Standard Disclaimer: I do not own Yuya, Hotaru, or any of the other SDK characters. This is very much an AU storyline that takes place after everyone's butts have been kicked and Kyo regains his original body. Other than that, I have no set timeline for this. I was just having fun with the characters and then WHAM! Heh. Update: This story has been updated to comply with ffnet's new M rating regulations. This is mainly because I've gotten away with it being here for a while, but I don't want it to disappear because that would break my heart. The full on lemon is housed at Adult Fanfiction Net, just search for my name. Doesn't mean I agree with what FFN is doing, but whatever.

XXXXXX

Yuya wasn't quite sure how she had wound up on Hotaru's lap with her body pressed against the fire user as his lips slid over hers, but her sluggish brain was assuring her that that was her current location. She had never pegged the stoic seeming blond as a very passionate individual; in fact, he had always seemed rather cold to her. But if the way he kissed was any indication, then that coldness was a mask that hid a nature as passionate and fiery as the element he wielded with incredible skill.

The day had started out like any other, with the group breaking camp and gathering their belongings for the trek ahead. No one really knew where they were going, or why they still traveled together, for that matter, but no one thought to question the current arrangements. After several hours travel they had come upon a village that looked like it had been ravaged by one of the many battles that still occasionally popped up around them. The majority of the buildings were ramshackle at best, but a few still stood tall, proud and whole.

Kyo had deemed it a decent enough place to take a breather, and while Yuya was filling everyone's water flasks from the well she discovered (muttering about lazy samurai the entire time) a fight broke out between Hotaru and Shinrei. Now, this wasn't unusual, Hotaru and Shinrei often fought with each other, but this time they seemed fully intent on causing some serious harm to one another.

Yuya had bolted back to the group when she had heard the first sound of steel clashing against steel, and stood dumbfounded as the half-brothers tore into each other with their weapons and elemental attacks. The rest of the group went on with whatever they had been doing before the fight broke out, but Bon was standing with his arms crossed as he watched the fight with interest.

"Eh, Hotaru stuck his foot in it again," Bon said in response to Yuya's questioning look.

The fight escalated, and by this time both Hotaru and Shinrei seemed to be worse for wear. Shinrei had one up on his brother, though, because he was able to close off and heal his wounds due to the control he had over all things liquid. Yuya was starting to consider shooting her flintlock over their heads (or shooting them in the leg, she did have a rather itchy trigger finger at the moment), but before a definite winner could be declared, Bon stepped forward and rammed the combatants' heads together. The brother's butts hit the ground with a thud, and Shinrei launched into a rant about how you should never interfere in a fight between men. Bon replied by stating that he hadn't seen any men fighting, only a pair of bickering children, so he had every right to interfere and stop the bloodshed. At that, Shinrei leapt to his feet and began to squabble with the muscle bound man, who only laughed in response, causing Shinrei to become even more enraged.

Hotaru gazed blearily up at nothing in particular for a moment, then turned his attention to the newest fight, though fight was a loose way to describe what was going on. Bontenmaru was laughing his head off while Shinrei glared and made strange screeching noises that Yuya thought were supposed to be words, but the water user was so enraged by this time that he was unable to string a single sentence together.

"You always were a sore loser with too much pride," Hotaru stated blandly as he got to his feet, bleeding freely from several deep gashes.

"Keikoku, you bastard! What do you know of pride, you who turned your back on the Mibu Clan first and then dragged me in with your treachery!" Shinrei yelled, so far gone that he had forgotten that the Mibu no longer technically existed as a clan.

Hotaru stared at his half brother for a moment, before turning his back and stalking off with a, "Whatever, I hate water."

He bypassed Akari's cheerful offer to heal his wounds in exchange for one of his secrets and vanished behind one of the empty houses. Shinrei grumbled and rubbed the back of his head, but all the fight seemed to have drained from him and he sat back down in the same spot he had fallen previously. Yuya gave him a once over and saw that he had taken care of his wounds himself and walked over to where she had set down the medicine chest she carried in place of the one that had belonged to Kyoushiro.

"What the hell are you doing, ugly?" Kyo asked when Yuya started checking her stash of gauze, bandages, and the concoction she used to staunch bleeding.

