Where I Belong - Chapter 7

It had been an interesting experience for Sousuke, to be waking up with the sun rather than a barely lit horizon. The previous day he hadn't done his morning workout, which had irritated him more than he'd realized until awakening that morning feeling uncomfortably stiff. Utterly determined to get a sweat going, he gazed around the room and was forced to use his head. Improvising with bags stuffed full of bottled water for makeshift weights, a lamp stand as a bar, and a sofa knocked forward as a bench.

It wasn't particularly encouraging when Shiro stalked past him, closing his eye at the soldier's antics.

He felt invigorated and refreshed when he finally lowered the bamboo pole onto the sofa's legs. While he couldn't get the bar as heavy as he would've liked, it was certainly better than nothing and served, at the very least, to stretch out his cramped muscles. Dragging a forearm across his brow, he let out a contented huff of air before reaching into one of the bags to retrieve a bottle of water. Twisting the cap, he chugged a large mouthful then rolled his shoulders as interesting thoughts of the previous night invaded his bored mind.

Kaname was adamant about "paying him back," stating that he was getting too cocky for his own good. Sousuke knew better, though. She didn't like to lose, and him having a wager advantage of two to zero meant that, well, she was losing. He was a little embarrassed at first, even a little uncomfortable. It didn't feel as though she wanted to do anything so much as she just wanted to level the playing field. Though, those thoughts wasted no time in fading away when she threw him a grin and went on to... lower his advantage, so to speak.

He shook his head, screwing the cap back on the water bottle, dropping it back in a bag, and hopping to his feet. As he went around putting everything back in its proper place, he winced when Shiro yawned and licked his lips. Yes, that had been part of the evening he would try to forget.

When they arrived back at the cabin, Kaname had insisted on getting straight down to cooking a meal, letting him take the first shower. He wasted no time in washing himself and throwing on a pair of shorts. He grabbed a card from the bedside table, given to him by the merchant the previous day. After calling and ordering a side of pork for Shiro, he went downstairs just as Kaname set their plates out on the table.

As he went to work on washing their dishes, the doorbell rang. Kaname had given him a strange look then slowly walked towards the front door.

He placed the last few water bottles back in the fridge before shutting it and scratching the back of his neck. Apparently the people of Fiji didn't believe in waiting for someone to answer the door, though he cursed himself for not locking it in the first place.

The strange look quickly changed into a scowl, then a snarl. A young man walked straight through into the front room... dragging behind him what was, quite literally, a side of pork mounted on a bamboo rack. Between paying what turned out to be the merchant's son, being belted with a chair and having his shin bruised, he was beginning to wonder if bringing Shiro had been such a good idea after all.

Leaning back against the countertop, he praised himself for at least having the good sense to move the huge hunk of meat under the house as that had saved him from more of Kaname's immeasurable wrath; he absent-mindedly rubbed a lump on the back of his neck.

Stirring awake, Kaname blinked tired eyes against the light pouring in from the windows. She sat up slowly and stretched her arms over her head while letting out a long yawn, then slipped out from under the covers to plant her feet on the ground. Rubbing the back of her head, she stared down at her feet and wiggled her toes against the contrast the cool wood paneling gave from the warm air.

She took herself to the bathroom for a quick shower, stealing a glance at the as-of-yet unused tub upon her exit. "Hm," she made a soft sound as she contemplated the previous day's events while preparing for the new one. She couldn't help but to grin at the memory of her taking one count off from her 'debt' to Sousuke. Turning around, she stole another look at the large hot tub, shaking her head and making her way back into the bedroom. A travel magazine sitting on top of the bureau attracted her attention for a moment, and she flipped it open to find what had piqued her interest.

Setting down the magazine with a smile and an idea, she pulled out clothes for the day and got dressed quickly. She twisted her hair in a knot and pinned it back with a large hair clip, bouncing it gently a couple times to assure herself that her hair was going nowhere. As she took a moment to apply a minute amount of make-up, she wondered if Sousuke had any thoughts on the varying hairstyles she had been making use of on this trip. Usually it was quite simple, her hair left loose, maybe with the bow she always wore in high school, but that was it. But now she had taken to tying it back in one way or another, something she usually only did for 'special' occasions.

If this vacation didn't count as 'special,' then she didn't know what did.

Humming happily, she double-checked herself in the mirror one last time before snatching up the magazine and walking downstairs to the main room in search of Sousuke.

The last of his ammo slipped into his rucksack; zipping the bag shut, he straightened out his back and cracked his neck, glad that he hadn't had to spend too long checking his equipment. He reached to the back of his shorts and gave his trusty Glock a tap; the gun had required absolutely no maintenance, even in the hot, humid environment.

He looked up as Kaname padded across the room and dropped into the seat beside him. Leaning over, they shared a small kiss. "Good morning," he croaked, then cleared his throat; the climate had apparently affected his ability to speak properly, it seemed.

Giggling, she grinned and shook her head at him. Leaning up on the tips of her toes, she kissed him on the nose before setting back on the flats of her feet. "Hm, good morning. How're you feeling?" though he looked as though he felt perfectly fine, she figured it was worth asking before she suggested something to do for the day.

He blinked, "I feel fine, thank you for asking. How are you?" Though it was obvious from the way she carried herself.

"Good, good," turning around, she let her body fall slightly to rest her back against him. Turning her head up on his shoulder to look up at him, she held up the magazine that had caught her interest. "Hm, what do you think about this, Sousuke?" She opened it up to show him an article on horse rides in the area.

Burning through the descriptions and pictures, he quickly lifted his head. "It sounds like a nice recreational activity. I have been trained to ride horses to a rather high degree," he watched Kaname frown, then look away. Confused, he reached his left arm around her waist. "Did I say something wrong?" he inquired naively.

She toyed with the corner of the magazine, letting the pages slip under her finger before lifting them slightly once more. "No, no, it's just," she ducked her head and sighed. "I thought, I don't know, that we might learn together? I always loved horses, but I never really got the chance to ride." Biting her lip, she shuffled uncomfortably in place before turning her head to peek shyly up at him through her bangs, "When did you learn to ride, anyways?"

He straightened out a little, gazing up at the ceiling. "There were many horses in Afghanistan, it was an effective way of moving in and out of combat. I would not say I am an expert at riding, but I would be happy to teach you how to ride, if you would like that?"

"That would be nice," she spoke softly. Pressing back against him, she rolled her head back on his shoulder once more and smiled almost shyly, "I think, I'd really like that."

He offered a small smile before taking the magazine and reading the article. "Open from ten to five," he mumbled then glanced at his watch. "It's only eight-fifteen, we should eat well, horse-riding can be rather painful when it's your first time. The extra energy would certainly be needed, but unfortunately I will be able to guarantee lower and upper back pain, as well as 'saddle sore.'"

Pursing her lips, she made a thoughtful sound. She turned in his hold and wrapped her arms loosely around his neck, grinning up at him. "Well, I guess when we get back, we'll just have to make, ah, 'strategic' use of that hot tub, hm?"

"Uh..." He looked into her eyes and gave her a lop-sided smile. "Yes, that is a fine strategy. It will work to relax your muscles while also relaxing the rest of your body. If it does not work, then I may be able to offer some... uh...," he trailed off, blushing.

"'Some,' what, hm?" she grinned as she kept her eyes locked onto his, leaning up and lightly touching the tip of her nose to his.

His nose twitched as she rubbed it. "I have, uhh, some basic knowledge of massage. The medicinal properties are well proven. It promotes better blood flow, eases and stretches muscles and gives a feeling of comfort and well being. That is... if you are willing to let me try. I would understand if not, as I am only trained to a very basic level." He watched her expression, waiting for it to change to a frown.

She nodded, her nose rubbing his at the action, and she giggled softly as she pressed a soft kiss against his lips. "I think I'd like that."

Returning the kiss, he held it for several moments before pulling back and a small nod. "It will also help me to improve my technique, as it has been a while since I last practiced." His back throbbed from where she'd beaten him with the chair. "I could also teach you the basics I have learned, too." It felt nice being able to share knowledge with Kaname that wasn't self defense, or the intricacies of handguns.

"Probably not a bad idea," she gave him a quick once over. Looking up at him with an arched brow, she smiled impishly up at him, "I suppose it'd help me make it up to you after you do something to irritate me, hm?"

"I... uh... yes," he stuttered, confused by how that could be seen to be a punishment. His stomach let out a particularly loud growl. Frowning, he looked up at Kaname, then glanced at the fridge.

Glancing down at the noise, she laughed at him and turned to follow his gaze. Looking back at him, she tilted her head and grinned, "Guess it's time to cook breakfast, huh?"

He smiled back and gave her a nod, "Yes, that would be good."

Kaname knew she should be paying more attention to what her roving mare was up to, but at the moment, she couldn't find it in her to care. The view out on the beach was gorgeous, the way the sky went on seemingly forever into the distance, and the sound of the waves had a much-needed soothing effect on her nerves.

When they had arrived at the stables, the instructors had inquired as to their level of knowledge. Sousuke had assured them he knew well what he was doing, and that he would be able to teach her what she needed to know for a leisurely walk on the beach. The horse she had chosen, and was chosen by, it seemed, was apparently something of a finicky lady. The way she was described just made Kaname grin at the handlers and assure them that they would get on just fine together, having a good understanding of one another's personalities.

Sousuke's lesson, however, well that...

I might as well have been reading a textbook on the subject. All technical terms and no emotion!

Sighing, she shook her head in frustration, her mare drawing up and mimicking the action before turning around to look at her. She knew full well the horse couldn't understand what she said, but they had been getting along quite well, and she figured that at the very least, she might agree with the sentiment. "Men," she said quietly. The horse let out a soft wicker and tossed her head as she stamped at the sand. Nodding with a grim smile, Kaname patted the lady's neck then glanced over her own shoulder at Sousuke.

Sat high on the saddle, Sousuke loosely held the reins, guiding the tall, black stallion along the shoreline. It had been a long time since he last rode a horse, but just like riding a bicycle, his muscle memory kicked in as soon as he hopped atop the saddle. Kaname's interest and enthusiasm for going on a 'horse ride' had him confused; while he knew that riding the animals was widely accepted as a recreational activity, as far as he was concerned a horse was simply for getting from one place to another, something that a car, helicopter, or plane would more than comfortably replace.

Meeting her gaze for a moment, he then looked over Kaname's form; how she was positioned, control of the reins, her posture. While she seemed to daydream through his meticulous tutorial, she had taken his advice and was handling her mare very well. With a light dig of his heels, he brought the stallion up beside her before falling into the same slow trot. Looking over to her, he thought it best to see how she was doing, "How are you finding it?"

She smiled and waved, shrugging as she leaned over the saddle to look her curious mare in the eye, "We're getting along quite well, I think. It's not as bad as I thought. It's the same mentality as a lot of other physical activities. You just move with it and it becomes so much easier and more comfortable."

"I see. That's good, it worried me when you didn't seem to pay attention to my advice, but you have learned quickly, as usual." He looked down at his black stallion, whose attention seemed not to waver in the slightest, despite the small waves licking at his hooves. Sousuke perked an eyebrow as a child squealed to their left; turning to look at the youngster, he couldn't help but smile as the young boy ran in and out of the waves as they lapped the shore.

Kaname and her mare both turned to look at the child, the horse stepping cautiously to the side at the loud, sharp noise. "Hm," she shook her head and laughed at the sight, stroking the mare and loosening her hold on the reins, trying to ease the tension as she cooed gently. Once she was satisfied that the horse had calmed somewhat, she sat up with a toss of her head and looked back to Sousuke with a frown, "I always pay attention in my lessons." She sniffed indignantly and looked away, face upturned, "No matter how boring the delivery."

Despite years of being called every rude word under the sun, today it had affected him more than he realized. It hurt him. Hurt in a way that he couldn't understand, doubtful that he ever would understand.

"Kaname... I just wanted to make sure that you would be safe," he sighed, dropping his head and gazing dejectedly down at his horse's mane. "If you were to be injured, I wouldn't be able to forgive myself. That... That's why I have to explain in such a manner, it's the only way I know how."

Listening to his tone of voice, Kaname looked over her shoulder at him. Teeth worrying at her bottom lip, the mare sensed her unease and fidgeted underneath her. She turned her attention back to the horse, sighing and petting her. Her shoulders dropped and she internally berated herself for once again letting her temper free and saying something unnecessary and, admittedly, cruel. Nudging the mare with a knee and a tug on the reins, she approached Sousuke, coming up beside him. She wasn't comfortable enough to figure out how to maneuver the horse close enough that she could reach out touch him, but she got as close as the mare would seem to let her.

"I'm sorry, Sousuke," she mentally winced, hating, loathingapologies. "That was uncalled for. You're right, it wouldn't do any good if I just blindly tried riding. Getting her to do what I want isn't easy," she frowned, looking down between the mare's perked ears. The horse seemed to catch her tone of voice and snorted, tossing its head and even sidestepping just a bit away from him. "Hmph." The mare took another step and Kaname tugged on the rein, trying to get her to go back. Instead, a large head just turned to look at her as though she were insane. Tossing her head and exhibiting the same contrary nature in Kaname, the mare decided to just keep picking her way further up the beach and away from Sousuke and his stallion, regardless of Kaname's orders. "Hey!"

