She smiled and stayed very still, pretending to be asleep. His lips brushed against the back of her neck, arm tightening around her waist, pulling her into his chest more snuggly. She lay on her side, back to him, perfectly still and trying very hard not to show any sign she was awake. His mouth moved across her neck and shoulder gently and his hand rubbed her arm tucked up under her chin. His hands...she loved his hands. Long, beautiful fingers that were so incredibly gentle but strong. It was odd to say a man was beautiful, but he was.

His mouth was by her ear, kissing so lightly it was almost imaginary. "Kannan?" he murmured, still sleepy sounding.

Kannan fought the smile returning to her cheeks and didn't answer. How long could she keep...She couldn't hold back the little moan when his hand went lower across her stomach, his shirt that she wore to bed pushed up from sleeping to bare her stomach and underwear. She felt his mouth curve into the smile she knew so well, the one that seemed to be only for her at times. "You fake! I knew you weren't sleeping," he teased.

She rolled over, smiling into his emerald green eyes. So like hers, but a little darker, a little more serious. She touched his cheek, pushing pieces of his dark hair back so she could see him. "Gonou," she whispered.

There was nothing playful in his eyes now. Or in the way he bent and kissed her lips, so deep and passionate but slow, as if savoring the feel of her. No one kissed the way he did, she was certain of that. Kannan moaned again, circling an arm around his neck and covering the hand that was lower down her body with her own. Gonou didn't need further encouraging, slipping his hand inside her underwear and making her gasp, drawing back from the kiss.

Kannan cupped his face, lost in the rapture she beheld in those eyes. She brought him down and kissed him senseless, all thoughts on other things besides breakfast. But, it was a Monday and..."Is there enough time?" she asked, hands shaking as she touched him through the light pants, making his breath leave him in a great rush.

"What?" he asked absently, and it made her happy to know she could make someone as controlled as him lose it with a simple brush of fingers.

"Is there enough time? Before your class?"
"Uh...," He spared a glance for the clock before nodding. "Yes, God, yes."

Kannan shifted a little so he was on top, bodies pressing close, hips grinding through their clothing- wait, no, she was naked. When that had happened she had no clue and didn't care much. She worked quickly in getting him in the same state of undress before biting her lower lip to keep from screaming like a banshee. She lifted her hips a bit for a better angle. It was difficult sometimes, what with his size, but she wouldn't change him for the world. Never, not her lover, her other half. Her brother.

Gonou pushed himself off of her chest, using his forearms to keep himself propped so he could see her face. "I love you," he whispered, fingers getting lost in her long, tangled hair.

She smiled up at him, running her nails lightly down the side of his face. "I love you, too." And then they kissed again and were lost in their activity, little moans and sighs coming and growing a little louder before he drew back again, just as they orgasmed, staring into her eyes. What she saw there was something so deep and so utterly consuming it made her orgasm again just at the thought. He loved her, he truly loved her. More than anything, more than his own life. This man would die for her, no questions asked, just a simple laying down of life for her happiness. And she knew in that instant she would die for him as well.

Later, as she was cooking a quick breakfast of eggs and toast, Gonou came up behind her, kissing her cheek, arms wrapping around her waist. "Why don't you come with me today?" he asked, resting his head on her shoulder.

Kannan smiled but shook her head. "No, I think I'll just do some grocery shopping and stay in. I want to get that scarf for you finished before the winter starts anyway. Besides, I don't like the stares."

He knew what she was talking about. The other villagers staring at them. It wasn't talked about with anyone, but many had guessed they were a little closer than just a young couple in love. That they were twins. Gonou nodded against her shoulder, brushing his lips along the side of her neck. "Okay. I promise to be back before the sun sets."

It wasn't safe after dusk any longer. The ancient castle of the youkai was inhabited again, and every village within a twenty mile radius had to pay homage or face destruction. A few tried to rebel but...nothing had been found of the bodies. It was rumored that Hyakugen Maoh, the lord of the castle, consumed human flesh on a regular basis. Kannan shuddered at the thought and turned off the gas stove.

"Kannan? What's wrong?"

She smiled and turned her head enough to kiss his nose. "Nothing, dearest. Just thinking."

"About Emiko?"

Emiko. Her only friend besides Gonou. She lived in the neighboring town. No one would tell her what had happened, but she suspected the pretty girl had been offered as a sacrifice to Hyakugen Maoh. "Do you think..."

Gonou shook his head grimly. "No, I don't think our town has to worry about that. And besides, everyone agrees that Aja is the prettiest girl...though I don't tend to agree with the majority."

