A/N: I do not own Full Metal Panic, nor do I own the copyrights to any vehicles and/or equipment mentioned in this story. I only own the plot… and that's still up for debate.

A/N: Well, it's that time again and I'm finally adding the next chapter to my story. First I'd like to say; I know it has taken about an extra month to finish re-writing and editing this chapter, but I did have a lot of issues (the final two Full Metal Panic novels came out, the release of HALO: Reach, I've recently gave up smoking cigarettes and I've been busy with a lot with work) side track me over the past 3 ½ months since my last update. Lucky for all my fans, my editors have been riding my ass to keep my mind on task, plus they have threatening to burn my guitar collection and my Mustang every time I get off task. The last part I was just kidding around, they wouldn't burn them. Well, I won't hold you up any longer and I hope you all enjoy this chapter of Full Metal Panic: Road Trip. Don't forget to R'n R at the end, ENJOY!

Full Metal Panic! Road Trip

Chapter: 6

The Inconvenient and Undeniable Truth of Problems

November 2, 19:37 (Japan Standard Time)

Chofu, Tokyo, Japan

Tiger Maison, 5th Floor, unit 505

T-minus 13 hours 23 minutes

It had already been a few hours since Sousuke returned to his apartment, better known as the safe house. Once inside the main room, he found a note from Melissa and Kurz which read, 'Gone out for the evening. Don't wait up for us. Everything is ready. Maps, your reservation confirmation numbers, and lists of local attractions are in the folder. We burned some road tunes for ya, since Japanese public radio still sucks. Have fun, and…' There had been something written by Weber, but it was marked out. Below it was, 'I packed your clothes for you. You better not unpack them either, unless you wanna join Kurz on my shit list. Mao'

Sousuke perused through the manila folder he found on the table in the center of the room, and found that everything was already in order. Also on top with the note was a pair CDs. One of the CDs was from Kurz, with songs from AC/DC, X Japan, Anthrax, ZZ Top, BB King, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Eric Clapton, Black Sabbath, Ted Nugent and other heavy guitar songs from the classic rock era through today's modern rock. After reading over the song titles, the Sergeant raised an eye brow at one of the Van Halen songs as he wondered, Why would anyone sing about a cake? It's beyond me.

Sousuke knew Weber well enough not to question his musical taste, since it mostly consisted of American blues, blues-rock, classic rock, hard rock and some heavy metal from over the past 40 years. Although he didn't understand what the songs were about, they were pleasant to listen to at times when they weren't hurting his ears. On the other hand, Mao's CD covered a wide range of music, everything from popular songs of the 80's, 90's and today, and heavy metal to techno. He figured Kaname would like most of the songs. The harder ones, the Sergeant was sure she would skip over.

He placed the folder and the CDs by his laptop, then inspected the luggage Mao had already packed for him. She had done a fine job and everything he would need was there. The two boxes of condoms in his bag, however, had the poor Sergeant dumbfounded. He was more than certain, that there would be plenty of service stations along the highways; no need to carry emergency water supplies with them.


With that thought, he threw the boxes back into his bag. Being prepared for any situation is critical to victory. Though, the poor boy didn't understand the difference between ribbed and studded. Sousuke needed to be focused on the last of his checks and not thinking about that, he quickly changed into more comfortable clothes, a black t-shirt and olive drab BDU slacks and set down to make his final preparations.

Over the next couple of hours or so, he readied his equipment, sharpened his knives, selected the proper grenades and flashbangs he might need to use, and re-cleaned the firearms he planned to take along. On the table in the middle of the room, the finished weapons rested at the far end of the table towards the boy's left. At the far left sat his German sniper rifle, a HK PSG-1 with its scope, resting on its bi-pod. To the right of it, were his four shotguns. The Benelli M3 Super 90 pump action shotgun, the one he used on the beach that day when he was thinking about the wrong melons. Next came his Italian SPAS-12 auto-loading shotgun with folding stock, if it was good enough for the Terminator, well it was good enough for Sousuke. Although, he wished he had the combat shotgun on him when Mister Oonuki flipped out. The final two shotguns were both different versions of ultra-dependable Remington Model 870, a full sized older M870P with a walnut stock; which the soldier kept around his apartment when he wasn't interrogating high school girls with it, and his tried and true compact manganese phosphate finished 870 based Serbu Super Shorty; which he had used many times around school due to concealable size and door breaching ability. After the shotguns, came his American made Colt CAR-15 Commando Model 629 with 4 position that hadn't been used since the mission that returned Sousuke home in Afghanistan, it was still a fine assault rifle, but even in its' shortest form it wasn't very concealable. Resting next to the carbine, his Steyr TMP, like his 870 version Super Shorty, it was carried around in school due to its ease of concealability and cycle rating. Last but not least, three small handguns rested next to the TMP, a snub-nosed Smith & Wesson Model 640 cambered for .357 Magnum or .38 Special sat with his compact Glock 19 and its even smaller sibling, a Glock 26. Next to each of the guns sat their loaded magazines, speed loaders, and boxes with a wide array of ammunition types, one can never could be too careful these days.

On the other end of the table, currently working on the last of his firearms, Sousuke was inspecting the FN P-90's bolt carrier system. The submachine gun was the latest weapon system Mithril had issued. Its compact design, low recoil, 50 round translucent heavy plastic magazine mounted on top, and full size assault rifle stopping power, made the P-90 the best of both worlds. Both, Melissa and Kurz had used the polymer bodied firearm a few times before. Melissa loved it; the reason she started carrying one when she was out of her M-9. Kurz liked its size and ammo capacity, but thought its 200m effective ranger was limiting. Sousuke on the other hand, had only used it once before, during that little trip of his to Sicily.

After working the bolt clean, Sousuke started to re-assemble the weapon before him. While cleaning the P-90, he had made some improvements to it. A new Eotech 552 holographic sight was added on top with front and rear lens covers, for quicker aiming in low light; and it even worked with night vision goggles. Once he was finished, Sousuke checked out the sight. It wasn't bad for guessing on adjustments for the sight, but it still needed to be taken to the range for its final setting. As he looked around aiming his new sight, the Sergeant squeezed the new switch he added to the gun's grip. The smirk on Sousuke's face showed his thrill as the green dot appeared on the far wall from the new internal laser sight. It would come in handy, since the submachine gun was easily controlled when fired one handed.

Suddenly there was a knock on the front door, which turned the smirk the boy had to a frown as he slammed a fully loaded magazine into the P-90 and chambered the first round. He quickly and quietly moved from his chair and took up a position near the door, sliding up along side of the wall with a flack vest in his left hand. The Sergeant crept slowly toward the door, all the while aiming the polymer bodied personal defense weapon at chest level on the door and once there, he peered through the peep hole.

It's Kaname… That thought caused his eyes to widen as he quickly threw the flack vest back into the safe house; the boy franticly worked the locks on his door with his now free left hand. Then called out, "Chidori, are you alright?" as he swung the door open and tried not to slam it into to the girl.

Seeming a bit nervous, "Yes I'm fine, Sousuke." she said as the girl stood there holding a bag in her hands behind her back. Covering most of her body from the chilly night air, Kaname had a long coat on, which fell down to her knees making it look like that was all she wore.

Something was different about her and not in a bad way. He had known for some time now, this angel that stood at his door had immense inner beauty. But at this time, something about her made her ever more radiant. Sousuke studied her with his grey eyes, trying to find the difference. It didn't take him long to see the slight hint of eye liner around her large milk chocolate orbs or the faint shade of rouge glazing her lips, which made them very inviting and nearly irresistible to kiss. Her skin was as flawless as the most expensive pearl and the girl's blue mane was tied back into a long pony tail that fell down her back from the ever present red ribbon, revealing her silver ear rings. These were simple but elegant, a trail of small diamonds cascaded down from each of her lobes held together by fine silver cords.

She's absolutely gorgeous... The Sergeant's loss for words indicated his mind was starting to cause him problems. "...!"

"May I come in?" she asked sweetly but uncertain. I don't know how Kyouko talked me in to this, she inwardly groaned to herself.

After a few minutes, he founded his voice again, "YES... please… come in, Chidori."

With a warm smile gracing her angelic features, "Thank you, Sousuke."

Sousuke moved aside to let her enter and as she walked past him. A strange, yet familiar aroma tickled his nose. Cherry blossoms...!

