Amber Horizons

- Chapter 19 -

Scattered moans of pain drifted out the open doorways of the collective sickrooms. It was one long hall, with doors on the right and left. The rooms were mostly empty and they didn't pass slow enough for her to identify the illness or wounds of any of the patients as they walked past the doorways.

Toward the end of the hall, a woman stepped out. In her hands she held a pot filled with a green tinted liquid that was herbally scented.

Misao attempted to step back from the medicinal brew. Beside her, Saitou eyed the nurse. "Where is Koji?"

The woman, older than Misao herself by many years pointed in the room she had just left. She looked much like Megumi, Misao thought, except maybe twenty years older. "He's right in there, Inspector Fujita. You came at a good time, he's awake, but probably not all there. He goes in and out."

Saitou nodded curtly and stepped inside, pulling Misao with him.

They entered the room noiselessly, Saitou stopping to lean against the wall beside the door as Misao moved further in, approaching the limp figure that lay upon the solitary bed in the center of the room. She could barely make out his figure from the swath of sheets and bandages, and oddly, Misao felt a trickle of pity begin to form for him. She immediately dispelled that, however, as images from that day flashed behind her eyes. She gathered herself and made her way closer to the bed, all the while those horrible memories played through like a slide show in her mind. She stopped when she made it to the side of the bed and stared down at the man who had so brutally taken away her innocence.

His eyes were clear, but unfocused, glancing around back and forth quickly. His fingers were bony and pale, almost completely different from the healthy toned hands that had held her still and captive. His skin was cast in a deathly pallor, his lips, pulled thin were speaking, moving.

She couldn't hear what he was saying, it was a blur of sounds, murmurs, whispers, an incoherent rabble.

"Koji?"

Now that she was here, she wasn't sure how to feel about it. This man had abused her, hurt her, but lying there he looked innocent.

She felt robbed, stripped of her vengeance. He wasn't supposed to be a victim, she was.

He didn't respond to his name. The murmurings continued as did the suspicious, paranoid glances around the room as though he expected a man to jump him at any moment and his only defense was the thin sheaf of blankets laid over his body.

Saitou watched the two impassively, his arms crossed over his chest. "What do you think? Was it worth it to come down here? I thought you wanted to talk?"

Misao heard his words, knew that she should be angry, but for some reason she couldn't be. He was right, after all. She'd been insistent on coming down here. For what reason, she had not really discerned herself, only that she knew that if Koji were going to die, then he would die knowing how much she hated him. Hated him for what he'd done to her. But she wouldn't allow Saitou to know that now that she was here, she wasn't entirely sure what it was she had wanted to say. Even though, from the looks of him, it seemed that he was in no condition to listen to her words of hatred anyway.

She turned away from the golden gaze of the man watching and looked back to Koji. Maybe she just wasn't a person built for holding hatred, and now that she thought about it that way, she didn't want to be.

Koji was going to die - looking at his pale frame almost trembling beneath thin blankets, she knew it. He wasn't going to make it. Her head was a jumble, her chest felt tight, full of things she couldn't readily identify. She wondered what her mother would do - very rarely she thought of her mother.

Would her mother have sent a man to his grave in hatred? She wanted to believe she wouldn't and she wanted no one to think so of herself either. Reaching she took his bony hand in hers, almost recoiling as their skin touched. His hands were dry and felt weak as though he couldn't quite get them to work the way he wanted.

"Koji..." she spoke again, her voice soft but clear.

His eyes turned toward her and met hers and she wondered, as they stared, did he know who she was?

"Koji..." She tried once again to prompt a spark of recognition in his dark eyes. She didn't want him to slip away without him knowing that she forgave him. Vaguely, she sensed Saitou as he shifted position against the wall, the whole time never taking his eyes off of her. She could feel it, that intense gaze, boring into her back.

She was glad he was behind her and she couldn't see him. She didn't want Koji to see him.

She might forgive him for this because she knew now that she would heal and be all right, but she knew, deep down, Saitou would never forgive him.

Words she didn't intend escaped her. "I'm sorry..."

It wasn't her fault, but nothing else came to mind. Koji's shook his head, short and quick, back and forth and back and forth.

"My... fault...sorry..."

She bowed her head. She did not want to cry.

" I..." she trailed off, not sure what it was she intended to say until the words finally spilled from her lips. "I forgive you, Koji."

Her eyes quivered, tears threatening to spill. She felt his feeble hand squeeze hers lightly before loosening once more. When she finally was able to look back up, she saw that, though Koji's eyes were still looking in her direction, they were not seeing anything at all. They would never see anything again. He was already dead.

She pulled her hand back and stood on shaky legs. She wanted to leave. She wanted to leave now. She wasn't sure she wanted to return to the Aoiya, but she wanted out of this hospital immediately. She turned, surreptitiously wiping her eyes and walked out, never looking or acknowledging Saitou. He was wise enough to say nothing.

They made it all the way back to Saitou's house before he spoke, his words slicing through her concentrated thoughts like a sharp kunai through tender flesh.

"Why?" he demanded, pushing her up against the wall, amber eyes flaring with fury. "Why would you let it go? Why? He didn't deserve your forgiveness!"

"Because," Misao whispered, turning pleading jade eyes upward to meet his intensely golden stare. "If you can forgive someone, then maybe... just maybe, you can put what they did behind you and get on with your life. Not look back in regret, or sorrow, or pain and be able to carry on. I want to go on with my life, Hajime. With you." she whispered the last two words even as she turned her face away, breaking eye contact.

His own eyes widening, the depth of Misao's green eyes and the sincerity of her words made him pause. Releasing his hold on her shoulders, he turned from her, unsure of how to respond.

