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Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM): Monster Academy - Experiments in Cross-Cultural Relationships

z-Skye Angelus

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It had seemed like a grand idea at the time. When dating someone from another culture, it seemed only right to embrace their culture. And Skye really wanted to have a fun date with her boyfriend. So their first free weekend, she and Kuromaru made arrangements to spend that Saturday together. They had also each agreed to pick an activity to enjoy as a couple, something that was normal for their culture and that they personally enjoyed to share with each other.

Which is how Skye found herself creeping through the woods, trying not to make any noise and generally being the noisier than if she’d just been walking around normally. She didn’t even see Kuromaru anymore; he’d said something about flushing the prey and driving it back to her. He’d acted like it was some gift to her, which from a certain perspective, was probably true. It was probably some kind of super-sweet hengeyokai thing. At least she’d told him that she had never been hunting before. He’d reacted with sympathy and a bit of horror, then insisted he’d teach her. Skye agreed to try it, but she’d been happy getting her steaks from the meat counter.

Nervously , she stopped, listening carefully. The blonde half-celestial was confident in her sword skill, but less so about her ability to kill a wild animal with a knife. She still wasn’t sure about this at all, but she was going to try her hardest-

The bushes ahead of Skye rustled and she crouched a little further. What would her boyfriend find to hunt? A deer? A rabbit? Something else?

Suddenly, an unpleasant thought occurred to her. These were the woods around Monster Academy. Why on earth did she think that there would be deer out here? “Verdammt,” she muttered, digging the balls of her foot into the loose dirt under her feet. The bushes rustled again; Skye lifted her knife a little higher, setting her jaw for a titanic battle.

A rabbit hopped out and stopped. Rising on its back feet, the little creature stared at her. Now you kill it.

Go on.

Annnnnnny second now.

Just stab it.

You know how to stab.

Look at those ficken eyes and adorable nose twitch.

Ok, apparently, this stabbing thing isn’t happening.

“Shoo. Go on, before my boyfriend comes back and makes dinner of you.” Skye waved at the rabbit. “Go, you dumb thing.”

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It was technically a pig's squeal. It had that high pitched, outraged component: the notes of pain, fear and anger that lead the listener to believe that the animal in question is being slowly tortured to death... Or forced to watch re-runs of 90210 whenever Delilah had the remote in the T.V lounge. Whichever you consider worse.

It also possessed a bass vibrato quality that made the forest tremble.

Oh, SCHEISSE! Skye and the rabbit evidently had the same thought, for the small fluffy creature darted straight past her and into the bushes on the far side of the clearing almost faster than the Celestial girl's eye could blink. She briefly considered following it, but instead held her ground and looked dubiously at the knife she was holding.

I should have brought something bigger. Like a ficken battleship.

Another squeal/bellow rang through the woods, and another after that, and Skye could hear the plunging, crashing noise of something considerably bigger than a bunny heading straight towards her. Furthermore, she smelled demon-taint - nothing strong, just a hint. Her mind raced through the list of what it might be...

It burst into view, and Skye's suspicions were confirmed. A devil-boar, standing four feet high at the shoulder - at least it wasn't a big one. A wild pig infected with demonic energies, these things ate anything living though liked to prey on Man, naturally, usually running down their hapless prey and eating them feet-first whilst still alive. They got bigger with every sentient creature they devoured: legends told of devil-boars as big as jumbo jets.

Click to reveal..


Aaaand it was staring at her with infuriated piggy eyes that combined demonic malice with the normal porcine kind. Lovely. It's black-tusked mouth opened and it bellow-squealed again, pawing at the ground as it lowered it's head for the charge.

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Skye charged about six seconds before the pig-demon-bear-thing did. They rushed at each other, the pig out of outrage and hunger, Skye because her grandmother had taught her when in doubt to go headfirst. So she ran forward, as if she’d lock tusks with the boar-thing. At the last moment, she leapt over the boar’s back, her knife pointed down, a single silver claw. As the boar past below her, its tusks arcing up in a vain attempt to catch her on them, the angelic girl sliced a single heavily muscled back.

