Makishima stood outside his cottage with a broom, sweeping the fallen cherry blossoms off the walkway and into the grass. Spring had arrived on the mountain and every tree and bush around his house that could bloom was in full flower. The air smelled like grass, sun and sweetness and Makishima reveled the return of the sun and warmth after a very cold and quiet winter.
Onoda was up on the roof replacing some of the oldest thatch wherever he found areas that were broken or in need of repair. Roof repair was necessary every year and Onoda was a great help with his wings. Makishima could get on his roof of course, but he was grateful for the robin's help.
“Don’t fall through the ceiling Sakamichi! Neither of us will be very happy if you do,” Makishima called up to him.
Onoda laughed but yelled back, “I’ll be very careful. Your roof is looking very good this year so there isn’t much to repair,” and Makishima felt a wave of relief sweep through him. After last winter, he’d been afraid that there might be some serious damage, but it looked as though he’d worried for nothing.
“Is there anything else I can help you with Makishima-san?” Onoda asked, peering over the eave down at him. “I’m happy to help!”
“Thank you but no. This was my last chore for now.”
“Are you sure? I’ve already gotten my home back to normal and Imaizumi is digging his out and Naruko wants to move his this year but I think…”
Makishima half listened as Onoda went on and on about who was doing what and who was repairing something and so on and so on. It was nice to have everyone back on the mountain as the season changed but it brought so much work for everyone. Speaking of work, there was one person who’d been so busy that Makishima hadn’t seen him in weeks.
Now that it was spring, the mountain god had to go and usher in the new season, aiding the growth of new life and sweeping away the remnants of winter. Toudou’s work took to him every distant nook and cranny to ensure that everything was well and good. Now, the mountain was thriving but after spending the entire winter with Toudou, Makishima couldn’t help but miss him a bit.
“All right, more than a bit. But that comes with the territory,” Makishima thought wryly. Toudou’s first duty would always be the mountain; that was just the way the world worked.
“Well in that case, I’ll be going now,” Onoda said cheerfully, interrupting Makishima’s train of thought. “I promised to help out Aoyagi and Teshima today and then Kaburagi afterwards. I’ll tell them I saw you and how you are doing.”
Makishima nodded his thanks and watched as Onoda leapt off the roof and flew up so he could get over the tree line. However, instead of flying away he circled around and yelled something at him. Makishima couldn’t understand what he was saying but he saw him pointing down the path that led further into the mountainside. Then he vanished over the trees and everything was quiet again.
But not for long.
Makishima sensed the change in the earth and wind before he heard his voice.
Makishima turned around and couldn’t keep the grin off his face as he saw Toudou rushing towards him from the edge of the forest. He looked amazing, every inch of him radiating joy, energy and peace, a far cry from the weakened god he’d been a mere three months ago. He was wearing a new spring kimono of blue and light greens and a kanzashi in his hair, light pink to celebrate the season.
“If you didn’t come visit soon, I was going to make you regrow the cherry blossoms for me,” Makishima teased him and set his broom to the side.
“I would do it. There’s still time,” Toudou offered, looking around at all the blossoming trees and beaming. “I did a pretty good job. This year is going to be amazing, all thanks to me.”
“You don’t get all the credit, Makishima said, rolling his eyes a little. “The plants do most of the work.”
“Plants respond to beauty and thanks to my perfect self, the flowers have something to aspire to,” Toudou replied, smug as ever and Makishima didn’t say anything because he had better things to do with his time than discuss the inner lives of the local shrubbery.
Instead, he led Toudou over to a blanket that he’d placed under a large cherry tree earlier and flopped down unceremoniously before kicking off his sandals and patting the ground next to him. He watched impatiently as Toudou carefully removed his shoes, placed them next to the blanket, set his bag down and took off the top layer of his kimono. Makishima was about to tell him to hurry and sit down when he tackled Makishima, knocking them both flat.
Whatever complaints Makishima had died on his lips as Toudou found a much better use for his mouth. They spend the next few minutes kissing and getting themselves thoroughly entangled with each other. Normally Makishima wouldn’t be one for public displays outside but hell; he hadn’t seen his boyfriend in weeks. If anyone wanted to stare at them beneath the tree, that was their own fault.
Finally they broke apart to lay side-by-side, facing each other and basking in the joy of finally being close again.
“Took you forever to get over here,” Makishima said softly and he reached out to pick some of the fallen cherry blossoms out of Toudou’s hair and ran his fingers through the silky strands. “I was starting to wonder if you’d found a new domain.”
Toudou snuggled into his arms and wrapped an arm over Makishima’s waist. “I regret to tell you this but it’s a pretty big mountain. With lots of cliffs and valleys.”
“I’m aware. I’ve climbed it many times. Beating you to the top, half of the time.”
“Well then, you know exactly how tricky it is to get around,” Toudou replied happily. “But I’m almost done with the critical part. I only need to visit a few more places then I can manage from my home again.”
“And then we’ll be able to see each other more,” Toudou promised. “Spring is always the most work, coming out of winter. But it’s always worth it.” He looked up towards the blossoms swaying above them and smiled and Makishima felt his heart swell with love and affection.
“Thank you for helping usher in spring. You’ve outdone yourself Jinpachi,” Makishima said and he leaned forward to kiss him again.
Toudou smiled again and nestled ever closer. “You’re welcome. You and my friends and, well all the creatures make living and tending this mountain worthwhile. Without everyone here, it would be a thankless task. Now we can all enjoy this beautiful spring.”
And so they lay there together and watched the cherry blossoms fall over them and mountain flourish around them and for that moment, everything was perfect.