Author's note: Finally, here come another updates… As usual, the chapter was beta'ed by YenGirl, so my biggest thanks go especially for her :). Thanks also for all of you who have patiently bear with my uber slowness in writing −rolls eyes−


These glorious evenings of ours,

your sweet scent in the air,

those sprouts of your smile,

will always be my treasures.

Coz' on these flawless days,

my heart learns to comprehend

the true beauty of loving,

and the bitter-sweet of longing,

for one unreachable...

Chapter 16. Dreaming the Impossible

Kain cautiously readjusted his sitting position before resuming rowing the small boat across the lake. He was very careful not to make any unnecessary movements that might cause the tiny boat to rock and make Ruka, who was sitting opposite him, feel more nervous than she already was. Kain noticed that she was trying her best to stay calm although ever since she had stepped into the boat and sat down, Ruka never once let go of her death grip on the polished wooden plank she was sitting on and had not even once looked at their surroundings. The female beauty was just sitting there stiffly with her eyes fixed on one of the boat's floorboards as if by doing so, it could prevent anything bad from happening.

Kain frowned as he took in each detail of Ruka's trepidation, silently pondering if his decision to coax her into this earlier had been right or not. Maybe all of this was just too much for the girl after all and he would be damned if he put her through anymore torture.

Shaking his head a little, Kain returned the boat's twin paddles back to their axis and released them before shifting forward to gently touch Ruka's right shoulder. "Are you all right?" he asked in a quiet tone. He had to make sure that she wouldn't suddenly turn hysterical otherwise the two of them would surely be in trouble.

Ruka didn't answer him immediately and instead, gripped the wooden plank even harder, turning her knuckles white.

Kain gritted his teeth and started silently cursing at himself. "Ruka, it's okay…" he said gently after a moment and reached out for her hands, trying to slowly pry them off the wood. He was actually more than a little anxious that the female vampire would eventually crush the plank under her strength and hurt her palms in the process. "Look at me, please."

Very slowly, Ruka lifted her terrified gaze to meet him in the eye.

Kain's frown deepened. This wasn't right, he decided as he observed her open look of distress. It looked like he had indeed pushed her far beyond what she could take at this current time. "Would you prefer us to go back instead?"

There was a long moment of silence as Ruka seemed to consider his offer before she shook her head and said something that definitely went against his better judgment. "I'm fine, Akatsuki. Let's just go on."

No, you don't look anything near fine. "Are you sure?"

Ruka gave a weak nod as an answer then dropped her gaze back to its previous spot ─ the boat's floorboard.

Kain released a long sigh, staring at Ruka's bowed head. It was one thing to heed her wish and another thing altogether to see her this frightened because of his doing. Well, he had to do something about this…

Hoping to heaven that what he was going to do wouldn't scare Ruka anymore than she already was, Kain half rose to his feet and stepped over to her back. Before Ruka was even aware of what he was doing, he swiftly sat down again, positioning himself on the cramped space right behind her in one smooth, fluid movement. Kain made a quick adjustment around her petite body so that she was now sitting between his long legs.

Kain's movementsand the presence of a warm chest pressed against her back made Ruka turn around halfway to peek at her friend confusedly.

"Just relax," Kain suggested in a gentle tone but he avoided looking at her. Instead, he kept his head up with his eyes gazing straight ahead.

Ruka bit her lower lip, averting her attention from the horrible way the boat had moved when Kain shifted earlier. But even in the midst of her acute nervousness at the vast display of water around her and her desperate attempts to control her fear, she could sense that there was something Kain had in mind that had caused him to suddenly move close to her. All he had said was for her to relax, but Ruka couldn't help but feel that there was something more he wanted to say, only he didn't.

She shifted a little, a bit confused as she pondered those two words he had uttered – 'Just relax'. How on earth would she be able to do that with him spooning her from behind? Not that it was actually unpleasant to have him so close to her like this… In fact, it somehow felt… nice. It was just that she didn't know in which direction she should position herself now, so she could be… well, a bit more relaxed. Should she just stay as she was now? Or should she lean forward? Lean back even more? Would Kain mind if she leaned back against him and used his chest as a support? Maybe it wouldn't be too comfortable since he still needed to continue working the paddles, right?

A pair of firm hands that caught her shoulders and briefly drew her back against a strong chest broke off her irresolute thoughts. "Relax, Ruka. You can hold onto me and close your eyes if you don't want to look at the water."

