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What everyone thinks

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In the case of Natsume Takashi

The first time Takashi saw Natori-san and Matoba-san interact, he didn’t think too deeply into the barbed verbal warfare the two exorcists were waging with each other. After all, Matoba-san was hardly an agreeable person to converse with in the first place. 

But soon, it became apparent that Natori-san and Matoba-san had a much deeper history than as merely political rivals -- Takashi had observed that they opened up to one other exclusively, frequently shedding those patently fake smiles that never reached their eyes, instead trading the facades for scowls and glares -- in Matoba-san’s case, oftentimes for unapologetically sinister smirks that didn't bother to pretend that the clan leader was a nicer person than he actually was.

And then there was the way they looked at each other, with more than just surface level spite -- there was unexplainable bitterness but also an appallingly (almost) fond amount of exasperation, betraying their undeniably long history of learning the other's quirks and bad habits, and getting used to tolerating it all.

There was something deeper in those deceptively meaningful gazes too, but Takashi couldn't quite put his finger on what it was--

“Unresolved sexual tension!” Nyanko-sensei piped up with a surprising amount of certainty, as he waved a fried squid around, “No doubt!” 

Sensei-- ” Takashi heaved a long-suffering sigh, but he didn't bother to argue with his companion. In retrospect, it did kind of make some sense… 

 

In the case of Natori’s Shiki

“So who do you think tops?”

Sasago took the initiative to ask the Most Important question, as her master was currently occupied on set and frankly, she was bored -- simply waiting off to the side with the other two and nothing to do but speculate.

Hiragi leveled a Most Unimpressed stare at Sasago from underneath her mask -- which only really added to the deadpan ambience the former mountain guardian was so expert at expressing -- and said, “That’s assuming they’ve even gotten that far.” 

As it stands, it was collectively agreed upon by all three shiki that there was no way that their master and Matoba were not exes -- how else do you explain the violent bouts of fervent denial Natori leaps into whenever anyone accused him of such a relationship with the other exorcist? Honestly, he should know by now that refuting it so insistently only goes to show just how true the allegation really was. 

They do their master the favor of politely, but pointedly, refraining from calling him out on said speculated liaison to his face. 

“How much do you want to bet on that?” Urihime challenged, just as Natori sparkled even harder at his co-star, blissfully ignorant to the shameless gossip his shiki were indulging in when he wasn't paying attention, “I’ve been with our master since his high school days with that Matoba kid, and let me tell you--” She made a face. “ Humans -- I think they called it ‘puberty’.”

The other two nodded their heads in silent agreement.

“Sounds harrowing.”

 

In the case of Nanase

Nanase likes to think that she would have known if young Seiji and Natori Shuuichi had truly been in an official relationship, but at the very least, she knows for a fact that Seiji was not nearly as sneaky as he had probably thought he was at the time. 

Did he really think that she wouldn’t notice that he was constantly sneaking off to not-so-coincidentally exorcise the exact same youkai he knew Natori was planning to do the same to? Or that he was frequently showing up uninvited on the Natori Clan’s doorstep, orchestrating increasingly unlikely instances where they’d “unexpectedly” encounter each other, et cetera? Nanase was near-sighted, not blind .

She was kind of tired watching the boy pine from a self imposed distance, and at one point, she almost gave in and told the young Seiji to just confess already — except Nanase was fairly sure he was either In Denial or very oblivious to his own feelings. 

And frankly, young Natori was not pulling a very convincing counterargument to the assertion either — Nanase knew young Seiji wasn’t exactly the nicest boy to get along with, but every time the blonde teenager spluttered “I’m not friends with him !”, despite having spent the entire day allowing himself to be dragged around by Seiji’s whims — it came off as rather tsundere , honestly.

On the other hand, Nanase already had enough on her plate, being the right hand woman of the Matoba Clan — she didn’t really have the time to play wingman to an emotionally constipated teenager — instead settling for sitting back and passively observing her charge’s juvenile pursuits in romance from an objective distance. 

It was kind of sad, really; and fairly unfortunate, watching the two boys dance around each other for over five years and counting.

 

In the case of Natori Shuuichi and Matoba Seiji

“Stop doing that!” 

“Doing what?” Seiji fluttered his eyelashes innocently.

Shuuichi scowled. “Giving everyone the wrong idea about us.”

Us ?”

“Yes, you keep saying misleading— oh, shut up .”

Seiji smiled, in that faintly amused way that always managed to convince Shuuichi that the Matoba Clan Head was currently laughing at him inside his head. 

“Everyone thinks we’re fucking and I blame you,” Shuuichi said accusingly. 

We should be .”

“What?” 

“What?”

“...Nothing.”