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Only a Friend?

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One thing that Gorou knew once the Vision Hunt Decree ended, was that his own duties did not end. So when he found Kokomi at his door just only a few days after the ban was lifted, he was not surprised in the slightest. He looked at her with worry, she looked tired and almost like a porcelain doll with stones on it. That she would break if even one tiny pebble was added onto the harsh pressure she already felt at the moment. Gorou knew immediately he would do anything in his power to take those metaphorical stones off of her so she could for once have some time to rest and relax.

"Good morning General Gorou, I unfortunately have a request to ask of you... Though the meeting with Kujou Sara went well and smoothly, some of the demands we have were not agreed upon, but of course we plan on a new meeting to speak more. Ah... I believe I am moving slight off track from the topic at hand. Now the request is... would you help me out with some paperwork? I know it isn't something you enjoy, but I do feel my energy is on the low side again." Kokomi still kept up her act and spoke immediately, straight to the point as always. Though Gorou always preferred it this way, he did not like to step around anything, nor like when others did it. He always found it as a waste of time and people always need to hear the truth, no matter how horrible it may be.

"Of course, Her Excellency! I don't mind helping you, well anything you ask of me I would do it without a thought." Gorou's tail swished softly and the tips of his fluffy ears twitched, hearing off in the distance of the waterfalls splashing into the waters of Watatsumi Island and the soft words of the shrine maidens that were awake at this time of the early morning. Even with the things his ears heard, his main focus was on Kokomi, the leader he would follow no matter the circumstance.

Kokomi smiled softly, it was genuine, Gorou knew that for a fact. After spending so much time next to her as a friend and right hand man he could tell the difference between when it would be a fake, less lively smile to a genuine one that was filled with so much care. "Thank you so much. I am sorry for putting this work onto you, it shouldn't be your problem, but only mine-"

Gorou cut her off quickly, knowing Kokomi always thought she needed to be independent at all times. "Miss Kokomi, it is nothing at all. It may not be my problem, but I will take it as mine so then you can relax," The dog boy looked at the papers that the other held in her hands- that he just noticed, "Now I should take those from you. Please don't try to keep pushing yourself, I can't stand to see you so stressed."

His tail stopped swaying and curled between his legs slightly, which Kokomi noticed and she sighed softly, nodding at his words. Handing him the papers she clasped her hands together. "Alright then, I will hand these to you. Thank you so much General Gorou- oh I almost forgot. We were invited to the Komore Teahouse by the Daughter of the Yashiro Commisions' Kamisato Clan, Kamisato Ayaka. Even if we are working with the Tenryou Commission directly, the Yashiro Commission seems to want to welcome The Resistance with open arms... Well that is what I hope for, I mean I do trust Miss Ayaka as she has helped us before, but I do have some doubts. I may do some planning before we go, I must think about all outcomes that may happen when we go tomorrow."

This shocked the male, they had contact with Kamisato Ayaka before, but wanting to meet at their Teahouse? It did worry him, but if Miss Kokomi trusted her, then he supposed he could trust her as well. "I see. Well then I will be ready tomorrow to head over to Narukami Island with you." The two then said their goodbyes and Gorou closed his door, huffing as he walked to his desk, plopping down in his chair with the papers dropped on the desk. "Well time for me to get to work..."
And he started reading each paper throughly, but no matter what his mind would drift to thoughts about what tomorrow would bring.

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A light giggle came from Kokomi as she walked through the sand of Narukami Island with Gorou. They were talking about a time before the war, when Gorou was trying to cook for one of the first times and burned the food. "Her Excellency it was one time! I did not mean to look away from the meat for so long- besides you kept distracting me by showing me the star-conches you had found."

Gorou's small pout only made Kokomi giggle more, she couldn't help it, he really did act like a puppy at times and it was very adorable. Though the giggles did stop as soon as the two reached Inazuma City. Now she took in a deep breath and composed herself just as Gorou did, they knew not everyone accepted them still. The war may have been over, but not everyone was so happy about the fact that people resisted their Archon in the first place.

"It will be okay, we just need to make it to the Komore Teahouse." Gorou stated as he looked around, his ears moving as he listened to the sounds of the city life around them.

Passing by a large tree, Gorou noticed there was less people in this area. But there was still some glares and harsh whispers.

Walking up the first steps the two passed by Naganohara Fireworks, knowing that no matter who may judge them, Yoimiya would always welcome them with open arms- and fireworks of course. Though unfortunately they could not meet her today, they had work to do and so they kept walking.

After many steps and feeling eyes all on them, Gorou and Kokomi made it to the Komore Teahouse, showing their invitation to Kozue before entering the seemingly welcoming place.

A bark came from the dog on the counter, neither Gorou or Komomi understood why a dog was sitting on a counter- especially in a teahouse. No matter, their attentions were pulled away as a blonde haired man stepped towards them.

Gorou stiffened, his ears on high alert as he stared at the very handsome man in front of him. Remembering from a long time ago- this was Thoma if he remembered correctly.

"Ah Miss Sangonomiya Kokomi and General Gorou! Welcome to Komore Teahouse, I am glad you accepted Miss Ayaka's request. We have been both been waiting to finally meet you in a more formal manner, and as you may know I am Thoma!" His smile was bright, and so contagious that Gorou couldn't stop himself from smiling slightly, as well as his tail slightly swaying.

