Disclaimer: I do not own Mai HiME.

Part One: Your Fault

Here I am, alone with Shizuru in my apartment, or is it hers? I can't remember. Such information is trivial when I catch that look in her eyes. I was seeing that look a lot recently, or maybe it has been there all along and I have just recently obtained the ability to spot it. The latter seems more likely due to how long she has been harboring such feelings for me.

She isn't one to display emotion openly. No, that's not quite right. She only shows you what she wants you to see. The Fujino mask is practiced to perfection, but even the sturdiest of masks crack over time.

Her resolve is slowly draining. The more frequent, the more desperate her glances become, the more control slips through her fingers. She's going to break soon. What should I do?

It's like watching a train wreck. I know that this is going to end badly, but I can't look away. Should I try to calm her down? But how the hell do I do that? Tea? I glance at the teacup resting on the table in front of her, wondering if there's any liquid left in it. Her fingers fold around the object in question, lifting it to her lips in a casual sip before setting it back down on the table. Okay, she already has tea.

I can leave. No, I've runaway enough in my life. This is a matter that needs to be solved, but I need more time. I bite back a cry of frustration. She's already given me so much time, and if I ask for more it'll just prolong her suffering. I need to either end this or...

I stare at Shizuru as she feigns ignorance to my gaze. She's looking intently down into her cup. It's probably almost empty or at least the tea is really cold by now. She hasn't refilled her cup in the past hour. Her eyes, those striking crimson eyes, shift their attention to me as that fake smile curls her lips.

Her last defense, it's crumbling. Any minute now and I'll be the one putting my resistance skills to the test.

"Natsuki." She rolls my name off her tongue so effortlessly, sending that all too familiar chill up my spine. I freeze in my spot as she leans her body toward me, the look in her eyes betraying any innocent pretences.

I attempt to respond, but my voice seems to have shut down with the rest of my body. She has somehow moved right up next to me with out me realizing it. Her breath is tickling my cheek, yet she isn't even touching me.

I want to yell out. I want to tell her to not get any closer. I can't take this anymore.

My breath hitches in my throat as I feel her lips—so soft—pressing against the side of my face. The sensation throws my thoughts back, back to the moment right before we died in each other's arms. Yet, this isn't the same. This isn't an apology. This isn't a heartfelt rejection. This is something still so new, so...so utterly enticing and frightening at the same time.

She pulls back just enough so that her lips gently graze along my skin as they travel toward my ear, briefly kissing it. There is a pause in her movement, as if contemplating the next attack on my defense, which I am not even sure of its existence. I begin to wonder if she's hesitating, but that thought quickly vanishes when her head turns downward, nuzzling herself into my neck.

I need to say something, but...but I don't know what. My earlier intentions of shouting at her to stay away seem so distant now. Even the simple notion of her warmth not being this close to me is nearing a sense of abnormality. Why? Why do I feel like this? I don't understand.

Her hands break free from any previous restraints, drifting just above my body, but never making any contact. Nonetheless, they still leave a path of heat in their wake, sending my mind into a haze. How can she have this much of an effect on me? This isn't supposed to happen. Not yet...

One of her hands gains enough courage to flick across the hem of my shirt, soon settling down on my stomach. I find the other venturing around my back toward my side that is farthest from her. She grips my hip, pulling me into her. We sit there, still, for a moment, her thumb drawing circles on my abdomen as she lightly kisses my neck every so often.

What is she doing? Is she content like this? No. I can feel her fingers fidgeting at my side. She wants more, but can I give it to her? I can't just push her away now. I don't even have strength to move, much less lift my arms. If I say stop, I know she will, but that's what... What is it? Do I want her to stop? A feeling of frustration builds up in my stomach, threatening to erupt. I want to scream. I need to scream. This has to be released somehow.

I squeeze my eyes shut and bite down on my lip. Shizuru seems to sense my aggravation, lifting her head enough so that she is eye level with me. I loosen my hold on my lip so that it slips away from my tooth. Slowly, I open my eyes, her image taking on a blurred appearance before clearing to the face that I feel as though I've known my whole life. She carries a worried expression, an expression that has always made me second-guess any actions that I may have done to cause it. This time is no exception.

Her hand that had been resting on my stomach is now tenderly cupping my face, my name passing her parted lips in a concerned tone. I feel the need to cry, a tingling sensation making its way up the bridge of my nose.

She loves me.

"Shi-Shizuru..." I call out to her softly, my voice cracking. I don't want her to go away. I don't want her to stop kissing, touching me. I don't want her to stop loving me.

I need her.

I close what little distance there is between our lips, pressing mine to hers in a chaste kiss. She seems surprised, but only for a moment, quickly kissing me back. I pull back first, catching her with her eyes still closed. Her eyelids slowly reveal whatever emotion she is holding within, sending a foreign, but not unpleasant, sensation through my heart.

I still don't know if I love her in the way she wants me to. The meaning of that word is still not within my reach, but I swear I could feel it, just barely brushing against my fingertips.

