(Rune Soldier)

(This scene happens at the end of the episode with the wine-carrying foot race between Genie and Louie in Volume 5. I don't know about you but it seemed to me that there was a lot of "tension" between the two pretty often. Just one possibility of many.)

To anyone else, it was clear that the race was over, and neither of them was the winner. But for Genie and Louie, the battle wasn't lost until one of them looked away first. And so they stood there in the fading light, at the edge of the woods, overlooking the town in the distance, glaring at each other. Louie hadn't blinked in so long, his eyes were tearing ... but he refused to give in. It was getting kind of cold too, he thought, repressing a shiver. She didn't seem to be bothered by it a bit, he thought sourly, and that was enough to renew his determination.

"You might as well just give up." He taunted.

She snorted. "Ha! You're the one with tears streaming down your face."

He gritted his teeth and crossed his arms over his chest. Why the hell couldn't she just concede for once? Why did she always have to act so tough? Even in battles she was always rushing into the fray head first, thinking she had to protect everyone. He'd only ever seen her cave in one time, and even then she'd beat the snot out of him because he'd ignored her wishes and stayed behind to help fight. And sometimes, just sometimes, he'd catch the smallest glimpse of longing in her eyes for... something. It almost made him want to... He mentally frowned. Best not to go there.

A sigh brought him back to the present and he was shocked to see that Genie had turned and walked until she slumped tiredly against a tree and closed her eyes. She, ... she had ... given in? She wasn't supposed to do that! It threw everything off! It was a trick! She was up to something. Well he was on to her.

"I know you're up to something Genie! Nice trick but it won't work." He said, jabbing a finger at her. He strolled confidently over to the bottle of wine lying on the ground. Keeping her in view out of the corner of his eye, he bent swiftly to grab the bottle before walking to a tree opposite of hers to sit down. Popping the top, he took a swig and did his best not to spit it all out. Bleh! The wine was awful. But at least it would help keep him warm. He was too tired at this point to walk back to town and the sun would be completely down soon.

He almost missed it. At first he thought maybe it was the wine, but no, there it was again. Genie shivered. Twice! At last, proof that Genie was human. He wanted to savor this moment, but as she shivered again, he frowned. Stubborn woman. She'd be freezing by the end of the night. Especially in that get-up she wore. There was barely anything covering her. He blushed and had to force his eyes away. But it wasnt long before the puzzle of Genie brought his eyes back to the woman in question. She shivered again.

He sighed gustily and said gruffly, "Here. Drink some of this. You're making me cold just looking at you." Walking over, he plopped down next to her and help out the bottle.

One eye cracked open and glanced over at him. She eyed the bottle for a moment before nodding. She took a big sip and grimaced.

"Yeah, it's pretty bad, but at least it'll warm us up a bit." He said cheerfully.

She took another sip before handing the bottle back. "Thanks." she said quietly.

"Okay, that's it. What's wrong with you Genie? Are you sick?" Louie demanded. "You must be sick." He said and reached out a hand to feel her forehead.

"Ha, ha. Quit it will ya?" Genie said tiredly, but she didn't try to kill him. "I'm not sick you big oaf, I'm tired. T-I-R-E-D."

Louie was confused. He'd seen her tired before and she'd never acted like this. Maybe... it was a girl thing? Whatever it was, clearly Louie was less than qualified to deal with it. Dammit, why wasn't Merrill or Melissa around? He shifted uncomfortably. What the hell should he do? He didn't know how to deal with this Genie. Strong, tough, macho, die-pond-scum Genie he could handle ... but this ... made him all too aware that she was a woman.

"Genie --" He started, but was cut off.

With her eyes still closed she asked, "Why did you do it Louie?"

"Huh?" He blinked. "Why did I what? Give you wine? You were cold."

"No, why did you come back that night when I told you to take the other girls to safety? I want the truth."

"Err ... I told you that night why." Man he was so confused.

"You knew I was the better fighter, it was my job -- "

"Don't you dare go there again Genie!" He said, getting angry. "Who made it your job to go on a suicide mission? None of us did. Couldn't you just once admit that you could... no, should have asked for help? I wasn't about to sit back and watch you die!"

"It was my JOB!" She shouted, sit up straight, glaring at him with fists clenched.

"No it WASN'T! We don't all just work together Genie, we're friends! Dammit Genie, I don't understand you! Would you let Melissa do something like what you pulled if the situation had been reversed? Huh? Or Merrill? Or me?"

"It's not the same!" She said, but there was just a trace of doubt in her voice.

"Yes it is." Louie leaned back and cocked his head thoughtfully. "This isn't about what happened in Ohfun, this is something else. What is it Genie?"

"You're reading too much into this." She said shortly, and was unsuccessful in suppressing another shiver.

"No... no I don't think I am." He said slowly.

"Damit Louie... don't try being insightful now! Just be your normal idiotic self!"

"Hey! I resent that! Man Genie, I knew you could be a hard ass, but geez. What is with you today?"

