It was a lazy, hot afternoon in mid-August. School would be starting again soon, but not for a few more weeks. The dead humidity in the air created a hush over the city that reached the third floor of an apartment complex on the east side.
Inside apartment 309 the fridge hummed noisily. Idle conversation from a popular talk show drifted from the speakers of the TV to fill the living room. The answering machine blinked persistently next to the phone, a lone message left waiting to be heard.
Atop the couch next to the window, Kaname Chidori lay stretched out atop her bodyguard Sousuke Sagara. The summer heat clung to their bodies making their clothes feel damp and their skin sticky, but neither paid it any mind.
Kaname's sock clad foot reached up to scratch a wayward itch on the back of her slender calf. Her cheek pressed firmly against the damp material of his camouflage green t-shirt and she let out a tired sigh.
His tone was just as quiet and lazy sounding as hers. It barely broke above the banter coming from the TV. A commercial for dish cleaner came on, sounding too loud in the tiny apartment. Kaname reached down with unhurried movements and plucked the remote off the floor. With a flick of her wrist the TV clicked off and the remote dropped back onto the rug.
"I've been thinking…," she began and then paused, not sure how to continue. She sensed rather than heard his gentle urging, telling her to go on. His hand abandoned its spot atop the couch cushion and repositioned itself behind his head. She could feel him looking at her as he waited expectantly for her to finish her thought. She swallowed, noticing the way the air felt thick from the humidity.
It'd sounded perfectly reasonable in her mind but now that she'd begun to voice her thoughts aloud she wasn't so sure. What if he said no? She enjoyed spending lazy afternoons like this one with him. Was it worth jeopardizing the comfortable familiarity of the routine they'd slipped in to?
She nibbled nervously at her bottom lip before sucking it into her mouth.
"Sousuke… Do you think that group Amalgam - do you think they'll come after me again?"
His arm tightened imperceptibly across her back. She felt him swallow and knew he was choosing his words carefully. After a long pause, "Yes. They know you are Whispered now. It's almost certain they will attempt another abduction."
His thumb moved gently along her spine in a comforting gesture. She felt the damp pressure of his hand through the thin material of her jersey tee and her fingers clawed into folds of camouflage green.
"But you're going to protect me this time right? They won't be able to take me again because you'll be here to stop them?"
She felt him nod. His arm tightened again. "Affirmative."
Kaname lifted her head from his chest and offered him an encouraging smile. A high ponytail kept the heavy weight of her hair off her neck but a few rebellious tendrils stuck to her skin anyhow. Her toffee-hued eyes caught his gaze and something passed between them – an understanding of sorts.
It won't be like last time.
I'll never leave you alone like that again.
I trust you.
Her face became thoughtful as she studied him. The look in his eyes told her he was smiling.
"I… I have a favour to ask."
She quickly averted her gaze and hid the blush that coloured her cheeks against the green cotton shirt she'd been using for a pillow. The heartbeat beneath her cheek was strong and steady in her ear. Her hand came up slowly and pressed against his chest until she could feel the pulsing rhythm against her palm too. This wasn't a dream - they really had made it out of Hong Kong alive.
"Sousuke…" she began again quietly. "Will you… be my first?"
"First what Kaname?"
Her cheeks flushed crimson at the innocent intonation of his words. Her head buried even further against his chest to hide the tell-tale redness of her face from view. She closed her eyes in defeat. She really should have known better. There wasn't a lascivious bone in his body. With a gentle cough she cleared her throat.
"Sousuke… I want you to be the first guy to… It's just - you never know with these terrorists what they're going to do and I don't want my first time to be with someone like that. I always thought it should be kinda special, ya know? And if my first time is with you I know I won't regret it. I won't have to worry what would happen if-"
Her heart thrummed noisily in her ears. She felt sick, dizzy and strangely giddy all at once.
She could feel his heart pounding against her cheek – steady, hard and faster than before. He shifted and she could feel the way his muscles tightened beneath her. She became acutely aware of the intimate way their bodies were entwined and how they melded into each other, like they'd been built to fit together all along. She shook her head at his words. Why did he have to be so hard-headed at a time like this?
"You've always protected me Sousuke, but what if you get called away again? I worry sometimes about what'll happen if it ever comes to that. Last time…"
Her mind flashed back to that night on the rooftop; rain soaked, dressed in nothing but panties and a dirtied up hotel robe. Her body had shivered from the cold and even more from the silver-haired demon's kiss. Leonard Testarossa had stolen her first kiss and he could have stolen much more had he been so inclined. She didn't want him to be able to steal anything else from her, at least not this.
"What happened last time?" Sousuke demanded suddenly. His fingers bit into her shoulder and there was an underlying panic in his tone.
"Nothing happened," she reassured him with a shake of her head. "You don't have to worry. It's just that last time made me think about what could happen if I was ever taken by them again. I don't want to remember my first time like that. I want… I want it to be with you, here, where I feel safest."
He swallowed hard and his heart beat impossibly fast against her hand. She could hear his shaky breaths above her head and smiled inwardly. When he spoke, the hesitation in his voice was obvious. It seemed he was finally starting to understand what she was asking of him.
"Kaname… I'm not so sure."
She glanced up, her gaze serious yet hopeful. The strong, practically invincible sergeant who didn't blink in the face of enemy gunfire and nuclear weapons grew tense when their eyes met. His grey eyes widened and he looked away after a quick second, his chest rising and falling noticeably with each breath. Though his words suggested otherwise, she knew she wouldn't have to ask him again.
"Are you sure? With me I mean…," he faltered. "Wouldn't you prefer someone with a little more expertise in this area? Like Kurz or maybe-"
Kaname groaned and pressed her forehead to his. It felt surprisingly cool against the touch of her heated skin. His hand slipped down to rest on the small of her back. When she spoke, her words were slow and deliberate; she didn't want to take any chances at misinterpretation.
"No, stupid. I don't want someone with more expertise - I want you. I trust only you, remember? You've always protected me Sousuke. Protect this part of me too."
The rotating fan in the corner of the room clicked with each pass, blowing heavy, damp air in their direction. Even with the sliding door open the apartment felt stifling. Outside, the sounds of traffic along the street were minimal and the steady rush of the cars soothing. Cicadas were singing in the August heat, their symphony nearly drowning out the noise of the urban landscape around them. Kaname's eyes fell on the potted plant in the corner; its leaves looked wilted and lifeless. She made a mental note to water it before she went to bed.
A subtle movement from Sousuke drew her attention back to him. His hand moved again, slowly easing its way up her back. It stopped just beneath the curve where her bra strap rested under her shoulder blades. His fingertips tapped nervously against her skin and she listened intently to the sound of his heart, its sure, steady rhythm soothing her nerves. He had that effect on her.
He pulled in a shaky breath before letting it out again. When he finally spoke his tone was certain and Kaname smiled against his chest.
Author's Note: Welcome to part one of my three part ficlet! Please leave a review and let me know what you think so far. I'd also like to extend a very BIG thank you to Azurite for being kind enough to beta this chapter for me :)