A/N: For Pokémon Big Bang!


His side-car is totally wrecked after they escape a particularly obsessive group of Cipher ex-members, and so they leave it in Chief's capable hands. He promises to work on it on his free time, but Rui catches Wes rolling his eyes before they leave.

"Turning the windmill is a serious profession!" she tells him, a little scandalized, a little amused.

She only realises they have a problem on their hands when they reach his motorcycle, and Rui has no seat.

"Oh."

Wes cocks his head, like he's thinking, and gets on, revving the engine. He stares at her when she doesn't move, fiddling with the zipper of her jacket. He's waiting, very obviously tapping his fingers on the bars. After a few minutes of silence, Wes rolls his eyes. "Well?" he says, arid voice reaching her ears and staying there. Rui nods uncertainly, and steps closer, grabbing his held out arm for support. But when she starts to climb onto the seat, she realises that riding a bike while wearing a skirt is a terrible idea. Just terrible.

"Um," she starts, and doesn't finish. Wes turns his head to catch her gaze and, like always, he understands. His eyes analyse, slowly descending from her face and going down her body before settling onto the limit of her skirt. She feels her face heat; sometimes, Wes manages to start fires where he stares at. She lets out a breath she hadn't known she'd been holding.

"It's fine," he says, eyes returning to her face. He's smirking, and she almost, almost flushes red, but for once manages not to let it get to her.

Instead, she picks to believe him. despite the sudden anxiety spreading, she holds onto his still held out arm for leverage, and sits behind him. In that second, she realises what a strange difference it is to ride behind a boy. She has no place where to lean, so, almost unconsciously, she hugs him, thin arms snaking around his stomach. Wes is lean muscle and bone, and Rui feels her face flush horribly when she sees his naughty smile on one of the mirrors. It must be because she's practically glued to him, legs tightly held against the seat and her chest to his back.

She looks away from the rear-view mirror, embarrassed, and then almost shrieks: the only warning she gets before he drives off is the roar of the bike. She leans down, leans her forehead against his back, and tightens her hold around him. The desert wind slaps against her knees, so she tries to close her legs, but finds Wes between them. Oh, right, she thinks, feeling stupid: she's not in her cosy little sidecar anymore. Instead, she's holding onto him, palms spread over his hard stomach, her head spinning with fantasies.

It's no secret that they have something; anyone who looks notices the affection Rui practically transpires. Something is the keyword here. She can't define it, and Wes, who keeps to himself at all times, doesn't even try to.

But they share it, that something – a kind of awkward, blooming love with spikes of want. She thinks spikes of want because when it happens, it happens with gusto—the sudden desire she gets to kiss him, the overwhelming yearning to just touch him (she's not picky, hand-holding and face-touching are a-okay in her book). And sometimes Wes satisfies her with the slightest of touches, like their hands brushing when they walk, like the arm around her waist when he pulls her away from a dangerous situation, like the dismissive press of his hand against her hip, soft but stern, when he breaks into battle, his personal get behind me.

At the same time, that something is too much and not enough. Of course Rui has hugged him before – they've even made out once or twice, in the heat of the moment – but this is different. Startlingly so.


If her grandfather notices her awkward behaviour, he does not comment on it. Rui and Wes drop by – 'is everything alright', 'how is the forest', 'you have no idea what happened in Phenac last week' – and then head back to the forest.

The trip to Agate is still fresh in her mind, and so is her grandmother's conspiratorial smile when she notices the bike is missing its sidecar. She's so out of it, so distracted, that she walks into Wes, and barely takes notice of the time spent purifying the pokémon.

"Rui," he mutters, when he's done, and her cheeks flush at the sound of her name. He's setting a fire in her just with the sound of her name. Christ, she's losing it.

"W-What is it?" She stares at him like a deer caught in headlights, like a kid caught with her hand on the cookie jar. Wes doesn't look away; it's his way of asking her a question. "Oh! Are you done? Where to, now?" She taps her chin, thinking. "Didn't you get an email from Duking when we got here? If we hurry, we can get to Pyrite today. I wouldn't want to burden grandma—" Wes steps over, stands beside her, looks around. They're alone; her arms burst into goose bumps at the thought of what-ifs. "—and I don't want you to sleep in the couch, that's just bad for your back."

She pretends she doesn't see his hand, pretends she doesn't feel his fingers rubbing against hers, knotting around them like a slow vine. "We can—um—we can spend the night in the Grand Hotel, o-or maybe we can just crash in the colosseum …" She can't do it, though. Her tongue betrays her, stuttering her speech.

She tries looking at him, instead, searching for a lifeline. She only manages to scope out his chin, the line of his jaw, the pale colour of his lips.

Tall, she thinks. Has he gotten taller lately?

He tightens his hold for a fragment of a second, telling her to go on, and Rui flushes red, looking at the floor as fast as she can. She's having trouble concentrating. This isn't news – any time Wes takes the lead in touching her, her head goes blank. It's not as though she ever takes the lead, of course (Rui is far too shy to ever reach out for his hand). But isn't she headstrong? Well, of course she's headstrong! She's taken down an organization! She's travelled through Orre! She's defeated creeps and scoundrels!

But she can't reach for Wes' hand. It's ridiculous. She's ridiculous.

"Of—of course, if you want, we can stay," she manages. His thumb is running across the back of her hand, sweeping away all of her thoughts. "We can stay here."

Wes doesn't reply. Instead, he takes a side-step, materializing in front of her and leaning over, all in a smooth movement. His right hand runs across her cheek, but he stands still. She closes her eyes, feeling nervous and expectant and like someone's tickling her stomach.

He's still holding her hand, she notices. He's still holding her hand! He hasn't let go like he always does, and, and—! And Rui wonders if he's going to kiss her. It's been a long time since the last time he's kissed her, and Rui doesn't want to admit, but she misses it, she wants it, and she hopes that he will lean over, press his lips against hers. She does not have it in her to tiptoe, even though she wants. Even though she wants him so much, even though she wants to pull him into a kiss, even though she wants to let her hands linger on his chest, even though she wants him to touch her, too!

Wes' right hand falls from her cheek, brushing past her jaw.

"We should go. If we want to reach Pyrite before sunset."

"Oh," Rui says, and is unable to keep her gloom out of her voice. "R-right. We should," she adds, but makes no attempt to move, or to remove her hand from his. She doesn't want this. Isn't this unfair? She knows what she wants and how to get it – she's just not sure she's capable of making herself get it. Does that make sense?

Ugh, focus, Rui tells herself, and pulls him back when he starts to spin on the ball of his foot, moving towards the entrance of the tunnel. They're still outside, in the forest, but the tunnel is just a few steps away.

"Can't we stay like this, though? For just a while?" She meets his eyes, after a beat, and is surprised to find them widened.

Oh, no, she thinks.

Does he not want this? Her? Does he force himself to touch her? Does he not like touching her? Rui knows he is not a physical person; Wes mainly keeps to himself. He's distant and cool and secretive and he doesn't really trust most people. But does the sum of those personality traits mean he doesn't feel half of what she feels for him?

Rui knows she likes him. She likes him a lot, but "love" is a scary word, and she's only a girl. And Wes? Wes knows she likes him, too. It's not like it's a secret! Heck, everyone around them assume they are a couple. And Rui takes his little, rare moments of affection with a side of glee. She assumes he likes her, too, because that's just how things are. She only wants to touch him, kiss him, because she likes him. And if he kisses her out of the blue after they're done with taking down Evice, then, well, of course she is going to assume—

Wes is staring at her now, head cocked lightly to the side. His eyes are relaxed again.