If it were under any circumstances, there would be no doubt at all that Ruka would certainly turn the offer down flat. It wasn't her usual habit anyway, to hang onto someone else like this ─ and most of all to her friend, Kain Akatsuki.

However, she was unable to stop herself from doing what he suggested this time. It didn't matter that Kain's act, along with his tone of words had already revealed to her how aware he was of her fear. It also didn't matter that she would betray her own impulsively spoken words about how she wouldn't be afraid of water anymore, just as long as he was nearby. Ruka knew she just had to take up whatever helps available before her fear turned into real panic.

Turning to her right side, Ruka gently let herself rest between Kain's protective arms. She had to release her death grip from the seat and place both her hands on her lap at the same time as her new position no longer allowed her to cling onto the wood, but she prevented herself from holding onto him or even closing her eyes. Ruka still had way too much pride to make herself look like a seasick ─ or in her case, lakesick ─ passenger.

Besides, it was more than enough already. Being so close to Kain like this, Ruka could feel his body warmth seeping through the material of his shirt since his jacket was unbuttoned, while his ever so familiar scent surrounded her, making her feel… safe. Yes, Kain's closeness made her feel very safe ─ whether she wanted to admit it or not.

A small frown appeared on Ruka's beautiful features. So strange… when had she started to feel this comfortable around him? Wasn't it only recently that she noticed herself reacting nervously to each of Kain's attempts at physical contact? But now, it just felt so easy and even natural for her to use him as a support, to let him completely take her weight. Was it because she was in such a frightened state that she could barely make any objections at her own actions?

Well, Ruka honestly didn't have the answer to her own questions. In fact, she felt like she knew nothing about herself these days. Her life had certainly turned into a whopping emotional roller coaster, such that even her inner thoughts were confusing her…

Kain was more than relieved as he observed how the previously anxious beauty was now starting to relax against him. She still wore a small frown between her fine eyebrows and refused to follow his suggestion to close her eyes, but other than that, she looked much better than before. This is fine, he thought contentedly. After all, he didn't expect Ruka to heed him all that much, and Kain took it as a good sign that he wasn't required to use any extra effort to coax her into taking up his offered support.

A small, unguarded smile played on Kain's lips as he felt Ruka shift ever so slightly against him. He had never thought that it would feel so good to have someone resting against him like this, as if that person trusted him wholeheartedly.

He frowned at the thought. No wait, that was wrong, please correct that. The truth was, it didn't simply feel good just because someone was resting against him, but because that someone was Ruka.

Kain sighed in his heart. It was wonderful to have her this close to him. To be able to take in the soft fragrance of her long hair with each breath, to be able to hear each of her softly drawn breaths and to be aware of her every move, however subtle. Really, what had he done in the past to make him worthy enough of such… luxury?

A small voice was telling him something inside his head about the way he should properly react to all this, but Kain didn't fancy listening to it at the moment. Conscience be damned, he knew that he might never live to experience such a heavenly occurrence ever again.

Leaning forward a little, Kain reached for the boat paddles once more and began to happily re-work his way towards the other side of the lake. It took a good fifteen minutes before he deemed that they were close enough and gradually slowed down his rowing to bring the boat to a gentle stop.

Ruka noticed that the boat had ceased to move across the lake and drew herself away from Kain. She sat up straight once again, although still facing right. "So, we stop here?" she inquired.

Kain sighed unconsciously as his chest lost the soft warmth of Ruka's body. He looked down to catch the sight of the beauty now briefly glancing around at their surroundings, before finally locking her gaze at the flying dots of light fifty feet away from their boat.

"Oh, they're so beautiful…" she slowly whispered as she stared at the sight.

Kain's rueful expression broke into a fond smile. Ruka was looking as if she was afraid that she would somehow break the almost magical scene in front of her if she spoke any louder. "I'm sorry that I can't bring us closer to that marsh in any way, since our presence will disrupt and eventually drive them away. This is as near as we can go."

There was no doubt at all that if there was a way to bring them right to the middle of the practically glowing marsh, Kain would certainly have give anything that he owned in exchange for that. Only now, there wasn't. He couldn't change the fact that both of them were vampires. They were feared by other living beings. "They don't like… us," he added, stating the obvious.

The regret-laden answer from Kain made Ruka join her fine brows together and her eyes quickly found his. Indeed, there was a streak of remorse inside his eyes that accompanied his spoken line. From the way he said the word 'us', she knew what he was trying to say. That he felt sorry over the fact that the two of them were vampires and that he was sorry that he couldn't do anything about that and thus, failed to fulfill her silent wish.

