Hewwo folks. Here's my first shot at a short, semi-angst/romance fic. I was reading Negima books eleven through thirteen last night (in particular twelve) and saw tiny hints of things about Evangeline that caught my eye. After re-reading the part about her past (and in particular, the reason she had Negi thrown out of the room for the story, the first thought that entered my head was: "I need some food" and the second was "those doors aren't very thick, what if he went back and listened anyways?" So this poured out of my brain. Hope you like it.

Disclaimer: Don't own Negima, don't own the characters. Akamatsu-san does. Glad of it, otherwise Eva would have horribly maimed me a few dozen times over the last few stories I put her in.

Slumber

By Zefie Kirasagi

Evangeline groaned a little, lying in the infirmary bed. She'd kicked Kagurazaka and Setsuna out a few minutes beforehand, citing the need for a short rest, after the bell-adorned loudmouth had dragged an overview of her past out of the vampire. Outside, Eva could still hear the crowd of Mahora Budokai attendants chattering loudly - several of the comments that she could discern related to her last match with Setsuna, and at least one person was trying to find out whether it was five or six ribs that the deck-broom-wielding swordswoman had broken in the "ten-year-old's" chest.

Speaking of those, they hurt quite a bit more than she let on. While she couldn't help a few short yelps during Kagurazaka's and Setsuna's visit, she'd manged to bite back most of the pain she'd shown - she couldn't show weakness in front of her apprentice, of course.

But, damn, did it hurt like a bitch. If she wasn't so fond of the white-winged hanyou, she would have skewered her.

At this point, Eva was feigning sleep - in part because she was hoping to actually fall asleep; she wasn't really interested in the remainder of the tournament, aside from making sure that her bet with her student of magic was honored. The other reason that she preferred to feign sleep was to avoid conversation with anyone who came into the room.

The sound of the door sliding open caught her attention as she kept her eyes closed and her breathing steady, lying on her back in the bed. The sound of the crowd outside, let in more freely through the doorway, was mostly cut off again as the wood door slid shut on its track. A pair of footsteps told her that someone had entered the room. The footsteps came a bit closer, until the person was standing next to her bed; a ruffle of cloth told her they had sat down.

It was then that the scent of the person caught her attention, or, more specifically, the scent of their blood. Everyone had a specific blood smell, she'd found, and this one she knew well; she'd been drinking it for the better part of two months now.

Negi was sitting next to her. Eva kept up her feigned sleep, although it was now a bit more difficult to maintain. The mental image of her student seated at her bedside in what could have passed for a hospital almost made her crack a wry smile that would have blown her cover; it was like something out of a ridiculously cliched soap opera.

She felt Negi's hands settle on the bed, could feel the sheets moving slightly as he intertwined his fingers, almost like he was going to pray. No sound came from his mouth, just the rustle of the fabric of that ridiculous robe he'd decided to wear during his battles. Eva wondered again what it was he was doing here as she kept up her slow, steady breathing.

She could feel his warm blood getting a bit closer as he leaned a bit closer to her "sleeping" form, and a few of her senses began to tingle.

Just what is he doin-!!

Her thought was abruptly cut off as, without any warning or previous signals from him, Negi had leaned over her and gently kissed her. It was barely a brush of his lips against hers, and it lasted for perhaps a second, then he'd pulled back to his sitting position.

The effect was to render her fake sleeping act useless, as she'd stiffened up and forgotten to breath slowly, her eyes jumping open as she sat up a few inches.

"Just what the bloody hell was that?!" she exclaimed.

Negi was looking at her, his eyes rolling over the bandages that covered up her chest and shoulders. Something was in his eyes as he surveyed her, like deep concern.

When he didn't answer, Eva reached over and gripped on of his arms, squeezing it tightly enough to make him flinch a little. "I said, just what the bloody hell was that?!" she repeated.

Negi didn't answer for a minute, watching her red face, which held a mix of anger and confusion. Finally, he said, "I listened through the doorway to your story about your past."

The color drained out of Evangeline's face completely as she released her hold on his arm and pulled her arms up close to herself, almost protectively. Her voice had taken on a shaky, higher tone. "W...what?" she said, the sound coming out small and squeaky - not a confident or threatening voice, but an uncertain and most definitely uncomfortable one.

Nonononono, he can't know about that, he shouldn't know about that, I TOLD HIM I didn't want him to know about that, why did he have to know about that...

"Why...why did you listen when I told you I didn't want you to?" she said, the voice sounding almost timid or afraid. Telling Kagurazaka or Setsuna was one thing, but her apprentice knowing...Negi knowing...that was an entirely different matter.

"Because I wanted to know why you've shut me out of your thoughts recently and confided in Chachamaru-san and Satsuki-san more often." Negi replied. "My first thought was that you had started to not trust me like you did when I first started improving in training, or that maybe you saw me as a future threat. Then I talked to Chachamaru-san and-"

Damn her...

"-she told me that the reason you were shutting me out wasn't distrust, but that you wanted to shield me from certain aspects of yourself. I asked her why, and she said that you had forbidden her to tell anyone. She said, 'The secrets of master's heart cannot be divulged to anyone.' " Negi put on a small smile. "That in itself answered my question most of the way - I think she put it that way on purpose so I'd get it."

Eva made a mental memo to remind her to kill Negi and have Chachamaru turned into scrap metal.

"So what's your intention?" she spat at her student. "Are you going to 'assuage my eternal pain and suffering' with a few kisses and gentle words?" The sarcasm seeped into her voice easily. "I'm not that easy!"

"That wasn't my intention at all." Negi said, his voice still quiet and calm. "I just wanted to say that your past isn't something that bothers me about you. What's done is done, and I don't have a right to judge you about it, so I won't." He lifted his right hand and laid it on hers on the bed. "And, to let you know that you shouldn't shut me out when I offer an ear."

Almost as an afterthought, the boy mage added, "That, and I wanted to see what it was like to kiss you."

Seven or eight fierce responses burst into the front of Eva's mind, but somehow, she couldn't make any of them form into words in her mouth - they all stuck somewhere in her throat, and after a few seconds, she'd choked on them and a tear had slipped out of one eye. Negi's lifted his finger to wipe the tear away, but she slapped the hand away on impulse. "Don't touch me." Another tear fell, and Negi reached again. She slapped the hand away again, repeating herself. "I said, don't touch m-"

Her words failed as Negi leaned forwards and put his arms around her softly, his hands and fingers curling around her waist and his head settled on her bandaged shoulder. Eva flinched, unable to reach up as a third tear fell, running down her cheek to leave a wet mark on Negi's robes. Then the spell was broken and she let out a tiny, squeaking gasp as her eyes filled up and spilled over, the tears falling faster as her arms gripped into Negi's sides tightly. Her apprentice said nothing, just holding her gently, mindful of her injuries as the small vampire's soul leaked out painfully in broken, stifled sobs and gasps - even in the middle of crying, she was trying to hide her feelings. Negi turned his head slightly to nuzzle the side of her head slightly, and Eva could feel him sniffing, taking in the scent of her hair as he comforted her.

"Eva-chan...I like you a lot. A lot lot." he said. "But since you already have a Minstra partner, this is as close as I can get. Forgive me for being selfish."

Eva let his words roll through her mind. A million responses leapt to and fro in her mind - change the subject perhaps, remind him about the tournament, or about his upcoming match against Setsuna, send him away, shut him out...but instead she simply put her chin on his shoulder and half-grinned between the tears.

"I thought I told you to call me Master."

FIN

I came up with this last night, and wrote it today, and posted it tonight. Now if I could just be this fast on my other stories, I'd be set. Leave a review at the door please! ZK