Title: The Chains That Bind

Rating: M

Disclaimer: Kannazuki no Miko, its characters, locations and story are copyright to Kaishaku, etc. I am merely borrowing them. All other aspects, including original characters, are copyright to me.

Note: I have changed a few aspects of the story and also mixed a few concepts from both the manga and anime.

Chapter Note: I know it's been an awfully long time since I updated this but I've been concentrating on other projects. I guess I lost motivation for this entirely. However, I refuse to leave this half-finished so I shall continue with it. Besides, I put a lot of thought into the story. Heh. Hope you enjoy this installment.

Chapter Thirteen

"You need to try and be a little nicer to people," Klavdiya muttered playfully as Rei lowered her onto the bed. She winced as pain shot through her body, feeling as though it originated from every pore. She forced herself to stay upright and glanced at the girl beside her who sat down as well, causing the bed to shake ever so slightly. She sat quite close to her and Klavdiya couldn't help but smile. Rei had been quite protective over her outside the building, she found that endearing.

The raven-haired student seemed to ignore her statement, instead leaning in a little and peered at her face. "How are you feeling now?" she enquired, her thin eyebrows drawing together with concern.

"Better," she lied. She took the opportunity to cup a hand under Rei's chin, pulling her face closer to hers. She pushed her lips against the other girl's, smiling into the kiss when she saw dark eyes widen in shock. She pulled away before deepening the kiss. "Even better now," she grinned.

Rei sat there frozen for a few moments, unsure of what to do or say. Finally, she narrowed her eyes slightly, burying the blush that had worked its way to her cheeks. She pulled Klavdiya's hand away and held it loosely. "Don't try to distract me, Klava. Are you going to tell me what's going on?" she almost growled.

Klavdiya's grin faded immediately and she looked away, straightening as she did so. Well, that was irritating. It hadn't taken Rei very long at all to catch onto one of her most successful techniques. Successful in the past, at least. It was quite uncanny how attuned to her the Saiin had become in such a short space of time. A part of her found that a little worrying. "I... don't know," she answered, not really lying but choosing to be more specific in her reply. When it came to some events recently, she didn't have a clue as to what was going on.

She felt a warm hand slide against her cheek and pull her so she was facing Rei once more. The hand lingered there, causing the flesh to tingle. "You don't know why you're sick?"

Klavdiya sighed. "No," there was no point in lying about it to Rei, she surmised, as she seemed to be able to tell when she was being evasive anyway. "It just... happened," she admitted quietly.

Rei's gaze dropped for a moment and she seemed lost in thought, dark strands of hair falling in front of her face. She then looked up into Klavdiya's eyes once more, her hand dropping to rest over her wounded arm. "And this?"

The Russian followed the hand's journey. "Line of duty stuff," she mumbled, suddenly feeling uncomfortable with all the questions. She wasn't used to being on the receiving end of them. Rei's hand dropped to her own side and she noticed the younger girl's shoulders slump a little. "I'd rather you didn't hear the details, Rei," she tried to soothe her.

Rei lifted her head and peered at Klavdiya out of the corner of her eye, as if determining if she was being truthful or not. Finally, she turned to fully face her once more. "You don't trust me?" she asked hesitantly and it made Klavdiya internally flinch.

"I hardly know you..." she trailed off upon seeing the hurt expression in those dark eyes. Perhaps it hadn't been the best thing to say but it was the truth. Rei abruptly stood and turned to make for the door. Klavdiya reached out, grabbing her wrist, a pain shooting down her arm from the exertion. "But I'd like to," she continued, causing the angry girl to freeze.

Klavdiya pushed herself to her feet and tugged on the wrist a little, forcing Rei to face her fully. The younger woman's features were contorted in a mixture of emotion. She felt slender arms slip around her waist and she stiffened in surprise as Rei wrapped herself around her. It felt as though it had been eons since she was last held like this and she found herself drawing a blank as to what her next action should be. As the Saiin nuzzled into her chest and caressed her back with shaking hands, a warmth filled her and she felt the need to return the embrace.