A memory of a warm afternoon teased his mind. The sun had begun its decent as he had walked along the water path in the park with Kaname who was dressed like a maiden of eras past, the delicate floral scent of Sakura blossoms wafting from her hair. She had looked so divine that day… His rapid heartbeat began to slow and he felt a comforting calm envelope him, warming him to his soul.

Meanwhile, the girl in question wondered to herself, Does he always answer the door with a gun in his hand? This question filled her mind when the sudden sound of the polymer frame gun falling on to the wood covered enter way beckoned her attention. How long has it been since he last dropped the gun he was holding around me? Kaname wondered again while she tried to hide her laughter, and slid the red sandals off her feet before walking deeper into his apartment.

Snapping out of his thoughts, Sousuke lowered himself down to retrieve the weapon, he couldn't understand this time why his eyes could not break away from this heavenly form walking into the main room of his apartment as her ponytail swayed with her hips. Not wanting to be far from her, he quickly followed her lead deeper into the safe house.

Kaname sighed heavily when she glanced at the table covered in weapons of all different types, I should have known better... She wearily shook her head in defeat, but even this sight wouldn't stop her. Setting the bag she was holding on the counter top to her left, she sharply pivoted on her heels to face the boy in her presence and then started the purposely slow task of unbuttoning her coat. Eying him for any reactions, a joyful grin beamed her angelic face.

Unable to move from the threshold that opened to the main room, Sousuke watched her with a mixture of emotions that he wasn't on first name basis with.

As her coat fell from her shoulders, it revealed a tight soft pink cardigan sweater, with the buttons undone enough to show a little more cleavage than Kaname normally would have on any other day, though it was somewhat more of how Mao would wear it. At the edges of her neckline, hinted the white lace bra that pushed her ample bosom together while the lower few buttons were also undone, suggesting a game of peek-a-boo with her navel. The top of her black skirt was just covered by the light sweater, which wasn't any shorter then her other skirts. The silver buttons running down over her left thigh held the skirt tightly to her shapely hips. The last two buttons hung free, teasing Sousuke cruelly as they exposed this angel's athletic upper thigh. Although it was a bold move for Kaname, it was very tastefully done.

The Sergeant, who rarely showed any sign of emotions toward his enemy, could barely keep his composure at the sight of this angelic goddess as she removed her coat. Drinking it all in, his widened eyes cascaded down her form and back up to her lovely face. Sousuke's normally calm state jumped into overdrive. His mind and heart both accelerated, it took all he had to keep from hemorrhaging to death from his nose as the blood pressure would have surely knocked him over. The boy stood there like a statue, but since he was concentrating more on his facial expression, he failed to notice that his own little soldier was gaining rank at an instantaneous rate. By the time it achieved the rank of General, his pants were getting uncomfortably tight. Sousuke had to get things back under control. Well at least back down to a private.

Closing his eyes and taking in a deep breath, Cold shower… very cold shower… ice cold shower… Gauron… Commander Mardukis, being shot out of a torpedo tube with 300kg of explosives… Kaname being angry… eating Kalinin's borscht... Once he had himself back in reasonable state of mind and being. He opened his eyes to make sure he wasn't dreaming of what stood before him.

Holding her coat in her arm, Kaname studied his reactions and enjoyed the sight of him having to honestly work to keep himself at bay. Any other boy would have jumped all over her by now, she was pretty sure that the thought had crossed the soldier's mind a few times already. This gave her confidence about what she was here to do. Her only question was how long Sousuke could hold out and she would be testing him to see his reactions. The thought of him doing something, normal or abnormal for him, like passionately taking her in his arms and placing his lips on hers might be an enjoyable bonus.

"Sousuke could you clean off the table some for us?" was asked in a bewitching tone.

Snapping to attention, "Y-yes, ma'am!"

He quickly moved to place the P-90 down on the radio table and then turned his attention toward removing the cleaning kits, sharpening stones, gun oil, and dirty towels from the end of the table.

Kaname laid her coat over the back of one of the chairs at the table as her eyes swept over the table and its contents. She knew her body guard had a lot of firearms, but it seemed to her like he was preparing for a war not for a trip. After he had cleared one side of the table off, leaving the firearms on the other side, the girl brought her bag over to the table and she started unloading its contents. Nikujaga, kare raisu, umeshu, some silver ware, plates, two glasses, and some candles were placed on to the table. It didn't take her long to serve the nikujaga onto plates, and set the rest up.

Watching her as he removed the last of the empty ammo boxes, the soldier thought to himself, This is rare, normally Kaname would only bring food over when we had a fight or she feels she has done something wrong. But she has never dressed this... nicely... just to eat with me.

Bringing him out of his thoughts, his dinner guest asked, "Do you have a lighter?"

If anyone didn't know Sousuke better, they'd swear he was a smoker with how fast he pulled out his old worn Zippo.

After taking it from his hand, Kaname looked at the windproof lighter. Even though it couldn't be very old, the Zippo looked like it had a hard life, much like its owner. It still had the burn marks on it from when it set the signal fire back in North Korea seven months ago. She lit the candles she had placed around the room and then walked over to turn the lights off. With that, the room was bathed in the warm glow of the candles light.

Sousuke was not familiar with this practice. In the past, he had only used candles when a storm had knocked out the lights or when there was no electricity available. As odd as it was to him, it did have a peaceful effect on the safe house. The dancing candle's flames gave the room a comforting and relaxing feeling. I wonder if this is what Weber meant by 'Candle lit dinner'? The poor boy still didn't have a clue to its true meaning.

Kaname sat down at the table, facing the sliding glass doors that faced out upon her own apartment building. "I hope you're hungry."

"Honestly, I'm starving tonight." Her protector and beneficiary of her home made meal took the seat across from her. He looked over the meat and potatoes on the plate if front of him. "Did you make this dinner for us?"

Not wanting to let him know that he had guessed correctly, "No, Kyouko and I made this for ourselves. But we made too much and I thought I would bring over the leftovers." Kaname honestly didn't want to tip him off to the plan that her best friend had thought up.

Glancing over at the bottle that Kaname poured their drinks from. "What is umeshu?"

After taking a sip from her own glass, she answered, "It's a plum drink. It goes well with nikujaga and it helps bring out its flavors." Kaname failed to mention the low alcohol in the wine. Kyouko thought it would help loosen him up some.

Sousuke dug into the nikujaga like it had been his first real meal since coming back from Hong Kong. After taking several bites from the main dish and the kare raisu, he took a sip of the umeshu.

"So how is it?" she wasn't concerned whether he liked it or not. Her cooking was the best he had ever had in his life so far.

Once he swallowed, "It's very good." Sousuke glanced down at the plate in front of him and over at the dish of kare raisu.

"What is it?" she saw the perplexed look on his face.

Licking the inside of his mouth, Sousuke stated. "I've noticed something. I have tasted the food you've cooked for our classmates and the food you've made for just us. If I'm not mistaken, it seems to me that the food you cook for me tastes better than when you cook for our class." then he took another bite of spicy curry rice.

Leaning forward, she placed her left elbow on the table and rested her chin in the palm of her hand. "You think so? Maybe I do put a little more effort into cooking for you." she gave him a full hearted smile for noticing the difference. Although, Kaname had forgotten about how much her sweater was undone.

Sousuke's eyes caught the view from her unbuttoned cardigan, it gave him almost as enjoyable of a view of her wonderful mounds as when she had cut his hair and left little to no question in his mind about how much of her bra was made of lace. The sight of the nearly sheer garment caused the food in his mouth to find the wrong pipe in the back of his throat. After coughing several times, he managed to properly swallow it the second time around, and then followed it immediately by the rest of his drink.

Kaname saw the soldier choking. What could have caused that reaction? Watching him down his umeshu, she looked down to see how much of a view he was getting. For a quick panic filled minute, she felt her cheeks fill with warmth as she thought about buttoning up her top. Then it finally set in, if seeing this much of me had that much of a reaction on the poor soldier, then he has to be somewhat a normal teenage boy after all. This made her self-esteem grow by leaps and bounds. Normally, in the past he had done things to make her question her own looks, but this evening's reactions would be something she would remember for a while.

It didn't take long for Sousuke to finish his meal along with eating most of the kare raisu. Kaname only ate half of her nikujaga and only a few bites of the curry rice. She was more interested in watching her soldier enjoy her cooking. That had been one of the simple pleasures she was able to enjoy with him, which no one could ever take away from her.

