A/N: This, readers, is my first fic for the Samurai Champloo fandom, and I am quite pleased with it. I wrote it in two days, and the last ten pages of it were done in a total of four hours. I hope it's favorable for my new and old readers, and many thanks to my beta, Mengde, for suffering through a MugenFuu fic in order to help me improve.


The first time Mugen showed up in Fuu's two-room apartment above her tea-shop, she was secretly sort of pleased. Then she remembered that she had not seen him in over a year, and she saw that he had kicked her door in, and she forgot that she was secretly sort of pleased to see him.

"Hey, bitch," he said as she walked through her front door and saw him sitting on a cushion with his feet up on her kitchen table.

"What the—Mugen!"

"Yep," he said. He was chewing on a weed, there was dirt all over his face, and his clothes looked baggier and more threadbare than she recalled.

"Get your disgusting feet off my table! I eat off that, y'know!"

"Ah, quit yer bitchin'," he said, waving a dismissive hand at her. "I'm gonna stay here for a while, all right?" Before she could respond, he asked, "Where's the bathroom? Man, this is a sweet set-up you got here. How the hell'd you get the money for this place anyway? It sure ain't from sellin' your body," he said, lazily looking her up and down.

"Oh, shut up," she said tiredly. The workday had been long. "I'm not in the mood. Did you break down my door?"

"You really gotta get a better door," he said from the other room. "Seriously, I need a bath. Where's the tub?"

"It was fine before you came!" she snarled at him. Then, after a moment, "The bathroom is downstairs, the door next to the kitchen."

After pissing her off, eating almost all of her food (all the while complaining that her cooking sucked), throwing his dirty clothes all over the place and generally making a nuisance of himself, he left. He had only stayed for a night and a day.

When he was gone, she sighed into her empty apartment and felt like she might just miss him. Then she saw that he had left his dirty water in the tub in the bathroom and forgot that she might have missed him for a few moments.


The second time Mugen showed up, she went up the stairs and came through the door, and the first thing he said was, "You don't look so hot."

"Yeah, well, you never look that hot."

"Don't lie, baby. You know you want me." He flexed one of his wiry arms.

She rolled her eyes and kicked her shoes off by the door, collapsing onto a pile of cushions and flexing her sore toes.

"You sick or somethin'? Normally you woulda yelled at me for that."

"Aw, Mugen, that's so sweet," Fuu said saccharinely. "I never knew you cared."

He blanched, looking horrified. "Whatever. I'm just making sure I ain't gonna catch nothin' from you."

"Look, I own the tea shop downstairs, and for your information, I've had a long day, so can you please shut up and leave me alone?"

"I'm gonna go take a bath," he said, scratching at his crotch.

"Lovely. You do that."

Fuu wondered idly why she was just letting him come into her house and leech off her hospitality, but then she remembered that Mugen would be Mugen and that she would be Fuu, and it was just in her nature to make allowances for Jin and Mugen. Not that she ever needed to make allowances for Jin, since he was never an imposing asshole like Mugen, but—

Okay, think calming thoughts. Throttling Mugen is not worth it. Even if it would make you feel really great.

"'ey, bitch!" he shouted from downstairs. "Bring me a towel!"

How can he be so loud? His voice carries all the way up the stairs.

"Get it yourself, asshole!"

"Where the hell are they?"

"If they were snakes, they'd bite you!"

"What the hell does that mean? Just bring me a fuckin' towel!"

"NO!" Fuu shrieked, infuriated. Honestly, Mugen knew just how to get under her skin.

A few minutes later, she heard Mugen's voice, a lot closer than before, say, "I can't find the damn things."

Fuu looked up and immediately looked away again, feeling her face heat up. Mugen was standing at the top of the stairs, in her open doorway, stark naked, completely at ease, albeit with a rather grumpy look on his face. Not that she had really looked at his face

Okay, Mugen is prancing around your house, naked. Fix it.

