I don't own these characters. Sunrise does.

First and foremost, I want to say I got help with the concept of this story from Laura25 and I want to thank her for all of the help. Without her, this story probably would have never gotten past the planning stage. So, thanks, Laura25.

Dents in Her Armor

1: Don't wake me up; I'm dreaming

Natsuki appeared as if she was having a wonderful sleep. She was knocked out on her dark blue pillow with her mouth hanging open and a thin line of drool streaming from the corner of her mouth. Her hair was pooled around her like an inky halo and she almost looked like she had just been dropped in bed from the way that she was comfortably twisted to the side. She was so cute!

"I wonder if she's dreaming of me while looking so cute," Shizuru muttered under her breath, a small smile playing on her lips as she gazed down at her lover. She was propped up on one hand to appreciate Natsuki's sleeping form.

Okay, to be fair, Shizuru always thought Natsuki was cute. No matter what she was doing, Shizuru swore it was completely and utterly adorable. She also made it a point to say that whenever she could and it really did not matter if people were around or not, even though Natsuki, being the tough girl, could not stand hearing anything she did was adorable, not in private and damn sure not in public. Shizuru did such things because, of course, she thought Natsuki was cute when she was being indignant. She also thought most of the time Natsuki was only trying to keep up appearances when she got upset over being told she was cute. After all, who really had a problem with being attractive to the one she loved?

"My precious little Natsuki," Shizuru commented to herself with a small, sly smile.

Well, it was time for her to wake her precious little Natsuki up. This was Shizuru's favorite part of the morning… well, the early morning anyway. Ah, who am I kidding? Shizuru just had fun whenever she could, especially since Natsuki came into her life.

The crimson-eyed Otome leaned over and placed a gentle, but wet kiss to Natsuki's bare shoulder. Natsuki made a small noise in her sleep, but nothing more than that. Shizuru smiled at the noise and proceeded on with her morning ritual.

Moist lips continued to meet with milky, sweet skin, showering the shoulder in tender love and desire. A few more noises escaped the dozing woman, but she did not wake up. Shizuru smiled to herself, knowing it would take a lot to get her beloved up. She enjoyed very moment of it, of course. She moved on from the shoulder, kissing her way down Natsuki's side. She had to push a white sleeveless t-shirt out of her way.

Try as she might, Shizuru could not talk her Natsuki into sleeping nude, which was why she had to make her way passed the shirt. It's such a waste. The shirt was soft, but nowhere near as downy feeling as the skin it kept her from. She pushed the shirt all the way up, wishing she could just take it off of her sleeping angel, but Natsuki would more than likely take care of that when she finally woke up.

Shizuru's hands found other ways to occupy their time once they were done with moving the t-shirt. She eased herself down to Natsuki's side and went back to kissing delicious flesh. She loved the taste of her dear Natsuki. She was not sure how she would describe it, but the taste was subtle, creamy, and she could not get enough of it.

A light pink tongue rushed out of its home to get a sample, running up and down Natsuki's ribs. Natsuki moaned and raised her arm, giving Shizuru better access to her body, but she remained asleep. Shizuru smiled to herself again, loving the expected reaction.

"That's a good girl, Natsuki-chan," Shizuru purred in a whisper.

The awake female decided to reward her lover for making such a good move. Her hand, which was occupied by a plump mound of Natsuki's flesh, began to gently knead the globe in her grip. Natsuki shifted a bit by the unexpected touch; hard to believe it was unexpected considering it happened almost every morning. A soft moan escaped Natsuki and slid down Shizuru's spine. Her arm came back down, wrapping around Shizuru.

The tan-haired woman smiled even more when the limb found its way around her shoulders, pressing her closer to her beloved. It was wonderful to know Natsuki sought her out even in her slumber. She then went back to kissing, licking, and just enjoying Natsuki. She loved the feel of Natsuki's wonderful, muscular body. Her hand continued on playing with the principal's cleavage, now going back and forth between her breasts; rather perfect breasts if anyone bothered to ask Shizuru.

Natsuki moaned loudly and the sound surprised Shizuru. She added some pressure with her working hand and was rewarded with another moan, but that was not what should be coming out of her love. By now, her name should be coming out of Natsuki's mouth, and Natsuki's other arm should have wrapped around her. She kept her actions up, but those things did not happen. Natsuki did not even have the good graces to arch against her as she usually did.