Out of the corner of her eye, she peered over to see how much of the umeshu they had drank. She herself only had a glass, while Sousuke had a bit more than her. As she looked at the bottle, her eye noticed his Glock 19 sitting there. I wonder...


"Yes, Kaname?"

"With the things that happened while you were gone. I was wondering if you could show me how to use a gun?" This had been asked kind of sheepishly, she never had before needed or wanted to ever use a firearm. But things were now different, and it wouldn't hurt to know how to shoot. Plus it would give her an opportunity to see if Sousuke would take the chance to get really close to her physically.

The question asked by Kaname gave a strange feeling of uneasiness from inside the Sergeant's stomach. She already told him about how she was attacked by an assassin and how someone had interfered with those robots, which dealt with the assassin. This had yet to sit well with him once he heard about this on their flight back from Hong Kong. Deep inside of himself, he hated the fact this took place. If he had known about this before boarding Arbalest, the battle would have ended a lot sooner. This information did resolve his feelings about his orders to end guarding the girl that meant the world to him.

The idea of teaching Kaname how to shoot wasn't unreasonable. What if a situation came up where I wasn't around to protect her? It's not like Wraith would do anything to protect her. But could Kaname take a life to protect her own life? Pondering these questions for a moment, Sousuke then spoke, "As I have said before, you have to put your life before anyone else when it comes to your safety." He wanted to make sure she truly understood what he was saying this time.

Meeting his steel grey gaze, "I understand Sousuke. I was thinking of how you use those rubber bullets around school. Everyone you've shot with them has been knocked completely out."

Leaning back in his chair with his arms crossed at his chest, "Kaname, those bullets will work against most people. But trained soldiers will only be stunned by them. That will not stop them from harming or kidnapping you."

"Yes, I really do understand that. If my life is in real danger, I won't think twice about using real bullets. I believe at this point I know the difference between gangs, yakuza, terrorists, and real soldiers." With everything that had happened over the past eight months, Kaname thought she had seen more than enough dangerous people than any teenage girl should ever have too.

He already knew how she got when the class rep had set her mind to something. Even though she had sound reasons, something inside the boy didn't feel right about this. Normally, Sousuke would have been all too eager to show Kaname how to use a firearm. The training he gave on using a taser already proved valuable to keeping her alive and this is the next logical step. But this is the girl that his feelings were growing stronger for every day and the idea of her being in a situation where she had to use a firearm to defend herself was unsettling to him. In the end, it would be better for her to know the proper way and never have to use this knowledge, than not to know and some terrible thing happen to her or get herself killed.

"Alright, I'll train you." The boy said reluctantly before continuing. "We'll start off with a Glock since you already have the basics down on how to use it."

The girl watched from her seat as the Sergeant stood up and took the Glock 19 firmly in his bandage wrapped hand; her eyes were trained on him as he released the magazine from the pistol and then swapped in an em vpty one. She was impressed how his body moved in one fluid motion, as if without any conscious thought. What truly surprised and amazed her was the sight of him catching the bullet in mid-air after he cycled the slide back to eject it from the chamber. This skilled display of hand-eye coordination and dexterity had been remarkable but it also had a sobering reminder of his dark past.

After replacing the 147gr 9mm hollow point bullet back into the loaded magazine and thumbing the slide closed, he joined his seductively dressed student on the other side of the table. As she stood up from her chair and took the gun in her hand, he caught sight of the trail of diamonds dangling from her ears gleaming in the light of the candles. They reminded him of fireflies dancing around her neck. A quick shake of his head brought his attention back to the issue at hand. "N-now I'll show you the proper way of loading a pistol."

With the Glock 19 in her right hand, she gave a simple, "Alright." Kaname glanced down at the polymer framed pistol and noticed how it seemed about two centimeters longer than the smaller Glock 26 and that it's handle was little longer also, making it easier for her to hold.

Once that was said, Sousuke started his instruction. The soldier explained to the girl 'The two schools of reloading a pistol' and their differences. He continued on telling her how the first way is taught to trainees in most armies and police agencies, which was used as training for safety and not for speed. He then told her about the method he used, which was used for speed, tactical reasons and survival. The Sergeant also added that most Special Operation Units - like Mithril – trained this way with semi automatic pistols, like the Glock.

As Kaname paid full attention to him while he informed her of the pistol's controls, she noticed that he was in full instructor mode. But instead of sounding like some old drill Sergeant barking at 'wet behind the ear' green recruits, Sousuke spoke to her with concern, care and assurance as he advised her on how to work the firearm.

Finished with his explanation, he indicated to the blue haired girl that it was time for her to put what she just learned into practice. With the empty gun in hand, Kaname followed the instructions in the order the Sergeant gave them. Gripping the rear of the slide between her left thumb and her finger, Kaname pulled it back and released the slide. She was surprised to see that the slide stayed back and didn't return back to it former position. "Is that supposed to happen?"

With a slight smirk on his face, he answered, "Yes, when an empty magazine is in it." Sousuke was pleased that she was as attentive during this as she had been in school. "The slide will lock back after the last round is fired from the gun. I want you now to release the magazine from the pistol."

Using her thumb, Kaname pressed the magazine release button just behind the lower part of the trigger guard. She brought her left hand up to catch the polymer coated magazine as it fell free. For the purpose of training, she was told to use the empty magazine as a 'fully loaded magazine'. With that, the girl held the Glock tightly in her hand as she forcefully pushed the magazine back into the gun, hearing it lock into place. Remembering the next step, she forcefully released the slide lock with her thumb. The slide suddenly slammed closed. Chink! Kaname was very pleased with herself. This simple action would be helpful if she ever found herself in a bad situation.

"You did very well for your first time. I'm impressed." Sousuke stated, he knew about her dislike toward firearms, but she was handing this like a professional. Then again, she never cared for failing at anything.


As Kaname took a few minutes to practice reloading the Glock, Sousuke took advantage of this opportunity and causally surveyed her. As hard as it was for him to keep his mind on the task at hand, his eyes kept wandering up and down her angelic figure many times. She always had been very appealing to him in whatever attire the girl picked out for the day or the occasion, whether it was her school uniform or any of her other outfits. So it almost seemed out of place to the soldier to see her dressed this attractively just to bring 'leftovers' to him. As oddly as it stood out in his mind, he couldn't put his finger on the reason, although he did have more important pending issues on his mind.

The more Sousuke watched her with his gun, the more two very conflicting groups of feelings stirred inside him. The first one seemed very unfamiliar to him. The sight of this divine angel looking absolutely ravishing standing there holding his gun was utterly alluring to him. The vision of these two things coming together, one of the most beautiful girls he knew and his tried and true sidearm, caused his palms to sweat, his heart rate to sky rocket, and his breath to become deep and harsh. The delightful knowledge of having this sight in close proximity to him was even more arousing for him.

In another part of his brain, this image before him was disturbing. These two symbols of his different worlds coming together, as enticing as it was, it also seemed wrong. His Glock, as much as it was used to protect her, was still a weapon, an item of war and killing. Kaname, as abusive, quick tempered, and head strong as she was, could still be caring and compassionate toward him. This blue mane goddess was his symbol for a normal live, one without war, death and destruction. A life where he could go to school with her, spend more time with her, understand his feeling for her more, and maybe even be with this girl for the rest of his life.

This is no good. There should be an instruction manual for this also...

Kaname glanced over at him, seeing him lost in thought again. "Are your okay?"

"I'm fine, it's not a problem." the boy abruptly said. Though his thoughts were disturbing, in the end her safety meant more to him. After clearing his throat, "Now it's time to learn the proper way of how to hold and aim a pistol. Point the gun towards the far wall." the young mercenary instructed her.

As she held the Glock in her hand with her arm out in front, Kaname saw the dot on the front sight post glow in a ghostly green. The rear sight glowed in the shape of a cup, placing the dot in the center of the cup meant she had the sights aligned. With the room softly lit by the candles, it made aiming easier for her with sights that glowed in even this low light. During this, Kaname kept her finger along the frame and off the trigger. She knew from being around her soldier enough to always treat any firearm like it was loaded at all times. "Like this?"

"Yes." As he moved closer to her right side and leaned his head next to hers.