"MUGEN!" she screamed. "PUT SOME CLOTHES ON!"

"I can't put my clothes on now," he said, sounding almost whiny. "I need to dry off first."

"Why are you even here?" she asked, peeking through her fingers at him. If she angled her hands just right, all she could see was his cranky, dripping face.

"I was in town, and I didn't want to sleep on the ground."

"Look, just…uh…god, just stay right there. I'll get you a towel."

After two full days of provoking her, messing up her house, snooping in her business, and eating all her food, Mugen left. Fuu forgot that she might have missed him when she found his toenail clippings under one of her cushions.


The third time Fuu found Mugen in her apartment, she did not discover him right away. This was due to the fact that the first thing she did after closing up the shop was relax into her giant pile of cushions (placed where they were for this particular reason), then she made herself a quick dinner in the kitchen downstairs. After that, she trudged wearily into her room, ready to slip into her pallet and succumb to the sweet embrace of sleep.

This was not to be, however, as there was someone occupying her bed. Naturally, the first inclination she had was to scream bloody murder. So she did.

"Ah, goddammit!" a rather familiar voice growled.

"Mugen?" Fuu gasped, her heart struggling to beat its way out of her chest.

"What the hell was that for? D'you gotta be so loud all the time? I swear it's like you never stop yelling." He clutched his ears and made a pained face at her.

"What," she said slowly, through gritted teeth, "are you doing in my bed?"

"I was sleeping," he said, as if talking to an especially dense three-year-old.

"I gathered that," she said, feeling her right eye begin to twitch like it always did when she got angry, "but why are you in my bed?"

"Because I'm tired, dumbass."

"And when did you get here?"

"'Round midday."

"How the hell do you keep getting up here without me seeing you?"

He shrugged and put his hands behind his head. "I dunno. You just ain't paying any attention is all."

She almost asked him why he didn't just tell her he needed somewhere to stay, but then she remembered that Mugen would be Mugen, and she would be Fuu, and finding him in her bed was as good a way for him to ask her permission as any, to him.

Defeated and tired, Fuu sighed. "I'll just get out some of the spare blankets."

Mugen shrugged and rolled over, cocooning himself in her fluffy, soft sheets. Clenching her jaw momentarily, Fuu reined in her mounting temper and made herself a bed across the room from Mugen.

The next day was an off day for Fuu, since she closed the shop a couple of times a week, so she made breakfast for herself and Mugen. Over the top of a cup of tea, she noticed a large tear in his white undershirt.

"If you want," she offered, "I can fix that for you."

"Huh?" he asked blearily, rubbing at one eye and yawning widely. Mugen was definitely not a morning person.

"Your shirt," she said. "It's got a hole in it."

"Oh," he said with his cheeks full of food.

"And I can mend it for you if you want," she said slowly, deliberately mimicking his tone from last night.

"Yeah, sure, great," he said distractedly, almost licking his plate in his hurry to eat everything on it.

Fuu studied him. Mugen had always had an enormous appetite, but the fervor with which he was devouring the meal made her think. Did he look thinner? He always looked stick-thin and a bit undernourished, but she thought she might be able to see that his clothes were looser on him than usual.

"Mugen, when's the last time you had a decent meal?" she asked, genuine concern coloring her tone.

He shrugged. "Dunno. Five days, maybe more." He looked at her sharply. "Why?"

She stared into her tea. "Eh, no reason. I was just curious. You're looking pretty thin these days."

His eyes glittered. "I never knew you cared," he said in a slimy-sweet voice.

"Whatever," she grumbled, standing up and setting down her tea.

"Where you goin'?" he asked suddenly.

"To take a bath," she said.

"Not if I get there first!" he shouted, shoving her out of the way and running for the door.

"Mugen!" she screeched. "You jerk!"

"Ya snooze, ya lose," he called as she scrambled after him, tripping on the trail of clothing he had left behind.

