A/N: Yes: Sunako is out of character, but that's the point. I wanted to put her in a situation where she would be acting out of her normal character and see how far I could take it. I think it worked rather well, if I do say so myself. I don't remember what inspired me to write this, but I know I had a lot of fun doing it. So, I hope you enjoy it.

In Like Sin

By Emania

"…hung by a halo and stabbed by horns / then she'll tell you they're both the same…"

- Silvertide, "Devil's Daughter"

Ranmaru was on his way from the stairs through the entry hall heading toward the front door when the phone rang in the silent house. He frowned and looked at his watch. 'Who would be calling the house at 3 in the morning on a Saturday?' he wondered. No one was supposed to be home, in any case. Yuki was out with his girlfriend, Kyohei had gone to visit with his mother and father for the night, Takenaga was out of town, and even Sunako had been dragged by Noi for a girl's night out and...

Sunako. What if something had happened?

He hurried into the living room and picked up the receiver on the fourth ring. "Hello?" he said into the receiver.

"Who's this, Ranmaru?"

Ranmaru recognized the voice, even if she'd never called his name to his face and even despite the noise going on behind her. "Yes, Sunako-chan, is it's me," he said, frowning. "Is everything alright?"

"It's Ranmaru!" Sunako said just away from the receiver on her end. He heard a woman's voice say something to her. "I don't know," Sunako answered her. "What are you doing home?" Sunako asked into the receiver again.

Ranmaru smirked, because he could hear something in Sunako's voice that wasn't as reserved or quiet as it usually was and it was obvious to a veteran partier like himself that she had obviously imbibed of some of the happy spirits throughout the night. "I was just on my way out," Ranmaru answered, amused.

"He was just on his way out!" Sunako said loudly, away from the receiver.

"Sunako-chan?" he called her attention.

"Huh?" she asked into the receiver again. "Yeah?"

"Is everything ok? Are you alright?" he asked again.

"Oh, yeah," she answered, speaking loudly into the phone. "I'm just fine," she said. "Well, except this club is so expensive!" she says to him. "It was a lot of money for the drinks and although some guys bought us some drinks, we still had to pay for a lot of them and we had enough money to pay for them, but we told Noi-chi's friends to leave because we'd get a cab together since we're close to each other and I told Noi to just stay over at the house since it would be bad for either one of us to be in a cab alone at this point, but, we had to pay the bill and it was..." she trailed off and turned away from the phone again, "Noi-chi! Noi-chi! How much was the tab?" She waited, and Ranmaru's smirk turned into a full-blown smile. Sunako wasn't just buzzed...she was pretty well smashed. "Noi!" she called suddenly into the phone. "Just put that down, will you?" she asked. "I'm trying to-well, no, but-of course I still love you!"

"Sunako," Ranmaru called when he heard Sunako further and further from the phone. "Sunako?" he hadn't heard the phone fall or hit anything and she hadn't hung up on him. "SUNAKO!" he called loudly.

"Huh? What?" Sunako said, back on the phone. "Who is this?" Ranmaru was laughing too hard for a moment to answer, and she managed to remember before he could. "Oh, yeah, it's Ranmaru!" He heard a loud woman's voice, he now assumed it was Noi somewhere around him. "No, I'm talking to Ranmaru!"

"Suanko-chan," Ranmaru said, trying to keep the laughter from being obvious in his voice. He wasn't certain what a drunk Sunako would do if she thought he was laughing at her. "Sunako-chan!"

"Yes, I'm here," she answered.

"So, you were telling me what happened and why you're calling the house," he reminded her, much more patient than most would give him credit for. Then again, he'd dealt with quite a few tipsy women in his life.

"Oh yeah," Sunako said. "So, we had to pay the bill and then the other girls left, but Noi didn't think to keep enough money for a cab."

"Hey!" he heard an offended Noi interject in the background.

He couldn't help but smirk again.

"Well, you didn't," Sunako told her, away from the phone again.

"You didn't either!" Noi pointed out in the distance. "She didn't either!" Noi repeated, closer to the phone.

Sunako made a rude noise and obviously decided to come back to her conversation with him because she spoke directly into the phone again. "So, will you come get us?" she asked.

"Of course," Ranmaru answered, still very amused. "Where are you?" he asked.

"We're at Club Womb in Shibuya," she answered, and Ranmaru's eyebrows rose in surprise. "Do you know it?"

"I know it," he replied. "I'll be there in about 20 minutes," he assured her. "Don't wait for me outside, Sunako, wait inside, I'll find you in the lounge on the first floor."

"Okay," she said.

"Are you on Noi's cell?" he asked, since he knew Sunako refused to have a cell phone.

"Yep," Sunako answered.

"What's the number?"

She told him and they hung up.

x-x-x-x-x

Ranmaru was amazingly punctual as he walked through the doors of Club Womb exactly 20 minutes after he had hung up with Sunako, and only part of it was due to the amazing luck that the cab he'd called to take him to meet his kitten-o-the-week had already been waiting outside.

He spotted them almost as soon as he entered the lounge, but for a few moments, he couldn't believe quite what he was seeing. Despite knowing that Sunako had obviously had a significant amount of alcohol and that her inhibitions were down, watching her talk animatedly and laugh freely as she and Noi sat in the plush red velvet[1] booth near the back of the lounge was more than a little surreal and took a little getting used to.

He took a minute to assess their dress, because frankly, he didn't think he'd ever seen Sunako showing that much leg, and the mini-skirt, though black and leather and sporting a significant amount of chains and pins, was extremely flattering to the very long, amazingly shapely legs of the girl they belonged to. And yes, Ranmaru was happy to note, she was wearing what looked surprisingly like a corset like top, and even though she was wearing a black mesh top, it was mostly see-through and delicious amounts of pale skin showed through.

He probably should've felt guilty about enjoying the view, but considering it was blatantly against Ranmaru's character to not enjoy the view of a pretty girl whenever he could get it, despite the circumstances, he didn't feel one whit guilty at all.

How Noi ever got her into such a getup, he would never even know where to begin guessing, but he suspected her level of inebriation was probably directly related to the clothes she was wearing.

Noi herself was, of course, dressed impeccably and deliciously in a red one-piece that hugged her curves in all the right ways, and her hair, though slightly mussed obviously from dancing and otherwise cavorting, still retained its luster and bounce.

And before he could extend his consideration any further, Noi herself noticed him and waved, grinning. "Ranmaru-kun!" she called out. The entirety of the moderately occupied lounge turned to look first at Noi and then at Ranmaru. He didn't really care. "Come, come!" she beckoned him. "We just ordered drinks!" she said as he walked up to their table. "The bartender gave them to us because it's my birthday!"

"Happy birthday, Noi-chan," Ranmaru said, smiling as he sat down with them. "And may I say that you look especially beautiful tonight." Charm to him was like breathing and came so naturally he rarely even realized he was doing anything spectacular at all. "Both of you do," he turned his smile on Sunako who, much to his amusement and surprise, blushed and looked away.

Noi, for her part, smiled brilliantly at him. "Thank you!" she chirped. "I'll drink to that!" She started to raise her glass to him, but realized he didn't have a glass and frowned. "You don't have a drink!" she determined. "Why don't you have a drink?" she asked, then turned to Sunako. "Why doesn't he have a drink?"

Sunako looked at him and smiled and he was nearly blown away. "I think it's because we don't have any money to buy him a drink," Sunako answered Noi's question.

