As Konoka looked up at the darkened sky, gazing at the brilliant moon that glowed above her, she had to admit that tonight was an exceptionally beautiful night. Under normal circumstances, Konoka would have been overjoyed to be able to observe the night sky with billions of glowing stars dancing overhead. However, after everything that had happened today, looking at the stars was merely a distraction for all of the frustration she had accumulated during her birthday.
Happy Birthday Kono-chan!
For the most part, Konoka had enjoyed the day's celebrations. She had awoken to a romantic breakfast that Setsuna had cooked just for the two of them and her carefree Sunday afternoon had been spent at the exuberant party that her classmates had thrown for her. Had her birthday ended just right after that wonderful party, Konoka might have called her today the perfect day. However, her evening had been less than stellar compared to the rest of the day.
Konoka's grandfather, the headmaster of Mahora Academy, had thrown her a rather formal birthday celebration, one that involved the heads of several magical associations and more wealthy businessmen than she could count. During the extremely boring celebration, which took up that better part of her night, Konoka was forced to endure meeting one pompous, self-centered suitor after the other. However, what Konoka hated most about the party was the fact that her grandfather had tried to set her up with these jerks. After meeting over a dozen of these men, Konoka had finally had enough and ran away from the party.
Without even a word to her grandfather, Konoka slipped away from her celebration unnoticed, and successfully made her way back to her dormitory. At first she had thought about finding her friends and celebrating the remaining hours of her birthday with people she actually cared about. However, given her current mood, she decided that she would rather finish the day alone, which was why she was now hiding on the roof.
With a gentle sigh, the mage leaned forward and placed her hands on the low wall that ran around the edge of the rooftop. She closed her eyes and pressed down on her palms, using them to support her weight and lift herself off the ground. At that moment, a light breeze began to blow across the rooftop, ruffling her hair and clothes and causing Konoka to suddenly think, "I feel like I could fly."
"It's not safe to lean so far out," a low voice whispered from behind the mage. Startled, Konoka jumped slightly and pushed away from the wall, letting her feet fall back onto the rooftop. The sudden appearance of another person had surprised her, but Konoka recognized the voice instantly and relaxed as a slender pair of arms snaked their way around her waist and locked her within a gentle hug. Without even looking, Konoka knew that her girlfriend had just snuck up behind her. She leaned back into Setsuna's body, allowing the swordsman to embrace her more fully, and returned her gaze to the night sky.
"You ran away from your party," Setsuna whispered, more as a statement than as an accusation. When Konoka didn't respond, the swordsman brought her cheek against the mage's and nuzzled her gently. "Are you okay?"
Choosing to ignore the question, one that she didn't quite have an answer to, the mage countered with a question of her own. "How did you know to look for me?"
Setsuna smiled and pressed herself closer to the mage. Affectionately, she lifted a hand to Konoka's cheek and caressed her chilled, wind-kissed skin with warm fingers. "Your grandfather called me a little while ago and told me that you were missing."
"Was he worried?" the mage asked, still annoyed at her grandfather, but not so much that she wanted him to worry about her.
"Actually, I think he was amused that you were bold enough to run away from your own party. I was worried, though," Setsuna murmured softly, causing Konoka to wince guiltily.
"Secchan..." The mage turned around and gazed apologetically at her girlfriend. She opened her mouth, prepared to apologize, but the swordsman gently lifted a finger to Konoka's lips, tenderly halting her words.
"It's okay," Setsuna murmured comfortingly. "I think I have a pretty good idea why you ran away from your party. Do you want to talk about it?" she asked, watching as Konoka shook her head in a fervent no. Setsuna, who expected such a response, accepted her girlfriend's reply without question. "Then we won't talk about it."
Konoka buried her head in the other girl's chest, grateful that Setsuna understood her so well sometimes. As Konoka stood on the rooftop, protected within Setsuna's arms, the mage wondered why she had decided to hide by herself rather than seek out her girlfriend earlier.
"Hey," Setsuna asked, giving Konoka a gentle nudge and breaking their comfortable silence. "Do you feel up for a birthday present?"
"Eh? Wasn't my present the breakfast you made me this morning?"
The swordsman laughed gently and shook her head. "Are you kidding? That was more like a warm-up gift than a real gift. I have something better planned for you."
"Planned?" Konoka echoed. In the distance, church bells began to ring, marking the beginning of the tenth hour of the night. The mage wondered what Setsuna could possibly have planned for her so late at night.
"Yes, planned," Setsuna confirmed, lightly jumping onto the ledge and holding out a hand to the mage. "Come on, I'll take you there."
"Do you think it's a good idea to fly so close to the dorms? What if someone sees us?"
Silently, the swordsman pulled out a paper talisman from her pocket and stuck it onto the side of the building with a wink. "There, problem solved."
"Secchan, that can't be enough," Konoka reproved, taking Setsuna's outstretched hand nonetheless.
"I promise you, no one will be able to look out of their window and see us," Setsuna reassured the mage, lifting Konoka's light form into her arms. "Now hold on tight, because we're going somewhere special."
"Somewhere special," Konoka thought to herself, instantly taking a liking to these words. Even though she normally felt that anywhere she went with Setsuna was somewhere special, the mage had a feeling that something truly memorable was in store for her when she and Setsuna reached their destination.