"Hello Thoma, it is great to make your acquaintance. Is Miss Kamisato here yet?" Kokomi spoke up, being a leader even in conversation. That made Gorou happy, he doubted he could speak without stuttering even a bit.

And as Kokomi asked her question, Ayaka walked out of the closest room. Usually she would stay behind a curtain when meeting one for the first time, but she counted the other two as friends. Even if they have only now met it a real sense.

"Good afternoon. I am indeed here, and it is nice to meet you both. As well, I am very glad I could finally meet you both when things have mostly settled in Inazuma," Her signature fan hid the bottom half of her face, which the two newcomers did not mind. "Now that we are all here, would you like to all join me in this room? I would like to discuss a few serious things and then move onto more fun topics." In which everyone nodded and went to sit down, Kokomi and Gorou on one side together with Ayaka and Thoma on the other. Then the boring topics began, well in Gorou opinion it was boring. He has never been one for the 'business' part of well- anything. Gorou preferred having his bow on him, using it to end any problems, but... he was never one for war either. So he supposed talking was better at this time, thought Miss Kokomi seemed to have it covered as she and Ayaka went back and forth in discussion of things he didn't even think about much.

As Gorou was in thought he felt a pair of eyes on him, which led him to staring right back at Thoma. That was a bad idea, Thoma's eyes were so mesmerizing and Gorou knew his tail was wagging, hopefully no one would notice as he tried to force his tail to stop. He had never felt like this towards anyone, well except- no he couldn't think about them now. But it was a rare feeling he had, and so quickly too. He had only just met Thoma, but even then the other just had a force of his own, he could probably make even the grumpiest person happy by just being next to them.

Gorou was snapped out out of his thoughts when Thoma chuckled under his breath, which was unnoticed by the two ladies in the room, as for Gorou- it only embarrassed him and a slight pink dusted his freckled nose. Looking away only for a few seconds before his cyan eyes darted back to that lovely face- he scolded himself, he couldn't keep thinking this way. Gorou felt like he was weird for thinking this way about Thoma. He couldn't even fully trust the other, the Yashiro Commission and those who worked under them were still not fully trustworthy.

"Now that we have the main points done with, would you two like to join us in a game of hotpot?" Ayaka looked between Kokomi and Gorou, seeing the latter's pink nose and cheeks she wondered what Thoma was up to as she and Kokomi spoke.

"Hotpot? What is that?" Gorou spoke up, this was the first time he said anything in front of Thoma and Ayaka. Even then he tried to keep himself composed and serious.

"Well hotpot is pretty simple!" And from then on Thoma explained how the game worked, and as every word dripped from his lips, Gorou listened closely as he admired the others lively voice.

With the explanation done the two agreed and they all went to get some ingredients of their own. Gorou had only grabbed a few ingredients and walked to the room where the game would be played, those ingredients were put down on the table and he sat down while the other three were out- or so he thought. Thoma popped out from seemingly no where, not really though. Gorou had heard his footsteps and even looked at the door while waiting to see the other.

"Oh hey! You got your ingredients already?" Gorou just nodded and he played with his gloves as he watched Thoma put his own ingredients next to Gorou's. Then without a notice he sat right next to the other. "So General Gorou... Ready for the hotpot game?" Thoma was a bit too close than Gorou would usually allow for a new friend, but he just didn't mind, in fact he was very happy. His ears faced towards Thoma and his tail thumped against the floor, which caught the blonde's attention immediately. "Huh, your tail is adorable- well you are no matter what, but it just makes you cuter~" Gorou felt his soul ascend from his body as he was called cute, Thoma reminded Gorou of them in many ways... he didn't know if he liked it or not, but he did enjoy the attention that he hardly got. Of course sometimes when it was just Komomi and him, she would pet his ears- which he loved- but it was different with Thoma. Gorou just couldn't explain why or even how. He definitely knew this wasn't love at first sight or anything cheesy like that. But it was something more than what he usually went through with new friends.

"Um yes I am ready for the g-game." Gorou does not stutter, ever. He was a General of The Resistance, a strong soldier who kept going through thick and thin. Gorou struck his opponents down without a second thought and put his soldiers before him no matter the situation. And yet here he was, acting like a teenager who stutters when talking to a very, very hot dude.

Before Thoma could say anything, Kokomi and Ayaka walked in together, chatting away about something that caught both their interests. The two stopped as soon as they put down their ingredients and sat down next to each other just like Thoma and Gorou.

Gorou already knew it would be a long afternoon. And maybe, he was somewhat ready for it. As long as he could keep seeing Thoma smile.

Chapter Text

Thoma groaned as the sun hit his closed eyes, the light was too much and he turned over, trying to hide himself beneath the covers of his such comfortable bed. He really did not want to wake up, the after effects of his hotpot choices made things much worse. Maybe he shouldn't of gone over aboard again like he did when the Traveller and Paimon were around, but he just couldn't allow anyone beat him at his favorite game. Or more like he just wanted to impress Gorou- and Kokomi, of course, it isn't like he kept his focus on Gorou all of yesterday or anything of the sort...

That is a complete lie and Thoma knew it himself, but what could he do? Gorou was adorable! And he knew that anyone would practically say the same thing. Even when Ayaka and Thoma got back to the Kamisato Estate she was so happy, saying how Gorou's ears looked so fluffy and so cute. She even said that it reminded her somewhat of Sayu's fake ears, then rambling on how the little ninja might like meeting Kokomi and Gorou. But then again they might get annoyed that they will be losing time to sleep if Ayaka went to talk to her.