"Well, that won't do," Noi determined stoutly. "He needs a drink so he can drink to my health on my birthday!" Noi looked at him and pouted cutely. "Plus...it's rude to let girls drink alone, don't you think?"

"I think maybe you girls are at your limit," he answered mildly.

"Oh, don't be such a poopy pants," Noi said.

Ranmaru smirked at her and raised a brow, but she wasn't really paying enough attention to nuances to notice. "Poopy pants?"

Noi laughed and turned to Sunako who laughed as well.

"You called him a poopy pants!" Sunako declared.

Noi laughed and nodded. "That's cause he is if he won't drink with me on my birthday!"

Sunako looked at him, the laughter still in her eyes, but her expression otherwise apparently solemn. "You really should have a drink with Noi-chi on her birthday, Ranmaru."

He smiled. "How can I refuse?" he asked rhetorically. The girls laughed and he turned, caught the bartender's eye and motioned for a drink.

x-x-x-x-x

It was nearing 5 in the morning by the time Ranmaru finally managed to collect both inebriated girls into a cab and started them on their way home. Despite Sunako's prodding that it might be best for Noi to come to their house, Noi insisted on going to her own home and since she no longer lived at her mother's house, but in an apartment closer to the college campus, there would be no one to be shocked or awakened by her arriving at such an hour and Ranmaru saw nothing wrong with directing the cab to Noi's address first.

Ranmaru lowered one of the windows, knowing that the rushing air of the pre-dawn morning would help sober the girls some, and although it worked as they drove, they were still giggly and amusing even though the tired was starting to settle in.

"I can't believe how late it is," Noi remarked as she looked out at the nearly deserted streets of the more residential areas. "I don't think I've ever gotten home at such a late hour before in my life."

She leaned over to look at Sunako who opened her eyes wide. "Me neither," Sunako allowed.

"I have," Ranmaru added.

The girls looked at each other, then at him in between them, and that somehow started another fit of laughter. Ranmaru had a notion that a true gentleman wouldn't enjoy the feel of the girls on either side of him as they collapsed against him in their laughter, but he dismissed it. It wasn't like he was taking advantage of them, anyway, and he was a man, after all. So, he smiled at them indulgently and somehow managed to keep his hands to himself.

By the time they reached Noi's apartment complex, the sky had started to lighten and Noi had fallen into a light doze against his shoulder. He shook her awake just as Sunako, who had been looking out through the window, recognized where they were and reached over across his lap to take Noi's arm.

"Noi-chi!" she called. "We're here."

Noi started awake and looked around. "Here? Where?" she asked.

Sunako laughed. "You're apartment, we're here!"

Noi looked out her window but saw only the street across from her apartment and frowned. "That's not my apartment," she said.

Sunako tugged on her arm. "It's over here," she told her.

Ranmaru tried not to let them see his amusement, and wondered whether he should risk teasing Sunako about this when she woke up sober. Noi he could definitely tease, but then again, she wouldn't maim him if she was upset enough.

Noi, having seen that she was, in fact, in front of her apartment, giggled and fought with the handle of the taxi for a moment.

Ramaru reached across her and popped the door open for her, but stopped her from getting out. "Are you okay to get inside by yourself?" he asked seriously.

Noi waved his concern off and slid out of the cab, stumbling a bit before managing to get her balance on the 4 inch heeled sandals she was wearing. Ranmaru started to get out with her, but she stopped him.

"Stay!" she said loudly, giggling at the image it produced. "It's okay, Ranmaru, really," she assured him. "I can make it inside by myself, I'm ok," she insisted. "Thanks for coming for us," she said, patting him on the arm. "But if any neighbors see you helping me to the door, and inside, it'll get back to my mom and trust me, it'll be problems."

Comforted that she was sober enough to be aware enough to make that kind of conclusion, Ranmaru let her close the door with him still inside the cab and watched as she walked around the back of the cab closer to her apartment. She stopped at the open window with Sunako looking out and leaned down toward her friend.

"Thanks for coming with me tonight, Soon-chan!" Noi said, hugging the girl impulsively through the window. Sunako laughed and did her best to hug her back.

Straightening, Noi waved at them and walked to the glass door of her apartment building, using a key to get it open with only a little trouble, and turning back to wave at them one more time before walking into the building and disappearing behind the door.

Ranmaru watched for a few more moments to make certain she wasn't coming back out for any reason, and then turned to the driver, giving him their address. The driver took off in the right direction and Sunako leaned back, the wind making her hair go all over her face. Ranmaru watched her, wondering if she was feeling sick because he preferred to have the driver pull over to let her throw up than have to pay the driver for the cleaning costs to his cab if she did it inside, but she didn't appear to be queasy at all. Instead, she looked peaceful and really quite lovely as she rested her head on the back of the seat and the wind washed over her. After a moment in silence, she leaned her head on his shoulder.

"You really were our white knight tonight, you know," she said sedately. "I'm sorry. We probably ruined whatever plans you had for the night, huh?" she mused.

He was vaguely aware of how rationally she was speaking, and wondered if the air wasn't sobering her up faster than he had thought. "For the chance to see you like this, Sunako-chan?" he asked, amused. "There's nothing I'd like better."

She smirked, and he thought maybe she wasn't quite sober just yet. "You like seeing me like this, do you?" she asked.

He grinned. "All relaxed and happy?" he countered. "Of course."

She smiled, but her eyes were still closed and they drove on for a little while in silence. Then, unexpectedly, she spoke again. "I'm sorry I'm such a bitch all the time," she said after a moment.

Ranmaru turned to look at her, but her eyes were still closed. "You are not a bitch," he said emphatically. "Whoever told you that?"

She shrugged, but because she was still leaning against him, it came out sort of lopsided on her left side. "I wish I wasn't, but I can tell that I am - but even so, there's nothing I can seem to do about it."

"You are not a bitch," he repeated. "You may sometimes be withdrawn."

She chuckled, and he felt the warmth of her breath against his collar bone. "You always were the type to give a pretty spin to things," she said.

He smiled and would have said something clever and sufficiently witty, but he felt the unmistakable presence of a soft cool hand against the flesh of his abdomen. He looked down in surprise to find that Sunako had managed to work her hand between the buttons of his shirt to lay it flat against his skin. He was surprised, but he was also Ranmaru, and so he wasn't scandalized, and his hesitation was more related to the fact that he knew this was Sunako touching him, and that she would normally be about a million miles away from touching any man, especially him, of her own free will and he was wondering whether she might be possessed or if drunk Sunako really was as forward as all this.

It was enough hesitation, on Sunako's part, for her to tuck more of her hand against his skin, so that it rested against his rib cage and sliding her bare arm to rest against his stomach, snuggling the rest of her body into his side to accommodate the new position.

"Sunako," he spoke, his voice pitched low to avoid the all-seeing eye of the cab driver. "What are you doing?" he asked calmly, not at all the usual flirtatious tone he would take if any other woman would make such a bold advance on his person.

"Mm," she mumbled. "You're warm," she added, her breath tickling his throat since she'd moved her head a little and it was now tucked almost under his chin.

Ranmaru, to his credit, remained perfectly still. "Is that right?" he asked.

"Mmhmm," she answered, and her eyes were still closed. "Why didn't you ever tell me you were so warm?"