Shizuru paused for a moment, her eyebrows bending in as a look of sheer contemplation washed over her face. Why is my dearest Natsuki not responding correctly? What dream has her so deep in its grasp that she won't wake up for me? Surely, I am better than any dream, even if it involves me.

She went back to her task with more vigor, now nipping at Natsuki's delightful ribs, causing the sleeping woman to squirm more. She moved over from the ribs to Natsuki's flat stomach. She ran her tongue along Natsuki's tummy like she feasted on an ice cream cone. But, still no name from Natsuki's lips, no hips moving for relief, and no strong arms embracing her.

Shizuru would have pouted if Natsuki had been awake, but instead, she just decided to take things a bit further, determined to get the usual reactions out of her girlfriend. She slowly moved down the delicious belly, planning to go to an even sweeter spot. Before going there with her mouth, she went there with her unoccupied hand. Her fingers wasted no time in getting busy, gliding through the essence of Natsuki. I want to taste her, Shizuru thought, and she would if Natsuki refused to get up.

"Ah…" Natsuki moaned and shuddered. "Shizuru…" she breathed out and then whined a little. She remained sleeping, her eyes closed tightly now. She moved into the older woman's hand. "Shizuru…" she repeated, gritting her teeth now.

And now the pleased smile crept onto Shizuru's face. She turned her scarlet gaze upward, waiting to see her beloved's eyes flutter open. She was not disappointed as emerald eyes slowly opened after a little yawn from Natsuki.

So cute! Shizuru screamed in her mind. So cute, and best yet, all hers. "Good morning, my Natsuki-chan," she hummed. She smiled as she used the term of endearment, expecting to see a slight blush, which would come from the fact that Natsuki hated to be called "chan" even in private.

"Morning," Natsuki grumbled; she did not sound too happy. Now, she generally was not a morning person, but she never sounded grumpy about her wakeup call. In fact, typically the wakeup call from Shizuru was the only way to make sure Natsuki did not get up in a funk.

Shizuru wasted no time in throwing on exaggerated pout and she stilled her fingers. "Natsuki makes it sound like she's not pleased to see me."

"It's not that!" Natsuki said in her typical panicked tone whenever she thought she upset Shizuru. She shot up and wrapped her arms around her taller girlfriend.

Sometimes, she's just too easy, Shizuru thought. Of course, this was just one of the many things she loved about Natsuki. She also thought it was a good way that Natsuki expressed her love, even though Natsuki probably did not think of it that way.

"Then what is it, if Natsuki is happy to see me?" Shizuru asked, still moping like her feelings were hurt. She accepted the hug and put an arm around Natsuki in return. Natsuki mewed a little as Shizuru's fingers left her.

"It's just… I was having a good dream," Natsuki admitted in a low, almost ashamed tone while looking away.

Shizuru's expression changed from her false-pout to one of confusion. Her brow furrowed as she studied her lover. Why did my dear Natsuki look away when making that confession? She would have to find out because she might be able to use it to tease Natsuki later on.

"Ara ara, is Natsuki dreaming of other women?" Shizuru asked, pout back in place. She also made it a point to look like she was about to burst into tears.

Natsuki made a shocked, near-gagging noise, showing her panic that Shizuru would even ask such a thing. She also tensed up as her eyes widened, seeming like they might fall out of her skull. Shizuru had to use quite a bit of self-control to keep from laughing. From Natsuki's quite predictable reaction, Shizuru knew what came next.

"I-idiot!" the raven-haired woman stammered. This was the fall back response, almost a term of endearment, when Natsuki did not know what to say or when Shizuru was overly dramatic.

"So then, what was Natsuki dreaming about?" Shizuru asked, genuinely curious now. Her pout vanished just as easily as it came about, but her eyebrows now curled up in curiosity. Her fingers wandered to Natsuki's stomach, gently stroking her warm belly.

Natsuki relaxed while a new, distant look appeared in her eyes. She glanced away again and Shizuru was not sure what to make of the behavior. In all her time of knowing Natsuki, she had never witnessed such an expression. She wondered what it could mean. She thought she might be able to coax it from her lover with her fingers, but as she got closer to her goal, Natsuki tensed. She paused. What is going through my darling Natsuki's mind?

"I should go take a shower," Natsuki said after a few silent seconds and she was about to rise out of bed when her lover reacted. Shizuru wrapped her arms tightly around Natsuki to stop her.

