Disclaimer: I own neither Mai-HiME, nor any of the characters in this fic. To be honest, that's probably a good thing, as if I did, it would have taken place in Canada, and I'll leave it to your imaginations what Shizuru's accent would have been then.

Author's Note: And I'm back! New story starting up here, but it's a direct continuation of What Dreams May Come. If you haven't read that one yet, you're likely going to be very lost. You've been warned. As for the titles of the fics… what can I say? Shakespeare is quite quotable. The themes of the stories don't exactly fit with the context of the quotes, but the essence of the quotes themselves works well enough.

Unlike the last story, there isn't a single solid arc I'm planning out here. This one is mostly just about Shizuru and Natsuki's developing relationship, and whatever happens along the way with them. I do have some ideas for arcs within this story, and I bet you can guess the first one. As anyone who's read the previous story knows, there's one very important event coming up for Natsuki, so I'll try not to keep you in suspense too long.

I'm starting the rating of this fic off at M, though there's nothing explicit in this chapter. There will be soon enough, though, so there's no point in keeping it lower until then, especially since I'm expecting you've read through the explicit scene in the last story before now. Anyways, enough noting, and on with the fic!

Title: Perchance to Dream

Rating: M

Chapter 1: Within Her, Without Her

Hey there, I guess. This is my first time keeping a journal, so I don't really know how it all normally goes. Gah, I kind of feel like I'm talking to myself here; I need to try something else. Okay, how about this? I'll just pretend I'm saying this all to Shizuru. She's probably going to end up finding this and reading it at some point anyways, no matter how well I try to hide it, so it makes some sort of sense.

Alright, then. Shizuru! Shame on you for reading my journal without my permission! I demand you put this away and submit yourself to me for "punishment" immediately. What are you doing still reading this? You couldn't be afraid of what I might do to you, could you? You do realize I put "punishment" in quotes up there, right? That means that since I was expecting you to do this, you're acting just like the Fujino Shizuru I've grown to love, and I feel like showing my love to you. Aha, there we go, that got you.

I really do love you, Shizuru. It feels so good to finally be able to say that. And what we did last night, too, I have to say that I enjoyed that a lot as well. I liked seeing the great Fujino Shizuru with all her barriers broken down and surrendering herself completely to me. I liked having you completely at my mercy, responding to my every touch. And I loved bringing you to the heights of pleasure. I'd really like to do that again sometime, and I'm not sure I can wait until Friday. I guess I don't really have to, though. After all, Friday is just when you were going to return the favor for me. Nothing says I can't give you another favor in the meantime.

I wish you were here right now, Shizuru. I'm bored out of my mind, to be honest. That's why I started writing this in the first place; it's something to do to pass the time. Heh, interesting how quickly my thoughts drifted back to you. I really am in love, aren't I? Thank you so much, Shizuru, for letting me feel this. I wish I could just spend the rest of the day doing nothing but being in love. Maybe if you were around, I could. Why did you have to leave again? It seems like we both took it for granted that you'd have to go home at some point today, though I'm having my doubts.

Okay, now I'm scaring myself. We've been a couple for less than one day, and I'm already thinking about us moving in together. Let's worry about that later, okay? For now, let's just spend as much time together as we can. I'll call you up as soon as I get home from school tomorrow, and maybe we can do something then. I guess, maybe like a date or something… Wait a second, did I just have sex for my first time before my first date? Er, kinda. Half of sex, I guess… Okay, we're definitely going on a date before we do this again!

And now I'm all nervous about our first date. Damn it, why do I keep doing this to myself? And when you're not around to enjoy my frustration and blushes at that? Maybe I'm just mentally compensating for the lack of you being here doing that to me. Wait, that's worse, it means I actually like it when you do that to me… Okay, now I'm hoping you really don't find this, or you will be punished. Stop laughing at that!

Okay, I'm going to stop writing now before I say anything even more embarrassing. I'll surf the internet for the rest of the evening or something.

Why does this keep happening to me? Is there some great cosmic law that Natsuki must get tied up at least once a month?

Natsuki tried to count the times this had happened to her as she waited for her captor to make an appearance and explain this one. First, there was the lingerie-stealing Orphan, which had already embarrassed her more than enough, though fortunately it didn't take long for her to be freed from its grasp.

