Hey, foxmagic and mickey-sin here again! It's been…what, over two years? But we loved the reviews so much that we finally got our asses in gear and put together this uber long chapter to make up for it. Keep the Shinrei/Yuya goodness flowing, yo!
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Chapter Three: Helping the enemy racks up good karma points
Shinrei collapsed onto the ground. His bleeding was growing worse, the make-shift bandages doing little to ease his pain.
"He-hey... are you... okay?" Yuya was reluctant to ask, she didn't want to piss him off any more than he probably already was considering that they were now alone in some unknown part of the woods. Of course he's not okay, you idiot! He just got his stomach sliced open! Yuya was beginning to doubt her sanity with how much she was talking to herself.
She took a couple of steps forward, but didn't want to get too close. He was armed and dangerous. She could've pulled out her gun for protection and gotten closer, but she was far too kind to pull a weapon out on an injured person, even someone like him. Yuya silently cursed her ridiculous sense of duty to a man who had kidnapped her only moments ago.
"There's a lot of blood. Are you gonna be okay?" She asked that stupid question again and pointed out the obvious. Hell she was even annoying herself at this point, so she couldn't imagine how much he probably wanted to slap her right now.
"Tch...I've done worse." He gritted his teeth, propping himself up against a tree. At least he had gotten the girl. Though her actions towards his wounds were a bit confusing, he was confident she wouldn't flee. Not that he'd have any trouble capturing her again, even in his present condition.
And there was her conscious again, rearing its ugly head. "Still, it looks pretty bad... Do you want me to... bandage it for you?" She knew it would be 'helping the enemy' but she couldn't let him bleed to death.
"I'm fine." Shinrei responded curtly. While Yuya was perfectly okay with aiding him, he most certainly was not. It would be beneath him. He could take care of himself.
It took a good amount of time for him to regain his bearings, but eventually they were up and moving again. Staying in one spot would be too risky. Unheeded injuries aside, things were going pretty well in Shinrei's book. Sure, he had a gaping wound...but it could be worse. Maybe.
This is all Hotaru's fault. I'll murder him! And then I'll ask Saisei to bring him back to life so I can kill him again! Blaming others always took away the sting of defeat. So he was content with cursing all his acquaintances to pass the time.
Yuya followed him step for step, not wanting to get lost. "I still think you should let me look at it." She insisted some more, but he simply ignored her. "You could bleed to death!"
"I'm fine." Was the only response she got.
Now she was getting a little frustrated. If he died she wouldn't have a way to get back and the sight of injuries made her heart clench. "What if you're not fine?" This time she ran ahead of him and stopped, turning to face him. "Don't -don't get me wrong! If you fall ill, then who's going to show me the way out of this god forsaken maze?"
He glared at her. And she glared right back.
"Look." Shinrei bit out. "I am your kidnapper. You'd be lucky if I bled to death."
Grabbing a hold of her arm, he enforced the Kyo tactic of pull now, ask later. And though it seemed rather childish, dragging her flailing limbs through brush and pine was a hell of a lot easier than dealing with enemy pity. Of which he hated.
"Let go of me! I mean it you bastard, let go! Now!" She quickened her pace to get right up next to his ear. "Do you hear me you jerk? I said let. Go. NOW!" She yelled as loud as she could, which was enough to scare some birds out of the trees overhead.
Great. Not only was he bleeding, suffering the after affects of a cracked skull, and fighting off nausea, but now he was deaf. Deaf and very upset. Shinrei's grip on her arm tightened almost immediately. He might have been able to hear the wincing coming from his charge, but you know...the whole deaf thing.
Before Yuya could sputter out another 'Let me go, you bastard' she was being shoved face-first into the ground, tasting dirt and grass along the way. Shinrei loomed over her crouched figure, using the same arm to twist her into submission. Not too hard, but enough to let her know who was really in charge. Or at least enough to please his male ego.
"I may have been weakened, but know your place." His voice was raspy now, riddled with heavy breathing and laced in pain.
"Damn you!" Yuya tried to struggle, but every way she moved caused her pain. "Let go of me!"
After several more seconds of struggling, the silence finally began to creep her out. She was preparing another angry screech when Shinrei's grip suddenly grew lax. Yuya was faintly aware of a warm sensation running down her back. It was his blood, she knew. He was hurt worse than suspected. And now, as his body weighed heavily upon hers, she could smell the sour sickness that his body emitted.
It had reached the last straw when Shinrei's weak form at last fell over top of her own.
"See, I warned you didn't I?" She said the best she could with his full weight on top of her. She was stuck between a rock and a hard place. So using her arms as best she could, she tried to push upwards to get his body to fall to either side of her. It took quite of bit of her moving around, but she finally managed to get him off. Now to turn him over she thought knowing damn well that it was easier said...err, thought, than done.
