Disclaimer: I do not own Ikki Tousen.
Set several years in the future, possible AU. This is probably going to be the last of the Ikki Tousen fics I'll be posting for a long time – I may even think up a name to kind of link all of the little one- shots I've written.
By Tanya Lilac
Destiny. It was something they'd all come to live with. Living with life; it was a small irony to her; a joke, even. Everyone had a destiny. You could do two things with it. Accept it and move on, or tell it to go to hell and spend what was left of your life trying to kick its ass.
The tragedy was that everyone was destined to die, even those who evaded the path of their past selves. Whether in glory or in vain, death was the one gift Fate had given to them all – Demon King and civilian alike – without bias or judgement.
Of course, Reincarnation all but promised another life, and another chance. Take all you can and live without regret... because you'll have to pay for it, sooner or later.
Ryomou sighed, staring up at the ceiling. How had things come to this? Simple. A cup of coffee had turned into a glass of wine. A glass of wine turned into dinner, of course, and then… her cheeks burned, turning a shade of pink she was beginning to find herself more and more familiar with.
She turned over onto her side, pulling the blanket over her shoulder as she dragged her thoughts away from what had happened, without success.
Was it fate or coincidence that she had been attacked by the idiot who had bought the scooter? Fate and Coincidence played their games hand in hand, she knew, but as soon as she had heard the purr of the scooter, and the almost predatory growl of the boy who owned it, she knew that she would be the one walking away with the keys.
He had been brash and had only wanted to prove that he could walk away from a fight against her. As soon as he'd revealed that, she'd taken pleasure in breaking both of his legs before knocking him out and stealing the keys. It was the least she could have done – he wouldn't have been able to ride it for some time, and the scooter was far better in her hands than anyone else.
Was it really so strange that as soon as she'd turned the keys in the ignition that all she could think about was him? She could not remember the number of times that she'd sat behind him, her arms around his waist and her cheek against his back as they tore through the streets of Kantou. She smiled.
It wasn't that she hadn't wanted this to happen. She was more than fine with it. It was all so… comfortable. The ease with which she had slipped into this world of complete and utter trust had not worried her, but now, for some reason, she didn't want to open the door and walk out. Not just yet.
That was why she couldn't sleep.
As soon as she'd turned the keys in the ignition she'd considered, for a second, taking it home. Her body had, however, taken the initiative, and she found herself turning a sharp left instead of turning right at the traffic light. No, it was better if she took it to him. He would tell her what to do.
Of course, she'd almost punched a wall when she found that his rooms were empty. His books, the photo, his scent – all of it, gone. The nurse changing his sheets had cheerfully informed the fuming toushi that her "delightful friend" had been discharged. He had moved back into his old apartment.
Teifu had not expected her to find him so soon. Then again, he had not expected her to punch him so hard in the face when he answered the door, either. She had pulled back for another blow, but he stepped forward across the threshold and pulled her into his arms before he had even registered he had moved.
"You bastard," she said coldly. "Did you really think that you, walking around, would escape my attention?"
"No," he said cheerfully, drowning in the scent of the rain upon her skin. "Have you stopped trying to kill me yet? I just made a pot of coffee."
Ryomou smiled in spite of herself. Once a coffee fiend, always a coffee fiend. It was one of his vices. He stepped away, allowing her to take off her boots, and paused, letting her walk past before shutting door, keeping the rain out of the house.
She couldn't remember the last time she'd been here. It had been years ago – literally, an age. Teifu left her to inspect the apartment, trying to remember if things were the same as they had been. No, things were different – her minds' eye was still trying to project furniture, books and photographs onto blank surfaces.
But there was one photo that was in its place, upon the small table next to the archway into the kitchen. She always sighed when she saw it, because it reminded her of those days when they'd all been so young.
"I'm surprised you found me so quickly," Teifu said quietly as she came into the kitchen and sat down. "I was expecting you in a few days' time at the earliest."
The coffee machine was still running, and there were a few saucepans on the stove, one filled with a rich sauce. A bottle of red wine sat, open, by the stove. Perhaps he had been expecting someone else.
Ryomou smirked. "Well, maybe it's fate, then. I was attacked this evening by the boy who bought your scooter. I'm not sure if he knew what he was in for... but I took the thing back." She dangled the keys in front of him, and he arched an eyebrow at the tacky skull key ring. "Two sugars, and I still take cream with my coffee."