After that, it was two separate occasions by Nao, the first to lure out Mai, the second Shizuru. She'd been stuck there a lot longer than those times, and the fact that she'd just learned of her mother's betrayal of her and couldn't summon Duran just made things worse. She was practically catatonic by the time Shizuru had freed her both of those times.

How ironic then that her next experience with bondage was at Shizuru's own hands. When the chain of Shizuru's Element had broken through the bell that had fallen on her, it had constricted painfully around her. The shocking reminder of her previous experiences had left her stunned, even when Shizuru had released her and pulled her into an embrace.

She'd regained her senses in that hug, though. It was odd; she'd realized recently that she really enjoyed hugs, after all she'd recently shared with Shizuru. And yet being bound like this was quite a different matter, even though there was a similarity in the physical sensations. What was the difference, then? Was it the human contact in the hugs that made the difference? No, she'd never cared about that. Unless… it had been Shizuru every time recently, so maybe it was the contact with her.

As if on cue, Shizuru walked through the door to Natsuki's room at this moment. Seeing Natsuki tied down to her bed, Shizuru paused and raised an eyebrow. "Ara ara, what has Natsuki gotten herself into now?"

"Shizuru!" Natsuki said. Her arms instinctively tried to move out towards the girl, but the restraints on her wrists held them back. "I don't know, I just woke up, and I was tied down to my bed. Could you just untie me please, Shizuru?"

"Ara, now why would I want to do that?" Shizuru said. As she approached Natsuki, she was able to catch a devious glint in her eyes. She reached Natsuki's bed and bent over it, placing one hand on each side of her head as she moved her face down to mere inches away from Natsuki's. "I finally have Natsuki right where I want her."

"Heh, not funny, Shizuru. Now please get me out, okay?" Natsuki begged. She was desperately hoping this was all just a joke on the other girl's part. If it was, she was quite willing to beg her way out of it if need be. Revenge could wait until later. Now, she needed to be free. The restraints were starting to drive her crazy.

Unfortunately, Shizuru seemed to have already reached "crazy," and she was going for "evil" now. "But this way Natsuki can't stop me from doing whatever I want with her body. She did that to me a couple nights ago, it's only fair. And forgive me, but Natsuki is just too irresistible for me to be able to wait until Friday."

In any other position, Natsuki would have simply blushed at Shizuru's words, but now, they just made her afraid. She desperately jerked her arms against her bonds in an attempt to get free, but it was to no avail. She felt tears starting to leak from her eyes, and she hoped Shizuru would recognize her pain and call off her plans. "Shizuru, please…" she said, her voice starting to crack.

"Alright," Shizuru said, though her tone of voice did nothing to ease Natsuki's fears. "I won't keep Natsuki waiting for my touch any longer." With this she brought her face down to touch her lips against Natsuki's. Her lips started to move against Natsuki's, though Natsuki steadfastly kept her own lips stiff to tell Shizuru that she was serious about this.

Eventually, Shizuru gave up on their kiss, but she didn't give up on trying to arouse Natsuki. Her lips drifted to Natsuki's neck, trying to provoke a reaction in the girl from contact there. Given a chance to speak, Natsuki pled once more, "Please, Shizuru, not like this. I want you, but not this way… please…" Natsuki broke into sobs as she trailed off, and Shizuru fortunately seemed to give up on her neck.

"Alright then," Shizuru said, backing off from Natsuki. Her voice was dejected, but Natsuki wasn't in a position to care about the other girl's feelings. Natsuki felt the restraints on her arms and legs disappear, but she didn't wait to ponder the implications of this. She immediately brought her arms up to wrap around Shizuru, pulling the girl back into her.

As Natsuki sobbed into Shizuru's shoulder, the other girl's arms slowly circled around to return the hug. At this point, the fact that Shizuru was the one who'd tortured her so didn't matter to Natsuki. She needed the comfort that only her girlfriend could provide, even if she was the one who had made it necessary in the first place. "Please don't scare me like that again, Shizuru," she said.

"Please don't make me, Natsuki," Shizuru told her. Her voice had taken on a depressed tone, and her body had started trembling as she said this. "I really don't like hurting you like that."

Natsuki started moving her hands to stroke along Shizuru's back. She didn't know what had brought about the change in the girl's mood, but it was certainly preferable to her wanting to keep Natsuki tied up. "Then why'd you do it, Shizuru?" Natsuki asked. Part of her wanted to just comfort her hurt friend, but she needed to know what was going on before she could relax enough to do that.

