Disclaimer: I own nothing. Someone else owns the characters, and it looks like the plot owns me.

Dedications: This is dedicated to Silver Miko and Shin Sankai. Without them, I wouldn't be half the AM fangirl I am now. This story is my humble thanks.

Note: :denotes thoughts:

denotes writing

--…--…--…-- — change in scene and maybe character POV

By the way, I've one more story up on ffnet, an AM oneshot. It was mind-bogglingly incoherent before, due to ffnet neatly removing all my scene dividers and :blushes: me being ignorant of the preview and edit functions under Documents. Please do go RR the edited version, as I think it now reads much more smoothly. Amazing what a few dots and dashes can do for a story really…

Of Weasels and Chocolates : Chapter 4

She woke up hours later to a darkened room, feeling much more refreshed after her first peaceful sleep in weeks. Checking her watch she realised it was almost eleven at night.

:How long have I been—Ick, I'm still in my school uniform:

There was a soft knock, and Aoshi pushed the door open, having felt the spike of her ki. He'd been half-asleep on the couch in the living room, ready to get up at the slightest problem. She had to bite back a gasp of delight as he walked towards her, not having seen him dressed so casually since he'd moved out. He wore black drawstring pants, and a faded navy blue shirt she recognised as having bought for him years ago. He'd left the top few buttons undone, showing her the tanned column of his throat. His hair was mussed and his eyes slightly cloudy, indicating he'd just woken up.

She thought he looked edible.

Congratulating herself on not drooling, she shifted slightly as he walked over, making room on the bed for him to sit down.

"How do you feel now? You've slept for over five hours." "Much better… The headache's gone now!" His expression didn't so much as flicker, but she knew he was glad from his eyes. He reached out to smooth down her braid, deciding not to point out that her school shirt had ridden up, giving him a glimpse of her stomach. "Good. Do you feel well enough to get up? Omasu packed you some clothes so you can wash up. Unless you'd rather not…"

"Heck, no!"

With that vehement answer he rose and helped her out of bed, steadying her gently as she swayed on her feet. At that point if anyone had asked, Misao wouldn't have been able to say if her swaying was due to the lingering effects of her headache or because he was standing so near, so near that she could smell the clean, musky scent of his skin. She preferred that smell to any expensive cologne, as familiar with it as she was with the smell of the green tea he drank every morning. She'd grown up with little bits of him ingrained into her soul, like the sound of his voice as he calmed her during a storm, or the smell of him surrounding her when she slept in his arms. But now her feelings were not just that of a child's, and she'd never felt this reaction to his nearness when younger.

He pointed to a small suitcase on a table in the corner of the room, telling her it contained her clothes. She thanked him and watched as he left, closing the door softly behind him. Sighing in anticipation of a hot shower, she made a beeline for the bag, quickly opening it and rummaging through its contents. Suddenly she let out a soft cry of dismay.

This was a disaster!

--…--…--…--

He looked up as a small head peeped out at him from the doorway.

"Aoshi-sama? Omasu packed everything but a nightshirt. Could I—could I please borrow one of yours?"

"Aa."

She graced him with a happy smile and shut the door, walking over to the huge cupboard that took up one end of the room. Surprising really, that a man like Aoshi would have so much of space set aside for clothes. She opened the cupboard and laughed. That explained it. A small area of the cupboard was filled with neatly pressed clothes, while the rest of it had been converted into a storage space for weapons. His kodachi hung there, scarred leather sheath gleaming dully. There were other weapons as well, some of which she was proficient in, some she hadn't mastered yet. Spying a set of kunai laid out on a ledge, she smiled, remembering the hours of training she'd received from Aoshi on how to handle them, he being the only one brave enough from among the boys to tutor her while she was holding sharp projectiles.

She deftly looked through his clothes, searching for a shirt that was comfy and large. Spying one she liked, she slid her hand underneath it to take it out, and hit something hard under it. Removing the shirt, she saw a large wooden box lying beneath it, shining with the gleam of well-polished wood. She reached out for it, then pulled back, her innate honesty reminding her she had no right to look through his things. She carefully shut the cupboard and laid the shirt out on the bed, ready for her when she came out of the bathroom. Suddenly something caught her eye, and she finally noticed the pictures everyone had been teasing Aoshi about. The picture of both of them under the cherry tree was by her bed in the Aoiya as well, it being one of her most treasured childhood memories.