The blonde male chuckled at the thought of last night. After a few seconds he stretched, feeling his shoulder pop and he sighed before getting up to stand. "Alright, time to start the day," He mumbled and quickly got changed.

With a quick walk to the kitchen, Thoma starting making some breakfast for him and the Kamisato siblings. Thankfully no one was up except for him at the moment. He always did enjoy the mornings where he could just cook in silence, it felt so refreshing and calming. Of course he enjoyed others company, well he practically lived off of it in a way. Though he did also enjoy where at times he could just have time to himself, no chaos, no big problems. It was nice....

And there goes the moment as Ayaka and Ayato walked towards the kitchen, bickering softly with each other. "Of course not! It went well, and I did not make a fool of myself." Ayaka was pouting, her arms crossed as Ayato poked fun at her. This happened more than most imagined, the two siblings were pretty close besides always working. But if someone who was new were to see this then they would think they are crazy as the two seem so proper and elegant when around others.

"Good morning you two!" Thoma grinned as he turned to the two siblings, a plate in both hands as he placed down breakfast, then grabbing his own plate and setting it down next to Ayato's. It was also nice to see the siblings so happy, since there isn't much time nowadays for them to hang out. Now Thoma could say this everyday, but this was his home, he loved it here. Even if he worked a lot, he enjoyed what he did. Nothing could change that truly.

"Good morning to you as well Thoma. So Ayaka said the meeting went well, but told me a few more details." Ayato's smug grin knew Thoma was done for, "Especially about how General Gorou was there and how you just couldn't seem to keep your eyes off of him." There it was, oh how Ayato loved to tease and embarrass the "fixer" at any point he could. Sometimes Ayaka would even join in the teasing which just made it worse for Thoma.

"Woah, woah that is not true!" Even though Thoma was a smooth talker, when it came to lying to the two it seemed useless. They both could read him as if he was a child's book with more pictures than words. And with that lie he was given doubted looks by the Kamisato siblings, which resulted in the tips of his ears turning pink. "Okay so- maybe I was looking at him a lot. BUT, it was just because he has cute ears and is very interesting! No other reason!!!" Well it wasn't exactly a lie, Thoma held himself back from touching Gorou's ears multiple times yesterday. Then again it was also not fully the truth, he did think Gorou was interesting, but it was way more than that. Gorou was a force of his own, one that looked so cute, but could take down enemies in seconds. He was amazing in Thoma's eyes, and absolutely stunning too. From what he had heard that the dog boy was stronger than most and his geo vision only made him stronger. Gorou put his needs of his soldiers before his and always did his best to make sure they were okay, it was admirable. Not only that, but the way Gorou would think about his words, but for never to long. When he would make up his mind on how to say what he was thinking then it would come out then and there. Thoma had met many people in his life, and yet no one has captured his mind- and maybe a bit of his heart- so quickly. And how he so longed to talk to Gorou soon, would it be so wrong for him to take a day off and visit the General? Or maybe it was too early in their friendship to do something like that. Thoma wasn't sure, but he just hoped that maybe a miracle would happen and they could see each other again.

Before Thoma could say anything else a loud laugh came from Ayato as Ayaka let out a smaller, softer one. "Oh come on Thoma, there has to be more than that! You are so deep into thought about him you didn't even hear Ayaka call your name." Thoma flushes softly at this, okay so know they know there is more than what he said. He couldn't say more, they would just keep teasing him about Gorou. "Maybe another 'meeting' is in order with Sangonomiya Kokomi and her General hm?" Ayaka couldn't help, but nod, it would be good for Thoma to have someone by his side. He was always one to push himself to help everyone and forget about himself, which did worry the siblings a lot.

"No! That is enough from you two, now eat before your food gets cold." Thoma stuffed his own face with his food, trying to calm himself down from the embarrassment. He had work to do and couldn't be worrying about a certain cute male that was taking over his mind with every thought. Quickly finishing his food before the others could say anymore and he went to his cleaning duties first. Maybe some cleaning would take his mind off of everything...

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A quiet yawn came from the blonde as he leaned against one of the trees in the Kamisato Estate, he may have gone a little overboard with cleaning and Ayaka forcibly made him take a break, but he couldn't help it he was trying to focus on anything but his thoughts. Yet here he was, taking a break and looking up into the tree- wait, "Sayu?" Thoma spoke out as he saw a little fake tail sway around from the wind.

"Nehh?" A soft grumble came from the sleeping girl who was on a larger branch, curled up on herself as she tried to get some rest. She obviously was trying to hide from the shrine maiden that was ordered to watch over her, and yet she decided to hide here of all places? Well Thoma wouldn't of saw them unless he did look up like he did.

"Sayuuu. Wake up!" Thoma stood up fully and poked at her cheek, might as well bother her right? Then he wouldn't have to deal with his thoughts, perfect plan! Well expect of the part where Sayu would be grumpy, but that would be okay. "Come on, I know you wanna teach me ninjutsu," a hand swatted his own away from their cheek. Plus a few more angry grumbles came from the small one's mouth.

"Thoma, I'm trying to get sleep! You have your vision, isn't it enough?" Sayu glared at Thoma, couldn't he see she needed to sleep? She hardly got any at all.

"Nope! Come on, don't you at least wanna hang out with me?" Thoma grinned, putting his hands on his hips. Sayu could only grunt at him and nod, if he wasn't gonna stop bothering them then he can at least make her food.