"It—it's nothing," she responds, to his unsaid question, "Never mind. It's stupid, anyway. You're right, we should probably go before it's too late."

"Rui," he says, runs his thumb across her hand once more. She averts her gaze to the floor, flustered (she loves the way he says her name). "Duking can wait, if you want to." Wes brings her hand up, forces her to take a step, and traces her fingers with his mouth. Rui's knees are almost shaking, her wide eyes unable to look away from her hand, from his lips. He makes her so nervous. "I'll stay," Wes assures, in a smooth voice. She doesn't think she's ever heard him talk so much in so little time. "If you want me to." Her hand has been placed on his shoulder by his, and he's pushing her hair behind her ear. Her cheeks are scorching hot. "Do you want me to?"

"Yes," she breathes, before she loses her nerve. "I'd like that."

He presses his lips to her cheek, chaste, and pulls back almost immediately. Rui's emotions fight between discomfited, frustrated and elated, and when she opens her mouth to speak, to tell him that she wants a real kiss (because honestly!), Wes grabs her by the chin and kisses her. She finds herself holding onto the lapels of his jacket, gripping at the fabric, and she can't help the whimpering sigh that slips from her mouth when he pulls back to let her breathe.

"Oh, um," Rui says, flushing further, into another shade of pink. She's still holding his jacket, but Wes has already shoved his hands down his pockets. "Thank you," she adds, and then feels a little stupid for thanking him. Why does she always feel the need to talk? With a timid glance, she notices Wes' cheeks are darker than usual, too; a little pink. Or maybe it's just her imagination. The corner of his lip is twitching as he stares at her. "Oh, would you like to go now—"

And he kisses her again, mid-sentence.

It's a deep kiss this time, and she can't help it, she makes a little sound and her knees give out. Her head is spinning and her heart is beating and she thinks—no, she's sure she's going to fall to her knees anytime soon.

But then Wes' hands catch her hips, and Rui momentarily wonders, when did we get to the tunnel?, because he's pushing her against a rocky wall. Has she been so out of it that she hasn't noticed where she's been for the last few minutes? Well, who cares. She doesn't want to think about that; not when Wes bites her lip and—was that a groan she just heard? Rui summons her courage and wraps her arms around his neck (which proves to be quite difficult, because she thinks he's grown taller in the summer and because she's feeling faint), pulls him infinitesimally closer. She can feel his hands where they rest, on her hipbones, and when he lets his fingers run across the skin of her stomach, Rui gasps into the kiss, pulls apart and tries to catch her breath.

Wes – for once – doesn't let go. It's usual for him to let go of her as soon as they're done sharing a moment; Rui thinks it's about his nature, about the distance he likes to keep. But not this time. This time, Wes runs his teeth across her neck, licks all the way from her collarbone to her ear. If not for him holding onto her, Rui is sure that she would fall. Her knees have long gone given up, but even if they hadn't, Rui is certain that they would've now, because he's doing that wonderful thing with his mouth, and she's been reduced to a trembling pile of heavy breath.

He pulls her into another kiss, and Rui feels his hands round over her skirt and then stay. Her hips roll forward under his hands. They've never been this far gone before, but Rui wants to go even further. She wants to know how he feels under her hands, wants him to have the guts to slip his hands under her skirt. It's such a pleasurable feeling that she doesn't bother being embarrassed about what she's thinking. She wonders if he'd like her to reciprocate, but by the time she decides she's brave enough to run her fingers through his hair, a stern voice interrupts them.

"Rui," her grandfather says dryly, staring disapprovingly at Wes' hands, sitting against her butt.

"G-Grandpa!"

She's half-paralysed by mortification, but still manages to push Wes away with a tiny yelp. He steps away from her with a disgruntled expression and looks Eagun in the eyes. She wants to smack his little smirk out of his face, but only manages to stutter a half-hysterical apology.


Rui had never really been a fan of public displays of affection.

That, of course, changes ever so-slightly when she meets Wes. She wants to take anything he has to offer, because Wes hardly ever wants to act lovey-dovey; but he never does anything if they aren't by themselves. Case in point: she knows that he only makes a move when they're totally, irrevocably alone. Rui still remembers her first kiss, after all.

After the battle with Evice, Wes grabbed her by the wrist and took her to one of the more faraway locker rooms in the colosseum. No excuses and no justifications. Rui supposes she understands. She was also giddy and excited and high on a victory for peace. And Wes was actually smiling that crazy, Cheshire-esque grin of his. He was still smiling when he pulled her into a kiss, and he was still smiling when he sat down on a bench and laughed. He laughed hard—not loudly, because his voice is as jaded as it is small—and when he was done he kissed her again. It was a strange kind of kiss, not like the first. Her first kiss had been just a small peck, a two or three-second kiss. And then Wes pulled her into his lap (even though she was wearing a skirt), played with her hair and kissed her, let his right hand rest on her shoulder as he coaxed her with his left, making her slack her jaw, making her respond to him even while her insides burned with both want, dark uncertainty, and shy inexperience.

But even under the circumstances, Rui has never been a fan of public displays of affection, and she is sure her grandfather isn't, either. Especially not when he catches his sweet, innocent granddaughter making out with a boy who is far too wayward to be her boyfriend. Oh, but wait; there's that word again. Boyfriend. Is he? She likes to think he is, but it's not like he hasn't gotten tons of propositions from girls—she is not a wallflower, thank you—even if all of them were silently turned down.

What makes her think he wants to be her boyfriend, if she's not even sure he likes her back?

...

Her grandfather's stroppy expression is still on her memory, even when they get to Pyrite Town. The trip back is horrid. Rui, who has now cooled down, begins to feel embarrassed by her previous behaviour (she flushed red every time the bike frisked and she was pressed tighter against him). They meet with Duking, who tells them the news, how the colosseum is great, how the crime rate is descending, etcetera. While Wes and him talk, she meets with Marcia and Secc, tells them that the purification is a slow but steady work, and that her grandparents are taking good care of all the purified pokémon.

"They love Agate village. Especially the forest part! We think they might be comfortable enough there to breed," Rui confides, happily. Marcia and Secc trade an excited look. "Wouldn't that be amazing? Having wild pokémon in Orre…"

"When I'm grown up like you, I'm going to be as pretty and strong, Rui!"

The visit doesn't take long. Wes is a man of few words anyway, so in fifteen minutes, they head off to the Grand Hotel. Wes turns down Rui's propositions to spend the night at the colosseum: the beds there are hard and springy, and Wes has money to spend. Besides, they're tired and he wants a worthy bed.

The receptionist smiles at the two of them, handing the key to Wes. The young man—a new employee, no doubt—turns to her with a conspiratorial wink.

"Sleep well," he says, and smiles at her as he leans over the counter.

Wes sets his hand on the end of her back; stares unblinkingly at him before leading her to their bedroom. What was that about? Rui feels as though she's being left out on something, and when she asks Wes about it, he doesn't reply. Well, fine.

She barges inside their hotel room—the hotel's quality has risen dramatically since Cipher's downfall—taking off her shoes, jumping onto the bed, staring at the fan on the ceiling. Wes is already making himself comfortable on the couch by the time she sits up. Rui stares at him, then at the bed. Then at him. Then, at the bed. Then she bites her lip.

"I'll take the couch!" she exclaims finally, getting up and stepping over to him. "You can take the bed. It's not good for your health to drive all the time and sleep in crummy couches, you know." She plops down next to him. "Besides, I figure I owe you for all the times you slept on the couch."

