It was winter, and the threesome had taken shelter in a temple for the time. The obscurity of the night had lulled every creature into a deep peaceful slumber. The freshly fallen snow on the ground glittered and shown, mimicking stars that had littered the sky. Mugen was fidgety with all of this peace and quiet, and he shifted his weight once more, hoping to find a comfortable spot.
Fuu turned in her sleep, oblivious that Mugen was watching her diaphragm heave up and down slowly. His own breath had fallen into her rhythm, he blinked lazily, giving a yawn. He shifted his weight, his foot falling asleep and leaned back against the wall. Jin had been gone a while now but he had left about an hour before to go into town. He'd promised he'd be back in the morning but, morning sure seemed a long way off, and Mugen was bored.
Fuu's eyes twitched, her ears picking up some peculiar noises coming from where Mugen was sitting. Opening an eye, she wrinkled her nose in disgust seeing him repeatedly spit into the air and catch it again.
"That's gross!" she sat up and he stopped, swallowing whatever saliva he had in his mouth. She wanted to gag. "You know you're disgusting, don't you?"
"Shaddap," he mumbled, trying to ignore her. She rolled her eyes at him and turned over, trying to fall back asleep. Mugen sighed and laid back, his feet sprawled out on the floor. Her eyes twitched again when he started humming and the growled loudly, sitting up once more.
"Are you TRYING to keep me up?" she eyed him dangerously "I am tired you know Mugen, you could at least be considerate enough to let me sleep some."
"If I bother you that much go sleep outside," he muttered gruffly. She slammed the palm of her hand on the wooden floor and glared at him.
"Listen," she snapped "if you hate being here so much then fuck the promise and just leave! I'll do it on my own!" Mugen eyed her for a moment and then closed his eyes again.
"You wouldn't last more than five minutes out there by yourself," he breathed "do you know how many times I've had to save you so far? Twelve I think…"
"Nine," she corrected "and most of those times it was YOUR fault anyways."
"Fine then," he gave her a smug grin "go find this… sunflower dude of yours yourself. No skin off my nose."
"Good," she sat up and brushed her hair back with her fingers. Grabbing her bag she stormed out of the temple and out onto the road. Mugen paused a moment, wondering if she would last even five minutes, especially at night. After a while he dozed off only to wake to her a scream. Sitting up alert, he looked around the room, seeing Fuu gone he hesitated. Should he go find her? Something nagged at him that he should and he waited again, thinking maybe the scream was just from a dream of his. His ears perked, no there it was again. Sighing he got up, grabbing his sword he made his way out of the temple into the woods. There wasn't a single noise to interrupt the woods, with the exception of Mugen's feet crunching in the snow and Fuu's whiny cries. He walked a long while only to find his young companion had fallen down a very old dry well.
"What are you doing down there!" he asked looking into the darkness of the well.
"Having a party, what do you think?" she snapped angrily at him. She wasn't really mad at him, more so the fact that he'd been right, she did need him around.
"Damnit," he sighed "hold on." He set his sword next to the well and leaned far down, trying to reach her hand. "Hurry it up!"
"Well," she huffed jumping up again "I can't… reach you." He leaned over farther, only to tumble in himself. "Umph." Mugen landed directly on top of Fuu, his face on her stomach. It took him a moment to realize the well was much deeper than it seemed. It also took him a moment to realize that Fuu was screaming at him. "GET OFF ME YOU STUPID BAKA!"
"Hey why don't you shut up you stupid bitch?"
"What'd you call me!"
"You heard me, bitch!" Mugen's cheek turned red, a large handprint now imprinted on his skin. His eyes watered from the sting for a moment and he fell quiet for a brief moment. "WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO THAT FOR!"
"Leave me alone," she whimpered and pushed back from him, her bringing her knees to her chest. She buried her face in her knees and Mugen watched with curiosity as he shoulders started to heave up and down gently.
"Oy," he eyed her "are you crying?" She shook her head but he knew she was lying. "Hey, I'm the one that should be crying, I'm the only that got slapped here." She didn't answer. "Oy baka?" She didn't say anything. "Hey look at me!"
"Leave. Me. Alone." her voice was firmer this time. He blinked a few times, confused as to why she was so upset. She hadn't spoken for a long time when Mugen finally said something.
"Ey," he nudged her "what happened to your shoes?" She picked her head up and looked at her bare feet that rested on the cold stone floor.
"I lost them somewhere in the snow," she whispered, looking ashamed. "I guess I really can't do anything right." Mugen started to agree but noticed she was really upset about this. He shifted and closed his eyes briefly, something very Jin-like that he'd seemed to be picking up as a habit.
