Hey all. I know it's been a while, but I got a request. Mistress of Dragons sent me a shout out about how much she loves my other Kyo/Yuya stories, and she asked me for another one-shot. This is it. This takes place after some major revelations in the manga at the end of ch. 160. Of course, I added my own little Rabid Bunny spin to it. No, there is not smut. Just a little tender side to Kyo that would never happen otherwise.

I do not own Samurai Deeper Kyo.

Suffocate

She doesn't know what to do. Her lungs are tight, and she can't breathe. It feels like a fist is crushing her heart, and as she stands amongst her friends, the grip only gets tighter and tighter. She struggles to breathe slowly through her nose as her world crumbles around her. Her friends are there, and they are sympathetic, but they are strong men and do not know how to act. So she plasters on a smile and forces her voice not to shake as she says once more:

"I'm fine."

Benitora, the closest to a true friend that Yuya has looks at her skeptically. All she can do is flutter her lashes and ratchet up the brightness of her smile. He seems to relax a little, as if he is uneasy but will believe her. Their other companions take her smile at face value and continue on with their conversation.

Kyo just turns his back and feigns indifference. But Yuya knows the truth. She had seen his shoulders tense at the mention of Sakuya's name.

He can't fool her, just like she knows he isn't distracted by her display.

Mibu Sakuya's name still affected Kyo. It probably always would. After all, he had loved her and probably still did.

Shina Yuya, a sixteen year old bounty hunter, knows that she has no place here with samurai and ninja, but they have become her friends...her family. And now, that has been shattered. Mibu Taihaku has just stated that her bother hadn't been her brother at all. No, he had, in fact, been Mibu Sakuya's brother.

Just one more way that the enigmatic shaman of the Mibu clan had what she, a lonely orphan, could not.

The pressure on her chest returns, getting more forceful with each breath. Nozomu was not her brother. Sakuya is still alive and at the Mibu stronghold. Yuya is slowly dying from a water dragon spell inbedded in her chest. Kyo and Kyoshiro both know the secret to defeating the Crimson King, but are not talking. Yuya is in love with a ruthless samurai who is in love with a beautiful shaman.

She needs to catch her breath. There are too many people surrounding her. How can they all just stand there calmly talking about their next step when she is suffocating from the inside!

Calloused fingers grip her wrist, and Yuya is startled back into the present. She turns her head to find Kyo towering over her, his red eyes narrowed as he watches her face closely.

"Come," is all he says before he tugs on her wrist and strides toward the forest surrounding them. Bon gives them an assessing raised eyebrow as he elbows Benitora with a smirk. Benitora watches them for a moment then splutters something that Yuya can't hear. There is a small disturbance behind her, followed by a loud smacking sound then a high pitched wail that sounds like Tora in pain.

Yuya is only momentarily distracted by the commotion behind her before she finds herself facing blood red pupils once again. Kyo has a knack for being the fiercest person she has ever met, and on a good day he takes her breath away by just being in close proximity. Right now, that almost feverbright gaze is comforting, and Yuya can find herself able to take in a full breath.

Kyo just stands there watching her try to keep her composure with that ever-narrowed gaze. Waiting.

Yuya stares back at him. Wondering what he's doing.

"Kyo?" She's learned by now not to question him too much because he will never answer her. Instead, if she is too annoying, he'll just walk away and refuse to acknowledge her for a few days. So she uses his name to express her confusion, then just stands there. Waiting.

Finally, Kyo moves. It is a fluid movement, as his always are. So smooth that it is impossible to know his intention until he's already done it. Before Yuya unsterstands what he means to do, he's already wrapped his arms around her, crushing her in a breath-defying hug.

"Let it out." He whispers in her ear. The gust of his breath across her skin brings a shiver, but the words bring the pinprick of tears. Yuya breathes deep, trying to fortify herself with his scent; an attempt at asserting her strength. She does not want to cry in front of the man who told her that tears were weak. She will not break down in the face of one more adversity. If being with Kyo and his merry band of misfits has taught her anything, it is that one must always be strong and perservere.

She makes to let out her breath, intends to assure Kyo that she is fine, but the exhale releases with a distinctly sobbing sound. Yuya sucks it back in, appalled at herself. But it's already happened, and he's heard it. Kyo's arms tighten around her fractionally, crushing her elbows into her side. She doesn't notice, the damage is already done.

She can feel the fat tears rolling down her cheeks now, as air moves in and out of her lungs in great ripping sobs. She vaguely wonders how Kyo can hold her with how violently her body is shaking, but then again, this is Demon Eyes Kyo. He's killed over a thousand men, how could he not hold up a girl who's heart is breaking?

