A State of Bliss

Sakurazaki Setsuna sunk heavily into the desk chair, satisfied somewhat as the air rushed out of its cushion. She carefully stood the Yuunagi against the wall, making sure it stood straight and proud. Konoe Konoka crossed the carpet to her bed and sat gingerly on its soft surface, absently smoothing the cover of her pillow. The pair sat in comfortable silence for a while, Setsuna's slightly labored breathing being the only noise in the room. Normally Asuna or Negi would have been trying to initiate some kind of conversation, but this day Negi had elected to train at Evangeline's for the entire, real, day, and Asuna had been invited to the Class Rep's mansion. Setsuna had been surprised that the two were such close friends, considering their perpetual bickering.

Konoka had had no plans of her own, and so resolved to keep Setsuna company. Setsuna was outwardly a bit awkward with the arrangement, but in her heart she was overjoyed. Konoka had trailed along after Setsuna when she'd done her morning training, and Setsuna had ended up showing the brown haired girl the basics of swordsmanship. She was an excellent student, and Setsuna came to the conclusion that she rather enjoyed teaching the skills she excelled at. As lunchtime had neared, the two had decided to head on back to the Academy's dorms and grab something to eat.

After several moments, Konoka stood and walked up to the swordsman. "So, what would you like for lunch? I'll make anything you want." She grinned at Setsuna, and was rewarded with a small smile in return.

"Anything would be fine, Konoka-ojousama." Konoka blinked, then frowned slightly. "Er, Kono-chan." She still wasn't comfortably calling her that regularly. Konoka seemed happy though, and she started off towards the kitchenette, humming a popular tune.

Setsuna couldn't help but allow her gaze to follow the young mage. The sight of her walking away evoked a pain, ever so small, within her heart. She soothed the feeling away, knowing her absence was nothing permanent.

As Konoka disappeared from her field of vision, Setsuna leaned back in the chair and gazed contentedly up at the ceiling. All in all, today had started rather good. It was one of the rare times she and Konoka were alone, and she prized those times over all others. Negi and Asuna were great friends, to be sure, and she did enjoy being with them, but it was different with Kono-chan. There'd always been something more when it came to Kono-chan.

The dull thumping of dishes utensils accompanied by Konoka's humming quickly lulled Setsuna into a light sleep. Her posture relaxed, and an immensely content smile made it's home on her lips.

Konoka looked out at Secchan from over the range, grinning happily when she noticed that she was asleep. She looks so happy when she's asleep... Konoka turned her attention back to the food before her. She normally didn't mind cooking anyway, but for Secchan, she would make anything. She knew it might be considered wrong in some circles, but her feelings were uncontrollable. She loved her Secchan; always had loved her. It was fairly evident that Secchan also felt something towards her, but the swordsman refused to live up to it. The thought marred Konoka's pretty face with a frown.

Konoka had decided to make the most of their day together, and had planned several activities with Secchan. Hopefully I can get Secchan to open up a little. Her heart wanted so much to have her feelings returned.

Rather than dwelling on the slight pain she currently felt, she attended to the rice balls before her. She knew they were a favorite of Secchan's. With a suspicious glance at the window, she bent and retrieved a small jug of sake from a cabinet. Off of an overhead shelf, she plucked two of the small cups that were traditionally used with sake. She plunked all four of the items onto a tray and crept into the living area.

Her humming ceased as she neared Secchan. She tiptoed over to the raven-haired girl and placed the tray onto the desk without making a sound. She fidgeted for a second, her cheeks coloring slightly at what she was about to do. Then she bent so her face was level with Secchan's, and placed a light kiss on her forehead.

The feeling of silk whispering across her face roused Setsuna from what had been the beginning of a deep sleep. Her eyes fluttered open, and immediately a blush rose to her cheeks. "Kono-chan!"

Konoka straightened slowly and smiled warmly at Setsuna, a lock of hair falling in front of her eyes as she did so. "Surprise." She cocked her head slightly and grinned.