She landed and turned, knowing that the cut wouldn’t be enough. Switching hands, she rubbed the sweat off her palm on her blue jeans. If she’d had a gun, she would have gone for the knees, cutting it down. Mind racing, she rejected the idea of somehow getting on its back and going for the throat or an eye. Fine, we’ll dance with it and bleed it out.

Gonna take all day.

It was a race of endurance. Skye had to keep away from the tusks long enough to open enough wounds to bleed it to death. She was confident in her ability to stay away from it, but next time, she was bringing a ficken boar-spear. Or a ficken battleship.

It was probably quite beautiful; the girl bouncing around and over the frothing beast, her knife flashing in the morning light like a mirror. Her blonde braid danced behind her like a tail as she feinted left and then juked right, stabbing deep and hard as she dashed past the beast. It shrieked in pain and spun on her, faster than she was ready. The teeth closed around her arm and it was Skye who screamed as it mauled her arm. But even as she did, she was stabbing at it, her blade trying to slip through a rib and finish it already!

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The devil-boar squealed and worried at Skye's arm, dragging the girl back and forth a couple of times until the stabbing blade caught and lodged deep between two ribs behind the thing's left shoulder. The pain from the damage the tusks were doing was excruciating, but the Celestial-blooded girl had been raised and nurtured for combat and gritted her teeth against the pain, forcing the blade deeper into the tight muscles, trying to find the heart.

There was a blur and Kuromaru was there, the black hair of his human mask floating in the sudden breeze of his motion as he clamped a pale, deceptively-strong hand on each of the devil-boar's jaws and pulled, forcing the large tusked maw to open inch by inch. The creature bellowed and struggled, but Kuromaru's grip was as solid as stone, his face showing no strain as he kept the creature in place, despite its frantically trying to pull away. Skye's arm, badly bleeding, slipped free of the creature's mouth as it kicked and squealed.

"The kill is yours." Kuromaru said to Skye, his green eyes shining with enjoyment of the hunt and the anticipation of the kill.

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The half-angel wasn’t sure what was eerier: the sight of her boyfriend prying open the beast’s jaws with such ease or the fact that he looked even hotter when in the heart of a hunt. Skye had seen her mother and grandmother after hunts; they had been covered in blood and unnamed gore. Still, now was not the time for the heebee-geebees or lusting for her beau, so she yanked the knife loose quickly. Hot, dark blood gushed out and over her pants and shoes. With Kuromaro firmly holding the jaws, Skye reached under the chin and jerked the blade up, slitting the monster’s throat. More blood covered her hands and shoes. Skye was so glad she’d worn her hunting clothing – demon-hunting. And actually, she’d just killed a demon in them, so it seemed to work out alright, in the end.

The demon-pig-bear-thing shuddered a few more times and died. Kuromaru kept his hold on the jaw until the eyes glazed, his glittering eyes on the creature. “I am filthy,” Skye announced, holding her hands away from her body.

“You will get dirtier,” Kuromaru assured her cheerfully. “Now we prepare your kill.”

“Oh. Yay. Dressing kills,” Skye said without any enthusiasm. Still, she helped Kuromaru string up the pig and bleed it. Then they removed the entrails and parts they didn’t want. All of this made it easier to take back to the site they’d found next to a lake; earlier, they had set up a fire pit. Skye now understood why as they were able to get the pig started fairly quickly.

The fire was starting to dance under their dinner before their work was done. Normally, Skye wouldn’t want to cuddle when she was in blood-stained clothing, but Kuromaru was just as dirty as she. The unlikely couple leaned against one another as they sat at the base of the tree, enjoying the sounds of the pig cooking and watching the still water of the lake. “So this is bonding for your family?” Skye asked, her head comfortably on his shoulder.