Ranmaru probably should have pulled her away, knowing that if she were sober, there was no way in hell Sunako would be caught dead in this position. But really, he reasoned, it wasn't like she was compromising her purity or anything, and he certainly didn't mind. Quite the contrary, actually. For Ranmaru, having a beautiful woman's soft, pliant body snuggled against him was as much a part of his natural state as sleeping or eating. So, he didn't do a thing except shift a little to accommodate her weight against him.

"Are you cold, Sunako-chan?" he asked.

He felt her shiver a little, so her answer surprised him. "Not particularly."

He chuckled and brought the right end of his light fall coat that had flopped open when he sat down, over his chest and consequently, Sunako's arm and shoulder. "Am I a comfortable pillow, Sunako-chan?" he asked, despite himself.

"Mm," she said, and rubbed her face against the skin at the open color of his shirt. "Very."

He felt the telltale zing of recognition shoot through his nerve endings and decided that if he was going to survive this experience, he should probably avoid making her rub any more of her against him than was strictly necessary, because although contrary to popular belief, he wasn't immediately aroused any time a beautiful woman was in his presence, having one like Sunako this close to him, and reminding him how much of her flesh was available for him to touch would not be conducive to a platonic atmosphere.

"You smell good, too," she added after a moment, and he felt her cool nose bump against his skin.

It occurred to him then, as he tried to remind himself not to reciprocate her exploration of his body with some exploration of his own, that although she still sounded relaxed and laid back, she no longer sounded particularly drunk. He thought about bringing that up to her notice, hoping that conversation might take his mind off of his current predicament, but then he felt the thumb of the hand that had up until then, been tucked sedately around his rib cage, start to move in lazy circles against his skin.

'Okay, Ranmaru,' he told himself. 'What now?'

The part of his brain that was kind and remembered the lessons on how to treat a lady his mother had taught him, reminded him that he was a gentleman, and as a gentleman, he couldn't possibly take any sort of advantage to this situation. Hell, for a gentleman, enjoying the way her soft, absent-minded caresses raised goosebumps on his flesh or the way her breasts felt pressed against his side was a distinct and utter no-no.

'She can't possibly understand what she's doing to me,' he thought. 'I'll just be unmoved by it-I'm just a warm body to her at this point, she's obviously winding down from being drunk...she'll be asleep soon.'

Still, the part of his brain he listened to the most-that part that had initially told him it was a good idea to play only with older, married women - reminded him that there would be nothing easy and uncomplicated about taking any kind of pleasure in this situation.

Sunako was his housemate (first strike against her - she had full access to where he lived); she was his age (strike two - girls his age tended to be the exact didactic opposite of uncomplicated); and she probably didn't even have any idea what she was doing to him (strike three - inexperienced girls got attached).

He wasn't often a gentleman, though, and although he usually listened to the more pragmatic side of his brain, he didn't move, and he had to clench his hand to keep from pushing her hair away from her face.

There was another voice whispering in his brain. A voice he hardly ever heard and it was telling him that she wouldn't remember this, reminding him that he had wondered what it might feel like to be touched by her, to touch her. They'd been living in the same house for years, and outside of a few half-serious lewd suggestions, he had never even let himself think of having her in his arms...he had practically been a saint. And yet here she was...and she was the one holding onto him.

Of course, he recognized that if she were to remember this moment or anything that might happen, she would be very pissed and she wouldn't probably care that she was the one that initiated it. He knew that.

Still...he was a risk taker at heart.

However, before he could wonder what to do and what decision he had come to, the cab slowed as it drove through the gates to the Nakahara mansion, pulling up the drive and slowing to a stop outside the entrance.

"Sunako-chan," he said softly, raising a hand to touch her shoulder. Gently, he shook her. "Wake up, we're here."

Looking down at her, he was mildly surprised that her eyes opened up right away and there didn't seem to be a bit of sleepiness in them. "I'm awake," she told him, and smiled.

Her smile made his heart race and he didn't know why.

She opened her eyes wide and leaned down so that her ear was against his chest, her hand sliding up to touch his chest. "Ah, listen to your heart go!" she said. She looked up at him. "Did I scare you?"

He chuckled. "Yeah, I guess you did," he answered.

"I guess I should be used to that by now," she said, almost under her breath.

Before he could comment, she removed her hand from under his shirt and straightened up, still smiling. "That was nice," she said, looking at him as she opened the door. "Thanks for keeping me warm," she smiled at him again as she stepped out.

Ranmaru quickly paid the cab driver, whose eyes he avoided meeting, and followed Sunako into the house. Once again, he was surprised when he realized that although she seemed to be walking a little more disjointedly than usual, she wasn't stumbling or showcasing any of the typical drunk walking. He thought she was going to go to her room, and when she didn't, he followed her into the kitchen instead.

"Are you hungry?" he asked.

She shook her head, then nodded. "I think I want some ice cream," she decided, going to the freezer. She pulled out the carton of ice cream and smiled broadly, handing him the carton absently and going back into the freezer, pulling out a clear bottle of Russian Vodka and showing it to him proudly. "And vodka!"

"Ice cream and vodka?" he asked, smiling despite himself. She looked entirely too cute.

Her nose scrunched and she puffed up her cheeks and he really could hardly stand the cuteness - she suddenly rivaled Yuki.

"You're right." she allowed, taking the ice cream out of his hands and stuffing it back in the freezer. "Maybe I'm not so hungry after all," she said closing the freezer and grinning at him in triumph.

He couldn't help but grin, even as he thought her drinking any more probably wasn't the best choice. "That wasn't quite what I meant," Ranmaru allowed. Sunako raised a brow so he explained. "I think you should reverse your current plan," he told her. "Have food and not more alcohol."

Sunako grinned lopsidedly and took the few steps that separated them so that she was standing nearly toe to toe with him. She put a hand on his cheek and there was such an edge of tenderness in her touch and in her eyes, Ranmaru was lost in it for a moment. "You are a sweet guy, underneath all the other crap, aren't you?" she asked.

Flustered, and surprised at being so, he 'turned on', wrapping one hand around her waist and pulling her close, holding her hand at his cheek with his other hand. "Don't be fooled by my veneer of gentlemanliness, Sunako-chan," he said, his voice low and intimate. He'd drawn his face close enough to smell the alcohol on her breath and the faintly fruity scent of the perfume she'd used. He knew he should probably be more surprised than intrigued when she relaxed her body in his hold rather than fight him or stiffen in surprise as she normally would. He really couldn't help his reaction, though. He was trying to warn her. That was probably as far as he'd go in the warning department, though.

"You don't scare me anymore, Ranmaru," she said, her voice as low and intimate as his had been.

"If you're not careful, Sunako," he said, leaning in close enough for their lips to touch if she only tried. "I might decide to see if that's true."

She smiled and before he knew it, she had slipped out of his hold and was standing in front of the fridge, door open and peering inside, vodka bottle held loosely in her other hand. "So," she said casually, glancing at him over the top of the refrigerator door. "Should we have shots straight up, or get some mixed drinks?" she asked. She looked back inside the fridge. "We've got orange juice and, oh!" she exclaimed, pulling out a bottle and showing it to him. "Cranberry juice!"

Ranmaru was leaning one hip against the table, arms crossed over his chest. He watched her close the fridge with her hip and put both bottles on the counter, reaching into the cabinets for glasses. "Oh, so I'm joining you?" he asked.

