Tsukimi stared at him, unsure of what to say. "I- I didn't mind," she said finally, cheeks flushing.

Kuranosuke looked at her, her hair loose about her face, and actually blushed himself.

Why had he kissed her? She absolutely couldn't fathom it. He was a princess, a beautiful, perfect princess. He deserved... well what did he deserve? A princess probably? She was no princess, nor was she a prince... she was simply herself. If this were a fairytale she'd be the lady in waiting, but there he was looking at her like he wanted to kiss her again. She'd never kissed a boy before, and somehow it bothered her that she'd been asleep for the first part. She bit her lip. He had stolen her first kiss. She wasn't usually assertive, but in this case she felt she deserved something.

"That was my first kiss with a boy," she said softly,

"I'm sorry- I couldn't- I didn't- I'm sorry," he said, hanging his head.

"Do it again," she said, "I want a real kiss."

His eyes widened, shocked.

"Tsukimi," he said softly, reaching out to stroke her hair, "I-"

"Please," she said, and he couldn't resist, and he kissed her again, firmly. Her eyes widened for a moment before, she tilted her head to the side, returning the kiss enthusiastically. Her lips meeting his with a passion he had not expected. There was long pent up desire in that kiss. Had she wanted him the way he wanted her? It would explain a lot. The way she'd blushed when she looked at him, all the shyness and stammering, especially when he was half clad, a million little things. He couldn't think though, her mouth on his was hot and soft and perfect. He slid an arm around her waist, pulling her close, stroking the velvet skin of her cheek.

He stroked her hair gently, and when the kiss finally broke he looked at her, shocked. "You're beautiful," he said, and she raised an eyebrow and laughed.

"You're beautiful... I'm..." she waved a hand dismissively.

"You don't know beauty," he said with a chuckle, stroking her cheek, "we're both beautiful, you're just beautiful in a different way," he added, weaving his fingers through her hair, "I'm pleased with my own sort of beauty... but you," he paused for a moment, licking his lips, "but your sort of beauty... it fascinates me. It's subtle, soft, gentle, and yet all the richer for those qualities."

She blushed. "Don't say things like that," she protested, turning her face away. He laughed softly, stroking her cheek again. "You're funny," he said with a little smile, "most girls like hearing things like that."

She shrugged. "I mean," she said, brows knitting, "I do... but it's... embarrassing. I'm not so different from other girls really, if you think I'm special, really I'm not."

He kissed her forehead. "You are, just not that way, it's alright to be like other girls in some ways," he said with a little laugh.

She shrugged. "Why did you kiss me?" she asked. He looked at her, brushing his hair out of his face.

"Because I wanted to," he said, with a little smile.

"You wanted to kiss me?" she said, looking at him in disbelief.

"Are you that dense, yes I wanted to kiss you," he said throwing his hands up in frustration, "I... have... I guess you'd call it a crush on you."

She shook her head.

"Don't joke around like that."

"I'm not joking," he said, with a sweet earnestness that surprised Tsukimi coming from the flamboyant man.

"Well," she said, pausing to bite her lip, "what do we do about this?"

"That all depends," he said, tilting his head to the side, looking at her as if trying to read something in her face.

"On what?"

"On how you feel about me," he said with a hint of a smile.

She chewed her lip thoughtfully, looking at the ceiling. How did she feel about Kuranosuke? He scared her, excited her, saved her and dragged her into peril. She couldn't stand the idea of him ever disappearing and yet being around him made her practically spastic with multi-colored emotions as fluttering and hard to pin down as butterflies. She had uncomfortably intimate dreams about him, from which she awoke flushed and filled with an indefinable need she could not properly describe. She wanted him. Virgin or no, she wasn't so innocent that she lacked an understanding of sex, and sexual desire. She preferred not to talk about it, but it was undeniably there, and she was comfortable with it, comfortable enough to lay back on her bed in the silent night and touch herself thinking of princesses and princes, unattainable but much admired beauty. She was comfortable with fantasy, comfortable with desire, what was uncomfortable was the potential for fulfillment. She thought of him those nights in her narrow bed with her hand down plain cotton panties, and she flushed to remember it in front of him.

"You make me excited and nervous, and... fluttery and confused," she said with a sigh, "like a whirl of brightly colored butterflies."

He smiled. "I think that means you like me," he said.

"I do not," she retorted.

"I meant like me like me," he replied. He was still wearing a dress, makeup, his hair falling loose around his face. He'd been neglecting to get it cut and it fell a bit past his shoulders, fair and silky. He wasn't wearing breast forms though, and despite lipgloss, long hair, and the pretty robin's egg blue sundress he had on, she couldn't see him as anything but a very beautiful boy.

She sighed. Maybe she did, or maybe it was just lust. The lust was undeniable, something about the way those long shapely perfectly hairless legs looked rising up to where they were hidden by that short skirt and what she knew logically must lie under that skirt made heat rise in her, and no matter how infuriating and obstinate he could be at times good god he turned her on.

"Even if I do like you like you... and for some inexplicable reason you... like me like me... what would we do about it?" she said, "it's not as if we can just go on dates, the amars wouldn't allow it."

"If I'm a boy," he said, "the rules say no need for men, right?"

