"You haven't seen the last of me, Cobalt Samurai! You'll never get your father's sword back!"

The black-hooded ninja disappeared in a cloud of smoke as the Cobalt Samurai lept into the air.

TO BE CONTINUED...


"Yes! That was awesome, Nick!" Maya fist-pumped excitedly.

"Huh? Yeah, definitely…" Phoenix stirred from his reverie. He'd been nodding off for the last ten or fifteen minutes. He wasn't quite sure.

"Geez, you missed the best part, didn't you?" Maya pushed off of Phoenix's shoulder to get the leverage she needed to spring off the couch. She bounced towards the kitchen for more snacks, humming along with the credits song.

"No, I definitely saw that fight on the roller coaster." He'd long ago lost count of how many Steel Samurai spin-offs had come and gone. He'd never really been a fan, but Maya's enthusiasm for the low-budget series was infectious. He enjoyed watching just about anything if Maya was there with him. A lot of things had changed in their lives over the last ten years, but their average Friday night had not.

"Grape juice?" Maya called as she opened the refrigerator.

"Yeah, thanks. Don't eat all of Trucy's pudding, she might make you disappear", he replied.

"... ... I won't!" she said, her mouth clearly full.

He queued up a movie to watch next. Maya returned with an entirely unreasonable amount of food and beverages. At one point this might have phased him, but not any more. At least she could pay for her own food now. She snuggled up to Phoenix and he put his arm over her shoulders as she began to work through the snacks.


An hour and a half later the credits were rolling. Phoenix wiped a tear from his eye and cleared his throat. The movie had been about a boy and his dog growing up together, and the ending had been very bittersweet.

Maya had passed out while the dog was learning to wakeboard. She was currently snoozing with her head on his lap. Phoenix stroked her jet black hair affectionately. She sighed contentedly.

He turned off the TV and the lamp, leaving the moonlight coming in the window as the only source of light. He pulled his jacket off of a nearby chair and draped it over Maya's slumbering form. He unbuttoned a few buttons on his shirt and slumped back into the soft couch cushions. One of Maya's hands was dangling off the couch awkwardly. As he gently pulled it into a more comfortable position, she interlocked her fingers with his. He squeezed her hand softly and didn't let go. With a faint smile, he drifted off to sleep while watching her pale, sleeping face illuminated by the moon.

"I love you, Maya." Phoenix whispered moments before he fell asleep.


Trucy's magic shows often ran late, and this evening's show had been no exception. But Pearl was with her tonight, so neither Phoenix or Maya had been worried about them making it home okay. The two girls silently crept up the stairs to the apartment. Trucy unlocked the door and opened it. Unsurprisingly, Phoenix and Maya had fallen asleep on the couch together again. This had been happening more and more often lately.

The girls barely suppressed their giggles as they tiptoed stealthily past the sleeping pair and into Trucy's room. Whenever Pearl visited, they both slept on the floor in sleeping bags. It made Trucy feel like they were sisters.

"I'm so happy for Mystic Maya!" Pearl was beaming as she crawled into her sleeping bag. "They looked so peaceful together…"

"Yeah, they are so adorable. Did you see how they were holding hands in their sleep?"

Pearl made a noise somewhere between a sigh and a squeal.

"I wish my daddy would just make it official", Trucy continued. "No one would be surprised."

"I hope it happens soon", Pearl agreed. They both fell asleep almost immediately, still picturing Phoenix and Maya snuggled together in the next room.