"What does it look like I'm doing, moron?" Yuya shot back, worried about the amount of bleeding Hotaru had been doing and in no mood to put up with Kyo's insults.

"When he's like that it's best to leave him alone," Akira said. "That idiot won't accept help from anyone when he's in that particular mood."

"Heh, sounds like another prideful idiot I know," Bon quipped, earning a sharp scowl and a quick freezing by the ice user.

"Well, I'm not going to sit idly around while he bleeds out from those wounds," Yuya retorted.

"Better hurry," Kyo said. "Because we're leaving."

"You're just going to leave Hotaru-san behind?" Yuya asked, disbelief over the group's insensitive attitudes ringing in her voice.

"That bastard is fully capable of taking care of himself and catching up later if he wants to," Shinrei mumbled, and Akira nodded in agreement.

Yuya's hands clenched, and for a moment it looked like she was about to grab her medicine chest and beat them all over the head with it. Then she let out an irritated huff.

"Hotaru-san and I will catch up then," she said, slung the medicine chest onto her back, and stalked off in the direction that Hotaru had vanished while she ignored the sounds of the group getting their things together to head off again.

It had only been a few weeks since they had defeated the Former Crimson King, but to Yuya it felt as if several years had already gone by. The group was still deep within the Mibu Territory, seeking out those of the clan that had taken to living as far from the central palace as possible. The whole thing had been Shinrei's idea, and the group decided to go along because they weren't sure what to do now that all of their battles had been fought. They certainly hadn't expected to find pockets of resistance to the "demon child" even though the Mibu as a clan no longer technically existed. Their group had shrunk a little, with Benitora taking off to find Mahiro and escort her home (or so he said, Yuya suspected that he had another reason for wanting to find the female ninja), while other various individuals had all headed off in their own directions. Yukimura and his group had also vanished, but Yuya suspected that he still followed them to watch the goings on between them.

Shaking her head, Yuya sighed in exasperation as she searched for the injured fire user, knowing that once she found him she was going to have a fun time getting him to let her bind his wounds.

XXXXXX

Hotaru looked up from where he had crouched, watching as a small spider spun her web in the light that filtered through the cracks in the walls. She was coming. He knew this the same way he knew the others were heading out, and he returned his attention to the web. He could sense her chi as she searched for him through the now empty town, but he also knew that Yuya wasn't the type to leave someone who was wounded alone if there was something she could do to help.

He had known this about her from the time he had fought with Kyo at the first of the Goyousei gates. Yuya had thrown herself between him and Kyo's unconscious body despite the knowledge that she was no match for him at all. She had sparked his interest enough with her actions and words that he had opened up and told her a bit about his reasons and his relationship with Shinrei. That interest had been short lived as his attention had once again been taken up with the fight against Kyo and, later on, Shinrei, but it hadn't vanished completely.

He had found himself watching her at odd moments during the brief time that the group had been together inside the Mibu castle, trying to puzzle out the strange girl and her effect on the others. He really took notice when it became apparent that even Akari, who was the most protective of the group and especially of Kyo, accepted and even seemed to appreciate the girl's presence in the group. He had to admit that Yuya was fascinating to watch. All her thoughts and emotions were clear for everyone to read, and her reactions to Yukimura's, or anyone else's, teasing were spectacular as she exploded either in embarrassment or anger. In a way, Hotaru sometimes felt like he was watching his inner self in action since he never gave vent to his emotions other than those that raged through him while fighting.

As Yuya continued to hunt for him, wisely refraining from calling out to him for he wouldn't answer, he was reminded of when he first really began to take notice and watch her. Which was strange because as everyone in the group knows and keeps reminding him, he has a very poor memory.

The group had once again come upon some dilapidated shacks near a river, and as always Shinrei made a big to-do about "alerting the Clan members of the changed state of affairs", blah blah blah. After ascertaining that the shacks had long been abandoned by the occupants the group had moved on. Hotaru, alerted by a faint scuffling noise and a small, distressed chirp, had hung back to search for the source of the sounds. It wasn't long before Yuya had come rushing out of one of the shacks with her hands cupped together and holding something close to her chest. She had glanced around and her frantic eyes landed on him with a look of sheer relief.

"Hotaru-san, I need you," she said, nearly running up to him and so focused on what she held in her hands that she didn't see his eyes widen slightly in surprise.