As she came to the bathroom door, she realized that the articles of clothing she had seen thus far were his haori, his undershirt, and his shorts. Which meant he was naked. Which meant she definitely needed to find something else to do.

She sighed and decided she would go do some cleaning.

That time, Mugen stayed for a whole week, and when Fuu woke up to find that his pallet was empty and his clothes and his sword were gone, she realized that she had forgotten how lonely it was when it was just her and her little apartment above the teashop.


The fourth time Fuu found Mugen in her house, he was sharpening his sword with a whetstone. She winced at the horrible noise it produced, but decided to just ignore him for the time being.

As if ignoring Mugen ever worked, though.

"What crawled up your ass and died?" he asked as she sighed for a third time.

"Oh, nothing," she said flippantly. "I just don't feel like making any dinner."

Mugen gave the edge of his blade a few more swipes with the whetstone.

"I'm hungry," he said.

"Me too."

"Ain't ya gonna do something about it?"

"Like what? I just said I don't want to cook anything."

"Then let's go get some grub," he said, running a finger experimentally along the edge of the blade.

"I think that's sharp enough," she said as a bit of blood dripped off his fingertip and landed on one of her cushions. "And could you please stop staining my upholstery? You're a destructive force of nature, I swear."

"Yeah, yeah, let's just go get some grub before I kill you and eat you," he said, sheathing his katana.


When they finished eating, Mugen turned to her and said, "I got this covered."

"Where the heck did you get enough money to pay for dinner?" she asked.

"You know me," he said, grinning in a way that made her very suspicious. "I pick things up here and there."

"Are you sure I shouldn't pay? We don't want people tracking us down because that money has a history or something," she said, frowning as he handed some coins over to their server.

"Y'know what your problem is? You worry too goddamn much," he said, strolling out of the restaurant and leaving her to follow after him.

That night, with Mugen snoring gently in the pallet on the other side of the room (which was not that far away, really), Fuu forgot to sleep for a while because she was so absorbed in studying his face.


The seventh (or was it eighth? She had forgotten to keep count) time Fuu found him in her rooms, he was bleeding all over her cushions, and she forgot to roll her eyes at his trouble-making because she was so worried for his health.

"Mugen!" she gasped, her hand fluttering to her heart at the sight of so much blood.

"'Ey, bitch," he croaked, wincing in pain as he lifted his head off the floor to look at her, "help a guy out here."

And then his head fell back to the floor with a thud, and Fuu was left to stare at him, still and wounded on her floor. After about three seconds, she shook herself and went downstairs to grab bandages and hot water.

She tapped her foot impatiently until the water had heated and then took the pot upstairs, almost tripping in her haste to help Mugen.

Great going, Fuu, she thought to herself. Waste anymore time and you'll be able to paint your walls with all the blood that's leaked out of him.

She muttered to herself as she stripped off his bloodstained haori and undershirt and assessed the damages on Mugen. In addition to some smaller lesions, there was a large gash running from his left shoulder to his right hip, and it wasn't deep enough to have hit any major organs, but he was still bleeding profusely.

"Honestly, you utter jackass," she grumbled, "one of these days, me or Jin won't be here to help you out like this, and you're going to get yourself killed, and then where will I be? Jin never visits me anymore 'cause he's so happy with Shino—and I don't blame him really, I mean, she's perfect for him, and they waited three years to find each other, but still, when you're not breaking into my house every few months, no one really comes around, and I'm bored without you."

Fuu realized she was babbling, but she forgot to care all that much. Mugen was unconscious, and she needed some way to comfort herself as she poked at her half-dead friend's wounds.

"In fact, I kind of wish you would come around more often because—oh, jeez, what am I even saying? You're annoying, and you eat all my food, and you complain about everything, and you call me bitch like it's my name, and—"

Fuu squealed in a rather undignified way when one of Mugen's calloused, tanned hands darted out and grabbed her wrist. She found herself staring into his slightly foggy brown eyes.