As it turned out, the "somewhere special" that Setsuna had referred to was Evangeline's magical resort, a location that Konoka had always thought of as "special". However, as the mage held onto her girlfriend's hand as they entered the magical world that was locked inside a clear glass bottle, Konoka knew that the day they would spend on Evangeline's resort would be extra special since they would be spending it alone.
"I think I saw a comet," Konoka murmured happily, pointing overhead at the glowing celestial body above her.
"Shooting star," Setsuna responded, pointing at pinpoint of light streaking across the sky. They were stargazing on top of Evangeline's resort, which Konoka found a little ironic since she had been doing just that when Setsuna caught her on the rooftop of the girls' dorm. However, the difference was that she was actually enjoying this stargazing now that she had Setsuna by her side.
Konoka giggled and glanced at Setsuna, who was lying beside her. "Hey..." Konoka said slowly, rolling over on the soft blankets that covered the sleeping bag beneath them. "Are you sure it's okay for us to be here?"
"Don't worry, Evangeline-san gave us permission. She's not home tonight, so she didn't care that we're here."
"I guess it's lucky that she happened to have plans on my birthday," Konoka mused.
"Not really. I asked Negi-sensei and Takahata-sensei to hold a meeting tonight that was mandatory for Evangeline-san to attend. You could say we sort of tricked her into not being home tonight," Setsuna said with a proud grin.
"So you planned this?"
"Of course. I've been planning your birthday for weeks," the swordsman revealed, smiling affectionately at her girlfriend. "I wanted it perfect."
Konoka smiled as well, wondering how much time Setsuna spent thinking about this day. Truthfully, Konoka had been thinking a lot about her birthday as well, especially after what had happened on Setsuna's birthday. Just before going to bed that night, Setsuna had made a promise to her, an inexplicit promise that they would finally take their relationship one step further on the night of Konoka's birthday. Konoka had thought about that promise nearly every night since Setsuna's birthday, always wondering whether or not her girlfriend would truly keep her word. Well, there was only one way to find out...
"Hey, Secchan," Konoka began slowly, rolling onto her side. The mage could already feel herself blushing despite only having said her girlfriend's name, but she wasn't about to back down.
"Hm?" Setsuna asked, still looking up at the sky above them.
"Do you... do you remember that promise that we made a few months ago? About my birthday?"
"Eh? What did we say about your birthday?" Setsuna asked calmly, following a shooting star with her eyes as it streaked across the sky.
Stunned, Konoka looked at her girlfriend incredulously, not fully believing that Setsuna had forgot their promise. "You really don't remember? The promise we made on the night of your birthday?" she asked, disappointed by the way the conversation was going. "I asked you to 'promise me that we'll pick this up where we left off in about two months'. But if you don't remember--"
Konoka paused, suddenly aware that Setsuna was now moving beside her. She watched silently as the swordsman pulled herself into a sitting position and then shifted so that she was leaning over the mage, delicately balanced upon arms that were placed on either side of Konoka's shoulders. Slowly, Setsuna lowered herself, bringing their faces so close that they could see into each other's eyes despite the dark atmosphere.
"You... you remember the promise, don't you?" Konoka asked hesitantly, trying to gauge the actions of the girl looming above her.
"Are you kidding? I've been thinking about that promise ever since the night I turned eighteen," Setsuna admitted in a hushed voice, staring intently at the girl beneath her. "Ever since I made that promise, I haven't been able to stop thinking about this moment. I've been waiting for tonight, waiting to see if you would remember the promise too."
"Oh thank god," the mage murmured as she quickly leaned up to kiss her girlfriend.
For a split second, Konoka had been truly annoyed that Setsuna had pretended not to remember the promise, but her annoyance had been instantly replaced by feelings of affection, as well as by a great sense of relief and desire.
Konoka reached out and grabbed the front of Setsuna's shirt, pulling the swordsman on top of her. She smiled as Setsuna slowly leaned in towards her, bringing their lips together in a crushing kiss. Excitement flooded through the mage's body, thrilled that the night she had been waiting for was finally happening. However, just as the mage reached up and began to unbutton Setsuna's shirt, the swordsman broke their kiss and leaned back, frowning slightly.
"Wait," Setsuna hesitated. "Is... is this okay?" she asked, slowly biting her lip and pulling away from Konoka. The swordsman stared down at the mage with a look of uncertainty clouding her eyes.
Konoka hadn't the slightest idea what her girlfriend was referring to with that question. Was Setsuna asking whether or not this was something that Konoka really wanted to do? Was she having a moral dilemma about two girls being together? Or maybe Setsuna's old insecurities were taking over and she simply wanted some kind of confirmation from Konoka before they took this next step. Whatever the question referred to, Konoka only needed to know one thing before giving Setsuna complete reassurance.
"Secchan," Konoka whispered, reaching up and tenderly stroking Setsuna's cheek with her fingertips. "Do you love me?"
There was no hesitation before the swordsman gave her answer. With her eyes focused entirely upon Konoka's, the swordsman simply drew upon the truth that resided within her heart. "Yeah, I do. I love you, Kono-chan."
"Then it's okay," Konoka softly confirmed, answering the swordsman's question. "As long as you love me, then it's okay," she whispered, slowly bringing her lips against girlfriend's.