When she reached his side, she peered anxiously into his face and then, satisfied by what she saw, returned her attention to her hands and slowly opened them while holding them out to him. Puzzled, he glanced down to find that Muramasa's sparrow, Ruri, lay still and quiet in Yuya's hands, her tiny body looking like a psychotic weaver's dream. The tiny bird had somehow managed to become so entangled by the fine threads that made up what had once been a fishing net that she was rendered completely immobile. Still, she didn't try to struggle as Yuya held her, as if she realized that she were with someone who would help her.

"Will you hold her while I work to get the threads off of her?" Yuya asked, worry over the sparrow darkening her voice.

Hotaru glanced at her, surprised that someone who appeared to be so impatient at times was wanting to take the time to unravel a simple bird from what had to be a thousand knots and individual threads. Green eyes, dark with worry, met impassive tawny gold for a few moments, and Hotaru, knowing that he couldn't abandon the bird when she obviously needed help, voiced his agreement and held his hands out. Yuya gently deposited Ruri into his cupped palms, then reached into her obi to retrieve one of the throwing knives she kept there.

"It will be more comfortable and easier to cut the threads if we sit," she said, and lowered herself to kneel in front of him, and he followed suite. Once they were both settled comfortably on the ground, Yuya picked up her knife and inspected Ruri's tangled body, looking for a place to begin. Once she made the first careful cut of the thread, her entire being focused on her task and it appeared as if she tuned out the rest of the world, which suited Hotaru, because he didn't really want to talk much, anyway. He was too busy trying to sort out his strange reaction to her saying that she had needed him. No one had ever needed him before. Sure, the Shiseiten were his friends, and there was Shinrei and Yuan and his family, but never before had he ever heard someone say that they needed him for something other than killing. It felt strange, almost like he were glowing from some inner warmth he had yet to discover the source of.

As he watched, Yuya's eyebrows knit together in a frown of concentration and he knew she was going to have a slight headache from the eyestrain she was inflicting upon herself. Yet her concentration never wavered, and every time her fingers brushed lightly against his calloused palms, he felt that strange warmth tingle just a bit more.

She was just snipping the last of the threads, taking care to not tug too hard on the strings, for these were the ones wrapped around Ruri's legs, when realization bloomed in such a way that it finally set Hotaru's world back in place, or as in place as it ever was.

I want her.

"There!" Yuya said, sighing as she sat back from Hotaru and watched as the sparrow shook herself, fluffed her feathers, and cocked her head at both blonds.

"Go on, Ruri," Yuya encouraged, smiling down at the little bird. Then she said something that took Hotaru by complete surprise, because he had a feeling she had almost forgotten that he was there. "Go return to Kyo, who needs you more for the reminder of his teacher than he'll ever need me. I know it's only a matter of time before he leaves, and you need to stay with him."

Ruri blinked, then hopped on Hotaru's hand for a brief moment before she took off into the air and headed off in the direction that Kyo and the others had taken. Yuya watched her until she was out of sight, her eyes laced with a sadness that was quickly concealed. She then turned to Hotaru, and her face split with a wide grin that contained nothing but pure happiness over a job well done. Hotaru stared at her, then got to his feet and did something that would have sent his companions into shock had they been there to see. He held his hand down in order to help Yuya to her feet. Yuya blinked at him, placed her hand in his and he gently pulled her up, accepting the surge of desire that went through his body at her touch.

He didn't fight his desire, nor did he try to puzzle out just why he was wanting to claim the woman he considered to be Kyo's. He just accepted it for what it was, and that was that.

I want her.

"Oh, there you are."

Hotaru looked up from where the spider was putting the finishing touches on the web to find that Yuya was standing in the doorway, her face mildly annoyed as she gazed at him in exasperation. She was slightly backlit by the sun, not enough to blind him and turn her into nothing more than a dark silhouette, but enough so that she appeared to be surrounded by pure light as her hair, several shades lighter than his own, gleamed a brilliant gold. He felt his body tighten as desire once again surged to the fore, and he didn't fight it because he felt like it was a waste of time and energy to fight something that couldn't be changed.

I want her.