"Will you please," he said, "shut the fuck up for five minutes?"

"Well, excuse me for being a little nervous while I'm sitting in a pool of your blood," she said.

"Didn't I tell ya not to worry so damn much?" he growled, closing his eyes again.

"Good god, I never knew one person could bleed so much," she said, wincing as she put pressure on his wound.

He hissed through his teeth and clutched at her shirt in pain. "Goddammit, not so fucking hard."

"I have to stop the bleeding, Mugen," Fuu said.

His hands fisted as she continued to press on the cut. He was sweating, and his tan skin looked a lot paler than usual. Finally, the bleeding slowed, so Fuu wrapped his torso and figured she should try to move him to her bedroom so he could sleep.

"Mugen," she said, and she had no idea why she was whispering, "I have to move you to a more comfortable place, but you need to help me do it, so come on and wake up."

"Yeah, yeah, let's just get this over with," he said, so she wrapped an arm around his back, under his armpits, and helped him sit up. With a groan from Mugen, she hefted him to his feet, surprised at how light he felt compared to how he looked.

"Come on," she said. "Just a few steps, and then we'll be where you can go to sleep."

"Don't talk to me like that," he said. She could feel his hot, slightly sour breath on her ear. It raised the hair on her arms.

"Like what?" she asked.

"Like I'm a fuckin' baby. I'm wounded, not stupid."

She sighed. "I'm just trying to help."


Reaching her bed, Fuu helped lower Mugen onto it, and with a tenderness that surprised even her, tucked him in.

She was surprised again, but this time by Mugen when he cracked open an eye and said, "Where you going?"

"To clean your blood off my floor," she explained.

Unable to sleep that night, she watched the steady rise and fall of his chest, irrationally afraid that if she closed her eyes and went to sleep, he would stop breathing.

The next morning, she was awakened by him croaking, "Hey, bitch, wake up and get me some water."

Fuu rolled over, pulling the covers over her head and trying to block him out, but then she remembered that he was injured, and she had a tea shop to run.

She got up, got him some water, made them both breakfast, and then opened up shop for the day.

That night, when she was sitting on her pallet, mending his torn, now only slightly stained clothes (she had done her best to get the bloodstains out), Mugen took her off guard.

"Fuu," he said. She jumped. Mugen rarely ever said her name.


He muttered something that she didn't quite catch.



Curious, but knowing not to bug Mugen (because when you bugged Mugen, you never got what you wanted out of him), Fuu shrugged and went back to sewing. It was only that night before she fell asleep that she realized he had said "Thanks." She convinced herself that he couldn't have said that, that she was just making it up.

Mugen healed and left a week or so later. Eight days after he left, her pallet started to smell like her again. She had forgotten what it was like to not have everything in her house smelling like Mugen—sort of earthy and male, not an altogether bad scent.


"What the hell's your problem?" Mugen asked when she stomped through the front door with a sour look on her face and a confrontational gleam in her eyes. He was charged up and ready to do something, and provoking Fuu was one of his favorite pass-times. Little did he know that her butt had been pinched more than ten times today, and she had dropped a whole tray of dishes and broken them.

"What the hell are you doing here?" she yelled, throwing her hands into the air.

"I was in town, figured I'd come—"

"Eat my food? Sleep in my house? Bleed all over my furniture?" she shrieked, gesturing wildly.

"Yeah, that's about right," he said, flopping into her pile of cushions.

"You get your dirty self out of my cushions," she said in a dangerous voice.

"And what if I say no?" he asked, digging a finger in his ear.

"Then I'll make you," she spat.

"Oh, really. Try me, bitch," he said, grinning madly.

That was her undoing. She forgot about having self-control. With a wild yell, she tackled him. For once in his life, he was caught off guard (it was Fuu, and Fuu did not tackle people), so she knocked him out of her cushion pile and up against the wall, shaking him by the shoulders. He overpowered her easily, getting her in a chokehold.