Still blushing, Setsuna stood quickly and motioned for Konoka to sit down. As her guard, it was her duty, really, to make sure that Konoka had it at least a little easier.

Her princess put her hands on her hips and mocked a glare at Setsuna. "Sit back down, Secchan. You need food more than me, you know. All of the exercise. You need to keep your strength up."

Setsuna again began to object, but was completely powerless against Konoka's now pleading look. With a defeated sigh, she sat back down in the chair. Konoka watched her expectantly until she picked up one of the rice balls and took a small bite. Secchan's eyes lit up in appreciation. Kono-chan's an excellent cook.

Setsuna again reclined in the chair, her eyes closed, and began to eat at the rice ball in earnest. She wasn't through with her third bite before Konoka all but flopped onto her lap, took a rice ball, and began eating. "Kono-chan! What are you…you shouldn't be…" Setsuna stumbled for words, as she glanced about, red faced. It wasn't that she minded…but if someone saw them…

"I won't bite, Secchan. Unless you eat all the rice balls."

Still spluttering slightly, Setsuna lowered her face from Konoka's gaze, not noticing that the other girl was blushing as well. Her appetite was suddenly rather farther from her mind. Currently the most prominent thought in her mind was also in her lap. Setsuna shifted slightly under Kono-chan's weight, trying to keep her right leg from falling asleep. It wasn't that Konoka was heavy, she was just situated on one leg, rather than in the middle.

Blushing heavily, Setsuna took Konoka by the shoulders and gently adjusted somewhat to avoid the pins and needles effect later on.

"Aren't you going to eat, Secchan?" Konoka's innocent eyes pleaded for her to eat at least one more rice ball, but her stomach was in nervous knots now.

"Um, no thank you, Kono-chan."

"A drink then," Konoka chirped, setting her unfinished rice ball on the plate. She picked up the sake jug and poured them each a cup full of the liquid. Setsuna hesitantly picked one up, and raised it in a silent salute to Konoka, then downed it quickly. She needed something to steady her nerves…

Konoka smiled and poured herself another cup, which she promptly downed, then another. With a wry grin, Setsuna snuck the bottle beneath the desk after Kono-chan's third drink. "I think that's enough, Kono-chan. We don't want you doing anything you'll regret." Setsuna blushed yet again at the possible meanings behind such a statement.

Kono-chan only looked innocently at Secchan. "Like what, Secchan?" She was blushing more so than earlier, but Setsuna was at a loss as to whether it was from the small bit of alcohol, or from the situation.

"Just…something you might regret." The two sat in silence for several moments, Konoka taking random bites from her rice ball, and Setsuna simply watching a bird outside the window. Her gaze strayed several times to Konoka's face and hair. She'd always like Kono-chan's hair for as long as she could remember. It always looked so soft, and shimmered just perfectly under any light. Setsuna blushed a dark pink as Konoka caught her staring at her.

"Is there something on my face?" Konoka brushed at her cheek with her hand, hoping to remove whatever it was.

There was, in fact, a bit of rice on her chin that Setsuna had spotted. She raised her hand and brushed it off. Her hand should have returned to the arm of the chair, but for some reason it instead cradled Konoka's chin gently, turning her face to the light. Konoka raised an eyebrow curiously, and Setsuna blushed fiercer still and removed her hand.

Kono-chan's smile faltered, but Setsuna didn't notice, for she was too busy trying to look anywhere but at the girl in her lap.

The brown haired girl's eyelids fluttered, and she released a yawn she hadn't noticed had been building up. Now that she'd eaten something, and had a bit to drink, she noticed that she was actually rather tired. Must be from that exercise this morning. Secchan's so strong to be able to do that every day and not get tired. I guess I can forget about those plans of mine...it's nice just sitting here with Secchan...

With a sigh, Konoka leaned back against Setsuna. Without her permission, Secchan's arms encircled Konoka's small waist, bringing her closer. Secchan's protective grip immediately assured the girl that she was completely safe from any kind of harm.

