Author: Amethyst Hunter
Rating: PG-13 (steamy m/f pairing implied, but no actual naughtiness)
Warnings/Spoilers: See above.
Notes: Inspired by a random shower one day. Yeah, my brain's weird. But it's okay, they know me in there. XD
Disclaimer: Alas, poor Yorick, neither he nor I own GB.
Summary: A quiet interlude during bathtime leaves both Himiko and Akabane wanting.
Himiko Kudou sighs and leans back against the marble, allowing the steam and heat to dissolve the day's tension. The job had been rough, but being employed by a rich client who gives his transporters free use of his personal estate, and amenities, like the large tub that she is now enjoying, make the effort worthwhile.
Himiko closes her eyes, absentmindedly reaching up through the floating mass of bubbles to clutch at her injured shoulder. Part of her reason for soaking in the bath is to try and relieve some of the strain she'd put on her body. She'd had to resort to the acceleration perfume – a rarity for her – and though the potion paid off, the price exacted in return is no small tithing. She will have to be careful of how she moves her arm for a while.
Himiko tilts her head, letting the back of it rest upon the edges of the tiling surrounding the tub. She tries to coax her mind into the same limp blankness as her body. Scenes from earlier work keep conjuring restlessness in her head.
A door opens. She opens her eyes and is somewhat surprised to see Akabane entering the bathroom. Without his perpetual smile, he is transformed into a rare humanity that she finds curiously attractive. He looks up, only a slightly raised eyebrow expressing his own surprise at finding this room already occupied, and a silent apology dimming his eyes for having intruded on her privacy.
Himiko starts to shrug to let him know it's okay – they've worked together long enough that they've seen each other in various states of dress and undress – when a twinge of sharp pain reminds her not to use her one shoulder. She says instead, "Would you help me with something?"
Akabane waits, poised with his hand on the doorknob, his gaze steady. He's wearing his shirt and trousers, but the shirt is missing its usual tie and vest accompaniments, and the top few buttons to it are undone and the sleeves are rolled up on his forearms. The gloves that follow him everywhere as does the slinking tail of his shadowy coat are also absent. This rare casual picture of him appeals to Himiko in more ways than one, as her own gaze fixes on that expanse of throat and chest exposed by the open shirt.
"Since I can't use this arm right now, would you help me - " She looks to the razor perched alongside the tub, and raises her legs partway out of the water. "I'm right-handed..."
Akabane's hand falls away from the door. He comes over to the tub, sits on the edge of it in one smooth, slow motion. His face is a careful school in shadow, pale skin and unfathomable purple eyes wreathed by the untamed ribbons of his long dark hair. Himiko's had fantasies of running her fingers through that mane, both to see what it feels like and to see what his reaction would be.
Akabane doesn't say anything. He picks up the can of gel-creme sitting next to the razor and shakes it a few times before spraying a glob into his ungloved hand. With his other, he reaches for Himiko, and she extends one of her legs toward him. She stretches her other leg out and lets the tips of her toes surface, water dribbling down them. The air is cool, so she dips the unattended limb back to the bottom of the tub, sighing as the warmth cocoons her once more. She has no idea how one acquires a heated bathtub, but if she ever reaches the financial pinnacle of the wealthy elite a heated tub is one of the first new items going in her house.
Akabane takes her leg and settles it against his thigh, his palm cupping her heel, his long, slender fingers light and supple in their actions. He lathers on the crème, not looking at her now but intent on his task. When Himiko's leg is coated he rinses his hand in the bathwater and wipes it on the towel draped near the ledge. Then he picks up the razor and goes to work.
Watching Akabane engrossed in a chore other than killing is a fascinating sport in itself. He always has such a solemn concentration, a focus on what he's doing that excludes everything else, or would appear so to the untrained eye, for he is acutely aware of what goes on around him – the better to sense and intercept a brewing storm, of course. But more than that is how...peaceful...he strikes Himiko as being, an artist at work communing with the instinct that drives him.
For one so used to violence he has an exceedingly gentle touch. The razor glides along Himiko's skin in whispers, culling foam and its debris without hesitation. Every now and then Akabane pauses to dip the blade into the water to rinse it, and then resumes with nary a pause. He takes his time around the areas of her ankle, the back above her heel, the curves of her knee. Not once does the razor falter or catch, and by the time he is done Himiko's leg is flawless. He hasn't even cut her, whereas she usually has at least one small nick to show for her efforts when she's doing the job.
He releases her foot and she pulls her leg back into the water, marveling at how perfect his skill is. Himiko looks up at him. Akabane is waiting, his expression still calm, still indecipherable. He is slowly tapping the razor in his fingers against his knee.
Himiko feels a swift shiver of something delicious scuttle through her body. Moistening her lips, she says, "Akabane...just how sharp are those scalpels of yours?"