"Its not that you can't do anything right," he said simply "it's just, you really shouldn't be walking around in the middle of the night in the snow. And to add to that, you're a klutz so of course you're going to lose your shoes and fall down a well." She looked at him miserably and he sighed, seeing that he hadn't helped any. "But that's why you have me and Jin around, eh?"
"I told you already," she glared at him "I don't want your help. I'll do it myself." He just looked at her, a bit let down that she turned him away so quickly. "After Jin comes back and finds us, both of you can just leave."
"Good," he gave a smug grin "I finally can be rid of BOTH of you." Fuu didn't answer and his smirk faded when her face went back into her knees. She wasn't one to be upset, sure, she complained a lot but she wasn't ever miserable, she always seemed to have a the-glass-is-half-full mentality. "Hey what's with you?"
"What do you care?" she mumbled softly, her words muffled by her kimono.
"I'm just wondering," he said "just because I have to sit here and watch you sulk. Don't think I give a rat's ass or anything about it." She shrugged at him, her eyes not even meeting his. That was something he'd liked about Fuu, how she always looked him in the eye, whether she was yelling at him or she was talking to him. Sometimes he wondered how she did it, seeing that most MEN couldn't even look him in the eye when he was pissed, let alone a girl. But Fuu had always trusted him, oddly enough. She knew that no matter what, Mugen was always the one to save her. Soon, snow started to fall again and Fuu's teeth started to chatter. Mugen had more on than her, not to mention shoes and socks, so he wasn't as cold. After a while, he started to worry about the young girl across from him, because she was shivering so violently. "Yo," he breathed and she looked up, her teeth chattering gently. "You cold, eh?" She nodded a little. "Come here," he motioned to her and she eyed him. "Come here," he said more earnestly and she listened, moving over in front of him. He took his ghee off and leaned against the wall, spreading his legs apart some. "Sit there," he told her.
"No way," she backed up and he frowned. Was he so disgusting to her that she wouldn't even touch him?
"Do you wanna freeze or what?" he snapped violently and she just glared at him, still angry with his uncaring. Angrily he grabbed her arm and pulled her to him, she pulled back, her pushing against his chest but he yanked her close to him.
"LET GO!" she yowled but he grabbed hold of her wrist, then her shoulders and she stopped struggling.
"Listen okay?" he eyed her "you need to stay close to me or you'll freeze, understand? I don't care if you're pissed or not, I'm not gonna let you die down here so you either do what I tell you to do or I'll make you." He loosened his grip on her and she looked at him in disgust. "Yeah," he nodded "I know you don't wanna be near me but just deal with it, okay? I'm not too fond of you either." He pushed her against him and wrapped his ghee around the two of them. His hands found there way to her lower back, to keep her from pulling away again and he took in a shaky breath. Fuu had stopped struggling and was now looking at him funny, but slowly she shifted her weight, trying to become comfortable against him. He relaxed a little, only to go stiff again when Fuu's head leaned against his chest. She closed her eyes and breathed him in for a moment, her face becoming more peaceful and less angry. She seemed annoyed but, not so much appalled as she'd once been.
Mugen was annoyed with himself for enjoying the moment, and he was disgusted with himself for liking the feel of her against him. She always smelt so… he slapped himself at the thought of it. Fuu was looking at him strangely now, seeing him slap himself like that she was wondering if he was okay.
"Are you alright?" she eyed him carefully and he nodded slowly, trying not to look terribly embarrassed. Her hands moved, and he flicked back at them touching his skin. She was so cold. "Gomen," she pulled back some "I didn't mean to…" he was looking at her oddly "what?"
"Your hands," he said quietly "damn…"
"Oh," she rubbed them "yeah, they're real cold." Taking them in his he rubbed his hands back and forth against hers, her eyes glancing between him and what he was doing. He put her hands to his lips and blew hot breath against them and she flinched, wincing and looking away quickly, feeling embarrassed. "Mugen," she whispered and tried to pull them back, as feeling started to come back into them. He ignored her and moved up her arms, rubbing her for warmth. "I'm fine," she pulled back and his lips formed a thin line. Did she hate him so much that she couldn't stand his touch? It bothered him, after there travels so far and how he'd come to her rescue so many times… she still hated him. Fuu noticed a sadness in his eyes and frowned. "What's wrong?"
"Eh?" he blinked, coming out of his thoughts "uh, nothing." She felt him shiver and wondered if he was okay. "Just rest for a while and be quiet, okay?" Slowly she nodded, letting her head rest again. They both dozed, only with Fuu waking to a gentle warm sensation. Mugen had wrapped her completely in his ghee, and was sitting in the corner, half asleep, his face a gentle blue. She nudged him but he didn't open his eyes.