He quickly brought his steed to match their pace at her side. "Kaname you must remain calm, wait for her to relax, then gently goad her forwards," he stated in a subdued tone. It was uncomfortable to see her mount react like this, the nervousness he felt was only amplified as she let out a loud huff, shaking her head side to side before suddenly bucking back.

"Kaname!" He yanked his right foot from the stirrups and leaned across to her, but the horse had already dropped down again, kicking sand with her back legs. Scowling, he reached over to her. "Kaname, take my hand, your horse is acting very aggressively. It's not safe."

Their fingers barely even touched as the female dug her hooves into the wet sand and bolted off along the seafront. Kaname let out a screech while holding onto the reins as best she could.

Sousuke snapped his reins and dug his heels. The stallion immediately took off, his fine form cutting through the salty air as they raced to catch up. He gritted his teeth. Kaname was in potentially serious danger, and it was his fault for forcing his explanation rather than listening to the staff they hired from.

Sand and water flew into the air, the pair of horses fairly matched for looks, but the male clearly had the strength to sprint and maintain a faster speed. Several seconds later they were a little farther than arms reach from each other, bouncing ferociously on their saddles. He ignored the sand and water that pounded against his face and yelled out, "Kaname!"

Kaname ducked down low to avoid being blasted in the face with wind and sea spray as her mare sped off. She cursed herself for not paying closer attention to the horse's nature, and the way that her own emotions seemed to transmit themselves through the way she rode and held onto the reins. Gritting her teeth, she risked turning her head to see Sousuke galloping beside her before looking forward once more, not wanting to have any surprises in the terrain lest she move the wrong way and going flying from the saddle. All she seemed to be able to do just then was to ride it out. No amount of digging in knees or heels nor tugging on the reins seemed to get the mare to stop. She giddily wondered for a moment as she was brought along for the chaotic ride, if that was what they had meant by warning her of a 'hard mouth.'

She can't turn to look at me. I will have to take more drastic measures. He reached for his short's fabric belt and yanked it out; slipping it through the reins, he grabbed the loose ends together and pulled his feet from the stirrups. Lifting his leg to rest his knee on the horse's back, he did the same with the left, watching his balance carefully while maintaining the same speed as Kaname's insane mount.

He ground his teeth before yelling out once more, "Kaname! Move back in the saddle, quickly!"

"Huh?" she risked a glance over at him as he yelled, frowning, trying to work out what he said as she boggled at his position. The scant seconds it took her to figure it out felt like forever, and then she nodded and shifted back. Years of various athletic activities gave her a decent sense of balance, and she held on tight to the mare's body with her knees as she scooted back in the saddle digging her fingers under its rough leather for stability.

With a loud grunt he brought his feet up, balancing on his own saddle; gripping the makeshift lead, he leaped from his own steed to Kaname's, letting out another ragged grunt as he landed in the saddle with a groan of pain. "Kaname, hold on to me," he ordered, his tone giving no room for argument. Looping his steed's lead through the female's reins, he dug his heels hard into her side before pulling hard on the reins, prompting an almost pained squeal from the animal. It took several moments of tugging, snapping and working the reins before she finally slowed to a jog, then a gentle trot. His stallion kept up perfectly with her speed, even Sousuke was impressed by how well trained his mount had turned out to be.

Shaking his head clear of the thoughts, he turned to look over his shoulder. "Are you hurt, Kaname?"

Her arms were wrapped tightly around his waist and she pressed her face into his back. As she came down, realizing that the horse was no longer out of control, her shoulders began to shake. Her grip on him grew tighter; she shook her face against his back and tried to control her breathing as her entire body began to quiver against him.

"Kaname? Answer me, Kaname!" Releasing his left hand, he reached behind his back to press his palm against her lower back. She's shaking... this is not good, why isn't she talking!

She took a few more moments before pulling back, taking in a deep breath and laughing. She let out a sharp whoop and grinned recklessly up at him. "That was amazing!" still laughing, she twisted in the saddle to pat the sweat-soaked mare on the rump. "All that speed, and power! What a rush!" she wrapped her arms around him again, "If she wasn't too tired, I think I'd want to do that again! ...With a bit more control and on my terms, but, wow!"

He blinked. Twice. Turning to face forward once more, his head dropped, hanging loosely as he shut his eyes. "Kaname, horses can be very dangerous when they are overly excited or angry, this is not something to laugh about. I was worried that something might happen to you!" He sucked in a deep breath, forcing the volume and tone of his voice to drop.

"Aww!" she laughed gently and patted him on the shoulder. "Hm, but you were pretty awesome there too. Even without guns, you can do some pretty cool stuff!" She strained to lean up, kissing him on cheek and snuggling against him, "Mm, what a cowboy you turned out to be!"

"That..." He opened his eyes and turned to meet her gaze, though he couldn't shake the scowl which ruled his face. "I... was worried something might have gone terribly wrong. Of course I can do 'cool stuff,'" the words tasted wrong on his tongue. "If 'cool stuff' is protecting you from harm." Somehow, he felt that he had completely misunderstood what she had said. Though, he had long ago become used to that.

Flapping her hand dismissively, she laughed again, "Yeah, but it didn't, so leave it! I'm fine, everything's under control again, things are great!" She smirked and dropped one of her arms from around his waist to settle a hand on his thigh and squeeze, "Mm, think I need to thank my big, strong savior, hm?" her tone was sweet and innocent enough, but her expression and words were far, far from it.

Her tone had him breaking out in a cold sweat. It was that tone, and he was under no illusion as to what she meant. "Uh... th-thank me... for... what?" He grunted, her thumb constantly moved upwards along his thigh. What is she doing...!

She giggled and took on a childish tone, "From saving me from the big bad horsie of course!" Her other hand descended on his other thigh and she squeezed again, looking up at him from under her bangs, "But does it really matter? You really going to not accept my reward?" she lifted herself up to purr the last few words in his ear and slowly, very slowly lowered herself back down, her body pressed tight to his back and she let out a soft moan as she moved, just to watch his response.

Gritting his teeth, his whole body shuddered as he fought to keep the pathetic noises he was making from leaving his mouth. He failed. Letting out a harsh, embarrassed and excitedbreath, he tentatively looked over his shoulder. "O-of-of course... not. I-I saved you, so... so I deserve... a reward... yes?" His lust and common sense were having a full-scale battle in his mind. Neither were winning, which left him in a brief state of idiocy.

"That's right," she nodded and kissed the back of his neck. "So," another kiss, "why don't we go back, hm? That way I can thank you properly." She was still completely high off the adrenaline, and even though she could feel herself coming down from it, she was determined not to let go of the excitement coursing through her veins. Teasing Sousuke, thinking about what would come, it all helped to fuel the emotion and keep herself running high off it. She finally understood all those thrill-seekers, and suddenly the idea of becoming one herself didn't seem too bad.

Not that she'd mention anything of the sort just then. She didn't want Sousuke to have an aneurysm or something.

"B-but we need to take the ho-ho-horses back first..." This was too much for the young adult; yesterday they had been at a private beach, before that, at the cabin... but, stuck along the beach with two horses... His member throbbed painfully in his pants, giving him an unwelcome reminder that he would have to readjust himself. Is she doing this on purpose?"K-Kaname... do you want to leave right now?" His voice was low, dripping with his rapidly growing excitement.

Noticing the unmistakable effect she was having on him, she cruelly slid her hands along his inner thigh before removing them and leaning back. She tilted her head and grinned, nodding, "What do you think?"

"I think... we should abort.. th-this mission and change our o-objective mission for the next direction," he yanked on both horses' reins, turning them around to face back towards the stables. "The n-next importance is of the utmost a-activity!"

She didn't have it in her to be even remotely upset as he fell back into 'otaku' speech. Especially not when he was clearly mistaking the order of words. She couldn't, however, hold back her amusement at his lapse in brain power, and she laughed at him. She laughed, and laughed, and laughed, and when she finally got something of a grip on herself, she continued to giggle quietly, sporadically, shaking her head at him.

They reached the stables in record time. Sousuke immediately hopped off and handed the reins over to an attendant before reaching up and helping Kaname down. "Why are you l-laughing, Kaname...," he groaned. This was an unwelcome feeling. Certainly, Kaname had the ability to rile him up in ways he never knew existed, but today she had found a new way to turn him on, and it worked exceedingly well... even if it made him feel utterly pathetic, since she was more interested in laughing at his agony. His fist shook, frustrated that he never seemed to have that effect on her unless they were already... His face flushed and he growled once more.

"You're adorable," she answered simply, wincing as she noticed just how sore she was from the intense ride. Ignoring the pain, she took long strides that matched his, hoping she could stretch out the muscles as she stuck to his side, looking sidelong up to him with lidded eyes, "What's wrong, hm? You seem kind of grumpy." Pouting cutely, she latched onto his arm and leaned forward as she walked so that she could look up at his face, "Aren't you looking forward to... it?"

He stumbled over a non-existent rock before regaining his balance and staring deep into her eyes. "Of course I'm looking forward to it!" He said that a little... louder than he intended. Glancing around for a few seconds, he satisfied himself when he saw no one around... then immediately pulled her into a ferocious kiss. Turning them around to press against a tree deep within the thick foliage, he slipped a cautious hand along her thigh; pressing his palms and fingers deep into her smooth, soft skin, then slipped his hand around the back of her thigh, gripping her just under the bottom of her shorts. Pulling away from the kiss, he took in ragged breaths, staring into her eyes with a heated intensity. "I want to... be able to do to you, what you do to me," he rasped, breath pouring over her parted, wet lips.

Gasping as she was suddenly pulled aside and pushed against a tree, she closed her eyes and wrapped her arms tightly around him, reveling in the action. She might be a fierce, independent woman, she might have a thing for taking charge of situations and being in leadership positions, but... When Sousuke took control, something inside her couldn't seem to even bother to try back. Sometimes she would, but just like that wild horse ride earlier, there was something so alluring about being completely at the will of a raw, untamed power, that excited everything within her.

She shivered in his hold and blinked in confusion when he pulled away, trying to follow after him but finding she was too firmly pinned to do so. Looking at him, she struggled to translate his words into coherent thought in her muddled mind, and when she did, she blinked again. "Do what?" she whispered hoarsely, panting for breath.

"I...," he grit his teeth, boring his gaze into hers. "I want to... I want to be able to do what you do to me!" He burst the words out, yet his eyes were ever fixed on hers. "You just... you just whisper into my ear and it makes me feel so... but I... I can't do anything like that," he muttered, feeling ashamed for saying such things.

Kaname pressed her lips tightly together and swallowed thickly, her gaze never wavering from his. Ordinarily, she'd deny it, maybe tease him, but something about the way he looked at her, the way he held her, the way he spoke, it compelled her to blurt out the truth. Red-faced, her voice came out rough as she shivered in his hold. "That's not true," she whispered, "Y-you're doing it to me right now."

"I... am?" His intense stare gave way under several blinks. "B-but... I don't understand..." He cursed himself, was she saying this just to make him feel better?

Ducking her head though keeping her eyes on his, she bit her lip as she tried to figure out what to say or do to make him understand. "You are," tilting her head, she looked up at him with a hint of curiosity, "Can't you tell?" It seemed obvious to her, but then, it was her body that was going through the series of sensations he worked on her, especially with all of that intense concentration centered solely on her.

He focused back on her eyes, slipping his free arm around her waist. Smiling, he leaned closer before pressing his lips to hers. His fingers gripped her thighs again, noticing the shiver that traversed her entire body. Slipping his fingers under the tight leg of her shorts, he immediately cupped a silky smooth cheek, burying his fingers into the malleable flesh, he couldn't miss the groan that passed her lips. Pulling back slightly, he slid his cheek along hers to whisper in her ear. "I see now... I am sorry if I worried you, I just... want to be as... uh... good for you, as you are for me."

"You are," she rubbed her cheek against his, tightening her hold on him. "Don't you worry about that, because you are." She smiled, pressing her lips to his ear and breathing out her words softly, "I love you, Sousuke."

Her words set him so very at ease. His whole body relaxed, trembling, like hers at the words and still very... prominentlust. Barely managing to form a ghost of a smile on his lips, he pressed a kiss to her jaw. "And... I love you, Kaname," he emphasized the point by pulling back to face her once more and slipping his tongue straight past her lips, immediately seeking out her own. His hand slipped out of her shorts; stepping forward to press her fully against the tree, his left hand ran fingertips up and down her spine. "Thank you for your reassurance," he whispered against her lips, punctuating it with a long, lingering kiss.