Picking up his arm, Yuya attempted to pull him off the ground enough to turn him. "Damn you, if you weren't... so... stubborn... this wouldn't... have... happened." Her words were forced out as she used all her strength. Of course, she knew he couldn't hear her, but she had to talk to keep herself from freaking out.
Figuring it would be an easier position to work with, she sat across him, and not seeing an easy opening in his tunic just ripped it where the slash was already at. Damn, Kyo got him good. This would be easier if I actually had bandages. She looked around and then down at his legs. Well, hope you don't mind if I borrow some fabric. Using one of his weapons to cut the fabric at the bottom of his outfit, she cut two sections -one to wrap and one to clean the wound.
Moving back to the wound, she noticed some blood had already dried around the outside. Water, I need water to clean this. Ha-ha, this is funny. I was kidnapped by a water user and have no water. She looked around, no river, no lake, not even a puddle.
Shinrei was out cold, so obviously she wasn't getting any help from him.
Yuya got up and looked around in every direction. Which way, which way? She questioned herself. Moving to the left she answered her own question. She probably wouldn't find water, but she had to try.
After about ten minutes of walking she found that she had been wrong. There was a tiny stream not far from her current position. Not even ankle-length deep, but it was enough to get the fabric wet. Seeing that the bleeding hadn't stopped even a little she quickly got to work with cleaning and bandaging.
With all that finally done, Yuya was finally able to relax. It wasn't a perfect bandage job, but it was enough for now. He would definitely need more care later on. She looked down at him, still sitting across his waist. He even looked like a stuck up prick in his sleep...
It was beginning to get dark now. As the sun disappeared, so did Yuya's hopes of returning to town anytime soon. And here she was, tending to the injuries of a sworn enemy! Kyo would never ever find out about this. Damn her and her saintly duties.
Maybe it had something to do with being a woman.
Moving over to rest against a patch of particularly comfortable grass, she settled on waiting till morning. Even if he was a prick, he was still a dying prick. Yuya sighed and all other thoughts were washed away by sleep.
It was cold. Very cold. Like freezing cold. She had no idea the temperature dropped this much, deep within the confines of a wooded plain as they were. Or maybe it was the simple fact that they had no blankets, barely any clothes, and a camp fire that didn't exist.
Damn it's cold! Yuya had decided that today just wasn't a good day. Nothing was going her way -she could just scream. Maybe she should, she would feel a little better if it woke the jackass that kidnapped her up. Then she wouldn't be quite so lonely, quite so worried that he'd never wake up... but she would still be cold. Life was just that cruel.
Crawling over to Shinrei, she checked his breathing. If it stopped, then it would officially be the worst day of her bounty hunting life. She yawned and began to think about going back to sleep, but the cold that had woken her up was now keeping her up. Well, maybe he wouldn't mind if I stole some of his body heat. She thought, lying down next to him.
Too bad that he wasn't all that warm. He had been out in the cold as long as she had, and he had a slight lack of blood. So she turned and shifted until she was a couple of inches away from him and comfortable enough to fall asleep.
Things were going just fine for a while, Yuya making sure to occasionally check that the idiot was still alive, and Shinrei...well...okay, Shinrei wasn't doing anything. She made a mental note to remind him just who the useless one was when he woke up. If he woke up. And though this 'cuddling for warmth' was purely her survival instincts kicking in, it still seemed so very wrong.
Yuya couldn't pin-point the exact time he began to grow warmer. But it was then that she was finally able to rest. She slept, and then night faded to day once more.
When Yuya awoke at last, she blinked awkwardly upon the realization that she was a lot closer to Shinrei than she remembered. But she was warm. At least he's still asleep. She thanked the little strand of good luck that she finally got to have.
She got up and decided that if the 'useless moron', as she had started calling him, was still asleep, then she was going to clean up the blood that was all over her from the time he had fallen on her. So she headed back to the little stream form earlier and did her best to scoop up water, but it wasn't very deep so she was having a difficult time.
"The river gets deeper a little further down."
Yuya jumped, and almost fell forward, Even if she had she wouldn't have gotten all that wet.
"Oh so you're finally up you useless moron?" She asked.
Shinrei stood only a few feet from her, his frown deepening and a hand ghosting his fresh bandages. Ignoring her quite effectively, Shinrei turned to follow the river downstream.
"This way." He said.
"Eh... Okay." She stood and started to follow him. "Are you feeling any better?" She asked in hopes that she'd at least get a thank you out of him. After all, she loved to be praised, and she had struggled to get him all cleaned up.
He didn't answer her.
"I asked you a question." She stated walking up next to him.
"Do you expect me to be grateful to you? Is that what you're driving at?" Shinrei was faintly aware of her stare, now hard and cold upon his back. Yuya had faltered a bit at the bluntness, but nevertheless resumed her pestering soon after. She was a predictable woman, he decided. Both predictable and unpredictable in the worst kind of way.