The moment their lips met, a sudden inexplicable change coursed through them. Konoka immediately noticed that this kiss was unlike any they had experienced before. As though a switch had suddenly been triggered, a frenzied response sudden fell upon the two girls. Konoka pulled Setsuna firmly towards her, both of them struggling to express their love for the other in this one passionate, fire kiss. When they finally broke apart, both of them gasping for breath, Konoka had only one thought on her mind. "More."
Konoka reached up and began lifting Setsuna's shirt over her head just as Setsuna reached down to tear open Konoka's shirt. Amid their fevered kisses, the girls began to pull off each other clothes, not caring what was being taken off as long as something was being removed. The first instant that Konoka felt Setsuna's bare skin against her own was something that she wouldn't soon forget. She noticed after a shuddering breath that what she felt now was quite different that what she normally felt when their hands touched or their lips met. This feeling was infinitely different, but definitely not in a bad way. And as their eyes locked onto each other, with Setsuna gently resting on top of Konoka, both of them understood that their relationship would never be the same again.
"Kono-chan," Setsuna murmured, softly pressing a kiss against her girlfriend's lips. She lingered there momentarily, allowing her tongue to tickle Konoka's lower lip before placing her mouth on Konoka's neck and beginning to trace some invisible line that ran across the mage's chest and stomach, inevitably leading lower and lower down the mage's body.
"Secchan..." Konoka gasped reaching out to her girlfriend. The fingers of her left hand found the fingers of Setsuna's right hand and they entwined them, gripping each other tightly. A low moan of desire slowly escape her lips as Setsuna continued to kiss her way down the mage's body. "I love you too," she cried, her words echoing about the empty resort, soon to be drowned out by the sounds of two young girls so very much in love.
Hours later, a tired Konoka finally stirred from her peaceful slumber with a small yawn. Memories of last night's events quickly filled her thoughts, eliciting a happy sigh from the sleepy mage. Konoka rolled over onto her side and glanced at the space next to her, expecting her eyes to fall upon her sleeping girlfriend. When she discovered that there was no one other than herself on the bed, the alarmed mage quickly sat up and called for the other girl.
"S-secchan!" Konoka stuttered, relief flooding through her body as she easily spotted her girlfriend standing before her. The mage quickly looked around the room, realizing that she was no longer outside on the observation deck where they had fallen asleep last night, but was now sleeping in the same area that she and her classmates had slept they had first stumbled upon Negi and Eva in this resort. "Eh? When did we--?"
"I carried you here this morning," Setsuna explained, coming to sit beside her on the bed. "It gets really hot here after the sun rises, so I thought you'd sleep better if I moved you inside." The swordsman smiled as Konoka lay back down on her pillow and sighed softly, gazing back up at her with adoration in her eyes. "Did you sleep well?"
"Like a rock," Konoka responded with a sleepy murmur in her voice. "But it would have been nice to wake up with you beside me." The mage gently lifted a corner of the covers and gestured invitingly toward the other girl. "Come here."
Setsuna blushed slightly at the sight of her beautiful girlfriend wrapped in only a bed sheet, but she obediently did as she was told and joined Konoka beneath the covers. The mage sidled up against her, resting her head comfortably on Setsuna's chest and draping her arm over the swordsman's stomach. Konoka let out a sigh of utmost content as Setsuna gently drew their bodies closer together, wrapping an arm across her bare back.
"If only time would stand still for us," Konoka thought to herself, wishing that the two of them could lie this way for eternity. She knew this would never happen, however, but she could hardly feel disappointed about this when she still had a full day left to enjoy Setsuna's company.
"Mmm... how about I make us some breakfast?" Konoka asked, rubbing her hand gently across Setsuna's stomach.
"I think you mean 'lunch'," the swordsman corrected with a small laugh. "It's already after 12 o'clock."
"EH?!" Konoka exclaimed, lifting her head off Setsuna's chest and gazing wildly into the swordsman's face. "You're kidding! Why didn't you wake me up?"
"I wanted to," Setsuna explained, "but I couldn't bring myself to do it when I saw how peaceful you looked."
Konoka narrowed her eyes slightly and glared at the other girl. "And how long have you been awake?"
"Uh... a few hours," Setsuna sheepishly admitted. "I woke up just after dawn to practice, and then I took a shower and had breakfast."
With an annoyed sigh, Konoka flopped back down onto her pillow. The day was already half over and she had yet to spend some quality time with her girlfriend. However, she couldn't just lie down and be annoyed with herself, not when she could still make up for lost time.
"Secchan, come take a shower with me."
"Eh?" Setsuna asked, watching as Konoka disentangled herself from the covers and sat up. The swordsman's eyes widened as the sheet that covered Konoka bare chest slipped and she quickly averted her gaze, blushing furiously. "I-I already had a shower this morning."
Smirking at the growing pink tinge on her girlfriend's cheeks, the mage lazily covered herself up again and repeated her request. "Then take another one. With me this time." As Setsuna mumbled something about how taking one shower each morning was more than enough, Konoka stifled a laugh and decided to employ a different tactic upon her girlfriend.
