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Just in Time

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The days seemed to get colder as the winter season continued on, not only because of the weather, but because there was a vassal that has been absent for some time. You had hoped that he would return to Azuchi soon, but his assignments were never that easy. Thankfully, Nobunaga and Hideyoshi had been keeping you busy with various projects being thrust upon you, whether it be something for Azuchi castle or a special commission for a kimono for someone. You welcomed those days, as you took advantage of hiding out in your warm room to hide from the cold.

You were working on one of these commissions late last night and ended up sleeping in, the sun filtering through the screen doors waking you up. You were still putting your futon away when Hideyoshi had come knocking at your door, concern laced in his voice as he checked to make sure you were okay, then hurrying you out of your room to not miss out on breakfast. The briskness of the late morning air turned your nose a little red as you made your way to the kitchens, scooping up what was left from breakfast into a bowl. 

Walking back out into the halls with the warm bowl, you finally realized that snow had fallen overnight, a soft white blanket covering almost every inch of the castle grounds. You leaned against one of the pillars as you took in the beautiful view, giggling as you spotted Wasabi bouncing through the snow. 

“Of course I would find you here, standing and eating,” a familiar voice spoke just behind you. His voice took you by surprise, not expecting to hear him and questioning how long he was actually standing there before he had said something. 

“Ah, I see you made it for breakfast,” he said, a small smirk on his face as he took the bowl from your hands. You let out a small squeak as his fingers brushed yours, noting how cold they felt. 

Without thinking, Mitsuhide took the chopsticks and swirled everything in your bowl together. 

“A-ah… Mitsu…”

“Hm?” He glanced at you as he scooped the mixed up food onto his chopsticks and took a bite. “I missed the cooking here.”

You sighed as you watched him finish your bowl, taking it from him once he was done. 

“Thank you for breakfast, little mouse,” he said, accompanying you back to the kitchen. 

The both of you walked through Azuchi castle, catching him up on the work you had been tasked to do while he was gone. Shortly after beginning your walk, your nose became more red, making you start to sniffle. Mitsuhide knew how cold you must have been feeling, having to brave through this same weather on his way back. He quickly guided you through the castle until you ended up at his manor, quickly making your way inside to warm up from the brisk, cold morning.

“It seems I came back just in time,” Mitsuhide chuckled, wiping your red nose on his sleeve before wrapping you in a hug. “It seems you need to be warmed up.”

“M-Mitsuhide!” you stammered, your cheeks starting to blend in with your nose as you smacked him playfully on the chest. He always had a knack for pressing your buttons, but you did miss these moments when he would be gone for long periods of a time. 

He let out a low chuckle as he held you close, his warmth slowly warming you as you closed your eyes and relaxed against him. The change in weather made it feel like he was gone for much longer than usual, and you thanked the gods that he had made it back safe and sound. 

Mitsuhide closed his eyes as he nuzzled into your hair, inhaling your scent that he missed so much. You felt like home, and having you in front of him and in his arms reassured him that he really was back, and that it was okay to let down his kitsune persona that he worked so hard to build over the years. Once he found the willpower to let you go, he turned you towards the small table filled with food and freshly brewed tea. You gave Mitsuhide a look, knowing Kyubei had something to do with this.

Although this morning was one of the coldest you could remember, the two of you found warmth in each other’s company, happy to be together again.