His right hand immediately sought out the front of her shorts. Expertly, he popped the button open and pulled down the small zip; smiling against her lips, staring into her eyes, he slipped a finger over the front of her panties and ran small circles around her covered, blue tufts of beautifully soft hair. It was silent for a short while, only the sound of their lips parting and harsh breaths died away in the empty area. He closed his eyes, pressing his forehead against hers. "Kaname... we must leave for the cabin now... or else...," his voice was strained, despite his normally top-notch self-control.

She fisted his shirt, gripping the fabric over the shoulders tightly, pressing herself insistently against him. She was feeling rebellious, not quite against him, but the place they found themselves in. Grinning, she looked up at him with wide, mischievous eyes, "Or else, what, Sousuke?"

"Or else..." He gathered his courage, knowing full well that if he wanted to keep up with Kaname, he would need to speak his mind about more than just guns. Cocking an eyebrow, he tilted his head and leaned down to run his tongue up and along her neck, all the way up to flick her earlobe. "Or else I will be forced to... make love to you right here, and the cabin would be far more... comfortable... There's also the, uh, hot tub...," he trailed off at the end, far too embarrassed.

"Ah," she shivered under his ministrations, tilting her head back. Reaching up her hands to tangle in his hair, she pressed his face back against her neck, "I don't think that would be such a bad thing," she referred to his first statement. Trying to keep a certain degree of strength and confidence in her voice as her body begged to just submit and be done with it was harder than it should have been. Just as well that she was a stubborn one, "I mean, why wait? And who says that, ah, 'payback' has to be just once, hm?" She let out a short, throaty laugh, trailing her fingers down his neck, "I mean, it seems like once just doesn't, doesn't cover it, hm?"

"But... anyone could walk through a-and see us... I don't want anyone to see you.. I mean us! Doing... that, here," he flushed at his mistake, and hoped that she wouldn't notice as he continued to lick, nip and suck on her neck. His adventurous side was beginning to show itself, but in Sousuke's way. "And... well... I was rather looking forward to using that bath since I first saw it..." he groaned into her neck, easing his fingers down an inch and immediately coming into soft contact with her hot, delicious clit. "I want to use that tub, Kaname," he growled into her skin, brushing his fingertips lightly over her. "Now."

Sighing happily at his work on her neck, she grinned at his slip-up but decided to let it slide. If she wanted to win the battle, she couldn't afford to pay much attention to it. "And I," she slipped her hands between them, fumbling with his pants, "don't want to wait," she managed to growl, though it swiftly turned into a groan. "Here," she managed to undo his button, and she carefully followed with the fly, "now," she clumsily realized she had forgotten his belt and set to work on it, not sure how she managed to miss it, and not caring, "and thenwe go back and use the tub."

His blood surged through his veins. No matter how much he wanted to make sure the area was at least secure from entry... with the way she was toying with his pants and having them drop to the ground, he realized he had little choice. Pulling away from her, he yanked off his t-shirt and laid it over a small patch of grass. Immediately afterwards, he dropped to his knees, eyes ablaze with lust as he grabbed the waist of her shorts and panties. They dropped to her ankles in one heavy yank, he then removed her shoes, dropping them beside the shirt and pulled her bottoms off, throwing them the same direction. He scooted forward, eyes rolling back into his head as her sweet, musky scent filled his lungs. She was right, he couldn't wait either. He didn't want to wait. Right here, right now, he wanted every inch of her to himself.

Reaching up to hold her waist, he growled out a deep command, "Spread your legs, now."

She immediately complied, once again slipping fingers through his hair and tugging him close. For a brief moment before most thoughts fled from her mind, she mused that she used his hair much as a horse's reins. And he could be every bit as defiant to her silent order as the mare had been. "Mm, Sousuke," she sighed, hitting her head against the tree at her back. Tightening her grip in his hair, she gave one short tug upwards to help convey her meaning, "Don't make me wait too long." Oh, she certainly enjoyed the things he did. She just was looking for, well, morejust then. Her adrenaline high was as strong as ever, the thrill of doing what they were in a place where anyone could come by and see them, it was such a heady drug and she was running low on patience.

She knew exactly what she wanted and she'd be damned if she'd let it be denied to her.

His eyelids fluttered as she spread out, grabbing his hair in the usual way, He couldn't shake the worry that someone might walk past, but at this moment, he really didn't care. He gazed at her smooth, pink lips... the ever-so-slight bump of her clit. He had to lick his dry lips before leaning forward and leaning his forehead lightly at the very base of her crotch, taking in another deep breath of her irresistible scent. He placed his hands lightly on her belly before cupping her waist and slowly sliding towards her firm, heavy breasts.

Pulling his head back, he placed a soft kiss just above her clit. His member throbbed painfully, but it could wait. If she was going to be making demands, then he would be too. Dropping his head to place a soft kiss on her inner right thigh, his hands finally came to rest on her full, heavy and firm breasts, "Kaname, your skin... is so delicious," he muttered into her skin while moving further and further up her thighs. He gave her breasts one long, slow firm rub before dropping his hands between her legs and cupping her ass. He smirked, running long, wide circles along the top of her thighs. "What is it you want, Kaname? I cannot remember."

"You," she started, gritting her teeth and tugging unkindly on his hair. "If you're not going to make yourself useful down there, then hurry up and fuck me," she whispered harshly. She couldn't make herself speak so crudely in any kind of 'regular' scenario, but when the clothes started coming off and her body began making such demands, she barely even noticed the words that slipped past her lips. "Now," there was a brief hesitation, not long, but noticeable as she rethought her choice of words. No, in the past, he usually just used it against her due to her complete lack of rank. So, instead, she used a title she had made for him not much earlier, "cowboy!"

He smirked. Cowboy."As you wish..."

His tongue drew a long, thick line of saliva from her thigh up to her hips, then slowly pulled it down, tickling her patch of blue hair before gripping both of her thighs with each hand and pressing his tongue flat stop her clit... but not moving. Even as she trembled and gasped, he chuckled, vibrating his tongue which caused her to tremble even more. Dropping his tongue away from her burning clit, he placed several small kisses on and around it before stopping and pulling his head back. Massaging her thighs, he looked up at her with a sly grin. "Kaname, tell me what you want. If you do not, I will do nothing." His grin only grew larger as her eyes attempted to focus on him.

She gasped, in part because of the sensations setting wonderfully tortuous fire to her nerves, and in part out of disbelief by what he was saying. "I already told you!" she gritted out between her teeth. "Fuck me, dammit! Now!"

"Mmm...," he growled, pressing another firm kiss against her soaked lips. Pulling back once again, he stood up, wrapping his arms around her waist; his member slipped between her legs, the length sliding back and forth between her lips, torturing himself as much as her. "You have to ask politely," he whispered, grinning as he dove for her neck. His hips began to slowly move back and forth, drawing a ragged grunt from him while his tongue flicked along her collarbone.

The grinding was quickly driving him into a lust-fuelled madness. Feeling her soft, warm lips part around his length; juices clinging to him; the light suction as his head would press against the base of her lips before slipping past.

"I am being polite," she muttered, leaning into him. "J-Just do it already!" her voice came out strained, tight, from irritation, from wanton impatience, from the need to be quiet so as not to attract attention. Feeling just desperate enough, her fingers twitched and tightened their grip, her teeth ground together in frustration, and she tilted her head back, "Please!"

He immediately pulled back and bent his knees; edging closer to her to catch the right angle, he then pressed the head of his member firmly against her vice-like core. A groan of pained pleasure passed his lips as he gradually slid further into her inviting wetness, her muscles clamping around him, almost sucking him in, refusing to let him pull out.

His nerves were on fire, his hearing felt hyper-sensitive as he listened for any sound of movement in the surrounding bushes; his heart thumped in his chest as he filled her completely, the anxiety of being seen and pleasure he was receiving sent a shudder through his entire body. Something so dangerous being so exciting... he would never had seen himself doing this, even this morning... but when in the situation, with Kaname's delectable body panting and begging for him, he had to cave in to her wishes. Thankfully those wishes had been what he was craving. His teeth found her collarbone once more as he arched his back awkwardly, pulling out and sliding back into her inviting warmth.

"Ah!" she panted, holding his head against her, lifting a leg until it rested against his waist. She curled the leg, hooking his thigh with her heel, tugging on him. "This," she wasn't exactly sure why she was trying to talk, "you," she didn't even know what she was trying to say. Her failed attempt at speaking trailed off into a low groan and she shivered. Though things had barely begun, she was already getting close, and she could feel it as she shivered again. The excitement, the adrenaline, the teasing, the build-up, it had her so far gone that she didn't even care that they were going at it in a public location.

A bush to the right of them rustled. Sousuke immediately grabbed her waist and dropped on his backside, turning them so his back was to the tree. Looking around, he could see no-one, then as he was about to glance back at the source of the noise, a small bird twittered before flying into the air.

He let out a relieved sigh before looking up at Kaname's bright red face. Smirking, he leaned forward to capture her lips while holding her body in the air. The grass tickled the backs of his thighs as he slowly began to slide in to her, his lips pouring a sigh of pleasure over hers.

Closing her eyes, putting the supposed close-call from her mind, she pressed her lips tightly against him with a soft moan. She settled her legs on either side of him, leaning over him, and began to help, lifting herself and pushing back down against him. As she gasped for air, she smiled down at him, her hair falling over her shoulder and the tips of it tickling at his face and neck. "Sousuke," she whispered, leaning down for another kiss, "ah, this is," she arched her back, gasping, trying to catch her breath and failing as she continued to rock her hips against his.

A groan of satisfaction passed his lips as he moved his gaze along her bare midriff, the evil shirt and bra that covered her breasts, up to the generous cleavage her tank top displayed. Pushing forward, he finally registered what she had said, "Kaname... this is... what?" He let out a contented sigh as he buried his face in her chest, taking a deep breath of her unique scent before running his tongue up and between beautifully generous mounds.

She grinned and tangled her fingers in his hair once more. "This is, ah, it feels so good," she gasped. Her hand clenched and her body quivered, her mouth opened and she immediately snapped it shut again, biting her lip hardas a harsh groan that would have been a shout tore its way through her throat. Everything in her body tightened as she shook in his hold, and she murmured unintelligible words about him, about the sex, about everything in that moment, about how damn good it all felt, to just let go so completely and say to hell with consequences.

"You feel... ugh, amazing," he ground out, works muffled by her heavy breasts as he used his tongue to lavish them with attention. His hands slipped down her back, sliding his fingers around her firm ass before pulling his arms back, smoothing over her gorgeous legs. He couldn't get enough of her body, two arms and his mouth wasn't enough, he needed more of her, all of her. Every inch of her body he wanted to hold at once and it drove him insane. He nudged her tank top, then bra, down with his chin. For several moments he simply stared at her perfectly sized nipples, saliva almost dripping from the corner of his mouth before hungrily sucking it between his lips, smoothing her areola with his tongue.

Everything was beginning to pile up. Kaname writhing on his member, squeezing down on him with so much force as she bounced herself along his length. The location, completely and utterly open to exposure... The feel of her smooth, soft yet athletic body in his arms, allowing him to do what he pleased... His stomach began to tighten up, so with another loud grunt, he lightly pressed his teeth into the skin of her breast before increasing the rate and power of their thrusts. As she lifted, he would pull down and when she dropped, he would slam his crotch against hers. The sensations running rampant through his body right now sent his eyes rolling into the back of his head. His heart skipped another beat as Kaname suddenly jerked, pulling his head hard against her chest.

Holding him close to her, she ducked her head, lips against his ear, her hot, moist breath coming in heavy pants against his skin. Her throat hurt from holding back the noises she so desperately wanted to make, and rather than bite down on her lip again, her teeth sank into his ear as she groaned. She tugged unkindly and unintentionally on his hair as she used the last dregs of her strength to grind roughly against him before giving in to another, larger, harder hitting wave of ecstasy crashing through her body. A shudder, and then she was still, trying to hold in the sounds and winding up holding her breath, her nerves hummed, her muscles tightened, and her vision turned a blinding red for one long, glorious moment. Her teeth were still locked weakly on his ear as her jaw went slack, lips slightly parted.

The shudder that rolled through her entire body caused her to clamp down harder than he had ever experienced. With a ragged, animalistic growl, he released her breast and a hand from her ass. Grabbing the back of her neck and pulling her into a firm, wet, messy kiss, he pounded into her several more times before his stomach tightened up. Legs shuddering uncontrollably, his member pulsated erratically as stream after stream filled Kaname.

Groaning against her aggressive kiss, he rode the euphoria for several more seconds before staring into her eyes. "That was... just..." He smiled before adding in a soft voice, "I love you, Kaname."

"Yeah," she whispered quietly, bumping her forehead against his and grinning as she looked into his eyes. "I love you too, Sousuke." She leaned in for a gentle kiss, capturing his lower lip sweetly and suckling on it, nipping it cautiously, before pulling back to meet his gaze. Reaching up, she placed a soft hand on his cheek and stroked his face lovingly, ducking in for another swift, sweet kiss.