"Aw, is that all ya got?" he asked, sounding disappointed.

In reply, she elbowed him in the gut. He grunted, releasing her, and she whirled around and slapped him across the face. This only seemed to make him more excited, and he grinned crazily, leaping on her and pinning her to the floor.

She writhed and kicked and beat at his back with her little pale fists. "Let me go, you asshole! Let me go and get out of my house, right now!"

Resting his full weight on her so she couldn't move, he leaned into her very close. She wondered if he could feel the way her heart rate sped up as his forehead was almost touching hers.

His lips parted, and he put his mouth next to her ear and whispered, "I'm hungry."

"Augh!" she screamed, an inarticulate word of fury. "Then get off me, and we'll go get something to eat, you jerk."

Smirking, he hopped off her and headed out the door, obviously expecting her to follow.

Over the next few nights, Fuu forgot the angry part of the encounter, and instead, she replayed the feel of him pinning her to the floor over and over again.


"Wanna go get drunk?" Mugen asked her as she kicked off her shoes.

She put her shoes back on as they headed back out to the door to the nearest bar.

Mugen ordered a whole jug of sake for them, and Fuu had so much fun trying to out-drink him that she forgot that she wasn't that great at holding her alcohol.

She started to worry when the world was turning around her even though it hadn't been doing that before, so she poked Mugen and told him it was time to go back to the house. She was afraid that if they drank anymore, they would pass out in an alley somewhere and get robbed.

"C'mon, Mugen," she slurred, poking him again. "We gotta go back to my house."

She noticed the way his eyes were glittering in the dim light of the bar, but she forgot why exactly she should have been wary of that. They leaned on each other, stumbling back to her tea-shop loft, both of them slumping to the floor in relief when they finally managed to get up the stairs without tripping.

"'S way too hot in here," Mugen announced, attempting to remove his shirt and only managing to get tangled up in it.

"Lemme help ya with that," Fuu said, pulling off his haori and helping him out of his undershirt.

She was really beginning to worry that she had drank too much sake for her own good when started thinking Mugen's lean chest was kind of appealing, and she sort of thought she might want to run her tongue along the ridge of his collarbone, and—

Whoa, whoa, Fuu, slurred her intoxicated conscience. Mugen is not a good idea. Mugen is off-limits. Mugen is trouble with a capital T.

She stumbled into the bedroom in an attempt to get away from him and settle down a bit, but she heard him following her. Trying to keep her back turned so she would not have to look him in the eye, she settled into her pallet, intent on sleeping off the effects of the sake.

She remembered that she had to make a pallet for Mugen, however, so she turned over to tell him where the spare blankets were, but gasped in surprise when he slid into her pallet next to her.

Fuu assumed being drunk made him super stupid and was about to tell him to get out so she could make his bed up, but he slid a hand up her leg, and she promptly forgot all about it.

"Mugen, what're you doing?"

"Getting comf'table, whatsit look like?"

His warm hand was creeping steadily higher on her leg, pushing her kimono up with its progress.

"Um, Mugen—"

"Goddamn, bitch, you talk way too much," he grumbled, pressing his mouth to hers. He tasted like sake, and his stubble scraped across her face as he kissed her sloppily. It wasn't the most romantic thing ever, but her blood started to thrum in the lower regions of her body, and Mugen maneuvered them so he was on top of her, and she was so warm, and one of his hands was fiddling with her obi, and oh, that was interesting.

Fuu's last coherent thought was that drunk sex was very, very bad, but she forgot about that when she ran her nails down Mugen's neck, and he growled.


"I see you two have been getting to know each other since we last met," a quiet voice said. Somehow, despite the relatively low volume, Fuu jolted awake, immediately laying eyes on Jin.

"Jin!" she squawked. She felt herself blush from the roots of her hair all the way down to her chest.