She leans forward, catching my lips in a not so innocent kiss. Her hand on my cheek slips around to the back of my head, entangling her fingers with my hair as she pulls me even further into the heated kiss. A moan resounds in my throat, only succeeding in provoking her. Her other hand deftly maneuvers under my shirt to the skin she has longed for. Breaking the kiss, she travels along my jaw and eventually down my neck. Her hand on my back moves up my spine, causing a gasp to escape as I feel her smile before she nips me gently.

Regaining enough strength, I wrap my arms around her and let my instincts take over, my brain shutting down. My hands explore her body, earning a few encouraging reactions when I hit a sweet spot. Our state of dress dwindles down to what I would usually consider embarrassing, but I take no notice, only wanting to feel her skin against my own.

As her head makes its way back up my neck from its previous location, I angle myself just right to initiate a kiss. She promptly reciprocates, delving deeper. Her body presses even harder into me as I feel her hunger rise. The point of no return has long since passed, and I can't help but feel anxious and scared.

She pushes me down onto the couch and straddles my hips, her lips never leaving my own. Reality slips away as her ministrations become more intense, causing me to arch into her touch and my moans to become more frequent. I'm losing myself in her, and I relish every minute of it.

-.-

An inviting warmth encompasses my body as I slowly flow back into consciousness. I find myself pressing up against something soft, and I assume it to be the source. My fingers lazily travel over the other form, my mind still too hazy from sleep to string together any coherent thoughts. When my hand bumps up against a certain mound, I suddenly remember what, or really who is right next to me with a rush of heat to my face. I crack open my eyes to come face to face with a generous amount of creamy skin, only further proving my deduction.

Before I even let myself reach confusion with how I got into this situation, I remember what happened the previous night. The heat in my face spreads out to the rest of my body when I recall a few rather vivid details. Did I really do that?

I didn't expect something like that to happen so soon. In fact, I'm still not sure if I ever expected something like that to happen. However, I admit I'm not exactly one to always know what I'm feeling or where such feelings may take me. Apparently, I am also not one to catch on to other's feelings, but I'm not sure of how much truth this holds. The only example I can think of is Shizuru, but did anybody besides her know? Granted, it was probably in our alone time together where she would let the most hints slip, but...dammit...

I resist the urge to cry out and attack my hair with my hands. Okay, so I wasn't, and probably still not, the most observant person in the world when it comes to emotions. But I'm here now, aren't I? Yet...if I had known before she ki–no no no! This is not the time to think about such, uh...things. This is supposed to be a happy moment, isn't it?

This time I actually let myself vent my frustrations in a groan. Shizuru stirs slightly, only to tighten her grip on me. I sigh, attempting to quiet my brain down, and snuggle up a little closer the other woman. This moment that I am currently living in does not require thinking of any kind, so I just need to tell my mind to shut up and all will be well. ...If only it will listen...

Now that I think back on it, even though I really don't want to, Shizuru had been getting progressively more affectionate, and I hadn't exactly been turning down every advance she made on me. At first she was getting a little more distant from me every day, but something must have snapped in that head of hers because she suddenly bounded back to hugging me whenever the opportunity presented itself. As I began to feel comfortable with the hugs once more, so much so that I had been beginning to think of it as something that just came along with my life, she started to get a little more daring. She snuck kisses whenever I seemed especially open to her, claiming her reason was to be able to see my reaction. Never once did she kiss me on the lips, it was always either on the cheek or possibly the forehead. Then, as I now conclude to be the last stage, was Shizuru 'accidentally' brushing up against certain parts of my anatomy that I could claim sexual harassment on if somebody so much as stared at them for far too long. Seriously, how could somebody have that many accidents? And there were so directed too... Yet, I never voiced much of an objection to the things she had been putting me through.

Most people would probably give up after rejection, but Shizuru never really fell into the 'most people' category. She didn't give up or even back off a little. In fact, she pushed herself forward gradually, but still forceful enough to pry open my eyes I had clamped shut. I had been so set on trying to get things back to what they used to be, even with the nagging feeling in the back of my mind that kept telling me I was attempting to do the impossible, that I never really took much more thought, beyond what I had previously concluded during the Carnival, into if I could love Shizuru in a romantic sense. She had steadily chipped away at the 'just friends' wall I had recently built. With the combination of my own doubts and her dedication to me, the tiniest crack appeared and she slipped right through. The stealthy woman...

"Natsuki?" Shizuru's voice breaks through my thoughts, making me jump slightly in surprise. I don't respond, unsure if she is awake, asleep, or falling in and out between the two. Ah, what the hell. If she's still asleep, I always wanted to know if you could have a conversation with a sleeping person.

"Yes?" I speak softly.

"Oh, so you are awake..." She trials off, as if there is something more she wants to say. I wait for a few seconds, wondering if that line was spoken in a momentary moment of consciousness, or if Shizuru is just not a morning person. Several more seconds, and I lose my patience.