"Is Natsuki going to leave me unfulfilled this morning?" Shizuru asked, putting on an act of being utterly hurt by the idea. She looked as if she would burst into tears again.

"I've got work to get to," Natsuki pointed out as she continued on getting out of bed, untangling herself from her girlfriend.

Shizuru found herself speechless for a moment as she realized Natsuki was actually going to take a shower without working up a sweat first. Her brain could not even fathom what was going on because it was so out of the norm. It just did not make sense for her to sitting there naked in bed and for Natsuki to be walking away from her.

Only when the bathroom door shut did Shizuru's brain start up again and she then realized that she sat there, alone and naked. She got up from her space on the bed and went to the bathroom, thinking she would get to her unfinished business in the bathroom. She was in for quite the surprise.

"Um… Shizuru, if you don't mind, I'd like to take a shower by myself this morning," Natsuki said as the door opened.

Shizuru's brain shut down once again. Since when does my Natsuki not want me in the shower with her? Shizuru's face fell into a pout. The brown-haired Otome was pretty sure it was her usual fake-pout that she used to get her way, but it did not entirely feel like it. She regained her composure after that.

"But, who will wash Natsuki's back?" Shizuru asked in a teasing tone. She wagged a reprimanding finger at her love.

"I think I'll manage," Natsuki replied while turning her attention to the shower.

Shizuru put her hands together and rested them against her cheeks while pouting even deeper than before. "Ara, ara, Natsuki's being such a meanie today."

Natsuki sighed like she was exhausted, but she turned back to her girlfriend. Shizuru thought this would be the moment things went back to normal. After all, how could Natsuki resist her naked body?

"I just want to take a shower by myself for once. It's not that big a deal," Natsuki pointed out, shrugging while she spoke to back up her words.

The response stunned Shizuru. Her mouth fell open and she took a step back. Natsuki actually walked over and shut the door back while her lover stood dumbstruck. She sighed and rubbed her face with her hands when she was alone in the bathroom again.

"I had that dream again…" Natsuki muttered, shaking her head. She leaned against the gray tile of the shower for a moment, resting her head against the wall.

She kept having the same dream lately and it was starting to wear on her nerves. She hoped that she could wash it away with a hot shower, although she doubted it. After all, she could not forget about it even with Shizuru giving her the usual wake up call. The dream was out of control.

"It's a stupid dream anyway," Natsuki grumbled as she started the water for her shower.


Shizuru was not sure what to make of being shut out of the bathroom. She knew she did not like it; that was for damn sure. She went back to the bed and wrapped herself in the dark blue sheet while wondering if she had done anything wrong.

"Did I upset Natsuki?" she wondered aloud, finger to her chin.

She mentally retraced every move that she made since yesterday to figure out why Natsuki would want to shower on her own. Nothing came to mind; yesterday was a normal day for her. It seemed like it was a normal day, anyway. She had even gotten to have her Natsuki before going to sleep as always. So, she did not see why she did not get to have her Natsuki in the morning as always.

"Is Natsuki just in a bad mood?" Shizuru wondered. That was entirely possible.

Usually Shizuru did not feel the affects of Natsuki having a bad mood. It was mostly due to the fact she would ignore the mood and kiss Natsuki right out of it; hey, her methods might have been direct, but they worked over ninety-nine percent of the time. Right now, she could not do that if Natsuki would not let her in, literally. She supposed she was just going to have to get to it later on.

"Even though I don't want to," she grumbled with a frown. Patience was not a virtue she held dear.


Natsuki was set up in her office with a ton of paperwork in front of her. She expected it, but she did not pay the work much mind. She focused her attention out of the window, and her dream was on her mind again.

"Shouldn't Natsuki be working?" Shizuru asked, breaking Natsuki right out of her reverie.

The principal spun around in her seat to see her girlfriend standing before her, pouring tea as she did everyday. Natsuki made a panicked face, as if she were a naughty child caught with her hand in the cookie jar. Shizuru could not help smiling.

"Ara ara, was Natsuki thinking bad things?" Shizuru asked, smile still on her lips.

Natsuki sweat-dropped. "'Course not! Why would you even ask that?" she countered while trying her best not to look away. She knew if she looked away then Shizuru would go on teasing her about "thinking bad things."

"Because Natsuki is being so secretive. Was Natsuki thinking bad things?" Shizuru asked again, now speaking in a curious purr. She made her way around the desk to her lover's chair.

