Love Taught Me

In the dead of night, not a shred of moonlight filtered through the thick curtains. Marlene looked blindly up at the ceiling, one hand resting on her stomach and the other on her partner's arm. Yuji slept soundlessly beside her, laying on his back but with his face turned away.

It had been two months since the end of the Blue, and the young couple worked hard to rebuild their lives. They made their new home at the village, Yuji taking a job as a construction worker and Marlene staying home temporarily because of the pregnancy.

Closing her eyes, the girl tried to will herself back to sleep, but it was to no avail. Finally, she pulled herself up into a sitting position with a sigh. Although they now lived in peace, the horror of war had taken its toll on both of them. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, Yuji would wake up screaming, warning friends and comrades who had long been dead to get away from the Blue. These instances were happening more and more often the past couple of weeks… In Marlene's case, she had always preferred to keep her emotions locked away. Since she was young, when the Blue destroyed her home, her family and her life, it had always been the way she dealt with everything. Yet now, Marlene was finally allowing herself to become more emotionally involved. At times, when she and Yuji would walk beneath the moonlight, holding hands and talking about their future, or when they would make love, the torrents of emotion were welcomed…but at times like this, in the darkness and silence of night, the chills and memories were not so well-received.

Hugging herself, she shifted closer to Yuji. She had worried that he could have been traumatized by the Blue, the effects of the B-Cells and the gruesome war. Somehow throughout the horror and chaos he had managed to retain his sensitivity, perhaps that's what had drawn her to him so. At the same time, this empathy could also prove to be more psychologically damaging. Concerned for his health, Marlene convinced him to get tested by offering to get tested with him. It didn't surprise her to find out that he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but for some reason it did surprise her to find out that she, too, had it.

She couldn't help but be a bit angry with herself for her weakness. Before the war had forced him into violence, Yuji had been a gentle and timid man. He hadn't been accustomed to death and living in fear… Marlene had been practically raised around warfare, so she should have been used to that kind of thing…shouldn't she?

So why…sometimes in the middle of the night she could still feel the chill of death and smell the stench of decay? The war was over, these feelings were just shadows of the past. Marlene couldn't afford to let herself succumb to such crippling emotions; she had to be strong for Yuji, for their unborn child…

A sudden touch on her shoulder made her start. She quickly turned her head to see Yuji sitting up next to her. When did he wake up? "Marlene? Are you alright?"

The girl looked into his tired but concerned gaze and placed one hand tenderly on his chest. "I'm fine, Yuji. Go back to sleep…"

The Sleeper gingerly touched her face with his fingertips. "Are you sure?"

"It was just a nightmare," Marlene insisted.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Yuji asked.

"No…just go back to sleep…" The girl answered, turning her gaze away.

He sat in silence for a moment. "Here, lay down."

Marlene looked back up at him. The Sleeper appeared wide-awake now, looking at her with an almost intense determination. Knowing that arguing the case any further would get her nowhere, she reluctantly laid back down. Yuji shifted so that he was leaning over her and gently began to rub her shoulders.

His touch was soothing, and looking into his soft hazel eyes made the phantom feelings from the war subside. It was then Marlene realized just how exhausted she really was. Barely she was able to keep her eyes open. "Yuji…"

"Shh…" He whispered, rubbing her shoulder rhythmically. "Go to sleep. I'll make sure no more nightmares come tonight…"

"It…isn't really a nightmare in that…kind of sense…" the girl murmured, not realizing what she had said until after she said it. Yuji nodded, silently coaxing her to continue. Too fatigued to think clearly, she just rambled on. "I mean…it's not a dream…sometimes…I just feel so cold…"

Marlene could feel her partner's hands drift off of her shoulders and gently trail down her arms to her hands. She shivered slightly at his soft touch. He gingerly squeezed her hands. "I'll be right back."

With that said, he climbed off the bed and disappeared into the darkness. As she watched him go, a small spark of fear ignited. Vaguely the girl could remember when comrades would wander off into the darkness in search of Blue and never return…

"Yuji…?!" Marlene whispered as she pushed herself wearily onto her elbows, but her anxieties were quickly eased as the Sleeper returned. Under his arm he held a large wool blanket. Watching him, she eased back down. Climbing onto the bed, he enfolded the massive cover around himself and her. Afterwards he laid back down next to her and wrapped his arms around her.

"Any better?" He asked.

The warmth of his body heat and the soft blanket quickly dissipated the chill. She nuzzled her face against the crook of his neck, returning his embrace.

"Much," she answered honestly. Less than a year earlier she would never had allowed herself to be so close to anyone, as such intimacy would only cause her more pain as that person would inevitably be slaughtered by the Blue. Marlene had learned a long time ago that emotions were dangerous during the war, and that she should keep them to herself…keep them locked in a box so that the pain of loss could never reach her…

"Yuji…" But now…the war was over. She didn't have to shoulder the burden alone anymore. "I love you…"

She couldn't see his face, but could feel his embrace tighten ever so slightly. "I love you too, Marlene. You and our baby."

Love Taught Me.

Author's Notes: Feel the love. ;) I wanted to do something sweet and fluffy, since the show was so angsty. If there is a demand for it, I will add a second chapter (The birth of the baby) to this fic. Either way, I hope you like the fic.