"Make me food and we have a deal. But not for long! I still need to sleep cause if I sleep enough I will grow and won't be so short anymore." It was the same thing, Thoma didn't understand Sayu's obsession with being taller, but he wasn't one to judge. So he agreed and they went to a stove that was outside, where Thoma got some ingredients for the child's favorite- which was Onigiri. Sayu surprisingly help, but she did just so they could make the rice into a cute little mujina- NOT a tanuki- as Sayu would always say to really anyone.

"Hm you have been acting weird." Thoma was surprised by the random sentence from Sayu, "Usually you talk a lot, but here you are..." They let out a yawn before continuing, "being so quiet. Someone on your mind?" The little ninja must of overheard the morning conversation or just is super intelligent when it comes to these things- Thoma didn't want to find out.

"Can't hide it from you either huh? Well I'm just thinking about," the 'fixer' stopped for a second, should he really talk about Gorou at all? Not that he hated him, not even close. But it just felt weird when they know so little about each other-
Sayu poked his stomach, waiting for him to say the rest, "thinking about General Gorou, from The Resistance..." his voice lowering as he spoke, not to bring attention to them. "Not in any weird way though! I just think he is interesting? Well I don't really know." Thoma sighed and handed a finished onigiri to Sayu so they could taste it, then going to finish making the rest as the other ate.

"Mhm... so if you aren't sure then spend more time with him. Ask him on a date or something. I'm surprised you haven't even thought about that idea yet." Sayu was about halfway done with her onigiri for now, but she was still waiting for more.

Thoma thought about it, should he really ask Gorou on a date? No that's stupid. He didn't know what way the General even swayed for or if he was looking for romance. Plus Thoma 'totally' wanted this to just be a friendship thing. "I- I'll think about it." And with that he gave Sayu her food and said his goodbyes before leaving. He would have to think about this more.

Well Thoma would of thought about it more if he didn't just bump into someone, and just his luck, like in any cheesy romance. Gorou stood in front of him, a loss for words as they stared at each other. "Gen- Gorou!" He remembered that Gorou preferred that friends just called him Gorou. It made Thoma happy that Gorou thought of him as a friend, but what if that was all they would be? That thought scared him, the future could hold anything and he wasn't ready for it.

"Ah hello Thoma. It is nice to see you again." A swish of Gorou's tail and a small smile and all of the blonde's thoughts just went away with his focus on the other.

"Nice to see you too! But if you don't mind me asking, what are you doing here? Is everything alright?" It was a bit confusing, Gorou just left back to Watatsumi Island with Kokomi yesterday, so why is he back here today? But no matter, Thoma's priority was to see if the other was okay.

"Oh, yes I am! Her Excellency just asked me to bring some letters to the Tenryou Commission. She would have had someone else, but said it was very important and needed someone trustworthy." Gorou knew she had other trustworthy people to take it, but he just did it without question.

Thoma nodded with a smile, "Well would you mind if I join you? Just for a small walk?" He rubbed the back of his neck, he suppose he could use this chance to get to know the other more.

Gorou's ears perked up, he looked like an excited puppy that was told they were getting a snack. "I wouldn't m-mind at all! It would be nice to spend time with you." The dog boy closed his mouth, he spoke without thinking even for a second, which made him embarrassed at how eager he was to spend time with Thoma.

The taller male could only laugh softly, but was confused- the Tenryou Commission isn't even close to here and it would take longer to come over here and then head to there, but why would Thoma care? He got to spend time with Gorou. "Well then, ready to go?" He got a little "Yes!" As an answer and they set off, taking their time with walking. Wanting to spend as long as they could in each other's company and that is what they did.

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"Well I haven't exactly been able to sleep in the most comfortable of places, but anything other than the floor is good for me." Gorou said happily, but Thoma didn't like that. He knew Gorou also put others in front of himself, but giving up his own mattress for the injured soldiers during the war and taking some crappy one that can't even be counted as something for sleeping on? Haven't they gotten more supplies already since the ban was lifted? Thoma decided he would talk to Ayaka about this, him and the soldiers that stayed need better supplies and more.

"Well the ground is never comfortable." Thoma tried to lift up his own spirits and smiled at Gorou. From time to time their hands would brush each other and yet they both would pull away. They both felt like teenagers that have no idea what love even is. "But anyways..." Thoma looked forward- they were there already? It felt like only like a few seconds. He sighed, "Well since we are here then we should say our goodbyes huh?"

Thoma didn't notice, but Gorou's ears fell flat, he really wished to spend more time with the other. "U-Um. Unless, you would want to hang out longer?" He took a breath and composed himself, "Maybe we could go get something to eat after I hand off this letter? Only if you would want to of course, I don't want to push you to do anything at all." Gorou waved his hands around and Thoma couldn't help but chuckle, grabbing the other's wrists gently to stop him.

"That sounds great, I would lo- like to spend some more time with you Gorou. We can go wherever you would like." Thoma hid it, but he was absolutely overjoyed that Gorou asked. This was a great way for them to get to know each other better.

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Extra:

A small yawn came from Sayu as she walked into Ayaka's room, "Huh you did nice on getting Gorou to go to the Kamisato Estate. Just to bump into Thoma." With that sentence, Ayaka giggled and nodded, "Oh I see my plan went well? Well it was quite simple really. Now Miss Kokomi would love to hear about this." The older girl pulled out a paper, while Sayu went straight to lay on her bed. With a deal to be able to sleep with no interruptions for two days as long as Sayu followed the two males and see what happened and tell Ayaka, she couldn't pass up the offer at all. But... she would tell Ayaka in a bit, she just needed a minute or two of sleep.

