"Please stop!"

Fearlessly she had dashed in front of him, arms spread wide to shield him from those damnable Luciffis. Why had the priestess jumped in like that? How annoying. It wasn't the first time he'd wanted to punch a girl, so the tightening of his already clenched fists didn't surprise him…but she wasn't his enemy.

"I am these children's' patron! Even if the Reijukai has a hidden agenda regarding these children, I will not allow harm to come to them!"

The look of determination on her face and the unwavering strength in her voice baffled him. Her? Protect the Luciffis? From him, of all people? His hands uncurled and he took a step or two back, now unwilling to harm the girl out of pure confusion. How she'd even think of fighting him off, he didn't know.

At the time, he hadn't believed her words to be anything but that- words.

When the time had come for the twins to part ways with her, the priestess had been tearful and reluctant to remove her hands from their shoulders, murmuring some sort of farewell. Irritably he'd stood on the sidelines, glaring at the trio as the grandiose mirror gleamed with magic. Finally, he snapped at them to get moving.

The second-year student of the Shihou Reijukai- Narina, he found out from someone or another- waved to them as they left. Them meaning the twins and that fortuneteller woman named Kishiru. Not everyone, just those three.

He met her again later, after the incident in the Kalun Summons temple. He'd gone to the Mizu Ten to have his injuries treated, and she'd been there, nervously awaiting her first patient. Coincidently, that had been none other then himself. He had been amazed she had remembered his face, let alone a name to put with it. Then he felt surprised that she was even present.

To sate his curiosity and end the shocked staring contest they'd started, he asked what she was doing there. She said that she felt training with the Mizu Ten was a path she could walk on. He had no idea what that meant, so the young man didn't ask anymore.

The young woman questioned how he'd gotten his injuries. Not able to think of a quick lie- and not seeing a reason to lie at all- he told her about the fight at the temple, their defeat, and the loss of Rudius and Mattie. The young priestess started crying half-way through the story, and didn't stop for a while. Even after his wounds faded away, her tears hadn't.

With a rough pat on the head he told her to shut the fuck up because her wailing was making his ears hurt.

Quickly, she quieted herself. The girl apologized for causing him discomfort, announcing that treatment was complete and that he could be on his way. For a minute he remained seated, studying her tearful face as the healer rubbed at the wetness on her cheeks. She smiled at him briefly, wishing him a good evening before turning around and muffling a soft whimper.

Suddenly, he understood her answer from before, about training with the Mizu Ten being a path to walk on.

Being a water priestess suited her well. She was full of the stuff.

As he reached the doorway he voiced his thoughts, and Narina's cries faded into a grateful smile.

"Thank you, Gashuu-san"

He'd snorted at the words, though a grin was creeping onto his face as he began stomping away. He lifted his hand and waved while rounding the corner, Narina's timid voice bidding him farewell once more as he went.

Slowly their meetings became more regular, missions often coinciding. With every chance encounter his wounds healed faster then the last and their conversations became less of a necessity for fighting off awkwardness, and more of an enjoyment. Asides from her frequent crying episodes, the priestess wasn't as annoying as he'd first assumed. She was intelligent, mild mannered, and generally went along with whatever he said- so there wasn't much to complain about.

Narina always had her mind on one of two things- becoming stronger with her water spells, and the Luciffis twins. The strictness she held herself with was both impressive and annoying.

Two years came and passed, the Luciffis disappearing into thin air.

True to her word, Narina had risen in the ranks of the Reijukai and was now a powerful healer, often treating his wounds and the rest of their comrades'. Much of her clothing was frayed and worn out. Other then that, she hadn't changed much since their first little reunion at the Mizu Ten's healing temple. Still bawled like crazy and just as easily.

He'd been watching her fix her hair not too long ago, slender fingers weaving through the short lavender tresses to look for split ends before brushing the bangs from her silver eyes. She didn't say she was fixing it, and there wasn't a mirror present to allude to the fact, but he could tell that the subtle actions were for the sake of her appearance. She was a girl, after all. Ishlia had done the same in the past, brushing through the waves of peach while secretly searching for singed strands.

When the young woman spotted him and smiled, Gashuu decided he'd pay a visit to his sister.

While remembering to sound as nonchalant as possible, he walked up to the water caster and then asked what kind of flowers she liked. Narina had put a thoughtful expression on her face when hearing the question. She wasn't the sort of person to jump to conclusions, so acting embarrassed or shy over the line wasn't expected of her.

"Flowers, Gashuu-san? I'd have to say lilies are my favorite. White is the prettiest- like snow!"

When he'd placed the bouquet of flowers on the grave, he agreed that they were pretty, even if he hated snow.

The meeting with old Elena had been unexpected, and revealing. Suddenly the grudge he'd held against the Luciffis for so long didn't feel that important anymore. Jeene found him soon after, irritably letting him know that they were upset with his sudden absence and that- surprise, surprise- the Luciffis had finally resurfaced. What great timing, he'd thought.

He had a lot to do, after all.

The Raka Luna Summons temple had become the battleground between the Luciffis and the Reijukai. Spirit creatures were everywhere, crushing walls and bones alike. Jeene stayed behind to protect the students while he burned through the fray, locking onto a familiar ripple of magic as he summoned a fire beast to assist him. Ryuuin met him on the way, filling him in on the details. The Luciffis' had shown their trump-card, which happened to be composed of two rather familiar faces. The twins were formidable opponents, the stone caster had told him, but the agent to intercept them was doing all she could.

Narina was strong and dependable, but her heart was gentle and it wasn't in the water caster's teachings to harm the enemy.

He saw Rudius and Mattie before he found her, though, both looking emotionless and dead- and maybe they were. Dead like his sister. Then he spotted a flicker of lavender in the cloud of dust, heard the ragged panting and felt the disturbing pressure in the air around them.

Rudius lifted a magic-flared hand towards Narina, which was his cue to intervene.

The stone clanked on the hard earth and he released the flames trapped inside. The fire licked and curled with his will, shielding the water caster from her would-be death.

"Gashuu-san!" she gasped, looking more then happy to see him. Tears were making her eyes sparkle, and Gashuu found that there were some moments when he really loved being the hero instead of the bad guy.

This is a little drabble I wrote up some time ago as a prospective prologue for my other PW story, 'To The Hereafter'. Since it went unused, I've decided to post it as a one-shot instead. It can be looked at as a companion piece for TTH that's meant to build on Narina and Gashuu's relationship.

Some of the scenes shown in it are canon, as one could tell if you've read the manga. However, I took some liberties to promote my OTP.

The italics are meant to represent the past, like a flashback, but I didn't want to do the whole thing in italics because that hurts my eyes after a while, so hopefully my writing style showed this well enough. The whole drabble is a mix of thoughts and reflections on past events, right up until Narina says, "Gashuu-san!" without the italics. Then it's in real time. Again, I hope my writing showed this transition okay, but it's the first time I've tried something like this so I'm not sure at all.

Thanks for reading!