But the other picture…

She traced her fingers over the Aoshi in the picture, still unable to believe he'd placed the picture so prominently. She hadn't even known the picture existed, or she definitely would have wanted a copy for her own. She recognised the style of photography as being Hyottoko's, he having a knack for catching unknowingly revealing moments on film. They looked so right together, she realised…and the way he was holding her seemed so intimate, the two of them caught up in each other and the dance. She hadn't noticed anyone as they had twirled around the room, everything else fading into the background as she focused on her Aoshi-sama holding her. And for him to have been caught unawares, he had to have been plenty distracted too.

Was there something else in the way he was smiling at her? Something more than the usual affection that stemmed from growing up together, sharing their daily joys and sorrows? Misao didn't know, and dazedly she made her way to the shower, her mind whirling. Omasu had packed shower gel and shampoo but she opted to use Aoshi's, preferring the basic, unscented brand he used to the flowery-smelling one Omasu had provided. Soon she was dry and dressed, walking out of the room with a last glance at the pictures.

--…--…--…--

Aoshi looked up at Misao's approach and almost lost the power of speech.

She was so beautiful.

She wore shorts that came down to an inch above the knee, showing off her toned legs. She wore one of his shirts that almost fell to mid-thigh on her, flowing about her slim body. It was a V-necked shirt made out of soft, clingy material…which on him looked like any other plain dark green t-shirt. On her the neckline dipped enticingly low, showing him a hint of cleavage, while the material clung lovingly to her upper body, outlining her curves and showing him just how much she'd grown up. Her hair was unbound and fell about her in shining velvet waves he itched to run his fingers through. She was combing her fingers through the drying strands, and it took all of his considerable self-control not to offer to take over the job.

He tensed, realising the shirt she was wearing had been the one lying atop his keepsake box, the one that contained most of the things he held dear. Letters from his parents were in there, along with old photographs. What he was thinking of was the small valentines day card Misao had given him years ago as children, which if he recalled correctly had been lying right on top of the pile. His tension lasted only a second however. Misao was not one to invade the privacy of others.

She sat down on the huge leather sofa beside him, almost purring as she sank into the seat. He cleared his throat and looked at her sideways, wondering how to bring up the topic they'd been so untimely interrupted discussing. Deciding that directness was the best way to go, he looked straight ahead and spoke.

"So… I believe we were talking about chocolates…"

He turned to find her with her head bowed, long fall of hair hiding her expression from him.

"Anou… I wouldn't want you to accept any chocolate I give you out of a sense of obligation."

"Misao—"

She refused to look up, determinedly keeping her gaze locked on her knees. Gentle fingers tucked her hair behind her ear, allowing him to see her lightly flushed face. She was biting her lower lip gently, not wanting to see the expression on his face. His thumb brushed over her mouth to make her stop gnawing at her lip in a gesture as habitual as it was affectionate, the lip-biting being a habit he'd been trying to break her of for years. When she turned to look up at him with huge eyes, he realised how intimate it seemed, especially here and now. Yet he didn't move his hand, still cupping her chin.

"Misao…Whatever you've given to me has never been accepted out of a sense of obligation."

She looked at him for a moment more, the hope in her heart warring with the knowledge that if he rejected her, she would still be in this apartment come morning, with no familiar room to run to. The calmness of his gaze, and the pictures by his bed gave her the strength to rise and go over to her school bag. Taking out a package wrapped simply in deep blue, she shut her eyes for a second, gathering the courage to turn and walk back to him. He watched her approach him, no hint of what he was thinking on his face. She handed him the box and cast her eyes down, unable to watch while he opened it.

She heard the soft rustle of paper, and the sound of cardboard scraping against cardboard as he lifted the lid. She waited with bated breath, knowing what he was looking at. She'd made him a simple slab of white chocolate, his favourite, but painted across it in darker chocolate were the words "I love you". Hearing him replace the lid and place the box on the table, she shut her eyes tight, bracing for the inevitable rejection. But instead she let out an undignified squeak as she was yanked off her feet to land sideways on his lap, wrapped up in a tight embrace. His voice came, low and serious, beside her ear.

"You have to be sure Misao…because if what you wrote is true, I'll never let you go."

:Is he kidding me! I've loved him since I was three:

Her eyes widened when she saw a small smile grace his face, then she blushed as she realised it was because she'd inadvertently spoken her thoughts out loud. Before she could say anything else, firm lips were on hers, gently coaxing a response from her. He drew back and nuzzled her neck, enjoying the feel of her slight weight in his arms. He heard her sharp intake of breath as he tasted her skin, then small hands were on his cheeks, drawing his face up so she could look at him.