"Nothing! Just forget I said anything." She said angrily. Standing up, she began gathering dry twigs.

Sighing, Louie stood to help. Neither said anything else as the small fire finally came to life. It wasn't until Genie had started piling dry leaves for a bed that he stopped.

"Everyone is scared of something Genie," he said quietly. "It's okay to be afraid, doing in spite of it is what makes us strong." He turned to his makeshift bed, not expecting a response.

"I can't loose anyone else." she said so softly that he almost didn't catch it.


"I won't loose anyone else that I care for." she whispered, swallowing hard to push back the rush of emotion that had settled in her throat.

Louie silently stood up and walked around to the other side of the fire, settling next to her side before tentatively wrapping an arm around her shoulders. He tensed, waiting for the ensuing elbow to the face or fist in the gut, but when nothing happened he relaxed and continued.

"We've all lost someone we care for Genie ... how do you think I... we'd feel, Merrill and Melissa, if something happened to you and we did nothing to stop it?"

She shifted uncomfortably and was quiet. It was clear that Genie had reached her limit of self-discovery and deep conversations, but Louie thought that maybe she was finally understanding what he was trying to say. He shivered as a cold wind blew through the trees.

"This little fire isn't going to do much to keep up from freezing to death." He pouted as he added the last of the twigs they'd managed to scrounge.

Genie snorted. "Big baby." But Louie saw her gritting her teeth as another bone chilling wind taunted the two wayward campers. Louie smirked. He tried to hide it but if the daggers Genie was glaring at him were any indication, he'd done a poor job. It was going to be a long night he thought as he burrowed the best he could into his pile of leaves.

2 hours later...

Clack, clack, clack...clack, clack, clack.

"Would you st..st. stop already?!?! Yo.. you're driving me cr.. crazy!" Genie gritted

"Like, clack, clack, you're one to, clack, talk! Don't think I don't ...ahcho ... hear those leaves shaking over there!"

She muttered, shifting.

Clack, clack, clack

"We're go..gonna die!" Louie mourned. "They'll find our fr..fro... frozen bodies in the morning."

Clack, clack, clack

Louie had his eyes closed as he did the best he could to stop the bone deep shakes and chattering teeth. Absently he heard the rustling of leaves on the other side of the long dead fire but thought nothing of it, too miserable to care.

"Move over."

Louie's eyes shot open. He stared in shock at the woman who stood over him with an armful of leaves.

Genie made an impatient sound. "I don't have all night. Move over!"

"Genie? What the hell are you doing?"

She shifted and muttered again. "What does it look like? If we don't get warm, we're both going to freeze death." There was a long pause. "We need to share body heat."

"You want us to sleep together!?!?" He gasped, his eyes bugging out.

"Get your mind out of the gutter! Now move!"

Louie moved. He held his breath as she laid down next to him, using her pile of leaves to spread over them both.

"Turn over."

"What?" He asked, dumbfounded.

"Face the other way." She chattered as another fierce wind blew through.

He turned on his side, facing away from her and waited. It seemed forever before he felt her scoot until her front was pressed against him. Oh man, he thought. There was no way he was going to sleep now.


Warm. Louie sighed happily. He was having such a good dream. He was floating on some cloud, he head buried in a nice, soft ... his eyes shot open. Nope... no cloud, he decided. It was something much better. Some time in the night, he had actually fallen asleep. Which is when he had probably turned and wrapped himself around the woman who now rested peacefully in his arms. Her face was buried under his chin, her soft breath brushing the skin behind his ear. His head rested on top of her head in her silky hair. Soft, he mused. He had never thought of anything as soft when it came to Genie. What a night for revelations. His arms were wrapped tightly around her waist, while hers rested on his chest. Her legs were tangled with his. Nirvana. In no hurry to move, Louie closed his eyes and smiled. Genie was gonna kill him, but in his half-awake state, he thought it might be worth it. Minutes later, Louie was sound asleep.

One hour later



Same time at the pub in town ...

"Did you hear that Merrill?" Melissa asked.

"Hear what?" Merrill asked yawning, her head dropping into her bowl of porridge.

"I swear I just heard Genie and Louie."

Snort. "Naw, Louie is probably still wandering around in the forest trying to figure out how to get out. Genie is probably still in bed...which is where I should be."

"I don't know... I have the feeling Louie might be in trouble..."

"What else is new?" Merrill asked twirling a knife with half closed eyes.

Melissa sighed dejectedly. "So not my will..."

This was my first fanfic of any sort... I usually write full stories not based on any other fiction but my own. But a friend lended me her set of Rune Soldier and this episode hit me as one with possibilites. This wasn't my best writing to say the least, it was just something I felt like writing. I left alot open to interpretation so the reader could fill in their own possibilities ;)

I hope you enjoyed. PLEASE leave some feedback. I realize that the Rune Soldier community isn't that big, but I would love some responses to this teeny one-shot.

I AM in the process of writing a story for my other guilty pleasure... Inuyasha. It will be a SesshxKags for those of you who also love the anime. That one will be a full story.