"Well," she stopped rummaging, balancing precariously on the tips of her bare feet, tipped forward to reach into the cabinet, and looked at him. "Aren't you?" she asked.

"On one condition," he said, coming up to her and grabbing the tumbler glasses she had been trying to reach. He pulled out both and set them on the table. She looked at him gratefully and he motioned to the fridge. "Ice?" he asked.

She nodded and went back to the freezer, pulling out the ice bucket they had in there, and bringing it back to the counter. "Was that your condition?" she asked.

"No," he admitted. "I want to know why you've suddenly taken an interest in killing off your brain cells with alcohol?"

She dropped a few ice cubes in each glass and held the bottle over one glass for a moment, obviously concentrating. After a moment, she handed the bottle to him. "You better pour," she said. "And don't be stingy!"

He poured, but looked at her meaningfully before handing a glass to her.

She sighed. "I don't know," she admitted. "But Noi got me to have a few drinks at the club and it feels so nice, I just want to prolong it for awhile, I guess," she admitted.

"Nice?" he queried.

"Warm and like its useless to worry about anything, and everything tastes so good and feels so..." her hand trailed on the counter, as if she were feeling the contours of the marble. "...new."

"It won't feel that way tomorrow, you know," he told her. "The more you drink tonight, the worse you'll feel tomorrow."

She shrugged. "Doesn't matter," she said, looking at him again. "Plus," she added, "I don't feel like I'm staring at the sun when I look at you anymore like this," she explained, smiling. "So, sometimes, a little pain is worth it, don't you think?"

He handed her the glass, taking his up. "Alright, then, so long as you're aware what you're doing."

She looked at him measuringly. "You're not going to try to convince me against it?" she asked.

He met her gaze meaningfully. "I'm not a Boy Scout, Sunako," he said, and even Sunako's slightly hazy mind picked up on the hint of warning. "I'm the last person who'll argue with you about enjoying the moment; my conscious is satisfied so long as you're aware of the consequences come tomorrow." He held his glass up to her and after a moment, she understood what he meant and clinked hers against it.

x-x-x-x-x

Later, after half of the bottle was gone, and they'd given up the pretense of mixing it with the cranberry juice, Sunako- leaning against him, feet tangled up with his on the coffee table in front of them- looked up from where she had been watching herself play absently with his free hand and met his eyes.

"You have nice hands," she admitted, her words a little slurred.

"Thank you," he replied, and if she would've been a little more sober, she might have noticed that he wasn't quite as inebriated as she was. "So do you." He had a much higher tolerance than she did, after all.

"No," she said instantly, shaking her head. "Your hands are elegant and..." she trailed off as she thought, obviously searching for an adequate description of hands. "...tapered!" she said, triumphantly. "I've always liked your hands."

He raised a brow, but she had gone back to looking at his hands, now occupying herself with resting her palm against his as if measuring them by comparison. He noted that her hands were a lot smaller than he would've thought for a girl with such capabilities. "You've noticed my hands before tonight, Sunako-chan?" he asked.

She pshawed, still looking at the contrast between their hands. "'Course," she answered.

He didn't know why she thought the answer was so obvious - he certainly never would've guessed that Sunako noticed much about any of them. He lifted his fingers gently and her pliant fingers lifted with them, up and back down. He watched her as she smiled at his action, surprised when she kept her hand straight when he tried the motion again, causing him to softly drag his fingers along the underside of her fingers. Her smile increased, so he did it again, this time, letting his fingers travel all the way to her palm, and making it so that his nails scratched ever-so gently against her skin on the way back. She squirmed a little next to him, but didn't move her hand away, and he found himself grinning.

He looked at her and she was looking at his hand as if anxious for what he might try next. He didn't even think about it...

x-x-x-x-x

When he thought about it, he wouldn't be exactly certain how it happened. Truth be told, as it happened, he wasn't really in the mood to try and figure it out. The point is, that he wasn't drunk. He'd only had a few drinks, and although he wasn't an avid drinker, he was certain he was sober enough to know what he was doing.

Later, if pressed, he would admit that even though he was the one who had given in to the laws of attraction and let his lips touch hers, he was very surprised when the hand she raised to the back of his head didn't hit and the fingers she threaded through his hair didn't pull.

Still, at some point, she had lost the mesh top leaving her only in a tight corset top and a skirt and he lost his shirt and they had moved from the living room and Ranmaru was certain that it all must have happened after he became so utterly lost the moment he felt her lips give under his, their softness teasing and her warmth all around him. It wasn't until he recognized the softness as he laid her back against the soft goose down comforters on top of his bed that he even remembered where he was. How he had gotten there wouldn't occur to him until much later.

And even still, it wasn't until Sunako's hips rose against him in response to his tugging the laces of her corset open that he realized just exactly what he was about to (and wanting very much) to do and to whom.

Every nerve ending in his body protesting, he pulled away from her lips and, breathing heavily, took her hands in his to still her from touching him otherwise. "Sunako," he said, still breathless. He meant to sit up, but he couldn't seem to make himself, and resorted instead to leaning his head on her shoulder. "We can't do this," he whispered hoarsely.

He felt her still - freeze - beneath him for a moment. And in between that moment and the moment her hands started pushing him away from her, he realized how his words might've sounded.

He looked at her, ignoring her half-hearted attempts at pulling him off her, but she wouldn't meet his eyes.

"Get off me then, if it's so terrible to do this with me," she demanded, frustrated, her legs starting to move as she got her coordination in order.

That was all he needed to confirm that she had misunderstood him afterall. "Stop, Sunako," he said, roughly, most of his smooth veneer eroded by the fire that was still running through his veins and the knowledge that he couldn't do anything about it. He tightened his hold on her shoulders and shook her a little, pressing her into the mattress. He was surprised when she stopped and exhaled, but afraid that she was just gathering her strength, he kept his hands on her. "Look at me," he said.

She looked at him and her expression was hard and angry. "If you get your hands off me, I'll get out of your sight."

"I don't want to," he said honestly, his thumbs rubbing circles on the skin of her shoulders.

She frowned at him. "You just said you didn't want me," she said like an accusation.

He frowned, angry and frustrated. "When did I say that?" he asked. "God, Sunako, you are the Queen of misunderstanding and misreading!" he exclaimed.

She looked confused for a moment. "You said..."

He cut her off by leaning in close to her, capturing her eyes. "I said we couldn't do this," he repeated. "I never said I didn't want you." She still looked confused, so he thought he'd help her out. He took one of her hands and guided it to the evidence of just how much he wanted her. Her fingers only skimmed him, but her eyes widened and the flush rose to her cheeks.

"But...you said..." she stammered.

He brought her hand back up before she got any ideas and made this whole thing harder than it was already - pun definitely not intended. He kissed her fingers, letting her hand go on her stomach. His fingers brushed the skin exposed there, almost absently. "I want you, Sunako," he admitted.

"Then, I don't..." she started.

He sat up, but didn't move away from her. "You've been drinking," he told her.

"So have you," she pointed out logically.

He smirked at her. "Not as much as you, Sunako-chan," he pointed out. "That's obvious by the fact you're even here," he motioned to his bedroom. "If you were sober..."

"I'd still want you," she interrupted him. "I just wouldn't have the courage to do a thing about it," she admitted.

