A/N-
Yes, it's short. It's one out of what will probably be three chapters. I wrote this because chapter three of my other story seems to want to be stubborn. Don't kill me for this chapter. It's Shizuru's point of view, but not necessarily a correct one. Also, this is completely un-beta'd, so if you spot anything please tell me. I hate it when things slip by me.
Disclaimer- I do not, in any shape or form, own Mai HiME. Sunrise does. …Bleh.

Warnings- Um...PG13, I guess. Highly suggestive, but nothing really…
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Her fingers grasp desperately at the sheets, Shizuru, anything, but they never take hold, not really. Shizuru wants to laugh at the irony, but for fear of sounding bitter, she holds back. Always holding back, but for her, she can. Does Natsuki really think she doesn't know? If Natsuki's hesitant words hadn't tipped her off, her eyes would have. Shaded and mirror-like, and it strikes her that she's learned how to copy her own mask far too well. Every time, it's the same routine. There's an over-eagerness to please, and an almost painful devotion.

Natsuki, there's no need to be so kind. Can't you see it only hurts both of us more? Ah, what a double-edged sword that kindness is. Beautiful, but deadly. Just like Natsuki.

This time, she can't help but let loose a dry laugh. Inquisitive eyes ask a silent question, but Shizuru smiles just another part of the game and returns to the task at hand.

It makes it worse that sometimes she thinks she can see a glimmer of her own feelings returned in those green depths. But no, that's also a reflection of her mask. But she accepts it, pretends she doesn't see through the facade, because it's all she can take and she wants needs it to be real. It doesn't matter that it's a game, as long as they both play well enough. And Shizuru has learned to play very well indeed.

It's easy to notice when Natsuki fumbles, or turns away, or mumbles answers that should have been clear. But she can imagine those discrepancies away, because her sanity's hanging by a thread she wants to, and it gets easier each time.
It's easy to imagine her feelings are returned, easy to imagine that when Natsuki blushes and turns away it's out of embarrassment and being flustered rather than not being able to look at her, not being able to stand being touched by her.

But that makes it all the more painful when the carefully built illusion shatters. And each time she pieces it back together, it's never as strong as she needs it to be she'd like it to be.
But it's worth it, almost, right now when her breathing speeds up, and her clutching becomes more frenzied, and even though she could never really be hers it's easy, so easy, to pretend always pretend that she is. And yet even now, even...

Say my name.

Faster, harder…

Please, Natsuki.

Why? Why can't you ever…?

Please, please, please, Natsuki, Natsuki, Natsuki!

It was only afterwards, when Natsuki's breathing had slowed enough for her to be asleep, that she realized with a pang that one more night had passed and Natsuki still hadn't said her name.

Why? Is that how you hold yourself apart from me? How you weave an illusion of your own for your own benefit?

But that was alright, she told herself, because there would always be the next night. And the one after that, and again after that, and then maybe, one day….

Natsuki…