"Shizuru?" I pause, and then try once more, taking care to enunciate each syllable in her name, "Shi-zu-ru?"

"Mm, I don't think I have ever heard Natsuki say my name in such a way before." She buries her face in my hair, kissing the top of my head. I keep silent, not knowing what to say. "Did you sleep well?"

"Y-yes." Why did I stutter? Why do I feel so awkward? She pulls me closer and I gasp, for our bodies are still bare.

"You have nothing to worry about, Natsuki," she reassures, though I'm not sure why.

"What would I have to worry about?" I ask with a sinking feeling that I already know how she is going to answer.

"Nothing." Why do I even bother?

Damn woman, that's not what I'm talking about. Stop avoiding questions, you cunning, little–

"Do not worry, because..." Shizuru starts, cutting herself off again. What is with the worry thing?

"Shizuru, what are you–?" She slips a finger over my lips, effectively silencing me.

"Shh, everything will be alright," she murmurs, the carefree tone in her voice contradicting the tight, almost desperate hold she has me in. I'm not sure what kind of outcome I was expecting before, but now hearing her say such words makes me feel as if she is telling the truth. Yet, even though she is the one giving off this feeling, it feels as if she is the one that is unsure of the consequences of our actions.

I am content, but I still manage to, ironically, worry about what Shizuru thinks I shouldn't be worrying about. I was fine before she said anything and now I can't help but have this feeling of dread pulling at the back of my mind. As I think about possible worry subjects, I realize that there are far too many to pin down the exact one that Shizuru is thinking of. It could be something along of the lines of such a relationship not being accepted by society, or possibly her parents, or even maybe that she regrets what happened. I don't think that any are right and hope they aren't, but I've been wrong before.

"This is all your fault," I say, trying to keep my tone from becoming accusatory.

Shizuru remains silent, probably waiting for me to continue, but I keep my tongue still, not willing to form any more words until she either confirms or denies my statement. Enticing shivers, I ever so slightly run my fingers up and down her back.

"I know," she breathes. "I pulled you down to my level, subjecting you to my desires that I lost control of. I pushed you into doing something you weren't ready to do and ignored any protests. I didn't give you enough time and now..." She pauses briefly and shakes her head before pulling me even closer. "So, don't worry."

"Shizuru..." No other words come to me, my voice sticking in my throat. Her saying such things...Is this what she thought I might be worrying about? Is she trying to justify my actions? They don't need to be. It's her fault for making me feel this way, for making me want to do those things to her, for making me desire her. But the actual act itself is both our faults. Hell, I was the one that kissed her.

I feel an anger starting to boil within me. Knowing that I will lose in a battle of words, I decide to take a more physical approach. I nip at her neck gently a first, but then a little harder the next time, earning a light gasp. In an attempt to get my point across, I growl softly.

"Ara, Natsuki sounds like a puppy," Shizuru chuckles lightly.

I freeze immediately. A puppy? What? That is not what I intended to happen. In my exasperation, I accidentally let another growl loose, only succeeding in getting another laugh from Shizuru. As I try to calm myself down, I hear her coo out a "So cute!", what little composure I have slipping further away. What's with this woman?

In need of a new form of punishment, I start to ignore her. The only real challenge to this task is to make my hands stop wandering. After a good few seconds, I gain control of the restless appendages, and keep my mouth tightly shut.

I feel as though the ignoring is going fairly well, but Shizuru seems to have taken no notice. She starts to hum a song to fill the silence. The tune, unfamiliar to me, is soothing nonetheless. Due to my head being snuggled up so close to her neck, I feel weak vibrations from her throat, adding to the air of comfort she is surrounding me in. She weaves her fingers through my hair, ironically enjoying the moment she's suppose to be suffering in. Why must she be so utterly impossible?

I sigh, caving into my need of words. The punishment can come later when I will be feeling a little more creative than I currently am. Right now she needs to know that she is not the villain, but rather the hero in this story.

"You do know that this is a good thing, right?" I whisper into her neck.

A brief pause, and then she drags her lips down to my forehead, kissing it. She pulls back just enough so that her words won't be too muffled, her lips lightly brushing against my skin as she speaks, "Of course."

-.-

A/N: Okay, that was my first attempt at ShizNat, and they're probably horribly OOC. I hate Shizuru's little blame falls on me thingie. It took far too long to write, also. Moo. Heh... Um, yeah, is it Festival or Carnival? I prefer Carnival because to me, Carnival equals Carnage. Yes, the first four letters are the same so I twistedly link them in my brain.

Just in case you wanted to know, this was inspired by the song The Walk by Imogen Heap. Google the lyrics to find out how utterly uncreative I am.

P.S. Yes, I know I wrote 'momentary moment.' I laughed in my easily amused-ness when I found it, so I kept it as is. There are probably other similar cases, but I just haven't found them yet. Why must I constantly skim read? Why am I so freaking impatient? Okay, I really just need to shut up now. Shutting up.