"Because you dreamed that I'd do it, Natsuki. I don't know why, but that thought crossed your mind, and something in you brought it out so you could work through it here." Shizuru's body had stopped trembling, but her voice still seemed strained. "I wish you could just dream of happier things, Natsuki. I'd love to take part in those dreams."

Okay, this is definitely one confusing dream. Since when are my dreams self-aware, anyways? Natsuki gripped her arms onto Shizuru as she rolled onto her side. In this new position, she was able to back herself off a bit to look into the girl's face. "Who are you, really?" she asked, looking into the other girl's eyes to try to figure her out.

Shizuru quirked a smile at this. "Ara? Don't you recognize your girlfriend, Natsuki?"

"That's not what I mean, Shizuru!" Natsuki said. She really should have seen that one coming. With a mental sigh, she continued. "I know you look like Shizuru, but you're here in my dreams, and you seem more aware than any simple dream. Maybe I should have asked, 'What are you?'"

"Ah," Shizuru said. Her smile turned from mischievous to knowing in a heartbeat. Natsuki briefly wondered whether Shizuru actually used a greater array of smiles when around her, or whether she was just able to tell them all apart better than anyone else. Shizuru continued talking though, and her train of thought was derailed. "Well, I can answer that one. Over the last few days, you accepted your love for Shizuru, and you let her into your heart. I'm that little piece of her that you let in."

"Right…" Natsuki said. "I'll just have to trust you on that. So what are you doing in my mind anyways?"

"Oh, this and that," Shizuru said, winking in acknowledgment of her double entendre. "I'm still trying to find my way around, really, but I think I rather like it here. At least, when you don't make me play a role in your nightmares like this." Shizuru gave her a pathetic expression at this.

"Sorry about that." Natsuki apologized before she could catch herself. It seemed a bit odd for her to be the one apologizing, but she could never resist that expression on Shizuru's face. "But why am I having this nightmare anyways?"

"I think this is your mind's way of telling you you're afraid, and maybe trying to help you get over it," Shizuru said. Her expression softened into a sweet, loving gaze. She gave the impression with it that it was always there for Natsuki, and she just had to drop her mask to let it show through. She brought a hand up to cradle Natsuki's cheek. "You don't have to be afraid of me, Natsuki. I'd never do something like this unless I knew you wanted it."

Natsuki gave a slight nod at this. She brought up a hand of her own to hold Shizuru's hand against her face. "But you want it, don't you?" Shizuru gave a small nod, and a hint of sadness slipped into her eyes. "I think that's the problem. I'm afraid that I won't be able to give you everything you want."

Natsuki could see a tear start to pool in Shizuru's eye at this. When she spoke, her voice had softened, and love seemed to lace every word. "I've had so many fantasies about you, Natsuki. I don't think it would be humanly possible to fill them all. But by far the biggest one, the only one that really matters, was simply having you love me back. I have that now, and it's already more than I deserve."

Natsuki shook her head. "Don't play the martyr here, Shizuru. I love you, and I want to be able to give you as much as possible. I don't care if it's more than you think you deserve; you're getting it anyways."

"Natsuki is too sweet," Shizuru said, a hint of a blush rising to her cheeks. "But you're still afraid, aren't you?" Natsuki gave a weak nod. There was no point trying to lie and act strong here. "That's okay. I can try to help you with that. I'm not sure what all I can do, but I'll have plenty of time to fool around here in your brain and figure something out."

Shizuru started moving her hand against Natsuki's cheek, lightly stroking it. Natsuki removed her hand from its grasp to allow her more freedom, and she brought it over to Shizuru's cheek to return the favor. "Thank you, Shizuru."

Shizuru spent another moment stroking Natsuki's cheek, before she moved her hand to Natsuki's shoulder. "You can ask the real Shizuru for help, too, you know. I'm sure she'll be just as willing to help you out as I am. She can even do a better job than me of proving that you have nothing to fear."

"Yeah, but if I go to her, she'll tease me mercilessly about it," Natsuki said. She crossed her arms as best as she could in her position, trying to look annoyed.

Judging by Shizuru's expression, Natsuki came across more as simply cute to her. "Now come on, when have I ever teased you about the serious subjects?" Shizuru scolded, removing her hand from Natsuki's shoulder so she could give it a playful slap. "I've always been quite sensitive to that." She leaned forward, bringing her face to within an inch of Natsuki's. A mischievous glint appeared in her eyes, causing a pang of dread in Natsuki's heart. "Besides, I know what goes on in your mind. You don't mind it nearly as much as you let on."