Finally, she lifted her arms and wrapped them around Rei's shoulders, drawing the other woman's body closer to hers. She relaxed into the embrace and allowed herself to indulge the warmth in her chest, smiling at the sensation of it. She felt her body start to sway a little from the weakness she had been feeling and she guessed Rei had sensed it too as she pulled back and looked up at her face. Concern furrowed her brow and she pushed Klavdiya back towards the bed, carefully lowering her to it once more.

She smirked up at the Saiin suggestively and watched in amusement as a fresh blush coloured her cheeks but she merely gave her a stern look that suggested she wasn't going to fall for any of her impertinence right now. Klavdiya restrained the chuckle that wanted to burst from her chest. Rei certainly had gotten all too used to her mannerisms already, it was as if she'd known her for much longer. She continued to stare at the raven-haired beauty as she glanced from the bed to Klavdiya, probably considering the best way to get her into it.

Something drew the brunette's attention to the window and her head shot around as she peered at it, eyes widening. She couldn't see anything yet a sense of danger had creept over her. It was an instinct she'd come to rely upon in the past. She stood shakily, ignoring Rei's complaints and moved over to the large chest in the corner of the room. She fumbled with the lock on it, her weary body protesting the slightest movements.

"What are you..?" came Rei's voice.

"Shh," she silenced the Saiin, finally prying the lock off the chest. She didn't want to reveal its contents to the other woman but she had no choice, she knew there to be danger nearby. Pulling back the lid, she attempted to angle it so Rei wasn't given a clear view to its interior.

She reached inside and closed her fingers around the cool metal pole of a tall glaive but she hesitated. No, there's no room for that. Releasing her grip, she reached downwards instead and picked up the sheathed sword that lay beside the glaive. The brunette heard a gasp from behind her and she cursed her luck. This was going to be hard to explain. She pulled the weapon from the chest and slammed the lid closed, her hand relishing the familiarity of the weapon. The scabbard was an intricately designed piece with etched symbols that depicted several scenes from her past.

She slowly turned to face Rei, bracing herself for the barrage of questions, her senses on high alert. The Saiin didn't speak though, she only stared at Klavdiya in disbelief, her eyes firmly rooted on the weapon. The brunette withdrew the guardless blade from the scabbard and allowed her sword arm to drop to her side and relax a little, her gaze now on the window.

"Y-you're...?" Rei stuttered, not able to finish her question.

Klavdiya glanced back at her, an eyebrow raised in query. "I'm what?"

The Saiin raised a shaky hand and pointed towards the weapon. "I've... I've seen..." The other woman shook her head, apparently frustrated at her incoherency. Klavdiya couldn't figure out what it was she was trying to say but she had a bad feeling about it. Something wasn't right here and she knew something was amiss with Rei as well.

Before she could ask the other woman further, an ear-shattering smash caused her attention to snap back to the window. Each of her muscles tensed in readiness as she recognised the figure that had flung himself through the window. Katayama, the katana-wielding goon that had attacked her before, rolled across the floor, the sounds of shards of glass crushed beneath leather filling the air. He halted in a crouched position, dropping down to one knee, his sword raised to point at her.

Klavdiya surged forwards, his proximity to Rei making her rush the attack. She swiped diagonally across him with her blade but he easily parried it, lifting his form and taking a step backwards. He quickly moved to the offensive, his skill with his weapon quite impressive to Klavdiya. She had more experience though. Though her sword didn't have a guard, she was still able to deflect each of his attacks. On the third blow, she met his blade with hers and struck out with the scabbard she still held in her other hand, the sheath meeting with the side of his head and making him keel to his left.