Ruka shook her head slowly, feeling somewhat torn between mild irritation and awe for her dear friend. Yes, sometimes Kain's perseverance and neverending patience could easily irritate her.

Especially lately, as she started to notice this one particular, yet familiar trait he had. She even felt guilty a couple of times when seeing him go through whatever ordeal that was created by her doing. All she could think was, who was she anyway? What right did she own in her hands to make him do the sort of things he did for her sake? She was a noble yes, but then so was he. She was no princess and he wasn't her knight.

She was just his childhood friend, the one that he cared for, according to what he said. But then again, Ruka knew that friends just didn't care for each other in the special way Kain had cared for her.

If that was the case, then what was it that made her worth his effort?

Ruka didn't understand it. She knew nothing of his true reason yet she had to admit that at some point it touched her, that great resilience and tolerance of his. Never had he once asked for anything in return. In fact, he had even gotten mad once, hearing her stupid concept of 'fairness' even though she merely offered that for his own good, because she didn't know of any other way to stop him from being the victim of her selfish attitude.

And as if it wasn't enough that she often added complications to his life with her sometimes absurd, neverending requests, he also had an excellent ability to detect even her unspoken wishes. Like how he wished that they were not vampires in the first place just so that he could take her nearer, right to the center of that marsh. It was beyond his power to do anything about it, nevertheless, he wished he could.

Ruka blew her breath out in exasperation. She knew how much was 'too much' and she could tell that this one was too much. Albeit she had to admit that the way Kain sincerely trying to make her happy was one that pleased her very much.

Ruka placed a hand on his left one before giving it a light, approving squeeze. "I know, Akatsuki," she smiled softly. "And this distance is enough. It's fine this way."

Kain was caught by surprise, not at what Ruka had said but at the way she looked at him. There was gratitude shining inside her gentle russet eyes and she was giving him one of her rare, warm smiles.

Both of them combined to instantly make something kickstart to urgent, vibrant life inside his chest.

"Well, if you say so," he replied rather unevenly, suddenly feeling distracted and confused at his own weird reaction.

Ruka nodded at him before turning her attention back to the fireflies again.

Feeling that he should occupy his own time and attention, rather than following the uncertain direction his mind was heading that could lead him to unpredictable results, Kain decided to join in the observation of the fiery insects. Even if this was not the first time he had ever seen fireflies, it was certainly the first time he had watched them together with Ruka. If anything, he wanted to remember every detail of this little time they spent together.

There were quite a number of fireflies tonight, he noted. Maybe because it was the start of summer and the area around the lake was growing warmer, even though once in a while, a cool wind would pick up and blow across the lake. Kain had to admit that it was beautiful. The fair number of the glowing beetles had caused the marshes to look like they were caught in a yellow-green fire.

"Did you know that fireflies also glow in the daytime?"

Ruka turned to face him, brows raised. "They do?"

"Yes, only that we can hardly see them."

"Obviously, Akatsuki. I don't fancy going out in broad daylight myself."

"Right," Kain chuckled at her comment. "But that's not exactly what I mean, Ruka. These glowing beetles actually glow in daytime, but most people can't see that and I'm not just talking about us. They can hardly be seen because the strong sunlight beats their weaker lights. It's in a way similar to the moon and also… the stars." He pointed upwards at the starry sky to emphasize his words, making Ruka also tilt her head upwards to gaze the velvet night sky which were adorned by millions of dazzlingly, sparkling stars.

"You also can't see the moon clearly in the sky during daytime," Kain continued, "because the sun is shining way too bright. And at night, the bright city light often masks the presence of stars in the sky. It's all the same. These things, they're always there. Only that you never notice them, because you're being blinded by a stronger source of light."

Ruka blinked. She could've sworn that she had gone crazy. One second she was sitting there, listening to Kain's scientific-sounding explanation and the next, all she could think about were these almost insane thoughts.

The sun and the moon.

Kaname and Kain.

The analogy fitted both of them so acutely it almost sounded like a joke. She certainly didn't know if Kain had told her this for a purpose. But she believed he didn't. There was a big chance that he wasn't even aware of what she was now thinking about his words right now. Of how perfectly the analogy of the sun and moon fitted Kaname and himself. Certainly, these were two different subjects altogether, but Ruka could still recognize the similarities they had to each other.