Just then his nose caught the faint essence of a familiar fragrance that reminded him of a far off place from his past. It had been from a time before he joined Mithril, before going back to the Middle East and Lebanon. It was the place where he and the former Russian Spetsnaz commando, Kalinin, hunted down Gauron in Cambodia. This aroma had filled the market places of the towns and villages they visited. Although the sweet smell of mangoes never had any special meaning to him before, now it stirred his desires and loin. Sousuke would have to investigate further, like any good soldier should.

Out of the corner of her eye, Kaname saw that he was thinking about something other than the handgun in her hand. She had wondered if he had got a whiff of her other perfume, Mango Delight. "Sousuke?" she asked inquisitively.

"Yes!" he quickly chirped. Realizing she caught him with his mind wondering. Silently blasting himself, he couldn't afford to have his mind off somewhere else when he had Kaname there with him. Even though their relationship had changed from just protector and normal high school girl, he didn't know where they stood at this moment, Were they just friends? Or something more? Regardless, it was clearer to him than ever before, he would protect her no matter what. Duty or not, no one needed to order him to guard this 'Angel' that continued to show him better reasons to live.

"You alright there, mister?" she asked.

Sighing, "Yeah, I'm fine. Really. Now see how you're holding the pistol?"


Placing his finger on the right side of the gun's polymer frame, he pushed it with little effort. "With the way you're holding it. It will be harder for you to control the recoil each time you fire it. That will translate to more time wasted to get the gun back on target."

Thinking about what Kaname was just told, she placed her left hand to support her shooting hand. "What about now?"

"That does help." pushing on the frame again. The pistol didn't move as much this time. "The best way to hold a gun is like this."

While almost leaning over her shoulder, Sousuke brought his right hand up along Kaname's. He started to move her left fingers as he explained what he was doing. "Moving your supporting hand's index finger around to the front of the trigger guard help minimize side to side movement and placing the remaining fingers on the area between the holding hand's fingers help control recoil. Resting your left thumb on top of your right thumb completes this."

As he was doing this, Kaname took a deep breath of her own. His touch was gentle, despite the calluses on his hand and fingers. His face was close enough to hers, that as he spoke to her she could feel his breath on the nape of her neck and her earring move slightly back and forth. This caused her head to spin in circles. Is he going to do what I think he's going to do…?

The image of herself leaning her head back a little as Sousuke moved closer. Her eyes closed before their lips touch. That wonderful feeling as his soft lips crushed into hers. The sensation that ran through her body as his arms took her into a warm embrace. Their tongues sliding into each other's mouths played in Kaname's mind. Anything beyond this didn't matter, like the rest of the world had all but stopped. It was finally at peace, or so it seemed.

"K- Kaname?"

"Yes?" enjoying her moment way too much.

He took a step back and cleared his throat once again. "Your phone is ringing."

"Wha...?" the girl's daydreaming eyes quickly changed to that of confusion. It took a few more rings from her phone to make her realize that she had been caught up in her own dream. What was I thinking? Damn it, this is just perfect timing.

Sousuke gently took the Glock from her hand as she reached for the ringing cell phone in her skirt pocket and answered with an irritated, "Hello?"

One the other side of the phone, Kyouko asked overly joyful, "Hey Kana! How's it going over there?"

While trying to keep a frown from forming on her lips as her annoyance began to build, Kaname was less than pleased when she grumbled, "Everything is fine."

"Good. How did Sousuke like your outfit?"

Taking a deep breath to calm herself down. Kaname tried to remember how her best friend told her to speak in code if he was nearby. "I think he really enjoyed the dinner a lot."

"Great, I knew he would like what I picked out for you. Which perfume does he like?"

She sighed, "It's hard to say. He seemed to like the nikujaga and the kare raisu. I couldn't tell which one he liked more." After saying that, she turned around to see Sousuke wasn't in the apartment any more. It took her a bit of searching to see that the Sergeant was outside on the balcony. Why did he did he go out there?

"He did like perfumes, didn't he?"

The irritation she felt before faded into concern. "I believe so. He hasn't been acting his normal self tonight. Sousuke seems pretty distracted when he gets close to me."

Meanwhile outside, Sousuke leaned on the balcony wall with his arms rigid and his hands had a firm grip on it as if the boy was trying to dig his fingers into the concrete itself. The night time air was chilly; every breath he let out, hung in the air for a few seconds before fading away in the breeze. Standing there barefooted on the smooth concrete of the balcony, neither the brisk wind that blew around the apartment building nor the ice cold concrete beneath his feet did little to bother him at all as he began to contemplate the questions that weighed heavily on his mind at that moment. Starring off into the fall night sky, the soldier thought, Why is this happening to me? I can't focus at all tonight! I know Chidori has this affect on me, but normally I can keep my actions under control. Is it her outfit? She always looks lovely, but tonight she is so gorgeous. I can't keep my eyes from looking at her. Hmm, I can't even keep my mind wondering. I want to… NO! We aren't that close… or are we?

Do I even deserve to be with someone like her?

Dropping his shoulders and head, the Sergeant continued his mental obstacle course. Thinking back about his life before and during Mithril, all he had known was fighting, death, destruction and surviving day by day. Then by some strange turn of events, he was guarding this girl. What seemed like a normal mission had become so much more for him. This girl, Kaname Chidori, had slowly started to show him how to live in a 'normal' way. He thought about the first time she was in danger, when she was taken off the plane in the Khanka region. Something inside himself drove him to ignore his orders and rescue her. And all the other times she was kidnapped or in danger, it wasn't his orders that pushed him to save her. He did it just so Kaname would be safe, so he could be with her, there in Tokyo. Not even Mithril, nor that piece of shit Gauron; was going to keep him away from her. No one was.

Slamming his bandage wrapped fist into the concrete wall of the balcony, That's right… I sure as hell don't remember selling my soul to Mithril and I'm not whatever that bastard thought I was. He's dead wrong, Kaname doesn't make me weak. If anything else, knowing she's safe and happy makes me stronger.

With a proud smirk, Sousuke lifted his head back up to view the night sky. To answer his own question, it didn't matter to him if he deserved to be with her or not. He wasn't going to let that stop him either. I know I like her and she very important to me. Now if I only knew a way of telling how I feel about her… or knew how she felt about me.

Dropping his head once more, I really wish there was a manual for this. Things wouldn't be so confusing.

Meanwhile back inside, Kaname was still on the phone with Kyouko when she heard her friend ask, "So how close has he gotten to you?" Kyouko wondered how bold Sagara could be.

Rolling her eyes, Kaname remembered why she was so irritated before as she curtly said, "He would have been a lot closer if someone could have waited till I got home to play twenty questions."

Sounding all dejected, the bespectacled girl quickly justified herself, "I didn't hear any explosions or sirens. I was just wondering."

"Nope, no explosions. Though, if I'm lucky, there might be some fireworks later." While thinking, Lucky, more like an act of God.

"OOH? I take it my plan is still going well."

"Yeah, speaking of 'the plan'," Kaname said as she noticed the Glock tucked into the back of the boy's pants through the sliding glass door. "I'll talk to you when I get back home."

"Okay, I'll se..." was all that was heard from Kyouko as Kaname closed her cell phone and returned it to the pocket of her skirt. She then headed for the balcony and when the girl slid the sliding glass door open, she felt the chilly late evening breeze blow around her and into the small apartment. The sharp difference in temperature from the warmth of the apartment to the outside made her shiver before the girl asked, "Sousuke, what are you doing out here?" her warm breath formed little white clouds as she spoke.

"I-I want to get some fresh air." he answered dryly.

Bullshit. He's definitely acting strange tonight. Am I really having that much of an effect on him? She took a step out on the balcony. Her body shivered even more as her bare feet touched the cold concrete. "Come back inside. You're going to catch a cold being out here in a t-shirt."

As the Sergeant turned around, his eyes widened at the sight of the girl standing there. Part of her skirt blew in the breeze revealing more of her left upper thigh added to the effect, along with the lower part of her sweater showing off more of her soft sculpted tummy. The warm glow of the candles inside the apartment that formed an almost halo like effect around this angel before him. But what really caused the poor boy to become so dumbfounded were the two small protrusions, one on each of her breasts pushing out gently against her bra and sweater. He always knew they were there; Sousuke had studied the human body to help him be a more affective soldier, well, that's his story and he's sticking to it anyway. This was his first time he got to see her body react this way and he was enjoying every minute of it, even if he stood there completely brain dead. Even his Fight or Flee instinct was off line at this glorious sight.