A blush ran up to Natsuki's face at hearing this. "Oi! I do too mind it!"

"Oh really?" Shizuru said. "Then how come whenever I tease you, there's the same little flutter in your heart that you get when you think about how I love you?"

Natsuki rolled over onto her back out of spite. "Baka! I was wrong; Dream Shizuru is just as bad as the real thing."

"You should just be glad I'm not worse, seeing as I'm the one who's sure you secretly like it." Shizuru's voice had taken on a lustful tone. Apparently Natsuki's prior guess that she found Natsuki's discomfort and blushing somehow sexy was right on the money.

Natsuki rolled onto her other side out of further spite, leaving her back facing Shizuru. She couldn't think of anything clever to say in response, so she settled on an annoyed grunt. Of course, she realized a second too late that it was just this type of reaction that Shizuru was always trying to evoke from her. She started to mentally chastise herself for falling for it, but a thought struck her that held her back. If this was something Shizuru liked to see, maybe letting herself fall for it would be like a favor for her. Yeah, that should be a good enough excuse for constantly falling for her traps. I'll just assume I'm subconsciously doing it to please her.

It wasn't long before Natsuki felt Shizuru start to lightly stroke her back, a move she'd expected to be coming and now quite welcomed. Shizuru had apparently had enough of teasing now, and was just taking the moment to caress her girlfriend. Natsuki allowed herself to relax a little, no longer on her guard for further taunts. "Why do you think I'm so scared, Shizuru?" she found herself saying.

"Ara, I would have thought Natsuki would know quite well why she doesn't like being tied up," Shizuru said. Her hand continued its caresses, now lightly stroking its way down Natsuki's spine and sending shivers through her body.

"Not just that," Natsuki said. She felt like she should have been uncomfortable bringing this up, but the fact that she knew this was a dream seemed to allay her fears about talking about these things. "Even just… doing it… normally." It didn't do so much for her modesty, apparently.

"Ah, I see," Shizuru said. She was silent for a couple minutes more, and her hand stopped its motions as she thought. Eventually, it started moving again and she spoke. "To be honest, Natsuki, I thought it would be a lot harder for you than it was to open your heart up to me. But you did it, and it seems like you weren't even afraid of doing so. I think, maybe you naturally would have been afraid, but you pushed the fear away for my sake. This aspect of opening yourself up to me is just where it ended up."

Natsuki thought about this for a bit. It made a certain amount of sense. She always had had trouble letting people into her heart in the past. After her mother's death and the departure of her father, she'd been afraid to get close to anyone. She'd acted that way towards Shizuru for quite some time, and it was only in this past week that she'd put aside that fear completely. So maybe whatever part of her mind it was that made her afraid was now making up for lost time. It could be true, but it still didn't help her get over the fear. "Yeah, maybe, Shizuru. Even knowing that, I'm still afraid, though."

Shizuru's hand disappeared from her back, and Natsuki wondered what was going on until she felt Shizuru move on the bed to press up against her back. One arm wrapped over her, while another squeezed its way under her so she could grip Natsuki in a hug. Her head came up to rest on Natsuki's shoulder and she said, "That's alright, Natsuki. There's nothing wrong with being afraid. But we can push our way through this together your first time, and after that it should get easier."

Natsuki twisted her body around so she could face Shizuru, the other girl's arms relaxing temporarily to allow her to do so. "Are you sure you don't mind if I'm afraid?" she said. "You seemed to really like me being courageous."

Shizuru gave Natsuki a smile which seemed to be half mischievous and half loving, but was oddly comforting. "That was when you were in control," she said. "It'll be a quite different experience for both of us when it's my turn to pleasure you, and your courage will be a lot less necessary."

Of course. Natsuki returned Shizuru's smile to thank her for all the reassurance. "You're just as sweet as the real Shizuru, you know," she said. As soon as she saw the blush form on the other girl's face, she moved her head in to catch her in a kiss.