"You mean you don't want to take a shower with me?" Konoka asked, pouting her lips slightly, knowing that Setsuna would hardly be able to refuse her when she acted this way. "Come on, what do you say?" the mage asked, gently planting a single, gentle kiss on the swordsman's slightly parted lips.
"...let's go to Evangeline's room," Setsuna murmured in a low voice, already beginning to guide the other girl toward the undying mage's bedroom. "Her bathroom has the biggest shower in the whole resort."
Konoka and Setsuna took their time as they made their way to the shower, immersed in their own world, lost in a tantalizing waltz of soft kisses and gentle touches. The frenzied pace of last night, one that had been fueled by an urgent desire to finally explore the other's body, had now calmed to a much more sensual, much more pleasurable pace—not that last night wasn't pleasurable. However, now Konoka took her time undressing her girlfriend, enjoying Setsuna's blush as each article of her clothing was removed and tossed behind in their wake.
"Kono-chan," Setsuna murmured as she shed the last bits of her clothes. With Konoka running a stream of kisses along the underside of her chin and down the length of her neck, the mage's body pressed fully against her back, Setsuna reached into the shower and fumbled unsuccessfully to turn on the hot water, blinded by Konoka's touch. "Argh, hold on," the swordsman, groaned reluctantly. With a look of disappointment, Konoka pulled away as requested and Setsuna finally managed to turn on the water.
"Way to kill our momentum," Konoka complained lightheartedly.
Setsuna giggled as lukewarm water ran over her fingertips. "I can't believe you're still so in the mood after everything we did last night," the swordsman mused, turning her head to catch a glimpse of the mage standing behind her.
"Are you kidding?" Konoka asked. She stepped forward and pressed herself against Setsuna's back again, causing a noticeable tremor to run through the swordsman's body. Konoka brought her hands to her girlfriend's soft skin and began to tickle Setsuna's defenseless body with her roaming fingers. "I'll never get tired of this."
"I seriously doubt that," the swordsman said in between giggles. She caught Konoka's hands within her own, halting the mage's teasing. "I bet in a few years from now, I'll be begging you for sex," she predicted, suddenly spinning her girlfriend around without warning and grabbing the mage from behind, embracing her closely within her grasp.
Konoka let out a small squeak of surprise by the swordsman's sudden movements. However, what surprised her more than Setsuna's actions were her words. The phrase "in a few years from now" repeated itself within Konoka head, setting off an explosion of thoughts. Was Setsuna already thinking about their future? Did she envision something long-term about their relationship? She gasped again as the swordsman's tongue danced playfully against her collarbone, just at the base of her neck, eliciting an approving moan from Konoka. However, she couldn't let go of her current train of thought just yet. The idea that Setsuna imagined them together "in a few years from now" warmed her from head to toe, almost obliterating the worries she had been having about their future.
Then again, did Setsuna really mean what she had said? For all Konoka knew, Setsuna might have spoken impulsively. Perhaps she was reading too much from her girlfriend's words?
"Kono-chan?" The sound of her name pulled Konoka back to reality and she quickly realized that Setsuna had halted her kisses. "You're not already tired of this, are you?" Setsuna asked, nervously attempting to joke with her distracted girlfriend. "Should I start begging now?"
With a small scoff, Konoka cast the swordsman a lopsided smile. After quickly berating herself for not paying attention, she reached for Setsuna's hands and reassuringly held them within her own. "There's no need to beg. Not ever," Konoka promised, knowing that she would never tire of their intimacy. "You believe me, don't you?"
"I don't know. Should I?" Setsuna asked teasingly. However, despite the playful suspicion in her voice, Konoka instantly noted her girlfriend's genuine uncertainty. The mage smiled warmly at the suddenly insecure girl in her presence. Despite how much Setsuna had grown and changed over the last few months, the swordsman still lost her confidence from time to time when it came to Konoka. With this knowledge in mind, Konoka gently placed a hand beneath her girlfriend's chin, tenderly guiding Setsuna's lips towards her own in a soothing kiss.
"Yes, you should," Konoka whispered after breaking their kiss. "But I wonder if I should convince you if you still think otherwise?" she wondered out loud, circling around her girlfriend. After a quick check of the water's temperature, Konoka stepped into the shower and under the cascade of falling water. With a mischievous twinkle in her eyes, she bit her lower lip and cast the swordsman a shy, seductive smile.
Setsuna froze and simply gawked at the sight of her extremely attractively, extremely wet girlfriend. "You know, it's not polite to stare," Konoka scolded gently, snapping Setsuna out of her reverie. She held out a dampened hand to the other girl and issued a single request. "Come here." Not needing a second invitation, Setsuna hopped into the falling surge of water and toward Konoka, closing shower stall's door behind her.
"This is... a little revealing," Konoka thought to herself as she checked her reflection in the full length mirror that stood in the corner of Evangeline's bedroom. The mage had just finished putting on the last of her two piece bathing suit, yet another gift from Setsuna, and was now trying to figure out exactly how little of her body was actually being covered. She pulled at the tiny bit of swimsuit covering her hip and let it go with a resounding snap, amazed at how well it fit her. Despite the scant nature of her swimsuit, it was the perfect size, which surprised Konoka since Setsuna had never asked for her measurements. "Perhaps Secchan has been checking out my body a little closer than I thought," the mage mused with a giggle.
"A-are you dressed yet, Kono-chan?"
