fire.

“She’s not like that!” he snapped. Thanatos’ eyes lit up like a Christmas tree.

“Ooo!” she said, “Don’t tell me you’ve gotten emotionally attached to your dolly already!”

“Cut the crap, Thanatos!” the shinigami barked, “Why do you want Anna so much anyway?!?”

“Don’t you know?” she asked, “Her soul is worth 11,642,000,000,000 yen! That’s enough to buy years, no! A lifetime of sake, a jeep, and an army! Give her to me now!”

“Never!” Tsuzuki snapped, “Anna-chan’s not a possession!” Thanatos laughed.

“Anna-chan, huh?” she asked, “My, you really do love your doll! Too bad your boys at Ju-Oh-Cho are going to make you give her up soon!”

“You wouldn’t!” the shinigami yelled.

“It’s tempting!” Thanatos said in a sing-songy voice, “Unless I get her first!”

“You will not!” Tsuzuki yelled. The bounty hunter shrugged.

“Fine,” she said, “I gave you warning. I will break you guys up for the money—no matter what it takes!” Tsuzuki began to grab his fuda. Thanatos held up her hand.

“There, there,” she cooed, “I was just leaving, no need for the hostilities.” Thanatos began walking away. She passed the shinigami.

“I will take her from you,” she whispered, “I want the money.” She disappeared as Tsuzuki tried his best to calm down.

Bitch!, he thought. Tsuzuki walked up the path and sat down on the porch. He sighed aloud as he shook his head. He already had the people at Ju-Ch-Oh and the Eda-Kimoto clan to worry about, now, Thanatos and Eros too? Oh, and don’t forget the Hell Stone as well.

“Is something wrong?” a voice asked him. Tsuzuki quickly looked up to see Anna was standing in the doorway, staring at him.

“Huh?” the shinigami asked as he began to cool off.

“You seemed upset about something,” his girlfriend said, “What’s on your mind?” Tsuzuki smiled and shrugged.

“Nothing, now that you’re here,” he replied. He patted a spot next to him for her to sit and Anna complied. Tsuzuki looked her in the eye.

“Actually,” he said, “We have another problem.” The man didn’t wait for a reply. “There’s a bounty hunter after you,” Tsuzuki went on. Anna eyed him oddly.

“What for?” she asked. He leaned in close to her face.

“Your soul…” the shinigami began, “How do I put this… is worth so much money.”

“How much?” Anna questioned. Tsuzuki bit his lip.

“11,642,000,000,000 much,” he said. Anna blinked at him.

“11,642, and…” her voice trailed off. “Wow! That’s just… okay…”

“Plus, the girl that is hunting you won’t quit until she has broken us up and has you,” he summed up. Tsuzuki held her hand as he swallowed a bit.

“So what should we do?” he asked. Anna let the situation write itself out in her head. A small smile spread on her face as she held his hand in return.

“I’m not giving up my happiness for some greedy little cow,” she announced. Her lover eyed her.

“You mean…” he began to say.

“I’m making my own promise right now,” Anna declared, “I’m not leaving you with her and you have my word on that.”

“Well okay,” Tsuzuki said with a smile, “It looks like we’re going to be staying together for much longer.”

“Seems that way,” Anna said. They leaned in and shared a kiss on the lips. Tsuzuki gave and she happily took. The shinigami felt up Anna with his free hand while she playfully nibbled on his lower lip in return. However, rain can turn on people all the same. Thanatos stood outside the gate watching invisibly. A cold smirk came onto her face when she had all the evidence that she needed.