Tanjirou was half-asleep when Giyuu returned home. The sound of sliding doors startled him, and Giyuu looked at him, bewildered, to find his bride waiting for him with the dinner he prepared, a dinner that went cold ages ago. Tanjirou was a bit stiff sitting in seiza for hours, but despite the crook in his neck and his numbing toes, he faithfully bowed and greeted his husband.
“I’m home,” said the water god.
Naturally, Tanjirou smiled. “Welcome home.”
Immediately, Giyuu sat down in trepidation, for he knew he did not imagine the waves of irritation rolling off Tanjirou’s fake smile. Guilt settled in his belly as he looked at the dish that he was supposed to eat hours ago laid in front of him: curry. Tanjirou typically served barley or millet paired with daikon and other greens. Even though he could afford rice and meat as the water god’s bride, he forwent those luxuries to maintain normalcy. Seeing this new dish – which Tanjirou worked painstaking hours to learn, hone, and perfect – turn cold left a bitter taste in Giyuu’s mouth.
Tanjirou’s voice was firm but gentle, unyielding but humble. He had Giyuu’s complete, undivided attention.
“Please,” Tanjirou’s face gave away the concern he concealed for hours, the thin wall he held before it crumbled before Giyuu’s very eyes. “Please let me know if you’re going to be late next time,” he said softly.
After that, a stifling silence befell on the couple throughout the time Giyuu ate his meal, his mind rattling out ways to apologize for his inconsideration. While he fretted over his apology, his human smiled at his earnest attempts. Giyuu was so obsessed over gaining his bride’s forgiveness that the fact that Tanjirou dropped his honorific went over his head.
The Night Festival was bustling with energy and mirth. Initially, Tanjirou was filled with anticipation for a night full of fun and games, but he was unable to keep up with the excitement and hung onto Giyuu’s sleeve with reservation.
“Sorry,” he mumbled and shyly peered at his husband. “It’s a bit overwhelming.”
Giyuu was many things, but he was not a crude husband. Since Tanjirou was overstimulated from the blinding lights and uproarious laughter, Giyuu patiently guided him through the throngs of people, shielding him with his arm until they escaped and found a pocket of seclusion. His heart thumped against his chest each time his beloved human shifted closer and buried his nose in his scent for comfort. His ego swelled knowing that Tanjirou, who he viewed as a very competent and independent being, leaned against him for support. As Tanjirou took a breather, Giyuu gladly accepted his protective role and began to rub soothing strokes against his back. Unconsciously, Tanjirou drifted towards his touch and sighed in relief.
“How embarrassing,” he said and softly moaned as Giyuu released a knot between his shoulder blades. “Mm, yes right there,” he said, breathless, unaware of how suggestive he sounded to his husband.
Giyuu paused, blushing fiercely as he forcibly removed his hands. Something stirred within Giyuu’s soul. His self-restraint trembled.
“Giyuu-san?” Tanjirou inquired and looked behind his shoulder, tempting his husband further with his beauty and doe eyes.
The water god swallowed and curbed his desire, the projection of his neck bobbing up and down as he panicked over what to do next. He cleared his throat to resist stealing those rosy lips because if he did, he cannot guarantee that the kiss wouldn’t escalate into indecent acts. The kakushi performed their jobs too well. Tanjirou was too irresistible, too alluring to ignore that Giyuu resorted to clawing his lap to distract himself, but now that method was losing its effectiveness.
He had to make a move. Fast.
Giyuu suddenly stood up and turned to his bride. This action made Tanjirou worry that he annoyed him due to his weakness in the crowd. Giyuu read him like an open book and let out an amused huff. To give him reassurance, the water god stroked his cheek, the most contact he will allow himself, and lifted his chin with a finger. Tanjirou’s polished lips glistened under the lantern light, beckoning Giyuu to smear them with his. The charged tension in the air was unmistakable.
“Stay right here,” he whispered low, loud enough for Tanjirou to hear. “I’ll get us some food.”
Tanjirou wasn’t aware he held his breath until he spoke. “Come back safe,” he whispered.
Within a blink of an eye, Giyuu retracted his finger and disappeared. A few seconds later the human exploded into color as he recalled what just transpired. His earrings swayed back and forth as he shook his head with residual excitement, his nose still intoxicated by the leftover scent of arousal. His palpitating heart refused to calm down.
Before Tanjirou went into a downward spiral and revel on the progress in their relationship, a cry interrupted his short-lived celebration. A woman was sobbing loudly near a stand with defeat in her shoulders and distraught written across her face. Onlookers stared at her with pity, but the owner of the stand she was loitering screamed at her to scram and take her hot tears somewhere else.
“This is my last warning!” The owner stepped out in frustration and roughly grabbed her forearm. “Go away!”
Snot and tears were everywhere. Nostalgia overcame Tanjirou as he watched the scene unfold because the woman reminded him of Zenitsu and his crybaby tendencies.
“How cruel!” She shrieked and futilely tugged her arm. “You will pay once I tell my husband of this treatment!”
The disgruntled owner was not threatened by her words and raised his arm to prove his point. As a result, the woman clenched her eyes shut before the strike and screeched like a banshee to garner attention. Before the man could slap her, Tanjirou rushed in with fearsome speed, nails digging into the man’s flesh, and twisted his arm to put him in a constraint. His elbow was near the man’s wrist, prepared to deal a blow and break it. His eyes were fire and ice, burning with rage and ready to freeze any opponent. His veins bulged and strained out of his arms as fury fueled his blood.
“Let. Her. Go.” Short and sweet. His demand was succinct.
