Silver cascaded through the night air, thousands of tiny splatters echoing along the pavement. Each droplet was a tiny beat of sound adding to the symphony. A single figure dashed along the sidewalk, stopping under a tree to catch their breath. The girl leaned over, gasping for air as she clutched her sides. Maroon hair stuck to her skin, her clothes clinging to her form.
Darkness had devoured the sun, banishing Tokyo into night. She had probably reached her curfew, though it was lucky that her parents were at a friend's house anyway. Ichigo lifted her eyes to the sight ahead of her; there was only another block separating her from her house.
She reached a hand out to use the tree for support. She had been running the whole way there, and her head swam. Ichigo tensed her muscles, taking one last breath before she propelled herself back into the rain.
Another day at the Café. Another chance to go on a date with Aoyama, only to have to turn it down because Ryou ordered her to stay late. Sometimes she wondered when and if Aoyama would finally grow tired of her lifestyle. The boy was incorrigible when it came to giving her second chances.
By the time she had reached the door, she felt exhausted. The keys were slick in her hands, and Ichigo fumbled with opening it. The house was shadowed, and no illumination answered when she tried flipping the light-switch. A roll of thunder echoed her thoughts. Her father hadn't fixed the generator yet, so she'd most likely be navigating through the darkness for the rest of the night.
Ichigo stumbled up the stairs, discarding her clothes as she made her way to the bathroom. They left a trail to the tiled floor.
The stream hit her back, a delicious contrast to the cold that had bit into her skin from the rain. She touched her forehead to the smooth shower wall, soaking the warmth into her body. Every muscle in her body ached. Somehow the darkness of the bathroom brought a comfort with it. It felt good to be so secluded – to be swept away from any wandering eyes or voices.
Her mind wandered to Aoyama again. He had tried to visit her at the café, but had been run off by her blond, blue-eyed, pain-in-the-ass boss. What bothered her most wasn't that he had come to see her, but that she had wished for him to leave. She didn't want him to see this part of her life, the part that was tainted with secrets and lies. It was bad enough that she had to lie to her parents constantly, but every time she did to Aoyama, it was another knife in her chest.
"I'll protect you." He had said.
But how could he? She couldn't even protect herself from this pain, and it already took every ounce of her will to shield him from it. Surely he knew that she was absent. The smiles that she offered in their moments together were all but forced sometimes. She wanted to tell him everything, to cry into his shoulder about every detail of the past year. About the Mews, the Chimeras, the Mew Aqua…the aliens…
A pair of eyes rose in her mind, an intensity burning in them like liquid gold. Irritation cut into her thoughts at the abrupt image. The hot water had lost its sense of security, and Ichigo turned the dial, stepping out of the tub. She wrapped a towel around herself, lifting a hand to sweep the steam off the mirror.
His gaze met her there, sending electric heat down her spine. Ichigo's heart thumped erratically as she spun around to face the boy. He leaned against the wall idly. Cool, amber eyes ran over her form, issuing a furious blush to rise up her neck. Kisshu grinned, pleasure curving the corners of his mouth devilishly.
"It's been a while, Pretty Kitty." He said.
She averted her eyes crossly, a feverish heat flushing her skin. It could have just been the steam from the shower, or even anger, but somehow it paused to linger in a higher establishment of humiliation.
"It's only been a few days," She bit, "And more importantly, why are you in my bathroom?"
Kisshu shrugged nonchalantly, something in his expression hinting at mischievous intentions. He folded his arms across his chest and inclined his head.
"What would you say if I admitted to a curiosity of your well-being?"
"I'd say you're bull-shitting me."
The girl turned, striding out of the bathroom and across the hall. She didn't bother to see if the alien was following her.
"Don't be that way, Koneko-chan." He pouted playfully.
"I'm in no mood for these silly games, Kisshu. Fly away before I decide to beat the crap out of you for disrupting my privacy."
The lights had somehow come on again temporarily while she was showering, and now the fan circulated cool air throughout her room. Ichigo shivered regretfully the moment she walked into it. She had been too tired to turn the switch off before her shower, and now she was going to freeze as she attempted at changing into clean pajamas. Aggravation stirred through her insides at the alien's presence.
Kisshu didn't comment on the glare she threw at him, or he simply chose to ignore it. He plopped onto her bed with a contented, impish smile.
"Where are your parents, Kitten?"
"They're out tonight," She said, "But they will be back soon."
She hoped that he'd catch the hint. She had only fibbed a little about the 'soon' part, but it wasn't as if Kisshu would notice, right? As though reading her very thoughts, his eyebrows winged upward in disbelief.
