Walking from the stairs over to the shoe lockers, I hastily put on my sneakers while looking around for the girl that I wanted to see. The area was, of course, packed with students on their way home so it was a little harder than normal to spot her. Gymnastics meeting was cancelled, which meant we could all walk home together without me having to wait a few hours on the girls. Spotting Maron, I ran over to her and wrapped my arms around her waist from behind. "Maron." She squeaked loudly, causing many people to turn and look at us.
As she turned around to look at me, I caught her left hand in mine. "Maron," I repeated again softer. Kneeling down I noticed that even more people were starting to make a circle around us. "There's something that I want to ask you." Reaching into my pocket I pulled out a small jewelry case and looked up at her. Maron's face was stunned from shock and eyes wide. I've wanted this for a long time and finally am going to ask you." Her face started getting redder as she realized how many people were watching. "Will you, Maron…" I took out a ring from the case and slid it over her finger. She tensed up noticeably and took a sharp intake of breath. "…Make me gratin for dinner tonight?"
Chiaki slowly scraped himself off the floor and rubbed his head gingerly on the spot where Maron had whacked him not three seconds before. "Oi, Maron!" he drew out her name in an attempt to get some sympathy from her. The people around them were trying their best not to laugh and were beginning to fail. "Come on, I'm hungry."
"Make it yourself," She turned and walked away; looking down at the ring that Chiaki had given her. From all of her experience as a thief and knowledge that came from being a girl, she knew it probably cost a pretty penny. No wonder he had been doing part-time work at his father's hospital for the last few weeks. Smiling, she held it up in the light to get a better view as she walked away. Chiaki was special and she knew he would never be the type to just give her a present. He would always tease her and play it off as a joke, which is what he had just done. She giggled to herself happily, running over the ingredients for dinner that night.
Standing fully, Chiaki stretched out and nodded to the people watching him. He regained his 'cool' by running his fingers through his hair and slinging his backpack over his shoulder. Seeing as how Miyako was chasing after Maron, he decided to drop by the local arcade and blow off the extra energy he had now.
Panting, Chiaki stepped off the Dance Dance Revolution platform and took a drink from the can a girl had bought for him. Smiling at the people gathered around, he announced that he was done for the day and needed to be heading home. A few minutes and a handful of disappointed girls later, Chiaki walked from the arcade and started the journey to his apartment complex. The sky above was dark and grey; promising snow soon and making him jog the rest of the way to avoid being caught in it.
As he entered in through the double glass doors, a warm gust of air hit him, making him glad to be out of the freezing night air. Glancing over to the mailbox he saw Maron reading the note he put in her box that morning. It was a simple note; only saying the word "gratin" over and over and over again on it. He took the bags in her hand as a sign that she went shopping and happily wrapped his arms around her waist for the second time that day.
Maron shrieked in surprise and had to keep herself from flipping the boy over her shoulder. "Chiaki, how many times have I told you not to do that?"
"You're making me Gratin?"
She sighed. "Yes. I am. Let go, you stink."
Chiaki took a step back and sniffed his sweater. "You think so?"
"Yes, you were at the arcade again, weren't you? Flirting no doubt." She turned at him and smiled. "How many did you turn down?"
Chiaki put his fingers on his chin in what he thought was a nice looking pose. "I don't know, there were so many checking me out."
"Ah, so." Maron turned and walked away.
"Maron!" His hand quickly grabbed her shoulder and turned her to apologize. His plan backfired when he saw her happy smiling face. "You always lose your cool when you're really worried." She pointed her finger at him. "Bang." With a wink she handed him her groceries to carry. "I know you, Chiaki. I'm not worried."
The elevator doors closed and started to take them up to the top floor. "Since when did you start teasing me?"
"Thank you for the ring," she changed the subject on him, looking down at it. "I really like it."
Turning, he looked away. "It's nothing, don't mention it."
Maron giggled at him and held onto his arm lightly as they walked out of the elevator. "Come by in an hour for dinner. Take a shower, too."
"Wanna take one together?" he pinned her against her door. "You could scrub me till I was clean…"
"No," She pecked his cheek and winked. "One hour. Shower." With that she unlocked her door behind her and stepped though it backwards, slowly closing the door on him with a shy smile.
"She wants me so bad." He thought aloud with a smirk. Taking a few steps to the side, he unlocked his door and opened it.
"Sinbad! What took you so long?" A half frozen black winged angel flew up to him. "I've been freezing all day!"
Chiaki shivered as he stepped in. "Access, why isn't the heat on?" He fanned the puff of fog coming out of his mouth. "Did you leave the windows open or something?"