He looked at her in surprise. Seeing his look, she laughed and the sultry, knowledgeable confidence coming back into her eyes, she let her fingers touch his, tracing the contours of his hand while even as her leg bumped against his back. "I'm not blind, Ranmaru," she said. "I doubt there's any woman alive that could actually not see you and think about what it would be like to sleep with you." Gaining confidence, her leg slid against his naked back, raising goosebumps on his flesh and making the blood throb everywhere in his body. "I don't care if I'm drunk, I won't try to take retribution once I'm sober," she assured him. At his look, she raised a brow, laughing when his hand almost unconsciously drifted to caress the soft skin of her leg still against him. "You want it in writing?"

He laughed, and started to lean down toward her, but stopped himself again at the look in her eyes. "Sunako," he breathed. "You're so beautiful," he told her, pressing a chaste kiss on her lips. "But I couldn't live with myself if I took your virginity, especially when you're cognitive functions are impaired."

She stilled, and sat up. "My virginity?" she echoed, then, before he could say another word, she leaned in and pressed her lips to his.

He responded, of course. Ranmaru was still Ranmaru afterall, even when attempting to be a gentleman to a girl he genuinely liked and respected. And she tasted so good to him - like chocolate and vodka and cranberries. Intoxicating as hell. Still, when he found himself deepening the kiss, his fingers tangling into her hair at her nape and pressing her against him, he told himself to stop, and somehow, managed to.

"Sunako," he breathed. "You're killing me," he admitted. He pulled back to meet her eyes, drowning in them, growing hot and heavy just from noticing how dark her eyes had grown - how dilated her pupils. "I'm trying to be a gentleman, and you're killing me," he whispered, his hand trailing from the nape of her neck to the front, thumb tracing the edge of her chin.

Sunako's hand cupped the back of his head and pulled him back toward her. He resisted, but only when they were inches apart. "Who's asking you to be a gentleman?" she asked, her voice low and seductive. "I need you to touch me, Ranmaru," she said, leaning in again.

At the last minute, just before their lips touched, he pulled away, closing his eyes. "I wish I didn't know that you're not wanting me just because you're drunk," he said on a sigh. He opened his eyes and, taking hold of her hands still in his hair, he pulled them away and brought them onto the mattress between them. "But I respect you too much to let this be your first time, Sunako."

He started to stand, and heard her sigh and lean back against his headrest. "Who said I'm a virgin?" she asked, seriously.

Ranmaru stopped and turned around to face her, sitting back on the mattress in surprise at the plain honesty he saw in her eyes. "You're not?" he asked, and for some reason, it was more than relief, more than lust that shot through him at the admission.

She smiled at him and shook her head. "Nope," she confirmed. "Not for awhile now."

"I didn't-" he started.

"Why would you?" she asked. "It's not like people see me and think sexual experience." She shrugged, looking slightly bored. "I don't care one way or the other, usually," she admitted. "It makes no difference to me, so why should I go about talking about it?"

He shouldn't care. No, correction, he should care only insofar as it relieved him of his guilt and allowed him to finish what they'd started. Normally, he wouldn't care beyond that at all. But again, that respect he felt for her made things difficult...complicated. "Who was it?" he asked, his tone low and serious.

She shrugged. "What does it matter?" she asked, sitting up and running her hands along his bare arms. "It wasn't that important anyway," she said, her breath tickling his collarbone as her hair tickled his back, her arms wrapping around his back to press against his chest. "but now you won't have to worry about taking it-" she was cut off as in one swift, graceful movement, Ranmaru took her arms from around him and had her pinned to the bed, leaning over her, faces inches apart.

"Who was it?" he repeated.

She looked up at him, unsurprised with not even a hint of apprehension, and Ranmaru was experienced enough with women to know that the hitch in her breath and the dilation of her pupils at this new position was not from fear. "Why do you want to know?" she asked.

He wasn't sure exactly why he wanted to know, only the thought of one of their other housemates taking her virginity in such a way so that she spoke of it as if it were nothing was building up the rage he barely ever felt deep in his stomach.

"Tell me Sunako," he insisted, his eyes boring into hers.

He saw it when the simmering passion inside her morphed into the banked fire of anger. She didn't struggle though. "What business is it of yours?" she countered, her tone sharp.

Realizing that he was one wrong move shy of getting either his ass kicked or having her walk away entirely (neither of which he wanted), he decided to change tactics. So, instead of asking outright again, he lowered his face the few remaining inches until his lips touched the skin of her collarbone and he kissed the spot as if he were kissing her lips, then proceeded to nip and kiss his way along her neck, all the while positioning his body between her legs, his hands still holding hers to the mattress began caressing the underside of her wrist, her arms as his mouth worked his way as far down as the slightly loosened and mildly gaping corset would allow and as high as the corner of her lips, the apple of her cheek, her eyelids when she closed her eyes, her forehead, her ears - in short, every inch of her he could get.

When he felt her moving beneath him, felt her legs squeeze him between them, her right leg wrapping around his waist to anchor him in place and the little gasps coming from her mouth every time his lips found a new place to explore, he knew it was time to ask again. Releasing her earlobe from his mouth, he pressed a chaste kiss against the shell of her ear and whispered. "Tell me who he was."

Sunako didn't seem to hear him, until he stopped and pulled away from her to look in her eyes. She gasped at the sudden deprivation, and finally got it when she met his eyes. "Fine, if you must know," she said, her voice low from the passion that had been building, but still obviously annoyed. "He was a boy during my last year of Junior High," she admitted. "His name doesn't matter," she said, "And for some reason, he thought it would be cool if he could get inside the pants of the loner-scary girl."

"Did he force you?" Ranmaru asked, fighting to keep his tone neutral, not sure if he succeeded.

Sunako shook her head. "He just wore me down," she admitted. "I didn't really care one way or another - he wasn't so beautiful it hurt to look at him, and it wasn't like I thought I had to save myself for anyone or that I'd find a better offer anywhere, so I let him do it," she said, her tone dispassionate. Ranmaru hadn't wanted to move away from her, but she had shifted so that she was sitting, and by the time she finished her story, she was facing the far wall off the left side of his bed, her back to him. "He wasn't cruel or anything," she said, "I recognize that now, he was actually pretty nice about it, and tried to make sure I felt good, too." She was quiet for a moment, then scoffed and swung her legs off the bed. "Jeeze, what a buzzkill," she said, shaking her head and running her fingers through her hair. She was scanning the room for her top.

"And did you?" Ranmaru asked, not wanting to touch her while she told him, knowing instinctively that she wouldn't want to be touched while remembering something like that. She paused and turned to look at him over her shoulder. "Did he make you feel good?" he asked.

"Sure," she shrugged. "It was nice," she allowed. "I didn't understand why people made such a big deal about it, and I had rather hoped if I gave it a second shot, I might find out, but I guess it doesn't matter either way, it's the same mechanics afterall - what difference could there be?" she seemed to be asking herself more than him, her eyes back to scanning the room. Finding her blouse on the floor by the door, she started to stand, only to be pulled back by the shoulders.

Before she knew it, she was laying back on his bed, one arm on either side of her head, Ranmaru leaning over her with a dangerous glint in his eyes.

"You dare compare my experience to that of a pimply faced 14 year old bratling?" he asked, his tone just as dangerous as his expression. "You are not getting away with that," he vowed, and lowered his lips to hers before she could argue.

x-x-x-x-x-x

The next morning Ranmaru awoke with a sense of accomplishment but it took him a moment to figure out why. When the decidedly female arm snaked around his waist all warm from sleep and still smelling faintly of sex, he wasn't surprised or caught off guard; on the contrary, he snuggled down against the soft curves of whatever honey he had spent the night with and sighed contently even as he blinked more fully awake.