The hotel room is washed over in silence before she gets up again, deciding to rummage through her bag.

"A-anyway, I'm going to take a shower, I'm pretty sure I have sand in my hair from travelling, so, yeah," she says, holding her makeshift pyjamas close to her chest. Her jacket's lying on a chair by the door. "You can go to sleep if you want to. Don't wait up!"

Don't wait up? Stupid. She closes the door and rolls her eyes at the mirror. Her cheeks are flushed; a repeated event.


When she's done, Wes is still up, sitting on the couch. Rui runs a hand through her fresh hair, feeling a little self-conscious. The fan's turned off, but in her shirt and shorts, she is not hot, despite the summer night.

"Oh! I thought you'd be sleeping by now." She sits next to him—pulls her knees to her chest, her elbows on top, and leans in her face, sideways, to watch him. "Also, I told you to take the bed. I really don't mind taking the couch."

"Bed's big enough for two," Wes says simply; he's always been very fond of saying heavy things casually.

Oh. If she didn't feel hot before then she most certainly does now. He's never before suggested they sleep together—and they've been sharing hotel rooms for what seems like a lifetime. Rui has never even thought about sharing a bed with him (that's a lie), but then again, it's not as if it particularly makes her feel awkward. She wriggles her toes, trying to glance at him from the corner of her eye. Wes is staring at the bed, waiting for her to talk. Rui talks all the time, except when she needs to. And she's aware of it. She's aware.

Wes sighs, when a quiet minute passes by and she hasn't said anything. He nods towards the bed, sends her there voicelessly, and Rui fidgets with her bare feet, her brain working furiously to try and supply him with an answer.

"I'll take the couch," Wes says, when another minute flies by and she hasn't yet moved.

"We can—we can sleep together," Rui replies, in a whisper, and she lets her face fall to meet her knees, to bury it there, to avoid looking at him (and vice-versa). "I … I won't mind."

There. That's settled. But what now—who's going to be the first one to get up and to lie on the bed? She certainly isn't going to move out of the couch without him backing her up. Rui, in her frantic staring around the room, finds his jacket over a chair. Oh! How could she have not noticed he's not wearing it? She turns her head, taking in the lovely sight that is Wes in a simple shirt. He's almost relaxed, legs bent but unfolded over the carpet. He's taken off his boots as well—this simple fact pleases her for some reason—and he almost looks content for a second. But then he changes his gaze, stares at her curiously, and his previous expression is lost. His expression asks her 'well?', and she frowns but gets up and walks to the bed.

Wes doesn't leave the couch as he watches her.

Are you coming or what, she wants to ask him. Wes must catch the meaning behind her unsteady gaze, because he gets up and sits on the opposite side of the bed. But, unlike her, he does not stay sitting up; Wes lies down, runs his hands through his hair, stares at the unmoving fan. Rui wonders if he thinks it's too hot.

"Maybe I should turn it on—"

He reaches for her hand and she almost jumps, startled. Stay, the gesture says. Just stay still for once. Relax. Take it easy. But Rui can't take it easy. She's not even sleepy anymore. How can she be? He's right there, at arms' length, without the glasses, without the intimidating jacket, without the steel-toed boots. And surprisingly, he's being patient enough not to give up. Wes is strong and stubborn and he will take on the world, but she frustrates him. Rui knows that when he turns to her, feeling like a kiss or a waltz of the hand across the back of her neck, her shyness gets him taken aback. Rui is aware of this, but pretends not to be, because Wes is so self-aware of himself. He's obsessed with not showing his weak points, and, and – and if she feels giddy every time he turns to her with that smile, it's because she's just recalling something funny, not because she's liked enough to be a part of his life, to share a smile with him. Not at all.

… Who's she kidding?

She leans back, hits the mattress and contemplates the ceiling. She's never going to fall asleep. Not while holding his hand. Not while he's beside her, chest rising and falling softly as he blinks (and certainly not without slipping inside the covers, either). She glances at him. He's gorgeous in the way the desert's gorgeous, amber eyes closing and opening, dry lips closed, pale-blond locks beckoning her to touch them.

"Can I kiss you?" The question is completely unexpected. Rui's eyes widen at the same time her cheeks bloom into red, and Wes leans on his elbow to take a better look at her after his eyes widen in shock. He probably can't believe—and neither can she—that she just asked that. His eyes are still a little widened, but his mouth is opening into a sly grin (but a subdued one, he probably doesn't want to scare her off). That smile asks her: I don't know, can you? "I—I mean—" she tries adding, sitting up in a daze.

But he's already half-leaning against the wood headboard, daring her to act.

… Okay.

Okay. She can do this.

Rui swallows in dry, lets her hand sink into the mattress as she pulls herself up, inches away from his nose. She wonders if he can feel the heat waving off her face. Wes' eyes are on her, but besides from the smooth movement of his fingers on her wrist, he is not moving.

She kneels, boldly setting one of her knees between his legs for better leverage, her hands on the pillow.

It's so stressful and exhilarating! Does he feel like this when he kisses her? Wes is always the one who starts things, but Rui doesn't think he ever feels nervous. Wes keeps his cool under pressure, all the time, and meanwhile Rui feels her fingertips drumming with the force with which her heart's beating. He intertwines his fingers with hers, watches her agitated reaction coolly. From where she sits, she can smell his skin. Wes smells of sand, salt—does salt have a smell? No, of course not, that was stupid—and rust. She breathes in, through her mouth, before she tries to do it, do it, she pushes forward with her hands, listens to the mattress creak under her hands, to the rustle of the sheets.

Rui's closed her eyes already. She almost flinches when their noses touch, and for all the experience she has with kissing him, she seems unable to start a kiss herself. This is completely silly, but her whole body is burning with jumpiness. She tightens her hold on his hand, until the bones of her fingers twinge once, painfully. Her other hand is placed on the angle between his neck and his shoulder, and she's a little flustered for touching bare skin instead of the fabric of his coat. So she thinks about her second kiss, thinks about tongues and his hand on her chin, and finally (!) presses her lips to his. It's a rush of relief when his other hand rests on her curved spine, bringing her a little closer. From then on it's Wes the one commanding, his kiss overpowering hers, his tongue—god, his tongue—licking at her lips at first and at her tongue later. Rui starts to feel lightheaded – she always forgets to breathe – and pulls back unsteadily, letting her head fall onto his shoulder. She's breathing through her mouth, taking in shallow gasps, and she can hear herself. It's horrid. It's humiliating.

She doesn't care at all at the moment.

"Ah," she lets out, when Wes' hand lowers from the end of her back to her hip, his fingers grazing dangerously close to her ass. She edges closer to him, until they're chest to chest, pelvises almost glued together. It brings about all kinds of interesting feelings, from wanting to kiss him again, harder than before, to wanting to do something because the top of her thighs is definitely reacting to his presence. For a split second, she almost regrets having changed into pyjamas, but then he lets his thumb caress the underside of her shorts, on the left side, and she needs to press her mouth against his neck to keep from moaning.

Is this what lust is all about? She thinks she's got love half-figured out, but when it comes to lust, she is at a loss. Sitting on him, holding his hand while the other is grabbing at the collar of his shirt, smothering the sounds slipping from her throat, Rui is more confused than ever. Granted, her brain is not entirely functional at the moment, but even so. Finding his fingers so near her underwear opens the doors to fantasies she thought she'd left tightly locked. Rui is a girl, a cute, innocent girl—

He tries nipping at the skin of her shoulder and neck, and her hips heave against his. She gives up trying to find an excuse to her behaviour when Wes groans against her shoulder (and Rui is almost breathless at the sound), his grip on her hip and hand tightening. He lets go of her hand immediately after that, finding that his hands are better put to use on the dimples of her hipbones. Rui really grinds her hips against his after that, a half-unconscious movement that has her near begging for some kind of evolution, that has him inhaling sharply. His ears are pink; she can see them, and she's glad she's not the only one affected.