"Your heat won't cut on! I tried going over to Maron's place but…"
"Fin kicked you out?" He tapped the thermometer. "It's set on as high as it'll go for heat. That's odd."
"I told you it doesn't work." Access crossed his arms and rubbed them. "I can't fix it."
"Did you try?" He looked around. "I never even thought about it, where is our air-conditioner at anyway?"
"On the roof. You can't get up there without a key for the elevator."
"The office is already closed," he mused. "Can't be helped then, come on we're going next door until it's fixed. Maron is cooking for us." Going to his bedroom, he grabbed a few cloths and random things from his bathroom. Opening another drawer he rooted through it. "Damn, I'm out of condoms."
"You're a virgin, why would you need condoms?"
"Tonight's the night my man." Chiaki gave him a thumbs up.
"You say that every night."
The thief got up in his black winged angel's face. "You trying to insinuate something?"
Access grinned, looking him in the eyes. "You're going to die a virgin."
"Come here you!" Chiaki angrily tried to snatch him out of the air. "You take that back!"
"No way!" Access laughed and flew even higher. "It's true."
"Che, it's not like Maron and I haven't…"
Access suddenly lost his smile. "Oi, don't tell me that…"
"It's none of your business!"
The angel landed on his shoulder and put a hand on his cheek. "Sinbad,"
Ignoring the constant correction of his name, Access went on. "…give me advice for Fin."
"No," He shrugged him off and went to the door. "Come on."
Walking to the door next to his once again, he rang the doorbell a few times in his normal style. This meant that he hit the button as many times as he could before she got to the door. So far his record was forty-two. It seemed to be getting harder and harder to up his high score, as Maron's fuse kept getting shorter and shorter as his game played out.
"Chiaki!" The door ripped open and Maron stood, panting, with a death glare on her face.
"Che, thirty-seven." He turned from the doorbell to look at her. "Hi!"
"I said an hour, I haven't even started yet."
"My heater's apparently on the fritz, can I stay here for the night? The office is already closed so I can't complain now."
"Eh?" Her face started to get red. "I don't know, Chiaki… I guess I can stay with Miyako…"
"Where's the fun in that?" He invited himself in and took off his shoes, letting Access fly over him and into the warmth, in which he immediately commented as 'man's triumph over nature'. "Come on, baby," He leaned over and pecked her cheek. "Please?"
"Will you behave?"
Hugging her to him, he smiled into her hair. "What do you think?"
"Get your hand out from my skirt, please." She pulled back. "Quarter."
"Oh come on!"
"Miyako's mother made her do this when she picked up cussing from the police. It broke her habit in a week."
"But this is..."
"Quarter," She said the word more firm, and Chiaki sighed, digging into his pockets. "All I have is a token from the arcade."
"Good enough," She snatched it and went to a large jar that was half filled with quarters. "You'll learn to keep your hands to yourself soon enough."
Access flew over to his friend/partner. "Dude, she makes you pay a quarter as punishment when you grope her?"
"She thinks it'll break the habit when I run out of money."
"You're rich aren't you?"
"Filthy." His lips turned up into a smirk.
"Go shower," Maron told him, pointing to her bathroom. "Just relax, dinner will be a while."
"Come on then, let's soak." He walked over to her bathroom and looked around. It was amazing how similar but how different it was compared to his. Being her next door neighbor, his apartment was a mirror of hers. Everything was reversed layout-wise, but what really caught his attention was the sheer difference in their decoration. His bathroom was decked out in blue and black, while hers was a blinding pink. Where he had nothing but a toothbrush and deodorant, she had several bottles of nail polish and make up, even a comb and a hairdryer, which he had never once used since he moved out of his house.
Turning on the water for the bath, he began to strip down. "Ne, Access?"
"Don't your wings get in the way?" He turned over to his partner, who was also getting ready to bathe. "Like when you get dressed?"
"Not really, it's just the same as putting your arms through the sleeves. I never even thought about it before."
"Ah. I see.
After the two soaked in the bathtub for a while, also going through Maron's things by the tub and reading some of her magazines, Chiaki amused himself by blowing bubbles with her bubble straw. "Why do girls like bubbles so much?"
"Beats me." Access lay back in the teacup that Fin normally used as a bathtub. "Ahh… Sinbad, I need one of these."
"Chiaki," he sighed.
A knock on the door interrupted any more protest on his partner's refusal to address him by his real name. "Chiaki, did you bring clean cloths?"
"Okay then, just checking. Dinner will be done soon."
Chiaki grinned to himself. "Oi, I'm not as bad as to not put clean cloths on…"
Access snorted. "Says the guy who gets out of bed, grabs a shirt from the floor and sniffs it before putting it on."