XXXXXX

Yuya let out a sigh of relief that quickly turned to slight annoyance when she noticed the blood that was still dripping off of his arms. The drops fell to the floor with a light splattering sound, and even though she knew the bleeding had begun to slow on its own, it still didn't stop the flash of concern over another person's pain, even if Hotaru seemed to be completely oblivious to it. Yuya set her medicine chest down and pulled out some bandages and a salve Kyoshiro had helped her make before they had all parted company.

"Hotaru-san, would you come sit on my medicine chest so that I can bind your wounds?" she asked, and got the response she expected.

"No," Hotaru said flatly. "I don't need you to bind my wounds, they'll heal on their own."

"I know they'll heal on their own," Yuya said, exasperation evident in her voice as she walked towards the stoic fire user. "But they'll heal faster if I bind them."

"No."

"Hotaru-san."

"No."

Yuya gave an irritated huff and stared down at the bent head of the man who was acting like a recalcitrant child and brought out her secret weapon. She held her water flask over his head and tipped it slightly, just enough that the threat was there, but not enough that water would drip on Hotaru's head.

"If you don't let me bind your wounds, I'm going to dump the entire contents of my water flask on top of your head, and I know just how you love water."

Hotaru stared up at her for a moment, then rose to his feet to where he could look down at her as they stood toe-to-toe with each other. Yuya's green eyes gazed impassively back at him, and she jiggled her water flask a bit. "I can still throw it on you, you know."

Hotaru let out an irritated breath that was strong enough to displace her bangs before he stalked over to the medicine chest and sat down. Yuya found herself thankful that he didn't breath fire as part of his elemental talents, because she felt sure that if he did she would have been a very crispy individual indeed.

"Hotaru-san, I'm going to need you to . . . oh," Yuya broke off in mid-sentence as she turned and saw that Hotaru had already removed his torn and blood stained haori. She moved closer to get a look at his wounds, and was relieved to note that the cuts on his arms had already started to scab over. However, he had a rather deep looking gash on his chest that ran from the tip of his collar bone across his chest to just above his waist. While she didn't think it would need stitches, the wound was still bleeding freely, so she set about the task of stopping the bleeding.

She held strips of clean linen against the cut with her left hand while she opened the medicine jar with her right. She ignored the sensation of Hotaru's blood seeping through the cloths and concentrated instead on using a little wooden paddle Sakuya had given her to scoop out the gooey mess from the jar. She then checked the bleeding, and when she was satisfied that the bleeding had stopped, she carefully removed the cloth by lightly dampening it with water from her drinking flask, ignoring Hotaru's grumbled, "I hate water."

The dampened cloth came away easily, and Yuya was relieved to see that the cut wasn't as deep as she had originally thought, but it was extremely angry looking and she felt that the medicine she was getting ready to apply would help speed along the healing process.

"This might sting a bit," she warned him as she began to gently smooth the salve over his chest with her wooden paddle.

Hotaru's breath hissed slightly at the sudden sting, and he let out a strangled sounding, "Ouch!" Reacting to his pain, Yuya leaned forward and gently blew against the medicine, hoping to ease the sting just a bit the way she remembered her brother easing it whenever she herself wound up with a cut or scraped knees. She vaguely wondered why Hotaru's stomach jumped every time she gently blew against the cut, but filed it away as currently unimportant.

Hotaru stared down at Yuya's bowed head, heat pooling in his loins as chills chased themselves up and down his spine every time her moist breath touched his overly sensitive skin. He gripped his lowered haori in his hands in an effort to not bury his fingers in her hair and yank her up his body. He was surrounded by her scent, which consisted of a strange combination of flowers, herbs and gunpowder. And blood. He blinked at that realization and looked a bit closer at her, noticing that some of his blood was staining one of her hands. This struck him as being extremely wrong. Even though he knew she had been traveling with Kyo and had been exposed to more blood than most, he still felt that there was something inherently wrong about his blood being on her hands.

"There. I don't think I'll need to bind it because it looks like it's starting to heal over already," she said as she got to her feet. He knew she was getting ready to move away, he didn't want her to move away, he wanted her, and he reached out and grabbed her left hand.

"Hotaru-san?" she asked, startled, wide verdant eyes meeting tawny-gold, and what she saw caused her to go very still.