Wrapping his arms around her waist in almost protective hold, he happily accepted the kisses, then pressed a soft one on her cheek. Fingers stroking his cheek caused his eyes to fall shut and he let out a contented sigh. "You're incredible, Kaname," he murmured, palming small circles on her back before pulling her into a soft hug.

"Hmm," she closed her eyes and rested against him for a few moments longer before the nagging in the back of her mind reminded her of their vulnerable position. Pulling back, she grinned and spoke wryly, "You're not half-bad yourself," she laughed shortly and kissed him on the cheek before reluctantly shifting to move away. She made a face at the suddenly uncomfortable feeling between her legs, looking down with a blush and a frown. Shaking her head, she reached in her shorts pocket for a handkerchief and wiped between her legs with a grimace.

As she folded up the napkin and stuck it back in its carrying pouch, she turned to Sousuke with an unreadable expression on her face. "You said you worry that you don't have the same effect on me? Are you insane?" the expression broke and she laughed lightly, shaking her head. "Sousuke, remember how I yelled at you a few weeks ago for, ah, us, well, forgetting about condoms?" She raised an eyebrow as she let it sink in for a moment before continuing, "And yet, look at us. Look at me. Look at the way you make me, make me needit. I forget all about that and I just lose myself in the moment. In, in you," she blushed. Grinning shyly, she amended her last statement quietly, "well, when you're in me." Coughing at the awkwardness of forcing out that joke, she looked away and busied herself with fixing her clothes.

Blushing, Sousuke looked down at the grass and let out a relieved sigh. He had been worried for a while now that he wasn't capable of doing what she did to him, but he trusted Kaname. He loved her. She had meant what she said, and it made him very, very happy. Standing up on shaky legs, he stepped up to her and wrapped his arms loosely around her waist. "Thank you...," he said, voice barely a whisper. "I was... I was worried that I...," he paused, letting out another pitiful sigh. "Worried that I wasn't good enough for you. So..." Leaning forward, he placed a soft kiss on her forehead before tilting his head down and resting his forehead against hers. "Thank you," he said with a smile.

She giggled and shoved him playfully, shaking her head and chuckling. She stepped close to him again and kissed his cheek, "Whether or not you're 'good enough' for me is for meto decide. And we're here, like this, aren't we? I think you have your answer." She nodded resolutely and with an air of finality.

He nodded, "Yes we are, I'm sorry if I come across as..." The last word caught on his tongue. Taking a deep breath, he glanced into the greenery around them, gathering his courage. "...Weak."

Laughing, she shook her head at him. "I already told you that, didn't I?" Not that it was a good memory, but she could look back at it now without feeling swamped with depression, feelings of loss and abandonment. It had affected her for a long time, but it had also been years since that terrible October, and now it was just a short tightening of the chest, a catch in her throat, and then she was fine and moving past it resolutely. "Back in Hong Kong. You're weak, but you manage. It's one of your strengths," she didn't care if that didn't make sense. She just grinned up to him, a look in her eye daring him to even dispute that.

Perking an eyebrow at her statement, he felt his memory jog, something from that time that he had never forgotten, something he could never forget. He smiled back down at her, his arms renewing their hold around her waist as he leaned forward once more; his confidence renewed from her words, it was time to ask her something that had confused and bugged him for years, something he had never dared question in the past due to what Hong Kong had meant for the both of them. But now, things were different.

"Kaname... When you travelled to Hong Kong, when you saved my life once again, when you gave me the confidence to continue fighting to protect everything... You were trying to say something. May I ask what it was?"

She blushed and glanced down between them. It didn't make sense that it would embarrass her now, not after everything, especially not since she had since admitted her feelings to him. But for some reason it did. Maybe it was shame that it took her years for her to finally build up the courage again. Or, rather, that their feelings had to get so strong and spill over to do the initial confessing for her. She shuffled nervously before finally peering shyly up through her bangs at him, "I, I was, what I was going to say... I lost my courage. It was so hard. Especially seeing you li-no, sorry, forget I said that," she frowned at herself, always pushing the blame on someone else. She stopped herself that time, shaking her head at herself.

"I was going to tell you that I love you."

His eyes flew wide open, fingers subconsciously gripping her hips harder. "Why, why didn't you tell me?" It hurt. She had prepared herself to tell him how she felt... why hadn't he told herhow he felt?

Sighing, she looked up at him remorsefully. "I don't know. I had planned to. I thought so clearly about it. Like I said then, I had planned to throw myself into your arms. Seeing you there, though. Yelling at you, it just, it didn't feel right? Maybe? I don't really have a good excuse. I came so close to saying it anyways and I, I just," she took in a deep breath and let it out slowly, shaking her head at herself, "I just couldn't. That time, beating some sense into you, well... You got the hint, you changed your behavior well enough, but, but when I first saw you like that, you looked more like the boy who transferred to Jindai that April. Not like the person I had come to know and care for in the following six months."

She took in another deep breath, trying to gather her scattered thoughts. "Even though I tried to say it again, I couldn't. Maybe it was because you had relapsed, maybe it was because I chickened out, maybe it was a combination. What really gets me though, thinking back on it," she frowned and cleared her throat. "What really gets me is that I didn't tell you afterthen. I knew how I felt, at one point I'd had the courage to say it. So why couldn't I find that courage again? Pathetic," she glared distastefully at the ground, the emotion directed inward.

He was more than taken aback by her explanation, though not surprised. Kaname's stubbornness was something that he loved about her, though evidently it had caused her more trouble than be a help. Taking in a long breath, he pulled an arm from her waist, nudging her chin up with his finger to face him. "I... felt the same. I just didn't understand what my feelings meant." He frowned, his head dropping slightly. "When I was given the order to leave you, never before had I felt such rage, such anxiety... such fear. I wanted nothing more than to stay in Tokyo with you, but I didn't understand why, I didn't understand what was going on."

His palm gently smoothed the width of her back. "When you appeared in Hong Kong, my heart felt as though it would burst, my eyes began to sting, every nerve in my body was burning. I didn't understand it..."

He paused, an expression of sadness masked his face before continuing. "I thought you were dead, Kaname. Never before had I felt so alone, so empty. All I could understand from the barrage of these emotions was that I never, ever wanted to part from you again." Shaking his head, he let out a quiet sigh. "I am older now, I am more experienced with life. You taught me how to... love, and for that reason, I'm sorry, because now I can see what I wish I had known then." He pulled her body against him, resting his forehead against hers, his eyes fell shut. "If I had known, then I would have told you that I... love you," he murmured.

Kaname just squeezed his arm, nodding dumbly, her throat too choked up for the moment for her to work out a response. Frowning, he reminded her of something that she had completely ignored back then, and she looked up at him with a blend of curiosity and concern, "You said you thought I was dead. I remember you saying something like that back then but I was too angry to listen. What happened, to you, during that time? I had told you what happened with me, nearly being killed," she paused as she realized he actually didn't have the full story. She had nevertold him about that kiss. "But," she tilted her head, hoping she made the pause look natural, like she was sorting her thoughts, "we never talked about you."

"Perhaps it would be best if we... put our clothes back on and made our way back to the cabin, first," he stated. He wouldn't deny her the information of what happened in that time, not after she had been willing to open up and talk about her own feelings and experiences from that time.

Looking down at herself, having already fixed her clothes, and gave him a look with raised brows before laughing in a subdued tone and taking a step back. "Not a bad idea. This probably isn't a good conversation to have out here. Too private," she tilted her head, listening to the sounds around them. "Well, as quiet as this area is, it's not private enough, at any rate."

Never mind that minutes ago it had proved 'private enough' for an activity requiring a greater degree of said privacy.

It was really cute the way he flushed at her simple expression, noting that she was dressed when he was not. He quickly fixed that and then they were off. As they walked through town, Kaname tugged him for a quick detour, stopping at a bath shop. "We're going to use that tub sooner or later, we should make the most of it!" was her quick explanation, and he had agreed once he realized what was going through her head.

Picking up some oils and bath salts, as well as some candles for good measure, they paid for the items and then left. Kaname had them pause again, coming across a stall with some delicious smelling food. "We haven't eaten since breakfast," she complained, purchasing the quick and portable meal, handing Sousuke his share, and it was then that they were finally on the road out of town and back to their cabin. The walk was quiet, their shoulders brushing from how close they were, and they finished off the skewered meats and vegetables well before they returned. Even though the combination of spices wasn't something Kaname had encountered before, she didn't have it in her to make a comment on the food just then. It was delicious, to be sure, but she was thinking about the talk they had, and the talk they would.

She knew she would have to tell him about how Leonard had forced that kiss on her. She just didn't know how. And she really, really didn't want to. Just the memory made her itch to wipe her mouth, but that would likely set off the alarm bells and she didn't want Sousuke interrogating her on the matter.

Sousuke slid off his grass-stained shirt and chucked it over into the corner of the bedroom. Running water could be heard through the thin bedroom wall, along with Kaname's upbeat humming. He sat down on the edge of the bed, staring at the wall before him. His mind swam in the details of Hong Kong and what had happened there. It was never pleasant for him to remember that time, not after... He clenched his fist. No. Shaking his head, he stood up and kicked off his new sneakers.

Approaching the bathroom door, he was hit by a wall of fragrance. Poking his head through the door, he watched as Kaname sorted through bottles of scented oils, bath balls and washing gels. He smiled as her contemplative expression gave way to a frown while she squeezed a bottle of oil without a lid on, a thin stream of the olive-colored liquid went everywhere. "Is everything alright, Kaname?" he asked quietly.

Grimacing at the bottle, she looked around at the mess she had made and sighed. "Yeah. Just some, ah, technical difficulties?" She stood up and set the bottle down, shaking her head. "Could you just wipe this up real quick for me while I get ready?"

"Of course." He stepped over to the wall and tore a little toilet paper from the roll then wiped up the oily mess from the black tiled floor. After rolling the paper into a ball, he chucked it into the trash can beside the sink before standing to take a look at the large tub. As he looked over it, he noted that it really was a largetub. He and Kaname could sit in the large oval shaped bowl with room for double the people. He dismissed that thought with a frown. Small holes placed around the sides of the bath pumped the steaming water in a constant, almost circular flow, causing a thin layer of bubbles to form on the surface. Breathing in, he closed his eyes as the heady scent immediately sent his mind reeling into a state of complete relaxation.

Sandalwood and rooibos he could make out, but for the rest, he had no idea. "A wonderful fragrance," he murmured to himself.

Tossing her clothes off to the side in the main room, she stretched her arms over her head with a satisfied groan. She rolled her shoulders, frowning slightly as she thought once again to their conversation. Fiercely shaking her head, she slapped her cheeks lightly and muttered to herself. Taking in a deep breath, she noticed that the scents from the bath were beginning to wander into the room, and she nodded in satisfaction. Turning back around, she stepped into the bathroom and walked up to him with a smile. "Think it'll do?" she teased.

He turned his head to look at her, blushing immediately as she stepped up to him completely naked. "I-it will do more than do," he stated, completely ignorant of the fact that his statement made zero sense. Shaking his head, he quickly reached for his shorts and boxers, dropping them to the floor and stepping out.

He was about to lift a leg over the edge when he suddenly paused. Turning around to face Kaname, he offered a small smile and held out his hand. "After you," he murmured.

Chuckling, she bowed her head in thanks and dipped her hand into the water to test it. She nodded to herself at the temperature and carefully put in first one leg, then the other, gasping softly at the heat. She eased herself the rest of the way in and edged to the side to give Sousuke plenty of room to work his way in slowly.

Slipping one leg over the edge and into the water, he quickly followed suit with the other before sliding down into the just-comfortably hot water. As soon as he was submerged to the neck, a long sigh escaped his lips, the scents assailing his nostrils from his movements.

She stretched out her legs in the large tub, seeking out his own and settling hers on top of him. She smiled and leaned her head back, sighing happily, "This is really nice."

He reached out for her legs, gently but firmly he massaged her smooth calves, the whole time resting his head back on the bath's reclining end. "Mmm, it is," he mumbled, his voice hinting at the tension he felt. He had never been good at hiding things from people, least of all Kaname. She wanted him to tell his story, how he came to be wandering the streets of Hong Kong... A sigh passed his lips, he had no idea where to start or even how to broach the subject.

Cracking open an eye, she looked at him with a slight frown as she caught the note to his voice. She never understood it when people said he was deadpan or monotone, never giving anything away about what he was feeling. She had always been able to hear the emotion in his voice and see it on his face. Wanting badly to shift closer to him, she shifted in place as she realized that was likely a bad idea. She wanted to be able to watch his face as they talked, and even though it was a really rough time for them and comfort was certainly needed it, it felt appropriate to wait until after, or perhaps some time during the talk.

But not before.

She sat in place and focused her attention on him with a hint of expectation. Not responding, she just lifted her leg a bit, resting her foot on his thigh and squeezing with her toes. It wasn't the same as using her hand, but she was determined not to move just yet. She just hoped he didn't hold it against her.

