Shinoa studies Yuu's profile, noting the harsh line of his eyebrow and the stressed curl of his mouth. It's been hard on everyone lately, but, she thinks, maybe even more so for him. Someone who lives in the light the way he does must also know the deepest, saddest darkness.

She's never been good with this stuff. Anything on an emotional level is out of her depth, but she's watching him lean over the railing with his long, dark eyelashes feathering over his cheek and her chest aches. Aches like she's trapped underwater and she can't breathe, aches like a wound that's been ripped open again and again and again.

Slowly so she doesn't startle him, she leans toward him, putting her weight against his shoulder as she turns her gaze to the sprawling, ruined city below.

"Oi," he mutters after a long moment, shifting slightly, "Shinoa. What are you doing?"

She links her fingers together and stretches her arms over the rail, resting her head on his shoulder. "Trying to guess what you're thinking about," she replies easily, though her voice is too smooth and lilting to put him at ease.

He responds with exasperation and a hint of suspicion. "I'd tell you, if you just asked."

"No, no. It's more fun to guess," she insists.

"More fun for who?" he mumbles, rightly perturbed by the teasing edge in her voice.

She ignores that and straightens, turning around so that her back is pressed to the railing and she can look up at his face. He's staring down at her, eyes narrowed as he braces himself. She smiles innocently, secretly pleased that he knows what to expect from her, that he knows her at all.

"Hmm," she hums, deciding on one thing that will drive him the craziest, "are you thinking about your first kiss?"

His face turns apple red with a furious blush and he scowls deeply at her, the rail locked in his white-knuckled grip. "Shinoa. . ."

"Or, perhaps, your lackthereof?" She grins at him smugly, relieved at the familiar expression he wears. This is better, she thinks. She'll keep distracting him, until he won't make such a sad face anymore.

He snorts and turns his eyes away from her smirk. "Why the hell would I be thinking about kissing when we go back onto the front lines tomorrow?"

She laces her fingers together and rests them against her thighs. "Isn't that what a boy in your situation should be thinking about? Dying without being kissed by a pretty girl? Dying a virgin?"

"I'm not going to die tomorrow," he snaps at her, cheeks glowing. "Who cares about kissing when there are vampires to kill anyway?"

She glances away from him, holding back a laugh. It's just like him to say something like that. "You aren't curious at all?" A breeze lifts her bangs away from her face and she sweeps them out of her eyes with gentle fingers.

Her voice comes through honest and transparent and Yuu pauses for a moment before speaking. "Are you?"

She feels hot, her throat stuck. "Well, of course," she admits easily. "My family has never put weight in romantic or emotional bonds. Anything that has the power to make you weak must be eliminated. Which is fine. We're in the middle of a war, after all. But still. . ." She tucks some of her wind-swept hair behind her ear and turns her gaze back to him. "I wonder, sometimes."

It's hard to be honest, but the wide-eyed expression Yuu wears urges her to set fire to all her walls and turn them to ash.

"If you're curious, I could go get Kimizuki," she smirks. "If you took him by surprise, I'm sure you could steal his first kiss too."

He makes a face and then rolls his eyes.

"Or maybe Mitsuba? Do you fancy Mitsu, Yuu? She's cute."

"Shinoa. . ."

She taps her finger on her chin. "Yoichi is too pure for the likes of you, though. I don't think it would be right to let you have his first kiss." Her hands swing behind her back and she presses them to the bars of the railing.

Yuu is blushing now. Avoiding her eyes entirely, mouth screwed up in a scowl as he tries to ignore her jabs. She steadies her erratic heartbeat with a deep breath and then closes her eyes, smiling peacefully when she continues.

"Or," she says cheerfully, "you could kiss me."

Even with the sound of the blowing wind, the air between them seems to go very still. Her heart thunders in her chest so loudly she's sure he must be able to hear it. When she opens her eyes, his gaze is locked heavily on her, pressing to her skin as surely as the bars at her back. Shinoa feels the warmth of his closeness, hopes that the static that fills the space around them is something he feels crackling.

