Everyone, who Minami met before the dinner, seemed excited about the God’s visit. As the boy understood, it's been at least a couple of months since it last happened, and for the shrine, it was a big event. Minami dreamed about this moment his whole life, however, he suddenly started to feel more nervous than thrilled. He definitely was able to tell that the atmosphere in the shrine changed. As much as it was delightful, the boy also could sense that powerfully divine, almost healing energy that wrapped the place. So that was the feeling? The inner peace that the God’s visit brought here, made the boy tenderly think that his life here could be different if Ryou stayed. And the same thoughts made him embarrassed. Who was Minami to think that way?
He entered the dining hall last, so he wouldn’t bother anyone, and took his place at the very corner of the room. Trays with food were already there, as always on his there was nothing else than a bowl of rice. Minami was used to that. Not getting enough food. He didn’t really know what it was like to feel full, as all his life he had that slight hunger. But as long as it was enough for him to keep strengths, Minami was happy to get it. After all, he wasn’t really a student here, and he had to earn his place and food.
Minami wouldn’t have known when the God entered, if not for one of the monks, who told them to bow. And as Minami was kneeling, with his body bent down, holding hands on the floor - he felt it. The air, shattering tension which came in together with the warmth. The boy was so overwhelmed by it, that he didn’t dare to raise his head up. Not even for one glance to see the man. The youth stared at his rice, but didn’t pick up chopsticks to eat, he tried to keep his mind busy, not listen. Even when quiet muttering around him became louder and then suddenly turned into deadly silence.
Minami heard quiet steps getting closer, intense strength quivering the air. The boy knew it was him, only the God could have such a vivid spirit. Only he could be emitting such brilliance. Minami feared to raise his eyes and see, he wasn’t even sure how he was supposed to look at the God. But as the boy felt the man only standing there at one place in silence, he dared to glance. Barely for one moment, but Minami wasn’t sure he could have lasted longer than that.
Minami had never seen a blue fire before, but the one burning in the man’s eyes was real. He pierced the boy through with that wise, but gentle gaze. The color of midwinter sky or very strong ocean blue…. Minami couldn’t find one word to describe it in his head. But if the blizzard and the early morning’s icy frost could live together, that would perfectly describe the power in the God’s eyes. He wasn’t just beautiful, Minami had never seen a face who would take his breath away so easily. And as if it wasn’t enough, his long white hair, attentively tied back made him look like he wouldn’t belong here. Like the place that would be good enough for him just didn’t exist. Well, he was a God after all, but Minami never thought he would feel something this strong after seeing one. The boy’s cheeks flushed so hard almost as if he were having a fever. Minami didn’t remember when was the last time he blushed for something or someone. And here only one glance of the God was enough.
“What’s your name?”
He asked with that deep velvet voice, and Minami forgot everything. Not only his name but also how to speak. He opened shivering lips, but couldn’t say a word. Minami clenched the material of his clothes between fingers, keeping them on his thighs. Making the God wait wasn’t a good option as well, but Minami didn’t know what to do, his heart was about to jump out of his chest.
“I-It’s… Minami… sir” he stuttered, but somehow collected letters into words.
The boy didn’t hear a response, only a soft sigh as if the God were smiling.
“Kusou, please, bring your cushion here.” The God spoke, but his tone was nothing like before. Cold and empty, he didn’t put any emotions in it. Minami’s shoulders bent a little bit forward. Another pair of steps were coming towards them. Minami hasn't spoken with the high priest since the first day he arrived at the shrine.
“Yes, Ryou-sama?” Kusou answered so sweetly, revealing to everyone how fake he was. This man wasn’t the person he pretended to be in front of the God.
“Give it to the boy.”
Minami thought that the silence couldn’t get even tenser, but he could almost grip it in the air. The boy was about to faint, when Kusou stopped next to him and cleared his throat, showing him to get up. Minami stumbled a few times but somehow managed to stand up. He inhaled in small but fast gulps, seeing the God standing so close to him, and even when the high priest moved away, Minami wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do.
“Bring mine together with the tray.” The God added after a moment. “You can sit down first.” The change in his voice was so drastic as the man spoke back at Minami, that the boy didn’t just sit down, he almost fell on his knees.
Even when the God’s tray was placed in front of Minami’s, the God was still standing, while the boy tried to remember how to breathe. It’s only been a couple of minutes, but Minami could swear it felt like hours.
“May I sit with you… Minami?” The man spoke to him directly again, as he gently called the boy’s name at the end. Minami barely held a gasp back.
“Ye-s… of course…” He stuttered like no tomorrow, eyes still keeping at one spot.
But as the God sat in front of him and Minami was able to take a glance at his light clothes, long hair strands falling over his shoulders and fluffy tails resting around, the boy dared to quickly look up again. However, the man wasn’t looking at him. Instead, he kept those captivating bright eyes at Minami’s tray, which the youth haven’t even touched yet.
“I see you haven’t got much on your tray.” The God pointed out, and the boy wasn’t in time to turn his eyes away.
Minami got trapped in that blue flame and realized he wouldn’t be able to escape from an answer. How gorgeous that man was, Minami couldn’t handle any other thought. He was anxious, still kept squeezing his clothes between fingers. The boy also felt that everyone’s eyes in the hall were on him and the man. The God speaking with a student was an unseen thing.
“It’s… enough for me…” Minami couldn’t let the God learn the truth. He didn’t want to sound like he was complaining as well. It wasn’t that bad, also it had nothing to do with him. Minami brought this to himself. As someone who didn’t have any spiritual energy, he shouldn’t have even been in this shrine.
As if Minami gave him a completely different answer, or the God decided not to listen, the man started placing plates from his tray on Minami’s until there was no free space left. The youth sat shivering more with each of the God’s moves.
“Please… sir, I don’t…. I don’t need any of this… It’s too much… I...”
Everyone was staring, Minami didn’t have to try to hear the crushing silence filled with quiet mumbling around. They were shocked just the same as Minami, if not more. A student sitting just next to the boy impatiently sighed as if waiting when their turn would come.
Minami wanted to look at his side and see who was the one talking, but before he did that, the God caught the boy’s attention with a gentle smile, making him forget the surroundings again.
“It’s alright, Minami. Eat as much as you want.” He encouraged the youth, not letting him off his sight until after a long moment Minami shyly took his chopsticks and started eating slowly. The best dishes he could only dream about a day ago didn’t have any taste. His stomach felt twisted and the only reason why he kept eating was because the God was there.
“Ryou-sama, I’m sorry, but there are some things to discuss.”
Jirou couldn’t have picked better timing. Minami watched how the elder man slowly bowed for the God, the man didn’t seem like he was annoyed by Jirou’s appearance.
“I’m sure there are…”
The God answered, not taking his eyes from the boy for a couple of moments longer, but then without any hurry got up and smiled for the older man. Minami somehow had a clue that Jirou coming here had something to do with the boy. He knew better than anyone else here how he couldn’t handle feeling being in the spotlight.
Soon both men were gone, and chopsticks fell from Minami’s hands. He should have stayed here until everyone was done, helping with the dishes. But together with the God’s leave, sounds around him became unbearable to take. The boy knew what they were saying, he also knew it wouldn’t end there. Minami jumped on his feet leaving the tray and everyone else behind, quickly walking from the hall outside back to his storage building. And only when his knees hit the hard floor inside his room, he felt like the air came back to his lungs.
Then, and for many days after, Minami couldn’t figure out why the God chose to come to him that day.
To the only one in that whole place, who wasn’t special.