The sun. Yes, Kaname would very much fit the sun. Born at the top of their hierarchy, he was so blindingly bright and enticing. He had the power to occupy everyone's attention, whether he himself was present or not. But like any other high born person, he was unreachable, undefeatable. His overflowing power and charisma had caused the rest of other vampires nobles in the Night Class to never have the chance to match themselves against him… and win. Of course, Kain ─ the moon ─ was no exclusion to this. It was even worse since this certain friend of hers was a calm and quiet individual who often chose to fade into the background as he followed their leader without question.

Another realization was dawning fast inside Ruka's mind. How right her Grandmother was when the older lady had once deemed that her only granddaughter never really looked at her friend's direction and had never really known him despite the years she spent with him. Ruka was thoroughly confused at that time, not knowing what Yoshiko had tried to point out. But now she finally understood.

She just never paid any attention to Kain – that much was a fact − because she had always been blinded by Kaname.

"Ruka…?"

Ruka blinked and looked up into a pair of observant orbs. "Uh…?" Oh, great, Kain must've been speaking to her and realized that she wasn't listening to him.

He gave her a curious smile. "You're drifting off."

"Oh, I'm just ─" embarrassed, Ruka fumbled for a reason. "I'm just thinking about… um… about… why the marsh's plantation seems to glow." Better than nothing. She silently huffed to herselfand prayed that Kain wouldn't asked her any further questions about what was actually occupying her mind earlier.

Luckily, Kain accepted her poorly supplied answer. "Glowing?" he echoed as he diverted his gaze towards the marsh. "Well, of course they are, because fireflies' larva also glow just like the adult fireflies do. That's why the marsh is glowing like that. And if they live and breed on a tree, you can get a view similar to a brightly lit Christmas tree that humans like, you know."

Ruka smiled at the mental image of a one hundred percent natural Christmas tree without any need for artificial lighting. "Hm, that would be beautiful, to have them replace the electric light bulbs."

"Well, as far as I know, human children sometimes love to do that."

"Eh, do what?"

"Catch the fireflies and keep them in a glass jar as a source of light," Kain explained, "or for fun. They do give decent light if there's no other stronger lighting source nearby. You can even try to tie the jar to a piece of stick and use it as a lantern."

"Oh… a lantern, huh? Does the light last long?"

Kain smiled. He was starting to get a really good idea on what the beauty in front of him currently had in her thoughts, judging from the way she asked the question and the obviously interested look in her eyes. "Well, I'm not sure. But I suppose they could last a couple of days if you provide them with good air circulation. By the way, you're not thinking of doing that, right?" he prompted.

"Do what?" Ruka gave him an innocent look, one delicate brow arched.

"Do that. Come on, you know perfectly well what I mean."

Her lips twisted into a sheepish smile. "No, of course not. I wish I could, though," she said in an almost wistful tone as she gazed at the far spreading marsh. She knew that there was no way she could try to do what human children could − get close enough to catch and play with the fireflies.

Suddenly realizing that there was no reply coming from Kain, she peered up to find him with his eyes gazing off into the distance, strangely unfocused. "And you said that I'm drifting off…"

Surprised, the mahogany haired vampire was quick to blink off his daze, but Ruka already decided not to miss her good chance of needling him now. "Thinking of something?"

Kain wanted to sigh and laugh at the same time. Ruka's previous answer had indeed made something enter his mind and he couldn't help pondering on it for a bit. But he just couldn't believe that she noticed that and seized him up on it. It was so obvious that now it was his turn to dig for words. Damn.

"Um, no I−" he was undecided between telling her of what he'd been thinking or simply producing an excuse.

Then it happened, with an almost miraculous timing - a sudden strong wind caused the lake waters to ripple and the small boat they were in started swaying from side to side.

Ruka gave a small gasp. Eyes shutting tightly, she reflexively clung onto the front part of Kain's jacket for support. Both the sound of the water gently slapping against the side of the boat as well as the sudden, swaying movements had surprised her and caused her momentarily forgotten anxiety to return fast. It was actually a bit embarrassing for her to pounce on Kain like this, but she just couldn't help it.

"Hey, it's okay, Ruka," Kain's calming voice was promptly heard as she felt a warm hand on her back. "It's just the wind. Maybe it's going to rain."

Ruka was trying to reply when another strong surge of wind swept over the lake and once again rocked their boat. She tightened her grip on Kain's jacket with another gasp.

"We − should…go back…" she choked off the words.

She was hoping that Kain would answer her immediately. But against her expectation, the mahogany haired vampire continued to be silent for a while and just sat there unmovingly as if waiting for the wind to calm down.

"Akatsuki…!" she demanded agitatedly.