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"For most of my people." Kuromaru murmured, nuzzling his cheek against Skye's blood-flecked blonde hair. "The predatory ones, at least. It was a good kill." he told her approvingly. "You fought well - I believe that you wouldn't have needed my aid."

"Mmhmm. Though I would have appreciated a warning. Then maybe I could have brought a spear." Skye chided him lightly, though a glow warmed her at the Beast Prince's honest appraisal of her ability. She snuggled under his arm, noting that he didn't seem to care that she and he were bloody messes. Kuromaru took up her left arm and examined the bare skin visible through the ripped sleeve.

"It gladdens me that you regenerate." he said softly, lightly brushing the healed skin with his fingertips. "It offends me to think of this beautiful skin being scarred." He lifted the back of her bloody hand to his face and nuzzled his cheek against it before giving it a light, delicate lick with his tongue before he began speaking again, punctuating his words with more delicate, cleansing passes of his tongue on her hand. "Have you hunted game before?"

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Dear god… he’s cleaning my arm, Skye thought, trying to decide if it was delightful or just disturbing. Then she realized that if that were the case, he’d have good control over said tongue. Skye was inexperienced sexually, but not ignorant of it. She’d heard the girls at her school talking and once snuck a romance novel from the library. She was quite knowledgeable about sex and she knew what would be done with tongues. While cleaning demon blood off of her hadn’t been on that list, it should a certain flexibility that Skye couldn’t ignore.

“Skye?” Kuromaru asked, lifting his head.

“Uh, sorry, got distracted,” Skye said, flushing a little. “The whole… licking thing. Uh, is that… are you going to clean off all the blood that way?”

“Certainly,” her prince replied between strokes. “Grooming is an important part of bonding.” Skye opened her mouth to reply, only to catch the little smile he was giving her. Was he joking or not? She wasn’t sure which was better.

“I’m not sure that I can do that,” Skye confessed, looking worried. “Licking up dried blood… it’s not something humans do. Or the other half of me.”

“What would a human do?” Kuromaru asked lightly.

Skye was relieved; he didn’t seem disappointed. “We clean each other, too,” she told him, “just do it a little different.” Smiling, she got up and opened her backpack. The wetwipes were in one of the pockets and she pulled one out. Sitting back down, she took his hand and started to clean it, wiping away the blood carefully. He was right, she reflected suddenly, this is… nice. They worked in silence for a moment, a quiet intimacy settling over them. “What’d you ask? Before I zoned out?”

“I asked if you’d ever hunted game before,” Kuromaru answered between strokes of that wonderful tongue.

“No,” Skye said, tensing a little. Well aware that she was probably ruining the mood, she finished, “I haven’t hunted game before.”

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"You do not need to be coy, Skye." Kuromaru's voice held a faintly amused purr that was echoed in the gleam of his eyes - they were human shaped right now, but no human had eyes that shimmering emerald. Or a tongue that could dance so sensually around the bases of her fingers. Skye tried to concentrate on his free hand, which he was holding steady for her wet-wipes as he continued, turning her hand around and cleaning around the base of her thumb unhurriedly. "I know that you've hunted... other things. I've hunted other things too. I have little fellow-feeling for other breeds of yokai, you know. We are all as different from each other as humans are different from us."

"What if I'd killed hengeyokai?" Skye asked searchingly, her blue eyes grave as she remembered some of the hunts she'd gone one with her mother, seeking out predatory animal demons. Kuromaru took a break from cleaning her hand and looked back into her eyes.

"What if you have?" he asked simply. "They were preying on humans in the human world. They were clumsy and foolish, or you would not have had reason to kill them. We are not so sentimental about such things. Now, if you had killed a close relative, that would be a different matter. But you have not." He said with quiet confidence.