He appreciated her gesture, giving her calf a firm squeeze in response before taking a breath and looking up at the ceiling lights. "I was recalled from my mission in Tokyo, reassigned to an operation in Hong Kong. An unknown AS was attacking both the North and South. Tensions were high and a peace treaty came very close to not being signed, the political implications were staggering, so Mithril stepped in." He paused for a moment to look over at Kaname. "I'm sorry, if it's too otaku I will stop," he stated cleanly.

Shaking her head, she had been listening on in interest, "No, no, it's fine. I don't care for all the military speech, but political situations actually interest me quite a bit." Smiling, she remembered something from long ago, and decided now was as good a time to say it, "Actually, when I found out you had lived in Afghanistan, I was burning with questions. You know, the night before you transferred to Jindai, I had been on a date with a guy who should have been interesting, but he bored the hell out of me. He talked about his father's successful business and a friend in the J-League, and all I could think was 'What about religious and political strife in the Middle East?' and the likes." Realizing she had gotten off track, she shifted a bit and leaned forward in interest, "So. Politics in Hong Kong, meaning you guys had to go in. I'm assuming because you don't answer to any nation?"

"Uhh...," he looked to the left, attempting to hide his frown before answering the question, "yes. We had received intelligence showing a Venom-type AS unit. We were to scout the city. Mao and I headed towards Kowloon Peninsula, Yan and Wu went to Hong Kong Island," he stared at the tiled wall, his eyes began to blur from staring too long but he didn't look away, he didn't move. "We dressed as cleaning staff to get past security checkpoints, Mao dealt with the guards. I don't... really remember much of the drive. We didn't speak, it felt like we'd been driving for a long time. Then, then I heard your voice." He flinched. "It was a strange occurrence. As if you were stood before me, talking to me, but also not. The next thing I knew, I was driving straight towards another car. I swerved and managed to avoid a straight collision, though we did scratch up the sides of both cars."

Blinking, he moved his gaze over to the taps, staring as water dripped from each of them alternately. "There was no serious damage, no one was injured, but it caught the attention of the nearby MPs. Mao tried to reason with them, but they pinned us to the ground. I'm not sure what they would have done if the Venom hadn't appeared." He looked over at Kaname and offered a small smile. "It was a strange experience. The Venom destroyed their Arm Slaves, then vanished. I think... I can't be too sure, my mind wasn't focused on the mission."

He let out a long, quiet sigh. The next part was something he would much rather forget, or pretend it never happened.

"We were unharmed and re-entered the van. Mao... scolded me. She told me I was careless, she asked me if I was thinking about you," he trailed off, his smile rapidly fading. "She said that she didn't want to die by being dragged into my problems, that she would be better off going on alone."

He flicked the surface of the water then reclined back into the bath and closed his eyes. "I got out of the van and walked. I didn't know where I was going or what I was doing...," he trailed off again, this time turning his gaze on Kaname. "My mind, no matter what I tried to think of, was filled with images of you."

She couldn't help the frown that tugged at her lips. The idea that he was so distracted during a mission absolutely horrified her. That his mind wasn't on the task was, as Mao had said, sure to get them killed. She was actually kind of happy that Mao's words got him out of the van and off the mission. The idea of what might have happened to them, to him, terrified her. Deciding she should respond, she settled back, letting the water come up to just below her nose for a few thoughtful moments before she lifted out so she could speak.

"I wish I could say the same. I mean, I thought about you quite a bit, I was so scared without you there, knowing someone was after me, but... I was a bit preoccupied with dealing with that. Although, I did use everything I could think of from watching you and learning from you. And I'm still here," her smile held no humor, "I suppose that speaks for something." She let out a short bark of a laugh and brought her hand out of the water to wave in front of her, "But you know my story. What happened next? How did I come to find you outside that burnt out building?"

His frown twisted into an angry scowl. Fisting his hands beneath the water as he fought the urge to punch the bath. "I walked for a long time before finding a newspaper. One of the headlines caught my attention... the name, the wording... it was directed at me. I didn't understand how or why, but it was. I knew it." His arms relaxed, dropping to the bottom of the bath. "I went to the location and was directed to a dirty, smelly apartment," his teeth ground together at the mere thought of the place. Shaking his head, he sucked in a sharp breath. "The room was empty apart from a bed in the corner and some medical equipment."

"Medical equipment?" she frowned trying to think of the possibilities and coming up short. "What was going on?" she prodded, seeing how he got quiet and figuring he needed a little motivation. She continued to look on with complete interest, wanting to hear the rest of his story.

"I... walked into the room and...," he looked at her from the corner of his eyes, it hurt him to remember what had happened there, in that room. "Gauron was there," he rushed out.

"Gauron?" she blurted out, shocked. She thought he'd been killed, several times over. Hell, the first time she saw who Sousuke really was, she had learned he'd supposedly killed the man once before. Then that same night he was supposed to have been killed again. On the TDD-1, when she had helped get things under control during her last 'vacation' quite a few years ago at this point, well, he had been in an Arm Slave that self-destructed. That was August. How was he still alive, come that October? "How...?" she left the question hanging. It was obvious enough, anyways.

"The Lambda Driver. He stated that it saved him from the Venom's self-destruction," his voice was strained as he recalled all his words, everything he had said. "He... he told me that..." His eyes slammed shut as he fought down his anger and those feelings of despair; even now they threatened to overwhelm him. The guilt of leaving her remained with him through the years. Just as she had said she would never forgive him for leaving, he doubted she was as upset with him as he was with himself. Just the thought of it sickened him.

She desperately wanted to move from her spot, sit next to him, and hold him tight. It took all of her considerable willpower to grit her teeth and stay where she was. Having a feeling that it was Gauron that caused him to believe her to be dead, she still wanted to hear him say it. "He said, what?" she asked, voice soft as she looked at him with sympathy.

"H-He said... that his people... killed you, that your outfit was torn to... that you... you didn't beg for your life..." He hunched over digging his fingers into his hair, grabbing fists of it and tugging while he sucked harsh, long breaths through his clenched teeth. "He started singing and... I just, I was lost. Then he turned to me and said that he had... killed you. I lost control, I shot him over and over. All I could feel was emptiness, despair, and anger."

He tugged hard on his hair before sitting up straight and staring blankly at the far wall. "I heard a beeping sound though it felt like I had gone deaf after everything he'd said. My instincts took over and I dove out of the window just as bomb went off under the bed. I landed on a car then fell to the ground. I didn't want to move or think... I didn't want to do anything. Your face... I could see your face, all the times we spent together, they flashed through my mind. I... felt numb, empty. As if you had been stolen from me, my life felt pointless. I had failed to protect the person that I cared about. Nothing mattered. Even as the Arbalest landed, I felt contempt for it, there was no way I could pilot it. I didn't want to pilot it, I wouldn't pilot it..."

He let out a loud sigh and shook his head. "Then, you came... I was... confused, happy, angry, sad, relieved. I felt so many things I'd never experienced before, I had no idea what to say..."

"No wonder you had that expression on your face," she murmured softly. Looking up at him, story over, she finally gave in and slipped her leg off of him, moving over to sit next to him. She set her knee on the ledge that provided seating in the tub and leaned up, wrapping her arms around Sousuke's head and pulling him close to her chest in an almost maternal gesture, smoothing her hands over his hair, rubbing his shoulders and back. "I'm so sorry," she whispered, bending to kissed the top of his head before turning hers and rest her cheek against him. "To think, to think that," she frowned and sighed, gathering her thoughts. "At least I knew you were alive. Even though I, we, thought we wouldn't see each other again, at least I knew there was a possibility."

He stared into the bubbling water, his body relaxing somewhat with her being so close and understanding what he had told her. It was hard to remember those times and even harder to talk about them. Leaning back into her body, he turned his head a little to look at her. Something nagged at him from the back of his mind. Frowning, he glanced away as it slowly came to him. He hadn't asked herwhat had happened during that time. Yes, she had given him vague details, but just looking at her as she explained them made it clear that there were some things, perhaps many things that she hadn't told him. Was she worried about their nature? He shuddered, if that was the case...

"Kaname," he spoke quietly. "I asked this question long ago, and I knew that you hadn't been completely open with me. At the time I understood from what little you did explain, but now...," he paused turning his gaze back on her to gauge her reaction. "Would you tell me what really happened when I..." He cut himself off, even thinking about... leaving her made him feel physically ill.

Immediately stiffening up at the question, and the flood of memories, she could help but brush her face against his head, somewhat wiping her lips with his hair. Burying her nose in the damp locks at the top of his head, she closed her eyes and took in a deep breath. She leaned back, moving away from him again, and tried to think of where to start. It had been so long, she had even almost put it out of her mind. At the very least, she didn't think of it so often. She didn't think of it every time it rained.

Curling up on the ledge, she wrapped her arms around her legs and set her chin on her knees, staring down at the surface of the water as she tried to put the events into words. She had told him nothing of Leonard but that some person had intervened in the attempt on her life, and the Alastors he had with him. She didn't even let Sousuke know his name, that the enemy was Tessa's twin brother. At first, it was to protect herself. She just couldn't bring herself to think about it, let alone talk about it. As the memory got, well, easier to deal with, so, too, did it get more distant in her mind, until she never even thought to bring it up.

This was going to be even harder than she thought.

His expression softened as she curled up, she wasn't ready to talk about it, he thought. It was important to him, but he didn't want her to get upset over the past as he had just done. "Kaname, don't feel that you have to talk. I... will understand if it is hard for you," his statement was a double-edged sword and he knew it. She probably knew it, too.

She dipped her legs back into the water slowly, very slowly, and looked at him with an expression full of remorse and, she was ashamed to admit, fear. Shaking her head, she glanced back down at the water and sighed, "No. It's been long enough. More time isn't going to make it any easier to talk about. It's just made it easier to forget." The words felt bitter in her mouth, and she wished for a moment that she had thought to keep something to drink on hand.

Like a bottle of wine.

She could do with some liquid courage just then, but at the same time, it might make her an uncontrollable emotional mess. Well, more so than usual.

"It's that damned rooftop," she growled. "Getting there was just a little weird. I can't remember if I told you, I, I realized I was probably bugged, and that's why I couldn't catch up to Wraith. So when a business man bothered me, I asked him to a, a," she blushed. This part wasn't a painful memory, just shameful. "I asked him to go to a love hotel with me," she rushed the statement, taking in a deep breath at its end. Looking up sharply, she didn't give him time to reply, "I just needed to get out of sight, and somewhere I could slip into some other clothes! He agreed, but, when we got there, he didn't let me explain. So, I, I tazed him," she winced at the memory.

"I didn't want to attack an innocent guy like that, but he gave me no choice. So I cuffed him in the bathroom and changed into a robe, then went hunting. I found Wraith surprisingly easily. I thought for sure, 'I'm an amateur, he's a pro, there's no way,' and 'What do I know, I'm just a kid,' but I guess hanging out with you taught me more than I'd even thought." She grinned crookedly at him, shrugging.

Time for the hard part.

"Anyways, I told her I wouldn't tell anyone how badly she messed up. While we were arguing, she got shot in the face, though the bullets bounced off her costume. Then, then, well, I told you about the assassin, and how I was chased. After I managed to get the upper hand and shot her with the stun gun, that," she gritted her teeth, squeezing her eyes tightly shut as though it would block out the memory. "Thatguy showed up."

He watched and listened carefully, taking in every change of tone and movement of her body. She had performed well, yet he still cursed himself for not being there to protect her from this situation. Blinking as she said the last sentence; her discomfort was clear, even to him. A feeling of sickness washed over him before he dared to ask, "What guy, Kaname?"

"Leonard Testarossa," she all but spat the name. She hatedthat man. Shifting uncomfortably at the memory, she lifted a hand and smashed it back into the water, sending up a splash of water.

"That, that bastard, he, he tried to make me doubt you! And, and dammit, it worked! He had that girl killed right in front of me, and then he went on to say how you've killed so many more people! I tried defending you, but even as I said it, I wasn't sure I believed it. That you were forced into it as a child, that you only kill the bad guys, but, well, isn't that too idealistic? He asked the question I always wondered but always ignored. Was that true? Or was I just being naive?" Sighing, she tilted her head back and stared up at the ceiling. "That wasn't even the worst of it," she whispered, closing her eyes.

She couldn't bring herself to look at him as she dredged up the worst of the memories. "He asked me if I loved you. I told him 'no,' but I couldn't look at him as I said it. I was, I was angry then, and, you know, if I hadn't even told you, I sure as hell wasn't about to tell himwhat my feelings were. Then, then he made me look at him and he, he," the arm came up and she swiped it across her lips in disgust. This many years later, and it still got to her. She rubbed harshly, feeling her lips chap and bruise under her arm as she ducked her head, her wet hair doing nothing to slip and hide her face as it usually would. Tears stung at the corners of her eyes, and no matter how hard she tried to convince herself she had just gotten something in them, from wiping them or something, she knew that wasn't it.

There was no reason to be crying over it, dammit!