She felt him shift a little against her. "Maybe that's not a good idea," he responded in a soft, tranquil manner.

"What do you mean!? Why?" she half snapped back. Damn Kain and his untimely application of her former suggestion about taking liberties… Couldn't he see how anxious she was now? Honestly, this was not an appropriate time for him to start obeying her wish! She just wanted him to get them back to the shore. She had had enough of fireflies watching anyway, and didn't fancy being toppled into the lake, courtesy of the strong breeze.

Again getting no immediate reply from Kain, Ruka forced herself to look up.

"Akatsuki, this isn't −"

But she never got her sentence finished because as soon as she tried to fix her eyes on Kain, she was in awe and practically forgot what she was going to say. There were hundreds, maybe even thousands of small, glowing lights flying in the air around them now. They were gently circling around the boat, gliding low over the surface of the black waters, filling the starry midnight sky above and showering both of them with a soft, green and golden radiance. At first Ruka couldn't quite understand of what her eyes were seeing. She just stared speechless at those seemingly magical flying objects around them.

And finally, it dawned on her.

The fireflies. They were thousands of firelies, and they were everywhere surrounding them. The harshly blowing wind must have driven the tiny insects away from their breeding marsh towards the spot where she and Kain had stopped.

"It's because of this…" she heard Kain finally answer her earlier question.

"The fireflies… they're everywhere!" Ruka couldn't keep the apparent astonishment and delight from her voice. She turned her gaze this way and that, looking around them, eagerly taking in the stunning sight. Her former fear was quickly diminished, being replaced by enthusiasm.

Kain wanted to give a satisfied smile at Ruka's pleased expression, but the smile died on his lips when a warm, slender body came into contact with his own, the same time a pair of equally warm and slender arms closed around his waist.

"Thank you, Akatsuki," came half whispered words, muffled against the material of his jacket.

A part of Kain's brain wanted to ask the beauty what was she thanking him for. Because what had happened wasn't his doing at all and they were merely fortunate to have the wind blow at the right place and in the right direction. But since he couldn't think properly − let alone form a complete sentence and utilize it to question the now clingy female vampire − he just stayed very, very still, trying not to make any sort of movement, afraid that if he did, he would prematurely end this rare and precious moment.

Ruka had really caught him by with surprise because the beauty he knew would certainly never do an impulsive act like this − mentally throw him off balance with her spontaneous hug.

Unsure of how to react but not wanting to be seen like some kind of idiot who had never been hugged by a girl before, Kain eventually put a tentative hand on Ruka's back. And again, as always, it felt so right when he did that, when he touched her. So perfectly right, so frighteningly right.

Yes, no matter whether he dared to admit it or not, Kain could no longer deny that he had a growing attraction towards his childhood friend… and it scared him to death. He might be a naïve person for not noticing right away when he had started to develop these unusual feelings for her, but he was most certainly not a stupid one. For the last few days, the mahogany haired vampire had carefully examined his own feelings. The more he did, the more aware he was of how complex his current condition was. For the first time in his life, Kain was utterly confused and unsure of what to do. He could do nothing more than to apply the usual "trial and error" method he did when solving every problem he encountered in the past.

This was certainly harder to do than endure the various trials his life was sometimes was with that troublemaker cousin of his…

One way or another, Kain was aware that he should stop his rash and spontaneous reactions towards these matters, like what he what he had almost done to her after their first date to town outside her room door and not to mention a few others, including the incident he caused at the swimming pool. Those were risky moments and he needed to be more careful since he knew that every time he acted without any involvement of his brain, his decisions inevitably turned out to be epic failures.

So ironic. Who would've thought that he, Kain, could actually do irrational and impulsive things with so little encouragement? And he was well known as a composed character all this time. Gee… maybe those silly Day Class girls were right when they nicknamed him Wild

Kain broke off his thoughts when he felt Ruka stir and withdraw herself. Something was telling him to check out her reaction before he decided how to react, so he curiously peered down on her.

Throughout his eighteen years of life, he had gone through countless of intense, heart stopping moments which of course were mostly caused by his damned cousin's doing. But never once had he truly experienced this.

'Stealing my breath away'

It was a phrase he had thought he would only experience inside a story book or a song. He had never thought that it could ever happen to himself.

But it did. For long, perfect moment, the sight of Ruka rendered Kain incapable of breathing. It was such a magnificent sight ─ the kind that nothing and no one else could make him take his eyes away from, no matter what they tried to attempt.