"Am I to assume that you're trying to throw me out of your house?"
He lounged against her pillows, the same tell-tale smirk playing on his lips. After casting a hot glance over her appearance, he averted his gaze to the niche in her towel. The action alone caused gooseflesh to rise on her arms.
"Is that any way to treat a guest?"
Ichigo lifted her chin defiantly, "You weren't invited."
She turned her back to him, opening and closing her drawers as she attempted at finding something – anything – to cover herself. It was irritably surprising at the lack there was.
Kisshu chuckled lowly. He disappeared, and within a second he materialized behind her. His breath was warm, stirring the hairs on the back of her neck. Her body became acutely aware of the proximity, and the details thereof. Every nerve throughout her skin was attentive with an expectancy that astounded her.
Her hands stilled, her breath catching in her throat. Kisshu was motionless behind her and the knowledge unsettled her thoughts.
"Oh, I beg to differ. In fact, I feel that my presence is very much 'invited'."
Ichigo's voice was barely a whisper, "I think you're delusional."
"Am I?" He mused.
There was a stretch of silence as he stood behind her. Her blood pulsed in her ears as she waited, listening. Before she could form another thought a light touch ran over her waist, and Ichigo jerked at the brashness of it. She twisted around, bewilderment and anger rising in her chest. She wasn't prepared for how close he was, nor the expression on his face.
Liquid gold burned into her core, a gaze that drew intensity through her entire form. Ichigo shuddered, and this time it wasn't completely from the fan above their heads.
"Your responses are harsh, Kitty, but your body speaks an entirely diverse language. I wonder if it would tell me whether you want me here or not."
Ichigo's eyes fell to his lips as they parted, granting a glimpse at the pearly tips of fangs. His mouth drew back in an amused smile.
"I don't want you here, Kisshu." She murmured.
"Let's see what the rest of you thinks."
A wicked emotion flashed in his eyes. His grip on her waist grew taut, the knuckles turning a pale white from effort. Ichigo let out a yelp as he pressed into her, her body caught between his chest and the dresser. Kisshu leaned in, grazing his lips over her earlobe, nipping at the pliable flesh. Warmth surged through her limbs, lighting up her insides like a flame flickering to life. She could feel his grin broaden against her temple.
"You're such a tempting delicacy, Strawberry. It would be beneficial to the both of us if you quit being so obstinate in your contradiction."
Ichigo swallowed. The towel felt abruptly very thin and feeble. The realization made her chest ache as his hands trailed a path higher. They rose to cup her face, and she was astonished at the tenderness in which he held her. He pulled back to meet her eyes. He scrutinized what he found there, and Ichigo flushed with embarrassment.
The corners of his mouth turned up in satisfaction, and he dipped forward, catching her lips. They were warm and supple against his. Inexperience caused her heart to flutter in her chest, and mentally she smacked herself. What was she doing? This was Kisshu! He had stolen her first kiss, and now she was allowing him to take another one. The thought irritated her, and she lifted her hands, wedging them into the space between their chests. She pushed as hard as she could.
He grinned against her mouth, and Ichigo let out a shrill little sound that was meant to be a growl. Instead it broke off, resembling a whimper. Kisshu pushed into her until their bodies were flush against each other, cutting off any more attempts at ending the proximity. His tongue darted out, sliding over her bottom lip. Ichigo gasped and jerked in his hold. He took advantage of the new access and probed further in, catching her off-guard.
The taste of cinnamon, heady and rich in essence. A repressed sigh escaped her lips, but it was too late to take it back.
He melded perfectly against her in a way she never expected to be possible. Dark green hair brushed her cheeks, tickling the soft skin. She could feel her muscles relaxing, and in some part of her mind she reasoned that once he thought she was defeated he would pull back. This was just another game to Kisshu, after all.
But he didn't. He pressed his clever, long fingers into her neck, tilting her head back for better entrance. His tongue slipped over hers, testing every bit of space that was available. A delicious and piercing sensation coiled in her abdomen from the onslaught of touch. The wooden drawers of her dresser dug into the skin on her back, anchoring her firmly into reality. Ichigo hadn't realized she was clutching onto his arms until he broke away from her. They both gasped for air, and Ichigo swallowed deep breaths of it.