His heart sank as she tore at her lips; her eyes were reddening and he thought he knew why. Anger rose through his body, though he didn't know what had happened, if it was enough to make Kaname act like this... He reached a hand over to rest on her thigh, giving her a light squeeze. "Kaname, you don't need to continue, I don't want you to upset yourself just to tell me what happened. I... I can see that it was something horrible," he paused, fighting down the rising, irrational anger he was feeling. Biting into his cheek, he edged around the bath before looking up at her once again. "Come here," he ordered softly, motioning to the area beside him.

She involuntarily twitched when he touched her, and she immediately felt guilty, forcing her body to keep still. She looked up at him sadly as he continued, and bit her lip when he told her to sit beside him. Oh, she wanted to, neededto even, but if she did, she would never get the last words out. Even if he said it was all right for her to stop, she was determined to get it out. She had made it this far. It was time to put the last of it out there. "He took advantage of my confusion and surprise and kissed me," she whispered in a flat voice. "I know, I know I shouldn't take it as badly as I did, still do. But, just, he, he disgusts me! And he had the nerve to, to take my f-first kiss!" Her shoulders dropped and she gazed despondently at the surface of the water and whispered, "It should have been you."

His anger spilled over, but was quickly replaced by a feeling of utter guilt. He should have been there. That would never have happened. Leonard would be a lump of flesh with a bullet between the eyes. Shaking his head, he quickly tried to remove those selfish thoughts. What happened had happened, he couldn't change the past but he could try and help Kaname deal with the issues that had obviously been plaguing her for years.

Slipping off of the seat and into the deep centre of the tub, he edged over to kneel in front of her. No words would form on his lips, not that anything he said would be of any help, anyway. He cursed his inability to talk. Purposely softening his features, he moved forward to kneel between her legs then reached around her shoulders, pulling her into a soft hug.

She let him move her, slipping off the seat and into his arms, deeper in the water. Tucking her head under his chin, her shoulders shook and she gave way to the years of pent up tears. It had been so long ago, but then, she had never gotten it properly out of her system. Not even when she cried right on that very rooftop. There was still so much to do then, and she couldn't just let it all go. She went from soft sobs to louder, choking breaths as the tears flowed freely. She whimpered and held on tight to him, rubbing her face against his chest. "I-I'm sorry," she gasped out the words as she could, "I don't mean, to, to, to be like this."

He stared at the top of her head, despondent, helpless. Unable to say anything to her. His arms never loosening their overly tight hold on her. When she spoke, he closed his eyes and lowered his head, pressing his nose into her soft hair. "It's alright," he murmured weakly, "Everything will be alright." He hoped that statement would hold true for his own guilt, though he doubted it. "I'll always be here." His half-lidded eyes never moved, though his arms began to shake with his own frustration and anger at himself. I will always be here, he swore to himself. "I'll always be here for you."

Kaname sighed, taking in steadying breaths, trying to get a grip on herself. She heard the words he was saying, and though it warmed her to hear them, there was a part of her that tightened in pain at the thought. Sniffling, she took a moment to clear her head. She breathed in one long, deep breath slowly, and released it over just as long a period of time, several seconds, and held her peace for several more as she gathered her thoughts. "Sousuke," she could barely even hear herself, and she coughed to clear her throat before trying again. "Sousuke," there, that was better, "don't, don't make promises you can't keep. You can't promise me you'll always be here because, one day, you might not."

He thought for a moment, considering her words. Part of what she said was true, but that went both ways. "I am one of the best AS pilots in Mithril, the ARX-8 and I are undefeated. One day... everyone dies. One day, one of us will no longer be here. In combat, I believe in my strength and abilities," he paused, tightening his grip on her once again. "But never... never again will I obey an order to leave you. Regardless of consequences, Kaname, that is something I am not prepared to do. For you... and for me."

Satisfied with his response, she nodded. "All right. Good. Because if you left me like that again, I, I, I'd never forgive you, for one!" It felt good to have the events of that day out in the open. Admittedly, the crying had helped too, and she was beginning to feel better, more like her usual self. Pulling away so she could meet his expression, she fixed a pointed glare on him. She wasn't angry, just feeling quite determined at that moment, "I can't go hunting you down every time you disappear! You made me go into a war zone just to drag your sorry butt back here, and I'll be damned if I did all that for nothing, you hear me!"

Blinking, a ghost of a smile tugged at his lips. "Of course I hear you, Kaname. You're speaking rather loudly."

She growled, though inwardly she was quite pleased. "Oooh, you! You're gonna get it!" she shouted, leaning up and placing her hands on his head, pushing him under the water with an evil laugh.

He smirked to himself, the mood had lightened much faster than he expected. Still, she had just started a war and he would retaliate. He reached and pressed a hand against her lower back before grabbing the top of a calf and yanking her leg away, dropping her into the water with a loud splash.

Flopping back into the water, she sputtered and dipped under, growling. Holding her hair away from her face, she surfaced and made sure it stayed back, glaring at Sousuke's general direction as she sprayed water and wiped at her eyes. "That's it!" She leapt at him, bracing her hands on his shoulders as she attempted to force him under the water, forgetting how futile an action that was with firm ground directly under foot.

He sat there, staring up at her with a lop-sided smile as she growled and pushed with all her weight. An idea came to mind, one that he was certain would surprise her. The smile turned into a grin as he kicked off the edge of the bath, slipping around behind her as she stumbled forward. With a silent prayer for his safety, he boldly lifted a hand... and spanked her bare ass cheek.

She let out a yelp as she lost her footing. Bracing herself on the edge of the tub, her head came up sharply as she felt, she felt... "D-Did you j-!" she turned and looked at him over her shoulder. She was completely dumbfounded. She knew she should be furious, but the shock at what just happened was even greater than her anger. Her eyes were wide as she stared at his wicked grin, and she just couldn't believe it. No. No, that, that most certainly did notjust happen!

"Did I just what?" He grinned, then boldly spanked her other cheek. "I thought I should refresh your memory, in case you had forgotten already," he mused.

Another yelp tore past her lips as she was struck again. It wasn't painful, just surprising, and loud, especially with the echo in the bathroom. When it finally dawned on her just what was happening, she bent her knees and slipped back under the water, turning around and glaring up at him with a blush that, if asked, she would swear was caused by the steam in the room. Protecting her, her delicate behind, by, well, keeping it behind her and well enough away from him, she scowled, "Just what do you think you're doing, anyways! Who said you could do that!"

"I needed permission? But, Kaname, you have been hitting me with various things for years." He smirked and slid forward, stopping his face just in front of hers. "It's payback."

She ducked her chin down, her eyes never leaving his, and gritted her teeth. "Difference is," she muttered, "you deserve every bit of punishment I dish out! Wh-What did I do to deserve that, huh!"

"There has never been a time when you've hit me and I've not deserved it? I recall you chasing me around your apartment with a softball bat just because I needed to confirm our flight. I wouldn't say that I deserved it." He fought to keep his expression neutral, thanking his years of stoicism that seemed to double as training for moments like these.

Glowering at him, she held his gaze defiantly for several long moments before making an indignant sound and looking away, face upturned, "Of course not! You always deserve it! In fact, you deserve it right now!"

Perking an eyebrow, he shrugged before kicking back to sit on one of the tub's lowered seats. He crossed his arms and closed his eyes. "I see. Well, if I have upset you then perhaps it would be best if I left you alone. As all I ever seem to do is upset you and make you angry." There was a mocking element behind his statement, but the last part stung when he realized that he was actually right.

"I don't think so!" she growled, pushing off the edge to cross the tub over to Sousuke's side. Kneeling, she planted her legs on either side as she straddled him precariously. "You," she muttered as her hands came to rest on either side of his face, "promised me," she leaned her face in closer, "you weren't going anywhere." Her lips pressed insistently against his, she lifted herself in the kneeling position, her neck tilted quite a bit, her hands tilting his chin up to continue the kiss, and she pressed her body against him. Parting her lips against his in a grin, she reached a hand under the water to find his, lifting it up and bringing it around, meeting his gaze as she firmly grasped the limp appendage.

And made his hand smack against her rear once more, sounding loud rather than being at all painful, the water-soaked skin and acoustic qualities of the room amplifying the noise.

He stared at her with wide eyes. Moments passed as he studied her grinning face, moments that turned his stoic mask into a small smile. "I did promise, I apologize," he murmured. Leaning forward, he pressed his lips firmly against hers, immediately parting them and searching out her tongue with his own. His hand slipped out of her hold, then pulled back and gave her a firm, open-handed spank.

She was blushing, but she didn't care. She sighed against his lips, over her shock if not her embarrassment, and leaned further into him. Her arms wrapped around him, her knees slipped and her legs spread wider, her body dipped down into the water, and her body slid against him the whole way. Her eyes fluttered open and she smiled at him with a blend of mischief and shyness, wriggling on top of him as she tried to regain her traction. "Hm, you better find some way to, to properlyshow me how sorry you are."

His hands came to rest on her hips, holding her in position. Show her how sorry I am...He blinked as he thought through possible options. With a smile he removed a hand form her hips, leaned in to kiss her while giving her a gentle squeeze on the ass. "I thought it would be best to rub the affected area while I consider an effective method of apology," he muttered between loud, smacking kisses.

"Uh-huh," she spoke dubiously, though with humor in her voice, "like you've ever needed an excuse to grab my ass before."

An eyebrow perked as he gave her ass another, firmer squeeze. "You are correct. Unless... I don't have your permission, I will stop immediately," he began moving his hand away.

Growling, she decided she'd had enough of that out of him. Pulling back, she fixed him with a pointed stare and a look promising pain if he dared not meet it. "Listen, and listen close, because I'm only going to say this once, understand?" She waited for acknowledgment, then nodded in response. "If I don't want you doing something, if something bothers me, I will say something." She cocked her head to the side and gave him an odd look for a moment, "I would think by know you'd know that I am quite, ah, expressivewhen it comes to the things I don't like. So," she straightened a bit and poked his chest as she concluded, "enough of this 'if you don't like it' crap.

"I like it. I like the things you do. I like the way you make me feel. I like the wonderfully adorable idiot you can be. I like it when you're serious. I like it when you joke. I like that you're learning to open up. I like that I'm the one here with you for it. I like us, I like this, I like everything when you're involved. I even like the way you drive me crazy, I even like when you do things that piss me off, because I like you for being you." That was far more than she had expected to say when she started, and she looked at him seriously, blinking even in confusion at her own long admission.

"Uhh...," he trailed the nervous noise off, staring at her with wide eyes, unbelieving eyes. "Kaname..." He was moved by what she said. Emotions hit him like a rifle-butt. Happiness, joy, love, confusion. What... what was he supposed to say to that?

"I don't know w-what to say..." Glancing down at the water between them, he took in a deep breath before muttering a barely heard, "Thank you."

She cupped his face in her hands and gently urged his face up to look at her again, smiling. Her expression was a bit sad, however, a bit worried, and she blinked to clear her vision before asking the question on the tip of her tongue, "Just, just tell me that it's the same for you, with me? I know I'm not the easiest person to get on with," she swallowed thickly. She pretended to confidence, but truth was, she was insecure, and had been for many, many years. It was practically an art, the way she displayed so much confidence in her life.

"O-of course it's the same!" His head shot up, eyebrows furrowed in a deep frown. "I love everything about you! Your good moods, bad moods, when you hit me or yell at me. I know it's because I've done something stupid... and I appreciate it... so much more than you can imagine." He stared into her eyes. "You've tried so hard to teach me right from wrong in society, I could never... ever thank you enough for that." His grip on her hip and ass tightened and he fell forward to press his forehead against her chest. "All our time spent together, even if I didn't realize until... until...," he paused and shook his head. "I wish I had understood the feelings I have for you... years ago."

Her fears melted away, and she closed her eyes, sighing with relief. Stroking his hair for a moment, she noticed their position, and decided that, once again, they needed a tension breaker. And with the emotional roller coaster of confessions that day had been, she was hoping for something a tad more engaging, something they wouldn't break away from, or, at least, she sure hoped that wouldn't. She tightened her grip in his hair, as she usually did during, well, just, during, and forced a grin, "Hey, you know, while your face is there...," she left the thought hanging in the air, and hoped he would sense her need for things to take a turn and stay that way. There was certainly a hint of desperation in her voice that she didn't necessarily care for, but wouldn't fight just then.

He closed his eyes and nuzzled her damp chest. "What would you like me to do?" He asked, honestly, unsure of what exactly she had meant.

Exasperated, wondering how even he could mistake what she wanted, she arched against him, pressing her chest forward with a growl. Grinding her hips down against him, she repeated the action a time or two, tugging his hair and growling out her 'order,' "Figure it out! And when you do, just shut up and do it, got it!"

Her rough movements of his head pressed his cheeks, lips and nose around the firm flesh of her breasts. "Understood, I will proceed with the mission."

He nuzzled a soaked breast, sighing as her smooth skin gave a little under his movements. Pressing a firm kiss to the top of her breast, he dragged his wet, practically salivating lips down over her nipple, pushing his tongue out to flick and soak the hardened nub; moving further downward, he pressed a wide, open-mouthed kiss against the underside, then pressed his tongue flat against her skin, licking a wide arc across the whole underside, grinning at the noise she made when his nose brushed her painfully hard nipple.