Knowing him, she wouldn't be surprised if he masked his want.

Instead, he chooses to flip her; her back arches against the sheets while he lets his hand play with the elastic band of her underwear, teases her, lets her know what he could do, but won't. He's horrible. He's also disarmed her—she can no longer hide her face from him. Instead, she lies beneath him, struggling with herself not to make any sounds.

She's never seen him so into something; Rui's always had a gut feeling that he only kissed her to satisfy her, because she's a physical person, always touching, always reaching to him. Of course that at the moment, she can only touch his shirt, gripping and trembling, trying to tell him what her mouth can't possibly.

He pulls at her neck with his mouth until it's sore, and doesn't even try to hide the smirk on his face. Rui doesn't care, because he has his knees between hers; she can feel the hard press of his—his—against her—her—oh! His fingers don't manage to climb down the imaginary line that is her navel, and she's getting increasingly frustrated. The spring inside her stomach is coiling tighter, but she's unable to release it, and it's making her crazy.

"Wes," she begs, pushing against the bed with the back of her head, arching her back to increase the lovely, lovely friction between them. If he's not going to, then she is. Wes brings his head up to meet her eyes, but Rui covers her face with her hands.

And then he sits up, carefully building distance between him and her, and evening out his breathing.

Wait. What?

"N-No, wait, I didn't mean—" Didn't mean what? Then what did she mean? Did she mean for a plea for him to finally get it over with, to finally touch her, to finally make her lose control? Rui shuts up, waiting for him to interrupt. But Wes just stares at the wall stubbornly, a subtle frown on his eyes. "Wes?" She pulls her shirt down.

She doesn't get him to talk; instead Wes walks over to the couch and, lying down, turns away from her. Rui waits a few minutes, but he doesn't manifest.

She knows he isn't sleeping.


She wakes up with a temper, and it takes her a few minutes to understand why, when she remembers last night. Her mood goes through a myriad of colours; red for embarrassment, white for panic, a dark shade of grey for annoyance, blue for disappointment (and purple for the hickey on her neck, which has her angry at him and embarrassed at herself).

The pallet lasts the whole day—Wes makes no attempts whatsoever to touch her, and every time she attempts to hold his hand, he finds a way to unlace their fingers without being too obvious. It hurts and it really irks her, but she only finds it in herself to blow up at him in the worst of timings.

They've been searching through Cipher's ex-building, looking for some kind of clue as to where a new location might be, when Rui finds a secret room. Other than a small, crummy elevator, there's not much else, so she tries calling it. When the doors open, she takes a peek inside. It seems a one-person elevator, and even then she thinks it's far too small for a fat person to climb on. There's only three buttons inside; 'stop', 'up', and 'down', which makes her suppose that it's like the elevator by the lobby. Does it take the passenger to the Under, as well? She's tiptoeing, grabbing the door for support, when she hears Wes breathing in from behind her. It startles her so much she loses her balance, falls forward.

She never meets the floor, though. Somehow – and she remembers Wes is capable of amazing things – he's managed to grab her. However, that leaves them—

Rui feels the heat rush to her cheeks, ears, and any area on sight, when she realises she's being pushed against the wall, tiptoeing, his knee between her thighs, his hands holding for support on each side of her head. When she breathes, the metal in front of her face fogs over, her torso slides against the wall of the elevator, and she hears Wes make a sound with his throat, a murky groan that could be of exhaustion, or of want.

She can't decide.

She can't decide because she's losing it—Christ, she's losing it. She can feel the press of his chest against her back, can feel his belt buckle digging into her thigh, can feel his breath on the back of her neck, can feel his knee right where she wants it to be. But she can also feel the gust of humiliation and misery when she remembers last night.

Rui still doesn't know what he was thinking. She was there, willing (very willing). For Pete's sakes, she begged him. She's Rui, not one of the shameless girls who come onto Wes when they challenge him for a battle. She's Rui and she is shy and it takes her a lot of guts to finally ask him to please—just do her. But he dropped the issue and closed himself again, went away, out of her range.

She hates it when he does that, but she understands. That's why she doesn't press the matter. That's how much she likes him. But now they're incarcerated inside a one-person elevator and she's positively sure she's jammed her elbow against the buttons, because a scratchy, female voice informs them that the emergency stop button has been pressed, and 'please wait for fifteen minutes while we work on getting the elevator running once more', which is just … terrible. This isn't what she wants. What she wants is for him to decide if she's a catch or not, she wants him to love her as much as she does him, and she wants—she might be Rui, she might be a girl with a cute face and a cuter personality—but god damn it, she wants him. She wants him so bad, she thinks she'll explode. A big explosion, too, with fireworks and sparklers and firemen trying to hose down the fire. A fifteen-story fire, threatening to collapse a building!

Rui feels like gasoline; ready to burn.

"I've been trying to talk to you, but—but you keep avoiding me so I'll just say it now," she says, a little breathless. Her legs are sore from keeping her on her toes, but she does not want to sit on him. Dealing with want is the last thing she wants. "I want you to know that I really l-like you. Okay. That's it—and, and I'll be by your side if you want me to, and, and I, I want you, and I want you as much as I need you—" she closes her eyes and her mouth, blushing to the roots of her hair. She wants to tell him everything weighing on her chest, wants to tell him that she loves—likes, she just likes him—so much it's almost unbearable. In fact, no, it is unbearable. Which is why her mouth is running so fast she almost trips in her words, in her thoughts. "I—" oh, darn it all, "I love you and it hurts to watch you close away from me—because I keep thinking I'm not good enough! I keep wondering if you're just doing it because it's easier than to tell me that you don't—"

Wes leans his head on her shoulder, interrupting her. When she turns, curiosity overpowering embarrassment, she spots the pinkness of his ears again. It's spreading onto his forehead, as well, and there are little pink wrinkles when he frowns. She can't see his eyes, and for once she wants to see that lovely amber. She wants to see him blush, wants to see him react in a way that is usually reserved for her. Good god, when has she become such a sadist? That's his job.

"… Wes?"

The seconds tick away and the pleasant female voice informs them they are going up. She panics; Rui makes to shove her elbow on the stop button again, because, god damn it, she is so close to figuring something out—but she is stopped. Wes' hand slams down on the button first, intersecting any coherent thoughts. Rui is so surprised she hardly even takes notice of the scratchy voice's repeated warning.

She almost jumps—which is not that good of an idea since they are in a rundown elevator—when she feels the harsh touch of his fingers on her thigh. Her question is forgotten when his other hand turns her chin to the left.

Even from behind, Wes is an amazing kisser. Rui turns to goo as soon as his tongue comes into play, and she doesn't manage to stifle the gasp resultant from his knee brushing against her, her … (oh she can't bring herself to think it!) – and god, her knees are giving out again. Why does this keep happening? Is it because she's so nervous? Is it because she always forgets to breathe? Is it because she's being overpowered by a primal need to – forgive her French – fuck him, like the hardboiled detectives in noir movies portray a love affair? It certainly isn't just a feelingless (feelingless—is that even a word? Rui is just barely certain it's not) move for her, and judging from the reddish tinge of his ears, nor for him. Wes works his way under her skirt, feeling around, making her breath hitch.