What is he starring at? She could see his eyes were locked onto her, "Are you going to come back in or you just going to stand out there all night?" As Kaname folded her arms around her chest in a huff, her palms told her exactly what the Sergeant's eyes were fixated on. The girl's face exploded into deep blushing red. In a temporary moment of embarrassment, she quickly turned around. Causing her ponytail to smack his face, bring him back out of his awestruck trance.

"Y- Yes… let's go back inside." it wouldn't do him any good to have a sick girl on his hand during their trip, or so he told himself.

Once back inside, Kaname relaxed a bit as she felt the warmth of the room chase the chills away. And now, she wanted Sousuke's attention once more; this had been part of the reason she had dressed like this and it wasn't the time for being all embarrassed at the moment. She knew he was just reacting normally, well normal for him. Kurz would have pounced on her in a heartbeat. Either way, Kaname needed to get things back on track and under her control.

Glancing back over at the table, her eyes noticed something. Out of all of his weapons, there were only three handguns and except for the TMP, the rest were shotguns or rifles. Maybe getting him back in his otaku mode will loosen him up some? The girl thought to herself before she asked,"Could show me how to use one of your rifles, Sousuke?"

Closing the sliding glass door behind him, he thought about her question. I could understand asking about a handgun, that's mostly for defensive purposes. A rifle is for offensive purposes… though it would give her better chances of getting away if she could use one effectively.

"Okay… I'll show you the CAR-15." Sousuke reached over and lifted the rifle off the table. Standing where Kaname could see the weapon in his hands with the candle light of the room, he introduced her to it. "This is the Colt CAR-15 Commando. It's a gas-operated, air cooled, magazine fed, select fire assault rifle, in which I've added a four position telescoping stock too. It is the smaller and older version of the M16 that the U.S. Military currently uses."

Oh yeah, full otaku military mode here we come. Is he trying to sell it to me or show me how to use it? Looking perplexed with a raised eye brow, Kaname asked, "'Four position telescoping' what?"

Having to remember that she wasn't a soldier, "It means the butt stock, the part that goes against your shoulder, has 4 different positions to let the shooter adjust its length to fit them better." If she wanted to learn how to shoot this rifle, she would have to know how it operates.

She nodded her head, Well that is handy I guess.

Continuing on, "It holds 30 rounds of 5.56mm bullets in the magazine and can fire them in two modes. The first mode is semi-automatic, which means it will fire one round every time you pull the trigger, just like a Glock or any other semi-automatic hand gun. The second mode is full-automatic, meaning it will fire continuously while the trigger is pulled, only stopping once the trigger is released or the magazine runs out."

"Isn't it better to pull the trigger for little bit, than holding it down that long?" she asked. Kaname had noticed this while watching the endless amount of war movies with him.

A grin spread across the boy's lips upon hearing these words, he was proud of her for being very observant and bringing up this important point. "Correct, unlike those John Woo movies. It's always better to aim and fire a few well placed bullets, than to fire off the entire magazine and hope you hit something. You never truly know the strength of the enemies you'll be engaging in any given situation and it's always wise to conserve ammunition." Sousuke said before he handed the assault rifle to her.

She took it in her hands with her left hand supporting the fore grip around the barrel. Kaname figured the weapon only weighed slightly under 3kg or about 6 and half pounds. Looking over the Colt carbine, she saw there were buttons and levers covering the main body of the CAR-15. At first she didn't know what any of the controls did on it, besides the trigger and the lever at the bottom of the stock that controlled it's fore and aft movements. To confirm this, the girl pressed the lever and discovered that there was nearly eight centimeters of difference between the stock being pushed all the way in and fully extended. Kaname then asked, "Okay, what do all of these other ones do on this?"

"The button in front of the trigger on the right side is the magazine release. The charging handle is that t-shaped handle on top at the rear, with the forward assist to the right. The fire-selector switch is just above your thumb on the left side and the bolt release is in front of that and above the trigger." He wanted to make sure she fully understood what the controls were. "Now release the magazine."

Doing as she had been instructed with her right trigger finger, Kaname pushed the button in and the weight of the magazine caused it to fall from the small assault rifle, which she instinctively caught in her left hand. It really didn't surprise her to see the magazine was loaded; it weighed about a half a kilogram in her hand. She instantly realized that this must have meant that the weapon in her hand had one bullet in the chamber already and knew not to move the fire selector switch from 'safe'. Glancing down at the top of the magazine, she saw the rounds loaded in it. The cartridges were nothing like any she had seen before; they were twice as long as the 9mm bullets that Sousuke's Glock used and could guess that the rear part of the casings were about the same diameter, but the bullets were a little over half the size of the 9mm and much more pointed in shape.

"Load the magazine back in the CAR-15." Sousuke instructed.

With a nod of her head, Kaname pushed the loaded magazine back into the rifle. As it locked into place, she heard a click.

"Use your left hand to pull the charging handle back as far as you can and let it go." he instructed once more.

She hooked her index and middle fingers around the t-shaped hand just below the rear sight and pulled it back along the top of the stock as far as she could. As the blue haired girl did that; she felt the resistance of the buffer spring in her fingers and heard the sound of the internal components sliding rearward inside the body of the carbine, and noticed a trap door looking plate pop open and reveal the ejection port. With the release of the charging handle, it slammed back into weapon. At the same time, the perfectly polished chrome plated bolt could be heard slamming closed. Hmmm… It didn't eject anything. The girl thought to herself before she asked,"So it's ready to be fired right now?"

"Yes, all you would need to do now is move the selector switch to either of the other positions and it will fire. One other thing you should know, after releasing the charging handle. Make sure it's locked back in place. If not, the charging handle will move as the rifle is firing, resulting in a bad facial injury."

Kaname quickly peered down at the t-shaped handle. It had a lock mechanism in the left side of the handle, which latched into position as the charging handle returned to its proper position.

"When the magazine is empty, the bolt will lock back after you fire the last round. You can pull the charging handle back all the way to release the lock after the magazine has been removed or a loaded magazine has been installed. Pushing the bolt release will close the bolt also. It's said that it will wear out the bolt release quicker, but I have never heard of or seen one wear out yet." Sousuke knew many people that had used these rifles and its numerous variants over the past 35 years. No one ever mentioned a 'worn out bolt release' before.

Thinking about what Kaname was just told, "So… it would be quicker to reload another magazine and hit the bolt release. But if the bolts already closed, use the charging handle." She stared down at the short rifle in her hand as she spoke.

The grin on the Sergeant's lips started to broaden, he knew she would catch on quickly, it was one of the reasons she did so well at school. "That's correct." was all the brown haired boy replied as he focused on the task at hand. As much as his mind wanted to wander off to other things, he was doing better this time. Though those other things included how appealing it was to see her holding another one of his guns. Reciting the user manual for the Colt CAR-15 from memory did help keep himself under control. His mind also wanted to find out more about the intriguing aromas coming from her. It wouldn't hurt to investigate these scents more. I could ask her… or would Kaname think I'm being unreasonable, like she's done in the past. She did hit me with the door and stomped on me for wanting to make sure the bathroom was clear for her. I wish she would stop that whenever she gets mad or loses her temper. Now, how to go about it without making a tactical mistake… hmmm…

The girl failed to notice the subtle inquisitive expression on his face during the moment before the boy said, "Now I'll show you how to properly hold the rifle while you aim."

"Alright." the girl brought the carbine up to her shoulder as a smile graced her features; while supporting the fore guard covered barrel with her left hand, her head leaned over to look down the sight path.

With a faint smirk, Sousuke moved to her right side and observed how Kaname had her head hunched over to use the sights. "It's better to lift your elbow up," as he gently guided her right elbow up. Then he moved his right hand to the bottom of the stock and pushed up on it, "Keep the stock high on your shoulder so you won't have to lean over too much to look down the sight path."

That was the last thing he did before stopping dead in his motion, as if the soldier had instantaneously been frozen.

Kaname didn't mind him touching her elbow, but she didn't know how to react to it. As her eyes went wide, her mind fought between two completely different ideas. The first one suggested making him use his Mithril dental plan, because he might need to have a few teeth replaced after she smashed the stock of the CAR- whatever into his face a few hundred times. While the other idea she had might send his brain into complete and total nuclear overload. I'll teach you a lesson you won't soon forget.

Sousuke didn't know what to do. The soldier couldn't even contemplate this would happen. He was just helping position the stock to help her aim. But, rubbing the back of his hand against her breast and somewhat erect nipple as he repositioned the stock on her shoulder never crossed his mind. Oh shit, not again... the boy inwardly panicked.