"I've only done that once! ….maybe twice…..or three, Access I get your point, stop laughing!" Chiaki grabbed a towel and started to dry himself off while making his way to the pile of cloths that he dropped off on the way in. "What's this?" Reaching down he picked up one of Maron's bras and looked it with a slow grin on his face.
Maron hummed to herself as she put the finishing touches on her dinner. Her thoughts were interrupted, however, when a dollar bill was flashed in front of her. "What's this for?" She took it from Chiaki's hand and looked at it.
"This." And with that, Chiaki's hands shot to her breast, groping them for a moment while a shocked Maron was too stunned to move. "Funny, they don't feel like a B cup…"
"Chiaki!" turning around, she went to smack him on the head with a spatula, but found his hand blocking her. "What are you doing, so suddenly?" Her face was slowly getting redder and for a moment the boy wondered if she was just embarrassed or angry at him.
"Hey, I knew the punishment before the crime," He released her wrist and pointed at her. "I thought it would be worth a dollar instead of a quarter."
Maron's eye twitched as she suddenly remembered that Chiaki was, indeed, rich thanks to his father. "No more."
"No more quarter punishment. I've decided on something else."
"What's…that?" He didn't like the look on her face.
"No more kisses." She held up a finger. "Each time you grope me, that's a day without a kiss. No exceptions."
"Aw that's not fair..." He leaned in to nip her neck, but she pulled back, smiled, and shook her finger. "What? Starting now?"
"Yup." She took her finger and merrily pointed to a drawer. "Silver wear is in there. Set the table for me would you?"
With a dejected sigh, Chiaki muttered an affirmative and began to do as she request. The girl that was the source of his newfound depression was still happily humming to herself; sure she found a way to make her boyfriend stop being such a pervert.
"You'll catch a cold if you don't dress properly," Maron scolded her boyfriend as she joined him out on the balcony of her apartment with a blanket wrapped around herself. Chiaki turned a little to look at her and couldn't help but smile before stealing her blanket a moment before getting behind her and wrapping it around both of them. "Mm," She made an approving sound and allowed he hands to drape around her neck to hold the folds closed around her. "Were you star gazing?"
She couldn't help but allow her lips to twitch a moment. "The thrill never seems to leave you does it? Even though we were sealing demons back then, we still robbed people of their items."
"I've never felt the same, no matter what I did."
Maron thought about his last statement. Since their last sealing, Chiaki had done several things that she would consider 'reckless'. He had bungee jumped, rode every single ride at the amusement park, spent all his access energy at the arcade and laser tag arena, and even asked Miyako if there was a place for him on the police squad. "Do you miss it?"
He didn't answer immediately, but rather stayed silent for a few moments while they looked over the city. "No, I suppose not. Factoring in everything, it was a hard time. I just need some…excitement."
Turning in his arms, she smiled up at him. "What kind?"
"Oh, I don't know… anything…" Looking down at her, he smiled. "You look pretty in the moonlight."
A grin spread across her lips. "Oh?" She returned his look expectantly.
"Of course, but you always look pretty…" He lowered his head down to hers and closed his eyes. His lips met her finger and when his vision returned to him he was looking into the laughing eyes of his girlfriend.
"Sweet talking won't get you any kisses today."
Moving around her finger, he planted a kiss on her lips before talking against them. "It's after midnight…" He kisses her again, and she only partly reluctantly returned them.
Slowly she turned around in his arms to face him and slid her hands around his neck, threading her fingers into his hair. "Mmnn…" Pulling back a little she winked. "You know, I could get used to you combing your hair."
He gave her a teasing look before sweeping her off her feet quite literally. "I could get quite used to staying over here too." Walking inside, he closed the balcony door with his foot and began to carry her to her room.
"Ch-Chiaki…" a blush splashed across her nose at his actions. "Fin and Access…"
"Are asleep," he finished for her in a playful manor. "Which you need to be too. We have class tomorrow."
"Mmm," She leaned against his shoulder and closed her eyes. "Tuck me in?"
"Of course, Baby." He felt her cuddle up closer to him at the mention of her pet name. Of course he had never said it while anyone else was around so it held a special meaning between them. Upon reaching her room, Chiaki noticed the futon laid right next to her bed for him. Stepping over it, he laid the girl on her bed.
"Ah, Chiaki, you can have the bed, I'll sleep in the floor…"
"No way," he protested and pulled the sloppily thrown away covers over her body. "You sleep in your own bed. I'll be fine." Tucking her in, he gave her forehead a gentle kiss before retreating to the door. A quick walk around her apartment allowed his to turn off her TV and the rest of the lights before making it back into her room where, upon cutting of the light, a small nightlight kicked on. "Maron?"