Chapter Text

"So is there any certain place you would like to go?" Thoma and Gorou walked side by side on the main pathway of Inazuma city. With a small hum and eyes on the little shop of Ogura Textiles & Kimonos, Gorou tried to think of the best place to go. He hadn't been able to sit down and eat a good meal in a while, especially with making sure Miss Kokomi was not overwhelmed and helping out with anything he could at the shrine. But now he is here with Thoma and wishes to make some good memories with the other male, well who wouldn't want to hang out with him? The blonde was absolutely handsome, so friendly and dear Archons, the most selfless person that the dog boy has met. In the back of Gorou's mind, he had a thought that maybe- just maybe, that Thoma would let him take care of him. He wanted to laugh at that thought, it was too obvious that they would only be friends... and nothing else.

"What about Kiminami Restaurant? I heard from the Traveler that they had shared a Moonstadt recipe and maybe we could try that out...." his voice drifted as soft winds hit the city, Gorou's ears twitched, more sounds reached his fluffy ears. Though his full focus fell on Thoma, watching the tips of his hair flowing softly with the wind and gazing at his shining smile. Oh how Gorou felt like he could melt from the amount of warmth he felt in his heart. His tail immediately started wagging, he couldn't hold in the happiness he felt inside and oh how he was quite embarrassed about it. As long as Thoma didn't notice, he would feel a bit better and maybe not die from embarrassment.

"Oh right! It is called a pizza and super good, I've had it a few times. Whew, it has been a while since I have had a good Mondstadt meal, even longer since I have been there..." Gorou could tell that Thoma did miss Mondstadt, even though he didn't know the full connection of him and the land of freedom. He did want to know more, but didn't want to push the other to talk- "This might not be a surprise, but I'm originally from Mondstadt! Miss Ayaka says that it is obvious I am not from here, and we both think of it in a good way... others, that's a different story. Though I don't mind what others think of me, people are always going to talk." Thoma shrugged his shoulders and walked down the steps of the city, and of course making sure Gorou was still next to him.

"Hm, I personally think that you are a great person, even though your choices in food can be.... interesting." Gorou smiled softly, his eyes drifting to follow a sakura blossom that landed on the stairs. He may have seemed calm but Gorou was quite annoyed that people would even dislike Thoma, he was so great that it had the smaller male struggle to explain how amazing he was. But even he knew that it was hard to change people's minds on certain things.

"Aw it isn't that bad, it could definitely be worse!" Thoma let out a laugh, his head tipping slightly back as he did. It was clear to anyone else that he enjoyed the fluffy haired male's company.

After a few minutes more of walking, they reached their destination and ordered their meal. As they waited, they simply made small talk, both too afraid to say something that could be wrong. Gorou didn't want to mess this up, he already lost someone because of his feelings towards them. Oh how he was so afraid to make that mistake again, even as he was sitting with Thoma and enjoying their time together, a small part of him screamed at him to back away. To run. Just run. And hide forever from everyone.

The dog boy refused to run, to keep himself there. Oh how it hurt to try and open himself again to someone that he felt so connected to. Though, he did know, he just couldn't let his feelings get in the way of this friendship. It would be okay, he could do this.

At times like this, when Gorou would be so stuck in his thoughts, he would forget about his ears and tail, which would always show his emotions unless he controlled them, though even when he tried to his tail and ears would betray him. So when his ears flattened, it was only noticed by the (malewife) housekeeper who sat next to him. "Gorou?" A thought went through Thoma's mind, that maybe Gorou didn't like it here, but the thought was gone immediately as he spoke up.

Those fluffy ears stood alert, pointed straight at Thoma. At times, the left ear would twitch and point in a different direction, oh how the taller male found that so adorable.
"Yes? I am deeply sorry I spaced out. I was just thinking about something. Don't worry, how about we move to a new topic?" Before anything else could be said between the males, their pizza was placed in front of them.

Gorou wanted to drool, surprisingly it looked so good, thank Traveller and Paimon for sharing the recipe or he wouldn't been able to see this amazing meal. "Thank you! This looks so amazing." He smiled at Kininami Anna and then looked at Thoma who also thanked her before she went to go back to cooking.

"Well let's dig in!" They both grabbed their own slice and started eating, both clearly enjoying the pizza. But to Gorou? He was so happy to see Thoma have a Mondstadt dish since he did talk about not having one in a while. Both were in their own little world together, no glares or hateful whispers could break it. It was just them, enjoying each other's company and finding that they have more common interests than they thought before.

Well it only lasted for so long, until a loud, feminine yell came from down the street. "Is that General Gorou and Thoma I see?!?!" The two that were named looked from the direction of the voice and saw the one and only, best firework maker in Inazuma, Yoimiya. She ran to them and wrapped her arms around their necks, for a girl who seemed like she wasn't the strongest she had a very strong grip. It seemed like all three of them were different from how they looked. "Heya you two! I'm surprised to see you both here, but I am definitely glad. It is good to see you both away from work and relaxing!" She pulled them closer to her and made a face like she was a goldfish, which made both males laugh, it was very nice to see her and her bubbly personality.