Kannan smiled at the compliment and kissed him again. "You make me so happy, Gonou. Hurry back home. I'll have dinner ready." She made him a quick egg sandwich so he could eat and walk at the same time, kissed him good bye at the door and set about cleaning the little shed up. It truly was a shed, one they rented from the farmer who owned the land. It was one good sized room that held a small table, a small bed, chairs, a little cabinet for dishes and pans, the gas oven and three bookshelves along the walls that didn't have a window. She and Gonou shared an obsession for books, and it was obvious when one looked around and saw the piles sitting on the floor all over, with no place else to be stored.

They were poor, living barely off of his earnings as a teacher. Sometimes she would go and clean houses for the more wealthy, or help tend the younger children of the local farmers so the wife could get out and help her husband in the fields. It was a hard life, but they were happy. And they loved each other.

Kannan smiled at the thought of him loving her and her loving him. It was so strange. They had been separated at such a young age, when both their parents had died in a plague and they remained unscathed. As the only Christian family in those parts, some well-meaning nuns had taken them, sent them to different orphanages and they remained there until they both turned eighteen. Then, by some chance of fate, they met again. She was working in a book store, he was teaching at the local school. And they hadn't recognized each other at first, but both had felt the connection. It wasn't until after...She sighed dreamily, thinking about the first time they had made love. She had heard some girls talk about it and swooning over it, but she hadn't thought much of their silly prattle. Until Gonou. He had come and filled her life with this fairy tale feeling, the one she had scoffed at before. And it was such a heady rush of emotion every time.

She paused in doing the dishes when a knock came to the door. Frowning, Kannan dried her hands and opened it a crack. "Eitan, is something wrong?" she asked, recognizing their landlord.

Eitan scowled at her and stepped aside. Kannan, eyes wide, slammed the door shut and locked it when two enormous youkai pushed forward. She looked around the room, heart pounding as she tried to find something, anything. They were banging on the door, cracks appearing in the thin wood. Kannan ran for the kitchen and grabbed a knife, not the sharpest of knives, but it would do the job.

The door exploded inward, splintering everywhere and Kannan whirled, knife poised.

One of the youkai sneered at her weapon and strode forward, hand out to take it from her. She slashed quickly, backing up into the counter.

"OW! The bitch blooded me," the youkai snarled, saliva dripping from his sharp teeth. Kannan swallowed the vomit rising and stood her ground. She wouldn't go, not without a fight. Not like this!

The second one laughed and moved with lightning speed, faster than she could follow. One moment he was standing a good six feet away, the next, he was twisting the knife from her hand and she screamed, hitting and scratching him as he yanked her into his chest, tightening his arm around her throat. "Such a fiesty thing! Hyakugen Maoh just might keep you alive."

"Let...me...go! Eitan! Please, what's going on?" she screamed, struggling as the youkai dragged her toward the broken door.

Eitan fixed her with a cold glare. "Why should we sacrifice one of our good girls when you sin every night with your brother? Better to let an incestuous slut like you die than our children!"

Kannan's eyes widened and the tears stung at his sharp words. "But...why? What does it matter? We never hurt anyone! Eitan, please, PLEASE! EITAN!" The youkai squeezed harder and black spots ate at her vision. She felt herself going limp in his arms, heard his voice rumble something before she passed out.


Gonou dropped his books. What...? His mind couldn't register what exactly he was seeing. The door...Kannan...the door...blood. Whose blood? He didn't know how, but somehow he managed to walk from where he had been to the shattered door. The place...there had been a fight. A bloody knife was on the floor. Whose blood? The kitchen was covered in it, too. But whose blood was it?

"Kannan?" he called, his stomach clenched painfully in fear. "Kannan!" Silence to both calls. Gonou uprighted the table, looked under the bed, checked the cabinet. None of those places she could have hid in.

He slipped a little in the blood at the door and looked around at the growing twilight desperately. No...not her. Please, God, please let her be safe. "KANNAN!"

There was a crackle in the bushes and he whirled, fists clenched. Kannan...

Eitan. Some of the other farmers were behind him, all with pitchforks, except for the short sword Eitan carried. Even in his panic, Gonou pieced it together. "No...why? WHY HER!"

"You filth," Eitan spat. "You product of sin! It was her or our girls. Let the Demon Lord eat garbage for a change."

Garbage? Gonou felt his body shaking with rage, uncontrollable now. "You...murdered her. And for what? Because we were happy? You took the only thing I held dear in this world and...and..." Words left him. Somehow, he grabbed the sharpened short sword Eitan was carrying. And somehow that sword found the guts and throats of every last one of them.

Gonou looked at his hands, stained crimson from their blood. His hands...the ones she loved so much. Tainted with the blood of his enemies...their enemies. The ones who hurt them. The ones who MURDERED her! He turned his gaze to the castle not so far away and began running with a single minded purpose.