Before the poor boy could pull his hand away, Kaname gentle pushed the stock and his trapped hand into her firm right breast.

Sousuke's heartbeat was pounding in his head at an impressive rate, and that was a gross underestimation at best. Shotgun shell size beads of sweat formed on his brow before he yanked his hand away from its dangerous location.

Kaname felt his hand pull away from her as his fingers brushed along her nipple. That sensation sent chills throughout her body, causing her to close her eyes as Sousuke waited for his ill-fated pummeling. A pregnant moment passed before the girl reopened her eyes and peered back towards him as she asked him seductively, "Are you okay there? It was just an accident, right? "

Wiping away the sweat on his forehead with the guilty hand, "Affirmative, I'm okay." Once he cleared his throat, he attempted to act as if nothing had happened, keyword: 'attempted.' The nervous boy then added, "Let's… continue, shall we?"

"Whatever you say, Sousuke." she sang even more seductively. Kaname enjoyed this little altercation way too much. What else might he do…? She focused her eye back through the sights, waiting to see what could come next. It was obvious who the instructor was and who was the student, Sousuke just hadn't figured that out yet.

That was close... she didn't try to hit me this time. I can do this…, I'm a specialist after all. Moving to the left, he reached behind her towards her other elbow, "It's better to have your supporting arm resting against your body. It will help stabilize the rifle as you shoot." Sousuke carefully moved her upper left arm to the better position as he stood behind her, with less than a centimeter between their bodies.

As he did this, he could smell both the intoxicating fragrances coming from her. Is it normal for a girl to wear two completely different but pleasing smells at the same time? The one that smells like cherry blossoms relaxes me, while the other one reminds me of mangoes. Which, for some unknown reason makes me want to grab her and… and… and do things I'm sure Kaname would hit me for. Hmmm… should I...

While Sousuke contemplated things, Kaname was having her own problems at the same moment. As he spoke those last words, he unconsciously blew his warm breath on the back of her neck. The feelings that rushed through her made it almost impossible to keep her composure or her balance. This isn't fair, where the hell did he learn this from? She whined inwardly towards herself. How did he know my neck was my weak spot? Damn it, I can't let him get the better of me.

"Is the sight pattern better now?" this had been said before he leaned his head to check on her. As he glanced towards her face, the soldier couldn't understand what had Kaname so flabbergasted and distracted. Her chocolate orbs were as large as saucer plates, her cheeks were a deep shade of rouge and her jaw was set. All the while, the girl had a death grip on the grip of the CAR-15 with both of her hands.

As the rifle trembled in her hands, it was impossible for her to keep the front sight post or the rear peephole stable. Kaname chided him in her thoughts for asking such a question at this time, Sight pattern… sight pattern? How can I see anything, let alone the damn sights when you're breathing a cross my sensitive neck! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

The azure haired girl couldn't take it anymore; the thought of that socially inept military moron making her, Kaname Chidori, act like some love struck, weak kneed, little tweener, trying to maintain her composure in front of her favorite and beloved male idol after he just blew her a kiss made her physically disturbed and emotionally bothered. It wasn't supposed to be like this at all; Sousuke should have been putty in her hands, not vice versa. The girl's mind fought fiercely against her emotions and her body's boarder line uncontrollable reaction as she tried to regain herself and her composure, there was no way in hell that the whispered goddess was going to let that soldier ever know he had gotten the better of her.

Though, if there had been an angel and a devil on Kaname's shoulder as she focused on regaining her self-control, they both might have been in disagreement with her and offered their advice in their own ways. The devil might have said something like, "Okay, so that asshole Leonard stole your first kiss. It's unforgivable, but we can move on from it." The little devil would be burning a picture of Leonard Testarossa in effigy before it continued, "So what, you haven't told the boy you like about it, he hasn't bugged you about it." saying this with its hands up in the air as if it wasn't that big of a deal. "He's still right here with you. So, go for it girl. Leonard might have gotten the first kiss, but I'm sure Sousuke is more than worthy of your virginity. Besides, he's got a nice ass, among other nice things. Plus he's cute too." The devil would more than likely be smiling at the end, with a thumb up in the air.

Standing next to the devil, the angel would be doing her own thing, "Yes, as much as I would hate to agree with her, what that unpleasant little coward of a man did was absolutely unforgivable." the little angel would be pouring gallons of gasoline on the burning picture. "Although I understand why you feel you can't tell Sousuke about what that Bas..." Of course, she couldn't use such a word, she was an angel after all, but then continued, "…t-that person did to you. I still believe it's wrong to keep this a secret from him. Yes, it would be upsetting to him, but you already know he's a good person at heart." The angel would look up at Kaname with disapproval. "Again I don't like to agree with your other side, but that wicked man stole your first kiss. I suggest you ask Sousuke to help replace that nightmarish memory with a lot more pleasant one." She would be now giving Kaname her approval, "And if you decide to take things as far as that devil said, remember, he is still a child in this area and make sure to use some protection." The angel would look back at Sousuke and blushed, "Beside, he's very handsome and does have a nice ass." Smiling as she looked back towards Kaname, her hand would also be giving Kaname the thumbs up.

It was pretty clear to herself what she wanted to do. That's it! I'm going for it… Kaname gently, but firmly rested the assault rifle down on the floor with its barrel against the table with the radio equipment. Closing her eyes, Kaname slowly turned around to face the Sergeant. With a deep breath, she moved her arms up around Sousuke's neck, as she pressed her body against his.

In the candle light of the room, the soldier wasn't exactly sure what had brought the sudden change in his charge, but he wasn't about to question it when he saw her angelic face glow in the warmth of the natural light before his. Her coffee brown eyes through those thick lashes seemed to sparkle in the setting. Although she moved with gentle confidence, the Sergeant swallowed hard as he felt her body press against his. He still had no clue what caused this turn of events; not that he was going to complain about it, but it reminded him of that night in North Korea all over again. Being that close to her, his form suddenly stiffened once she brought her arms up and around his neck. It was as if a bolt of electricity had shot right through him and into his soul as her arms crossed behind him. This sensation quickly faded as the boy drank in the warmth coming from the girl's body and brought him into a relaxed state. While his mind mused with turmoil of what to do, his body moved on its own and brought his arms up around her waist, resting his hands on her hips just at the top of her skirt with his fingers dancing along the edge of her lower back.

From her angle, the lights casted a soft shadow across the features of the boy she clung to. Kaname could barely make out the expression on his face, but his body told her all she wanted to know at that moment. With his arms embracing her, she rested her head on his chest. "Sousuke, remember when you asked what I wanted to talk to you about after we got back from Hong Kong?" she was trying desperately to conceal her fears of discussing that subject.

"Y-yes… On the train ride home after school that day." that day had still been fresh in his memory.

Closing her eyes, "I wanted to tell you…, hmmm…?" A sound in the background interrupted her train of thought. But judging from how stiff Sousuke became again, he heard it also.

"I wonder what she wants to tell him?" had been whispered very softly in the background.

Kaname's eyes shot open as wide as they could. Slowly lifting her head off of his chest, it didn't take much light to see the scowl on his face now. Tilting her head to her right, what she saw made her swallow without a thought. As her brain registered the image her eyes translated to it. The information ignited a fire inside her, which was only outweighed by her embarrassment at that moment. The one thing she had not taken into consideration tonight was standing in the doorway to the main room. I can't believe this, God, not right now…

"Kanaaaamay... Sousuky… old buddy. How are ya tonight?" Kurz loudly greeted his friends in a drunken slur. He knew the show was over, but he couldn't just let it end like this. This was Kurz Weber after all.

With that said, Kaname pulled her arms from around the boy's neck quickly. While still mostly hidden from sight by Sousuke, she started buttoning up her sweater back to a more reasonable level. Though, if that devil and angel had still been around, they both would have cursed and gave Weber the middle finger in unison.

Sousuke slowly turned his head to face his comrade. The click of his tongue in irritation and the look in his eyes would have told anyone looking his way that he was far from happy-camper-ville.

His 'old friend', Kurz stood there supporting Sergeant Major Mao with her left arm draped across his shoulders and his right arm held her tightly around her waist. They both were dressed as if they had spent much of the evening bar or club hopping. "I hope we didn't interrupt anything?" the highly buzzed sniper said as he dragged the Sergeant Major's feet as he moved Melissa deeper into the room before resting her against the kitchenette counter.