"It is good to see you too. I was doing some tasks for Her Excellency in the city and bumped into Thoma, and now here we are." The dog boy's freckled cheeks were dusted with pink now, and only because of how Yoimiya probably thought Thoma and him were on a date- oh how he wished they were so much. Gorou hated to say it, but he knew that there were feelings he had for Thoma, but so much to unravel from that statement that he refused to even notice...

"Yup! And got to eat the best pizza." Thoma stated as he finished the last piece, which he noticed that Gorou only ate a few slices. But the other just said he didn't eat much, it was kind of like when they did the hotpot game. He sighed and grabbed the cup of water he had, taking a sip of it.

"Oo, so I didn't walk in on a date?" Yoimiya wiggled her eyebrows, sort of, at the two and gave them a mischievous smirk, "Or maybe it is a secret one~" Thoma spluttered out some of the water he was drinking as Gorou froze. This was not a date. At all. Yeah.... and nothing would change Gorou's mind, maybe.

"O- Of course not! We are just hanging out." Thoma was coughing as Gorou tried to explain, him looking worriedly at him while Yoimiya just giggled, releasing her hold on the two others.

"Oh you two are so uptight sometimes! Well more Gorou- but anyways, I was just joking!" She put her hands on her hips and let out a big smile, "Well as much as I would love to hang out with you both, I'm on my way to play with some of the kids." Yoimiya's eyes brightened as Kininami Anna brought her pre ordered meal that was all wrapped up.

Thoma finally calmed down and waved, a nervous smile on his face as he waved, both males saying bye to the cheerful girl before she ran off through the city.

"About what Yoimiya said, should we ignore that?" Thoma glanced at Gorou, hoping that he wasn't embarrassed- even though they both probably were.

"Mhm, yes, I think we both know where we stand. Which is as friends." Gorou bit his lip, looking away from Thoma, hoping he wouldn't see through his lies. But he had to hide his feelings, how could the other feel the same way? It wouldn't work out anyways, Gorou stayed at Watatsumi Island and Thoma was here on Narukami Island. The trip to get to each island was long hours and both were so busy all the time.

The dog boy would never admit it, but he was just trying to make excuses, stuck in the past as he thought that what had happen would only keep happening to him. It felt like he was cursed and yet he hadn't even tried to see if things would be different. Fear controlled part of Gorou's mind and it would not waver. But maybe there was hope that he did not see just yet....

~~~~~~~~~

Gorou and Thoma went for a walk along the beach just right of Inazuma City, just in sight of the large bridge that connects the Raiden Shogun to her people. Both males were uncertain on how to feel about her sudden change of well- everything. Though it did help with ending the war, the Vision Hunt Decree, and so much more. Everyone thanked the traveler (and paimon) for all they had done, they truly were so amazing.

At this point, the sun was setting and the sky turned into a nice pinkish-orange. Gorou always loved sunsets, it is so calming. During the war, no matter what challenge he faced, the moment he saw the sunset, all his problems washed off of him as if he was under a beautiful waterfall from Watatsumi Island.

"Wow..." Gorou couldn't stop himself from stopping and staring at the sky, his tail softly swaying and his eyes widening. He tried to always appreciate these soft moments, but it felt different this time. With Thoma at his side, he appreciated it even more and it felt more special than any time before. Oh how he wished time would stop here and now, with Thoma always by his side.

"The sunset is always beautiful huh?" Gorou looked at Thoma and it felt as the Anemo God himself stole the air from his lungs. He was completely breathless at the sight of the sun hitting Thoma's face, his hair seemed brighter and his eyes were filled with life and love. His skin glowed with warmth, and a content smile graced his seemingly soft lips. Gorou couldn't look away from the beauty of the man before him, but truly he never wanted to look away ever again. Nothing could make him want anything else in the world, all he wanted was Thoma. His chest tightened more and warmth spread throughout his body, he never had seen a sight like Thoma.

At last, he found a moment to breathe and took it quietly, "Y- Yeah... it is," as much as he appreciated the sunset, it couldn't compare to the new sight he has fallen for. But... he stopped those thoughts and turned his head back forward, no he couldn't make the same mistake again. It wouldn't end well just like before, right?

The two stood there for a few moments longer, not realizing how close they were, their hands grazed across each other. Both stopped their movements and tried to ignore the want to hold the other's hand. Thoma decided that maybe Ayato and Ayaka were right, maybe there was more. But why should he hide from it? He had always strived for what he wanted or needed, why was it different now? Why did he feel so anxious about even being around Gorou? Why was he so worried of what he thought of him? It didn't make sense. He has never cared what others think of him, yet here he is, wanting and hoping Gorou liked him. Even as a friend.

"It is getting late, I should head back to the dock, I need to get back to the Shrine and to Her Excellency." Gorou realized he would be sailing in the dark, which wasn't the best, but he did accidentally stay too late. Hopefully Miss Kokomi would be okay without him, and forgive him for not leaving earlier.

"Huh? Oh..." Thoma looked out at the sea, the waves softly hitting the sand on the lovely beach. It was so nice, but getting dark, it wouldn't be good for Gorou to try and sail now. "Well maybe you could stay the night? I am sure the Kamisato siblings would not mind you taking up a guest bedroom for tonight."

Gorou gave a surprised look, not sure how he should respond. Should he? But he was needed at the Shrine. Then again he was never good with the political side of things and that is what everything has been focused on. Maybe it would be okay if he spent the night? No one would mind right? "Are you sure? I wouldn't want to intrude." His ears flattened on his head, he felt nervous, for multiple reasons. More time would be spent with Thoma, he could just be a bother to everyone if he stayed....

"Yup! I am completely sure. Now come on!" Thoma grinned and nudged Gorou, oh how he wanted to pet his cute head- Gorou agreed softly and they started to walk to the Kamisato Estate. They both hoped this all would go well.

