Hakuhei Shugi (Close Quarters)

Part 2/2
Nothing hit the floor the second time she walked out of her bedroom wearing a pair of sweatpants, a bra, and not much else, but it was entertaining watching him rescue his Japanese History notebook from its plunge into the—thankfully empty—sink.

"Why don't you look at me like that when I'm wearing a bikini?" she teased. Coming out half-naked got easier with time, maybe. This time, when she linked her fingers and stretched her arms over her head, arching her back just a hint, she watched his eyes actually bulge. Oh, huh. Neat. "It covers a lot less than this, you know."

He jerked his gaze away from her and stared rather pointedly at a point just over her head. To her disappointment, when he did that, the sizzling look that she was growing very fond of cleared from his eyes… somewhat. "I am…" he stopped, swallowed, and tried again, "I am aware of that, but… why would I? The beach is a public place, and many of the girls wear bikinis. I do not understand the inclination for exhibitionism, but it seems to be standard attire." He blinked down at her for just long enough to meet her gaze before beginning his search for nonexistent cobwebs on the ceiling again. "You would be very angry if I stared at them, would you not, Kaname?"

Kaname closed her eyes. Then squeezed them shut, for good measure. It was an unholy miracle that no-one had caught on to his cluelessness and told him that a Speedo was "standard attire." "Sousuke… then… why… you… looking… but…" She shook her head. She didn't really want to know… did she? "That doesn't explain… oh, never mind."

"If you are referring to me looking at you in an, uh, appreciative manner, Kaname," he glanced at her, just out of the corners of his eyes, as if she were armed and speaking in Russian. Except knowing him, maybe he spoke Russian. "We are in a private location now. You are very beautiful, and it is…" his eyes dipped from their position pointed over her head for just a millisecond before snapping back upwards with almost tangible force, "…um…very nice, looking at you." He paused, and gave her a rather wary look. "Are you… offended? You seemed to be… encouraging me, earlier, but…"

She had to admit… when Sousuke said that she was beautiful, like that, it made her feel beautiful. He often said it in such an offhand fashion—like it had never occurred to him that she might be anything else. "Well… I'd be more offended if you didn't look," she confessed, taking a tentative step towards her very own idiot. Heck, she had been plenty offended that he never seemed to give her so much as a second glance on the beach, even when she was wearing the teensiest, weensiest, most uncomfortable little bikinis that the swimsuit shop had.

It just so figured that he had his reasons, and apparently the control of a Buddha.

All he said was "…I see," but the way his gaze slid lower—not a quick jerk, this time, a slow runner of a look, almost a caress—was so much better than words.

Some of the people they both knew, casual acquaintances mostly, complained that Sousuke would have been handsome, if he ever acquired an expression that wasn't… deadpan. They would be very surprised, she thought, to witness the way he could just, well, lick someone up and down with nothing more than the appreciation in his gaze. And then they would be very dead, because she never wanted Sousuke looking at anyone else like that.

"I'll be even more offended…" it was fun, walking towards him—she'd long suspected that he'd been trained to automatically keep all movement in his line of sight, and watching the way his eyes flickered, as if he wasn't sure what part of her he wanted to look at first, was… absurdly delightful. "If you don't…"

He gulped—she wasn't sure if that was an effect of her walking towards him or the threat of offending her, but, well, she chose to believe it was the sway of her body, the flick of her hair from side to side. "If I don't…?"

Kaname stopped, and propped her hands on her hips. Oh, no, she was not going to be doing all the work. If he wanted her… "If you don't come over and put your hands on me again, Sagara Sousuke," she tried for bold and sexy—hadn't it been so easy, earlier?—but her own voice sounded thin, and shook a little at the end of his name.

So much for bold and sexy.

There. There, she'd said it. And thank all the gods, a moment later, he was there—he'd moved quickly enough that she'd barely had time to blink, much less breathe, and she gasped in surprise when he slid his arms around her, slipping them underneath the thick curtain of her hair. The heat of him, the delicate leashed strength when his hands brushed her sides but pressed no further… she didn't know if it would ever stop surprising her. She didn't know if she ever wanted it to stop surprising her.

"I would not want you offended," he murmured—but this time, he was smiling.

He had one hand resting, warm and rough, on the curve of her hip—she liked that, especially when his thumb teased lightly just over the waistband of her sweatpants; his hands were callused coarse, but they were gentle on her skin, and cozy. Kaname's lips parted on an involuntary sigh when he pulled her just that few inches closer, and his other hand trailed up her spine, leaving tingling shivers in its trail.

Mmm… he'd held her before, of course, and hugged her, but there really was something to be said about the feel of his touch on her bare skin. She heard her own breath snag as he trailed his fingers up her back, down it and up again, sliding just under her bra strap until her lips parted… and then sliding away, back to those sparkling, fleeting caresses. Over and over and over, slow cycles tracing over her back—now his fingertips, now those palms in broad strokes, how was it even possible that he was so unaffected by this…?

Kaname snuck a swift peek downwards through her lashes—and just as quickly jerked her gaze back up to the safe, innocent, nonbulging line of his scarred cheek.

All right, maybe it wasn't possible that he was so unaffected… and the thought of him… down there… and… and… oh, my.

She'd been waiting for this for so long… if she left him to his own devices, who knew how long these maddening little touches would continue? Minutes? Months?

It was, Kaname decided, time to take matters into her own… hands, no matter how bad a pun that seemed just at this particular moment. She'd make it simple for him—she gently tugged free of the tingling, delicate web of sensation that those little caresses were weaving around her, and reached backwards for the pesky clasp that had started all this nonsense…

And found his fingers shielding it from her touch.

"That is not… necessary, Kaname," he murmured, his voice a half-octave husky.

