The morning sun was just beginning to light the room. Lying beside him Tsukiumi was wide awake staring at Minato's sleeping face. He looked so peaceful. One finger gently brushed his lips. His kisses. Every time he kissed her, every single time, her body would fill with energy and heat and her heart would race. That was when the connection between them was the strongest, when she could sense his heart. In those moments her whole being just seemed to melt into him.

Homura had been right, this connection, this bond they shared now. It was like nothing else, she really did feel like a part of him. He filled an empty place inside her she had never even known had been there. Just being with him made her happy.

Her hand slowly caressed his face. I love you so much Minato. The thought of ever losing you scares me more than death. She had always wanted to be the strongest. Originally it had been because of her pride and her desire to prove a sekirei did not need an ashikabi to be strong. Now though she aimed to be the strongest to make sure they were never separated. She wanted to stay by Minato's side forever.

As she watched his eyes slowly opened.

"Ah, good morning," he said.

"Good morning."

Hesitantly he leaned over and placed a soft kiss on her lips.

And as always her body was filled with that wondrous heat and energy, her heart thrummed. Minato, I will always love you and protect you.

XXXXXXXXXX

Following a delicious breakfast they headed down to the hotel lobby. Tsukiumi was back to her usual charming personality. "Minato, go back to that pig sty you call home and pack your things. Since we cannot stay permanently in a hotel I will find us somewhere to live. Here," she handed him a thick wad of cash. "Use this to pay for a cab and anything else you may need."

Minato's eyes bulged as he saw the bills were all 10,000 yen notes. She was just casually giving him more money than he had ever seen in one amount before. "Tsukiumi-san where did this come from?"

Tsukiumi frowned. "The front desk was nice enough to provide a cash advance against my V.I.P. card. Is it not enough? They tell me they can advance me up to two million yen, I only took out half that."

He gawked at her and then at the money he was holding. "Are you saying you just gave me a million yen?!"

"Is that a lot?" She asked. "You seem rather excited about it."

"Well of course it's a lot! Don't you know how much a million yen is worth?"

"Not really," she said dismissively. "Up until now I have just been living at hotels and paying for everything with my card. I don't bother to ask about prices. But since I am now a married woman I want to settle down with my husband in a proper house."

Taking a deep sigh he held the money back out to her. "I can't accept this."

She gave him an annoyed look. "Are you going to tell me about how you can't ask others for help again?"

"Well…"

She reached out and carefully wrapped his fingers around the money. "A wife's proper duty is to take care of her husband! As both my husband and as my ashikabi I will always take care of you Minato! You do not need to feel embarrassed by accepting my help!" Apparently convinced the discussion was settled she turned and began striding out of the hotel lobby. "Have everything packed and ready to move by 5, I will have a new home ready for us by then."

"It's hard to find good places in Tokyo, you might need more than one day." He called after her.

Looking back over her shoulder she flashed him a smile. "Have faith in me Minato! I will definitely have a place for us ready by five o'clock!"

XXXXXXXXXX

Packing up and cleaning really didn't take that long as he didn't have that much stuff. He had decided to skip cram school and call into work. He didn't know what sort of new place Tsukiumi could possibly find for them so quickly.

At a quarter to five a moving van pulled up to his apartment complex and there was a knock on his door.

"Is everything packed Minato?"

"Uh, yeah, did you really find us a place?"

"Of course! Did you have a doubt that I would?"

"Ah, well, no."

She slipped an arm around his back and pulled him close to her. "The moving company can bring your things. I want to show you our new home myself." Without any sort of warning she leaped into the air.

"Yaaaaaah!" Minato screamed in terror.

"What's wrong?"

"What's wrong?! We're flying through the air!"

"This is how sekirei normally travel when we are in a hurry. You need to get used to it."

"We went by limo yesterday!"

"I thought that would be more convenient since we weren't in a hurry. But this way is much faster." She thought nothing of jumping over streets hundreds of feet below as she leapt from roof top to roof top.