It wasn't until he had fully recognized the shape and contours of his room at the Nakahara mansion that he felt a twinge of worry for the first time. 'If Sunako finds out that I let one of my kittens spend the night, she'll be upset,' he thought.

Then, as he started to wonder about who had spent the night in order to best determine how to go about telling her that he'd have to sneak her out, so that Sunako wouldn't see her and be offended, he stopped.

Sunako.

With the name, memory washed over him like a wave: limber, smooth, long limbs tangled up with his, a firm body under him; warm, supple fingers touching and exploring with curious abandon over his sensitized skin; velvety gasps, breathy moans, hot breath against his lips, the side of his neck; sharp little teeth nipping, wet tongue tasting, thick lips caressing; delicious, soft flesh against his lips; fragrant, silky hair like a curtain around him or the smoothest Egyptian silk in his hands; and perhaps most surprising of all, a playful, experimental, curious nature, touching tasting smelling laughing.

It shocked him to realize that despite all his considerable experience, he had never had such...innocent, no, unguarded, guileless, artless, fun in bed while still being kept incredibly hot, before.

And it was all thanks to Sunako.

An utterly, supremely, undeniably drunk Sunako, but still a remarkably capable sexy quick study drunk Sunako, just the same.

A part of him felt a momentary twinge of guilt...a thought that he perhaps should not have allowed things to go that far knowing that she was inebriated. Yet, she had seemed remarkably aware of what she (they) were doing, so he didn't feel particularly guilty.

The thought did occur to him that there was something about that realization that he knew he should be thinking about...something about how she seemed too relaxed and touchy feely to be sober yet still had moments of entirely un-drunken-like clarity- but then he realized he was still in bed with her and he suddenly went cold.

If she went into a murderous rage when Kyohei accidentally (or not) kissed her, what would she do when she realized what she (they) had spent a good portion of the night doing?

Good lord, she'd either really spontaneously combust or kill him- maybe both. Nevermind that she had been a quite active participant in the activities of the night, or that he had tried to be a gentleman, or that she had been quite vocal in her enjoyment.

She would kill him, then go into denial about having done any of it. There wouldn't be a court in the country that would convict her. If anyone found the little pieces of his body, that was.

He had to get out of the bed before she woke up.

No, wait...this was his room. She'd know something was up if she woke up in his room...

He had to get her out of the bed and back into her room. Then, he could only hope and pray that she never remembered - or, that if she remembered, she'd think it through and although she might avoid him for a few days (weeks? Months? Years?), she would know she really couldn't (shouldn't) kill him.

Never one to dwell, Ranmaru started to slip out of bed, pulling his satin sheets away from his body, only to pause when doing so revealed Sunako's sleeping face resting peacefully on the pillow next to him.

The light must have hit her because, as he watched, she scrunched up her face and the arm slipped from around him to cover her face.

He froze, and he wasn't altogether certain if it was the vision of her unguarded expression in the muted light from his curtained windows, or fear that she was waking up and would discover him - perhaps both. Still, when she didn't open her eyes or make any further movements of waking, he exhaled and turned to find his pajama pants. He took two steps but stopped and looked back at the bed when he heard her shift again. What he saw nearly took his breath away. The sheets had fallen down to her waist, revealing the gorgeously perfect creamy expanse of her back as she slept on her stomach with her right arm haphazardly thrown over the pillow he'd just vacated. If it were any other girl, he'd be wondering if he should wake her with kisses or caresses along that flawless skin exposed to his view. Considering it was Sunako, however, he thought better of it.

Instead, he lifted the sheet back over her shoulders, and as he did, she smiled and cuddled into the sheets, lifting her face a little as his hand grazed her cheek, not unlike a cat being coddled and searching for more contact.

Suddenly the pieces began fitting together and Ranmaru frowned. As an experiment (and not because he rather had liked the feel of her cheek under the pads of his fingers) he caressed her cheek with a featherlight touch. She leaned into his hand and mumbled something like a sleepy moan when he pulled away.

Ranmaru cursed under his breath as he tried again and watched the goosebumps break out on her flesh. He couldn't be sure until she woke up, of course, but he was almost positive Sunako hadn't been drunk last night (well not just drunk anyway). She had been drugged.

Why hadn't he seen it?

Would it have changed his view about sleeping with her?

Maybe.

He would've at least let her know what was causing her to feel the way she had...

Then again, didn't he remember her telling him that she'd ways wondered about him?

So maybe she would've wanted to sleep with him anyway...would he have said no?

Hell, who was he kidding? Ranmaru had never been a good little boy, and so long as she knew what she was doing, what did he care what prompted her to admit that she wanted to do it?

How much of her reasoning was actually impaired on that kind of drug anyway?

Next to him, Sunako shifted, bringing his thoughts back to the present. If she had been slipped what he thought she had been slipped, she wouldn't be asleep much longer. People didn't sleep much on Ecstasy. He didn't have long to decide what he was going to do, but he never had been the indecisive type so it didn't take him long before he slipped out of bed, trying not to wake her, and went to his drawers for his pajama pants.

It wouldn't do to go outside as he was, after all, and the least he could do would be to check on the status of their other housemates. As an afterthought, he brought one of his shirts to lay on the bed, within reach, and he regretted it only a very little bit.

xxx

By the time he came back into his bedroom, Sunako was awake and, although she was looking around the room, she was still laying back against the pillows.

Although it should have surprised him that Sunako wasn't reacting in any way badly to having woken up in his bedroom, under his covers, wearing nothing but the skin she was born with, it only served as confirmation of his previous theory. That she had obviously found the shirt he'd left for her and put it on reinforced the theory only more.

When she turned to look at him as he stepped through the door, he paused for a moment and met her eyes. She looked slightly confused and he figured that was thanks to the alcohol she did consume. When she didn't start screaming or glare at him as if she wished she had a knife to carve him into little disposable pieces, he stepped the rest of the way into the room, closing the door behind him and setting the tray he was carrying onto the bedside table. She watched it all from where she was still leaning back against the pillows, the sheets pooled around her waist, and his white undershirt doing little to disguise the fact that she was wearing nothing but her skin and his shirt.

He hid his face from her scrutiny for a moment by bending over to pluck a water bottle from the tray. He uncapped it and handed it to her. "Drink," he said, meeting her eyes and trying to ignore the way her hair fell around her shoulders. "You'll have dehydrated some." She took the bottle and chugged the water back until she had drank nearly the whole bottle. With a gasp, she stopped. "You'll probably have a headache, but I don't dare give you any aspirin," he told her, sitting on his legs near the bed.

"Why not?" she asked, and her voice was a little scratchy and hoarse and she winced when she heard it. She cleared her throat and took another gulp of water. "Isn't that what you're supposed to take for a hangover?" she asked.

"You don't just have a hangover, Sunako-chan," he told her. He met her eyes and prepared for the reaction. "You were drugged last night."

She raised her brows. "I was what?" she asked, much calmer than he would've thought.

"Drugged," he repeated. "My guess is someone slipped you ecstasy." He thought about it for a moment. "Did you take a drink from anyone at the club last night?"