"Mm," she tilted her head back, her grip on his hair slipping, and she let out a sigh of pure contentment. Hands slipping to his shoulders, holding on for support as she leaned back to give him better access to her body, she couldn't help herself but to slide against him. "Sousuke," she whispered his name, a statement in itself, grateful to him for the way she made him feel, her nerves humming in pleasure, her gut tightening in anticipation of more to come.

A hand pulled away from her ass, immediately capturing her lonely, untouched breast. His fingers instinctively kneaded her large mound while his mouth moved to her nipple, running firm circles with his tongue around the sensitive nub. His member throbbed, sending waves of pleasure through his stomach as her lips ground against him. Frowning at the inactivity of his left hand, he ran his fingertips in small circles up and down her spine. "Feelsh sho ghuud," he mumbled, mouth full of her firm flesh. The frown quickly gave way to an expression of pure lust, setting his nerves on fire. "Sho... ghuud...," he trailed off, far too caught up in his exploration of the body he knewhe'd never get tired of.

"Yes," she agreed, "sooo good." Her hand came back to rest at the base of his skull, arching into him and pressing his face against her with a moan. "Know, ah, what would feel even better?" she ground her hips against his once more. Before he could try asking her to elaborate, whether out of a ridiculous confusion or a desire to just hear her say it, she repeated the action, "I think you should, should, ah, explore the, the possibilities." Tilting her head back, she let out a throaty laugh, "R-Report to me on the results after the, hm, mission."

He paused, breast still firmly in his mouth. Feel better? Explore the possibilities? Report the results? He was stumped. What did she mean? Feel better... make her feel better. That he was confident in. Explore the possibilities... Explore... her? Report the results... His mind finally lit up and he smiled, smiled wide. She was talking as he would... Yes. Yes, I will give her what she wants, then report on how the mission went.

Reluctantly releasing her breasts, he stood up and jumped out of the bath. Turning to her, he scowled and stood to attention. "Miss Kaname, please remove yourself from the bathtub."

She blinked at him, confused for a moment at the abrupt change, and then realized what he was doing. Grinning, she placed her hands on the edge of the tub and lifted herself out of the water, first straightening her legs, and then the rest of her, the water running down her body and dripping back into the tub. "What's this all about, Sergeant, hm?" she carefully stepped out, planting feet firmly on the bathmat as she looked up at him curiously and with a seriousness she had to force past the absolute giddiness inside.

"Make your way into the bedroom. Keep your hands where I can see them," he stated monotonously. He could feel the excitement growing out of control. Why was this fun? He had no idea, but there was no way he could deny how... how much it reallyturned him on. "Move slowly, else I will be forced to attack."

Arching a brow, she had to work to clear her throat before she could form a response. "You afraid I might do something... unexpected?" she asked tentatively, though she 'complied' with his order. Her hands came up to rest on the back of her head, slowly, and she turned her body, slowly, beginning with her top half and then her bottom, so that she could take those steps to the bedroom. Looking over her shoulder, she raised her brows at him, then her expression turned devious and she blew a kiss his way before turning to watch where she was going.

He swallowed hard, but resisted the urge to grab her where she stood. Following closely behind her, he waited until she was standing in front of the bed. Taking a deep breath, he reached up and grabbed her wrists, pressing her forward with his hips, she fell face first onto the soft bed. Bringing her arms down, he crossed her wrists at her lower back and held them in place with one hand. "You have many... dangerous weapons. I will now search you. Resistance will be futile, do not make any rash moves... or else." His adrenaline was pumping through his veins, it took all his strength to keep the 'act' going.

Kaname gasped as she was forced down, restrained, and twisted so she could look up at him, "...Or else, what?" she wriggled, though with no strength, not even considering breaking free. Although... It would be interesting to see what happen if she didresist. Oh, she loved his rough side, and with this game they were playing, she wondered how far he might go.

No. She'd let him get more into it before she tried anything. Let the game go farther. Let him get... more 'in character.' Thenshe would see what she could get out of him.

"You will stop speaking. As I said, I will now search you. Do not make any rash moves." He grinned as he dropped to his knees, immediately wrapping his hand around her ankle then slowly palming and patting her leg up to her hip. He repeated this for the other leg, smirking at the tremors that ran through her body. Standing, he leaned over her, trying to ignore the feeling of his member resting against her lips. "I am about to release your arms. Keep them by your sides, or I will resort to using force." His tone was rough and ragged; never would he have thought that... this would turn him on so much.

Shivering under his touch, she nodded, looking at him with a touch of defiance, "What do you think it is that I could, ah, be 'hiding?' Hm?"

"I am about to find out. Remember what I said, the search will be painless if you simply comply with orders," he ground out, glaring at her.

Leaning over her, he supported himself with one hand on the bed while the other slipped under her neck, firmly rubbing her soft skin. "Hmm." His hand then slipped under her chest, groping her full breasts for a good few seconds each before sliding his hand down over her midriff. A groan escaped his lips and he shook his head. "Kaname... You're carrying many dangerous weapons." His fingers slipped across her tuft of soft blue hair before pressing two against her soaking wet lips. The wild glint in his eyes gave away just how turned on he was.

She feigned innocence as best as she could, staring at him with wide eyes. "Really? I, I had no idea," she blinked and tilted her head thoughtfully, "What did you find?"

He grabbed her hip and forcefully spun her onto her back, immediately diving on top of her, his hands on either side of her face. A feral growl passed through his lips as his eyes roamed her heaving, naked body. "I found...," he didn't finish. Diving down to her neck, he buried his teeth in her supple flesh, pulling back and letting the abused skin fall back. "That..." He slipped back on the bed, dropping his face to nuzzle, lick, suck and kiss every inch of her breasts before giving her solid nipples the attention they needed. "These..."

Dropping down even further, he ran his dripping tongue along her smooth stomach. Kicking his feet from the bed to the floor, he dropped down to kneel between her legs. In an instant, his tongue was running circles around her clit, his saliva and her juices covering his jaw. Sliding his tongue down further, he ran it firmly along her smooth, thin lips before teasing her tight, burning entrance with the tip. "And this... this is... the... the...," he stopped, swimming in his desire, lust, love and excitement. Fighting to collect his emotions, he yelled in a ragged voice, "this is the most dangerous weapon of all!"

Gasping, gulping, trying to keep her mind on the game at hand, she took several moments of panting before she could get herself under control just enough. "Is that right?" oh, that wasn't the right tone of voice at all. She couldn't help it though. She was beginning to feel desperate. Taking in a deep breath and trying to steady herself some more, she cracked her eyes open and looked between them. "I'm, I'm sorry, soldier, I didn't mean to, to make you feel so uncomfortable, with, all of my...," she couldn't finish. But seeing that look in his eye, hearing his voice, she couldn't help but make her next move. Her arms came up. And she tucked her hands under her head. It was the only place she could hide her hands, she just hoped it was enough.

"Do not move!" He shouted. "Remain where you are! A closer inspection is necessary. As I cannot remove this particular weapon, I have no choice but to put it out of action." He immediately dove back to her sopping wet lips. His fingers followed suit, the index and middle slid into her welcoming embrace with ease. His tongue and lips stroked, and suckled, reveling at the sight of her hips grinding up and down.

A grin crossed his features as he continued to suck the solid nub, then dropped down to run his tongue around her outer lips. The groan of frustration he heard only made him even more determined. Working his fingers slowly in and out of her smooth, slick, tight entrance, he paused occasionally, twisting his fingers to face upwards, pulling lightly along the top of her deliciously wet pussy. A loud groan almost caused his already solid member to explode. "Silence!" he yelled with a coarse voice, then dove back to her inviting clit, smoothing it over and over with his tongue.

She bit down on her lip, trying to stop her sounds from slipping past her lips, before she had a vague, foggy memory that she was trying to push him into, into, into revealing that 'or else' he mentioned. Gritting her teeth, she tried to speak, to form words, despite the delicious feelings coursing through her body and short-circuiting her brain. "Put it out, out of action? B-But, how am I supposed to use my 'weapons' in case of an, an emergency, if they're, they're," she trailed off and dropped her arms, immediately fisting her hands in his hair and squeezing.

He reached up and pushed her wrists away. Jumping to his feet, he grabbed her hips and pushed her fully onto the bed. Fighting to keep a scowl on his face, he leapt onto the bed, dropped to his knees between her legs, threw himself forwards with such force that when his fists hit the mattress, the entire bed trembled.

Face to face, his scowling eyes bore into hers. "I warned you. No. Rash. Moves. You did not comply, and you will now be punished severely for your actions," he fought with every fiber of his being to not smirk.

"Punished?" she asked with false innocence, "but I didn't do anything wrong!" She didn't know why exactly she was protesting. Maybe she was slipping into the whole idea behind the thing, into her own 'character.' She lifted one of her legs, rubbing her knee against his side while maintaining as clueless an expression as she could manage, lifting her hips off the bed to press one of her 'weapons' against him.

He retaliated. Pressing his member against her lips, he growled as the head rested against her slick entrance. "You disobey orders, then you play dumb? No, Kaname. You did everything wrong."

He kicked his knees up, then slid his legs under hers. Reaching forward, he swung his arms behind her, crossing them over before grabbing her shoulders. In one swift, elated movement, he yanked her down onto his member. He suppressed a grunt, but couldn't... just couldn't contain the ecstatic groan that tore through his throat.

"Ahh!" she shouted, tossing her head back. 'Order' or not, she wasn't about to be silent. No, she had enough of trying to be quiet back during their time in the forest. She wanted to be loud, dammit, and she sure as hell would be! "If, if this is your idea of punishment," she groaned, "I'd loveto see you congratulating me!" She probably shouldn't have said that. She had the suspicion that he might find a way to tease her, to make up some tantalizing torture and deny her what she craved, but she couldn't help it. She needed to say it. She needed to be contrary.

She needed to see how far he'd let loose.

"Punishment? I'm simply using this situation to my advantage, to make you talk." He pulled a hand from her neck to slip between their slick crotches, running firm circles with his thumb around her deliciously wet clit. "And in return, I will re-re-report my findings," he ground out as she squeezed her already incredibly tight walls around him. His other hand pulled her shoulder, moving her back so he could have unrestricted access to her chest. No time was wasted as he dove into her firm mounds, exploring them with a feverish excitement, loving the mixture of tastes; sweat, her and the oils. His hips jerked, eliciting a loud gasp from her as he swiftly attained a firm, hard thrusting pace.

She moaned, long and loud, taking in quick breaths of air. It was hard to think, hard to remember the game they were playing at as he made her feel so good, so wonderful, so amazing. Panting, gasping, trying to speak, it was difficult to form a coherent thought long enough to respond in a breathy voice, "T-Talk? What, what kind of, ah, information are you trying," she groaned, the word trailing off. It took her several more breaths before she recovered enough to continue, "tr-trying to get out of me?" She wondered just how much longer she would be able to keep up the game, though with how fleeting that very thought had been, she assumed not much longer.

His teeth sank into the soft flesh around her nipple; groaning as her hips gyrated. After several moments of sucking, licking, biting and nibbling, he raised his head to look at her. "Y-you really don't know?" He tried to sound stern, though it did not come out so well. Forcing her down on his length, they both let out long moans and groans of pleasure. "Then I will have to continue the interrogation until you remember," he murmured into her neck.

"Hm" she placed a hand on the back of his head, her other digging fingers into his hip as she moved on top of him, head thrown back. "Y-Yeah? I can be a, ah, f-forgetfulll, ah, person," she was sure to have a sore throat later, with all the noises tearing their way through, "it might t-take awhile to, to, to remind me-!"

"It's not a problem," he growled, then pushed her off of him and back onto the bed. Rising to his knees, he grabbed her hips and spun her onto her stomach, pulling her hips to the edge of the bed. A grin curled his lips as he reached for her arms again, pulling them to sit on her lower back and held them in place with one hand, while he slipped off the bed to his feet, immediately guiding himself to her lips and roughly smacking his hips against her firm ass. "M-More drastic measures must be taken, th-then," he grunted through clenched teeth, face contorted in a painful expression of utter bliss. Her moans, her body, the way she gripped him as he slid in and out of her slick pussy. He was beginning to worry that hewouldn't last the interrogation.

She buried her face into the bed, shaking her head, moaning, gasping, fingers flexing uselessly behind her as she yearned to dig them into something, anything. She cracked open an eye, her vision blurred, obstructed by her hair, her lips parted as she tried uselessly to form a response. Pressing them together, she swallowed, eyes squeezing shut again, and she wriggled in his grip. "Sousukeee," his name slipped past her lips, voice low and rough, "S-Sousuke, please," she didn't know what she was asking for, but then, she hardly ever did. She just knew that whatever it was, he always seemed to figure it out and give it to her.