She took them into the northern part of the city and into a historic district where the buildings were all older and sparser. She eventually leapt over an eight foot wall and into a wide yard with trees, bushes, and a pond with some ducks floating on it.

"Here we are," Tsukiumi announced. "Our new home."

Minato stared.

Over the pond was an old wooden bridge that led to a walkway that led to some steps that led to a two story building made of grey stone with wide curving roofs made of red tiles. Judging just by the number of windows he had to guess there were at least fifty rooms.

"You… you actually bought a palace?"

Tsukiumi frowned. "No, this is only a castle. Did you want a palace?"

"How much did this cost you?"

"Four hundred million yen," she replied.

He just stared at her unable to form any words.

"Is that a lot?"

It was just too much and he passed out there and then.

XXXXXXXXXX

When he came to he was lying on a large sofa in a room with oak paneling and very old looking furnishings. Tsukiumi was sitting at his side.

"Are you all right Minato?"

"Heh, fine, sorry about that. I guess I was just a little but shocked that you would spend that kind of money on a place for just the two of us."

She shrugged. "Money doesn't matter to me."

Obviously, Minato thought.

"I saw this place was available for sale and I liked it. In any case as both my husband and as my ashikabi you should get used to living a better lifestyle. Living here will be a part of that."

"Oh, that reminds me," he sat up. "Tsukiumi there's something I want to ask you about."

"What is it?"

"Well, I know that I'm your ashikabi, but what exactly is an ashikabi? I mean what am I supposed to do?"

"Hmmm, I'm afraid I can't really explain what an ashikabi is. My adjuster at M.B.I. was a bit scatterbrained and never really explained much."

"Wait, what's an adjuster?"

"As each sekirei matured and came of age we received genetic adjustments to enhance our abilities and prepare us for the Sekirei Plan."

Minato shook his head. "Came of age, genetic adjustments, I don't understand."

Holding out her open hand she created a ball of water. "I am sekirei number 9, also known as the water sekirei. I have the ability to draw water and shape it to my will. There are a total of 108 different sekirei, each with their own abilities. We were discovered on an alien ship that crash landed on an uncharted island. The ship was discovered by Manaka and so we became property of the M.B.I. and have spent our lives being prepared for the Sekirei Plan."

"Wait! You're saying you're an alien?"

She nodded. "That's right. My DNA is similar to a human's but there are several key differences. For one I am far stronger and physically sturdier than a human. Also I, and all other sekirei, was born with the potential for extraordinary abilities no human would ever have."

"So… so you really aren't human?"

She flinched a bit nervously. Reaching out she took his hand and placed it against her ample chest. "Can you feel my heart beating?"

He swallowed. "Ye… yeah."

"There are differences, but in all the ways that matter I am a woman like any other. My genetic code is 99% identical to a human's. I may not be exactly the same but I can feel everything you can Minato-kun. I can feel fear and loneliness and anger and sadness and… and I can most definitely feel love. Is… is that not enough? Do you… not want me?" She spoke in a small voice so different from her normal tone.

Hearing the fear in her voice Minato placed his other hand on her cheek. "I will always want you Tsukiumi-san; after all, you are my wife right?"

She nodded. "Yes I am."

He leaned in. "I love you." He kissed her.

She fervently kissed him back. "I love you!"

He pulled her onto the sofa and began peeling off her clothes. As they made love Minato forgot about the other questions he'd meant to ask. Tsukiumi lost her fears and rejoiced in her husband's loving embrace.

XXXXXXXXXX

"Why are you still going to that cram school? And why are you still working?" Tsukiumi demanded.

"Well, even though I'm married I still want to go to university and try and do something with my life."

"If you want to go to that university I'll simply pay for it," Tsukiumi said.

"It doesn't work that way Tsukiumi," he told her. "You have to earn your place by passing an entrance exam. That's one of the things that make it so worthwhile."