"N-no," Natsuki denied the charge. She puffed out her cheeks like she were insulted by the very idea that she might ever have an impure thought.

"No? Then maybe Natsuki is just feeling guilty for leaving her only love so unsatisfied this morning," Shizuru commented, leaning down a bit as if she prepared to kiss Natsuki. She made sure to stop about an inch from her lover's mouth.

"That's not it either!" Poor Natsuki, she walked right into the trick.

"Oh, then Natsuki doesn't care that she left me feeling so unloved and unwanted?" Of course, Shizuru's false-pout was now on her face and she looked about ready to burst into tears yet again.

That was followed by the expected panic from the principal. "What? No! That's not what I meant!" She flailed her hands wildly, looking like a flustered bird while hoping she had not been completely misunderstood.

"No? Then perhaps Natsuki means to make it up to me now to let me know that I am loved and appreciated," Shizuru proposed with a slight smile on her face as she intended to close the short distance between her and Natsuki.

"Not here! Someone could come in!" the principal pointed out as she moved away. "Someone," of course actually meant Miss Maria. Oh, that was always awkward, no matter how many times it happened.

"But, Natsuki already denied me. If she continues to deny me, I'll think she loves someone else," Shizuru sorrowfully cooed. She ran a finger down Natsuki's cheek.

"Stop acting like an idiot," Natsuki grumbled while turning away, scrunching her mouth up indignantly. She figured if she did not see Shizuru's pathetic expression, then she would not give in as she normally did. She ended up looking back out of the window, which caused her to remember her dream. She sighed nostalgically as longing flooded her jade eyes.

Shizuru's own eyes turned curious as her eyebrows curled up. What is her precious Natsuki thinking about? She reached out and gently took Natsuki by the chin. She turned her raven-haired lover to look at her.

"What is on my Natsuki's mind?" Shizuru asked in a hushed, thoughtful tone. She studied her lover's face, trying to read Natsuki's mind. Usually, she could figure out Natsuki without even having to ask.

"Nothing. I've got a lot of work to do," Natsuki replied. She glanced over at the pile of papers littering her desk to show that she spoke the truth, or at least half of it. After all, something was on her mind and Shizuru was certain the something was not work.

"Yes, Natsuki does have a lot of work to do. She should especially be trying to make her girlfriend feel wanted, remember?" Shizuru remarked, a ghost of a smile playing on her lips.

Natsuki's eyes went slightly wide, like she had no intention of going through with that suggestion. She was just not in the mood and she tried spinning her chair around to face her desk. She planned on starting on her work, but Shizuru did not allow her to face her desk just yet.

"Is Natsuki really planning to just leave me feeling so unwanted?" The pout was back on the Graceful Amethyst's face.

"It's not that. I just… have work… and someone might come in," Natsuki said again. She still tried to turn her chair.

Shizuru let Natsuki do as she wished, fooling the principal into thinking she was off the hook. Instead though, as she settled at her desk, Shizuru did the same. She propped herself up on Natsuki's large desk and whipped her legs over Natsuki's head. She wrapped her legs around the principal and pulled Natsuki close to her.

"Shizuru!" Natsuki complained in a shocked voice as she was yanked toward the older Otome.

"Hmm?" Shizuru hummed as she leaned closer to her lover.

"I've got work to do," Natsuki insisted, making sure to look upset with the fact that her love and her antics. She was not so much upset as she was annoyed that Shizuru would not just leave her be.

"Indeed you do." Shizuru leaned in and finally captured the kiss that she had desired all morning… or so she thought she captured it. Natsuki actually did not kiss her back. She pulled away and looked a bit worried, ruby eyes narrowing and searching emerald ones before her. "Are you all right, Natsuki?" she asked with concern. What is wrong with my dearest love?

Natsuki rubbed the side of her head while looking down. She looked like a kid that got caught doing the wrong thing again. It was not atypical of her to look that way and usually Shizuru thought it was adorable. Right now, though, it only made Shizuru's face scrunch up in concern.

"I'm fine. I just let all this work pile up and there's been all these meetings lately. Plus, there's all of the new admits and it's all just crazy," Natsuki explained in a low voice, running a hand through her ebony locks.

"Is my Natsuki feeling stressed then? Would she like me to kiss it and make it all better?" Shizuru asked quite earnestly, even though she sounded like she was taunting as always. She would take any excuse she could get to kiss Natsuki, after all.