Shizuru was caught off-guard by her kiss, but it only took a moment for her to get into it. She started slowly moving her lips back against Natsuki's. The sensations Natsuki was experiencing were certainly enjoyable, but she couldn't help wishing it were the real Shizuru she was kissing. But surely this wouldn't count as cheating on her or anything, so Natsuki allowed herself to enjoy the kiss as much as she could. She tentatively brought her tongue out, prodding Shizuru's lips…

…and a piercing noise tore the world away from around her. Natsuki's eyes snapped open to find the culprit, her alarm clock, staring at her with what had to be malice for it to take her away from such a moment. She brought her arm over and slammed it to shut it up, mildly disappointed that she didn't manage to break it. Damn it. Just when it was getting good, too…

The first half of Natsuki's school day seemed to drag on forever. She had Geometry in the morning, as it was the class she ended up missing the most, being both the first class in the morning her previous year and the subject she was best at and felt she needed to attend least. Unfortunately, the fact that she'd aced all the tests and assignments didn't make up for the fact that she'd attended less than a third of the classes in the administration's mind, so she was now forced to sit through interminable lectures on all the laws and theorems she'd already committed to memory.

This left her mind with plenty of time to wander, while her ears were set to alert her in case anyone said the words, "assignment," "test," "quiz," "Natsuki," or "Kuga." Mostly her mind wandered over the state of her relationship with Shizuru, seeming to alternate between remembering the events two nights ago with embarrassment and anticipating those to come in four days with fear. When she started to worry that her constant blushes were drawing looks from other kids in class – a group mostly made up of delinquents who didn't at least have the excuse of trying to avenge their dead mothers and thus grated on Natsuki's nerves more than a little – she decided she'd best redirect the focus of her thoughts lest one of them get ideas. She didn't know exactly what ideas one of them might get, but given the crowd, it was a safe bet they wouldn't be good.

Natsuki tried to concentrate on what seemed to be a relatively safe subject: what she was going to do with her free time after school. Up until the end of the Carnival, she'd spent almost all of her free time either fighting Orphans, trying to track down other HiMEs, or searching for information on her mother. Now that all of those issues had been resolved – however much she might have wished it weren't the case given the truth about her mother – she was left with the problem of figuring how to actually have fun.

Shizuru had been a big help with that over the past week. Even if she might occasionally be embarrassed out of her mind, time spent with Shizuru was never boring. But she couldn't be around her every minute of her life outside of school. They did have their different homes to go to after all, and Natsuki was not going to let her mind drift to possibly changing that situation. At least yet. It wasn't as if she was ruling it out in the future, after all…

Natsuki violently shook her head, trying to rid her mind of the daunting prospect of living with Shizuru. The boy sitting next to her gave her an odd look at this, but her patented glare made him suddenly find his notes to be the most interesting thing in the world. With a grunt, Natsuki went back to her thoughts, taking care to avoid that particular subject. Getting together with Shizuru after school was still an option, though she'd need to think of things to do with her. Dinner some day was a given, as she needed to make sure she got her first date out of the way before her first time… doing that thing which would make her blush just figuring out a name for it.

"…quiz at the end of class this Friday, so be sure to study," Natsuki's ears caught from the professor, snapping her out of her thoughts. A chorus of groans passed through the room, though Natsuki didn't join in. She already knew this all, so she had nothing to fear from a quiz. She probably wouldn't even bother studying for it.

Natsuki had to suppress a giggle as the thought of studying somehow brought up an image of her being tutored by Shizuru, dressed in her old Kaichou uniform and relishing her role as Natsuki's teacher. That might actually be enjoyable, and it could be worth bringing up if she couldn't think of anything else she could do with Shizuru. Okay, so if she included a dinner date and whatever Shizuru was planning for Friday, that was three out of five days for the coming week accounted for. It still wouldn't occupy all her time, but she'd probably have homework to help fill in, and she should probably get into an exercise routine to keep in shape as well.

As Natsuki noticed the kids around her leaving, she realized that this announcement must have marked the end of class. A glance at the clock confirmed this, so she proceeded to pack up her notebook, which she'd kept out just to avoid questions, and left to get some lunch before her afternoon class. She was much too lazy in the morning to be able to force herself to make a second meal and pack it up for lunch, so she was left with only the option of the campus cafeteria – which was notably reluctant to supply her with more than a couple packets of mayonnaise for lunch. Nevertheless, she was able to choke down the virtually mayonnaise-less food, and she headed off for her afternoon class: English.