She noted with relief that there was an arm covering her breasts, then realized with horror that it was Mugen's arm as everything that happened last night came flooding back to her in a rush. Mugen's mouth, his tongue, his teeth, his—

Focus, Fuu. You have a situation on your hands here.

"What is going on here?" Jin asked, spearing her with a disapproving look.

"Jeez, is it a new societal norm to just walk into people's houses at the slightest drop of a hat?" she asked, scowling.

"No, but I knocked several times and received no answer, and I thought the tea shop was supposed to be open today," Jin replied, arching an eyebrow at her. "And now I think you should answer my question."

Fuu looked helplessly over at Mugen, noting with a slight stab of irritation that he was actually awake, with one eye cracked open, staring at her. A tiny smirk twitched at his lips. She looked at him as if to say Help me here!

Suddenly irrationally angry, Fuu said, "I don't have to answer anything. I'm a big girl, and I can do what I want."

"Fuu," Jin said sternly, "I will be downstairs. Get dressed and come speak with me." He exited, leaving her alone with Mugen. A very naked Mugen.

"Er…good morning," she said hesitantly.

"Not talkin' very much, are ya?" he asked with a wicked grin.

She narrowed her eyes at him. He yawned, reminding her absurdly of a cat.

Fuu made a motion to get up and put some clothes on, but Mugen snagged her wrist with one hand and stared up at her. She arched an eyebrow. "What?"

"You can do what'cha want, y'know. Ya don't have to answer to Four Eyes or anybody." He was looking at her almost seriously, and for a moment, she stared back, but that was ruined when he yanked her back down roughly and rolled over on top of her.

"Mugen," she protested, "I have to go talk to Jin!"

"Nah, you don't," he said, sliding a hand up her inner thigh.

She squeaked and pushed him off of her. "Yes, I do," she said firmly.

He scowled. "Fine. Go talk to that jackass."

She wondered why he suddenly seemed angry at her. Then again, she knew that Mugen could go from uncaring to angry in an instant.

Fuu shrugged on her clothes and stomped down the stairs, earning an inquiring look from Jin.

"What?" she snapped.

"When did you and Mugen start…" he trailed off, seeming to be searching for words. She saved him the trouble.

"Last night."

"Ah, I see."

"No, you don't," she said, sitting down heavily. "We were both really drunk, and it just sort of happened."

"So it does not meaning anything to you, then?"

She hesitated, unsure of what to say.

Jin looked at her hard and said, "He will hurt you, Fuu." She stared at her feet. He grunted and stood. "I am going to speak with Mugen."

"Wait, what are you going to say to him?" she asked, alarmed.

"Do not trouble yourself over it," he said, waving a hand at her.

Nervous, Fuu waited for the yelling or the commotion as they fought. She did not hear anything. Strangely, this made her even more antsy. After a while, Jin came down the stairs.

"I was coming by for a visit, but I see you are busy at the moment. Shino and I are staying at the nearest inn. Feel free to stop by," he said as he walked out the door.

"Wait! Jin, what are you—"

"Have a good day, Fuu," he called as from beyond the door.

She stared after him, perplexed, then shrugged to herself and went back upstairs to check on Mugen and ask what he wanted for breakfast. She found him staring sulkily at his feet in her pile of cushions.

"Uh, Mugen, I was going to ask what you wanted for br—"

"What'd Four Eyes say to you?"

"Well, he—"

Mugen pushed her against the wall, trapping her there with his arms, yelling in her face. "I bet he told ya how bad I was and told ya to stay away from me, huh? Did he tell ya that I was no good?"

"No! He didn't say that! And even if he did, why would I care? I know what kind of person you are, Mugen," she said earnestly.

"Yeah? What kinda person am I?"

"Well, you're Mugen."

"What the hell's that supposed to mean?"

"It means what it means," she said, smiling at him. "It means you're Mugen. That's what kind of person you are."

"What the fuck? Y'know, I don't get you," he said, backing off and scratching his head in a puzzled way.