"No… of course not! You didn't interrupt anything at all. I was just leaving anyway." the venom dripping from her words would have given an elephant a heart attack in less than seconds. But it was wasted on the inebriated pair as Kaname quickly stormed from Sousuke's presence, grabbing her coat off the back of her chair. "I'll see you tomorrow morning Sousuke… and thanks for the evening." she had meant this to sound heartfelt to him, but her anger still lingered as she spoke. Once her sandals were back on, she was out the door before the brown haired boy could call out, "Chidori...!"

The slamming of the front door brought Melissa around some from her foggy hangover. "Oh, we hom aready?"

As Sousuke turned to face this squad mates, Kurz caught full sight of his unpleasant expression. Simply saying that it would have frozen the Grim Reaper in its tracks would have been the understatement for the year, if not the decade.

"Yeah, sis we're home. And it looks like our boy is growing up so quickly." the blonde haired sniper proudly proclaimed.

Still hung over, Melissa asked, "Wha da fuck are ya talkin' bout limp dick?"

With a joyful glee, Kurz informed her, "It looks like old Sousuke couldn't wait for the trip to get our 'Angel' all alone. It seems we came home at the best part."

Sousuke knew his 'friends' were both drunk by the way they were acting. The Sergeant Major must have had a considerable amount more alcohol than Weber.

Glancing across the table, the sniper teased, "I never saw Kaname as the type of girl that would enjoy guns as foreplay." Kurz was counting the firearms on it. It was about a small part of his buddy's collection, but more than enough to invade a small country.

"Geezes fuckin christ, Kurz. Keep ya mind out of da goddamned gutter, azzhoe." Melissa took out her cigarettes from her jacket pocket and it took a few tries, but she finally got one in her mouth. Fumbling with her lighter, once she got it lit, Melissa awkwardly adjusted her eyes due to the brightness of the flame. Rolling the cigarette around in her lips, she took a long drag and pulled the fire into its tip. After exhaling the smoke from her lungs with her cigarette still hanging from her lips, the remaining female snapped off, "Don't talk bout her tat way either."

"Hey, don't get your panties in a bunch, Melissa." Kurz protested. "Although… I would suggest that Sousuke try something else besides guns if he wanted to get her into bed. Maybe… Berry White?"

That last comment didn't earn Weber any brownie points with Sousuke. "Kurz! I was not trying to get Chidori in to bed!" the boy defensively barked at his fellow Sergeant.

The sniper couldn't help himself at this point. "Yeah right man. With the way she was dressed tonight, she was smoking hot. How could that not cross your mind?"

Sousuke's eyes were now darting back and forth between Weber and the guns on the table.

"Kurz ya might wanna keep your damn mouth shut." Mao quickly elbowed her blonde subordinate in the gut. "I don't wanna hear ya bitch'n later if Sousuke pops you one." Mao stumbled over to the chair Kaname had sat in earlier this evening.

"It's okay sis. Besides, Sergeant Serious over there knows I'm just messing with him. Anyways, I'm proud of him. It looks like he was finally making out with Kaname when we got here."

As the fog began to lift from her mind, Melissa surveyed the table, noticing that the food wasn't take-out and the plates and sliverware weren't Sousuke's. She began to take in the number of candles in the room that were providing all the illumination. It wasn't long before she muttered quickly to herself, "Oh shit…"

While the Sgt Major made her observation of the situation, the blonde playboy kept going, "So Sousuke my boy… which base did you get too, 2nd or 3rd?" Kurz was way too drunk to keep himself in check.

"Kurz, we were not playing softball." Sagara snapped through clenched teeth. Kaname played on the girls' softball team, so he knew a few of the basic rules. Still, the young Sergeant couldn't make the connection between what his friend implied they were doing and softball.

"Don't be so damn clueless part-timer." Weber grumbled. Melissa and Kurz were aware of Sousuke's new 'part-time' status with Mithril. They also knew he wouldn't be called back to duty unless it was something major, where Arbalest was needed or had a direct affect on Kaname. But, Weber couldn't believe that his young friend was still this dense about his desires for the blue haired whispered girl. That had been part of the reason Sousuke took this 'part-time' rolek, along with giving up other things. "It looked like you already made it to 1st base, since you two were already kissing. Did you feel up her any? Did you sample any of her forbidden fruits?"

"'Forbidden fruits'?" Sousuke asked irritated, confused by the metaphor. "What the hell are you talking about?"

Kurz rolled his eyes, "Did squeeze them nice firm butt of hers or did you play with those tig ole bitties of hers?"

As Melissa was starting to sober up some, she caught the unpleasant exchange between her two subordinates before blasting Weber. "God fuck'n damn it Kurz, will you just shut the fuck up and leave Sousuke alone. We walked in on him and Kana..."


The sound of the muzzle report had interrupted Mao from throwing one of the fully loaded assault rifle magazines at Kurz's head. An empty brass casing was the only thing that could be heard as it bounced of the sliding glass door and then across the floor before it rolled to a stop by Melissa's foot.

"…?" turning toward Sousuke momentarily confused and almost dropping the cigarette from her lips, Melissa saw Sousuke standing there with his Glock 19 pointed at Weber and could tell he was already passed his limit with Weber's antics. Glancing back to Kurz, she could see the red dot of the internal laser sight trained where the rubber bullet impacted on the sniper's forehead.

With his eyes rolled back in his head, Weber fell to the floor like a sack of potatoes.

Dropping the pistol to his side, Sousuke headed toward the closet to retrieve his flight jacket. As Sousuke put it on, he dryly snapped, "I'm going out on patrol, Sgt Major." With that, Sousuke headed for the front door.

"Sorry we interrupted yo-" The front door slammed close before Melissa could finish, "-ur romantic dinner." She didn't know if Sousuke heard her. Looking down at Weber, she sighed before lighting another cigarette. "You can sleep it off right there, Kurzy-baby."


21:19 (Japan Standard Time)

Suburbs of Tokyo, Japan

Maison K, 4th Floor, stair well

T-minus 11 hours 41minutes

Damn it, why did they have to show up right then. Kaname scoffed at herself as she ascended the stairs, wrapped tightly in her knee length coat. She wasn't thrilled by Kurz and Melissa's arrival at Sousuke's place, stumbling in drunk like a couple of sailors on leave. They should have called or something. Was the idea of him having me over there, that much of a stretch?

As she made her way towards her front door, the blue haired angel heard what sounded like a gun shot. That sound came from the safe house; she immediately came to a stop and with her eyes wide open, the girl peered over to see what happened. Kaname could see Sousuke standing at the sliding glass door. His right arm stretched out with his Glock in hand. She could barely make out the look on his face, but could only guess that he wasn't happy about being disturbed either. Who did he just shoot?

The vibration of her phone interrupted her thoughts. Reaching under her coat, she pulled it out of her skirt's pocket; Kaname saw the number on the phone and quickly answered it.

"Hello?" She asked, although the whispered girl already knew who was calling.

An electrically distorted voice spoke, "I never would have guessed he would shoot his own friend, even with a rubber bullet."

Breathing out a heavy sigh, "Let me guess, Kurz?"

"Correct." the normally cold toned voice seemed to have a hint of amusement in it.

Serves him right, he probably said something disrespectful about me. Kaname watched as Sousuke disappeared from the view into his apartment. "I see, is that why you called?" she had already asked this person to find out what they could about Sousuke's mission.

The icy tone returned to the voice, "No, but I have some information for you, just not much. Officially, orders came from Sydney. Then it was handed directly to each of the boat's ODs. It seems his side is running things. My side is being left out completely. His father is keeping everything close to his chest. Hong Kong doesn't have a clue. They still don't know you two are going anywhere. I'm not even sure if your former classmate even knows. It seems no one needs to know about this."

Resting near her front door, Kaname interpreted the new information, So… Kalinin is running this for the Western Pacific Fleet. Mithril's Combat Division is keeping this secret from the other Divisions. Since Sousuke is already off the De Danaan, Tessa doesn't need to know about this. So we will be all alone, at least I hope it will be that way. Kaname smiled at the little nugget she had been told. "Where will you be during this?" she was wondering if her ghost would be tagging along.

The reserved voice replied, "I have to stay at home. They will know if I'm out of the area. The 'Chinaman' wasn't that upset the last time, but I'm sure it causes problems on both sides if anything seems out of the norm."

