This is the sequel to Tied Back Together. Sorry for reusing the title. I couldn't think of anything better.

Maria led Canaan into her apartment room. The pale green, painted walls reminded the mercenary of spring. Colored and black and white framed pictures decorated the homey room. Canaan recognized some of those pictures which Maria had taken in Shanghai.

"Here we are," the blonde exclaimed cheerfully as she kicked her heels off.

Canaan smiled. "You have a really nice place."

"I always try to keep my home comfortable and clean," Maria replied with a smile in return. "I'm going to change now. I'll be back in a few minutes."

The mercenary nodded and watched as Maria disappeared inside a door. Canaan took her boots off and placed it on the mat. She examined Maria's bright, blue heels which were scattered on the ground.

"I wonder how she wears these things," Canaan wondered as she picked up the strange shoes. She laid them gently beside her boots.

Stepping inside the living room, Canaan made herself at home and reclined on a soft, beige couch. She took her handgun out of her knapsack and started to polish it with a handkerchief. The mercenary thought about her employer, Yuri Natsume, and the Japanese man that tried to hurt her Maria. Did Maria know him? Imaginary thoughts engulfed her mind, and Canaan saw the two dating. Canaan clutched the handkerchief tightly. Did he used to be Maria's boyfriend? Canaan shook the thoughts away. No. If he really was Maria's lover, he wouldn't harm her.

Canaan released the handkerchief and placed it away. She held the glossy handgun up to her eyes, and in the corner of her eyes, she saw Maria stopping in front of her. She was changed into a loose, white t-shirt and black shorts. Pink, cat slippers concealed her bare feet.

The blonde's eyes widened as she stared at the handgun.

"Is anything wrong?" Canaan asked with confusion. She followed Maria's gaze. Oh. The mercenary quickly slid her handgun inside her knapsack. "I'm sorry, Maria."

"Oh no, it's not that," Maria stammered. "Are you still fighting foolish people?"

Canaan nodded. "But I'm on a break now."

The blonde jumped forward to hug the mercenary. "Canaan! You don't understand how much I missed you. Why did you leave me in Shanghai? It was so cruel of you to leave me without saying goodbye. Why, Canaan?"

The mercenary's eyes grew solemn as she gazed at the soft tears glistening in Maria's eyes. How can I explain it to you? My life is so complicating, Maria. You would never understand. Even if you want me to explain, I can never tell you because I'll make you unhappier. Canaan dug deep inside her thoughts for an excuse. I can't tell her that I had left her because I was afraid to tell her face to face that I was no longer going to see? That was part of the truth. Mostly I didn't want to put her life in danger. If she followed me and an assassin was looking to kill me, Maria will be used as a hostage. Just as what Alphard did.

"I," Canaan stuttered, "I felt guilty that I place you in danger whenever I see you. I thought that if I visited you inside the hospital—"

"Hospital?" Maria asked surprisingly. "How did you know I was in a hospital?"

Canaan's cheeks flushed. "The truth is I was watching you the whole time when you were inside the hospital. I just couldn't be near you anymore because I would place you in more danger."

The blonde's face beamed. "Oh, Canaan! I wish you didn't have to worry about me," Maria said as she kissed the mercenary's cheek. "You couldn't even say one goodbye to me."

The mercenary knew she had a few weeks left in Japan to spend time with Maria. Saying goodbye was very soon. Canaan lifted Maria up with her arms, and the blonde giggled. Canaan knew it was going to be risky if she was near Maria, but she couldn't resist the love burning inside of her. It was not easy running away from love, and the only way Canaan had to solve it was to confront it which she had done. Forgive me, Maria, if I place you in danger again. I promise I will forever protect you. I promise with my life.

"I don't want to talk about it anymore, okay?" the mercenary said softly as her silver strands of hair leaned forward. She kissed Maria gently, and Maria, whose cheeks were burning red, pulled herself closer to the mercenary.

"Okay, Canaan."