A/N: Sorry this took awhile. Anyways, I'll let you read the new chapter. Sorry it's so short! ... I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

Dedication goes out to... noobsdog and sachii. Because you two are so very awesome! I wouldn't have updated this fast if it weren't for you guys [especially you NB with your messages!]

Thank you everyone who read and reviewed or just fave/alerted!!

Warnings: Death and intentional OoCness.


Journey to the Moon

Why do stars fall down from the sky
Every time you walk by?
Just like me, they long to be
Close to you.

Close to You – Carpenters

—J2M—

Chapter Two: Close to You (Part Two)

Natsuki was eating another serving of the brunette's wonderful stew when she heard it—the sound of a gun being shot numerous times.

She jumped and quickly looked toward the table that held her bodyguard's weapons. She saw the gleaming weapon sitting in its holster and let out a sigh of relief. But as soon as the breath left her mouth the thought dawned on her, if Fujino's gun was here, who was the one shooting?

"Shizuru!" she cried out, hastily placing her bowl on the marble coffee table as she ran towards the door of the cottage. She gripped the doorknob tightly, wanting to go out and see if the brunette was okay, but decided against it. If there were any problems she was sure she'd be in the way, thus causing an even greater dilemma for her bodyguard. She hesitantly let go of the gold knob, allowing her now-pale hands to regain some of their pinkish color.

She made her way back to the couch and sat upon it; bringing her knees to her chest and quietly wrapping her arms around her legs and staring at the small entryway. Her meal was forgotten on the table as she prayed for her bodyguard's safety.

—J2M—

Shizuru ducked behind a tree, due to her injury she was barely able to avoid the five shuriken that were thrown at her.

"How convenient," she joked at the shuriken that lodged itself into a tree right where her head had once been. She picked up the throwing star and chucked it at the last ninja. It narrowly missed her target, only succeeding in cutting his cheek as it disappeared in the tall grass behind him. "Damn." She cursed and jumped away from another round of the sleek metal.

The male turned and ran toward the cottage once again, and Shizuru paled—whether it was from the loss of blood or the thought of the smaller girl getting hurt, she couldn't decide—knowing that she had to reach the cottage before the man did.

She sprinted at a pace that would've made her late master proud, completely forgetting her profusely bleeding leg, and saw as the man reached the clearing of her home. "No!" she called out.

The ninja all but ignored her cry and skillfully tossed shuriken at her without breaking in stride. The sudden strike caused the brunette to have to throw herself to the ground. She looked up from her position on the ground and watched as the man slowly walked to the cottage door.

—J2M—

The sound of the doorknob jingling brought Natsuki to her feet.

She ran to the door and jumped on the figure as the door opened. Wrapping herself around the warm figure in a strong hug she felt a cold blade being pressed against the bare part of her back—her shirt having ridden up while she was sitting down. She immediately tensed up and stopped all her movement, calling out her bodyguard's name in a hopeful tone.

"S-Shizuru…?"

"You shouldn't have done that. Jumping on someone as soon as they get into the door could get you killed, girl."

The blunette relaxed; even with the lack of familiarity she could recognize the bodyguard's teasing voice. Natsuki blushed, "I know, but I was so scared… I heard gunshots and I thought that maybe you got hurt."

Shizuru smiled down at the concerned female, "No, I'm okay. Just set off a couple of traps. I just needed to come back for my knife so I can fix a few of them." She wasn't exactly lying, there were some traps set off, just not by her like she made it sound. And she was okay; because as her late master constantly said when she complained about an injury, "You're always okay unless you're actually dead." It was now one of the guidelines she went by—she never let an injury get in the way of a job.

"Hey, I'll be back in ten minutes, promise. I just need to clean up the mess I made." The blunette nodded but made no move to release her bodyguard from the embrace. "Um, Kuga-san, I'm going to need you to let go."