"Other than the bartender and Noi-chan or her friends, no," Sunako answered. "Not that I remember," she added. She shivered a little and burrowed under the covers. "I don't feel as if I've been drugged," she mused.

Ranmaru couldn't help but smile at the picture she made. "Oh? And how do you feel?"

She frowned in thought. "Like Jason's trying to cut his way out of my temples with a chainsaw," she admitted. "But other than that, not sleepy at all and..." she smiled as she burrowed deeper into his covers. "Your sheets feel really good."

"People on E usually don't drink alcohol because it dehydrates you even more," he told her. "So, that's probably where the headache is coming from," he looked at her and there was an edge of a smile still around the corners of his lips. "The sheets feel good because the ecstasy's still in your system."

She sat up suddenly. "There's still drugs in my system?"

But he didn't answer her, because what she had said had just filtered through his thought process completely. She had said that his sheets felt really good. She had recognized that she was in his bed. "Sunako, do you know where you are?"

She smiled. "Of course," she said confidently, then, frowned. "But wait - if I'm drugged, then maybe I only think I know." She looked at him. "Am I at home in Japan, Ranmaru?" she asked. "At my oba-chan's house?"

He smiled at her. "Yes, yes, you are," he confirmed, much to her obvious relief. "I meant, do you know where in the mansion you are?"

She looked around, as if she were starting to doubt herself again. "In your room, right?" she asked, looking at him again. "Why, aren't I?"

He was surprised at the ease with which she stated it, since he had been expecting some over-the-top dramatics. Maybe she didn't remember what they'd done. Sure, E didn't give amnesia, but the liquor did. "Do you remember how you got here?"

Sunako looked confused for a moment, but then it cleared up and she leaned back again. "I seem to remember everything about last night," she confirmed. "Or, most of it, anyway," she said.

"Like?" he prompted, and he hadn't realized he had moved until he found himself with his arms on the bed, even as he sat on his legs.

"Like..." she trailed off as she thought. "I remember there being a bottle of Tequila...or maybe two?" she questioned. "At the club with Noi's friends," she said. "I remember when they all left, Noi and I didn't have enough money left to call a cab, so we called the house and you were here." He nodded to confirm it and she continued. "You told us to meet you in the first floor lounge, and you sat with us while we finished our drinks," she narrated. She frowned again. "I think you had a drink yourself, didn't you?" she asked.

"I had a beer," he confirmed. "Noi said it would be rude to just watch girls drink and not join them."

"Ah," Sunako agreed. "I think I remember that, too." She brought the covers up over her again and turned on her side to look at him. "I don't remember much about the time on the lounge, and the next thing I remember, we were outside walking to your car."

"A taxi," Ranmaru corrected.

"Yeah, a taxi," she agreed. "We dropped off Noi-chan first, and the next thing I remember was wanting ice cream." She looked at him in some confusion.

He grinned. "That's when you found the vodka," he supplied.

"Ah, yeah..." she sighed and licked her lips. "And the cranberry juice, huh?" she remembered. He nodded. "And the next thing I remember, we were on the couch watching bad infomercials."

"Trying to watch bad infomercials," he corrected her again. "You kept talking right through them, no matter how much I insisted that I wanted to hear all about how ShamWow can change my life."

She smiled a little at him. "Sure you did," she scoffed. "You might think a ShamWow was a sturdy and ugly scarf if anyone showed one to you."

He made a face. "I'd like to think that I have enough fashion sense to realize that NO ONE would ever think of making a scarf that ugly."

She chuckled.

"What else do you remember?" he prompted after a few moments.

She knit her brow and thought. "There was some cartoon on tv at one point," she said. "A really bad dubbing of Scooby Doo, right?" she asked. He chuckled and nodded. "We were making fun of it, and gulping on our drinks every time Velma said 'jinkies,' Scooby laughed, Shaggy mentioned food, or they split up."

"No," he corrected once again. "You were taking shots with Velma's jinkies and Shaggy's food, while I was taking shots with Scooby's laugh and everytime they split up."

She chuckled. "We finished that vodka bottle pretty quick, didn't we?" she asked. He smiled and nodded. She was back to frowning in thought. "Then, we started talking about something to do with comparing Velma and Daphne, didn't we?" she asked. "You mentioned something about Velma having a certain geeky charm."

"And you," Ranmaru added, an air of offense to his tone. "Doubted my sincerity," he told her. "You said that I'd be just like Fred and be all over Daphne, ignoring poor Velma except whenever I needed her brainpower."

Sunako shrugged, unconcerned. "You probably would," she confirmed. "Most guys would prefer Daphne to Velma."

Ranmaru frowned. "You said that last night too," he told her.

"Yeah?" she asked. "And what did you reply?"

Now, Kyohei, Ranmaru knew, would never in a million years admit to what his true reply was - especially if Sunako herself didn't remember. But Ranmaru had never believed in running away from his actions and what they had been, and the truth was, that even if Sunako reacted the way she normally did, he'd prefer to have it out in the open and deal with it than hide it away as if he were ashamed.

He felt that way even the night before. He accepted the risk.

So, Ranmaru answered truthfully. "I kissed you." He waited a beat for her reaction, but seeing absolutely nothing on her face except a kind of neutrality, he continued. "In my defense, you were leaning against me on the couch - had been all night - with your legs caught up in mine on the coffee table, and you were looking at me as you waited for me to answer and your lips were so close..." he leaned back away from the bed to sit on his legs, and smiled charmingly. "How could I resist?"

"You did?" she asked, her voice calm and neutral.

He continued to smile. "I did," he confirmed.

"On the lips?" she asked, catching his gaze.

He smiled even brighter. "Squarely," he assured her.

He watched it as the flush spread over her cheeks and figured that the memories of the night before had begun to flood her conscious. Ranmaru prepared for retribution, but none came. Instead, she looked embarrassed rather than mad.

"I kissed you back, didn't I?" she asked after a few moments of silence.

He smiled again. "You did," he looked at her until she met his eyes again. "Do you remember it?" he asked.

She flushed even brighter and dipped her head, pulling aside the sheets as if she were suddenly hot. "I..." and her voice was no longer neutral. Neither, Ranmaru was pleased to notice, was her expression.

He grinned. "You do, don't you?" he leaned back onto the bed. She was looking around as if wondering how to escape, but he wouldn't let her. He reached over and tugged on her foot under the blanket. "Sunako," he called. She jumped a little, but finally looked at him. It didn't escape his notice she didn't move her foot away from his hand. "You remember the promise you made, while we were right here on this bed, don't you?"

She pressed a palm to her forehead, as if she were checking her own temperature, then her cheeks. She thought for a moment and her eyes went wide. She exhaled. "I'm sorry," she said, glancing up at him and then quickly away. The smile left his lips as he realized what she'd said.

"What?" he asked. He tugged at her foot again until she looked at him and squeezed her foot when she started to look away.

"I'm sorry," she repeated. "I practically forced you to-" she shook her head. "I know what it's like for all of you, and yet I practically-"

He was sitting on the bed before he even remembered moving, His finger pressing gently on her soft lips cut off her statement. "You didn't force me to do anything," he said, his tone serious and low. He sought out her eyes again, finally grabbing her chin to make her look at him. "I don't know what exactly you remember, but I'm the one that carried you from the couch so that I could ravish you without the threat of any of the others interrupting," he confessed. "If anything," he trailed off and exhaled. "I should be apologizing to you." He moved his finger and leaned away from her. "I didn't know you had been drugged last night, but I did know you had been drinking," he confessed. "I shouldn't have let it get so far when your judgment was impaired."

