A Warm Feeling

Summary: After returning Ruby's soul to her Body, Jio reflects on how she makes him feel.

Disclaimer: I do not own O-Parts Hunter. (It sounds better in Japanese.)

Standing alone on top of the Big Orphan, Jio stared blankly at the changing landscape as it passed by. They had just passed over top of the ruins of the main base of the Stea Republic. After escaping from Zenom's base, they had decided to make a tactical retreat, running as fast and as far away from Zenom as possible. However, neither one of his eyes was really paying attention to what he was seeing.

Like many other men, Jio completely lacked the ability to multi-task. There was no focus or concentration in his eyes. The dull sheen of his glossed over eyes were indicative of that. No, all of his attention was currently focused on a certain angel in his thoughts.

"Ruby," he breathed. It had been like this for a few days now. Every night after everyone except the assigned pilot, usually Amidaba, went to sleep, Jio would sneak out and scale to the top of the Big Orphan to collect his thoughts. His room was a not an option due to its constricting size and proximity to Ruby's room.

Perhaps it was due to containing her soul for the past four years, but Jio felt an immense… closeness to her. It was a feeling that he was completely inexperienced with. He had never felt so close to anybody. Not Jin. Not Mr. Wick. Not Mrs. Basil.

It made him feel warm inside, especially when she was around and smiling. When she wasn't around, the warmth lingered, and Jio felt an inescapable impulse to find her and be close to her. He simply did not understand what he was feeling. So he had sought council.

Just the other day, he had questioned Cross about the feeling. He had figured that because Cross was an Angel, he might be more familiar with such warm feelings. Despite being a creature of divinity, Cross had been no help at all. He had simply smiled at him knowingly and reminded him that even though they were traveling companions, they were not friends. Merely two people who needed to use each other.

Ball had been absolutely no help either. Jio figured that since he had a relatively normal childhood, much unlike his own or Cross's, he would know the feeling for sure, but when he had described the feeling to him, Ball had immediately become very smug and ran off to find Mei, telling him to stay exactly where he was.

When he returned, he was pulling Mei by the hand. He then proceeded to tell him that Mei was probably the best person to talk to. Mei had jerked him by his right arm (the one that didn't have a relation to Satan) while Ball had muttered something under his breath about Ruby and nice round things. Jio caught Ball's eye and Ball winked at him. Confused, Jio had just attributed it to Ball's weird obsession with round things.

Mei, although infinitely more helpful than Ball or Cross, had made him feel extremely uncomfortable. The entire time they had talked, she had a strange, glittering look in her two visible eyes. She had explained to him that Ruby made him feel warm inside because she was his closest friend. Maybe even more than that. She had said that it was because of Ruby that he was who he was today. Then she had hugged him and left him to stew in his thoughts and confusion.

Afterwards, Kirin had approached him and given him a very simple explanation for his newfound warmth. They had talked a little bit about what had happened during those missing four years and then Jio had asked him about why he had the warm feeling. He had said very simply, "You missed her, that's why." He had then offered him a pickle, which he had flat out refused. However, what puzzled him the most about his encounter with Kirin was that when he had left, Kirin had whispered in a soft tone, "Good luck. That particular encounter had been earlier this morning. Now, after reflecting on everyone's words, he understood. He was in love with Ruby.

Just the thought of it was foreign to him. He had never been shown love as a child, and therefore had grown up ignorant of the wonderful feeling of knowing that you love someone and are loved in return. But Ruby...

She had shown him the unconditional love of a friend. Even from the very beginning, she had wanted to help him. She had been there with him always, rooting from the sidelines. She had prevented Satan from being unleashed, several times in fact. She had sacrificed herself to recover Jio's own soul when Satan had taken over during his battle with Cross, knowing that it could be forever. And he loved her for it.

And that, was why he developed a warm feelin inside him whenever he saw or heard or touched or even thought about her. That was also why he was so confused. He had absolutely no idea what to do.

Deciding to try again later to figure it all out, he pulled a familiar ring off its position on his right wrist. Shifting his feet into a long stance, Jio drew back his right arm, then let Zero R fly. Jio watched as the small circle flew in a wide arc around the ship, and then extended his right arm again to receive it. As soon as the boomerang entered into his range, another arm suddenly reached out to grasp hold of it.

Jio followed the arm Zero and was greeted with a familiar smiling face. Always smiling. "Ruby," he breathed, "what are you doing here?" The angel handed him his O-Part and smiled even wider. She locked her hands behind her back and turned around. "I heard from a certain former Stea Commander, that a certain boy has been thinking about me quite a bit. So naturally, I wanted to find this boy and discover the reason."

Jio swore under his breath. Damn that Cross, he still had no idea what he was supposed to do. Luckily for him though, the decision was out of his hands. Sensing his unease, Ruby smiled broadly. "I knew it! You do like me." As she made her declaration, she began to do a little jig on the top of the ship.

Jio felt an unfamiliar warmth in his cheeks. Curious, he touched his face, trying to see if there was anything wrong with it. Oddly enough, there were no bumps or bruises or anything to indicate something out of the ordinary. He was so deep in thought, he didn't even notice Ruby until her hands were on his hands and her face was six inches away from his. Jio shot her a look of inquiry. Ruby closed her eyes and sighed deeply. "I'm glad," was all she said before she tenatively pressed her lips to his.

Jio was so surprised with Ruby's actions that it took him a full five seconds to begin kissing her back. When he did, he leaned into the kiss deeply and wrapped his arms around her waist, lifting her slightly off the ground. He wasn't sure how long it lasted, but when they broke apart, they were both grinning wildly. Ruby took a step away from him and held out her hand. Taking it gently, his grin grew even wider while she led him back inside the ship.

The warm feeling has never left him.

A/N: Thanks for reading. Someone seriously needs to add more stories to this category, because there are way to few stories on