"Mugen!" she pulled at his hair and shook him but he didn't wake. He shivered some and she panicked. "Why did you do that?" she covered him with the ghee but found that wasn't going to do much for him seeing he had no body heat. Following his example of earlier she rubbed his hands together with hers, moving up his arms and to his shoulders. When he kept cold she started to cry. "Please Mugen wake up," she begged quietly. He only moaned gently and shivered again. Thinking quickly she undid he kimono and pulled him against her, wrapping it around both him and her, tying it closed and draping his ghee over them as well. Fuu wondered why she hadn't thought of this before, it was terribly warm, almost too warm. After a while he seemed to come around. He blinked a few times, feeling dreadfully warm and he yawned. He blinked a few times more, noticing what exactly Fuu had done. His cold hands brushed against her stomach and she jolted back. "You're awake!" He didn't answer her, but only smirked some. "Don't ever do that again!" she yelled "you could've died if I hadn't woken up!"
"What do you care?" he asked stiffly.
"A lot!" she undid her kimono and pulled it back, fixing it around her once more. Mugen pulled forwards and stared at her blankly. "I thought that was obvious."
"Well you seemed like you wanted to get so far away from me before," he pointed out "I figured that I'd leave you alone like you said. I didn't wanna hear your whining about being cold though so I figured I'd leave you wrapped up in the ghee. And I dozed off I guess." It was a good lie, or so he thought. Truly he'd been upset that she wanted to stay so far away from him, so he'd wrapped her in his ghee and moved, since she hated him so much. He was too stubborn to go back near her, too upset to touch her so he'd let himself become colder and colder until he'd fallen unconscious. Her eyes watered and she grabbed hold of him firmly. Surprised he went stiff, afraid that she was going to hit him or something. But when her arms moved around his back he relaxed.
"I thought you were going to die," she whispered "don't ever do that again, promise?"
"No," he said firmly and she pulled back, her eyes narrowing at him. "Don't gimme that look."
"What do you mean no?" she snapped.
"I mean NO," he said stiffly "I mean no as in, I'm not promising you anything ever again. You hold me too my word too well, I can't exactly promise that I'll be careful and won't die because every time I fight you're gonna be all," he raised his voice some "'Mugen be careful. Mugen don't do that. Mugen don't-"
She hit him in the arm, "I only yell at you because you DON'T think half the time and I …"
"What?" he asked, his eyebrow cocking at a peculiar angle.
"I don't want you getting hurt," she said softly. His face softened some and he sighed.
"Fuu," he gave her a strange look "I'm always going to fight, and I'm always going to-"
"I'm not telling you not to fight!" she snapped "I'm not telling you to quit drinking or going to brothels or being a pain in the ass. I'm asking you to just, be careful." He made a face, trying to ignore the pleading one she was giving him but she kept it up, knowing he was breaking down. He glared at her, but she gave a soft pout and raised her eyebrows a little making herself look more pathetic than she already was. Mugen growled and closed his eyes again.
"I promise," he growled through gritted teeth. She smiled and he sent a warning glare at her. "Just," he eyed her "I don't need you babying me, understand? I'm not something you need to be taking care of or anyth-"
"Please," she scoffed "like I'd want to take care of you." He gave a hurt look, only briefly, but quickly hid it. It was too late though, Fuu caught it. Her face softened and she sat in front of him, giving a worried glance. "Mugen?"
"Be quiet," he told her but she insisted.
"Mugen," she started again "You seem…"
"I don't seem nothin'" he retorted stiffly but she ignored his barricade.
"Please tell me," she asked and he looked at her.
"Its nothing," he said again. She gave him a dry look and he sighed. "What! What do you want me to say?"
"I want you to tell me what's bothering you!" she yelled.
"Too bad!" he snapped.
"Believe me," he eyed her dangerously "you don't want me to."
"Why do you always have to be so closed up all the damn time?" she wailed at him "why can't you just for once open up a little and just-"
"What'deya care for?" he roared "you hate me." She got quiet and he didn't look at her for a long time. "Just," he looked up "be one way or another. You either care about me or you hate me, don't keep switching from one to another. Its," he took in a breath "its too much of a let down if you care one minute and hate me the next. I rather you not care at all than keep switching."
"I don't hate you," she murmured softly "and I've never hated you. Sure, sometimes you get on my nerves but… I mean, I don't even dislike you. Both you and Jin are the closest thing I have to friends so, that's what you are and I care about both of you." Mugen became quiet and then nodded.
"Okay," he said simply and she nodded.
"Okay," she replied.
Author's note: don't worry, they get outta that well eventually…