This is too much, she thinks nervously. She doesn't get any of this at all, this. . .feeling stuff. But she knows in a quiet, still part of her that Yuu is the only person who could have turned her into this mess and she revels in it, even if she feels her belly flipping in the tense silence of the moment.

Finally, he breaks. "How can you carelessly say crap like that?" he demands, dropping his gaze. "Stop teasing me, asshole."

"I'm being serious," she tells him truthfully.

His eyes jerk back to hers and he stares, his face pink; mortified, it would seem, by her honesty.

After another prolonged moment, she grins, though a part of her feels like its breaking. "No good, huh? I thought a cherry boy like you would jump at the chance to kiss a beautiful girl like me."

He blinks. "Don't call me that."

She pushes away from the bars, wondering if she is going to cry. Is he rejecting her? Is that what this is? "Your first mistake was revealing how much that nickname pisses you off." She smiles. "I'll see you later, Yuu."

He repositions himself so quickly that she doesn't realize he has her trapped between his arms with the railing at her back until a shiver runs through her body, heart leaping in surprise and exhilaration. She glances up to study his face, unable to pretend like she's not confused.

"My, my," she says lightly. "What's this?"

"We won't die tomorrow," Yuu says and his proximity almost makes her tremble. His fierce passion about living is something she may never fully understand but she's left in awe at the raw emotion in his voice. How can her family's ideas of love being a weakness be true when Yuu stands before her like this, brimming with determination and stubborn certainty, stronger than anyone she's ever known? She would follow him anywhere, she realizes as she stares at him now. His light is so bright, so warm; she's never known anything kinder. She wants to be here, basking in his glow, forever.

"I am curious," he adds, catching Shinoa's attention again.

She touches the hem of her skirt with delicate fingers, her revelation making her weak. "About kissing?"

He takes a deep breath, expression flustered, eyebrows sharp over his burning gaze. "Yeah. And about you."

Her stomach drops in a delicious way at his words. "I see. How honest of you, Yuu-chan."

"Just returning the favor." He stares at her, flushed and embarrassed. "Hold still, okay?"

He's so close that she can feel his breath on her forehead and her voice fails her, so she stands quietly and tilts her face up. This is just to satisfy her curiosity, she lies to herself. She has no desires to kiss anyone else. One is all she needs. She closes her eyes.

His mouth hovers near her cheek with nervous hesitation before he descends to brush his lips across hers softly, slowly, chastely. Her eyes shoot open before he pulls away, shocked by the rush of adrenaline that suddenly courses through her blood. Yuu straightens before opening his eyes, face warm with longing she's never, ever seen before.

"How was it?" she asks hoarsely.

He licks his lips and her stomach turns over again. "Warm," he murmurs. "And you?"

"I. . .I'm not sure." Her voice wavers and when she laughs it comes across anxious. "Can we try it again?" Despite her forced laughter, all notes of teasing are gone from her, leaving her question saturated with desire.

His only answer is to bend down again, all of his wariness sliding off of him like rain on a plastic sheet. He takes a step closer so that they're almost touching, and then tilts his head to hers.

It is warm, Shinoa thinks, as he presses his lips down on hers again. Hot, almost. Maybe even blistering. He lingers longer, kisses deeper. She tries not to let it overwhelm her, tries to measure and feel the kiss as unattached and scientifically as possible but the heat consumes her. She finds herself reaching up to cup the back of his neck, keeping him close as she turns her head to the side and urges him on.

He takes another step and then she is completely sandwiched between him and the railing, and his arms are locked, still keeping her trapped. He sighs against her and his mouth is awkward, but so is hers. She feels a part of her go with him when he withdraws, even though she's flattened against his chest.

A shuddering breath leaves her mouth and his forehead remains close to hers, nearly touching. She's terrified of how deeply she feels the kiss, of how much Yuu's proximity turns her knees to jelly and her heart to a stuttering mess. She doesn't know how to process any of this. No wonder her family abandoned love - it was soul-consuming, bone-weakening, breath-stealing.

"Is your curiosity satisfied now, Shinoa?" Yuu asks breathlessly.

Was he being a smart ass? She was too scatterbrained at the moment to decide. "I suppose." Her voice is airy, too.

"How was it?"

"Warm," she agrees. "Very, very warm."