"Do you want this?" he asks finally, the fear in his slow movements betraying his level voice. He is not sure if she's actually willing.

Rui would roll her eyes if she wasn't not struggling to stand.

For all Wes is – good kind of criminal, anti-hero, picture poster of fearless, handsome boy-man – he certainly has his doubts about her enthusiasm over something as simple as sex. It's easy to be confused; after all, Rui is childish and innocent. But that does not mean she does not get funny twinges between her legs when they start a particularly heavy make-out session. That does not mean she does not fantasize about his skinny fingers. That does not mean she does think about making the first move and making love to him. Of course—those are fantasies. Rui will never in her life have the guts to start something. Not for a while, at least. This is why she needs him to. This is why she wants him to be bold, because she as heck isn't going to be.

So she nods shyly, turning her face away. That is when she notices that in the elevator's metalized walls, she can see her blue eyes staring back at her. Which means that half a second later, Wes' yellow, smirking gaze meets hers. This is something far too twisted, something not at all suited for her, and Rui closes her eyes in urgency when his fingers pad over her underwear, over the traitorous knot of nerves responsible for her shaking knees and rapid breaths. God, he can see her face.

"Don't blame me for my lack of self-control," Wes says, then, lips touching against the lobe of her ear. His voice is filthy and raggedy and deep. It's the sexiest thing she's ever heard him say advertently, and Rui almost, almost throws her head back (like the girls in the movies Pyrite's rundown cinema insists on playing).

"Nn, wai—" He's leaving a particularly wet kiss behind her ear (and Rui finds out that she's terribly ticklish there) when he lets his fingers skim before he – "Haaah—"

Her speech seems to consist of only syllables, now that he's touching her, testing her, thumb brushing against places she doesn't wish to think of, two fingers tapping alternately at her flesh, his tongue paving the skin of her neck. He doesn't speak much—what a surprise. Rui's had thoughts about sex and Wes, all in a (not necessarily neat) package. Does he moan, does he groan, does he breathe heavy, does he act all crazy with lust? It's at the moment she finds herself almost laughing at that, for thinking something like that. Save for him being just slightly out of breath, Rui hasn't heard a peep. Well, of course, his mouth is occupied with whatever expanse of skin he can find, and she's not really paying much attention—she literally can't. Not with his hand inside her underwear. Not with the smooth gesture of his wrist. Not with the grungy feel of his pants against the thin fabric of her panties.

Rui claws desperately at the sleeve of his jacket, almost losing her balance. Her legs are starting to fail at sustaining her, and her chest heaves desperately against the metal of the elevator. The pressure almost hurts, but then Wes lets his back rest against the closed doors and brings her along with him. It gives her just enough space to breathe and to arch her back. She still doesn't get over the fact that his hand is inside her underwear—she certainly doesn't get over that. Not even if she could—even though she's shaking so bad … She wants to ask him what is happening, because none of this ever happens when she's the one doing it (there are no electric currents running across her veins, no sudden waves of heat spreading), but when she makes to question him, her knees buckle and her head goes white, like flash-fire.

She only manages to take notice of his startled expression a quarter of second before the world around her turns off.


Her knees are all bruised and she knows he thinks it's his fault. Rui doesn't correct him because she is not at the top of her game—every time she does so much as to glance at his hands, she feels the red colour seep into her skin. She still can't believe he did it, and she still can't believe she let herself lose control, but in the end she feels a kind of effervescent bliss that she's never felt before. It's a purely physical thing. She feels oddly relieved, and relaxed, but … Well, when it comes down to the embarrassing truth, Rui kind of feels – empty. Frustrated. It should be easy to figure out why—she thinks, sighing.

Wes is perpetually out, meeting with Duking and talking to Chief Sherles, which leaves her busy with the kids. Rui does whatever she can do to help, be it cooking for them or simply keeping company, but she's not so great with computers. Secc and Marcia have it covered anyway, of course, but she can't help feeling a little worthless. The problem is, she thinks (paradoxically), that there is far too much time to think. And there is. She reads through a book from Duking's shelf while she waits for the two men to return, while the kids work, but in the end, she gets tired of it. Rui's not the biggest fan of books. She actually tries to keep distracted, but after five minutes of reading the same line without managing to concentrate put a stop to that wish, and she just stares around the secret room.

She can't stop thinking about him. It's not as if it's easy, of course—Marcia asks her twice if they're dating, and when Rui just fiddles, she trades a knowing look with Secc. In cue, the other boy, the one with the lookout duty (she can't remember his name, how embarrassing), asks her if she'd like to date him once he's older, and Rui laughs kindly at him and changes the subject. She can't see herself dating anyone but Wes. That's the painful truth. Rui had always been uninterested—both in men and in sex. In general, it was something she didn't care for. In specific, she'd never really fallen in love.

Until Wes, of course.

"You're blushing again, Rui!" Marcia yelps, clapping and giggling. "You must really love Wes!"

"Marcia," a strong voice admonishes, before Rui can, and her eyes widen when she realises it's Duking's. Wes' eyes meet her own when she turns on her chair, caught by surprise.

"Oh," she manages, nervously, "you're here. I didn't hear you arrive."

Wes doesn't even blink.

"Thank you for taking care of them, Rui," Duking says. "I hope they weren't much trouble while we were out."

"Not at all," Rui half-lies, smiling tensely at the older man, avoiding Wes' smirking glare.

Outside, she quickly changes the subject: asks him about their day, what they found and whether it was fun or not—but Wes is obviously tired. There are small dirt stains on his bony cheeks and on his clothes, and his skin is caked brown for the most part. So she doesn't push him for answers; just follows after him into the hotel room. Outside, night is falling; painting Pyrite's darkening sky with neon lights.

"We scouted the desert for new bases," he'd told her, before he'd walked inside the bathroom. She hadn't needed to ask whose bases they'd been scouting for—she supposes even though they've accomplished to destroy Cipher, there are probably still members around—but Rui doesn't want to think about that, so she just waits. Waits for something; there is a feeling of wondrous stagnation inside the room and she wants Wes to fix it. It's always Wes the one who changes things, so why shouldn't he be the one who does it this time?

She grabs at the covers for leverage when he steps out of the steaming bathroom, his damp hair pulling at the skin of his almost-hollow cheeks, the perfect picture of someone far too beautiful and dangerous for her own good. Rui averts her eyes from his face, feeling her cheeks flush at the mere sight of his collarbones; and if the back of her neck burns with embarrassment, it's his chest's fault – thin and muscled and so very Wes. It's not the first time she sees his chest, but it's the first time she feels this affected about it. Of course that, the first time, she'd sputtered and blushed and she'd run out of the room muttering apologies (and he teased and joked and told her it was perfectly fine), but that was then and this was now. The Now—after he had his hand in her underwear and his tongue on her neck. And ears. And jaw—

Rui blinks and belatedly realises that she's practically squeezing the colour out of the covers. 'Belatedly', because Wes has noticed it, too, and a smirk had materialized on his mouth. A thin smirk. A smirk that asks her what she's thinking about. Like he doesn't know! she thinks angrily, turning her face away.

"Ah—anyway," she starts, tremblingly, "Any plans for now?"

He sits on her left, the towel around his neck dropped for him to plant his palms on the mattress. Rui stares at the floor very intently, obviously avoiding the expanse of skin inches from her arm. He's doing it on purpose! He's doing it on purpose because he knows she gets flustered, which means Rui will now have to remain as cool and as collected as possible. Rui, of course, is incapable of this. Especially when his shirt is off—but even then, it's not even the shirt that makes her uncomfortable. It's his hands, gloveless and taut against the bed, just like she imagines them to be in one of her fantasies.

