Hello everyone. Another Claymore story from me. After all the angst from the last three, I wanted to show their relationship from a different side and write a more humorous and romantic fic. There might be a little bit too much dialogue for these character's tastes, but I hope you enjoy. This story doesn't follow up the earlier trilogy, but it does relate.

It's a beautiful thing we share.

"Why do you always have to be so impulsive?" Clare crossed her arms and tapped her boot to the shale stone below her feet. She was looking down on a volcanic hotspring at the edge of a thick forest. There was nothing special about the spring itself, aside from the fact that there was a naked Claymore sitting in, who was enjoying herself tremendously.

Ophelia leaned back against the side of the spring, having hastily discarded her armor, boots and clothes.

"How many times to we run into a hotspring?" Ophelia grinned and closed her eyes. "Better than any bath."

"That's no reason for you to just strip off all your clothes and jump in," Clare sighed. "If we want to reach Easthaven by morning, we should be moving along."

"Pfft, who gives a shit about Easthaven? I say we make camp here," Ophelia lay her head back and slid a little deeper into the pool. To avoid getting her hair wet, Ophelia had wrapped her braid around her neck and stuffed the end under the coil of hair. She splashed a little water in her face and rubbed her eyes.

Clare sighed, knowing that there was nothing she could do to convince Ophelia otherwise. She knew she could stand here all night trying to get Ophelia to leave the hotspring without any success. Ophelia was a woman who didn't like to be pushed around, after all.

"You could use a bath yourself, Clare," Ophelia said. "Why don't you stop being so boring and jump in too. The water's fine."

"I don't see the need," Clare pressed.

Ophelia chuckled. "Oh, there IS a need. Trust me."

Clare raised an eyebrow.

Ophelia opened her eyes and sighed heavily. "I wasn't going to say anything, since it's so much nicer to see you get embarrassed in front of the entire populace of Easthaven, but... I'll just tell it as it is. Clare. You stink."

"Come again?" Clare blink.

"I can smell you from here," Ophelia said and dramatically held her nose for a moment. "You really should bathe a little more often. I've learned the hard way that being covered with blood, guts and gore can leave you smelling like an abattoir. Of course, you being the weak little warrior woman that you are, you just smell like a lot of sweat."

"I do not smell," Clare stated matter-of-factly.

Ophelia looked at her intently, challenging her with a her gaze. Clare stared back with an equally intense glare. But Ophelia was relentless, her eyes boring into Clare's soul, until finally, slowly, very slowly, Clare moved her head to one side, near her armpit and sniffed. A flash of annoyance in Clare's eyes told the entire story.

Ophelia's stare transformed into a victorious smile that would belong on the face of a hyperactive four-year old. Clare sighed deeply.

"Told you so," Ophelia said, still smiling.

Clare shook her head. "Is that why you didn't want to make to love to me last night? I thought you were just having one of your moods again."

Ophelia snorted indignantly. "First of all, I never make love to you... I have sex with you. There's a difference, Clare. Secondly, the only moods I have are homicidal, jovial and both at the same time, thank you very much. Third, I prefer to have sex with Clare when she's not smelling like a walking sweat gland. So..." she said, smiled like a cheshire cat and tapped the shale stone next to her.

Clare sighed and relented. She started to unstrap the buckles holding her shoulder pads in place and lifted them from her shoulders onto the ground. She frowned, however, when she noticed that Ophelia was looking at her with acute interest. Seeing how Ophelia had a talent for acting odd, Clare shrugged and started to remove her bodysuit. Again, Clare frowned when Ophelia moved to the side of the hotspring and lay her arms on the side, while smiling at her seductively. Finally, when Clare lowered the bodysuit enough to expose one shoulder, Ophelia leant so much forward she almost raised herself out of the water.

"What are you doing?" Clare asked.

"Don't stop," Ophelia pouted. "I was enjoying the show! Oh, it would help if you'd move a little more seductively when you're undressing. Or maybe do a little dance around that tree over there."

Clare sighed and stomped off to the heavy underbrush near the hotspring.

"Oh, come on, you prude," Ophelia called after her. "It's nothing I haven't seen before! I'll show you mine, if you show me yours!"

It was an offer Clare didn't take.

After Clare had undressed, it hadn't taken her long to get into the hotspring. And, she had to admit, it was kind of relaxing. Though Claymores could withstand heat a lot better than ordinary humans, the spring was still hot enough to have quite an effect. She could feel her muscles relaxing... and she did feel a lot cleaner than she had a few moments ago.

"There," Ophelia said. "Was that really so hard? And you say I'm stubborn. Still want to go to Easthaven?"

Clare closed her eyes and groaned slightly. "Easthaven can wait."

Ophelia folded her arms against the back of her head and lay back against the side of the hotspring. "This is the life. Hotsprings, the prospect of Youma to kill... what more do you need in life?"

"Me?" Clare tried.

"Pfft, you?!" Ophelia shook her head. "You don't count, you're always here."

Clare raised an eyebrow.