The curve of her back teased and taunted him. Leaning over her, he ran his tongue along the length of her spine before nipping and licking at the back of her neck. His free hand immediately slipped under her stomach, running his palm over her firm skin before reaching tufts of blue hair. Stroking, lightly scratching, he continued until a pathetic whimper escaped her. Giving in, he slipped his fingers between her legs and firmly pressed her clit, reveling in the feel of it pressing between his digits. "I-Is this, is this what y-you want, Kaname?" He ran his tongue along the base of her slim neck, constantly and relentlessly slamming his member into her heated depths.

It was becoming too much. The act was losing its attraction and all he wanted was her, as always. The pleasure, her whimpers of satisfaction, the way she said his name in such a voice...

"Y-Yeesss," she whimpered as his fingers found that spot, pressing deliciously against it, causing her to shudder in pure pleasure. A myriad of sounds slipped past her lips, all wanton, all excited, all, in their own way, thanking him for what he was doing, encouraging, and she had no control over a single one of them. The frenzied rhythm, the, the thingshe was doing, all of it, it felt incredible, and she came with a shout, her body shivering in ecstasy, her mind a total blank, aware only of the intense sensations flooding through her in a seeming never-ending set of waves.

The incredible quakes rolling through her body, the way her walls seemed to crush his member, he noises... it was too much for him. With a loud, raw grunt he fell against her and shuddered as his own orgasm ripped through his body.

Several moments passed before he realized Kaname was having trouble breathing. Bringing his fists up to either side of her shoulders, he lifted his weight from her, but refused to move before delving into her neck and gently nuzzling her skin. "I... seem to have forgotten what... I needed to know...," he muttered, too engrossed in the feel of skin.

She blinked somewhat sleepily, confused, her mind fuzzy and thoughts fleeting. As she worked to catch her breath, her body giving into small shudders, every nerve still humming pleasantly, she finally worked out his words. Pressing the side of her face into the bed, she sighed happily before responding. "Hm, I don't remember either." Feeling mischievous, she turned to look over her shoulder at him, grinning, "Maybe you need to conduct another interrogation?"

Blinking as he turned sleepy eyes on her, he muttered, "Perhaps... after dinner." Though he said that, he refused to move; far too comfortable and relaxed, despite his length still buried inside her, he continued to nuzzle her neck. "I apologize if I was too rough," he murmured into her skin.

"Too rough?" she grunted and stretched in place, arching slightly, feeling her muscles pull and then relax was a gratifying sensation. She shook her head slightly and smiled, "Hm, I don't think so. I don't break so easily. I'm sure I could, could endure quite a bit more than that," she murmured, teasing him mercilessly, "no need to keep the kid gloves on with me."

A frown worked his features as he lifted his head, tilting slightly as he stared at her. "You would like me to be rougher?" He wasn't so sure that was a good idea... when his instincts took hold, it was hard to keep himself in control. Especially where Kaname's involved. Trying to fight his protective instincts to be... less protective? He shook his head. What if he hurt her, would she hate him? He'd hate himself...

Diverting from her gaze, he stared at the plain white bed sheets. No. I will not hurt her. What was this fear he felt? Why was it almost... exciting? She never seemed to worry about hurting him, and at times in the past it had excited him more than he thought possible. But the other way around was a different matter altogether. He had been trained to learn how to inflict pain in the most efficient ways possible. There would need to be self-control, while also bending to her will...

His head began to throb, as usual, and he wondered if doing what they had just done was such a good idea.

She felt the faintest of blushes rising in her cheeks and gave a small shrug, diverting her own gaze. "I, I don't see why not," she mumbled shyly, wondering why she was suddenly so embarrassed by the thought. It didn't make much sense to her that she could be shy about what they did together at all. Fingers idly plucking at the sheets, she chewed thoughtfully on her lip before turning to look at him again. Frowning at his expression, she cocked her head to the side, "You don't want to, to try?"

Her voice snapped him out of his reverie. Gazing over at her and seeing the expression on her face, he let out a quiet sigh before shaking his head. "It's not that I don't want to try. If you... really want to, then yes, I will try," he paused, eyes darting around the room, trying to collect his thoughts and form a decent reply. "But, Kaname, I... I'm a soldier, being rough could be potentially dangerous and the last thing I would ever wish to do, is hurt you." He met her gaze once more, expression softening as he gazed into her eyes. "I don't want to hurt you," he repeated, almost silently.

A small smile pulled at her lips, and she shook her head slightly, "Sousuke... I trust you. You wouldn't hurt me. And besides that, you know, you know I don't put up with anything. If you didstart to hurt me, I'd be sure to let you know," she laughed lightly, "probably with an elbow to the face. Can't really mistake that." Twisting, she reached out an arm to him, resting her hand on the back of his head, fingers playing with the hair they buried into. "I'm not worried about you hurting me. Maybe I should be, but, well, I've never been worried about that, not since I learned who and what you really are."

His eyes fell closed; a wave of warmth flowing through his body. Learned who and what I really am. Words had never had such an effect on him, for some reason even when Kaname had told him she loved him... it was the only feeling he could compare it to. She had accepted him for what he is, not what he 'should' be.

Gently pulling out of her, he slid over beside her on the bed and wrapped an arm around her shoulder, pulling her into him for a tight hug. Burying his face in her hair, he fought to keep his breath under control, not to mention the strange and unwelcome tears stinging his eyes. "Th-Thank you...," he whispered weakly into her soft tresses.

She blinked, confused by his actions. She had only spoken her mind, only said the truth. Having no idea what was running through his mind, she couldn't even pull back to get a look at his face with the tight embrace he had wrapped her up in. Frowning, she wrapped her arms around him, rubbing his back, playing with his hair, "For what?"

"F... For accepting me for what I am, and being so helpful in showing me right from wrong," he sighed into her soft mane. "I could never thank you enough... and...," he began to sweat; speaking his mind was never an easy task. Considering the amount of times he had done it, though, he wasn't surprised. Another sigh shook his body. "Thank you for loving me," he rushed out, voice barely above a whisper.

Kaname made a soft noise and shifted in his hold, tightening her own grip on him. "We're a total mess, you know that? You and I," she sighed and shook her head, laughing at their situation. "Somehow, we're completely different, and yet," pausing, she kissed his chest and rubbed her face against him, "hm, it's hard to say. I just know that, since the day I met you, I had a hard time imagining life without you. Kyouko teased me all the time because even though I was ranting, I was always talking about you, she said that since you transferred there, I always looked like I was having fun." She didn't exactly know where this was coming from, why she was saying it, but it seemed appropriate, somehow. "I can't explain it. You've driven me crazy from the beginning. In so many ways."

"Kaname?" He lifted his head, a confused frown covering his features, though his eyes looked so... tired. "I... thought you hated me. That I was a thorn in your side. Even after you realized why I was actually there, I felt as though you detested me. I... liked you for a long time and... I..." He sighed, talking about his feelings was taking its toll on him. "When I had to leave, I thought I would never see you again. Then... Gauron... then you coming and... then traveling to Tokyo. There were many times where I thought you hated me, detested me, never wanted to see me again. But I... I'm happy that things are the way they are. Despite it taking me years to finally be able to admit my... feelings. That you... that you felt the same. I... just...," he stopped. These emotions were too much, too raw and coming out too fast. Tears threatened to fall and he couldn't fight them anymore. His chest shuddered, arms tightening their hold on her, he slammed his eyes shut, terrified of her seeing him in such a weak and pathetic state.

"That's-," she started and stopped, pursing her lips together, trying to think of how to answer. "Sousuke, I, I never hated you. I wanted to hate you, but I couldn't. Things would have been so much easier if I could have. Or, at least, that's what I thought back then." Sighing, she bumped her forehead against his chest. "What I hated was that I had no control over my emotions. I-I was still so, so lost and, and angry back then, from losing my mom, and I didn't want to, to needsomeone like that again. I felt like I couldn't trust those emotions, because, because I was terrified that you would disappear. I mean, that's why I was always in so many clubs, taking on so many responsibilities in school, it was because when I was working, I wasn't thinking. I was, I really was so lonely back then. And then you showed up and, somehow, I didn't feel so alone anymore. But I was horrified. I didn't want to rely on you. So I tried to push you away, because I was managing before you showed up, and I didn't want to risk letting you even closer just to have you leave me," she rushed out the words. If she thought about them too long, they wouldn't come out, so she just blurted out her explanation, no matter how painful it was to recall. "I'm sorry," she whispered, "I was stupid."

He was afraid to say anything, afraid that she would notice his pathetic weakness. Shaking his head against her hair, he dug his fingers into her shoulders before muttering a quiet, "Not stupid."

She squeezed him tight in return, sighing softly. She didn't agree, she thought she had been very stupid back then, but she wasn't about to argue it just then. She slipped her hands from his back to rest on his arms and shifted, trying to get a look at his face and frowning when he continued to hold onto her too tightly for her to do so, "Sousuke?"

Grinding his teeth together, his eyes squeezed tightly shut, he breathed out a quiet, "What?" She was trying to look at him, something he didn't want. He wasn't weak. He didn't want her to see him. The fact that he was... crying in the first place made him feel so helpless, so pathetic. He couldn't remember the last time he'd cried, if he had ever cried. All he knew was that these feelin

s of sadness were as overwhelming as the feelings of happiness he had around Kaname.

"Sousuke, what's wrong?" she was beginning to really worry, and she tried to push back again. "Why won't you let me move?"

Her voice stung him. Immediately he released his grip and ducked his head, pressing his hands into the bed sheets and fisted the sheets until his knuckles turned white. "S-Sorry," he mumbled.

Pulling back, she tucked her legs under her and reached out to him. Placing soft hands on either side of his face, she gently urged him to look up. "Sousuke, look at me," her voice was low, but firm, an order, not a request.

Gritting his teeth, his eyes began to sting. Fighting the urge to up and run, he shook for several agonizing moments then lifted his head to meet her gaze through half-lidded eyes.

She stared into his eyes for several long moments, thumbs stroking his cheekbones. "Sousuke," she bent down to kiss his forehead, lingering, just sitting there with her lips pressed to his skin, before pulling back just enough to duck her head to press against his. "Sousuke, why wouldn't you look at me?"

He frowned and glanced down at the bed. Wasn't it obvious? He could still feel the tears on his cheeks, the humiliation, the weakness... "Because I couldn't," he answered bluntly.

"Why not?"

His glance moved to the window, eyeing the sunset. "I... I'm not weak," he blurted out, slamming his eyes shut and shaking his head. "I... don't want you to see me like, like this."

Tilting her head to the side, she frowned and urged him to look at her again, tugging gently to turn his head. "Why not?" she asked again. "What are you afraid of?"

"Afraid?" He blinked, another smaller tear rolling down his cheek which he quickly brushed away. "I am not afraid. I am strong, I am a soldier, I have lived a life that most people wouldn't think possible. I think back through my past and, nothing... I feel nothing. But I think about you, and, and things you went through, things I couldn't stop, how I was nothing but an irritation... I...," he paused, slamming his fist into the bed. "I don't know," he stated monotonously.

She scowled at him, dropping her hands to his shoulders and pushing him into an upright position. "So, what then? It's 'weak' to cry? It's 'weak' to, to just open up and say why it is that you're crying! You have to be the big-bad soldier, all the time, even with me? Well, hell, Sousuke, I guess you must think I'm one majorly pathetic person with the way I've been going off all day, trying to open up to you and get you to understand where I'm coming from! Never mind that it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do! Putting that, that trust in you, it isn't easy, you know! I don't think it's being weak at all, weak was me pushing you away because I was afraid! But I'm over that now, and dammit, you better be, too! You don't need to hide anything of who you are with me, so stop that foolishness, right now, you hear me! I'm not going to have any of this!"

Growling, she slammed her hands down on the bed, fiercely glaring at him, "You areweak, Sousuke! Didn't I tell you that already, years ago? You're weak, but you keep it together and get stuff done anyways, and that takes a completely different kind of strength! But you don't need to force it around me! If you can't be weak in front of me, then, then what are you going to do? Bottle it all up inside? Let me tell you, from experience, that doesn't work!" Her shoulders and chest heaved as she caught her breath after her rant, glaring defiantly at him.

He gaped at her, eyes wide for several long moments. "I... uh... that...," he stopped and shook his head, the smallest of smiles forming on his lips. "Thank you," he murmured. "You are right... as usual." Part of him wanted to reach out and pull her into him, but the other part suggested doing that right now would earn him a well placed punch.

"Damn straight, I am! What the hell was that nonsense about, anyways! That kind of self-deprecating talk, ah, it pisses me off!" Shaking her head fiercely, she glared at him, crossing her arms over her chest. At that moment, it struck her just how uncomfortable she was, and why, and she reached out to tangle a fist in his hair. She tugged him into a brief, bruising kiss, then turned and slipped off the bed, still tugging him. "Now! We soaked in the tub, but we never got clean! My hair feels disgusting, and yours isn't much better, so YOU are going to shut the hell up, and WE are going to get clean, got me?"

He just nodded, terrified that replying to her would earn him a broken nose.