Wes just shrugs, tipping the mattress further below, infuriating her. She's angry and effervescent again, skin boiling and blood rushing, but this time she doesn't want to explode. A quick look at her bruised knees has Rui calming down—the purple tinge reminds her of the inability to control her running mouth, and she doesn't wish to repeat that incident, so … So Rui just hooks her chin and looks straight ahead, hands on her stiff knees. She is almost certain that Wes is smirking, but despite the temptation, she doesn't want to check. He's put his shirt on, already (she squashes the disappointment growing in her chest).

"Dinner," he finally says, with the tiniest of sighs. He holds out his hand, and Rui almost, almost manages to refuse it, but then her eyes catch onto his and she is lost. "I'm buying."


They end up dining in a small 24-7 diner.

Rui has French fries and a milkshake – despite his attempts to play it cool, the disdain is apparent in Wes' sweeping glare at her paltry dish – while he has a fries, a burger and a Cola. There is a one-sided conversation on her part, complete with absent-minded nods from him, and halfway through the dinner they bump hands while reaching for the mayonnaise. That is when the awkwardness begins. It continues, of course, when he lets his knee touch hers, his eyes attentively staring back into hers while she talks about her day, about anything that comes to mind.

She begins feeling the customary sting of a blush when he lets his tongue dart across his lower lip, searching for a stray stain of mustard. She's fairly sure it's unintended, so she forgives him, even if she wants to kiss it off his mouth.

"Here," she says, leaning over the table with a napkin in her hand. Rui – much to her pleasure – doesn't fail to notice the sudden pinkish tone of his ears, and breaks into a tiny smile when she pushes the napkin into his mouth, softly wiping away—

And that is when Wes takes her wrist, pulling it away from his face and closer to him in a simultaneous low blow, and presses a kiss on her half-open mouth. The first thing she thinks of is something like 'but I haven't even brushed my teeth', a thought that quickly falls apart when his other hand pushes her hair behind her ear, thumb brushing against her cheek and against the line of her jaw. Rui feels herself melt, and stumbles back onto her seat when he lets go of her hand. She's much too winded to even check if someone's seen them kissing, so she just catches her breath (attempts to).

"What—what was that for!" she manages, putting a hand in front of her mouth, as if that will shield her from more of his rogue kisses. He just shrugs, as usual, in his infuriatingly calm way, and drinks the rest of his Cola. Rui mimics him, downing the rest of her strawberry milkshake in a flustered flash. She's so perturbed, so disturbed, so troubled by a simple kiss, she doesn't know what the thought of a repeat of the elevator incident might bring about. Does she want to fool around again? It's been a week since then, and he hasn't done as much as to kiss her – which has been corrected in magnificent fashion right about now – but … But is he holding back? Rui isn't stupid. She can tell whenever he's looking at her knees with that expressionless look on his face (most likely berating himself for letting her fall). She knows he likes to cultivate his anti-hero persona, but Wes is only human, and someone like Rui knows him best than anyone in Orre!

Which is why she slinks her hand into his while he's paying. The cashier throws the two of them a look (no big deal, Rui's aware they are an odd pair), and in the darkness of the street, outside, Rui is almost sure she can see Wes' ears darkening with a pink flush. She feels deeply satisfied as they walk hand in hand, headed for the hotel room. But that brings about another problem: is she finally going to have the guts to ask him to sleep with her? Rui means literally (although … she wouldn't mind the alternative at all). He's been sleeping in the couch for the last days, and she knows what a crappy situation that is, especially when he's been spending his time scouting for the remaining Cipher bases.

So when they're five minutes away from the hotel, she pops the question: "Do you want to—er, take the bed?"

Okay, that didn't go so well. It's his eyes fault. Most definitely. Whenever Wes brings those amber eyes to hers, Rui loses all track of her thoughts. "I, I mean—"

"No," he replies sparingly. Despite his tone of voice, he does not let go of her hand, which means she has enough terrain to advance, even if it's just an inch or two.

"We can share," she tries again, when they are walking inside the lobby. The attendant from the night shift—the one who particularly likes Rui—winks at her, but she pretends she doesn't notice. Wes pulls her along the corridor, not bothering to glance at the other young man, and Rui smiles just slightly. It's sort of sweet, the way he refuses to admit he is at least a bit jealous of other people. Rui usually lets it show—she is not a wallflower!—to which Wes replies with a poker face (most likely to pretend he doesn't understand why she's suddenly so irked), but … Wes hardly ever shows emotion, much less jealousy.

This is the excuse Rui gives to herself, to explain why she pulls him into a kiss as soon as they get inside their room.

She's been getting overly bold. She knows it, too; to think that she used to be unable to kiss him – and she still is, to a degree. But she's missed him every day, she's missed him so much it hurts, and he thinks he can give her a three-second kiss and everything's going to be just fine? This is not acceptable. It's just very unfair, because he keeps it all under control—oh, um, wait a second

Wes' hands grip her waist as soon as she presses her lips to him. It's a mild kiss, just enough to tell him that she kind of maybe possibly wants to make out; nothing new for them. It's just a tug on his sleeve and a tiny peck on his thin lips, just a small little 'can you kiss me? Can you take the lead?'

Her eyes widen when he strikes back with surprising ferocity.

Maybe it's because he's stressed and frustrated with the scouting business, or maybe it's because he misses her just as she misses him. Well, no, maybe that's just wishful thinking …

It certainly doesn't seem like wishful thinking. He's pushing her against the door of the hotel room already, making her question when they changed positions, hands splayed across the end of her back. She even squeaks when he pulls down, bringing her so close that she can feel every wrinkle of his jeans, the cool metal of his belt buckle, the hardness of … wait

Rui's face very definitely explodes into red once she realises that he's already hard—hard for her, a small voice in her head completes, much to her embarrassment and female pride. His thumb is already working on getting her skirt out of the way, pulling it up expertly, and she doesn't even stop to think if her underwear is sexy enough, because she is giddy! She's madly giddy with the thought that she's done that to him; she's altered Wes – the cool cat, the icy costumer, the poker-faced boy – she's changed him so much that he's willing to throw all that out the window. Rui's hands are nervous, unsure of where to sit, and she ends up leaving them on his chest, twisting and turning his jacket at the same time he cups the cheeks of her butt. It's such a dirty, unbecoming gesture, she almost feels embarrassed before she remembers what they are both doing. This is no one-sided affair.

His fingers bury into her flesh, knuckles fleetingly dragging along her underwear before he pulls her with him. Her steps falter, ungraceful and uncoordinated, because Wes refuses to unhand her. They've never been this furious – it's usually only Rui who's violent and frantic in her movements, not him. But Wes is. Wes is, and she is near bliss when she hears him groan against her mouth, groan something that sounds like her name.

She would giggle if she were not struggling to breathe.

They fall onto the bed, and she feels his belt buckle scratch at her thigh; Rui can't suppress an inhaled hiss, the small noise of discomfort blowing out of her mouth. Wes' pointer finger apologetically runs across the pink mark, bringing her all kinds of interesting feelings – love, hope, a prick of spicy lust.

She gasps into the kiss.

Her knees are on each side of him, her skirt is looping around her navel, and it won't take long until she's without her shirt, either. Her denim jacket falls to the floor, when he's done with it, and then Wes focuses on her top. Rui has her eyes closed, lips tightly pressed together while he touches her shoulders, the inside of her elbows, her hipbones. Despite the ticklish, electric feeling, her worried mind turns again her. What if she's unsatisfactory? What if her breasts are too small? Or too big? Or what if she's not thin enough? Or too thin? I don't know anything about what he finds attractive, she realises, with a sharp tang of bitterness. She can't get the taste out of her mouth after that, not even when he makes to move her purple top out of her, she just presses her lips tighter.