"Yes?" she said, wondering where he was going with this.

"What if I'm a girl, what if you like girls?"

She did like girls, not that she'd ever say so openly. Pretty girls and pretty boys either one could stir hopeless longing in her, but that wasn't the point.

"I... I'm not pretending to be a lesbian to go out with you," she said, giving him a look.

"I pretend to be a girl for you."

She sighed. "Even if it weren't for the Amars us going out... it's too weird," she said waving her hand, "I've known you for too long, and besides I don't... go on dates. We'll look silly together, it'll look like you're going out with me out of pity."

"I'll get you dressed up," said Kuranosuke, thinking. It would be strange going out on a date with her, after knowing her for so long, after sharing her bedroom, after so many meals together, and nights spent designing and sewing and plotting to save her home, "But you might be right," he said a moment later, "about the dates I mean... it'd be silly to go out on a first date now, we know each other too well."

She nodded. "Besides- you're one of my best friends and I don't want to lose you," she admitted in a rush, looking away. She'd never admitted even to herself, but she'd grown attached to him, would be devastated by the loss of him. As she finished he pulled her into his arms.

"Tsukimi," he said, voice a little rough with emotion, "you won't lose me. I promise."

She stiffened for a moment in surprise before shyly returning the embrace. He was in love, she was in love, and neither of them could quite admit it.

She buried her face in his perfumed hair, hiding, trying to think. She wanted this and it terrified her.

"I think you're the prettiest thing I've ever seen," she said finally, "but I still don't know what we're supposed to do instead of going on dates... we wouldn't exactly be a normal couple, you know?"

"You mean, I wear women's clothing and you're obsessed with jellyfish," he said, petting her back "we're a match made in heaven."

She smiled a little, something about that statement, that sweet funny statement made her feel better about the whole nightmarish mess of emotions, made her strangely confident that he meant what he said when he said he felt something for her.

"So, you're the one who knows about this stuff... what do we do?" she asked, from her place in his shoulder.

He gave her an affectionate squeeze, unable to resist. It seemed as if the kiss really had broken some spell. She was still shy, and inexperienced, and more than a little bit reluctant... but she'd just said yes. Yes to what exactly remained to be seen.

"I-" he said. Part of him was profoundly tempted to ask for sex, however the rest of him knew that that would make her blush beet red and run out the door, "well I guess we do all the same stuff we always do, but you're my girlfriend and I'm your... girlfriend, and I would like to take you out on a date sometime, I mean not a first date get to know you kind of thing, but I guess... somewhere romantic?" he said. Since when was he romantic? In the past it had always been dinner, and sex, and thank you go away now, but Tsukimi... he found himself with the disconcerting urge to buy her flowers and chocolates and expensive underwear, to take her to the aquarium she loved best and surprise her with a picnic lunch, to win her stuffed animals at carnivals. He blinked attempting to clear his head. This was insane, and yet here he was.

She blushed. Kuranosuke wanted to take her somewhere romantic. This clearly signaled that something was twisting the very fabric of reality, because in an ordered and logical universe such a thing was clearly impossible. Still, despite the sheer improbability of it all, it was... nice.

She looked up at him, smiling at little. "Will you take me to the aquarium?" she asked, looking hopeful.

"Of course," he said with a smile, "besides we need more designs for the fashion line anyway."

"You would make it about work," she said, rolling her eyes.

"I just thought it would inspire you," he said.

She, emboldened, ran a hand down his chest. "You inspire me," she said, tilting her head to the side. He closed his eyes, surprised by the touch, her small hand, calloused here and there from sewing, but otherwise silky soft, "you really are too pretty to be real."

He smiled at her. "I assure you, I'm real, and you're beautiful, Tsukimi," he said, tilting her chin up to look over that sweet heart shaped face with those big dark eyes and those masses of silky black hair, that flawless pale skin with the sweet smattering of freckles over the bridge of her nose.

She flushed. "Kuranosuke," she said, in protest, but of course part of her couldn't help but feel a glow of pleasure at hearing him say something like that about her. She tentatively touched his shoulder.

"Let's go out," she said. He looked surprised but complied. He helped her get ready as he always had styling her hair and helping her with her makeup, dressing her up like his personal doll, noting that expensive underwear might be a worthwhile gift. Her bra was on its last legs. He put her in a retro dress with a pattern of big red roses with a halter neck, styled like something Marilyn monroe would have worn, red peep toe heels and lipstick to match and she looked perfect, her petite curvaceous figure flattered by the full skirted dress. Her bombshell figure and porcelain doll face gave her a look of innocent seductiveness that almost made him regret the choice of dress... almost. He popped on a wavy blonde wig, and touched up his makeup, taking a last look in the mirror, standing together. They really were a study in contrasts. He was tall, fair haired and lanky. She was petite, raven haired and her figure was a perfect hourglass. He liked her legs, long for her height, and ever so feminine.

They looked good together, despite or perhaps because of their differences, a matched set. He took her hand and lead her to the car, calling to no one in particular that he was going out.

"Aquarium?" he suggested.

"Aquarium," she agreed.

-TBC-

Hope you enjoyed the second chapter of this. Thank you for all the very sweet reviews.