Konoka looked away from her giggling reflection and turned in the direction of the bathroom. She tilted her head curiously at the sound of Setsuna's hesitant voice, but responded nevertheless. "Yeah, I'm done putting on my bathing suit. Are you done, too?" she asked, aiming her question at the closed door. A moment of silence followed before Setsuna answered.
The mage continued to look at the closed door and waited. After several moments, when it was obvious that Setsuna wasn't planning to enter the bedroom any time soon, Konoka approached the bathroom and knocked on the door. "Come on Secchan," Konoka playfully called to the other girl. "Get in here! I want to see how you look in your bathing suit!"
"Maybe we shouldn't go swimming today. Do you want to do something else, maybe?" came the swordsman's hopeful reply. "
Konoka bit back an amused smile and took a step away from the door. "Secchan! I order you to get in here and show me your bathing suit. Now!" the mage demanded, prepared to use all of the clout that her birthday offered her. Through the closed door, she heard the swordsman groan a bit before giving a reluctant response.
"Fine... but you can't laugh!"
"I promise I won't. Just get in here!" With her hands clutched together in child-like anticipation, Konoka held her breath as a furiously blushing Setsuna finally opened the door and emerged from the bathroom. The mage quickly ran her eyes over the swordsman's body, first taking in the sight of her lovely, scantily clad girlfriend from head to toe, then toe to head, and finally from head to toe again, this time allowing her roaming eyes plenty of time to examine her girlfriend's... rather exposed areas. Setsuna continued to blush under Konoka's gaze, nervously awaiting a verdict from the gawking mage.
"K-kono-chan..." Setsuna waved her hand slightly, trying to catch the other girl's attention. The mage's face appeared rather dazed to the swordsman, but one look at Konoka's eyes and Setsuna knew that the mage was simply captivated by... by whatever she was currently looking at. As much as the idea that Konoka liked to look at her scarcely covered body delighted her, Setsuna was a little too self-conscious at the moment to enjoy the mage's rapt attention. "Kono-chan!" she called loudly, this time causing her girlfriend to jump and finally look up at her.
"Oh, yeah, y-you look great!" Konoka stammered. The mage swallowed and managed a weak, sheepish grin at the other girl. She had been a bit caught off guard by Setsuna's appearance in her revealing swimsuit, one so revealing that it actually rivaled the tiny suit that she was currently wearing. Konoka swallowed again in order to control her uncharacteristic stuttering and gave her insecure girlfriend a reassuring smile. "I promise, you look wonderful." Taking Setsuna by the hand, she led the other girl to stand beside her in front of the full length mirror. "These bathing suits look really great, Secchan. You have excellent taste."
"Well actually, Asuna-san helped me pick these out," Setsuna admitted, casting Konoka a lopsided smile.
"Eh? Really?" Konoka asked.
"Yeah, I thought it would be better to have a second opinion for this kind of stuff."
"Then, Asuna chose this?" Konoka wondered, tugging gently at her bathing suit.
"No, that was all me," Setsuna said, smiling proudly at her girlfriend. "Asuna told me to pick something that I really wanted to see you in, and I did."
The mage laughed at this and smiled warmly at the other girl. "I guess that explains why this is so incredibly revealing," Konoka giggled, causing the swordsman to blush. "Then does that mean Asuna picked out yours for you?" she asked, still clueless as to how the swordsman had ended up with such a revealing bathing suit as well--not that Konoka minded that Setsuna was just as exposed as she was.
"Well... yes and no. At first, Asuna told me to pick something that I wanted to wear, so I picked a one piece and Asuna smacked me in the head." Setsuna paused to allow her girlfriend an brief giggle before continuing. "After she made me put back my first choice, she told me to pick something that you would want me to wear."
"You showed her another one-piece, didn't you?" Konoka asked with an eyebrow raised in amusement.
"Y-yeah," the swordsman responded sheepishly. "Asuna-san and I argued about it for a while, and after we were done I ended up with this," she finished, motioning at her revealing two-piece bathing suit.
"Well remind me to thank Asuna later," Konoka said, stepping forward and placing her hands gently on Setsuna's hips. "Because I think you look amazing," she murmured. "Actually..." She quickly looked over her girlfriend again and frowned slightly. "...maybe too amazing. Um, promised me you won't wear your bathing suit in front of anyone but me, okay?"
The swordsman suppressed a snicker and cast her girlfriend a playful smirk. "Only if you promise not to wear yours in front of anyone else either," Setsuna replied, and the two girls shared an understanding smile.
"Hold on tight," Setsuna warned as she dove off the side of the observation deck. With Konoka clutched securely within her arms, the pair soared down the impossibly tall resort and toward the tiny beach below. Konoka shrieked with cheerful laughter as Setsuna's wings gracefully carried them down through the air and into a safe landing upon soft sand.
Once Setsuna gently set her on the ground, Konoka turned and took in the sight of the water before her. She was simply amazed by how blue the waves were. The mage wondered momentarily whether this was a lake, or a sea, or an ocean, but then chose not to dwell on the technicalities. The bottom line was that she had never seen a body of water as perfect as this and she couldn't wait to swim in it.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" Konoka asked, turning back to look at Setsuna.