Kaname stifled a little sound of disappointment. "But Sousuke, you're… I mean, down there, you're—" Okay, even if she'd just blurted it out, even her throat stuck on that—and she was frankly amazed that that much blood could rush to his face and still leave him any left for… well… the rest of him.

"Ah… um… I cannot help that, Kaname," he admitted… though not without somehow managing to flush even more scarlet than he'd been just moments earlier. "You are… well. Yes. But it is still not necessary for you to undo your… um."

Okay, maybe they were going a little fast, and… she didn't want to rush him, either, right? Right? Right? she scolded her jumping, skittering, dancing-in-a-chorus-line hormones. Yes, maybe he was being too careful for her tastes—and after all these years, too!—but him pressing her for anything she wasn't comfortable doing would have lead to a thorough beating in the past. Kaname liked to think that she could compromise… at least sometimes. When it was convenient. And didn't lead to collateral damage or apartment remodelling.

At least he'd figured out that she liked being touched. And she'd figured out that for all his reticence, he liked touching—and, more importantly, he was good at it. This was good. This was very good. She'd be seeing him naked in no time at all.

And wasn't that just a thought to make her breathless with anticipation…?

Still, it wasn't like she was going to pass up an opportunity to tease him—not after this much progress! Kaname dragged up a chuckle, and leaned into his chest again, sliding both hands over his shoulders… one up his throat… and over to trace his lips with a finger. "What is it, Sou-su-ke?" she purred, and heard him gulp. Maybe he was starting to recognise that tone… she certainly hoped so. It was harder work than it looked like, trying to sound… sexy. "You want to undo it yourself?" Tough-as-nails sergeant doesn't want to own up to getting beat by a bra?

She'd just been teasing, of course, but his answer took her thoroughly by surprise. "Affirmative!" His gaze slid away from hers when she blinked at the crisp enthusiasm in his voice. "Ah… is the… mission… that you proposed still in effect, Kaname?"


It took a long moment of entirely-too-sluggish thinking to remember exactly what her personal military maniac was referring to.

Chidori laughed, soundlessly, and found herself… blushing. For a minute, she'd imagined that his enthusiasm was for the damned mechanistics of the damned undergarment again, and had entertained the briefest moment of fantasy of showing him how effectively a bra could be used to strangle oblivious men.

Considering that she'd been about to take the thing off herself, she would have thought that the answer to his question would have been glaringly obvious, even for him… but, well, she didn't really mind. Not knowing that he was actually interested in more than the bra itself. "Mmmm." She pretended to think about it, tapping a finger on the firm blade of his shoulder. She didn't actually think he'd figure out the clasp today, which would cause some delays, but… she could wait. And cater to that stubborn pride of his, just this once. Maybe she'd have to pick up some of those bras which had just one hook—what was the point of extra support if the thing was just meant to… vanish, after all? "Okay."

"Ah. Good," he replied—much to her delight, sounding decidedly, well, fierce—and leaned down to cover her mouth with his.

Sousuke didn't kiss her like this very often—mostly only when they managed to make it out of some genuinely life-or-death situation. Still, when he did, he was a really exceptional kisser—as meticulous in it as he was with everything else. In fact, he was good enough that on more than one occasion, she'd entertained thoughts of getting into trouble, just to get him to give her more than his cursory, sweet little pecks on her cheek. (Not really. Okay, well, yes, really.)

She didn't know how anyone could manage to still be totally proper while kissing the life, breath, and remaining sanity out of a girl, but it was so oddly erotic, the way he did it—the inches of space between them, the only points of contact between them where their lips touched, where his hands held her body, her fingers at his nape, her forearms on his shoulders… at least at first. If the way he nipped and glided and licked hadn't turned her brain to liquid and sent cocoa trickling sweet and hot down all of her nerves, she'd have been vaguely insulted by the fact that kissing didn't make his knees go all limp and noodly. She somehow always ended up plastered over him. But then, he was a soldier, after all, and Sagara Sousuke besides. She doubted anything short of a rifle shot made those stubborn knees give out.

And besides, what with everything that was happening between them… she could only imagine what that mouth would feel like… elsewhere. Maybe everywhere.

Kaname heard herself moan softly at the throb of heat, leaning into him, into his strength and his embrace, and only upright mostly because she knew that sliding down him to the ground would definitely pull his mouth away from hers. She had the briefest moment to wish that he'd hold her a little more tightly, rather than just having one hand at her waist, one hand resting just across the band of that pesky bra strap—

Then he did something with that one hand—a little twist, maybe. There was a sound a little like he'd just snapped his fingers behind her—but the shhh of cloth sliding across cloth was that much louder to her ears. Kaname's mouth fell open against his as she felt the bra catch come open, the straps snapping loose to dangle by her sides, and the cups suddenly much… looser… than they had been. "Wh-what—"

"Mission accomplished," he replied, smugly.

Start: April 20, 2007
End: April 21, 2007

A/N: I couldn't help it. I just… I was walking home the other day from an exam, and I just… had to. The idea of Sousuke foiled by a bra was just so… so… so classic, and after endocrinology and immunology, I wanted to be silly, darn it. So excuse the transparency of the plot devices—I needed stress relief. -sheepish-

白兵主義, (hakuhei shugi) by the way, actually means the strategy used in fighting hand-to-hand, or at close quarters. 白兵 literally means a sword out of its sheath. -is shot-

And for all of those who are thinking, "Whaaat? No matter how talented Sousuke is, there's no way any guy can undo a bra with one hand!"

Yes, they can. That's all I'm going to say about that. -laugh-

And as to how exactly Sousuke figured out how to undo a bra, much less with one hand… you can use your imagination, or you can ask me. -laugh- I couldn't figure out how to believably work it into the flow of the story.