Kannan refused to scream, biting her lips so hard she tasted blood. It hurt, God it HURT! Hyakugen Maoh finished, splashing hot liquid into her face.

"Liked that, eh? Dirty, filthy human whore!"

Damn him. Damn him and all of his followers. Kannan winced again when Hyakugen Maoh, suddenly very erect again, raped her for about the fourth time in an hour. His men had all taken their turn, and at first she'd fought them, managed to inflict some damage on a few of the smaller ones. But as the night progressed and as the rapes became more brutal, they slowly started to wear her down until she had no strength left even to will herself to die. Gonou...she thought of him and it made her want to cry. She hoped he was safe, hoped the others wouldn't harm him. The thought of him lying dead in the field to be picked apart by animals made her whimper.

"Oh-ho! Finally a reaction!" He thrust harder on her and she sucked her breath in at the new amount of pain. His sharp teeth bit into her shoulder hard, drawing blood in a fine crimson wash. Crimson stained the floor, matting her braid. And then...he was done, sitting back, panting hard.

"A break. You've earned it, bitch. Lock her up! Let's see what a few hours rest will do to restore the fight in her!"

Kannan was lifted to her feet and half-dragged, half-stumbled along between the two guards, not caring that her clothing was ripped out and the youkai were leering at her. She was flung into a deep, dark cell, the bars clanging shut and keys jingling as she was locked in. Once alone, she curled up into a ball and began to cry softly. Gonou...she had to see him one more time.

There was no way she wasn't pregnant. She knew that. So many, many youkai... she hugged herself and allowed herself a little wail, a helpless sound in this total darkness. She looked up when she heard a chuckle.

A guard had been set on her, three of them, and they were all leering at her through the bars. One of them dangled the keys by a clawed finger. "Such a pretty mouth," he cooed. "Tell ya what, you use it for me, and I'll give you the keys."

Kannan sat up. The keys...her freedom. And all she'd have to do was...no. "NO!" she screamed, pushing herself into a corner. The only choice was to die. Even if Gonou did come for her and somehow managed to slaughter over a thousand demons, she couldn't go back with him. She'd seen how he looked at the children of taboo, children with crimson eyes and hair. Half-breeds, offspring from human and youkai. And she would have one of those monsters in their house. She couldn't bare that look from him, but she also couldn't live with herself if she killed an innocent baby. Yes...the answer was... And it made her cry even louder when she thought of never seeing Gonou again.

"Kannan?"

Just hearing things...hearing his voice in her head.

"Kannan! KANNAN!"

Kannan looked up, it sounded so real this time. And she made a sound very close to a wail when she saw him, kneeling on the other side of the bars, the guards dead around him. He was soaked in blood, a gash cutting across his head and dripping blood into his right eye. He was straining his arm through the bars, trying to reach her. She went to him, clutching him through the cold metal, felt his sob of relief against her shoulder. "Gonou!"

"I'm here, Kannan. I will NEVER let them hurt you again. Kannan...you're alive!" He was so relieved he wasn't talking much sense. Kannan kissed him back, saw the tears cutting a path through all the blood on his face, his hands leaving bloody imprints on her arms. "I swear to you I'll never let them hurt you! I'm going to get you out of here, Kannan, and then we can go and be together."

Kannan felt her gut twist. She couldn't...but she had to. She forced a smile through the tears that wouldn't stop and kissed him senseless, let his arms circle her. She slipped the short sword from his belt without him knowing it and drew back, standing just out of his reach.

Gonou's confusion quickly turned to one of sheer terror. "Kannan...NO! NO, KANNAN! DON'T DO IT! PLEASE!"

"I'm sorry, Gonou," she whispered, sniffling a little. She held the sword to her throat. " I love you but...this thing inside me...good bye, Gonou."

" NOOO! KANNAN!"

The pain was sharp and worse than anything the youkai had done to her. Kannan fell to the ground, still watching him, watching the utter despair and hopelessness fill his eyes before he screamed, slamming himself into the bars, trying to break them with sheer strength. Her blood...that was her blood now, staining the floor, pooling from the gurgling wound in her neck and edging its way toward him, soaking into his pants, staining the fists that beat into the stone floor helplessly.

"Kannan...don't leave me...please. Kannan! KANNAN!" Gonou was crying and shaking terribly, all the pain and anger and just bottomless grief apparent in his eyes. Don't cry, she wanted to say, but she couldn't, not through the torn windpipe and the blood spurting from her neck.

And so she couldn't warn him of the shadow looming up behind him. The last image her eyes saw was a clawed hand reaching for Gonou...her one love, her brother.