He notices—of course he does, he's Wes, and what had she been expecting? His hands fall to the bed, and despite the slight flush on his face (and – she notices – the quicker breathing), he remains impassive.

"I—" she starts, squeaking. She closes her eyes again, flushing. "Am I really what you want?"

He does a little noise with his nose, like a snort of disbelief, and she opens her eyes to stare at him. There's a small smirk on his lips, a suggestive expression that makes her feel very aware of the position they are on. Then Wes grabs her by the hips and pulls down, and something else makes her feel very, very aware.

"Can't you tell?" he half-growls into her ear, and she thinks she's going to lose it just because of that. Her hips twitch. His fingers pad into the apex of her thighs and she loses track of her train thought. It's a low trick, but it works, and she arches her back, curves against him, fingers digging loosely on his shoulders. She can't help it. She lifts on unsteady knees when he asks her to, unabashedly giving into his every command as long as he doesn't stop. It's embarrassing, too, to hear herself whispering pleas against his neck. She definitely is reminded of the girls in Pyrite's movie theatre, now, moaning and gasping in his ear when he shifts his wrist, two fingers making her whole body tremble and react.

Rui comes apart in his arms, sweetly sobbing his name in his ear and wondering if she's the kind of girl who comes in minutes or if he's just that good with his hands.

The response of her body is to relax tremblingly against his. She transforms into a pile of shivers, melting against him: her head lying on his shoulder, her chest against his, her parted knees on each side of him. It's now she can feel the taut fabric of her underwear around her thighs, pulling her legs together. She blushes as she tries to close them, but—

"Good?" he whispers, letting his tongue touch the back of ear, the beginning of her jaw. She practically jumps at the sound of his voice, cool stings extending all over her skin once more. She listens to him wipe his hand on his pants – such a filthy gesture, done in such an indifferent way; it's so like him – and then grab her waist. She pulls back, sitting properly on his thighs as he asks her.

She's still sensible—when she sits down on him, she can't help the shiver that runs across her spine. Her eyes find the taunting flash of his belt buckle almost immediately. Wes' face is flushed and that in itself makes her want to touch him, makes her want to hold the leash for once. It's just wishful thinking, her mind repeats, but her shaking right hand drags along his thigh, softly meaning to reach his zipper, his belt. Wes inhales sharply and breathes out slowly, drawing his sigh out. His hold on her thigh tightens, thumb digging into her hipbone a little forcefully.

The tension rises back to a peak. She's still half-relaxed, half-sleepy; very much drowsy because of him. But she's still aware of the straight line of his back as he sits, holding her so she doesn't fall back. They're by the side of the bed, his feet touching the carpet, his knees at a ninety-degree angle, and Rui realises he must be uncomfortable, letting her lean against him like that. He's so strong, she thinks, and feels a little thankful.

"Um, do you want to—"

"I'm fine," he cuts off, left hand on the covers. The sheets wrinkle around his fist.

Oh. Okay, she doesn't say, swallowing in dry with expectations. So what now? Rui pads at the carpet, getting out of his lap and awkwardly pulling her underwear up at the same time. Wes watches, attentively, monitoring her every movement. It makes her breath skip. But Rui – despite everything – is not as innocent as Wes probably thinks she is. In the world of today, it's impossible not to be bombarded with sex; especially in Pyrite. She's not exactly proud to admit that she … Well—okay—her curiosity has the best of her sometimes, and she can't be blamed for wanting to know what to do, okay? So sometimes, when he's busy and the kids don't need to be looked after, she heads into the Under's shops and – well, it's not her fault that the shopkeeper likes to blab about her sexual expertise to whoever walks in, right?

Rui gives up trying to argue with her conscience and falls to her knees, staring at her greatest obstacle yet: his belt. With shaky hands, she undoes it, but doesn't take it out (figuring out where to put it would just deflate her confidence once more). She stares at the fabric of his boxers, realises how strange it is to see him so bare (even though she's the one who's been half-naked twice now), and doesn't even notice the sharp inhale he takes when she lets her fingers dance across the plaid. She's transfixed with the bulge underneath; the proof that no matter how much he tries, he's still just human. The gust of feminine pride hits her again, full force, and Rui makes him a question with her eyes.

"Here," he answers, taking her wrist in his hand, pulling her up. He sits her on his lap again, gives her a kiss, and when she parts to breathe, he drags his teeth across the skin of her neck. She shifts, moaning, and she manages to feel him twitch against her thigh when she does so. This time, she listens to his soft groan, and Rui's shyness goes flying out the window. She lets her hands run across his stomach, appreciates the tautness, and then takes his – his cock – oh, god, she can't

"Oh, um," she says, feeling suddenly very embarrassed. She averts her eyes to the wall, quickly, feels the blood rush to her cheeks. There's a small smirk on his face as he pulls her back into another kiss, slipping his tongue inside her mouth, pulling her infinitesimally closer, until she can feel her nemesis – his buckle – digging into her thigh again. Only this time, she can feel the hard press of his cock against the sensitive bundle of nerves, spurring her into acting, please. So what if she didn't actually take it out? It's still inside his boxers, sure, but it's hard and it's making it so difficult to think … She half-accidentally, half-experimentally grinds against him, and promptly finds out that he's far more affected by her ministrations than she is. She quickly moves on. "C-can I take your shirt off?"

He smiles at her. It's a feral, wild smile, but it's a smile nonetheless, and Wes shrugs out of his jacket, throwing it half-heartedly somewhere. She lets her hands run across his stomach again (it's a wonderful part of his anatomy, together with the appendage sliding insistently against the fabric of her sodden panties), raises his shirt just slightly. As if afraid that it would bite her. Rui breathes, shifts (Wes groans again), pulls it up once more, until his ribs are in sight. Wes does the rest himself, pulling it over his head and throwing it somewhere else as well. This time, it's a more emphatic throw, as if to show his impatience – because he sure isn't going to come out and say it: 'let's fuck already'.

She is particularly fascinated with the hardness of his abs, and then with his collarbones, and then with his chest, which is just as hard as his stomach. He's so skinny. In that moment, he pulls her hands away and brings his own fingers to the end of her shirt. "Eye for an eye," he says, before he pulls it over. Rui raises her arms to the ceiling, and feels a little embarrassed. A quick check tells her she's at least wearing her black bra, which probably makes her look far sexier than it should have. Wes' fingers explore, stopping at the back. He stares at her.

"Oh! It opens at the front," she explains, voice shivering, and when she makes to take it off herself, he stops her.

Let me, his movements say.

He is focused on her breasts, thumb caressing the side before he undoes the clasp. Rui can't help it; she covers her face with her hands. This is too much, I can't do it after all … Wes' arms circle her hips, pull her up just so every of her movements has the two of them even more connected, and she breathes his name when he grinds against her. He pulls the straps down with infinite patience—the patience of someone used to long battles with no end in sight.

Rui is sure that Wes prefers taking the lead in everything, be it battling or sex, and she is also sure that he is only being slow because they are beginners to each other. At least when it comes to the bedroom. Her skin goosebumps when he peels the piece off, letting it fall onto the floor before he lets his hands wander. She arches into him, moans when his thumb and his cock press against her, and realises that she feels terribly empty. But all she does is take (she's hardly ever given him anything to release tension, after all); and so, she presses her lips tightly together and does not press him to hurry while he explores her body. He seems very fond of taking her breasts into his hands, and to paint languid lines across them with his tongue.

