by The Silver Feathered Raven

Shizune played with the clasps on the front of Genma's flak jacket, fighting the growing nervousness in the pit of her stomach. The metal clicked as she opened and shut the pouches that held scrolls, barely even realizing what she was doing. It was...habit. She remembered doing this when she was eleven and he was nearly thirteen; she couldn't believe that she was falling back into this ancient habit.

His hands came up, stopping her movement. "Shizune," he said, and she could hear the command in his voice. She swallowed hard, letter her arms fall to her sides. Or, at least, she tried. Genma still held her tightly by her wrists, keeping her closer to him than she really wanted to be at the moment. He was entirely too warm, entirely too close. His smell, the way his hands felt on her skin, it brought back old feelings—unwanted feelings, she told herself frantically—that she had pushed away long ago when they hadn't been returned.

"Let go." Her voice was calm, much calmer than she felt inside. She had expected it to come out shaking and broken. "Genma, let go." And yet she didn't meet his eyes with her own.

Genma's grip on her arms tightened almost painfully for a moment, then he released his hold on her, letting his hands fall limply at his sides. There was a moment of silence, in which Shizune kept her eyes carefully averted from him. When he finally spoke, his voice contained a strained edge that she just barely caught. "This isn't working."

"What isn't, Genma?" She moved away from him, just a small step backwards, but far enough away that she no longer felt his warmth.

One of his hands moved up to his mouth, and when he spoke again his words were much clearer. She saw the senbon hanging loosely from his fingers. "You're pushing me away."

Shizune shook her head, her short hair moving softly. "No. I'm not. It—I don't understand." And she didn't. She didn't understand what he was saying, she didn't understand why he had suddenly moved closer, she didn't understand one bit of what was happening, and yet, at the same time, she knew all too well.

"Shizune, look at me."

Her eyes darted upwards, locking with his. Fear...she wouldn't show fear, and yet he was far too close, and far too warm...

She backed up, her eyes still trained on him. "I don't know what you're thinking, Genma--" Except, she did. Or, at least, she could guess. If he was going to do what she thought, then--

Her back hit a tree, and still he was right there before her. Her jaw spasmed once as she clenched it tightly. If she really wanted, she would be able to get away. It would be easy enough to preform a jutsu, to jump, to run, or to simply--

He was too close, looking down at her, one hand resting on the trunk of the tree beside her head, leaving her only one escape option. It would be easy enough to take--

"Stop running," he murmured, moving even closer, until her hands, which were still up before her, pressed themselves against the heavy fabric of the vest. Her fingers curled themselves into it, gaining just a little purchase on the rough cloth. She wasn't sure is she was going to push him away or pull him closer.

His head dipped down, mouth level with hers, eyes locked. She didn't say anything, simply stared at him, hoping that her uncertainty--or was it fear? She wasn't sure which—didn't show in her eyes. The truth was that she had wanted him to do this ever since she was young; maybe ever since she first met him, she wasn't sure. But now she just didn't know.

It would be easy enough to run. Or to push him away. Her grip on his flak jacket tightened slightly, a nervous reaction. Trying to calm her heart—which was racing much too fast—she opened her mouth slightly, inhaling as deeply as she dared. It didn't do much to help.

She watched as Genma's eyes closed ever so slightly, and he angled his head to the side, his breath warm on her face. "Shizune." His voice was soft, and it was his last word before his mouth descended, covering hers lightly.

Even though she had known what he was going to do, her body still stiffened, her fingers still curled all the tighter into his jacket, her mouth still opened a little wider as he pulled himself close to her, crushing her between the tree and his chest, one hand tangling itself into her short hair. She could feel his warmth, smell the scent that she had known for so long, the mixture of soap and blood and sweat that clung to him, and now she could taste him as he lips moved against hers, and she felt herself respond to the kiss.

Oh, no...

Her breath was coming faster than she wanted it too, her fingers were clutching to tightly at his vest, and he was too close, too close, and she was scared yet accepting at the same time, and even after all this time the old feelings which had begun to swim just below the surface of her conscious ever since she had returned to Konoha came bubbling up, rushing through her, and she knew that she was shaking. She knew that she could push him away, and she wanted to, and at the same time she didn't, and simply wanted to stay there and drown under his touch and simply feel his body and his lips pressed against her. It was all happening too fast, and far too slow, and she was still so scared, and her body was so tense, and he was pressing so close. And then her hands were in his hair and she didn't understand and at the same time she understood entirely too well. She was pulling him closer to her and feeling his mouth on hers, tasting salt and sweat and the every lingering blood that clung to both of them, and Shizune wanted to let go and run. And she didn't.

When he pulled back from her, his warmth dying away, her hands falling from his hair and his from hers, Genma watched her, his eyes scanning her face almost desperately. Shizune swallowed hard, her jaw trembling slightly. She didn't know what he could see in her face, but she could see uncertainty in his, and hope, and that same fear that she felt. Neither said a word, and they just looked at each other, their faces scant inches apart, and she could still smell him and feeling the warmth of his body, only it wasn't as vibrant and intense, and there was a sense of loss that came with that. Almost timidly, Shizune reached up, running her thumb lightly down the side of his face, and she saw that her hand was shaking.

"Oh," was all she said, and she tried to control that shaking, though she wasn't able to. Then Genma reached up, covering her smaller hand with his, and she could tell that he was shaking as well. And, in some strange way, the fear in his eyes and the shaking of his hand was comforting, because it meant that he was feeling the same as she was, and that he was just as unsure about what was happening.

"I-I--" His words wouldn't come out properly and she watched as he swallowed, his eyes shutting again and then fluttering open. His hand still covered hers, and she was still breathing quickly, and neither of them seemed to know what to do next. It was too sudden, too unexpected, and there were too many complications, to many things that could shatter whatever it was that they were trying to form between them.

Shizune turned her head to the side and bowed forward, resting so that face was buried in his shoulder, and somehow that seemed like the right thing to do, because she felt him relax—somehow, some of the tension had left her as well—and his hands settled at her waist and they simply stood there, holding onto one another. She was still frightened, still unsure, but she could accept things as they had become, at least for them moment.