"I love you…And don't think this gets you out of saying it too!"

With dizzying swiftness she was flat on her back on the sofa, gazing up into green eyes that had taken on a decidedly darker, more possessive look. He was stretched out atop her, caging her body with his own and supporting his weight on his forearms. His voice was dark and velvety as he spoke, head bending down towards hers.

"What do you want me to say, Misao-mine?"

She couldn't think straight, the soft kisses he was pressing across her face and neck making her breathless. She knew he was holding himself under tight control, just as she knew she would do everything in her power to break that control. Her shaking hands reached up to entwine in his hair, running through the rich black silk. She'd never felt like this before, so alive, so powerful. His scent enveloped her, the taste of his skin spicy on her tongue. She tried to pull him down to rest fully atop her, but his strength surpassed hers.

"Do you want me to tell you how much I've ached for you?"

This time he took her mouth in a hard, possessive kiss, his tongue darting in to sample her and finding she tasted honey-sweet, with a tang that was uniquely Misao. She mewled deep in her throat as she fell into the kiss, the involuntary sound slicing at his hard-won control. Her hands had slipped under the collar of his shirt, groping blindly at taut skin. He growled his approval as her nails raked lightly over him, stealing her breath with another kiss. Her movements were sinuous, cloth sliding against cloth sparking flames in both of them. Biting softly into her lower lip, he laved at the bruise she'd made earlier, sipping her breath from her lips. Blindly he pressed a trail of open-mouthed kisses down her throat, marvelling at how fragile she seemed beneath his larger body.

"Do you want me to tell you I've wanted this since you were 14? Do you want me to tell you I had to move out because I felt like a damned paedophile for wanting you?"

She mewled again, almost unable to understand his words, only aware of the fire he was igniting beneath her skin. By this time she was writhing beneath him, wanting, needing more. His breath caught as she arched up into him, pressing her firm breasts into his chest and innocently offering her throat. He lowered himself atop her, freeing his hands. One slid up under her shirt, while the other tilted her head to give him better access to her mouth. As her hands went to the buttons of his shirt a memory flashed through his mind and he growled, nipping at the tops of her breasts and making her gasp.

"Did you want me to tell you I've never been so jealous in my life as when Seta asked you out and you accepted? Do you want to know I almost turned into a stalker, wanting to follow you and protect you on your date!"

His hand slid up her back, tracing the line of her spine over what seemed like miles of silky smooth skin. He abruptly stopped his wanderings when he realised he hadn't encountered a bra. She instinctively parted her legs beneath him, making a cradle for his hips, innocently grinding into him and making him gasp. Before he could stop himself his hand had slid around to her front, delicately skimming the flat plane of her stomach. The throaty groan that came from her lips was almost his undoing. She was stretched out beneath him, needy and sensual and responding to his every touch.

"How much more do you want to hear?"

He broke off with a muffled curse and buried his face in her hair, his wandering hands stilling their movements. By now both hands were under her shirt, taking his fill of her silky skin.

"How about…How about you start with 'I love you' and we'll take it from there."

He laughed at that, raising his head to look into her eyes. Her lips were glistening from his kisses, and he could see the light marks on her neck where he'd nibbled on her skin. Her breaths were coming hard and fast, and he could feel himself respond to seeing her chest rise and fall with each breath. Try as he might, he couldn't suppress a surge of purely male pride at seeing her so completely marked as his.

"I love you."

He was granted a brilliant and blinding smile at that, she never having thought to hear those words from his lips. She had noticed the way his eyes had darkened as he looked at her, and it shocked her how good it felt to be wanted that way.

To be needed.

She could almost see him rein himself in, and mentally shook her head. She loved all of him, and she definitely wanted him. In true Misao fashion, she decided to do something about it.

"Now, back to where we were just now."

She placed a light kiss on his lips, feeling him stiffen as her hands roamed down the hard planes of his chest.

"Misao, I think we—"

She cut him off with another, more lingering kiss.

"Aoshi…Has anyone told you that you think too much?"

Now she pressed a wet, open-mouthed kiss upon him, her innocent ardour more than making up for her inexperience. Her thumbs brushed over something, startling a gasp out of both of them.