"You're beautiful," Setsuna responded, pausing in the middle of setting up a beach umbrella to deliver the corny reply. Despite the cliché nature of her response, Konoka smiled anyway, knowing that Setsuna meant what she had said.
"Come on! Let's swim! Let's swim!" Konoka cried, her eyes sparkling with excitement as she dove on top of the beach blanket spread on the ground and looked up at her girlfriend. Setsuna gazed down at her with a bewildered but amused expression. However, rather than give into the mage's pleading, Setsuna calmly planted the umbrella into the sand and lay down on the large beach towel.
"I think I feel like taking a nap," she announced, unable to conceal a grin after hearing Konoka's outraged groan. "Not all of us slept in late this morning," she reminded, drawing a relenting pout from the mage.
"It'll be a quick one, I promise," Setsuna said, rolling over onto her stomach and folding her arms beneath her head. "Besides, it's too hot to swim right now," she mumbled, closing her eyes.
"Yeah," Konoka agreed grudgingly, sidling closer to her girlfriend to join her under the umbrella's shade. The sun was beating down rather furiously upon them, and the mage decided that it swimming right now probably wasn't a good idea. However, after that thought crossed her mind, she suddenly remembered something and reached into the bag. After a moment of rummaging, she pulled out a bottle of sun block and opened it. "Secchan, let me rub this on you."
"Eh?" the swordsman mumbled, not bothering to open her eyes. "Rub what?"
"Why? I'm not even in the sun," Setsuna argued sleepily.
"This is for later, when you do go out into the sun," Konoka said reasonably.
Opening a tired eye, Setsuna glanced up at the mage, who was eagerly holding the bottle of sun block in her hands. "You're not going to let me take a nap, are you?" she grumbled good-naturedly.
"Come on..." the mage whined, suddenly finding herself in a playful mood. "Don't you know that it's a tradition for couples to rub sun block on each other when the go to the beach?"
"It's fine," Setsuna said, closing her eyes again. "I can rub some on myself when I wake up."
Konoka puffed her cheeks out indignantly, annoyed that Setsuna wasn't giving in to her wishes. Yes, she was aware that she was acting rather spoiled at the moment. However, how often did she and Setsuna get to spend time alone together on the beach? This was a rare opportunity to play with her girlfriend, and she wasn't about to take "no" for an answer.
"Come on, please?" Konoka asked. "I really want to do this. Don't you know that there are guys who would kill to be in my place? It's every guy's dream to be able to rub sun block on a body like yours."
"Hm..." Setsuna wondered with her eyes still closed. "I don't know about 'every guy', but I can think of one girl who obviously has that dream."
Konoka smirked and punched the swordsman lightly on the arm. "Are you going to let me do this or not?" she asked with a slight whine in her voice.
With a hefty sigh, Setsuna opened her eyes and appraisingly looked at her girlfriend for a moment before closing them again. "Well, if only to fulfill the wishes of a birthday girl..."
"Yes!" Konoka cried, beaming with the glee. She squeezed the opened bottle that she held and produced a palm full of the cold lotion into her hand.
"Make it quick," Setsuna instructed as her girlfriend moved to her side, "because I still plan on taking a nap."
"Mmhm..." the mage responded vaguely. She placed her hands on Setsuna's back and began to rub the sun block onto her skin. Konoka smirked as the swordsman jumped slightly at her touch, no doubt due to the coldness of the sun block. "How could I possibly resist teasing her?" Konoka wondered as she allowed her hands to trail lower and lower down Setsuna's back...
"H-hey!" Setsuna protested, unable to suppress a shriek as Konoka's dexterous fingers began tickling her most sensitive areas. She gasped as her girlfriend suddenly jumped on top of her and straddled her hips, pinning her to the beach towel under them. "What are you--" the swordsman tried to ask, squirming beneath her girlfriend, trapped and forced to endure the playful torture. "See?!" she demanded between laughs. "I knew you were going to do something like this!"
"Yeah? And what are you going to do about it?" Konoka taunted as she ran her slick fingers along Setsuna's body, sending her girlfriend into fits of laughter. However, she underestimated Setsuna's strength and was helpless as the swordsman easily flipped herself over and managed capture Konoka by the wrists. In one fluid motion, Setsuna somehow reversed their positions so that Konoka was the one her stomach being forced to the ground.
"Okay, payback time," Setsuna declared with a rather dangerous tone in her voice, one that Konoka wasn't sure that she had ever heard before. The swordsman was now straddling her waist, gently but firmly keeping Konoka's arms pinned down with her knees. "You shouldn't have messed with me," the swordsman airily declared, squeezing an excessive amount of sun block into her hand. She purposely let a large dollop of the cold substance fall onto Konoka's mostly back, causing the mage to squeal.
"No wait, I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" Konoka cried, struggling against Setsuna's firm hold upon her.
"No way. You got to put lotion on me, so now I'm returning the favor." Setsuna explained reasonably, smearing the cold sun block onto Konoka's skin. "Don't even forget the fact that you interrupted my nap," the swordsman added, speaking loudly to be heard over the mage's uncontrollable shrieks of laughter.