"Have- Have you ever killed a human?" Skye nearly bit her tongue to stop herself asking, but she had to know. Had Kuromaru, her prince, ever hunted a human being as though they were game? Had that tongue ever cleaned human blood from a wet clawed hand?

"Does that matter?" Kuromaru asked, then immediately: "Yes, it does, doesn't it? Humans and Celestials both place great importance on human life. There's so many of the things, you'd think the opposite would be true." He sighed, looking off into the sky reflectively, then shrugged and looked back at Skye.

"The answer is 'no'. I'd never even seen a half-human before coming here and meeting my Skye." he said casually, resuming his grooming of her hand, flicking his tongue over her palm. "Of course, there are many hanyou, offspring of human and lesser hengeyokai, but they are not permitted to live in the royal lands. Many exist in the human world where at least they can hide their true nature from those that would persecute them."

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His Skye… I guess… that’s what we’re working on here, Skye thought to herself. She tried out ‘my Kuromaru’ with her inner voice, and found she rather liked it. We’re becoming a couple. Belonging to one another. “So… I wouldn’t be permitted to live on royal lands, then?” Skye asked, trying not to sound upset. “I am human offspring,” she added.

It was just one more sign of the uphill battle they faced. Skye was trying not to get discouraged but it was going to be hard. Remember… he’s worth it.

Her boyfriend was having similar thoughts, she guessed. Kuromaru looked troubled for a moment, then narrowed his eyes. “If I wish to live with you, either my father makes allowances or I no longer live there.” The young prince’s voice was firm and resolute.

Skye watched him for a moment. Very softly, she said, “This is honestly the first time I wish I were a yokai.” She felt a touch of shame for thinking that; for wanting to change who she was for a boy. “I mean, I know that’s not gonna happen. It’d just… It’d be easier.”

Kuromaru freed the hand she was cleaning and gently touched her face. “I cherish you the way you are,” he said, his voice gentle. There was that smile again, the one she only saw when he spoke to her.

“Thanks,” she murmured softly. She leaned forward until their foreheads touched, holding that contact for a moment. His breath played over her face gently, and Skye wondered if this would be the moment that they finally kissed. But when Kuromaru moved back, it was only far enough to gently lick at her cheek. It was just a little too much and Skye finally broke. “Kuromaru… do you want to kiss me?”

The cat-prince drew back, his green eyes studying her hopeful expression. “What is kissing?” he asked her.

Skye stared in surprise. “Really?” she asked. “Get out!” As Kuromaru tried to figure out what she meant, Skye started to giggle.

“You want… me to leave?” Kuromaru asked, sounding both hurt and offended.

“No!” was all Skye managed to say. “I was… giggling at… myself!” She had to let the moment pass before she explained the slang of the term ‘get out’. “And then I was laughing because I’ve been quietly waiting for you to kiss me, when all along, you didn’t even know what that was!”

“This is a human custom?” the handsome teen asked.

“Yes.” Skye smiled widely. “It’s a way of showing affection, especially between boyfriends and girlfriends.”

“Then I would be honored to learn this from you,” Kuromaru replied.

“Oh. Well, I’ve never done this before,” Skye confessed, suddenly nervous. “We’ll have to teach each other, I guess.” She looked uncertainly at him, her blue eyes on his. “I mean, the theory is simple. We touch lips. Then there’s Frenching, which involves tongue. I know how it works but I don’t have much practical experience at it.”

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  • 3 weeks later...

"Kissing." he mused thoughtfully, turning the idea over in his head. "We simply nuzzle, or give little licks. Grooming is also a deep sign of affection, as well as possession."

"Oh, humans do that too." Skye told him, thinking of the number of times she'd seen wives straighten husbands hair or collar, partners brushing away non-existant lint, simply to touch one another.

"Really?" Kuromaru smiled again. "How interesting. So. Kissing: I am willing to try this. Does it feel good?"