"Oh my…"

Her fingers skated over his nipple, tweaking the nipple ring she would never have expected to find in a million years. Her actions had an unexpected result, as he groaned and ground into her, the feeling of his hardness pressing into her sending an arrow of sensation between her thighs. She did it again, murmuring "Did I hit a sensitive spot?" His bruising kiss was enough answer, ravaging her mouth in his passion. His hands moved up to cup her breasts, stroking the sensitive flesh with his fingers and raking the tips softly with his blunt nails, making her call out his name.

He liked that, liked the way the syllables caught in her throat as her eyes went hazy with passion. Slowly he tugged the shirt off her, revealing unblemished skin and pert, rosy-tipped breasts. She saw something feral emerge in his eyes, something that made her chest tighten and her hips roll up into his, but she couldn't prevent herself from crossing her arms across her chest, hiding herself from his gaze. She didn't resist when he gently tugged her hands away, but a light tide of colour swept over her face and she averted her eyes. "I know I'm not—" Whatever else she was about to say was swallowed by his mouth, the skilled movements of his hands making her pant. "You're perfect… And I think you're uncomfortable because you're the only one removing clothes."

Her eyes darted back to him at that, his gentle tone at odds with the heat in his gaze. She watched breathlessly as he raised his body slightly and slipped off his shirt, the buttons undone by her own hands. She almost moaned aloud at the sight of him, one golden nipple ring flashing in the light and smooth tanned skin stretched over taut muscles. Now she knew why he was always careful to ensure his body was covered. He noticed where her gaze was and smirked, obviously aware of his effect on her. Slowly he lowered himself, both of their bodies tensing at the feel of skin upon skin.

He rolled to his side, sandwiching Misao between him and the back of the sofa. One hand on her hip, the other pillowing their heads, he fought to get his breathing and his body under control. Placing his forehead against hers, he held her shuddering body against his, her arms sliding about his neck to return the embrace. He could feel her press against him and knew that if he didn't get himself under control, he'd take her right there on the sofa. Brushing a kiss on her damp forehead, he looked into her eyes.

"Misao, your first time shouldn't be on a sofa on the—" "There's a huge bed over there." she pointed out, effectively distracting him for a few seconds with images of what could be. Mock-scowling down at her, he shook his head. "That's not what I meant and you know it. I want us to take our time. I don't think we should rush this…" She looked up at him mischievously, making him groan both at the seductive look in her eyes and the way she was gently playing with his piercing. Laughing quietly, she sobered and kissed him gently, finishing off with a parting nuzzle.

"I do know what you meant Aoshi-sa—"

She broke off to laugh at the half-amused, half-frustrated look he shot her at the honorific, and he smacked the side of her hip lightly. "You're lying in my arms half-naked…yet I'm still Aoshi-sama!" She flushed at the reminder of their half-clothed state, her body still feeling the aftershocks of their earlier antics. "The habits of over a decade are hard to break, ne? Besides, you'll always be my Aoshi-sama…Along with being my Aoshi-anata I suppose." He had to kiss her at that, the smile she gave him too beautiful not to reward. As he held her he felt her shiver slightly, the air-conditioning cool on her bare skin.

He brought them both into a sitting position and stood up, lifting her in his arms and snatching up their discarded shirts. "You're cold, and you're still tired from this afternoon. You should be resting." She snuggled into him, content to be in his arms, knowing these interesting developments would be continued soon, if not today. "Only if you rest with me…I'll still be cold all alone in that huge bed."

"Did you think I'd be anywhere else?"

--…--…--…--

Moonlight shone into a large bedroom, bathing the occupants of the bed in silvery light as they held each other. She nestled her head into the crook of his shoulder, lying half-atop him with her arm thrown over his chest. He slept peacefully, bangs covering his eyes and a slight curve to his lips as he held her to him, protective even in slumber. In the living room, a box of chocolates sat on the table, waiting for morning.

--…--…--…--

Author's note:

Finally it's done! I hope all of you enjoyed it… My friend commented that the lime was pretty.. well,... limey (:p) for a first date :coughs: I'd been in love with my ex-boyfriend for years before we got togetherand I can tell you the hormones get well out of hand when long-suppressed feelings are confessed. And as for the nipple ring—it had to be done. It had to be done. Don't ask me how he got it, maybe a dare, maybe an impulse, hell maybe a weird male bonding ritual with the rest of the boys… All I know is, my story wasn't complete without him having one. Please tell me what you think! Feedback please!

Major shouts go to luvharu7 for pointing out many errors, and kokoranogomu for giving me my first ever CC in my first story. Thank you all those who've taken the time to review!