His eyebrow arches like a cat's back, but he makes no comment. He holds out his hand. She offers him her other leg. He sets the razor down, coats her leg in the crème. Rinses his hand, dries it on the towel. Then -
and he is picking up where they left off, a glint of bright blue winking from between his fingers as the scalpel hisses its frigid kiss along Himiko's skin.
Himiko is only vaguely aware that she's holding her breath as she holds exquisitely still. She's not so much afraid that he might accidentally cut her as she is mesmerized by the sight. In a sense he is sharing a private part of himself with her, for the scalpels form from his very blood and blood is perhaps the most intimate thing there is between two people. This is the closest yet that she's ever come to death without tippling over that precipice completely.
Akabane never looks at her while he's whittling the knife in measured, easy strokes along the contours of her leg. He could spare a glance or two, and still not suffer any mistakes, but that's not his way. A true craftsman devotes himself wholly to the moment. Akabane is a professional at what he does.
Himiko's other leg now matches the smooth perfection of the first. Akabane rinses his knife and withdraws it. He's still holding her foot, and he doesn't release it right away. His eyes drift up to hers and he lightly squeezes his thumb against the sole of her foot, pressing in the center of it before his fingers slide down her skin and free her. Himiko feels a rush of warmth sparking in her skin as she eases deeper into the water and watches him.
Akabane doesn't leave, yet. He sits there for a while, watching her in turn, hooded eyes unblinking but clear. He could be contemplating something, or nothing all at once; it's nearly impossible to gauge his mood when he fixes his sights on a point of interest. Perhaps he finds just as much pleasure in studying her as she does him, for strength is something he understands and respects in anyone, be they ally or enemy. Himiko is tempted to open a conversation just to hear the subtle purr of his voice, but refrains from saying anything, for she knows not what to say. Neither she nor Akabane are ones for small talk.
Finally Akabane decides his presence here is no longer necessary. A slight quirk of his lips in a familiar old smile and he is rising, turning his back on Himiko and heading for the door. Just as it's opened she finds her courage and calls out softly to him.
"Akabane...it's a heated tub..."
He pauses, slowly looking over his shoulder at her, his face still unchanged. His ghostly smile flickers, the only response her invitation garners, and he turns away and walks through the open door, closing it behind him with the barest of clicks.
Himiko is disappointed. She dares not dwell on the desires behind it.
She sits up in the tub and scoots over to the other end of it, where a scented candle placed on a dish is casting its lonely light. Himiko rests her good arm on the side of the tiling and leans her chin against it, taking in the twin aromas of defeat and spices as the flame's glow washes over her face while she sifts through her conflicting emotions. She tells herself to be content with tonight's gift. It isn't often that she gets the treat of seeing Akabane behave as if he found meaning, purpose in something besides slaughter.
Himiko's sigh makes the candlelight dance a spindly revolution around the center of the wick. She's just about to blow it out and leave the tub when a rippling of water draws her attention. She turns to look for the source of movement and her eyes widen.
Akabane is sitting in the other end of the tub, sipping from a wineglass as his steady gaze regards her from across the top of the glass. When the bowl of the crystal draws away from his lips, he sets the glass on the ledge behind him, swallows the thin stream of red liquid he's just drunk, and smiles at her.
Himiko looks at the door opposite the one he'd originally come through and realizes that he's brought two glasses.
Akabane lifts a hand from the water, palm up, arm extended toward her. Himiko inches closer to him and takes his hand, letting him guide her into his claim. She balances herself in his lap, mindful of her sore shoulder, and leans against the dangerous warmth, the solidarity of his chest guarding her back, the steel of sleek muscle shifting underneath velvet skin. Himiko inhales, filling her senses with the sweetly poisonous impulses aroused in her body. His scent is intoxicating enough without the alcohol.
He folds his arms around her, his legs coming up to cradle her body against his. The tub is deep, but he is tall enough that the tops of his knees skirt the water's surface. He offers her the wine. It is dark and powerful with hints of timeless mysteries, the same as the temptation sharing it with her. Himiko shuts her eyes again and tucks her head against his shoulder, the one bearing the deepest of his scars.
This...must be what the sinful version of paradise feels like, a little warm death breathing wicked promise in her ear, hot moisture on her skin, the pleasure hushed but intense beneath its placid encouragement of heartbeat. All it would take is one spark to touch off the inferno of consummation, and she will rise from the ashes reborn even as she perishes willingly in its wake.
But she won't go alone. As Himiko brushes her fingers over Akabane's arm and frowns, opening her eyes to see the wrinkling of her skin brought on by a lengthy bath, Akabane catches her reaction and chuckles quietly. He tilts his lips closer to her ear and murmurs, "There is a fireplace in my room."