L-chan's notes: Just a bit of fluff, light and airy. I hope you enjoy it, and thanks for reading.

Title: A Woman's Touch


No one saw the dark-haired woman wearing a skin-tight suit and waiting in the shadows outside House Gardios. If they had, they might have thought she was the legendary Star of Malkuth, the mysterious female thief. The bag over her shoulder, possibly containing all manner of ill-gotten treasures, completed the picture.

She hoped that was what they would think. It was much less scandalous than the truth.

In an upstairs window, a light flickered, giving the all-clear signal. Silent and cautious, she approached the window directly beneath. As expected, it was open, and she slipped inside, graceful and agile as a cat. Light on her feet, she quickly made for the stairs, not letting a single tread creak.

The master's bedroom door was cracked, a sliver of light indicating residence, and in a flash, she had closed it behind her, preparing to pounce. The lord of the manor, however, pounced first, pinning her against the door and kissing her in a most thorough manner.

"How was your audience with the emperor?" Guy asked when they broke apart.

Natalia pushed off her black wig and shook out her blonde curls with a frustrated sigh. "Do you think the peace between our countries would deteriorate if I slapped that insufferable man across the face?"

"Nah. He'd probably like it."

"Indeed." She sighed again and perched on the edge of his bed, crossing her slender legs, as comfortable and commanding as if she were sitting on her throne in Baticul. "You've done absolutely nothing with this room, Guy. It's so boring and beige and… masculine."

"Thanks," he said, beaming with pride. "I like it, too."

With an affectionate roll of her hazel-green eyes, she pointed to her bag. "It needs a woman's touch, and thus, I've brought you a present."

He picked up the satchel and handed it to her, always her willing servant. "Your presence is all the present I need."

"That's sweet. Cheesy, but sweet."

"Should I address the 'woman's touch' part next?" He was grinning at her, making her almost forget the special gift in her bag. She did want to give it to him… before… otherwise, she really would forget. And it was the perfect gift.

She pulled out a roll of red fabric and unfurled it with a grand "Ta-da!"

He recognized it immediately. "A Kimlascan flag?"

"Yes, I think the color will be most splendid in here, don't you?" She spread the banner next to her, smoothing it out with a satisfied nod.

"You want a Malkuth noble to hang a Kimlascan flag in his bedroom?" Vague as his answer was, the look on his face spoke volumes.

It wasn't entirely unreasonable for him to have reservations, given his title had only been restored three short years ago, and she knew he hadn't yet been accepted by some of the older lords. The years he'd lived in Baticul had made them skeptical, which he said he understood. Meanwhile she was offended on his behalf. He'd proven himself trustworthy time and time again. There were few she trusted as much.

But unless he was inviting those suspicious older lords into his bedroom--which was another conversation altogether--then a simple flag shouldn't be an issue.

"Oh, for goodness sake, Guy," she chided. "It's not like I'm asking you to wrap it around your naked body and run through the streets of Grand Chokmah proclaiming 'Kimlasca forever!'" Though now that she thought of it, and imagined it, she wanted to giggle. Perhaps she could convince him to follow through on the first part. "If you must explain, tell people it's in honor of your mother."

"Hmm. I don't know."

All right. She'd try another tack. "And I know I'd feel more welcome here."

His blue eyes flashed at that, darkening like midnight. "Don't I make you feel welcome enough?" he asked, approaching the bed. He braced his arms on either side of her and leaned close, his lips brushing against hers as he murmured, "I apologize for being such a poor host, Your Highness."

She found herself reclining as he leaned over her, and she pulled him down with her as her mouth opened beneath his, greedy and hungry. Her fingers sank into his thick hair while his were skimming the deep V of her catsuit, grazing the exposed curve of her breast. His other hand went to her hip, caressing and squeezing in rhythm with his thrusting tongue, making her melt into a puddle of need.

For someone who'd spent most of his life terrified of touching women, he'd certainly become good at it. The weight of him pressed her into the mattress, and she slid her foot up and down the back of his leg as her tongue tangled with his.

These stolen hours together, few and far between, were never enough. It was becoming harder and harder to stand the time apart, to find complicated means and convoluted reasons to be in the same place at the same time, all while making sure no one was the wiser. Soon, they would need to have a conversation about making their relationship public, and dealing with the inevitable problems they would face, problems she didn't want to think about, that she hid from in these hours.

Soon would come soon enough. Now she would focus on now, and how desperate she was to feel the heat of his skin against hers.

"Okay," he said, panting into her ear. "I'll hang the flag on one condition."

She'd forgotten about it after all. "What's that?" she breathed.

"If you'll put the black wig back on."

At her silence, he pulled back to look at her. Her eyebrows arched with curiosity. "Really?"

One shoulder shrugged. "Yeah. It's kinda sexy."

If only everything were as easy--their relationship, their positions, their duties. If only the solutions were this simple. "And you'll hang it over the bed?"


"Over the bed, Guy." Her legs wrapped more tightly around him, cradling him snug between her thighs.