Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Trinity Blood. (sob)

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Puppy Love

Looking back, Ion knew he should have suspected something like this would happen.

It had been raining—complete with the lovely thunder and lightning—and he'd heard knocking over the chaos. The sight that had greeted him when he had actually opened the door was one to behold—Esther, completely soaked to the bone, with a small black puppy in her arms.

"I do want to keep him," Esther murmured as she ran a hand through her still wet hair, watching the puppy hungrily gobble up some leftovers Ion had managed to dig up, "but the palace has a strict code about pets…"

Ion shrugged before kneeling next to the small animal, gently running his hand down its back. The puppy's tail wagged at the contact, but it didn't lift its head from the food. The pale-haired Methuselah could see the puppy's ribs, could see how dirty the fur was.

"Nothing seems wrong with it…"

"Him."

"Eh?"

"It's a boy."

"… Ah."

Some part of Ion wanted to smile, just because it was so like Esther to pick up a poor wandering puppy off the streets. "Nothing seems wrong with him," he said, and Esther's eyes glowed slightly at his correction from 'it' to 'him'. He ruffled the puppy's ears before rising. "He just seems like a hungry little scamp… where'd you find him?"

Esther frowned, smiling in thanks when Ion took a towel and began to dry her hair. "He was just wandering around in the street; I didn't want to leave him out there, it's cold and wet and he could've been run over…"

"What are you going to do with him?"

"I don't know." Esther leaned down as the puppy, done with his food, wandered over to her, sniffing her fingers. "I don't want to just leave him at the shelter, that seems cruel… I'd love to keep him, but Mary has a thing about dogs…"

As Ion lifted the towel away the red-haired young woman fell silent, obviously running over possible homes for her four-legged friend. The puppy yipped and trotted over to Ion, whining softly; unable to resist, he knelt down and scratched the dog behind his ears.

The pup was obviously not a purebred dog; most likely he was just a mutt, born and bred on the city streets, but his personality was sweet, Ion mused as he scratched and was thanked with a quick lick. He was getting rather fond of the little guy himself.

"Do you think Asta would take him?"

One arched eyebrow from Ion was her only response; Esther sighed and closed her eyes, leaning back in her chair. "Stupid question," she murmured. "Forget I asked."

Satisfied, Ion nodded quietly.

Food in his belly, and content with the amount of attention he'd received from his two companions, the puppy walked to a corner of the room and curled up in a tight ball, burying his nose into his tail. He yawned and was asleep in minutes.

Esther had a pretty good idea of who she hoped would take the dog, but she wasn't sure how her choice would react to it; delivery was everything, so she cleared her throat nervously. "Eh, Ion?"

"Yeah?"

"Do you think… maybe… you could take him?"

Silence.

With even more silence.

Esther shifted uncomfortably. "I was just wondering," she muttered at last. "You can say no, if you want."

He wanted to. He almost did. He was so close

… But he took one look at those downcast blue eyes, blue eyes that weren't meant to be dull and dim, and sighed, mentally cursing his lack of willpower concerning one red-haired young woman with a heart that was much too big for her body.

"I'm getting rather fond of the scamp, actually," he admitted, kneeling down next to the sleeping pup and stroked his head, scratching the side of his neck; the pup's paws twitched and his tail thumped against the ground in approval. Ion looked up at Esther, smiling sheepishly. "And sometimes it gets kind of lonely coming home to an empty house after traveling." He shrugged. "So I figure… hey, why not?"

"Does that mean…?" Esther's eyes began to glow hopefully.

"Yeah."

Some part of Ion couldn't help but wonder what he was getting himself into—he'd never had a dog in his life, ever—but as he was thinking this he failed to notice that a big grin had broken out on Esther's face, which would have been his warning.

Sad to say, since he was paying no attention to the above mentioned grin, the warning didn't come to him.

The next instant he yelped as she hugged him tightly. "Thank you, Ion!"

He flailed his arms and managed to keep his balance, one hand braced against the wall while the other wrapped tightly around Esther to help maintain said balance. Unfortunately, the pup chose this time to rise and stretch. Curious as to what all the ruckus was about, he wandered over to the pair, lifting his head.

Whining softly, he nudged Ion's chin. A perfectly innocent gesture…

… Which only served to push Ion's head forward the few precious centimeters needed so his lips met Esther's.

They both froze.

Esther's eyes widened comically and she blushed, but didn't pull away; Ion's brain had decidedly died on him, as he gazed back at her and made no move to pull away as well.

After a few seconds they jerked apart as though they'd been burned, Esther still blushing and Ion's brain still apparently dead; the pup looked between them and yipped cutely, tilting his head to one side and wagging his tail.

The little scamp.

"You planned this, didn't you?" Ion grumbled, glaring at the pup, who just barked happily. Esther giggled, stifling it behind her hand and swallowing hard.

A long moment of silence stretched.

"Eh… Ion?"

"What?"

"… I think maybe we should try that again."

"HUH?"

Esther shrugged, though her blush was returning with a vengeance. "Just a thought, you know because in all those movies—you know, the ones with the dogs?—the boy and the girl kiss a little longer than that, so I just—"

Whatever she was planning to say after that was interrupted as Ion kissed her again; her eyes widened slightly, though notably less than before, before slowly closing as she leaned in to the kiss.

From where he sat, the dog wagged his tail before prancing back to his bed and curling up in a tight ball, leaving the pair to each other.

Little scamp.

The End

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I always wanted to write something with Esther, Ion, and a puppy, but this didn't quite turn out as I thought. Oh well. (sweatdrops)

Read and review, please!