Natsuki did not respond for a second. "I wish you wouldn't tease me about it," she admitted in a grumble, her mouth turned up into a mean pout.

But, it's so fun and so easy, Shizuru commented in her head. She did not say it out loud because Natsuki was clearly trouble. Shizuru glanced over at the paperwork, seeing the principal did have a task ahead of her. To make matters worse, Natsuki was not the most hard-working person on the planet.

"Maybe Natsuki should get to work. I can play with her later," Shizuru commented in a light tone. Despite the feathery tone, she intended to get her time in with her love, no matter what.

"Don't make it sound like I'm some kind of toy," Natsuki complained with a huff. Her eyebrows bent downward as she frowned.

Shizuru smiled a bit and decided to go find something else to occupy her time for a while. She figured she would come back later and do as she said; namely, "play" with Natsuki. She could not imagine going a day without intimately touching her love in someway. She believed it would help boost Natsuki's spirits, even if the younger woman pretended otherwise.

Natsuki breathed a sigh of relief when Shizuru was finally out of her office. She turned her chair to face out of her window again. She looked out into the world and let her dream disturb her thoughts once more.

Despite her nervous behavior, Natsuki was not having abnormal dreams by any stretch of the imagination. It was just that the dreams filled her with deep longing and her stomach fell out of her body whenever she remembered the images her mind showed her. All the dream involved was her riding a motorcycle to nowhere in particular through all sorts of winding roads with beautiful scenery accompanying her along the way. She could feel the air all around her, almost like she was flying. Her body felt light and her leathers against her skin made every nerve sing with delight. The simple dream in her head had planted a dream in her heart.

"If only…" she let out a breathy sigh.

Natsuki's heart now longed for her bike. It was parked not too far from her office and collecting dust as far as concerned parties felt, though. The motorcycle always cried out for her attention. But, lately, thanks to the dream, the cries had gotten louder and it was bordering on being absolutely unbearable. Natsuki wanted to just get on her bike and ride. She did not know where or how long, but she just wanted to do something that was in her heart rather than what someone else told her to do. Odd, she supposed, for an Otome.

Even before she became an Otome, Natsuki was told what to do with her life. Her father told her that she would become an Otome, first of all. He planned on her serving their kingdom, being his Otome and then her brother's Otome when he ascended the throne of the little territory that her father reigned over. Imagine his surprise when she ended up becoming one of the five Columns, of course her brother had already thrown a wrench in things, but her promotion had not helped. Being one of the Columns was only something else she did not have much of a say in. Things did not end there.

The job of principal had been pushed on her, which she could not understand. Natsuki had no problem with leading when action was involved, but she was not one for actual work, which there was plenty of. Miss Maria's scornful gaze and constant scolding shaped Natsuki into the principal that she was now, along with needed help from Shizuru. Still, she was being told what to do with her life.

Really, by her current thinking, the only thing she had ever gotten a chance to find out that she loved in life without having to accept it was part of her life whether she liked it or not was riding her motorcycle. Her big brothers had taught her; she had five of them and they had always liked to include her in things, even though she was the youngest and a girl. She loved riding her bike and never got the chance to do it anymore because something always came up.

She wondered what it would be like to actually go through with what happened in her dream. What would life be like if no one told her what to do? If there was not always a pile of work waiting? If she did not have to attend meeting after meeting and seemingly get nowhere? Would she be happier? She liked to think that she would be.

"It sounds like I'm unhappy. But, I'm not, right? I mean, I've got a good job and a wonderful woman who loves me," Natsuki reminded herself.

If all of that was the truth, why did she not tell Shizuru of her dream or her thoughts? It had nothing to do with wanting Shizuru out of her life or anything like that.

It was quite simple as to why she had not spoke to Shizuru about her dreams and it had nothing to do with being unhappy. She thought Shizuru would make fun of her. She could hear the giggles already. She imagined Shizuru saying something like "Ara ara, what a silly child my Natsuki is" while patting Natsuki on the head like she were a puppy. She did not want to go through that because she was seriously considering she would be happier just riding her bike through out the countryside than what she was doing now.

"Maybe it is silly…" Natsuki muttered with a sigh. Her heart did not agree, beating rapidly and asking her bike to forgive her insensitive words.


Next time: Shizuru wonders what's wrong with Natsuki. When she finally finds out what's wrong, she and Natsuki end up having a little tiff.