Rui is naturally ticklish, and thus squirms sporadically. But – although it does tickle slightly, all she can feel is something bubbling in her stomach, and the heat pooling in between her thighs. She's still sensitive. It's a warm, spicy feeling, the one in her stomach, and every time he plays with her chest, she inhales. She's breathing hard; he is controlled, pulling her into a deep kiss when his hands abandon her chest and fall down to her buttocks. Rui feels an unexplainable need to take whatever is left of her clothes off, feels a want to push him down and reach completion. Wes kneads into her flesh, and her hips pull against his.

She sighs, shivering from contact. She can feel his thumbs hooking on her skirt; he looks as though he is trying to figure out the best way to take the rest of her clothes off without compromising their position. "W-wait, I'll take it off," she says, to which he replies "No."

God, his voice does things to her. It renders her immobile and trembling, waiting for his action: Wes pulls it up, lets the skirt rest on her waist. His knuckles scrape against her stomach, and then his fingers hook on her underwear. "Wait, wait," she says, fingers digging into his shoulders. "I—"

Do you want to stop?, Wes doesn't say, staring at her. His eyes are very controlled, but he's still breathing hard.

"No, that's not—just—" she steels herself, "Your pants are still on." His lip twitches at the same time his cock does. Rui suppresses a shiver. "An eye for an eye," she breathes, "Right?"

"Right," Wes hisses. She slinks back, raises on unsteady knees, and looks at him.

Who's going to be the first one to crack? Wes' hands touch across his open zipper, but he doesn't make to get up. He's hard, pushing up at his underwear, but he still maintains a worthy poker face. His cheeks are flushed, and Rui can count in one hand the number of times he is able to look away from her breasts. It embarrasses her and it makes her feel terribly attractive.

His thumbs hook on the elastic band of her panties, pulling down. Oh, god, she can't—Rui closes her eyes, feels the fabric run down her legs. Wes presses a kiss to her navel, and then another on her left hipbone, and then his fingers pull her closer to him once more, and she falls on the bed. Rui feels her head spin when his tongue lashes out, inking across her skin, leaving a cool trail when she moves. His hands are grabbing at her thighs, keeping them apart, and she's undecided between 'how embarrassing' and 'please don't stop'. It's different from the press of his fingers, much more subdued (while still very powerful), and she can only manage to moan out his name before she comes, in a rush. Rui opens her eyes to find him wiping his mouth, but she's far too effervescent to care about their position. The feeling of emptiness returns once more, but then he's on top of her, pulling her into a kiss, his hands palming her ass, bringing her closer to him.

They're grinding now, and she says something along the lines of 'please', or maybe 'I love you', she's not sure, but he bites at her earlobe, groaning.

He presses into her thigh, asking her wordlessly, and Rui can barely speak, but she nods, bringing her arms around his neck.

"Please," she manages, "Wes—"

There is the sound of the mattress creaking, of his sigh in her ear, of her soft whimper, the sheets rustling, and her nails dragging across the fabric of his pants (she belatedly realises he never comes around to taking them off, but it doesn't matter). They both stand still, in the ambient, in the heat of the room, and then Wes presses a kiss to her forehead. Just that gesture makes her spark off, and she arches her back against the bed. His hands squeeze at the same time she moves.

It's a wondrous feeling; she feels full, and it's almost uncomfortable until he (or she) moves. Then, it's as though electricity sparks off across her veins, as though she's breathing spices, something so strong it makes her eyes water. Rui can't help the moan that spills from her throat, can't help the sobbing sounds she makes when she tries to inhale. Wes' face is pressed against her cheek, and he's breathing hard—she smiles when she realises how hard he's trying to control himself not to move against her. Her hands drop from his neck to the end of his back, and Rui whispers in his ear at the same time she pulls him in.

"Don't you want to move? I'm fine," she says, and in the next second his mouth is on hers and brings himself to her once, twice, and the heat builds in her body.

It's a wave of physical relief brought against the shore, and it doesn't take long until Wes gets tired of – well, of what she doesn't know (she supposes it's the position), but he brings her up, pushes her against the headboard. The new position makes her more aware, more open, more sensitive, and the volume of her voice involuntarily grows when he moves against her. It's so strange, but so smooth, so discharging, so perfect. She can feel it at the tips of her toes, every time Wes drives into her. It's maddening, and she can hardly believe just a moment ago she was feeling uncomfortable, because she can't have enough now.

Does it feel as nice to him as it feels to her? She likes to think he can't get enough, as well, and from the expression on his face, she's almost sure it's mutual, the heat spreading across their limbs. She struggles to keep her eyes open, to bask in the rarity that is him, ruffled and disgraceful. It's usually her—she's the one who's the ridiculous one, the hysterical one. He's the coolest costumer – except now. Currently groaning against her, his breath messy and his cool gaze completely torn apart, Rui feels special—the only one who's ever seen him like this. She feels a little sadistic, too, knowing that she's the one making his breath catch, making his fingers shake, making his voice call out her name. Him. Him, Wes. It's almost unbelievable. He bites his lip.

"F—faster, please," she pleads, into his ear, and he slams her against the wood. She arches when he brushes his thumb against her, makes her convulse with such a minimal gesture. She's wanted this for such a long time and now they're here, they've reached this mark, and she's too busy moaning to appreciate it for what it is. He's certainly too well-versed in this, because she's burning, incinerating, and Wes' flushed face is bringing her over the top. It's as though she's the water tipping out of a glass, or a domestic fire spreading; she brings her feet around his back, her arms around his neck, and her mouth on his when she starts slipping on her high. "I love you," she breathes, hiccupping, "I love you, I love you—"

In between the myriad of 'I love yous', she loses control. It's different than before; it's more complete, more absolute, incomparable to his fingers. Rui sobs his name, back bowing against the wood. Her scapulae hit against it, hard, but in the strength of her passion, she hardly even notices. She does notice him losing it, though, and it's a subdued, educated groan against her ear, and his hands are holding her so hard, she thinks her hips will bruise.

Rui's eyes roll, and she's trying not to screw things up—she's not going to faint this time, she hopes—when he pulls her against him hard and mutters something harshly ('—you, Rui') in her ear, his hips crashing against hers. It's the half-sentence that does it, of course. Of course it is. He knows how much she loves his voice, and she knows he knows. She almost thinks he does it on purpose too, but she's too busy coming to actually deconstruct that thought.

He's licking at her neck, one hand at her breast and the other at her buttocks. He bring her closer (she can't believe it's possible for them to be any closer, almost), and she kisses him. Rui moans and explodes for the second time—only this time, she brings him with her. There's a soft-spoken name and a chaste kiss, and then, she breathes in.


She's got it all figured it out. Sort of, at least: before, Rui thought it was just this one time, and everything – all the desire, all the want – would leave. She's wrong, of course. The want only multiplies after that; they end up in each other's arms more often than not (she's incapable of returning to the dinky diner after a particularly heated 'discussion' in the bathroom, and if she's looking flushed in the face, she swears it's because it's hot outside, not because he lets his fingers wander).

She wonders what her grandmother would think, if she knew—and then again, she's probably known for a long time, but … But Wes' mouth is on her neck and his hands are on her butt, and Rui welcomes his spark with a radiant smile.


"…you're gasoline? What does that make me?"

"Phosphorus. Because you make me burn—hey! Why are you smirking!"