Yuya stared at Hotaru, arrested by the almost feral look he was leveling on her. His eyes seemed to have turned to molten gold, and she felt a small shiver of apprehension snake down her spine. That shiver changed into a shudder as Hotaru brought her blood stained hand to his lips and began to clean his blood from her skin. Shock froze her into place as the feel of his warm, wet tongue sliding over the sensitive flesh of her palms and fingers began to slowly warm her blood.

She blinked and came out of her stupor enough to give her hand a tug in an effort to free it. Hotaru growled and suddenly gave her wrist a sharp yank, hauling her towards him. Yuya squeaked in alarm as she lost her balance and crashed into Hotaru's chest, the air rushing out of her lungs with a whooshing noise as for a moment, she feared that the medicine chest would overbalance and tip them onto the floor, but Hotaru easily regained his balance. Despite his slight, thin appearance, he had a hard, muscular chest, and Yuya found herself pressed firmly against it as both of his arms shot out and dragged her forward until she straddled his lap, her hands trapped between them as his arms encircled her body like living steel.

Hotaru nearly groaned aloud when Yuya's heat came into contact with his hardness, and he buried his face in the junction where her neck and shoulder met. He inhaled and drew her scent into his lungs, then exhaled and smiled slightly when he felt a faint shiver run through Yuya's body as his breath came into contact with her flesh. Unable to resist, he opened his mouth and ran his tongue lightly up her neck, then bit down gently on her jaw.

Yuya made a slightly strangled noise and pushed against his chest, instinctively struggling against his possession. He grunted in pain as her pushing hands pressed against his chest wound, and her struggles ground to a halt as her empathy kicked in. Taking advantage of her lack of movement, he eased himself back just enough so that their eyes met. She stared at him, her eyes wide and the pupils dilated. He read confusion and wariness there, but he could also see a small flicker of desire deep in the green depths. He cautiously loosened one of his arms enough to slide his hand up her back so that he could cup the back of her head and tilt it slightly. She blinked at him, but her arms were still pinned between their bodies, and she didn't try to push him away as he gently brought his lips to hers.

Yuya's mind was whirling in confusion as Hotaru gently nibbled at her lips. He kissed one corner of her mouth, then the other before he moved his lips down across her jaw line. She felt as if he was leaving small fire sparks in his wake, and though she could feel his hardening length where she was pressed against him, she strangely felt no fear. She pressed against him again in a bid for freedom, and again his groan of pain stopped her. She knew she should fight, stop him, stop this, because even though her body was slowly responding to Hotaru's gentle kisses, her mind kept flashing to Kyo.

Kyo's going to be leaving soon, the voice that resided in the back of her head whispered slyly.

She had overheard Kyo when he had said as much to Akari one night. The shaman had been quietly talking with him when the subject of what he was going to do now that the Mibu Clan had been defeated was brought up. Kyo had been silent for so long that Yuya, who was listening closely while pretending to be asleep, began to wonder if he had dozed off. When Kyo's answer came, she had had to bite her lip to keep from crying out in denial.

He stated, in no uncertain terms, that he was going to be crossing the ocean to take on warriors who were part of something called the Ottoman Empire that, rumor had it, were the strongest in the world. And according to Kyo, what was the point of merely being strongest in the country, when he could be strongest in the world? Akari had taken a breath, probably to swear to Kyo that she would follow him wherever he went, but he finished by stating that he would be going alone. Even though her heart had rebelled at his proclamation, Yuya knew that he meant every word he had said, and that this time she would be unable to follow him.

Her thoughts scattered as a flash of heat shot through her body and took her by surprise. Hotaru had kissed along her jaw line to her ear, and was now biting down and suckling on the lobe so that hot chills kept chasing themselves along her nerve endings. She let out a harsh gasp as he continued to flick his tongue lightly over the sensitive flesh, then pulled back and blew against the moisture.

"H-Hotaru-san," she managed to gasp out, a small part of her brain screaming that she needed to say something and say something now to put some distance between them and maybe get some sense of sanity in an insane situation.

Hotaru pulled back and gazed at her with eyes that flamed as hot as his elemental attack, and he moved the hand that had been holding the back of her head and gently caressed her face with sword calloused fingers. That touch, an almost ghostly sensation of skin lightly rasping against skin, caused her eyes to fill and spill over onto her cheeks. Hotaru's brows drew together in a frown, and he leaned forward to gently touch his lips to her cheek where the tears had come to rest, and followed the pathway up until he could gently kiss her closed lids.

