disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: anticollision, who is pretty adorable.
notes: sometimes I'm good at this. usually not.

title: glass castles
summary: He watched her pull her socks up to her knees with a burning in his throat. — Ryuji/Taiga.






The first time Ryuji woke to cold feet against his back in the middle of the night, he nearly had a heart attack. There was just something inherently frightening in it—when he'd gone to bed in the first place, it had been alone and shivering after saying goodnight to a tiny girl with a penchant for violence. As it was, he thought he was having a nightmare, and he sat up breathing hard.


She shivered and made a tiny sound at the back of her throat. "Mmnhnng, go away…"

Ryuji was pretty sure that this had not been part of the game plan.

"What—are you—doing?" he snarled through his teeth, trying to keep the volume down. There was no telling when Yasuko would be back—and if she somehow got wind of the fact that Taiga was in the house, there would be no placating her until she'd smothered the girl to death with love.

"What does it look like? I'm trying to sleep."

"In my bed?"

She squinted up at him through the gloom. Her hair was pale and everywhere. Ryuji's heart dropped to somewhere in the vicinity of his toes, desperate to connect but unable to set things straight.

"The heat went out," she mumbled. "I was cold."

"You… stupid. Go to sleep," he said after a moment.

Taiga glared. "That's what I was trying to do."

Ryuji sighed. He probably should have expected something like this. After all, she got into everything other part of his life, anyway—why not his bedroom? She couldn't live on her own. She couldn't even take care of herself.

She really was going to be the death of him.

Sleep was unlikely, but she curled against his side and her breathing went even.

Ryuji looked for a nearby wall to slam his head into.

And in the morning, he watched her pull her socks up to her knees with a burning in his throat. The pale line of flesh between the tops of those socks and her skirt catches against his gaze and he tracks her movements without even realizing it.

Some things were better off kept silent.