Shinrei felt his shirt cling heavily to treated wounds. Guilt weighed down upon him, as he was an honorable man. But being helped by the enemy was not honorable. And so he resumed silence once more.
He tuned Yuya out, noticing quite subtly that he needed a bath.
"Yes I expect you to be grateful! I could've let you die!" She noticed he was ignoring her and latched on to his arm hoping to stop him and to gain his attention back. "I'm talking to you, you, useless moron!" Maybe her new found nickname for him would get some kind of reaction.
"Well then maybe next time…" He yanked his arm out of her grasp, swinging his other appendage around to push the girl over the grassy bank. "you should let me die." Yuya tumbled into the water with a muffled 'eep!' The splash her body made indicated that they had gone quite a good ways from the source of the spring. Her head broke the surface, sputtering and coughing.
"See. I told you it was deeper further down."
"You bastard!" Not only was it deeper, but it was cold, beyond cold; it was freezing. She started to shiver, but didn't stop her scolding. "How dare you shove me, I should kill you right now. And you got my gun wet, and now I have no dry clothes, if I get sick I am going to hurt you! Damnit! And it's cold! I hate you!"
She stomped out of the water and pushed on his chest to try to shove him back, but it wasn't forceful enough to move him and then she went back to hugging herself to warm up. She was glaring daggers at Shinrei; if looks could kill, he would have suffered the most brutal death imaginable. And If he were the laughing type, he would be in stitches by now. But he was not. And so all he could muster was a sort of lop-sided half-assed smirk-smile evil glare thing, that Yuya found incredibly creepy.
She busied herself with the view, simmering down and wringing out her clothing. It seemed as though they had just exited the forest by the look of it. The former stream now branched out into a small lake just beyond the trees. They were in a clearing, surrounded by rock-built waterfalls and towering pinnacles of forested growth. That's when Yuya found herself suddenly being assaulted by a cloth of some sort. She grabbed the material from off her head in an angry manner, not caring what it was, but knowing it had to have come from him.
"What the hell is this?" She asked, already knowing of course that it was the blue tunic he wore. She held it away from her as if it were diseased while saying, "I hope you don't think I'm going to do your laundry." But the cold beat her pride and she wrapped it around herself not waiting for an answer to either question. If it wasn't his intention that she use it for warmth than he could go to hell.
"I don't need it." Shinrei began taking off the rest of his leg bindings. "I'll be washing the remaining blood from my clothes. I suggest you do the same. Why else would I have pushed you in?"
"To be a jerk." She answered simply. "And in case you didn't hear me the first time; it's cold! Are you trying to get me sick?" She hated to repeat herself, no really she did, but sometimes... okay, most times it couldn't be helped.
"I'd be so lucky." He scoffed. "If you hadn't made such a fuss, I wouldn't even be in this mess." Shinrei threw his bandages down in frustration. Then lifting his torn shirt over his head, he cast it into the growing pile carelessly.
"Stupid jerk." She decided to say one more time before going into battle with the horrible torture of the cold water. She unwrapped herself from his tunic, and since her clothes were already wet; and there's no way I'm getting undressed in front of him, she started lowering herself into the water.
Glaring in Shinrei's direction she noticed the clothes were decreasing from his body and increasing on the ground. He's not going to get naked is he? He can't possibly be thinking about... While staring, and blushing slightly from her thoughts, her hand slipped and that slow descent into the water turned into a fast fall.
When she managed to come back up for air, her vision found the man no where to be seen. Where had he disappeared to in such a short amount of time? His clothes were there...all except for the white pants which he still wore.
"Now where did he go? Hey! Useless moron, where are you!" She looked around in every direction and still didn't spot him.
Shinrei heard her calls, that was for sure. But answering them was another thing altogether. "Hmph…" He set to work on washing his clothes. The lake was indeed cold, but he didn't mind. What he did mind was sharing a space with the likes of her. She was a woman associated with their sworn enemy! Not to mention quite annoying. She called again, and he wondered how long it would take her to find him.
"Fine! If you don't wanna answer me then I'm leaving!" She shouted loud enough that she knew he'd hear her. Turning towards shore she started to swim back scrubbing herself off a little as she did. If he wants to be a jerk then I don't have to put up with it! I can find my way back to town... maybe. The worst that could happen is she would get lost and be eaten by a bear, but anything was better than staying with this asshole.
Fate hated her.
Noticing at once that something wasn't quite right over yonder on the banks of the lake, Yuya kept on treading forward to get a better look. Upon closer inspection, she realized that a cute little doggy had found its way to her pistol, and was presently chewing on it happily. Angry, she proceeded to relieve her mouth of all pent up curse words and frustration. It was then that the nice little doggy turned itself into the epitome of Satan himself.