"You want me to bring you back something then?" she was trying to lighten the mood since this undead voice rarely broke cover.

"No I don't need…", the voice paused for a brief moment. "Since you'll be in the area, I could use a bottle of Ginjoshu from Aramasa. That shouldn't be too hard to get your hands on."

A Korean Sake drinker? Kaname was taken aback by the request. She knew they could find a bottle while at Akita. "Ok, that shouldn't be a problem. Did you find anything else?"

"I have it on good word from Finance that your friend has been moving a lot of money around. Noticeable amounts have been moved from the markets and investments into a private off shore account, making it impossible to follow any trails from there. His spending habits have shifted a bit since you two returned from Hong Kong. He's being very careful not to raise any suspicions beyond that."

She didn't care about Sousuke's money, but it did make Kaname wonder what he was up to. I knew he had investments, but played the Stock Markets also. "Okay, so he has money. Is that it?"

"No, nothing I can prove at this point." the voice answered.

"Ok, good work." she wanted to say something else. "And…"

"What is it?" was asked coldly.

"I just wanted to say thank you again for your help in Hong Kong." Kaname felt that she owed Wraith that much.

"It's not a big deal. I can understand how you felt. Just be happy you got him back." this was stated with a faint sign of emotion.

Kaname really didn't like how things were done, but it worked out for the best. "Yea, but did you have to dress up like me?"

"For heaven's sake, I needed to look like you to get his attention. Would you want me to dress up like the other girl? I'm sure I could have found a platinum or ash blonde wig with a braid off the back, some gray contacts, and pretended to fall on him, it would have made it easier to place the tracker on him." Wraith didn't like to be questioned about how she did her job. She was a Professional.

"Sorry, I'm not really complaining, it was just creepy. And if I remember right, you did crawl on top of him." Kaname really didn't like that one bit. Of course it did add to the reasons to kick the crap out of Sousuke.

"Don't be jealous. Besides, he was just sitting there like a bump on a log. Is he always that clueless and moody when you come on to him? Anyway, we needed to put the tracker on him just in case, so the plan would work. You should have taken notes." Wraith wasn't irritated. It was fun for her to mess with Sousuke. He was indoors most of the time with Angel.

Kaname sighed; she knew this wasn't getting her anywhere with the Mithril Intel agent. "I'm not jealous, but you were right. Your plan worked, we able to follow Sousuke after he left you and I got to talk some sense into him." taking a deep breath. "And yes… he can be clueless about that and very moody at times."

Wraith couldn't understand how a healthy teenage boy could be so dense. "Anyways, have a safe trip. I'll see you later."

"Thanks. I really do mean it, for helping me bring Sousuke back."

"I know. Just don't forget the Sake."

Kaname hung up her phone after Wraith did. I need to get inside.


November 3, 00:09 (Japan Standard Time)

Chofu, Japan

Maison K, 4th Floor, Chidori's Condo

T-minus 8 hours 51 minutes

Kaname lay restless in her bed as her mind processed the information and events of that evening. What happened over at the safe house with Sousuke wasn't ideal, but she made the best of it. If Melissa and Kurz hadn't come waltzing in on them, drunk off their asses, who knew what could have happened. Another missed chance to kiss him, Damn… When am I going to get the courage to do it? Why doesn't he make the first move? No, of course not, that would be too romantic for him to think of.

Wraith's information had her wondering about the trip. Kalinin was the one who gave into what Sousuke wanted. As far as Kaname knew, he was a very smart man and he watched over Sousuke like a father. Did Sousuke wanting to bring me along make it easier to keep this mission covert in Kalinin's eyes? Was he simply helping Sousuke become more normal? Could it be that the old Russian wanted Sousuke and me to have time alone together? What father wouldn't want their son with a girl like me? A smile expanded across her face.

Wraith did say he was keeping all the details about this trip a secret. Mithril Intel doesn't know I'll be out of the area. I wonder if Tessa knew about this. It would serve that pint sized Captain right. Kaname knew about the training Tessa received from Sousuke for her AS match with Melissa. Tessa got a day with him, but Kaname had him for months now. Am I really closer to him than she is after all this time? Shaking her head, What am I thinking, I'm the one going away with him without Mithril watching over us. Plus he asked me to go, not her.

This fact brightened her smile more. Rolling over, Kaname gazed down on Kyouko, who was sleeping on the floor next to her bed. Kyouko had tried to debrief her about the impromptu dinner with Sousuke. The azure haired girl only said it was enjoyable and knew which perfume that he liked by his actions. She had left out the firearm training she got. So her best friend was happy with the results.

Tossing again in her bed, Kaname noticed the light from the outside shining on the ceiling. It was from one of the new street lights the city had recently put up. The street light was the kind that had a motion detector that would turn on when anyone walked near the light. I need to close the curtains tighter...

Getting out of her bed, she adjusted her nightie. She wasn't used to it yet. Kyouko had urged her to wear it to bed, helping the girl get used to it. It was white with little blue dots on it. The thin straps kept falling off Kaname's shoulders every time she moved. That bothered her, since she wasn't wearing a bra with it. One wrong move and nothing would be left to the imagination. Not that it would take much, this nightie barely covered her hips. Panties were a must with this.

As the blue haired angel reached to close the curtains tighter, she peered down out of her bedroom window through the curtains. There she saw someone leaning against the pole of the street light. After her eyes adjusted to the light, she could make out the person. "Sousuke?" Kaname said out loud.

Wearing a military flight jacket over the clothes he had on earlier that night. Sousuke was leaning there checking out his surroundings with his hands tucked into the jacket's pockets.

She wondered why he was out there at this time of night. He better get some sleep tonight.

As she stared down upon the stoic Sergeant, he looked up to her window as if the soldier was staring straight up at her. The girl almost jumped out of her skin. Can he see me? There's no way he can see me with the lights off in here.

In a strange way, this stocker like manner was comforting to her. This was his way of making sure she was safe. Kaname's smile grew as she looked down at her protector. "Always on duty aren't you?" Seeing the slight nod of his head left the girl wondering and bewildered. Ok, can he see me after all?

Down on the sidewalk, in the cold night air, Sousuke blasted himself for his unconscious movement. Kaname is by the window, I shouldn't have done that… I'm slipping... NO, I want her to know I'm still here for her.

Kaname didn't think he could see her, but Sousuke being there, watching over her, even at this time of night when she couldn't sleep, warmed her all over. This simple gesture told the girl that no matter what, her soldier was still there for her. This comfortable feeling had set her mind at ease. Though, she needed to get back to bed.

She placed her hand on the glass, warmly smiling, "Hey Sousuke…" A second later, her eyes widened at the sight of him waving back at her. How the hell...? There's no way he could see me from 4 storeys below. Ooh, I must be tired. I'm seeing things.

Closing the curtains tightly, Kaname crawled back into bed. Pulling her stuffed Bonta-Kun tightly in to her chest. She didn't care anymore if the strap of her nightie fell off her shoulder. "Good night, my sweet Sousuke. I'll see you in the morning." then kissed the stuffed mascot in her arms gently on its lips.

Sousuke's normal stoic expression was suddenly replaced by a bewildered look, which turned into a joyful smirk. He sighed deeply as he checked the surrounding area. "Good night partner." was muttered as he wished her a good night rest.

As he brought his hand up to his left ear, "OK keep surveillance mode on. Notify me immediately when Angel or her guest wakes up or if any disturbance occurs at Angel's residents. Understood?"

Yes Sergeant, Surveillance Mode 4 will remain on. a digitally sounding AI's voice answered. Rolling his eyes, I can't believe Melissa brought 'Friday' along for this. At least it's not as bad as Al.

"I'm headed to bed." Sousuke headed back to the safe house.

Sergeant? the voice chimed.


Would you like a wakeup call set? it asked.

Rolling his eyes again, Sousuke answered, "Zero seven hundred hours."

Yes Sergeant, Good night.

Maybe I spoke too soon... "Good night." Sousuke grumbled before walking off into the night.

Till next time…

A/N: (slides on my fire proof underwear and overalls) There you have it, the latest chapter of my story. I truly hope you all enjoyed as much as I had writing it and I look forward to reading all the reviews; whether praise or flameage, I'm ready. So until the next time, be well and I will really try to get the next chapter posted in a reasonable amount of time for me, till then, later.