"Yare, yare," Ophelia scoffed. "Take a joke. Emote something in a while. Laugh sometimes. Only once. Though, of course, what Clare the Boring considers a laugh is more like an extended sigh."

Clare ignored Ophelia's jab and sat back to enjoy the heat. They sat in silence for a while, while the setting sun bathed them in an orange glow.

"Ophelia?" Clare asked. "Do you sometimes wonder what your life would be like if the Organization hadn't taken you in?"

"Nope," Ophelia said. "Travel around, kick rump... what more do you need?"

Clare thought for a moment. "I know some of the others used to think about it. Jean, Cynthia, Tabitha..."

"Pfft," Ophelia let her fingers rake across the surface of the water. "Next time you see them, you can tell them I hate them."

"I would think they know already," Clare replied. "Don't you think about our future? About settling down."

"Hah!" Ophelia chuckled. "We're Claymores. We don't have a future."

"That's a bleak outlook."

"What would you have us do? Find a nice farm, raise some crops, keep some pigs? Come on, we'd be bored out of our skulls. We're killers, Clare. Nothing more, nothing less. Unless..."

"Unless what?"

"A butcher. I could be a butcher. Or a taxidermist. Any job that involves knives."

Clare merely stared at Ophelia for a while.

"We're free from the Organization now," Clare said. "Free do with our lives as we please. We could live like any other couple would, if we'd choose to."

Ophelia scoffed. "I have an idea. Let's find a farm, rent a couple of kids from the local orphanage and try it out. Let's see how long it takes before we get bored and set everything on fire. I'm betting two hours or less."

"Rent orphans?" Clare narrowed her eyes. "You can't do that."

"Yes," Ophelia replied. "Why not? They should let us try them out before we buy them."

"You don't buy orphans."

Ophelia crossed her arms indignantly. "Why not? The Organization bought me."

"That's different."

"I don't care. If freedom means living in a farm with a bunch of kids and a bunch of pigs... well, same thing, really... I'd rather jump off the nearest cliff right now. What's next? Do you want Raki to move in with us? No way in Hell that little shit is stepping through our door. Even if we had a door."

Clare narrowed her eyes for a second time. "Don't call Raki that," she spoke angrily, with a hint of implied threat.

Ophelia seemed unimpressed. "Ah. Okay, then. I won't call Raki a little shit. No way in Hell is that little turd is stepping through our door. Even if we had a door. I mean, come on, what'd the others say? 'Raki has two mommies'?"

A brief involuntary shudder went through Clare.



"No, really. What?"

"It's nothing."

Ophelia stared at Clare for a moment, then grinned broadly. "You walked in on them, didn't you? When you were little."

"I don't want to talk about it," Clare replied sharply.

Ophelia chuckled. "I can guess. Teresa and... Irene, right?"

The briefest of nods was the only reply from Clare. "There was thunder outside and I was scared. I wanted to sleep in Teresa's bed with her and then... The worst thing came when Teresa stepped out of the bedroom in a bathrobe and gently started telling me that what I had seen 'was a beautiful thing which she and Irene shared'. And then the next morning she talked to me about the birds and the bees. And the birds and the birds and the bees and the bees."

At this point, Ophelia was doing her best not to accidentally dunk herself from laughing so hard.

"It's not funny," Clare protested.

"Oh, but it is! I can see it right in front of me now. 'Oh, don't worry, Raki. What you just saw was beautiful thing I shared with Clare... and the whip'."

Clare stiffened. "The thought alone that Raki would see us during... He'd be so shaken."

"He'd definitely be shaken after I'd beat him over the head with the whip a couple of times for looking in on us. The little perv..." Ophelia narrowed her eyes.

More silence. Both Claymores enjoyed the heat as evening fell and the sun disappeared underneath the horizon.

"This is nice," Clare finally said and scooted a little closer to Ophelia, and was pleasantly surprised when the normally not-so-affectionate Ophelia wrapped an arm around her waist. It wasn't long before the two of them were kissing, gently at first but wilder soon after. Their bodies pressed together, while Clare's hands started to roam over Ophelia's body under the surface of the water.

It was Ophelia who broke the kiss. "Did you sense him?"

"Yes," Clare replied. "You can take care of him if you'd like."

Ophelia grinned. "You know me well!"

Instantly, a huge slathering Youma came running out of the woods in an attempt to catch two Claymores off guard while they were kissing, unarmored and unarmed in the hotspring. In an instant, and with dazzling speed, Ophelia jumped twelve feet up and out of the water, made a grab for her sword and threw it straight at the Youma. She landed back in the hotspring before the water from the first splash even landed.

"Don't worry, boyo," Ophelia mocked the dying Youma, as the creature had been caught in mid-air by the flying sword and ended up being neatly impaled to a tree while his internal organs were sliding out of his abdominal cavity. "What you saw Clare and I share just now is a beautiful thing."

Ophelia smirked as she allowed Clare to settle in her arms again. First there was the hotspring. Then there was the making out-soon-to-turn-into-possibly-great-sex with Clare. And now that the dying whimpers of the gutted and soon to be dead Youma reached her eager ears, Ophelia could safely consider this to be a perfect night.