~~~~~~~~~

The two finally made it the The Kamisato Estate right as the moon made itself known to the people under it. The stars sprinkled themselves in the sky, making themselves known to everyone who looked up. The Estate held nothing but silence, only was the waves hitting the shore heard off in the distance. Thoma led Gorou inside and they walked to the kitchen, "Would you like some tea? Maybe a small snack? I do make some good tea, I can make multiple types as well!" He turned to Gorou who was looking around, his ears twitching slightly.

"Oh sure. Any type is fine with me." Before anything else could be said, Ayaka walked in the kitchen, a little surprised that Gorou was here -not really-

"My, Hello Gorou. It is nice to see you again, are you staying the night?" Both males were confused on why she didn't question why he was here or anything of the sort.

"Hm yes, I was going to head back to the Sangonomiya Shrine, but it was getting late and Thoma invited me to stay here for the night. As long as that is okay with you!" Ayaka smiled, anyone could see that Gorou was very adorable and very well mannered.

"Why of course. We would be worried with you out on the sea at such a late time, besides you are always welcome here." She refrained herself from patting his head, and instead looked at Thoma, "Are you making tea?"

"Ah yes milady! Would you like some as well? I was thinking of making a mint tea for tonight." Ayaka immediately nodded and went to one of the cabinets, she seemed to be looking for something as Thoma went to put the pot over the fire. "If you would like you can just sit down while I get the tea Gorou." Oh how Gorou loved when Thoma said his name, it made him so happy. Without another thought, just like a puppy, he listened as if Thoma gave him a command. Ayaka couldn't help but giggle quietly as she watched them interact. Then she found what she was looking for and turned to grab a plate, placing small cookies on it.

Moving to sit across from Gorou, she placed down the plate. "Here are some cookies that Thoma made this morning, they are amazing." Ayaka took one of them for herself and took a small bite, making sure to keep her manners as a guest was here. Thoma rolled his eyes, amused by how it was so different from earlier when she practically squealed and ate up the cookies she was given quickly.

Gorou took one as well and immediately melted as soon as the cookie hit his mouth, it was so good that he didn't even hide his like for the cookies. "Thoma! This is absolutely amazing!!!" His tail wagged, sometimes hitting the floor with a thud. Seeing Gorou so happy about his baking made him so happy, Thoma wanted to cook and bake for Gorou everyday...

"Thank you! I try my best." He could feel the knowing look of Ayaka on him and then she spoke up.

"Oh I almost forgot! I am so sorry, but we have guests from the other commissions so we have no guest rooms left. Hm, Thoma, would you be okay with Gorou staying in your room? It is big enough." Thoma knew what she was planning and as much as he respected her, he really was done with her. But he could only nod and listen to her.

"Of course, I would not mind sharing my room as long as Gorou, you would be okay with it?" He looked back to the dog boy as he filled his mouth with those cookies, he was so cute. Thoma smiled softly, his once frustration was gone in seconds.

"Hm? Uh... that is fine!" Gorou's mind was racing, this could go so wrong and he was scared. No he just couldn't let this friendship end. It is nothing, they are sharing a room for one night and that is it. It wasn't like they would be sharing a bed or anything- right? Well... would it be that bad if they did? Gorou didn't know anymore. His emotions were a mess and so was his mind.

Ayaka nodded happily, "Great!" She tried to hide her happy smile from Thoma, knowing he knew she had a weird plan. Thoma could only focus on the tea as he grabbed the tea pot and cups, pouring the pretty colored tea in the tea cups. Then he handed one cup to the other two. Of course he got his own after and sat down next to Gorou.

Then for the next 15 minutes or so, the three conversed in many different topics. They took time to enjoy each other's company before it would be time to rest.

 

"Well this was absolutely lovely, but I must retire for the night. Goodnight to you both, and I hope to see you in the morning." Ayaka put her cup away, cleaning up her things before leaving to her own room.

Gorou waved to her before yawning softly, he was getting tired, but he tried to ignore the sleepiness that overcame him. As much as he didn't want to admit it, he wished to spend more time with Thoma before he would have to leave. Who knows how long it would be until Gorou sees the other again...

Thoma noticed the most adorable yawn he has ever heard and he smiled softly at Gorou, a soft look coming on his face as he relaxes. It seemed that being around Gorou just made the other much calmer, which was... nice.

The dog boy was confused on why Thoma smiled at him, but he smiled back, as long as Thoma was happy.... he was happy as well. "Oh are you getting tired Gorou? We can head to my room once I finish cleaning up."

Then it hit Gorou once more, he would be sharing a room with Thoma for the night. It made him so nervous, so much that his ears flattened down as he walked to Thoma, wanting to help clean up. Fortunately for him, it seemed the blonde didn't notice that something was off.

"Alright that seems to be all! Follow me," and with a nod, they walked to Thoma's room. It was a bit farther from the other rooms, but as Gorou walked in, he saw a beautiful view of the ocean. The room was nice, everything was organized and clean, seemed like Thoma was all the same when it came to his own things. Gorou hid a little smile, for some reason, this made him feel like a bashful teenager again.