He leaned forward and placed his lips near her ear and whispered, "Yuya, I want you."

Yuya's lungs filled in a jerky motion as she raggedly drew oxygen into them. Her whirling thoughts finally crystallized into one realization, something that her body had recognized but that her mind had rebelled against. Hotaru was the most honest person in their entire band of rag-tag misfits, because he really didn't care if people knew his thoughts or not. As he always said, he hated what he hated, and, in addition, he liked what he liked. And he wanted her. He wanted her, Shiina Yuya, for reasons that she couldn't fathom.

She shivered as his lips trailed over her face while his hand returned to the back of her head, and a slight tug alerted her to the fact that he had removed her hair ribbon. He burrowed his fingers into her hair and gave a soft grunt of satisfaction as the silky tresses glided through his fingers. He wanted her, he desired her, the woman that had become so used to degrading insults such as "dog-face" and "little girl" that, deep in the back of her subconscious, she had started to doubt her own attractiveness. Yet here was the one warrior that she had figured to be completely immune to any of the rawer emotions like lust and passion seducing her in such a way that her mind had started to become fuzzy and clouded as her body awoke under his tender ministrations.

Yuya shuddered as Hotaru's lips brushed across her forehead and down her nose to ghost across her own. He gently flicked the seam of her lips before he nipped sharply at her lower lip, then soothed the hurt with a slow, sensuous glide of his tongue.

Kyo . . . Kyo . . .

Kyo didn't want her, but here was someone who did. Someone so honest that she could trust in the belief that he didn't have a hidden agenda in regards to his current actions. The knowledge that he honestly wanted her was a balm for the bruises she had been unaware that Kyo had inflicted upon her heart.

Hotaru moaned slightly and moved against her, pressing himself more intimately against the center of her heat. It wasn't quite a full thrust, but it was enough to rub his hardened length against her. Yuya's entire body felt as if it had been jolted by lightening, and with a sound somewhere between a gasp and a sob, she gave over and opened up for his questing tongue.

XXXXX

For several moments the only sound in the small hut was their harsh, mingled breathing. Then Hotaru shifted and leaned his forehead against hers before he gently brushed her nose with his and slowly eased himself out of her. Yuya's breathing, along with her thoughts, were finally returning to normal, and her brow creased with worry as she began to analyze what the possible ramifications of what she had just done with the most unlikely member of their little rag tag group of fighters would hold for her future.

Hotaru, on the other hand, had no such thoughts running through his head. The air in the hut had grown chilly with the approaching night, and the drying sweat on his body was making him cool down, and he felt Yuya shiver slightly against him. He shifted again, reached around Yuya and moved her (while ignoring her started squeak at his sudden movement) so that he could tug her outer kimono out from underneath their bodies, then gently lay it over both of them in an effort to conserve heat.

Yuya sighed as the welcome warmth of her outer kimono settled on her body, then squeaked again when Hotaru wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close until she was flush with his body. She stiffened a little on reflex when she felt his nose brush against her hair as he cuddled her. Taking a deep breath, she relaxed.

Out of all of the guys we're traveling with, I never would have pegged him for someone who liked to cuddle. She smiled at the random thought as it flitted through her head, and yawned. She resolved to just close her eye and try not to over think things. Everything always had a way of sorting itself out, somehow.

"Hotaru-san?" she ventured softly after a moment, her worries not allowing her a chance to relax and sleep.

"Hmmm?" came the sleepy reply. She was actually surprised that he was paying attention, though it could have been a reflex reaction to her voice.

"What are we going to do?"

"Do?"

"About, well, what we just did."

" . . ."

Yuya waited as he paused in thought, not really sure what she was hoping for, a solution to the world's problems? But the answer that she got was something she should have expected, considering who it was she was talking to.

"What did we just do?"

" . . . !"

WHAP!

"OW!"

End.

Obligatory author notes: Yes, it's Hotaru/Yuya, yes, I like Kyo/Yuya but the other fun alternate pairings for Yuya are so rarely explored, and I couldn't resist. And yes, I know how the manga actually ends, no, I don't care. That's why I write FANfiction. XD Comments and criticism is MORE than welcome (really, I love to improve every chance I can get), flames will be laughed at.

Hikigane means "trigger".