"Well then why are you bothering to work? You don't need to earn money; I will give you as much as you want."

He had already agreed to accept money from her. Trying to argue with her about it was a losing proposition. (It had allowed him the singular joy of calling up his mom and telling her he no longer needed an allowance. That had been fun.) "I think that even though you're supporting me that it's important that I at least try and provide for myself."

"Is this about that, 'being a man' nonsense?" She asked dryly.

"Pretty much," he admitted.

XXXXXXXXXX

Minato began settling into his new lifestyle. Really it felt like two completely different lives. In one he was the same poor desperate soul he had been before. He still spent most of his time either studying, working manual labor, or rushing to get from one to the other. He wore the same clothes as before, ate the same food, and acted as he always had. He knew better than to mention the fact he was now living in a castle or that he was now married to a gorgeous hot tempered woman who had enough wealth to buy a castle on a whim.

Then there was his life living in said castle with a super powered woman who just happened to be an alien. Just living with Tsukiumi was a challenge sometimes regardless of her abilities or DNA. She could get angry over the smallest issues, and then act shy and demure as she asked him to take a bath or come to bed. Despite the loud shouts and occasional threats he was happy living the married life with her. Though there hadn't been any ceremony he did see her as his wife, and being with her was wonderful… if not always peaceful.

XXXXXXXXXX

About a week after moving Minato was arriving home when he was ambushed.

"Niisan!" A you girl shouted as she leapt onto him and hugged him.

"Yukari! What are you doing here?"

The young girl grinned at him mischievously. "What? Can't a sister some see her brother in the big city?"

"Is that really why you're here?" He asked suspiciously.

"Well, I'm also here to fill out some paperwork before attending college," she said with a triumphant laugh.

"Wait, you're coming here to Tokyo to attend college?"

"I sure am."

"Which university?"

"Tokyo University of course!"

Minato felt arrows pierce his body. It would have to be the same school he was shooting for, the one with the highest standards in the country. "So… you passed the entrance exam on the first try?"

"I sure did! So I won't be a two time failure like my worthless oniichan!"

He felt more arrows pierce him.

Laughing she grabbed a hold of his arm. "Heh, I'm just kidding oniichan! You need to lighten up. Now I want to see where you're living now. I got your new address from your old landlord. Oh and mom says you don't need an allowance anymore. How'd you manage that?"

"Ah, well, ah, you see…"

"Whoa!" Yukari cried as soon as they passed the gate and got a look at the building and its grounds. "You live here?!" She stared at her brother with utter incomprehension. "How on earth can you afford to rent a room here?"

I'm not renting a room, my wife owns the place. "Well you see…"

"Come on! Show me around!" Still clutching his arm she dragged him towards the building.

Climbing the steps she threw open door and stared at the vast hallway. "This place is amazing!" The girl squealed.

"Minato? Is that you?" from out of a kitchen doorway Tsukiumi entered the hall and froze as she caught sight of Yukari holding onto her husband's arm.

Yukari meanwhile froze upon seeing this extraordinarily beautiful woman in an outfit that was showing off most of her legs and cleavage.

"Who is she?!" Both women said at once pointing to each other.

"Minato!" Tsukiumi yelled furiously. "How dare you bring another woman into our home! What is the meaning of this?"

"Wait! It's not like that!" He explained quickly and disentangled his arm. "This is my little sister Yukari! She'll be attending college next year and came here to visit me."

At the explanation Tsukiumi calmed and took a second look at the girl. "You are Minato's sister?"

"Unfortunately," she replied with a grin. "Who are you?"

Tsukiumi swiftly came to Minato's side and firmly took his arm in hers. "My name is Tsukiumi, I am Minato's wife. I am very pleased to meet you Yukari. Please feel free to refer to me as Tsukiumi or as oneessan."

Yukari gasped trying to draw air. "YOU'RE MARRIED?!!"