Setsuna tried to pretend that she hadn't done what she just had, but she knew it was useless. She gave up and instead squeezed Kono-chan reassuringly, smiling to herself. Within minutes, Kono-chan was fast asleep. Her breathing was so soft that Setsuna only noticed because she could feel her chest rise and fall against her arms.

What am I supposed to do now? Setsuna asked herself. For the longest time, she'd had special feelings for her Kono-chan, but she'd been sworn to protect her. She wasn't sure she could do that from so close. And then there was the question of what everyone else would say. I can't subject Kono-chan to the kind of treatment that may come of a relationship. It wouldn't be right by her. Deep within her heart, another voice spoke up. But would it be right to deny her your love? Doesn't she deserve that? It's obvious she knows what love is, and that you are hers.

Setsuna shook her head and cleared the thoughts away. Her heart was right, of course. But…well, she'd deal with the consequences when they came to them. She absently moved the lock of hair from over Kono-chan's eyes and tucked it behind her ear. Then hesitantly laid a soft kiss on Kono-chan's cheek. Immediately, Konoka mumbled and turned in Setsuna's lap 'till she was laying across Setsuna, her legs over Secchan's right arm, and her shoulders resting against her left arm. She nestled her face in the crook of Secchan's neck and muttered something that Setsuna had to strain to hear. "I love you, Secchan…"

A bright blush spread over Setsuna as what Kono-chan had said completely registered. After several seconds, Setsuna hugged Konoka nearer and whispered, "I…I love you too, Kono-chan." Had anyone else been in the room, they would never have heard the statement, despite the massive amount of emotion tied into it.

Setsuna smiled to herself and rested her head against Konoka's. Her right hand stroked the long brown hair protectively. Feeling as if a great weight had been lifted from her heart, Setsuna slowly drifted off into a blissful sleep.

At nearly nine in the evening, Negi stepped off the last of the stairs to the dorms, his staff over his right shoulder, Chamo on his left. "Hi, Asuna-san!" He waved to the red-head as he saw her enter the hallway from the other set of stairs. "How was your visit with Class Rep-san?"

Asuna shrugged. "It was okay. We just talked. WE didn't argue though…" She smiled. "I guess it was a good visit." She eyed Negi critically as they reached the dorm to their dorm. "How did you do? You look pretty banged up."

The ten-year-old grimaced. "You know how difficult Eva-san's training can be. You name it, it happened. And I have the bruises to prove it." He wriggled his shoulders as if trying to get a kink out of his muscles, and nearly lost Chamo in the process.

"Watch it, Aniki! It's a pretty long drop to the floor…" The snow white ermine eyed his "big brother" warily, then ran down his leg, across the floor, and scampered up Asuna to sit atop her head. "I think It's safer over here on Asuna-neesan."

Negi feigned a hurt expression, and opened the door to the room, stepping back and gesturing for Asuna to enter as he did so. With an appreciate nod, the red-head walked into their room and flipped the lights on. A small gasp floated into the hall, and Negi hurried in. "What? What's wro…oh."

In the desk chair that Asuna usually studied at was one Sakurazaki Setsuna cradling a Konoe Konoka in the protective grip of a lover. Both were sound asleep, completely oblivious to all but the warm presence of the other. "Don't they look so cute together?" Asuna asked, a far off look in her eyes.

Negi nodded, a smile forming on his face at seeing the happiness that had transpired in their absence. "It's nice to see that Setsuna-san is finally opening up to Konoka-san. It's obvious she loves Setsuna-san."

Asuna nodded. "C'mon, let's go to bed. And don't wake 'em up, okay?" She glared at Negi in advance.

He cringed and sat his staff in the corner. "I know, I won't wake them, Asuna-san."

Across the room, Setsuna gave her princess another squeeze. Kono-chan murmured something quietly and snuggled closer to her knight.