"I guess so." Skye said, suddenly feeling shy in a good way. He was going to kiss her! "People do it a lot, and I'm pretty sure that they wouldn't if they didn't enjoy it."

"That makes sense." Kuromaru nodded somberly, the gravity of his expression nearly making Skye giggle. "Let us kiss, then." He moved his face closer to hers.

"Okay..." Skye murmured, raising her face to him, her mouth a little dry and a delightfully dizzy rush of blood making her heart thump in her ears. Kuromaru moved his face closer still... She half-closed her eyes and pursed her lips a little...

And his nose bumped into hers, his kiss landing on her upper lip. Both teenagers recoiled slightly, blinking in surprise, and Kuromaru looked a little dubious.

"It does not seem easy." he said gravely. Skye started giggling uncontrollably, which made him blink again and look at her as though she'd lost her mind, which in turn made her giggle harder. His confusion gave way to a faintly offended expression.

"I fail to see the humor in-" he began, but Skye grabbed his head between her hands and, tilting her head a little to one side, kissed him. The Cat Prince's eyes widened as though he'd been zapped by lightning. Skye's lips were soft, her breath sweet, and for the first time in his life Kurosoroshiimaru lost his awareness of the world around him, his senses and head spinning at the unaccustomed sensations the kiss evoked.

Skye was aware of her yokai boyfriend's arms tightening around her, and then he was kissing her back with enthusiastic abandon, a faint rumbling sound in his chest vibrating through their touch.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Skye’s head was spinning, too, as she delighted in her first kiss. And this wasn’t some lame ‘Seven Minutes in Heaven’ or kissing on a dare. This was her first kiss with her first boyfriend. And it was wonderful.

And bizarre. The purrs – there was nothing else that faint contented rumbling could be – were a little odd. They’d never figured into her fantasies about her first kiss with her first boyfriend. She’d dreamed about the woods plenty – though not demon-infused woods where demon-pigs roamed. Nor did a yokai kissing her with such abandon ever come up in those dreams. And she hadn’t imagined she’d be a half-angel.

Ok, so this was nothing like her dreams – it was better. It was real and she couldn’t even be upset at her choice in partners. Her fingers played in his hair a little; this was the most she’d ever touched him at once and it was extremely exciting. He seemed to be more than happy to hold her close, his lips pressed to hers.

All kisses have to end and this one concluded with the two teens pressing their foreheads together, quite out of breath. Kuromaru seemed to realize suddenly that he was purring, and her prince flushed. When he assiduously cleared his throat, she understood he was trying to stop that gentle rumble. “Is that… purring?”

“Yes,” he said, his voice strained. He seemed embarrassed and wasn’t quite looking at her; a blush was covering his face.

“Will that go away, like the kitten thing?” she asked as gently as she could.

Kuromaru reddened a bit more and muttered, “Unlikely.”

Skye put her head on his shoulder. “I like it,” she told him, her voice a little shy. “It’s… sweet that kissing me makes you feel that happy.” She felt his start of surprise and she craned her eyes up to meet his green eyes. “It is happy, right?”

“Yes,” he said softly.

“Is purring like that embarrassing or something?” Skye asked curiously.

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  • 2 months later...

"It is... undignified." he said, gazing into her eyes and toying idly with her golden hair. "If anyone other than you were to hear it, I would be mortally embarassed." He paused, his perfect brow furrowing as he sought the right words to explain. "It signals abandonment of the self, that the hengeyokai is held utterly rapt by someone. It is not so much a sin for commoners, but for a noble it is considered a foolish and dangerous sign of weakness, to purr so in public." He paused again, trying to read her expression, loving the way she laid her head on his shoulder and gazed up at him. Who would have thought that he, Kurosoroshiimaru, would be so smitten. He smiled one of his rare smiles, his eyes gleaming with some deep emotion as he ran a finger along the line of her jaw.

"When I am with you, I feel like purring often." he admitted, feeling the pale skin of his mortal seeming flush again.

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