They spent several more minutes locked in a slippery battle for the sun block. In the end, they both found themselves overly sun blocked and extremely exhausted. For that reason, Konoka finally relented and allowed Setsuna to have her nap, joining in as well. It wasn't until some time much later into the afternoon that Konoka finally woke up. The blazing beams of the afternoon sun had calmed to a less intense glow, pleasing a groggy Konoka who was more than ready to go for a swim. She slowly sat up and lifted her arms to stretch out her body, groaning in mild frustration as her bathing suit began to shift and reveal parts of her body that should have been covered.
"Jeez, I might as well just take this off," Konoka muttered to herself, fixing her bathing suit.
"Then take it off."
"Eh?!" Konoka jumped. She quickly glanced down at her girlfriend, who currently had her head buried in her arms, surprised that Setsuna was awake. "I was being sarcastic," she responded, smirking at the swordsman's seductive suggestion.
"I wasn't," Setsuna murmured, smiling slyly, sitting up with a tired expression.
"Hm..." Konoka mused, "you know, I might do it if you go swimming with me right now."
"Huh? Might what?" Setsuna asked, instantly becoming awake. She quickly flicked a curious expression at her girlfriend and lifted a disbelieving eyebrow. "You're kidding, right?"
Without a word, Konoka merely stood up and started heading in the direction of the shoreline. As she walked, she cast an impish look back at Setsuna and reached over her shoulder, tugging at one of her bathing suit's strings and untying it slightly, but not enough for her top to slip off completely.
"You know, maybe I do feel like taking a swim right now," Setsuna announced, hurrying toward the water to catch up with Konoka.
By the time that Konoka and Setsuna had finally tired themselves out from their day at the beach, the sun had begun to sink below the horizon. Konoka, now wearing a pair of shorts and t-shirt over her recently dried bathing suit, huddled under a blanket beside her girlfriend and enjoyed the sunset from their place on the beach. Once the sun finally disappeared, however, Konoka found herself suddenly being led back up toward Evangeline's resort.
"Eh? Where are we going?" Konoka asked as she followed blindly after her girlfriend. Without an explanation, Setsuna was now dragging her up the spiral staircase that ran around the outside of Eva's resort. The mage shivered slightly as a light wind brushed against her exposed skin.
"You'll see," Setsuna promised mysteriously, hurrying up the steps at a quick pace.
"Jeez, we're climbing all the way back up to the observation deck, aren't we?" Konoka groaned. "Can't we just fly up there?" The mage asked, rubbing her free hand against her arm in an attempt to warm herself.
"We could, but we'd be really early if we reached the top right now," the swordsman vaguely explained, still continuing up the stairs. "Are you getting tired?"
"No," Konoka said, shaking her head. "Just a little cold."
"Cold?" Setsuna asked with a sly smile. "If you can wait until we get upstairs, I promise I'll warm you up."
"Couldn't you just warm me up now?" Konoka asked, smiling sheepishly as she shivered.
With an indulgent smile at her girlfriend, Setsuna gently tugged on her Konoka's hand, pulling her up so that they stood on the same step. The swordsman stepped forward, bringing the mage closer to her body, and wrapped her arms around the other girl before flying them up to the top of the resort.
Once they landed, Konoka quickly noticing a sleeping bag had been set up in the middle of the observation platform again. "Huh..." Konoka trailed off. "Something about this scene looks familiar. Are we doing an encore presentation of last night's main event?" the mage boldly asked with a mischievous smile.
Setsuna laughed and shook of her head. "Keep your clothes on. We're not doing anything like that tonight."
"Oh really?" the mage asked, raising an eyebrow in surprise. "Then what are we doing up here?"
"Well since we're early, I guess what we're doing is warming you up while we wait," Setsuna murmured, taking her girlfriend's hand and leading her over to the center of the platform where the sleeping bag lay. She sat down on soft material and gently tugged on the mage's hand, motioning Konoka to join her.
After they were both comfortably settled side by side on the sleeping bag, Setsuna leaned over the other girl and placed a soft kiss against Konoka's lips, waiting to see what Konoka's reaction was before continuing. In a rather aggressive move by the mage, Setsuna found herself forcefully being pushed down onto her back, pressed beneath a very insistent Konoka. Quickly, the mage began to deepen their kiss, propping herself upon her arm in order to steady herself. Using her free hand, Konoka's fingertips slid down Setsuna's waist and began to tug at the waistband of the shorts that the swordsman wore.
"Hey, wait. Calm down," the swordsman murmured, instantly reaching down to brush away Konoka's hand from her shorts. Through the darkness, she smirked up at her girlfriend and carefully rolled the mage off of her so that they could lie beside each other again. "I told you, this isn't a repeat of last night," she reminded with a trace laughter in her voice.
"Sorry, I couldn't help myself," Konoka responded with an equally noticeable ring of laughter. She rolled onto her side in the darkness and reached out toward Setsuna, draping an arm across the other girl's waist, pulling their bodies closer together. "But if not for sex, do I finally get to know why we're up here again?"
"Just look up and wait for it," Setsuna whispered mysteriously. "I think it's almost time."
"Look up and wait for it?" the healer wondered, gazing up at the sky. With an audible gasp, she looked up and realized that she was staring at a completely pitch-black sky. The star-strewn heavens that had stretched out above her last night had disappeared, instead replaced by this bare stretch darkness.
"Secchan, what am I--" looking for, she had wanted to say, but was cut off by a gentle "shhh..." from the other girl.
