My first Flame of Recca fanfiction! I've been reading the series since they started print here in America, but I've never written down any of the little fictions in my head. Here's just a little piece of Recca/Yanagi fluff, because there's just not enough of it out there, damnit. Takes place during the fighting tournament, any minor time frame mistakes chalk up to the fact that it's been a while since I read that particular arc. No real details, it's just the time setting. Enjoy, and please review!


"Ah! No fair! You cheated!"

"Hehehe, gomen, Domon, it's not my fault you're terrible at this game!" Kogenei Kaoru laughed, ducking the swing of the older boy's fist.

"Runt! I'll show you! Rematch!" he demanded, fuming.

The Ura Butou Satsujin was in the final stages, and team Hokage were resting after a long, fierce day. Kaoru and Domon were playing video games, Kirisawa Fuuko was cleaning her weapons, and Mikigami Tokiya was sitting off on his own, resting himself and watching the others, a smirk on his face.

"Oi, gorilla," he called over. "How many rematches is that now? Seven?"

"Mikigami, you ass!" Domon shrieked, twisting away from the game, "I'd kill you if Hanabishi— EH?!" he cut off, as Kaoru burst out laughing, "YOU CHEAT! I WASN'T LOOKING!"

"You didn't pause the game, Domon-kun!" the young boy giggled, "Looks like I win again!"

"Speaking of Recca," Fuuko began, looking around, "I haven't heard him rant once about Yanagi-chan this whole night."

"He went off to bed early," Kaoru said. "Yanagi-neechan, too."

Domon had just opened his mouth to say something perverted when Fuuko threw a book at his head.

"Don't even dare, you big ape," she said. "Have a little more respect for Yanagi-chan."

"Gomen, Fuuko-chan," he apologized, blushing, "Anything you say."

Fuuko 'hmmph'-ed and looked away. "You know better than to go off like that on poor Yanagi-chan. You'd never suggest something like that to her face." The truth was, even though she considered herself 'over' Recca, and even though Yanagi was now one of her best friends, it still stung a little to think of them together. But the two idolized one another, and she wanted them to be happy together.

--

In the private room reserved for Hanabishi Recca, two bodies breathed slowly in unison. Sakoshita Yanagi lay with her eyes open, listening to the sound of the boy sleep.

"You know, it really makes me uncomfortable, how far away they put your room," Recca muttered, kicking at the floor. "I don't trust them. They won't play this fair, I just know it. I keep worrying that that creep is going to send someone sneaking into your room at night when we're all asleep…"

Yanagi blinked nervously. "I… I hadn't even thought of that."

Recca suddenly grinned. "No worries, Hime," he said, his eyes closed with his smile. "I'll protect you. Stay with me in my room. I'll keep you safe!"

Now he slept soundly beside her. She'd healed his wounds from the day's fighting, and he'd given her one of his shirts to wear to bed. Yanagi lay awake in his arms under the sheet, a soft smile on her face.

How nice, she thought, How nice this is… How peaceful I feel… I wish this could last forever…She closed her eyes, pressing her back against his chest, content to feel his arm around her.

"You take the bed, Hime," he offered, moving the pillows on the couch. "I'll be fine right here."

Yanagi stepped out of the bathroom, flicking the light off behind her, after washing up and changing into the long shirt he had given her and the shorts she had for pajamas. He was wearing a white tank top and his usual black pants, although these were clean and not ruined from fighting in them.

"Are you sure, Recca-kun?" she asked in her small voice. "If you wake up sore from sleeping on the couch, you won't be able to fight your best tomorrow."

"True," he said, "But you don't have to worry about me. I'm plenty tough to handle anything they throw at me out there."

"Un," she nodded, a light blush appearing on her face. "What I mean, Recca-kun… You could sleep on the bed… too… if you like. I would feel very safe, with you beside me…"

He blinked, surprised, then his trademark grin spread across his face again. "Don't worry, Hime," he said. Thumbs up. "I'll keep you safe."

Recca was always a gentleman… to Yanagi, anyway. She smiled to herself. He let her lay down on the side further from the door, tucked her in under the warm blanket, and covered himself with a sheet and lay down next to her. With wide, innocent eyes, he poked her nose and smiled.

