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As long as he stays here he can taste the food he eats to amuse Mikuni and feel the liquid sliding down his throat into the strange ether inside of him. He can almost enjoy the morsels of dessert that Mikuni takes pleasure in feeding him piece by creamy piece.

As long as he stays here he can feel changes in temperature. He can sweat in the hot Japanese summers and shiver through the cold winters spent in a shrine with poor heating. He can feel the difference when Mikuni dresses him in warm, padded jumpers to when he’s forced into the cat maid suit again. He feels the heat from Mikuni’s hand as it takes his, and the warmth of the breath upon his neck.

As long as he stays here he can get sick like any other person, succumb to the fevers and illnesses that everyone else gets. He remembers getting pneumonia once after Mikuni extended the spell to let him outside the shrine building to explore the gardens, when the priest changed the wards to not let him back inside even when it started snowing. He remembers the worried look on Mikuni’s face the next day as caring hands touched his pale features and how Mikuni kept apologising, uncharacteristically remorseful.

As long as he stays here he can feel things when he touches them and when they touch him. He can still walk through walls, but when he picks things up now he actually feels the cool plastic beneath his fingers, or the texture of the wooden spoon he uses when cooking. It confuses him sometimes, but he’s given up trying to understand Mikuni’s spells. They’re just as twisted as the priest’s mind, and that’s saying something.

As long as he stays here he can feel pain. Mikuni forgot to tell him at first and he screamed when he got a splinter in his thumb trying to put up some shelves. Nothing much, but it had been years since he felt anything like that and it had taken him by surprise. It was worth it though, to see the panicked expression on Mikuni’s face as he came running and to realise exactly how fast the priest had run.

As long as he stays here he can feel the lips Mikuni runs over his skin and the pleasure the sensation brings. He can feel what he never had a chance to experience in life and let Mikuni do things to him he had only been able to dream of. The first time Mikuni pounced on him he nearly fainted in shock, but since then it’s become part of their daily routine. He likes that.

As long as he stays here he can make believe he’s alive and that there’s no difference between Mikuni and him. But Mikuni will age and wither as he stays young forever on the outside, only growing older on the inside. Mikuni will die and his spirit will decide to stick around on Earth to torment Hasunuma and Mitsuo for a little bit longer. And Kanau will want to move on.

But he’ll wait for Mikuni as long as necessary…forever, if he needs to. Because Kanau learnt a long time ago that it hurts when someone lets you go. And it would hurt even more to be the one leaving someone behind.

If there’s one thing his Senpai taught him, it’s that.