Half a Step

Rating: PG / K+
Characters:
Isaku, Doa
Word Count:
440
Disclaimer:
I don't own Blade of the Immortal, or any of the places or characters mentioned in that series and this piece of fanfiction. No profit is being made, I write for free.

Notes: Shortfic, one shot. No real warnings, minus Doa being Doa.

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Out here on the road, things are simpler. The leaves beneath them are dry and brittle with decay, falling apart under their weight as the two of them rest just off the road; Doa is warm at Isaku's side, her fingers strong and clutching at him. It's difficult to imagine things being any different than this, but the one constant thing about the life they lead now is that change is always half a step behind, nipping at their heels no matter where they go or how quickly they travel.

"Doa," Isaku says quietly, and she looks up at him with half-lidded eyes. "We oughta move soon."

She doesn't reply, simply curls up against him tighter and keeps clinging. Her hands, rough and small, work their way beneath the barrier of clothing and move across his chest in a search for comfort, finally hovering at the warmest place just over his heart. The day isn't too cold yet, but they can still feel it in their fingers and their faces, a slow gentle tugging against their skin that urges them to move.

"Yeah, soon," she replies finally. It's not like Doa to be slow like this, but he can feel the tiredness in her. It's been a long day and if he were to look closer, he knows he'd see old blood and new bruises, so he doesn't. His arms wrap a little tighter around her shoulders.

The moves she's making feel a little clumsy now, not the quick sharp movements of hunting animals on the ground, or the silent way she follows the backs of travellers along the road. But he likes it better like this, he thinks. Doa isn't gentle, not even with him, and he can't pretend any different. But at least this way he can remember the things they used to do before she got so practised at killing – Doa scrambling into trees and shouting down at him on the ground, Doa's feet dancing unskilled footprints into the earth, Doa hacking down branches and coming away sticky with sap instead of blood.

She leans up and kisses him and he can't help a little jolt of surprise, like always. "Let's go," she says, though she doesn't move away from him and Isaku can't quite find it in himself to make her.

"We got a while longer," he tells her, and she smiles tiredly and kisses him again.

There's no gentleness in this, either, but there's warmth. No matter how much she changes, he tells himself, as long as that stays the same then he'll keep up and change with her.