"I'll keep you safe, Yanagi-hime," he said confidently. She almost had to blink away tears.

So much trouble, she thought, He has to fight so hard… my friends… my friends have to suffer because of me…Yanagi sniffled, and turned her face into the pillow…

"Hey, hey, Yanagi-hime, what's wrong?" Recca asked gently, brushing her bangs from her face.

"Recca-kun…" she said softly, trying to keep the tears she felt threatening her eyes out of her voice, "Recca-kun… gomennasai… I'm sorry you have to keep fighting like this, I'm sorry you have to protect me. Even if I can heal you, I can't stop you from being hurt in the first place and what if…" The tears finally spilled over. "What if…"

She buried her face in her hands, and crawled out from under the blanket. She needed to be close to him, needed to feel that he was still here, that he wasn't lost to her. That image that haunted her nightmares, her friends, the people she loved, their eyes empty and their bodies unmoving…

"Aw, hey, Yanagi-chan…" he said softly as she curled next to him under the sheet, her little hands clutching the fabric of his shirt and her head resting on his chest as she fought to keep her tears under control. He put his arms around her, squeezing her shoulders gently. "Don't think like that, Hime," he whispered. "We'll be okay. Everything's going to be alright, alright?"

She looked up at him, her eyes red, and he smiled at her, dabbing her face with the cotton sheet.

"Everything's going to be okay…"

Time seemed to stand still as the night wore on. Recca had fallen asleep after he had cheered her up. He was exhausted, although he wouldn't say so. She had rolled in his arms to face away from him, spooning her back against him. Even laying in a bed next to him, his arms around her felt so innocent. So good. Right. She cuddled close to him, the backs of her knees tucked around his, her head resting against his chest. Was it hours that passed, or minutes? She prayed for time to stop altogether. The longer they stayed like this the longer she knew he was safe, away from the arena, off of the battlefield.

"Hi-…Hime…" his soft voice whispered. Yanagi turned her head to see his brows twitch fitfully, his eyes squeezing tightly in a dream. His arms twitched tighter around her, and she rolled to face him.

"Recca-kun," she said softly. "Recca-kun…"

Fire, fire all around him. Not the comforting heat of the dragons, but a cold burning like steel. He couldn't move, and blue flames snaked down into his lungs when he tried to breathe. Cold. He choked on it, shivering. He tasted blood.

Laughing coming from all around, chilling his soul where the fire could not. An ache in his bones, like he was losing too much blood. And before his vision blurred he saw Kurei… or was it Koran? stepping toward Yanagi. She flinched away from the burning touch, but they grabbed her arm… he couldn't see past the blur in his eyes… she tried to jerk away. "Recca-kun!" The fire roaring in his ears just barely drowned out her screaming.

"Reccaaaaaa…!"

"…Recca-kun."

He forced his eyes open, jarring himself from the dream.

"Recca-kun… you were dreaming…"

He looked down at her, blinking, surprised, before he remembered where he was. He didn't need to force the small smile that came from seeing her concerned face looking up at him. "Gomen, Yanagi-hime," he said, freeing one hand to rub his eyes. "I didn't mean to wake you."

"You didn't," she said, shaking her head once. "Did you have a nightmare?"

She looks so worried about such a small thing, he thought. Again the easy smile came to him. "Yeah, but it's no big deal," he said. "Thanks for waking me." He ruffled her bangs gently with one hand, the other pulling her against him. He blushed slightly, and she smiled.

Always this innocence, this careful sweetness, she thought, happy in the moment. Please, Recca-kun… keep me with you. I want to be together with you forever.

Resting his chin on the top of her head, Recca's face was set, determined. There was no way he'd let that nightmare come true. He'd die before he lost her. And if he didn't die losing her, he'd save her or die trying.

Nothing was going to take his princess from him. He squeezed her tighter, being careful to be gentle. Outside, the dawn was still hours away. They drifted off to sleep together, this time to sweeter dreams of brighter things.

Nothing.


Kinda short, but it's just a bit of fluff. I hope I managed to keep them in character. Constructive criticism is always welcome!