Before she could press her advantage, she heard something loud ring out and then pain hit her right shoulder, the force of it causing her to lurch forwards and tumble to the floor. Shocks of agony surged down her arm and torso. She grimaced and tried to keep the grip on her sword but her body's previous weakness was proving to be a problem. She shouldn't have missed the second man behind her front door in the first place. She glanced back and watched Umari step smugly through the threshold of the room, a bullet sized hole visible in her door.

Rei was visibly shaking and she just stared in horror at Klavdiya, frozen to the spot. The brunette struggled onto her knees, panic gripping her as she thought of the danger the Saiin was in. She clenched her teeth to stop from crying out in pain. Katayama had recovered from her attack now and he brought the tip of his katana level with her head, making her halt immediately. Her gaze went from him, to Umari, to Rei and back again. The gunman looked the Saiin over with one of his obnoxious grins, lingering over places that made Klavdiya want to kill him all the more.

"Quite the taste you have, Aeon," the use of that word made her freeze, her blood feeling as though it was turning cold. How did they know? Were they responsible for what was happening to her? Who were they? At her shocked expression, Umari's grin widened. "Yes, we know."

"How? Who are you?" She snarled through the waves of pain.

The young man snickered which only fuelled her anger. "You'll find out soon enough. Katayama..." He motioned with one of his weapons to his companion.

Before she could look back at the swordsman, she felt a jolt of pain at the back of her neck and then her body slumped forwards to the ground. Soon darkness crept in around her and the last thing she heard before succumbing to it were Rei's cries.

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Himeko clasped her bag to her stomach as she walked, her feet tapping quietly off the paving, her head tilted downwards slightly causing blonde strands of hair to fall across her features. She was lost in thought for the umpteenth time that day and not even Chikane's regal presence beside her withdrew her from it this time. She couldn't help but think of the incident that morning, that surge of power she had felt. It chilled her yet made her feel so completely elated at the same time. What could it possibly be? She hadn't found the right opportunity to broach the subject with Chikane yet either so she had been left to muse things over on her own.

Chikane had, of course, noticed her almost constant state of distraction throughout the day though and had repeatedly asked her what was wrong. Having not found the timing appropriate she had just denied that anything was wrong and continued on with her day. Now that they were walking up the path to the Himemiya mansion, Himeko was starting to feel a bit fidgety, her thoughts weighing heavily upon her. Chikane glanced at her, an eyebrow quirking when she noticed Himeko's nervous state.

"Himeko..?" She queried softly.

The blonde's head shot up and she almost felt trapped. She hadn't quite figured out how to explain it to Chikane yet but now she'd have to tell her something or the other girl would worry. "Y-yes?"

A little crease formed in between the taller girl's eyebrows when her expression turned to concern. "What's wrong?"

Himeko's grip tightened around her satchel's handle and her gaze turned to the ground. Now she found herself thinking she shouldn't bother Chikane with this but something told her it was important somehow. She realised her companion had halted on the path and she stopped also to look up at her. The other girl's brow had furrowed further and her lips had parted as if she was about to say something.

"Have I done something wrong perhaps?" Chikane asked, her voice filled with uncertainty.

Himeko quickly shook her head, her eyes widening. "No, of course not!" she reassured her girlfriend. "It's just... I..." She faltered when she tried to find the words necessary to explain what had happened earlier in the day. Chikane stepped closer and reached up a hand to rest upon Himeko's upper arm, silently urging her onwards. The blonde took a deep breath, Chikane's touch calming her instantly. "When we came across Rei-chan and that woman earlier and I tried to help... I felt something."

Chikane tilted her head to one side in a questioning manner. "Felt something? What do you mean?" she asked, clearly not understanding Himeko's words.

The blonde pressed her lips together firmly as she thought, trying to find the words to explain what she meant to Chikane. She dropped her gaze to the ground, eyeing both of their shoes. It didn't help that she didn't really understand it either. "I just felt as though there was something different about that woman. That perhaps something is wrong. I don't know, it's hard to explain, Chikane-chan."

