She absentmindedly brushes through her long, golden locks, her eyes fixated on the door's reflection in the mirror before her. Her gaze wanders around the room before it returns to her reflection and the hints of a small, red mark near her collarbone. Blushing, she puts the hairbrush down on the dresser and gently touches the area before she adjusts the collar of her thin, elegant jacket, making sure to conceal it.

The door opens behind her and she whirls around on her seat, a wide smile appearing on her face. "Chikane-chan!"

A lower, melodic voice returns the greeting. "Himeko."

The tall, dark-haired woman moves until she stands behind Himeko, every one of her movements elegant. Himeko admires her form through shy glances, and turns around until she sits facing the mirror once more. Chikane's reflection shows contented happiness and pride.

"You look beautiful, Himeko," her words sound like they are caressing the blond woman's name. "You always look so beautiful." A gentle, lingering kiss to the top of her head only serves to deepen Himeko's blush.

She fidgets with her jacket once again, soft fingers fluttering around the base of her neck. Chikane sees this in the mirror and grins as the slightly calloused pads of her own fingers come to touch the stark red mark.

A light breeze wafts through the open balcony, and Himeko finds it refreshing as it helps in cooling down her flushed skin. "Chikane-chan… why… why do you –" Her hands brush over the mark once more, touching Chikane's fingers before she puts both her hands in her lap and avoids the other woman's teasing gaze through the mirror.

Chikane chuckles lowly. "Do you not like it?" Despite the humor in her voice, Himeko could hear the honest question and slight fear, and it prompts her turn around and meet Chikane's gaze.

"N-no, Chikane-chan, it's not that – I d-do like it –" She pauses slightly, blushing, but moves on. "– it's just that you always do it, and so much, too, and I can't help but wonder why…" She tries not to look away from her lover's clear blue eyes, and is relieved when she finds the look of slight hesitance gone from the other woman.

A sideways glance towards the side of Chikane's head causes Himeko to gasp slightly. Chikane stiffens. "What's wrong?"

"Ah, um, it's nearly time for us to leave," Himeko stammers over her words, and turns around to pick up her neglected brush. "This party is really important to your father; we shouldn't keep him waiting…" Slender hands take the hairbrush.

"Allow me." The brush begins to run through Himeko's hair smoothly, and with a sigh, the blond leans back against the standing woman, pushing all thoughts of dances and balls to the back of her mind. Her half-lidded eyes meet Chikane's in the mirror. The dark-haired woman started to talk.

"Both times when we met, I thought that you were… A being descended from the heavens." Chikane smiles at seeing Himeko's bright red blush. "I'm not just waxing poetic, Himeko. First in the rose garden, then at the crosswalk, you looked positively ethereal."

The blond woman shakes her head, remembering the first time that they had met in their current life. "No, Chikane-chan. You looked more like an angel then I did, with your white dress and the sun that shined down upon you."

"I am too human to ever be a celestial being, Himeko, anchored down to this mortal world by my beastly, passionate desires." Chikane's gaze on her, teasing yet serious, turns primal for a moment, and Himeko's breath catches slightly in her throat. "I couldn't believe my eyes. For a young woman living without meaning, why would the gods above care to bless me with my own angel, my own goddess? I was a spoiled rich girl who always did what her father told her to do." Chikane slows the hairbrush, admiring the sitting girl in front of her. "I don't know quite how to put it into words. I suppose… I knew that I wasn't anything like a goddess, but the fact that I could see you, touch you – was it all a dream?" Unsettling strands of her midnight-blue hair by shaking her head, Chikane lays the brush down as her hands come to rest upon Himeko's dainty shoulders.

"But I know now. With these," her thumbs gently rubs areas on Himeko's neck and shoulders, "it proves to me that you aren't a goddess – a celestial wouldn't be marked by desire and love. You're entirely better, Himeko." Himeko closes her eyes and fights the blush on her face. "You're human. And I'm human. And we're allowed to love each other freely the way that only humans can."

Chikane stands up straighter, as if a hidden burden was taken off her shoulders. She leans down and hugs Himeko from behind. Himeko turns around in her grasp and fiercely hugs back, burying her head in Chikane's dark hair. She whispers into Chikane's ear – "Me too, Chikane-chan." – and shuts her eyes in embarrassment, her words feeling inadequate next to her lover's.

Chikane laughs joyfully, and Himeko knows that Chikane heard her feelings in those few shallow words.

The dark-haired woman cups her lover's face, and leans in.


AN: Aaaaand they never got to Chikane's father's party. Maybe. I was thinking 'why does chikane like to leave hickeys so much in canon' and then this explanation came and smacked me like a boot to the head. I'm not sure if I properly conveyed what I was thinking, but OH WELL at least I FINALLY contributed to the KnM fandom. Also, writing in present tense was something I wanted to try, and I'm fairly pleased at how it turned out.