The gods and other beings enjoying the festival were uninterested in the altercation, so Tanjirou was left to fend for the woman and himself. The owner grunted in pain from the uncomfortable position of his arm and was about to wring out his hand to beat the boy, but then he glanced at Tanjirou’s ornament and gasped out in fear.
“The bride of the water god,” he shook and instantly loosened his grip, almost making Tanjirou lose his balance and fall.
The owner backed away cautiously as if Tanjirou’s mere presence covered him in flames. “Spare me,” he whimpered and pleaded for his life. The man immediately returned to his stall, the woman forgotten.
Still tense from the dispute, Tanjirou jumped when he felt a hand placed on his shoulder. He whirled around with nerves in case another joined the fight, but the hand belonged to the crying woman, whose teary expression was replaced with admiration.
“Thank you for saving me,” she thanked him.
Upon a closer inspection, Tanjirou noticed that the woman was quite beautiful with her ebony hair and short bangs that framed the entirety of her face. Her skimpy red dress highlighted her voluptuous hourglass figure, which Tanjirou itched to cover with his haori so that her breasts wouldn’t spill out. Relieved to see her unharmed, Tanjirou fished out a fish-printed handkerchief from his hidden bag and handed it to her for her dry tears.
“I feel bad for dirtying something so cute,” she sniffled, her fingers pressing the edges of the cloth. She commented on its professional, adorable design, especially the nice touch of the waves surrounding the lone fish.
Tanjirou waved away her worries. “That’s fine! I’m good at cleaning.” That was child’s play.
“I can always embroider more,” he said, beaming with radiance.
Sure, this particular handkerchief was meant to be a gift for Giyuu, but Tanjirou can just whip up another one another day. At least the handkerchief was useful for the time being.
“Suma,” he heard.
Tanjirou blinked innocently. “Hm?”
“Suma,” the woman said again and finally introduced herself. “My name is Suma.”
Tanjirou’s smile grew wider. “Nice to meet you, Suma-san,” he said. “My name is Kamado Tanjirou.”
A high-pitched screech pierced the air, alarming the two, but then they noticed the rest of the festival-goers had their heads turned upward. The sound was followed by an explosion in the sky, and Tanjirou and Suma raised their heads to a collection of colors and lights.
Tanjirou wondered why Giyuu was taking so long to return. He wanted to watch the fireworks with him.
However, the bride did not expect Suma snatching his hand and pulling him to the belly of the beast. “Help me find my husband,” she said out of the blue and dragged him through gods and beasts alike.
His words of wishing to wait for his own husband fell on deaf ears as he precariously dodged bumping into anyone while being slightly impressed with Suma’s nimble footwork. He even accidentally brushed his shoulders against a dangerous-looking gentleman, but wasn’t given the chance to stop and apologize.
“I’m sorry!” He shouted over his shoulder and begged Suma to slow down, completely missing the malicious daggers directed towards him. If he stuck around longer, the bloodlust would have prickled his skin and invaded his nose with a pungent smell.
This search went on for ten minutes until Tanjirou’s prayers were answered and Suma’s speed was reduced. His brief exploration of the festival gave Tanjirou a clear picture of the entertainment and games this festival to offer. It was a grand festival.
Tanjirou gave kudos to the organizer, but the display in front of him was beyond understanding. The chaos was surreal. Flying contraptions and rainbow hot air balloons infested the skies. People partied on the rooftops with booze and nectar while artillery weapons blasted out streamers and glittery dust. Tanjirou almost ducked when he heard them shot another round, but instead of gunpowder and soot blanketing his hair, he was coated with sprinkles of gold and diamonds.
Suma cackled as if she was in her element, twirling around the front grounds like a princess.
A booming voice sliced through the noise. “Suma!”
A giant descended from a balcony and created a crater once he landed. Though Tanjirou never formally met this man, he instinctively knew who he was.
“The god of festivities,” he whispered as he approached the two with an immense, powerful aura, strong enough to keep Tanjirou glued to the ground and lower his head in submission.
“I was looking everywhere for you,” the god plucked his wife and plopped her on his meaty shoulder. A cocksure grin graced his handsome face once he donned a gem-encrusted headband on the crown of her head. “You forgot your ornament. Hinatsuru and Makio are worried sick, you know?”
“Tengen-sama!” Suma wrapped her arms around her husband’s head and sobbed, retelling him the predicaments she experienced until Tanjirou valiantly swooped in and rescued her.
She must have tampered some of the details because Tengen glanced at the human with shimmering eyes and exclaimed, “Splendid! A dramatic save! I like it!”
His huge body was a bit intimidating, especially when he easily loomed over Tanjirou when he knelt in front of him. However, he wore a kinder expression when his hand patted his head and ruffled his burgundy locks.
“I am in your debt,” he said as Suma continued to shower praise.
“Tanjirou-san has a heart of gold,” she giggled and slipped off Tengen’s shoulder. She leapt to Tanjirou’s side with a glimmer in her eyes and a cunning smile. “Doesn’t he have the loveliest eyes?” She sighed dreamily, her fingers grazing his neck to hold up his chin as a demonstration. “He would make a great addition to the harem.”
Tanjirou gasped, taken aback, but Suma’s grip kept him in place. The god of festivities examined him closely, his lips jutting out in contemplation. He crossed his arms, satisfied with what he saw, and let out a boisterous laugh.
“A marvelous idea!” He roared.
A sinking feeling went deep in Tanjirou’s gut.
“It is not everyday a human gains a god’s favor,” Tengen said.
He was not wrong, Tanjirou thought, as Tengen continued, “Therefore, Kamado Tanjirou,” he announced to the audience who gathered around the commotion, “I accept you as my bride!”
Another round of confetti cannons shot off, and Tanjirou learned two lessons at that moment. One, the god of festivities is very flamboyant. Two, he is very, very screwed.