Her heart fluttered like a caged butterfly against her ribs. Trembles made their way over her body as a single droplet of moisture fell from her hair and trailed down the plane of her back. Kisshu's hand dropped from her face, only to find her thigh. The digits curled around the muscle, lifting it to his waist. Through the fabric of his shirt she could feel his heart thudding erratically against the tips of her fingers. The beats set a rhythm that he leisurely rocked to, a gentle friction against her skin.
Ichigo's eyelids fell, a wickedly delightful rush washing through her body. It rose to meet his movements as a sound of surprise and pleasure escaped her lips.
"That's a good girl. Be honest with me, Ichigo."
In a fleeting blur the wood that dug into her back was gone, replaced by the soft familiarity of her sheets. Kisshu let out a low groan, his hips crushing into her petite frame. Ichigo arched into him as his lips found her neck, trailing rough kisses over her collarbone. The moist heat sent an electric current over her skin.
"Does your precious human boy do this to you, Kitten?"
His own words sent something dangerously provocative over the edge, and Kisshu growled, grinding into her forcefully. Ichigo cried out, her vision tilting. Her surroundings spun violently, and Kisshu's mouth fell over hers again, parting the yielding flesh with practiced measure. Blissful euphoria ripped through her abdomen as he met her hips again. His hands gripped onto her thighs firmly, pressing tightly into them with each descent.
The lights flickered out, and the fan slowed its circulating pattern.
By the gods, what would Masaya think of her now? If he could see her like this, with her face flushed and her lips parting with gratification, what would he think of her? She had never granted him anything this intimate, and now she was giving nearly everything to a boy that she had convinced herself to hate.
Kisshu pulled back for a breath, and she laced her fingers through his hair, panting lightly as she brought his lips down on her own again.
Her towel fell, the jostled movement causing it to loosen its hold. Inches of pink, flawless skin became exposed, only to be devoured by Kisshu's gaze. His tawny eyes ran over her figure feverishly, and his movements came to a stand-still.
His reaction frightened her, and embarrassment bit into Ichigo. His hold on her relinquished, and he wrenched away from her as though shocked by a dose of electricity. Ichigo jolted up, her face coloring a deep, unrelenting scarlet. She grabbed the towel, throwing it over herself with quivering hands.
Kisshu gripped onto the wall behind him, his chest heaving. His eyes had grown wide. There was a stiffness at the seam of his pants, and Kisshu turned his body from her, his eyes falling to the ground as he struggled to pace his breathing. A sad, bitter smile curved his lips.
"You should have lied, honey. You shouldn't have proved my delusions right. I hadn't been expecting that."
A flash of lightning lit the room, illumination dancing over his features. His form was rigid and unyielding, a deep sadness surfacing in his eyes that she couldn't comprehend.
"Kisshu," She whispered.
He flinched, "I can't control myself. How can you not understand that every time you allow my advances it is accepted as an invitation? Why didn't you reject me again?"
Ichigo sunk back into her pillows, the corners of her eyes pricking.
"I don't know."
The words fell like dead weight in the silence. She expected him to do what he was good at and disappear. To evaporate out of her life like he always did when an unfixable problem came up. He had never been respectable in any way, and was always the first to leave when things went wrong. How could he do any different now? And for once, Ichigo had done something irresponsible with him. One part of her wanted to scream at him in her frustration. She couldn't understand why she had done it, and the fact that she had enjoyed it scared her more than the first.
What she didn't expect was for Kisshu to pull himself up and stride toward her. What she didn't expect was for him to climb onto the bed next to her, collect her into his willowy arms, and lay back against the covers with her in his embrace. What she never expected was the utter relief that ran through her as he rested his chin on her head. And for the moment, she didn't want to throw him out, even if it was just temporarily. Even if just for right now, she wanted Kisshu to be there.
Ichigo woke with a start. Sunshine filtered in through the curtains on her window, streaming distorted rays over her carpet. Her eyes flitted around her as she propped herself up on her elbows. The room was empty, the dresser undisturbed. The towel from her shower the night before lay in her dirty laundry bin. Ichigo lifted the covers cautiously, only to find her body clad in a nightgown.
There were no signs of Kisshu anywhere, and something inside of her deflated. It was a moment before she realized it was hope. No, it had been a dream, even if it had been vivid, bordering along the lines of inappropriate in several ways. Kisshu in her bedroom – his lips pressing against hers with an explicit desperation. She couldn't remember getting back to her bed from the shower, so she must have been really exhausted.
Ichigo threw back the covers, crossing to her dresser. She tied her hair back in a ribbon and her eyes fell shut. A familiar scent rose from the dresser as she pulled open one of the drawers. Spiced and potent. Cinnamon.
He had been here.
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