Disclaimer: I don't own jack!

Suggested Listening: Right Here by Rudimental (Feat. The Foxes)

Once Upon a Dream


Kuro stood stiffly between Oikawa's retreating form and Kagome. He ensured to place himself directly in the line of the setter's sight. Maybe it was overly protective of him, but he had no desire to let the guy near her at the moment.

"Are you alright?" He felt her palm come to rest upon his arm. Immediately his body relaxed beneath her touch. He didn't get angry very often; even less so where she could see it. He hated to admit it but Oikawa was right about a few things. Namely, that his 'candle' still burned for her as brightly as the time when she'd truly been his.

He thought that he could just stay on the sidelines and remain mostly uninvolved in her love life. The young man clutched his hand into a tight fist. Looks like he failed even in that.

"I'm fine," but his voice betrayed the frustration he felt. Her hand slid up and down his bicep comfortingly. It was an old habit she'd had when they'd dated. He loved every second of it. However even he knew that such displays of physical affection would have to eventually come to an end. For now though he'd enjoy it as much as he could.

Suddenly Kagome leaned up to whisper, ensuring that the other visitors hanging in the doorway couldn't hear.

"Let me send everyone home then we'll talk, okay?" Her fingers gave one last gentle squeeze before their touch fell away entirely. Kuro felt at odds with himself. He shouldn't have hit him. No matter how much Oikawa egged him on, he shouldn't have taken the bait. However he'd struck at his one weak point; the one aspect of his past that he still struggled to overcome.

As promised Kagome had ushered the guests home, offering polite smiles and gratitude. She'd always been good at maneuvering through difficult situations. He wanted to be honest with her, but was that wise? Just as Oikawa had crossed the one line he couldn't forgive; would he too be crossing Kagome's singular line if he expressed his thoughts? He needed to know.

She wrapped her hand around his own delicately. With a small amount of force, she pulled him into her room. Once upon a time he would've taken it as an invitation to progress further in their relationship. Now, however, he knew exactly what it was meant to be: An offer of privacy for his sake. Nothing more. His expression darkened at the thought. Was it still too late? Was there really nothing he could do?

Kagome didn't speak. In fact the moment her door shut he felt her arms wrap themselves around his middle warmly. He couldn't have helped himself even if he tried.

The young man pulled her into his chest, holding her to him tightly. How long had it been since he'd taken her into his arms? How long had it been since she initiated something like this? His nerves settled at the contact. He could be honest with her. Even with these feelings still burning within him.

"Sorry Kuro," She nuzzled the space between his neck and collar bone. The slight heat of her breath caused a shiver to run through him. Not now. "I didn't mean to put you in an awkward situation. It was probably hard on you." She held him tighter. "Sorry."

That was one thing he had learned about her. She apologized for everything, even if their arguments weren't her fault. He always had to watch her because she'd take on far too much of the blame. He screwed up by letting Oikawa get the better of him.

"It was going to happen sooner or later. Might as well let it now." He pushed his hand up to tangle into her hair affectionately. "Nothing you can do about it, so don't worry."

The woman in his arms sighed heavily. He wanted to stay like this. Every day he'd seen men try and fail at getting her attention. Each time he'd wonder if he finally found his match. He had no clue just how serious she was about that setter, but he knew that he couldn't give up on her that easily. Not to a guy like that. Not to someone who'd likely be gone in the next three months.

"Did you want to talk?" She knew that he wasn't the type to open up easily. He only gave information when he felt comfortable to do so. Right now, he was still uncertain.

"Not yet, baby girl." Kuro reverted to his old nickname for her. She didn't bother to correct him. "Just," he sighed. What could he do? Beg for a second chance? Not happening. So he chose to redirect the conversation, "Is he really the one for you? I know it's early…" he hadn't the chance to finish his sentence.

"Kuro," Kagome moved her hands to grab his face securely between her palms. "Is that what you really want to ask me?" Azure eyes burned him fiercely. A wry smile tugged at his lips. She always saw right through him.

"Not really," The young man pressed his thumb and index finger under her chin gently. "But you already know that." His eyes dropped to her mouth. He'd kissed her before. In fact he'd bet most of his savings that he'd been her first in many regards. It'd been so easy back then, but now? The urge to close the distance grew stronger.

Oikawa's words had awakened something within him that he'd tried to bury. It'd brought forth all the emotions he'd tried to hide since their separation. Kagome no longer loved him the way he did her. So he'd let her go, but that didn't make seeing her with other men any easier. Her last partner he'd grown to accept. That guy had been mature and a fairly good match for her by his standards. He'd been fully prepared to set aside his candle and move on. But then it'd ended. Just like his relationship to her, it were as if there wasn't a single man that could hold onto her forever. She was free both in spirit and in heart.

"Tetsurou," The moment she spoke his first name something snapped out of place. She'd been too shy in their relationship to do it. The only time he'd convinced her was when they'd lain together. He knew that Kagome was just trying to put him at ease. Instead all the things he'd hidden resurfaced at once.