Sunako frowned. "You're blaming yourself?" she asked, obviously incredulous. "You tried to stop, unless I'm remembering wrong," she said. "And I practically threw myself at you," she said, looking away. "I don't know what came over me..."

"It's the E," he said. "It lowers your inhibitions and makes you very susceptible to touch," he tried to phrase it in a way other than telling her it made her horny outright. "It makes even the lightest touch very exciting and stimulating," he explained. "Once we started making out..."

She dipped her head and her hair rushed forward like a cascade of black to cover her face. "So, I'm sorry," she said after a few moments of silence. "I shouldn't have thrown myself at you, even if I was drugged," she pushed off the covers and scrambled off the other side of the bed, pulling down the shirt she was wearing and starting, rather unsteadily toward the door.

It was easy to grab her arm as she passed him; her coordination and motor skills were not at their best. He half expected her to struggle, he even expected a punch somewhere on his person (Sunako, he knew, could defend herself rather well when she chose to). What he hadn't expected, however, was the speeding pulse of her heart under his fingers or to hear her gasp when their skin made contact.

She looked at him in surprise, but then away again quickly. "I'll keep my promise," she assured him. "No retaliation," she said. "I'll go back to my room and we can pretend this never happened, and I'll act like normal when you come down for breakfast."

He didn't let her go. Instead, he ran his thumb along the inside of her arm. He saw the goosebumps rise on her skin and knew he shouldn't do this - he shouldn't use the fact that she was still under the influence of the E to make her react this way. And if she really wanted to pretend like nothing had happened between them, he could do that. But he wouldn't let her go thinking he regretted it.

"Is that what you want, Sunako?" he asked, stepping closer to her. Her pulse was like a wild bird fluttering madly in the cage of her skin.

"I shouldn't have pushed you when you didn't want to-" she started to answer.

He cut her off by turning her to face him. "If you remember what we did, you must remember how I touched you?" he asked. He took a step closer to her. "How I tasted you?" he continued, his eyes lingering over her lips, his hand holding her wrist trailing upwards. "How we fit together?" he pulled her close until their toes were touching, then, he lifted her chin so she would be looking at his face. "Did any of that feel like I was being forced?" he asked. He could see the confusion in her eyes as she tried to reconcile what he was telling her with what she thought she knew about herself. He brought a hand to her face, tracing the line of her cheek. "Is this the face of someone who isn't enjoying doing precisely what he's doing - touching who he's touching?" he asked. Sunako's lips opened and she licked them, absently. It was all he could do to refrain from surrendering to her unconscious invitation. But there was still a point he had to make clear.

"I wanted you last night, Sunako," he confessed. "Hell, I want you just about any time I look at you, but no one would blame me," he said. He could practically see her working through all the information and sensations running through her in that moment, he felt it when she shifted oh-so-subtly, probably unconsciously, into his hold and the soft silk of her hair brushed against his forearm. "I especially want you now," he said, his voice low, his face inching closer to hers. "Watching you in my bed, under my sheets, wearing my shirt, smelling of sex and me and you..." he was practically whispering, but then again, he was so close to her face, speaking any louder would have been overkill.

The moment he felt the cool softness of her fingers on his bare arm, he tensed, half expecting her to push him away, but she didn't. He chanced a glance at her face and the tension eased out of him at the recognition of the curiosity on her face.

"Why can I still bear to look at you?" she asked, her voice quiet as her fingers hesitantly skimmed the contours of his forearm. He was still looking at her face, however, so when she looked at him, their eyes caught and held. "Normally, I can't - no matter how much I try," her voice seemed strained, as if she were afraid he wouldn't believe her. "But now..."

"You feel nothing when you look at me?" he asked carefully.

She frowned. "No, that's not it..." she allowed. "I feel expectation," she admitted. "Coiled, here..." her other hand hovered over her abdomen. "Like when I'm about to start a competition."

"Something good, then?" he asked, a smile curling his lips.

She nodded. "Yes, I suppose," she mused. "But before, looking at any of you was like staring straight at the sun, it hurt my eyes," she admitted. "I don't feel that now." Her eyes trailed over his face. "I can still see your beauty," she said, and her tone was plain and not like she was trying to compliment him at all. "But I don't feel like my eyes hurt just looking at you anymore." She met his eyes again. "Will this go away when the effects of the drug wear off?" she asked.

He shrugged. "I don't know, Sunako," he admitted. "But there is another possibility," he offered, letting one of his hands start to mirror the fluttering touch her own hand was still doing over his arm.

"What?" she asked, her attention obviously being drawn to the soft touch of his fingers on her forearm.

"Perhaps it was true last night that you could look at me without having that feeling because of the alcohol and the E," he mused. "But now, maybe it's just because you've already seen all of me and I've already seen all of you and that-" he was cut off by the sudden movement as she turned her head to the side.

"Oh gods," she moaned. "You've seen..." she trailed off.

Ranmaru laughed and he let his hands trail over the edge of the collar of the shirt she was wearing. "Oh yes," he said, his tone low and seductive. "I've seen every inch of you, Sunako," he said, ignoring the way some little distraught sound came from her turned away face. "I've touched every part of your body," he chuckled again. "Because trust me, I am very thorough," he felt her body tense, as if to run away. "And I really must say," he sighed, watching as his breath brought goosebumps where it caressed her neck. "I don't think I could ever get tired of it."

She glanced at him, the confusion obvious in her expression. "You-"

Ranmaru smiled at her. "Isn't it obvious what I am so shamelessly trying to do right this moment?" he asked. "I don't know what kind of mirror you've looked at yourself in before to think you have any reason to hide your body, Sunako, but I hope there's some way I can convince you never to hide it from me again."

"Again?" she asked.

He grinned wickedly at her. "If you're up for it..." he took her hand and brought it back to his chest. "I certainly am."

She shook her head and Ranmaru stopped her from speaking by leaning forward and pressing his lips to the underside of her chin, then, when she inhaled sharply, but didn't push him away, doing it again closer to her cheek. She exhaled a shuddery breath, as if she were doing it only because she had to and not because she quite remembered how. Ranmaru took that as a positive sign, and when he pressed his lips so that he just barely touched the outer left-hand corner of hers, he let the tip of his tongue just barely touch her skin, before pulling back again.

Her hand fisted his shirt at his shoulder. "This is crazy," she breathed.

Ranmaru laughed, pulling back to look at her. "Maybe," he admitted, nodding. "But I don't particularly care." He leaned in slowly; slowly enough to give her a chance to turn her face or stop him or even to change her expression from one of bewildered curiosity. She didn't, and when his lips pressed against hers, she arched into him and his arms wrapped around her as he deepened the kiss. Eventually, he pulled back, but kept his face mere inches away from hers as he asked, "Do you?"

She seemed to think about it for a moment, before shaking her head, once and not with as much decisiveness as he might have normally liked, but Ranmaru was fully aware that he couldn't really ask for more than that.

So, he didn't.

Instead, he leaned in and kissed her again, walking with her away from the door and back toward his bed with his eyes closed from practice.

They'd deal with the consequences of this when the E wore off...he knew that.

But Ranmaru didn't care about that either. He had never been a particularly forward thinking kind of man, after all.