Although she didn't have any particular problems with learning the language, the nature of the learning process was such that it was a lot harder to get by missing classes. English class had been during the middle of her day, so she didn't miss it that often, but the effect of what she did miss still piled up, and she'd ended up failing the final exam. Even if Sakomizu had bothered to try to cover up for her absences, much as Midori had thankfully done, her poor performance would have required her to repeat the course nonetheless.

The upside to all this was that the class was actually mildly interesting, and she didn't have to occupy herself with her thoughts during it. It didn't exactly pass quickly, but it did pass, and without much dull time for idle thoughts or potential embarrassment as her thoughts went to places they really shouldn't have been going at school. Eventually, it was all over, and Natsuki was free to make her way back to her dorm.

As she was walking, Natsuki felt a pang of regret. It took her a while to place it, but eventually she realized that this was the first time she'd gone home from school by a means other than riding her bike that she could remember. Riding was always a calming experience for her, and it was the perfect way to unwind after a day at school. Maybe she'd have to go out and just joyride a bit later.

It didn't take long for Natsuki to reach her room. At least she had the short journey to make up for not getting to ride her bike. As she unlocked and opened the door to her room, she casually tossed her backpack aside and let out a sigh of relief. Her first day of summer school was over. Only three months to go.

No sooner had she relaxed then was she assaulted from behind. Arms rapidly wrapped around her to secure her in place, and Natsuki went into a state of panic at the thought that her apartment had been invaded. Was it Searrs or the First District out for revenge? She briefly struggled, but stopped when the body behind her moved up to press against hers. It took a mere sentence for her mind to judge the exact shape of the body she was held against and place it.

"Damn it, Shizuru!" she said, trying to suppress the blush that was rushing to her face and failing miserably. "I thought I was under attack there. Can't I even feel safe in my own room?"

Natsuki felt Shizuru pull her closer in, and her arms drifted up somewhat, pressing uncomfortably against the undersides of her breasts. Well, not that uncomfortably… Shizuru's head came in to rest on Natsuki's shoulder, and she could smell Shizuru's perfume as it was wafted around to her nose. It only took a couple of seconds for her to completely relax in the girl's embrace.

"Ara?" Shizuru said softly with a hint of mischievousness. "I thought Natsuki said she wouldn't complain about my surprise hugs if I didn't hold it over her head that I knew she liked them."

Natsuki wanted to complain and argue back, but she just didn't have the heart at the moment. Shizuru's embrace was causing a dull aching need to rise in her chest, and she felt her thought processes becoming just a bit hazy. "I'm sorry, Shizuru," she said. She felt some of Shizuru's muscles tense slightly at this, possibly from surprise at her soft tone and apology. "I just wasn't expecting you to be in my apartment. How'd you get in here anyways?"

Shizuru's body seemed to relax again, and Natsuki let herself melt into the hug. She brought her own arms up to cover Shizuru's as the girl answered her, "Intranet access privileges aren't the only perks to being Kaichou. They also gave me a few master keys, and I made sure to make myself some copies for emergency situations before turning them in. I think giving Natsuki a hug after she's been waiting all day to see me counts as an emergency, don't you?" The blush had almost faded from Natsuki's cheeks by this point, but this comment brought it right back. "And I was in desperate need of seeing some Natsuki blushes myself," Shizuru added teasingly.

"Shizuru…" Natsuki said. She wasn't able to force any actual annoyance into her voice at this point. Right now, she just felt touched that Shizuru would think to surprise her like this. Nevertheless, she was obligated to give that response at a minimum to her teasing. Knowing Shizuru, she'd probably end up punishing her if she didn't.

Natsuki spent another couple minutes in Shizuru's embrace, as the other girl started rocking her gently. She was getting a little afraid she might start to doze off if this lasted any longer, so she gently gripped onto Shizuru's hands and pulled them off of her. As soon as Shizuru's grip was loose enough, she spun and wrapped her arms around Shizuru's neck so she could gaze into her love's beautiful crimson eyes.

Shizuru met this with a pleased smile and her arms returned to their hold around Natsuki. Her eyes gazed deeply into Natsuki's, seeming as if they were delving the depths of her soul. Look as close as you want, Shizuru. It's all just love in here now, Natsuki thought, trusting her lover to pick up her intent. Sure enough, Shizuru seemed to figure this out for herself, and her gaze relaxed a little as tears started to form in her eyes. Natsuki let a smile split across her face at this, pleased that her girlfriend was still willing to let out her emotions in front of her.