Misao stood there against the wall, unable to move. "Say something, please?" she pleaded softly. "Anything... Saitou?"

Saitou turned slightly to glance over his shoulder. "Back to "Saitou" now, Itachi? What happened to "Hajime"? You seemed so comfortable saying it before."

"W-what?" Misao spluttered, lost at how easily he'd turned things around.

The slight amused expression that had mysteriously made an appearance in his eyes, promptly faded as his expression returned to a more serious countenance. "You can't forgive scum like him, Itachi. They don't deserve it. He doesn't deserve it. Not after what he did to you."

"Who are you to tell me who I can offer my forgiveness to!" Misao demanded, "I am tired of you thinking you can push me around. I understand you're concerned, but for you to order me around, like some some child!" she continued to rant, only to be cut off as she was once again pressed against the wall, trapped between it and Saitou's hard body as he leaned menacingly over her.

His arms caged her against the wall and she stared into angry eyes with a frown upon her lips.

"You talk too much, always running off at the mouth," he spoke, his voice crisp.

She glanced closer at him. He looked a little more upset than usual, which was kind of an odd thing to realize. It seemed so strange she'd gotten so close to Saitou, but she couldn't say she hadn't enjoyed it, minus the whole Koji incident.

Would all her adventure end and she'd go back to the relatively tame world of the Aoiya?

Okay, so maybe not so much as tame, but still…

She blinked when she realized he'd said something.

"You listening, Itachi?"

"No, I'm not." she spat, and then stuck her tongue out at him.

Saitou's eyes narrowed at her childish response. It seemed so unfitting on her features now that he'd become accustomed to seeing her in a more favorable light.

"Misao," he spoke her name in a sort of warning growl. One that went totally unheeded as the defiant young woman went so far as to cross her eyes as well, making her look absurd.

"Blah, blah, blah, I'm tired of talking to you." She brought a hand up and pressed her palm flat against his chest and pushed.

It was ineffective.

"Always trying to boss people around..."

She pushed again, this time bringing up both hands to push against the solid wall of his chest.

"Always growling about something..."

Another ineffective shove.

"Treating me like I'm little..."

Once again, she tried to get him to back away.

"I don't have to take this!"

She shoved him, pushing her palms against rock hard muscle. Misao frowned again, this time her brow furrowing, forcing the contours of her face to take on an angry pout.

Saitou growled and gripped her wrists with lightning reflexes, forcing her to stop.

"You complain entirely too much, Misao. Maybe I should just shut you up, ne?" He finally snapped, yanking her harshly by the wrists so that she stumbled forward, her body crashing against his even as his arms snaked their way around her petite waist in order to anchor her to him. And even as she turned her face up to gape at him, Saitou swooped in, capturing her parted lips ruthlessly with his own before Misao even had a chance to utter a syllable.

She gasped against his lips, not completely surprised at the abrupt motion. His hands pressed into her hips as his mouth plundered hers, his tongue slipping past her lips, turning her gasp into a muffled moan as she literally melted against him.

Misao welcomed the heated kiss with her entire being, having craved it ever since… well, ever since this whole fiasco began. Ever since he'd first come to her rescue at the Nozomi Shrine. She eagerly met his plundering tongue with swift parries of her own as her arms slipped up his towering form and around his neck, her fingers caressing the nape of his neck invitingly.

His hands slid up her back to her head, following the long braid of hair. At the back of her head, he slipped his fingers through her hair and tipped her head back further. Sliding his hand down her back once more, he slipped his fingers through the bow and pulled, letting it whisper against itself as it slowly unfolded. He dragged his mouth away from hers long enough to give her a confident smirk.

"I've made you speechless, Itachi," he murmured as he lowered his lips to the side of her neck and nipped gently, causing her to gasp yet again.

He pulled the sash around her waist free and it pooled at her feet, slipping from his fingers as he brought them back up, sliding them against the soft material at her back. He pulled it tight, drawing it gently off her shoulders exposing them to his smoldering gaze.

She trembled as he drew back from her, her lips swollen and parted. The material at her back was drawn tighter with one pull and then it slipped completely off her shoulders, pooling at her elbows. With a firm, yet gentle yank Saitou had her arms pinned to her sides, leaving her vulnerable before him as he swooped in and began peppering kisses along her delicate collarbone.

Misao's head fell back limply as her hands clutched the lapels of his uniform, the only material available to her limited reach. The cloth across her chest was wrapped in semi-broad strips and pulled tight about her tiny frame. He nipped along the edge with his teeth, flicking his tongue against her skin as he made his way lower. His hands released their hold on her clothes as they moved down to clutch at her hips, leaving Misao's limbs freedom to move.

Using this opportunity, Misao let the rest of her top slid down her arms and to the floor before allowing her hands to return to clutch at Saitou's head as the Wolf used his talented mouth and teeth to begin unraveling the cloth binding her chest. Long, tapered fingers slipped into the bottom half of her uniform and slowly drew them over her hips and down her legs. Once that had been achieved he finished by removing her footwear and the chest binding before drawing himself back up to his full height, causing Misao's hands to lose purchase and trail down his neck and shoulders before coming to rest on his chest where her fingers immediately began to attack the buttons found there.

She was caught off guard, her fingers fumbling when his hands dropped and virtually scooped her up off the ground swinging her up into the air and against his body.

"Eep!" she gasped, her breath catching. "What are you-"

She didn't need to continue as he carried her down a short hall and into a back room.

Note: The rest of this chapter is of an adult nature and is posted in its entirety at AdultFanfictionDotNet. The links is:

http/ www.adultfanfiction. net /aff /story. php? no 10233& chapter 19

Just copy, paste and remove the spaces. Thanks.

Rose aka Buffybot76