"Yukari please calm down, I can explain."

"When did this happen?!"

"We were married last week," Tsukiumi said. "He had proposed to me and I accepted."

She could feel her head spinning. "I feel dizzy."

The two of them got Yukari to a chair and then Tsukiumi got all of them some tea. As Yukari drank here eyes darted from her brother to her… sister in law? They were sitting together holding hands. Her brother looked very nervous while the woman seemed to be taking this all in stride.

"How long have you two been dating?" Yukari asked.

"We never actually went on any dates," Tsukiumi told her. "We met about two weeks ago and he proposed. A week later I decided to accept and we were married."

"Huh, well I can kind of understand why he might do something like that meeting a woman like you, proposing out of the blue."

"Thanks sis."

"Just being honest niisan. But why on earth would you accept? I mean why would you want to marry my worthless oniichan?"

"Your brother is definitely not worthless! I admit he has his share of faults."

Thanks dear, rub the salt in.

"But he is an absolutely wonderful man! His kisses thrill my heart, for me there is no one else but your brother. I love him with my entire being and he loves me. There is no one else I would ever want to be with."

Yukari could see the adoring look in Tsukiumi's eyes as she looked at her niisan. Wow, who would have ever thought it? I guess niichan actually has some type of charm. It must have developed after he moved away. "So does mom know?"

"No, and I'd rather wait until I can explain things to her." Minato said. Knowing his mother she would do a background check on Tsukiumi. He dreaded what she might find. For her own safety he couldn't risk having either her or Yukari learn about sekirei or the Sekirei Plan.

Yukari glanced around the room with its antique furnishings. "So I'm guessing this is your place and you invited niichan to come live with you?"

"Actually I only bought this place after we became married," Tsukiumi replied.

"So does that mean you're rich?"

Tsukiumi shrugged. "If you consider someone with a V.I.P. card with an unlimited balance rich, then I suppose I am."

"Unlimited?!" Yukari's eyes expanded and began to glitter. Visions of shopping trips and bags filled with Prada and Versace filled her head.

"Yukari, that doesn't mean you should try and take advantage of her," Minato said.

"It is all right," Tsukiumi said. "As her new older sister I will also watch out for her well being."

"Really?" Yukari said excitedly. "Does that mean we can go shopping together some time?"

Tsukiumi nodded. "Certainly."

"Don't you think you should be spending more time worrying about your studies and less thinking about shopping?"

Yukari pouted. "You're no fun oniichan." She glanced about the room again and let out a melodramatic sigh. "I sure wish I could live here instead of a cramped little dorm room."

"There's no way…"

"You would be more than welcome to come and stay with us." Tsukiumi announced.

"Really! That's so wonderful!"

"Tsukiumi, what are you saying!" Minato said horrified. He loved his sister dearly. That didn't mean he wanted to see her every single day.

"She is you sister Minato, and so she will be mine as well. And with all the space we have there is no reason she should not stay here." She gave him a confident smile. "Don't worry I'll give her a room well away from ours so she won't hear our lovemaking."

Yukari cringed at that. I so do not want to think about that! "Oh by the way, why don't you have rings?"

"What?" Tsukiumi asked.

Yukari pointed to her left hand. "Normally when a couple marries they wear gold bans on the ring finger of the left hand. You know, to let people know their taken and off the market."

Tsukiumi suddenly turned to her husband angrily. "Minato! Why didn't you ever mention this?"

"Huh? I assumed you knew and didn't care, I mean you're not very big on ceremony."

"If this is something a wife and husband should have then I definitely want it! Especially if it lets the world know you belong to me!"

Yukari eagerly jumped to her feet. "It's not a big deal. We could go to a jeweler right now and get them."

Tsukiumi nodded decisively. "Then that's what we'll do!" She grabbed him and hauled him up to his feet. "Let's go Minato!"

This was the first, but far from the last, time Yukari would make her older brother's life more difficult.