"Thank you for coming, Shizuru," she said. "I did miss you." She didn't give Shizuru a chance to reply to this as she moved her mouth in to capture Shizuru's in her own. A spark seemed to run across their lips as they connected, and Natsuki reveled in the feeling of kissing Shizuru once again. She didn't think she'd ever be able to tire of this feeling, however often they did it.

It took only a moment for Shizuru to start to return the kiss. A wave of warmth shot its way through Natsuki's chest as she felt her passions being returned, and she allowed her mind to slip further into the haze that it had been lingering on the edge of since she first realized it was Shizuru who had caught her.

Neither of them felt the need to deepen the kiss, and Natsuki was perfectly satisfied with just caressing Shizuru's lips with hers and being caressed in turn. It had only been a day, but she had still gone far too long without this. On one level, she actually hoped it would always be this way, so they could share sweet kisses like these every time they met each other again. With this thought in her mind, she slowly pulled back from the kiss and let her nose rest against Shizuru's as she softly said, "I love you, Shizuru."

She could hear Shizuru choke back a sob at hearing this. She really was letting her emotions out now, and Natsuki felt another wave of warmth course through her chest at the realization of what she was doing for her. "Natsuki…" was all Shizuru said, but it translated in Natsuki's mind as, "I love you too."

Natsuki moved her head to the side and rested it on Shizuru's shoulder, moving her arm down around her shoulder and out of the way, as she contented herself with hugging her girlfriend. Oh, how she loved this. She'd had so many worries earlier that day and in her dreams the previous night, but they all seemed to fade away in Shizuru's presence. She knew that she could trust her friend not to do anything that might push her limits, however much she might want to herself.

But something about it still struck her as a bit wrong. She didn't want Shizuru to have to hold herself back. She was still afraid of what might happen between them if she didn't, though.

No. Natsuki pushed those thoughts out of her head. In any case, they'd both agreed not to go any further until Friday night so they could be free to sleep with each other after whatever happened. There was no reason for her to worry about all of that now. She might be afraid, but she'd promised herself to Shizuru already, and there was no way she'd let herself break that promise. That would be at least one step towards letting Shizuru have all she wanted, and she wouldn't need to worry about any more until after that.

"Natsuki," Shizuru said after a bit. "I'd really love to keep hugging you, but I'm afraid my legs are about to give out. I've been standing here waiting for you for quite a while."

Natsuki chuckled lightly as she released her grip from Shizuru and backed off. "It's alright, you can sit down," she said, making sure Shizuru caught the smile on her face so she knew that she wasn't mad.

Shizuru smiled back at Natsuki and took a seat, leaning back to take the pressure off of her legs. Natsuki felt an idea for what to do starting to form in her mind, and she paced the room a little as she let it percolate and take form. Once it struck her, she turned to Shizuru and said, "Hey, Shizuru, would you like to go for a bike ride with me?"

The suggestion seemed to surprise Shizuru. Before she could politely decline, Natsuki explained her reasoning. "I mean, I was just thinking that it's something I really like to do, and it would be nice if I could share that with you. Plus, it'll allow you to hug me from behind and still be sitting down. Er, I guess though, that maybe it's a bit selfish and I should be asking to do something you like first, but-"

"I'd love to," Shizuru said, cutting Natsuki off. Natsuki had let her gaze drift from Shizuru as she started to ramble, and as she brought it back she realized that the girl was actually blushing at this. Score one, Natsuki. "I can teach you the fine arts of tea brewing later, but this sounds like a good plan for today," Shizuru added. An excited smile had formed on her face, and Natsuki knew she was serious about this and wasn't just agreeing to please her.

Natsuki let a smile light up her face, partly in joy at Shizuru's agreement, and partly because she was pleased that her idea of sharing what she loved with Shizuru was received well. She rushed to her closet and took out her helmet and biking leathers. She tossed the helmet over to Shizuru and said, "Wear this. I'll go carefully for today, and if you like it, we can get you your own helmet and leathers later." As soon as she turned away to change into her leathers in her room, the thought of a leather-clad Shizuru passed through her mind, causing a blush to rapidly form on her face. Damn it. Score one, Shizuru, without even trying.

Author's Note: Much thanks to centauri2002 for betaing this so all of you could have a more enjoyable read!

Also, don't worry, I don't plan to do every day of the week in this much detail. It's not going to take 5 more chapters before we get to Friday. ;)