"Yes?" She looked at him innocently.
"… Nothing." Falling down onto the futon, he laid back with his hands under his head. Maron took this as a 'goodnight' and curled herself deeper into her covers for a peaceful night's sleep.
The boy stared at the ceiling for a few moments while his girlfriend fell asleep. When he too started to get sleepy, he rolled over on his side and closed his eyes. The light from her illuminator cast a faint shine on his eyelids, making him roll over onto his other side. Finally getting under the covers provided for him, he tried to block out the light by covering his head completely.
The trick almost worked, if not for the fact of his air getting too hot to breathe and forcing him to retract from the covers. The light continued to shine, ignoring the glare from the young man of the room. Looking over at her, Chiaki could tell that she was just barely asleep so far.
Chiaki took a slow intake of air and then exhaled it through his nose. 'This is stupid; one light can't keep me up.' He closed his eyes again and pulled the pillow closer. Time slowly ticked by, teasing him as it did so. No matter what position Chiaki tried to sleep in, the faint light always seemed to be on the back of his mind; keeping him awake.
Finally, after making sure Maron was truly asleep, he crawled across the floor and clicked off the light, blissfully dousing him in darkness. Content now, he fell onto the pillow and closed his eyes and soon fell asleep himself.
Time went by quickly for them as they slept, dreams flowing through their heads only to be forgotten the moment they woke up. This moment came too soon for Maron, as she kicked the covers down off of her at some point in her dream. The cool night air soon started to seep into her, waking her lightly.
Opening her eyes slowly, Maron pondered why she was feeling so cold when she realized that she couldn't see anything. Looking around her room, she tried to make her hazy mind understand why it was so dark. After coming up with no reason in her sleep induced state, her mind questioned why she was so cold.
Maron closed her eyes, not making an attempt to cover herself. Old memories came unbidden in her mind. Being alone, cold at night with no light. Being left alone when she needed someone else to hold her…
A tear drifted from her eye and across the bridge of her nose. 'Am I alone again? Chiaki is here with me isn't he?' her eyes swept across the room, and after not seeing the boy a familiar fear started to grip her.
She hated the night; hated the darkness. It felt as if it was going to suffocate her, choke her down into the nothingness that it was. Maron shivered, hugging herself but still too half-asleep to realize that the covers would bring her warmth. 'This is stupid. I'm over this. I am. I'm strong now. I'm just cold, that's all…' The words repeated themselves over in her mind, but a small sob escaped her anyway. "Chiaki…"
The boy sat up slowly, being a light sleeper. "Wha…?" Looking around he wondered why he had fallen out of his bed a moment before realizing that he was with Maron that night. As he looked over at her, he realized that she wasn't sleep. "Maron? What's wrong?"
"Chiaki?" Her voice was a little startled, and the shock seemed to wake her up a little more so she could sit up. Running the back of her hand over her eyes, she wiped away the stray tear that fell and realized that her nightlight was out.
"Is something wrong?" He sat up and crossed his legs, looking at her. His eyes adjusted quickly, being used to dark places at night.
Looking around, she shivered. "I'm scared of the dark."
"Is that why you had a nightlight?"
Blushing, she nodded. "Yeah. I just don't like being alone at night."
"Alone? What are you talking about? I'm right here. Miyako is across the hall. Fin is sleeping in her bed. Access is here…somewhere… you aren't alone."
"I'm not, am I?" her words were warm, and gave her courage to hear herself say them. "I must just be tired."
"Do you want me to cut it back on for you?"
"You can't sleep with it on?"
"I don't like light when I'm trying to sleep."
Maron was silent a moment before answering him. "No it's okay… I have another light."
Adjusting the covers, she lay back in her bed and lifted the sheets up in front of her. "Come here, Chiaki?" Without saying anything, Chiaki smiled lightly to himself and crawled into her bed, wrapping his arms around her waist. "Mm," She nuzzled her head against his chest and smiled. "My other light is right here, holding me." Looking up at him, she gave him a soft look. "But this one will never go out, right?"
"Of course not…" Chiaki tilted his head down and gently kissed her. "If you're ever lonely, just remember that I'll shine for you."
"Thank you, Chiaki." Her eyes closed and she shifted lightly so she could press her back against his chest and hold the arm that draped around her with both of hers. "Sweet dreams… Honey."
A small hug told her that he accepted the new pet name she gave him. "Sleep sweet." Another small kiss was planted in her hair before he closed his eyes as well.
Maron - in the dark night – sighed content, not afraid of anything anymore.
A/N: another short fun one. Please leave a review if you can, it seems as if no one ever reads any KKJ fanfics these days 3.