A reassuring squeeze of her arm brought her attention back to Chikane's face and she saw a small smile there. "As odd as it sounds, I know what you mean. I felt something was off about her too, although I can't pinpoint a reason for that," she explained and Himeko felt a huge surge of relief at knowing she hadn't just imagined the whole thing. "I'll look into it, if you'd like. If it'll ease your mind."

A smile spread across Himeko's face and she nodded. "I don't think she's a bad person or anything but I'm worried for Rei-chan as well," she said quietly.

Chikane turned a little and hooked her arm through one of the blonde's, tugging on it slightly so they both fell into step beside one another. "You are really too kind, Himeko, but I find it adorable," she murmured with a smirk, her eyes never leaving Himeko's face.

A blush spread across the smaller girl's cheeks and she looked away at the compliment. A warm, comforting sensation filled her chest under Chikane's intense gaze and she felt as though she could live there, enjoying its haven. She felt the urge to wrap her arms around the other girl and feel their bodies pressed close together but knew that this was not the place nor the time for that. She wondered if they'd ever have the opportunity to be away from all the prying eyes of maids and staff or if they'd have to be continually reserved around one another.

Her raven-haired companion led them up the stairs of her estate and into the main building, where a maid was waiting. After muttering a few pleasantries, they were left alone in the entrance hall and Chikane found herself holding an envelope the maid had given her. She glanced at Himeko, an eyebrow raised, before looking back at the dark scrawl on the front of the envelope. "This is Otoha's handwriting," she said, distractedly.

"Hadn't you better open it then?" Himeko suggested, not understanding why she hadn't opened it yet. If it had been her, she would have ripped it open in a bout of intense curiosity. "I can go to my room if you want to read it alone," she added, the thought of privacy occurring to her only then.

Chikane glanced back at her. "Don't be silly, I want to share everything with you now," she said with a grin. "It's just odd for her to write me a letter and not be here to greet me herself." With a shrug, she peeled open the envelope with great care and Himeko marvelled at the way she did it without even tearing the white paper. Two slender fingers reached into the envelope and slid out a single sheet of cream paper. As she unfolded it, Himeko could see the same black ink filled the page in forcefully neat handwriting. Chikane tilted the paper towards Himeko so both of them could read it and the blond leaned in closer to get a better look.

Ojou-sama,

My apologies for not being there to greet you after your day at school but I have had to attend an important matter at your father's behest.

One of the new maids overheard two police officers speaking this morning about the incident in the woods and I feel I should inform you

of what she heard. According to one of the men, the vile murder was, in fact, the doing of a cult and that this wasn't an isolated incident.

As you can imagine, this shook me up greatly and I felt I had no choice but to contact your father about it. This is his estate, afterall,

and he was the one to employ me. Forgive me if it seems I have broken the bond of trust between us but I think only of your safety.

Your father was, rightfully, upset at what had occured on his land and ordered that you be taken to safety at once. I am, at this time,

making arrangements and this is the reason I can not be with you right now. Your father suggested that you stay with him in Tokyo

for the moment, until it is safe to return. Due to your attachment to Kurusugawa-san, I feel it only right that she be allowed to

accompany you. I will inform you of the precise details upon my return.

Again, I apologise for any sense of betrayal my actions may have caused but my priority is to ensure you are well and unharmed.

Himeko blinked a few times at the letter, her eyes never leaving the signature scrawled at the bottom of the page. She couldn't make out what word it was supposed to form but she guessed it was Otoha's name. Several thoughts swirled around her mind and none of them pleasant. If there really was a cult in the area, hard as that was to believe, how many people had they killed? Were the police right? With the proximity of this murder, was Chikane in danger? And then there was the proposition of Chikane going to Tokyo. Even though it appeared she had an invitation to go as well, could she really afford to drop her school work? She frowned slightly, the thought of leaving Chikane's side a far worse prospect.

"Himeko?" came Chikane's soft, questioning voice.

