Disclaimer: I own nothing recognizable from Ashita no Nadja.

Lady Champion

"I- I- You- Ugh!"

The blonde finally gave up attempting to voice her frustration, and tossed her hands into the air with a wordless cry that expressed all that she could not say. The man she was speaking with winced under her verbal assault.

"I'm sorry," he offered meekly.

"Sorry doesn't cover it!" Nadja cried. "I don't know what I'm going to do about this!"

"You could just leave me," Keith suggested feebly, knowing that Nadja would never do so. But no doubt she would feel better later, remembering that he had not been exactly completely mindless of her feelings.

But as of the present, Nadja was just plain furious at him.

"I can't! I couldn't! How dare you even suggest-"

"Yes, dear, I'm sorry."

"Don't you 'dear' me!" But his voice had been softer than usual, and the sincerity softened her retort in turn. She finally sighed and fell to her knees, pressing her forehead to the thin, cool metal bars in front of her. "Keith...they want a thousand francs for you. I could ask Grandfather, but that would take so long... Maybe your father-"

"No. You would have to explain why you needed the money. You might be able to keep the truth from him, but you won't be able to hide that you're hiding something."

"I can lie!"

"Of course." The sarcasm left little question of his meaning.

"Keep that up, and I won't even-"

"Your best chance is to try freeing me at court."

Nadja's heart leapt in her chest. "They're letting you have a trial?"

"After what happened last time?" he smiled wryly. "I don't think they can avoid it."

"Why didn't you say so?" Nadja sounded significantly relieved. "That changes everything. We just tell them that you were framed, and-"

"And they'll toss me straight onto the execution stand. Nadja, please think before you act if you really want to save me."

"Oh, don't worry—I've already sent for Francis."

Keith swivvled around on the other side of the cell and strode quickly over to the bars to look at Nadja.

"You sent for him? How are you going to explain this situation?"

And yet again, the conversation deteriorated into an argument, only this time Keith argued back.

When the prison guards told her she had to leave an hour later, however, Nadja reached between the bars and pulled Keith's mouth to hers briefly before she let the guard lead her away. Keith stared after her, rather startled, but then he smiled, if a little ruefully.

He should have listened to his common sense telling him it was a bad idea when he came up with the idea of resurrecting the Black Rose for a single heist. It had seemed rather worth it at the time, given the things that politician was doing, but he had been caught and rendered incapable of escape, and it had saddened and worried Nadja. Making a city full of people happy didn't balance out with Nadja's unhappiness.

Nothing was worth more to Keith than Nadja's happiness, as inconvenient as the fact turned out to be sometimes.

Nadja had taken his court date with her anyway. She would do all she could to save him. He wondered if any other man could love a woman as much as he loved Nadja, and went to sleep on his cot to dream sweet dreams of his lady champion.