He couldn't do it.

He couldn't let someone like Oikawa take her. Not when there was just that small glimmer of a chance. In an instant he'd pressed his mouth against hers gently. He wound one arm around her waist tightly while the other remained at her chin. Gods he missed this. Her warmth, her touch, her scent. Every bit of those memories rushed back to him. Caught up in his own desires, he pushed her to the bed. She fell first, her back hitting the mattress.

Kuro crawled over her instantaneously. His mouth found hers just as it had many times before. He felt her hands clutch at the cloth over his shoulders.

He wanted more.

His tongue pushed past the seam of her lips, reclaiming what he'd once lost. He was so damn close. The young man slipped his hand towards her thigh, with a quick pull he'd lifted it over his hip. His intention was obvious. Then, he felt a slight push at his shoulders. His mind stopped. Shit, had he gone too far?

Kuro lifted onto his forearm, giving the woman beneath him just enough space to sit up.

"We can't…" Kagome began, her eyes belying the struggle she felt. Fuck, he'd come on too strong. The young man sat back on his haunches, reluctantly releasing her from his hold.

"Sorry," Kuro rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. "Didn't mean to go that far."

A small smile pulled at her lips, "So you intended to make a move regardless?"

He found himself smiling with her, "What can I say? You tempt me." He shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly, playing off his overly aggressive attempt.

"Oh ha ha, very funny." Kagome jabbed a finger in his direction. "Well now that that's out in the open, I take it that you are having a hard time." She sat cross legged in front of him—a sure sign that he was about to be lectured.

"Yeah," He admitted openly. It wouldn't do any good to lie at this point. She'd just call him on his shit. Especially after that stunt he'd just pulled. He would've been embarrassed if it weren't for the fact that his hormones were still on a high from that kiss.

"If you weren't ready to meet him then you could've just told me." Her hand came to a rest at the space above his heart. Did she have any clue how much of it she still carried with her? He doubted it. "There's enough here that you can come to me with this kind of problem." Her eyes narrowed sharply. "I'm not going to be that person to hurt you. I don't want you in pain." Her face pulled into an expression he wasn't used to seeing. The lines along her face were taut with concern. In that second he just wanted her to smile. "You're an amazing person, Tetsurou." She used his name again. "I don't want you to hold yourself back because of me. You should be getting out there and experiencing other relationships as well."

He smiled bitterly at that thought, "Sorry baby girl, but you're tough competition to beat." She flushed in embarrassment at his words. "I can't just walk away that easily." He placed his hand over the one she had above his heart. "It's like you said. There's enough here to make me happy." She looked to speak but he wouldn't let her. Using his free hand he pressed a single finger against her lips. "Just a second. That's all I need." She nodded once.

In that moment he'd noticed all the things he hadn't before. The slight slip of her tank's strap down her shoulder, the tousled hair as if they'd just had a run in the bed and the partial swelling of her lips from the attention he'd lavished on them. He wanted her wrapped around him. He wanted to experience what it was like to take her for himself again. He wanted her to be his but he knew that wasn't possible. Not anymore.

"I get it. The spark is gone for you." His finger drew away. That notion still made his heart twist but that was love. It came and went whenever it pleased. That was no different for Kagome. "I won't push it anymore. But," Kuro narrowed his eyes as his grip on her hand tightened lightly. "I'm not going anywhere. Just being beside you is enough. That is where I'm happiest." Swiftly, he placed both of his hands on her shoulders and pulled her into his lap. "I love you, baby girl. Even if you don't want that kind of relationship, I'll always be here."

Kagome didn't push away from him. Instead her arms wound around his neck.

"You're an idiot. Why are you torturing yourself?" He felt her breath upon his neck. His eyes slid close as memories of their nights shared together resurfaced. "I may not have that spark anymore but that doesn't mean that I love you any less. Please," Kagome's voice grew pleading. "Just don't push yourself. I'll support you no matter what. So don't think you have to carry that on your own."

Kuro smiled, "Alright, I'll rely on you more often." His grin suddenly became devious. "Then I might get to rile that pretty boy up."

"Tetsurou," She tried to warn him. Instead he pressed his lips to hers in one final kiss. It was simple and gentle; a gesture of the emotions he felt.

"You can't deny me that, baby girl. I'm going to drive him mad." Excitement flooded his veins at the thought. The idiot had been correct in feeling threatened by him, but now he wasn't going to let go of that knowledge. He was going to give him hell.

Kagome jammed her index finger into his shoulder, "You need to get laid."

A wide grin spread across his lips. The opportunity was wide open.

"Want to help me with that?"

An unimpressed expression flitted across her face, "Banished. Off to the couch!"

Kuro could only laugh at the barrage of pillows she threw at him. Even if he could no longer have her, she was still there. A warm smile spread across his lips. That was enough for him.