The blonde jumped a little at the sound of her name and looked at her companion, trying to clear her mind. A reassuring smile greeted her but she could see the worry behind those eyes. She quickly slipped her arms around Chikane's waist, catching the other girl by surprise, and pressed herself against her soft form. She instantly felt welcoming arms reach up and encircle her and all the worries that had clouded her mind faded away. She hoped this had the same effect on the other girl.

"I'm not going anywhere," Chikane murmured in a firm yet soothing tone, seemingly catching the thoughts that had previously plagued Himeko's mind. The blonde tightened her grip on Chikane's waist, feeling the other girl lean against her in response. She rested her cheek on the taller girl's chest and a soft pressure on the top of her head told her Chikane had placed a kiss there. She couldn't help but smile at the sensations she felt. Chikane always had a way of making her feel safe, no matter the circumstances.

She pulled back a little and looked up into Chikane's beautiful eyes, the smile still firmly planted on her face. She watched as the other girl's expression turned from adoring to sultry over the course of a few seconds and she could tell Chikane was having problems resisting the urge to kiss her. Himeko's eyes flickered from Chikane to the stairs and back again and the taller girl seemed to pick up the hidden meaning there, a smirk pulling at one corner of her mouth. She slipped out of the embrace and tugged on Himeko's hand, leading her to the staircase.

Himeko's stomach fluttered with a mixture of excitement and nerves as she allowed herself to be pulled, step by step. They soon found themselves on the landing above and Chikane paused to glance back at the blonde. Himeko smiled reassuringly at her, instinctively knowing that the other girl was just as nervous as she was. It was odd thinking of "Miya-sama" being apprehensive at all but it comforted her, knowing she wasn't the only one feeling like that and that she could actually pick those feeling out from behind Chikane's demeanour.

Then they were on the move again, the taller girl leading them along corridors until they reached the room they had slept in the night before. Chikane released Himeko's hand and pushed down on the door handle, easing the door open quietly and motioning with a sweep of her arm for the blonde to enter first. Himeko couldn't help but grin at her display and slipped into the room, noting the bed had fresh sheets and the room was spotless. The maid's did a good job, she had to admit and she found herself wondering if she could ever do these tasks up to the same standard.

She heard the click of the door behind her and it was joined by a second clicking. She turned to investigate and found Chikane smiling sheepishly back at her, her hand on the lock for the door. She returned the smile and walked towards the bed, setting her satchel down beside it. She heard footsteps and then the warm sensation of arms slipping around her waist before the softness of Chikane's body was pressed against her back. She leaned into the embrace, trying to memorise each and every sensation that coursed through her. Moist lips found her neck almost instantly and she shivered at their touch.

"Himeko..." came a breathy murmur at her neck accompanied by a short burst of air across the skin. In only a short time, Chikane had awoken every nerve in Himeko's body, the slightest movement from the girl behind her causing a myriad of sensations to stir within her. She lifted a hand to caress one of the arms around her waist, her touch causing Chikane's hold on her to tighten. And then she found herself being turned in those strong arms and a heated kiss pressed to her lips. Her mind whirled, the feeling of those lips moving against hers causing her pulse to quicken. She gripped the front of Chikane's uniform with both hands, clinging to her as she felt her knees begin to weaken.

All too soon, the other girl pulled back and Himeko opened her eyes to look up at her. An unspoken message was held within those blue orbs and Himeko found she didn't need to say anything for Chikane to have her answer. Desire and adoration swirled within their depths and she felt as though she was drowning in that gaze. A palm was pressed into the small of Himeko's back as Chikane leaned down for another kiss and the blonde knew that nothing else would matter tonight, just the two of them.

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END OF CHAPTER

Author's Notes:Okay, so it's not as long as I'd have liked but it seemed like a good place to end it. Now, the question is... do I do the full scene after this point or just the important parts. Hmm. I don't want to lose sight of the plot, you see. Heh. I'm just glad I got this finished, finally. Half of it has been sitting on my hard drive for months. Meep. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it anyway. :)