Despite being a logical character, Kain found himself unable to explain and unable to pinpoint the exact reason why couldn't avert his gaze now. Sure, Ruka was one beautiful presence he could never deny. And with the ethereal lights coming from the fireflies he found that she looked even more delicate, to the point of being even angelic. But that wasn't the sole reason of his entrancement. Could it be because of the way she was looking up at him? Or the sweet, heart-warming smile she was giving him? Or maybe the fact that if only there was something in this world that he could give, in exchange for the possibility of her giving him that kind of look and smile for always, he would happily call it a deal?

Confused beyond all hope, Kain realized that he knew no answer to his own questions. The simple fact was that he just couldn't think anymore.

Ruka could see several different emotions flashing in Kain's rich chocolate eyes. She could identify a couple of them as astonishment and confusion but the others disappeared too quickly before she could pin them with a name. She couldn't help but smile at him. Kain was looking somewhat adorable with all that uncertainty reflected in his eyes. It was obvious that he didn't expect her to thank him, much less enjoy a hug thrown in as well.

He didn't expect it, yet he deserves so much more than just a hug, Ruka thought silently. This was one of the things that she most appreciated about Kain, that when he did someone a favor, he did it with no strings attached. There was no catch or hidden motive behind his actions.

Ruka was about to tell Kain not to worry or read too much into her impulsive action when she noticed a subtle change in his expression that made her smile falter. It was his eyes. They were now filled with the barest hints of sadness, longing, denial, pain and disappointment… and this time, Ruka could name them all. While it surprised her to find those emotions in his gaze, they were also oddly familiar at the same time.

Ruka gradually became aware that she had seen the same kind of expression in his eyes recently, although she couldn't quite remember when. She didn't go further in rummaging through her collection of memories, however, for she understood that when was actually the less important matter compared to why. Certainly, there must be something that had made Kain look at her this way and she wanted to know why.

But Ruka never had the chance to ask him. Because as quickly as the wistful expression appeared, it was dismissed then replaced by a different expression. This time, it was one she recognized well enough.

If Ruka didn't receive her warning before when Kain had stolen her first kiss from her, she did now. She could see it coming, first in his eyes and slowly followed by his subtle approach. Still, it makes no difference whether she knew it in advance or not.

She could call it curiosity, of course. Or perhaps she was in a daze, or perhaps she owed him some consideration, or whatever reason she could conveniently find and use as her excuse. Nevertheless, she couldn't escape the fact that deep inside, she knew what was going to happen and she had chosen to do nothing to stop it.

She was seriously screwed.

Ruka felt her mind going numb, while nameless emotions and sensations were coursing through her freely at the same time, creating a wildfire from within. Similar to the kiss she had received a couple of days before, this one was also tender and sweet. The only difference was, it didn't matter that Kain was doing everything with an obvious tentativeness in it ─ kissing her ever so gently and timidly placing his hand at the back of her neck ─ the kiss itself turned out to be twice as intense and more mind blowing than the first one had been.

It was simply wonderful, being locked inside the tall vampire's warm and safe embrace. With a tinge of embarrassment, Ruka was suddenly aware that she hadn't released her former hold around Kain's waist. Instead, both of her hands were now beneath his jacket and tightly fisting the back of the soft cotton shirt he wore underneath it. Lord, she acted as if she didn't want their kiss to end.

Wait a minute… did she truly want for this kiss to end after all?

Ruka really didn't know the answer to her own question. Her head was already spinning in a dizzying manner and while trying to make herself steady was proving to be hard enough, she certainly didn't need the extra trouble of having to think of the answer. It was also difficult to tell if her annoying lightheadedness was coming from the boat's slight movements or the blissful kiss Kain was giving her.

Ruka was breathless and more than a bit disoriented when he finally withdrew. The kiss could have lasted for only seconds but to Ruka it felt like forever… yet it had ended all too soon. It was a bit awkward when she felt Kain slowly remove his hands from her and she automatically looked up at him.

Despite her half dazed state and unfocused eyes, she could see that Kain was also caught in a similar state of breathlessness. But that wasn't what made her blink in surprise. It was his stormy eyes, which were now filled with a mix of anxiety, shock and confusion that made her frown. The mahogany haired vampire looked exactly like someone who had just discovered he had made a fatal mistake.

That made something twist painfully inside Ruka's chest and she took a deep breath in a vain attempt to dismiss the sensation. A question abruptly emerged inside her head as she stared at his unexpected reaction and before she could stop herself, the words were already rolling out of her lips.

"Akatsuki, why did you kiss me?"

--oo--