AN: Written because I've fallen in love for the first time, and this is my way of sorting it out in my head. You read right - I'm so geektacular that the first thing I do when I find the man of my dreams is write a bloody fan fiction. Go me! Aaaanyway. This one shot is set in the universe of Kame Terra's "Bound" - if you haven't read it, you'll still get the picture, but I'm going to tell you to read it anyway, because it's that. Darn. Good! Many thanks to Kame Terra for letting me borrow her 'verse and lending general support, and to Pi90katana and MT Angeli for being mad-cool beta readers of awesome. Please read and review, and concrit is always welcome.

I totally don't own any of these characters. Them Mirage folks do.


It had always been there, beneath the surface. From the day they'd met, it was a strange mutual attraction that they had addressed, in their own secret way, but never acted on. They'd understood each other in a way that neither had been able to pinpoint, but either one felt as though they'd known the other their whole life. It had only ever needed the opportunity to grow, to thrive, and neither had given it that chance. It was so infinitesimal, so flighty, like shadows in the peripheral vision; details of a dream; the more you focused on it, the easier it escaped you so that it felt like it wasn't even there at weakest and at strongest it was merely a primal sort of attraction. So slight it was that it was lost in the shadow of the friendship they shared. It couldn't reach the light there.

Breaking up with Casey had been so different from all her other breakups. Usually the tendrils of herself, those pieces of her soul she left with a lover, would linger out of her reach, leaving her hollow while they disentangled themselves, before she would eventually wake up to find herself whole and able, awake and alive. They were always two wholes, two beings that appeared to have merged, and the place where they met was blurred. That was the place where parts of her reached inside of him, and vice versa, in a line that zigged and zagged and curled and twisted but never broke. With Casey, she felt that middle part she shared with him, that place of meeting that was so very much like oneness but was, in reality, like a pop art painting that looks like a single block of color until you get close enough to see the composition of a million multi-colored dots. The two were intertwined to form one picture and yet they were separate. She felt that middle part was like a haze in which you couldn't see which parts where hers and which were her lover's, like a house shared by two, full of possessions that belonged to either one of them but indiscernible as to which was whose - but if you pulled it apart you could tell. You could discern boundaries. You could split the join.

And so while parts of her were wound into his, she began to feel gentle tendrils of herself curling away, unraveling, stretching in the opposite direction like vines reaching through the forest of her emotions for air and sunlight and irrevocably intertwining with Raphael's, at once bringing her undone and drawing her tighter. She felt the pull, dragging her in both directions and strong enough that she felt she would surely rip in two with their forces. But as her affections found a hold on Raph, the pull to him became stronger, until painfully she felt herself becoming extracted from Casey, tendrils uncoiling, stretching, snapping away from him. Like emotional rubber bands, they stung as they were flung back unto her. And all the while she was being drawn, being pulled along an irresistible current as those tendrils bound themselves to Raphael, so that by the time she ended it there was little of her left with Casey anyway.