Disclaimer: I don't own Trinity Blood.

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Walking in a Straight Line

Esther was drunk.

Well, Ion thought she was drunk anyway. There had been some royal event or party or whatever; he'd forgotten its original intent, but he did recall that great quantities of wine had been consumed. While Esther was not one to usually go and get herself drunk in the first place, she had wanted to be a kind guest and therefore could not graciously refuse the wine offered to her. She'd managed to drink at least three or four glasses before Ion had been able to get to her and excuse her for the night.

And of course in her mind, she most certainly was not drunk. Never mind the fact that she was weaving. Just a little.

If he was honest with himself, Ion found the whole situation rather amusing.

He kept a careful eye on Esther as she weaved her way along beside him; a light snowfall had begun a few moments ago, and snow had fallen during the day; not enough to be cold or bothersome, but enough to create small ice patches.

"Honestly, Ion, there's no reason for you to come with me." Esther reached up absently and tucked a loose strand of rebellious red hair back behind her ear. "It's a beautiful night, and I'll have no problems getting home myself."

"Because." He'd probably told her this twice thus far, and never got tired of it. "You're drunk, Esther."

The effect was immediate; Esther stiffened and tilted her head so she was looking at him with narrow eyes. "Ion. As I said before, I am not drunk."

"You had…" he paused to count his fingers, "… three or so drinks at the gathering. Since I find it hard to believe you've ever touched a bottle of wine in your life before then…"

Esther opened her mouth to retort this, perhaps to go into a tirade (which Ion never tired of hearing, as he'd grown to love this aspect of her personality), but before she could do so her weaving (she was definitely not walking in a straight line) ultimately interrupted it; her foot hit an ice patch, hidden beneath a light dusting of snow.

"IHHHHHHH!!!"

Ion's hand shot out, resting on the small of Esther's back to steady her; but before he could manage to catch her, she stumbled forward a bit, flailing her arms for balance, and with the support of his hand managed to keep from losing her footing. "Esther? Are you alright?"

There was a moment of silence as Esther exhaled shakily, perhaps to regain her composure; the next instant she straightened. "Yes. Thank you, Ion… but since I did not fall flat on my face, this further proves that I am not drunk." She smiled a little then, her eyes sparkling with amusement and what might have been the aftereffects of the wine.

Ion decided it would not be wise to mention that if she'd been walking in a straight line, not weaving, her near-fall wouldn't have happened; but he couldn't deny the warmth in his chest at her smile, so he simply nodded and removed his hand. "That is good."

"… You're still walking home with me."

"Yes."

Esther sighed, but somehow she realized she wouldn't have it any other way.

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If there was one good thing about aiding one who was drunk, it was that falling asleep came much easier to them then it sometimes did to one who was sober. Esther still couldn't walk in a straight line to save her life, and spent more time brushing and grazing Ion's body with her own as a direct result; but once she was home, she fell asleep instantly.

Well… almost instantly.

"Thanks for walking me home, Ion." Her voice was drowsy.

"Yeah."

"For the record, I'm not drunk," she murmured and was asleep.

Ion gazed at her for a moment before smiling, leaning down to gently stroke her hair.

"Of course you're not, Esther."

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Morning dawned bright and clear, the sunlight sparkling off the gentle white of the snow. A few birds began to sing softly, trilling small notes that wouldn't stir even the lightest sleepers.

Esther stirred, murmuring softly as she slowly woke. With a sigh, she rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand, propping herself up on her elbows for a moment. She scanned her room quietly.

Ion must have left sometime after she'd fallen asleep; a small smile flitted across her face. It was like him to stay with her until he was certain…

There was a piece of paper on her nightstand.

Her eyes widened a bit, and curious Esther leaned over and plucked the paper off her nightstand. It had been neatly folded and pinned down with a paperweight, and for a moment she simply studied it.

After a moment, she unfolded the paper. And laughed softly.

Dear Esther,

For the record, you were drunk. You were barely walking in a straight line last night, despite your claims.

Love,

Ion

Even as Esther giggled, she couldn't help but wonder if Ion had realized that he'd written Love instead of Sincerely.

She decided she liked Love better.

Who knew? Maybe getting a little drunk had its rewards, after all. Esther decided she'd have to test the theory again soon.

The End

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Heh... uh... hi.

I apologize right now if Ion or Esther are OOC; I've only seen a few episodes of Trinity Blood while waiting for Bleach to air, and for some reason the two episodes I saw were major Esther/Ion episodes (when he got shot by that guy and Esther was going to let him drink her blood... then he was going to kill himself so he wouldn't hurt her... I cried...), so now I'm rather fond of the pairing. This was just an idea that has no specific timeline... (I need to watch more Trinity Blood now...)

Read and review, please! Constructive critisim is welcomed and worshipped!