"Um... Your room is nice!" He looked at the bed, then at the floor. It took him a moment to try and figure out which spot on the floor he should sleep at. To him it didn't matter about if he was on the floor or not, but he could at least find a smaller spot. Gorou loved to cuddle up to a blanket and curl up when he slept, it always felt comforting, even if it was seen as childish.

Once he found a seemingly cozy spot, he walked to it and sat down. This confused Thoma immediately, "Gorou? Why are you on the floor?" Then it dawned of him- right two of them and one bed. "O- Oh! You can take the bed! I don't mind the floor." Thoma refused to let Gorou sleep on the floor after what he had said about not sleeping on anything comfortable in who knows how long. "And I won't take no for an answer." He grinned and went to the cabinet he had, grabbing out extra pillows and blankets for himself. Thoma wasn't one for extra pillows or blankets, but sometimes the siblings would overwork themselves and fall asleep while working. He would always grab a blanket for them and sometimes a pillow, but he never wanted to wake the staff when getting the blankets so he put them in his room.

With a look of shock, Gorou nodded softly, but he was still nervous and now- he felt bad that Thoma would be on the floor. He didn't deserve to sleep there. Without a second thought he spoke up, "What if we shared the bed? I m- mean I don't want you to be uncomfortable on the ground, but also if you aren't comfortable with the idea-" Gorou slapped his hands over his mouth, he couldn't believe he didn't think before speaking. This was nothing like him! What was wrong with him? Oh he felt so embarrassed. How could he ever look at Thoma after saying that?

Before Gorou could keep sitting in self-hatred he heard a light chuckle from his left. Slightly turning his head, he saw Thoma rubbing the back of his neck with a grin on his face. "I mean... I wouldn't be opposed to your idea." He could sense Thoma's nervousness, but he wasn't sure what exactly to do at the moment. Gorou took a second to take a breath and he patted the spot next to him on the bed.

"Alright then I believed it is settled." Thoma nodded and placed the extra blankets and pillows on the edge of the bed, just in case.

Thoma looked at Gorou before turning around, "I'm going to change. Would you like to borrow some clothes for the night? Though they may be a bit big on you." He scratched his cheek with his pointer finger, practically just as nervous as Gorou.

A small 'Yes please' was the only confirmation that Thoma got, but it was all he needed. He grabbed some extra sleepwear and handed it to Gorou, then he moved to the other side of the room and turned his back to the other. Both kept their eyes on something else, deciding that they should finally change. A creak of the bed had Thoma turn to look at Gorou, seeing the shorter male with his back turned. Before he even thought about looking away, he noticed plenty of scars and bruises on Gorou's back. Many scars were old and some were almost fully healed. The few bruises he saw, they seemed somewhat new, his guess was they were from one of the last battles from the war. It tugged at his heart that Gorou had to deal with the war so much. Thoma wanted to help more, but because of working under the Kamisato's it wouldn't of been safe.

He thought he had invaded Gorou's privacy enough and turned away, putting on his own clothes and he waited before he heard Gorou sit back down before turning around.

Gorou looked at Thoma and smiled softly, he had grabbed one of the extra blankets that was smaller and wrapped it around his frame. Well he did find out that Thoma was not joking that his clothes would be a bit big. But they were comfortable....

Both laid down on the bed, each on the opposite sides. It was tense in the room, but Gorou decided to get rid of the horrible feeling and he turned to face Thoma. His body relaxed as he took in the feeling of the comfortableness of the mattress. He snuggled into the blanket and closed his eyes. A smile and short laugh came from the blonde, he was glad to see that Gorou was comfortable and happy.

"You are so adorable-" Thoma regretted saying his words out loud as Gorou's eyes shot open and looked at him with what he could only assume was anxiety.

He was right, Gorou was filled with anxiety, but with it was love. Though Thoma didn't know that, and Gorou hoped that he never would. He felt so loved, and yet.... he felt as if it was a lie. That his mind was tricking him in the worst way and Thoma's words were only meant in a platonic way.

Gorou tried to say play his anxiety off and smiled slightly, "A- Ah you think so? Thank you." His voice got quieter with every word until it was a whisper, his grip on his blanket was tight and his knuckles were almost white.

Thoma nodded and smiled back, whispering with Gorou. It felt like a very intimate moment for the two, "Of course I think so. You are really adorable, but not only that- you are just amazing in all." He decided to let his words just fall out, it was late and hopefully this would all be forgotten in the morning.

Each word that fell from Thoma's mouth immediately captured Gorou's attention. It always made him feel so many emotions that he had almost forgotten about, being in the war, he didn't have much time to fall for someone. Well... except for someone special, but they were long gone. "Thoma..." he couldn't help the thud of his tail wagging and the light blush that spread on his cheeks. Or even the smile that grew bigger. "You are so amazing too."

It was not a surprise when they scooted closer to each other, Gorou could smell Thoma's scent, like pine wood burning in a fireplace with a hint of sakura blooms. Thoma felt like home in every single way. The home that Gorou never had, one that he had longed for. Maybe... as long as he was with the other, he would always be home. But his mind would never rest and he wondered if he could keep things platonic, as if they would only be friends. Would he accidentally let out his feelings when he was overwhelmed? Would he ruin a perfectly good friendship once more? Oh how he wished the thoughts would calm down as he tried to rest. "Goodnight Thoma... thank you for everything you have done tonight."

"Goodnight Gorou. It really is nothing." They smiled at each other once more before closing their eyes. Both hoping that one day they could be together, but both being too oblivious to the clear signs that were right in front of them....