"Oh!" the blunette exclaimed as she jumped away from the mercenary, a blush on her cheeks. "I… I…"

Shizuru chuckled slightly. "It's okay, but remember, ten minutes. Anything different and I'll give you one freebie to ask me to do whatever you want."

Natsuki nodded and Shizuru left the cottage.

Shizuru groaned and leant against the door as soon as she got outside. She pulled her hunting knife out of its sheath and worked in the moonlight to remove the bullet lodged in her thigh. Not being able to reach the bullet with her pant-attachments on, she unbuttoned them and allowed them to fall to the floor before working on the bullet again.

After a minute of working through gritted teeth, a soft clang could be heard when the golden bullet fell on the top stair. Shizuru shuddered and dropped her hunting knife. She glanced at the bottom step and sighed as she reached down to grab the large ninja under the armpits to drag him into the forest. She was careful to not touch the two blades lodged in the side of the man's neck and in man's shoulder while completing the task.

The brunette shut her eyes tightly and pulled her Sais out of the body when she got to a dense patch of tall grass near a small freshwater pond. It was a dirty job, but she had to do it. The sight bothered her much less now that she'd killed so many, but after the heat of battle, looking at a maimed body still made her want to gag.

She removed her thin shoes and knee-socks while walking over to the small body of water. She stepped in, the water only coming up to her waist, and cleaned out the gunshot wound. Rubbing an ointment she kept in a secret compartment of her hunting knife's sheath onto her thigh, she proceeded to clean out the wound and wash off the blood from her two Sais. After letting the cold water numb her wound she got out and let herself air dry as she walked back barefoot to the old-looking cottage—of course that was not before checking for any necessities on the ninja and picking up her own items.

—J2M—

When she arrived back at the cabin the blunette was fast asleep, curled up on the recliner near the fireplace. Shizuru sighed in relief; the other girl wouldn't be able to notice her wrapping up her wound.

The bodyguard quietly crept past the blunette and into the bathroom that was located in the only bedroom. She grabbed some bandages and proceeded to tightly wrap her thigh. When she was finished she packed her bag, being sure to grab medical equipment and dry food from the kitchen, before setting the full pack on the table next to her weapons.

As she put the bag down, she looked at table and vowed to not be so reckless the next time she had to do something like what she did tonight—this morning, she corrected herself, noticing the complete darkness outside—and to also do whatever she could to protect the blunette who had begun to get past her defenses.

"I'll protect her with these two hands," she stared determinedly at her hands which were now clenched into fists atop the wooden table. Then she gripped the tattoo on her arm, "I promise on my shield."

After her promise she looked at her sleeping charge and decided that getting a few hours of rest would be a good idea.

Little did the brown-haired mercenary know that emerald green eyes had been her since the moment she walked in thirty seconds late, pretending to be closed whenever the cool red gaze landed on them. Natsuki watched the brunette enter the bedroom, emerging minutes later with a large bag that she continued to fill as she wandered around the cottage. She continued to observe the mercenary as the girl made her silent pledge, and she noticed the calming gaze of the other female as she "slept" on the couch; her own breath hitching as the brunette made her way to the recliner she was resting on and picked her up.

Natsuki continued to pretend to be asleep as Shizuru carried her to the bedroom and laid her upon the bed—covering her with the sheets before making her way back to the couch in the living room. Natsuki's eyes finally closed as the door shut behind her bodyguard, not being able to stay open after being in the warm arms of the brunette.

Shizuru closed the door and plopped down onto the couch. Her last thoughts before going into a dreamless sleep were, "How is she getting to me?" and "Why am I letting her get so close?"


A/N: I have no clue when the next update will come... especially since I'll actually have to WRITE them and not just edit the chapters from now on. :( FML. jk! I'll try and get an update for one of my other stories out by the end of this month. But don't hold your breath [cuz you'll obviously die] since I'm not sure if even that'll be true.

Please review and all that jazz.

Until next time.

-naomi