"I know you'll love this, so just wait for it," Setsuna promised. Even with the lack of light, Konoka could see that the swordsman's eyes were fixed on the sky above them. Obediently, Konoka did the same, waiting like she was asked. However, as she waited, Konoka found herself inching closer to Setsuna's warm figure. Though she didn't want to admit it, she found the pitch black sky to be a little unnerving. Silently, she removed her arm from across Setsuna's stomach and wrapped it around her girlfriend's arm, clinging to it tightly.
"It's okay," Setsuna whispered soothingly. With her free hand, she pointed up at the sky just as an enormous explosion of color appeared overhead. "Look."
Konoka's eyes widened as she stared at the shower of sparks that burst forth from the initial explosion. Before the red stars of light could disappear completely, another explosion occurred, this time showering the sky with golden light. "Fireworks!" the mage whispered excitedly as a spectrum of colored sparks appeared against the black sky.
"Nope, it's magic," Setsuna corrected, turning her head to look at the girl lying beside her.
"Eh? Really?" Konoka asked, her eyes fixed upon a new explosion.
"It's sagitta magica", Setsuna explained, still gazing at her girlfriend. She smiled as she noted how beautifully the bursts of magical light were reflecting in Konoka's eyes. "Actually, it's a lot of delayed sagitta magica. Negi-sensei helped me set this up a few nights ago."
"No way... Delayed sagitta magica?" the mage asked incredulously, tearing her attention away from the color-filled sky. "But if Negi-kun did this a few days ago, he must have delayed these spells by thousands of seconds..."
"Yeah, 86,400 seconds for every day before this moment. Negi-sensei's a really talented mage, isn't he?" Setsuna said with an admiring smile for their child teacher. "He spent an entire day at the resort just setting off delayed spells while Asuna-san and I calculated the time delays. Sensei called it a good practice for all of us since he got a magical workout while Asuna-san and I practiced our math."
"How... how could you guys have done all this for me?" Konoka wondered out loud, gazing in awe at her girlfriend as the sagitta magica continued to manifest overhead. "This must have taken so much time, so much planning, so much effort..."
"We knew that when we thought of this, but we were able to do it because we love you. When Negi-sensei and Asuna-san were helping me set this up, they never once complained about how much work this would take. The only thing the regretted was that they wouldn't be able to watch this with you." Setsuna gently explained. "They really wanted you to enjoy watching this, so don't disappoint them," the swordsman added with a smile, moving closer to her girlfriend so that Konoka could rest her head on Setsuna's chest as they watched the magical display.
"I won't," Konoka murmured softly, gazing up at the brilliantly lit sky. She quickly wiped away the half formed tears of gratitude and reached out for Setsuna hand, finding it easily in the darkness, and entwined their fingers. "How could I not love something as beautiful as this?"
"Was this a good birthday?" Setsuna asked softly, enjoying the warmed that Konoka's body provided.
"No, excellent birthday," the mage corrected, still transfixed by the sagitta magica.
"I'm glad," Setsuna admitted, heaving a great sigh of relief. "This whole week I've been worrying about whether or not everything would go as planned, and whether or not you'd actually enjoy being here with me."
"Are you kidding? I enjoyed today so much that this was probably the best birthday I've ever had. More than that, this was the best day I've ever had. A perfect day," she added, drawing a smile from the relieved swordsman. "But... I wish we could stay here forever," Konoka whispered.
"I do too, but we can't," Setsuna whispered back, her voice barely audible over the magical explosions. The swordsman understood that Konoka didn't want to go back to the real world where her worries about their future could no longer be pushed aside. However, like she had said, they couldn't stay here forever. Sooner or later, they needed to return to reality. "We can't stay here forever, but I promise we can do anything you want when we get back to school."
"Yeah, anything you want."
"Would... it be okay if we went back to your room and slept?" the mage asked hesitantly, casting a sheepish grin at the other girl.
"Eh? Really?" Setsuna asked, surprised by Konoka's question. "But it'll only be 11 o'clock. Are you already tired?"
"No, it's not that. I just wanted to fall asleep on the night of my eighteenth birthday with my girlfriend in my arms," Konoka explained, smiling fondly at the other girl.
"You know, I think you already got to do that last night," Setsuna smirked, remembering the events that had occurred last night.
"Well indulge me a bit," Konoka insisted, squeezing Setsuna's hand. "If you're going to give me more than one birthday night, then you have to sleep with me on all of them."
Setsuna snorted loudly upon hearing this, causing the mage to giggle in amusement. "Alright," the swordsman agreed, "since you make such a great point, I'll sleep with you once we get back to my dorm," the swordsman promised, lapsing into silence as the two of them continued to watch the colorful display of magic.
Word Count: 8173
Authors Notes: I'll write up my author's notes some other time because I'm far too tired to do it now. XD Before I go though, I'd like to thank saihatsu, CrimsonWhisper, Icarisain, Little Wolf 713, The Ansem Man, nanaimoanimefan, Wicked Disgraceful Knight, Anonymous C., Darkfumae, EvySilverFox, fan-rei, LunarMiko07, Hasabusa, racheybooh for all reviewing Perfect Night, the prequel to this fic. I hope you all enjoyed it. :D