"What did Jin say to you?" she asked, narrowing her eyes at him.

"Wouldn't you like to know." Before she could offer a snappy retort, he said, "I'm leaving."

"What?" she asked, feeling hurt blossom inside her for some reason she couldn't place.

"Thanks for the grub and everything, Fuu," he said, his eyes shuttered. He was closing himself off from her.

"Wait, Mugen! What did I say?"

"What're you talkin' 'bout, ya dumb broad? I gotta go. Maybe I'll see ya around." He waved to her as he walked out the door, down the stairs, and out the front door, as easy as that.

Fuu had forgotten what it was like when he hurt her.


Four months later, she walked in, saw him sitting nonchalantly in her cushions, and she exploded with unholy rage.

"You…you…" she said, pointing a shaking finger at him. She was literally seeing red.

"How's it hangin', bitch?"

"Get. Out."

"I don't think I will," he said, inspecting his fingernails.

"Oh, you will. Get out of my house, get out of my tea-shop right this instant."

"Or what?" he challenged her, looking at her out of the corner of his eye, his eyebrows raised.

"Or I'll kill you," she hissed.

"I'd like to see you try, bitch." He crooked a finger at her.

Fuu pulled out her trusty pink tanto blade and pounced, forgetting that this was Mugen, he had the reflexes of a cat, and he would be ready for anything like that.

He met her head on, grabbing her wrist and twisting until she cried out in pain and dropped the dagger to the floor with a clatter. "Nice try, Fuu," he said in her ear.

"Let me go, you asshole! Get the fuck off me!"

He turned her around, shoved her against the wall, hard, and kissed her until she saw stars. Or maybe that was a concussion—she wasn't sure.

When he pulled back, panting raggedly, she surprised herself by pushing her head forward and kissing him again, staring straight into his eyes. When she wrapped her legs around his waist, and they overbalanced and crashed to the floor, she broke it off long enough to ask him, "Are you okay?"

"I thought you wanted to kill me," he said, smirking at her.

"I can't decide whether I want to kill you or—"

"Did you mean it?"

"What? Did I mean what?"

"When you said you were bored without me?"


"Dammit, do I have to spell everything out for you?"

She could tell that, for some reason, he was uncomfortable and trying to cover it up with anger. She thought about it and thought about it, and then—

"…but still, when you're not breaking into my house every few months, no one really comes around, and I'm bored without you."

He saw the realization dawn on her features and said, "Took ya long enough."


He shook her a bit to bring her back down to Earth. "Did you mean it?" he repeated roughly, staring at her with piercing eyes.

She swallowed. "Yes."

"I ain't nice, y'know."

"Jeez, you think I don't know that?"

"I won't stay all the time," he said.

"I'm not stupid, Mugen."

"Gettin' involved with me is stupid."

"Is that what you call this?" she asked, rolling her hips. He groaned. "'Getting involved'?"

"We ain't just friends anymore," he pointed out, one hand untying her obi.

"I know that, Mugen. Like I said, I'm not stupid. I know what I'm doing."

"Jin told me to leave you alone and let you live a happy life. Whatever the fuck that means."

"Jin doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. He's got Shino now, so of course he wouldn't understand."

"He ain't gonna be happy about this."

"We'll deal with that later. Really."

"Are you forgettin' people don't like me? They ain't gonna like this either."

"You make me forget a lot of things, you idiot."

She kissed him.


When she woke up one morning two weeks later, and he was missing from her bed, she wasn't all that disappointed. She had been telling the truth when she said she wasn't stupid.

She briefly considered the fact that she could be getting married to a nice man with a real job who would be able to support her when they had six children and grew old together and…and…

And died of boredom.

She quickly forgot that idea when she entered her house three weeks later, and Mugen was there, dirty and disheveled and giving her a lascivious look. Mugen was good at making her forget all the normal stuff she worried about.