Author's note: I dedicate this new story to the Duelist Heiress. I drew a lot of inspiration from her and I hope, like her, that I do well with these oneshots. I've always loved duality, the concept and essence of love, and relationships between people as well as lovers; all of which The Duelist Heiress masterfully captures in her oneshots. So, as an homage to her and for my enjoyment as well as yours as the reader, here's my first oneshot.


How do you love me?

"How do you love me?" Eruru asked, staring up at the shadow before her. Those eyes that usually shone with their own soft light were dimmed by the clouds that rained on her cheeks. Her hands rested on his arms; light as if threatening to pull away. The shadow gripped her arms as if anticipating this, pulling her body closer to his. His eyes, like facets of sapphire, seemed dark and empty without her light.

"Is this a question?" The shadow demanded, his voice forced soft. Eruru made to pull away, shrugging herself from his embrace. "Why would you care so much?" She added softly, her voice choked tight. After all the love she thought she felt -- all the love she thought she was surrounded by -- why would love so suddenly come to her if it didn't have a cruel joke waiting for her in the end? Why would she deserve him?

She was shocked when the shadow pulled her in again with iron hands. Her face turned pale before the cold sapphire fury. "Are you that selfish?" The shadow demanded, his lips curling with each word. Eruru began to weep as she blurted: "yes!" She was a horrible person. She didn't deserve him.

The shadow was silent; his lips were merely a thin line in the streetlight. She felt his hands release their hold on her arms, which were now decorated with pink bands. He stepped back from her, which made her heart ache, but it also made her happy. She was setting him free.

"Now is your chance to not be selfish, Eruru." His voice said gently. From the shadow appeared two open hands; the same hands that once bound her now offered to take her freely, by her own will. "This is your chance to prove to yourself you are better, and stronger, than this."

Eruru stared down at the hands. They were steady, as always; whether they were dancing or merely walking hand-in-hand, those hands were never shaken by doubt or weakness. Her heart ached more now, yearning to have to hands touch her once again. He was offering her his strength through those hands; dare she accept it?

Her eyes rose and glimmered meeting his. He was smiling, as if he were watching a child taking its first steps. "I want you, Eruru. It was not by the will of the stars or the whim of a distant and unfeeling god that I fell in love with you. I know you, I know your life and your heart...and I chose you."

Eruru sobbed and threw herself into his arms, pulling those hands around her waist. "Tighter." She begged, burying her face in the shadow's chest where she could hear his breathing and the chuckle that threw off its beat; where she could hear his heart pound faster in the cage of his chest.

"This is how I love you, Eruru." The shadow said, pressing his lips into her hair. "Despite the demons from your past, you are strong. When given the chance you amend. It's a trait only a handful of people in this world have."

"You still could do better." Eruru pressed; one last barricade desperately placed before her heart. This barricade, like the rest, was cast aside when the shadow's words filtered through her hair.

"And what? Waste my love on some perfect girl?" The shadow gave a laugh that would have caused a marble Aphrodite to feel shame. "What a boring fate to befall any man. What is there to strive for? What is there to gain? It is the greatest flaw, Eruru. Perfection is a flaw that countless people waste their lives to make apart of themselves, only to die and become one of countless corpses."

He pulled away, much to her dismay, and curled a finger under her small chin. Her skin whispered softly at his touch. He tilted her head back and her tresses parted like a pair of raven's wings, unveiling her face to him. She flinched and her breath caught in her throat as he tenderly took her face in his hands. He leaned down and kissed her tears, brushing them off her cheeks.

"I would rather live this one life, spend this one breath given to my lungs, with you in my arms than a thousand lifetimes with the perfect woman; who would not appreciate it."

The dim cloud over Eruru's face broke and fled before his breath. Her rosy lips smiled and tears filled her eyes anew as she played with the lapels of his coat, which caused the gold band on her ring finger, as well as the sapphire that graced it, to glitter in the electric light. "You still have a chance to get out of this. It might be a big mistake." She said, half joking.

"You're right." He said, his breath splashing against her face. She shuddered with joy. His arms came around her tighter and pulled them together so they were one. "To get out would be a mistake. The biggest mistake of my life."

Their lips locked and even the full moon and the hordes of stars disappeared from around them. While they were unaware of anything beyond the racing of hearts and the rush of lips touching lips, the dark sky above slowly shifted into hues of purples and blues above them, soon melting into oranges, reds and yellows before the sun's rays.

Pulling back, the shadow gazed upon the face of his Eruru. Her white skin glowed orange in the morning's rays, and once again he could see the light flaked in her brown eyes.

"A new day, Eruru." He said softly. She smiled and nodded, saying with a giggle: "fresh and waiting for mistakes." She held him close and gazed out over the town, wrapped in the comfort and safety of the shadow's arms. The shadow rested his head on hers and stared out with her.

"Will you make them with me?" Eruru asked.

"Every last one."