"I should have known," Teifu chuckled. He rummaged around in the almost bare fridge before finding his prize. "You're lucky I like cream with mine." He slid her mug of coffee across the bench and leaned across, sipping at his own cup. "I missed this. I missed seeing you all the time."
She looked down and blushed.
"I also missed that," he said with a smirk.
"Do you want your scooter or not?" She asked quietly, with a glint in her eye as she sipped the drink. As a result of his obsession, Teifu had become the only person she knew who could make really good coffee – he used to like getting her to make it just to amuse him.
"I remember getting coffee before school. Saji hated it." He turned around to stir the sauce and taste it. "Hmm... more wine."
The sudden change in topic threw her off, and she didn't reply. He smiled. "But you didn't come here to talk about Saji."
He took down two glasses, coffee all but forgotten, and Ryomou gave him a strange look. "Are you sure you're allowed to drink?"
He grinned and poured the red wine into the glasses before adding a generous amount to the sauce. "It's a night to celebrate. And we'll only have one glass." He stirred it one last time and turned off the heat on the stove before coming back to the bench.
She sighed. He knew her very, very well. "Okay, just one. And then I'm leaving."
"So soon, Mou-chan? I know you haven't had dinner yet, it's barely six o'clock. Stay, for an old friend." He had a devious twinkle in his eye, and leaned on the counter, pushing the glass towards her.
She was going to kill Hakufu for giving her that ridiculous nickname. How the hell had he heard?
"Okay," Teifu said sweetly, sitting beside her. "Here's to old friends."
Their glasses came together with a gentle chime, and he smiled at her.
"So, tell me," she said quietly. "What do old friends do on a Thursday night?"
Teifu sighed and sipped his wine, buying time before he answered. "Well, they drink coffee and wine, eat dinner... and do things that old friends shouldn't do."
Once again, she involuntarily blushed with both pleasure and embarrassment as a delightful tingle ran through her body. She unconsciously licked her lips and ran her hair through her damp locks as she tried to calm her heart. She met his eyes for an instant and looked away with a scoff. Whether it was the wine, or the feeling of victory – evident in the artful peach that blossomed upon her cheeks – Teifu was seized by the sudden, brave impulse to kiss her. He had waited long enough.
Reaching out with a steady hand, he caressed her cheek with warm fingertips for a moment before entangling them in her hair. His other hand found the curve of her hips and he noted with satisfaction that she seemed to lean into his touch, and slowly turned to face him with her sharp, green eyes.
"You never miss anything, do you?" he asked quietly.
"Sometimes..." she replied hesitantly, and Teifu took the opportunity to capture her lips. Her hands laced delicately around his neck as she pulled him off his seat to get closer to him. This was what had been missing from his room at the centre – his scent, his warmth, his... light. Her eyes slid shut and she sighed with pleasure as he moved away, his lips travelling down to the hollow of her throat. Her pulse fluttered in his mouth, and his hand slid up her body to encircle around her back. How long had he wanted this?
She twined her fingers in his hair and pulled him back up to her lips, already desperate for more. His kisses were soft and sensuous, but he had the power to send her mind into blankness, and her body into complete overdrive.
"That was a rhetorical question, idiot," he murmured as she pulled away for air.
Still half dazed, she met his eyes and was almost taken aback by the way they seemed to burn. How long had he...? She didn't need to finish the question – he had felt this way about her for longer than she could remember, and ... it was simple for him. He loved her because of who she was. He loved her because he knew how fragile life was. He loved her because... for him, there was no one else who could replace what she was to him.
"Tell me more," she said, deciding to ignore his comment. "What don't old friends do?"
Teifu couldn't sleep.
It went without saying that Ryomou was as cryptic as they could come, but he knew more about her than anyone else, more than she ever would. More than Ouin ever could.
With a small smile, he turned onto his side, pulling the blanket over his shoulder. Sea green eyes met his own, and almost glared.
"What's that smile for?" she growled huskily.
Teifu shrugged. "Hmmm... I'm not too sure." He reached over and pulled her close to him once again, breathing in the scent of her hair and her soft skin. "You grew out your hair again," he murmured quietly. "I like it like this." He ran his fingers through her electric blue tresses and she sighed, and they fell into silence. His hand trailed down her shoulder, and found her hand. He placed it on his cheek and she stroked the hair away from his face before sliding her hand under his arm to rest on his back.
"It's not going to be this simple," she said quietly, her eyes flicking towards the door of his bedroom.
He leaned in and kissed her lips softly, pulling away with another smile. "I know... but we can try, can't we?"