Okay so it wasn't exactly a bear, but close enough. Besides, Yuya had decided long ago that fate hated her. Remember?
And she kept on believing this to be true, even as the nice-doggy-turned-evil began to chase her through the water. Maybe it was a wolf or something. Maybe he was hungry. Or maybe Shinrei was communicating with the animals in a perverted and strange attempt to get her back for that useless moron comment.
Hey, it could happen.
Not good, not good! Yuya was frantic, scared, and sure she was going to die. Seeing the evil, hell spawned canine getting closer and closer and finding it harder and harder to swim... she had no choice. Pride be damned.
"Shinrei! I'm sorry for the useless moron comment. And I'm sorry for yelling in your ear, and... Arg! Just help me!"
The dog was only inches from her now; she ducked underwater and swam forward with all her speed. She swam and swam and swam some more, until at long last her efforts paid off with the sight of a familiar pair of feet in the distance. Finally, there he is! She couldn't hold her breath anymore anyways and surfaced. Since Shinrei was now close enough to keep her from screaming, but not close enough to escape her fear of death, she jumped at him and latched herself onto his body.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry! Just -help me!" She pleaded so fast that she couldn't even comprehend anything she had said besides sorry and help.
"Hey! Watch where you-" The poor man was unable to finish his sentence as Yuya's desperate grip caused his footing to slip, sending them both sprawling awkwardly into the water.
They were a flurry of limbs and rigid angles, the two of them now tangled amidst bruised body parts. Yuya rubbed her sore ankle, not caring one particular bit that her cushion counterpart was still under the water, blowing angry and defiant bubbles at her.
"Eh-Sorry!" She quickly jumped up letting him come up for air. As soon as his head was above water though, she grabbed a hold of his shoulders. "The-the dog! It's trying to eat me!"
And sure enough, the beast came around the corner, barking and carrying on as it went. Shinrei reached out to catch the scruff of its neck before it reached them.
"Idiotic woman…" He muttered, tossing the mangy mutt wherever it was convenient. It swam away with a yelp after taking quite a tumble among the rocks. Not that Shinrei cared. It was the dog's fault. Everything was the dog's fault! Their screwed up trip, Hotaru's absence, Kyo's attack, and...and...
Shinrei felt like hitting his head against something hard, and preferably deadly. Absently, he noticed that she was still rubbing her ankle. "You shouldn't have been running so fast, it's slippery on the rock bed." His voice was steady, eyes trained on her flushed figure. Shinrei stood up, holding a hand out to her while looking the other way. "Come on then. Let's see if we can build a fire before dark."
"O-okay." Yuya took his hand and walked with him back towards shore. She hated the fact that she was so clingy to her kidnapper. But hey, that demon dog was a life or death situation and you know how people get in life or death situations?
So she lost her mind; in a little while things would all be back to normal. He would go back to being a heartless, arrogant, Mibu obsessed jerk, and she would go back to being the prideful, I-can-do-it-myself, selfish woman she usually was...right?
"You were trying to run away, weren't you?" His smirk could barely be suppressed.
"N-no! Of course not!... okay, yes I was. But it was only because you were being such a..." She decided just to stop talking before she got herself in more trouble.
"I went to take care of my clothes when I first heard you screaming like a banshee. Did you honestly expect me to bathe in front of you?" His tone was condescending, but more out of necessity than anything else. He knew his place, and Yuya knew her place, and they were expected to act accordingly. This was how things went between people like them.
Shinrei helped her up the bank of the river.
"No." Yuya answered with a reddened face. "But you could've at least answered me."
"I could have." He added after much thought.
"Then why didn't you?"
"That's such a childish answer!" Yuya was not going to get stuck in a 'because -because why' conversation.
"A childish answer for a childish question." Shinrei deposited his clothes on the ground, quickly scanning the area for any useable firewood. "More importantly, please tell me you are capable of starting a fire."
"What, you can't start one with your all knowing Mibu confidence?" She laced the words with sarcasm to let him know that she was angry for not getting an answer to her previous question.
Her only answer now was a bundle of logs being shoved in her face, which Yuya had only managed to catch out of sheer luck. "I'm going to go find more wood. I suggest you get started on that."
"Hey! Has it even occurred to you that I don't want to make you a stupid fire! I'm not your servant!" She knew Kyo would laugh at a comment like that and then tell her to do it or he'd kill her, but Shinrei wasn't Kyo. So maybe she would get a different reaction... like him doing it himself or something.
"If you're alright with freezing to death, then fine by me. I'm not the one wearing a soaked kimono."
Yuya glared at him for a few moments, realizing that he was right before throwing a log at him.
Too bad it fell just a few feet short of where he was standing.
She decided then and there that it was going to be a long night.
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