Yuya's mind grows hazy as the tears she sheds bring a much needed calm to her senses. The heart-wrenching sobs slow themselves to intermittent hiccups, then to soft sniffles. Her body is suddenly heavy as she has exhausted herself, and her knees buckle. Kyo follows the movement swiftly by bringing them to the soft forest floor. He secures Yuya safely in his lap with her head held tightly against his chest, his chin atop her crown.

They sit like this for what seems like hours, but is most likely mere minutes. Yuya begins to feel the shame of showing her weakness to him, and she starts to pull away. She can feel embarrassment as it reddens her cheeks. But Kyo will not relent his hold on her body, instead, her pulls her tightly to him once again. Yuya begins to panic dizzily, wondering what she should do. Then, Kyo shocks her into complete stillness.

He begins running his hands through her pony tail. It is a soothing gesture, as he works his fingers into the mass of hair bound at her nape then pulls them slowly through the waist-length tail, gently rubbing her spine in the process. Then, he repeats the process. Again and again.

Yuya finds her panic melting away as her muscles grow languid under his touch. She wonders idly if this was how Sakuya must have felt in his arms. To be cherished by one of the strongest beings to ever live. She knows her thoughts are growing dark again and forces herself to focus on the now. Yuya is the one in Kyo's arms, enjoying this practically nonexistent tenderness. Yuya is the one that he is holding as if she matters. Only if she weren't a dead ringer for Sakuya, then she may have been able to feel completely secure in the moment. Instead, Yuya pushes herself to enjoy, only allowing that one kernel on doubt to smolder, knowing that it could never be truly forgotten.

"Stop," his words are soft against the top of her hair, but she can hear him perfectly. She can always hear Kyo, no matter where he is, so aware of him she has always been. She feels a tug to her hair, as he pulls her head back just enough for him to look into her eyes. For once, he is not glaring, and his eyes are not narrowed in anger or hatred. They are wide and bright and oh-so-beautiful. Yuya can see her own green eyes relflected in his, the pupils dilated from her crying.

Kyo's eyes rove over her face, taking in every detail. She is sure that her complexion is a ruddy mess with tear stains and snot tracks in abundance, but he just continues to look at her. Yuya feels herself blushing and tries to pull away once again. The hand currently wound into her mass of blond hair will not allow it.

"Kyo, what?" Yuya asks.

He just shakes his head, and impercetible movement from side to side that Yuya feels more that sees.

He watches her for another minute, then bends his face toward hers. Yuya is suddenly overwhelmed by his presence, but not like usual. Normally, Mibu Kyo's black battle aura is strong enough to bring her to her knees, but this is different. This is not Kyo the killer, the is Kyo the man. All powerful and strong and male. Yuya's awareness of her position in Kyo's lap raises to the boiling point as she feels the lightest caress of Kyo's lips on her cheek. She is powerless to move, and is only able to sit meekly as his embrace tightens.

Kyo's lips on her cheek remain feather light before the pressure moves to her other cheek. This kiss is just as soft as the previous, and Yuya's eyes flutter shut at the intensity burning in his. She feels herself sighing as the tension pours from her limbs. All thoughts of whether Kyo sees her or Sakuya fly from her mind completely. The next time Kyo's lips touch her cheek, it is with the soft brush of his tongue.

Yuya's eyes snap back open, and she is looking into nearly endless black. Kyo's eyes have darkened so much that the red only shimmers in periodic sparks. He brings his tongue to her other cheek, then shifts from that cheek to the other. His tongue flicks against her skin, following the same trail as her tears. Yuya cannot fathom what is going through his mind; all she can do is tremble in his arms as he stirs every emotion in her body into a frenzy.

Once satisfied that he has cleaned all of the salty residue from her skin, Kyo leans back licking his lips. Yuya is speechless as she brings a hand up to touch her own cheek. "Kyo?" It takes a couple of times clearing her throat before her voice is steady, "you just licked me."

She just doesn't have the energy to employ her usual screech, but Yuya does manage to put at least a little incredulity into the statement.

Before she knows it, she is looking into bright red eyes over lips that are curved as he chuckles at her.

Yuya huffs indignantly for good measure and clambors off his lap. She does manage a good slap at his hand as he gropes her while helping her to stand.

All the while, the man keeps that infuriating mocking smirk on his face.

By the time they return to their friends, Yuya has steam rolling out of her eyes and is reminding herself what a bad idea it would be to shoot their fearless leader.

She, however, has no problem firing at a Benitora who innocently asks why Yuya's hair looks like someone has been running his fingers through it.

Finally, she can breathe.