It was strange to see the grass and the flowers growing again, but it was even stranger to see the clear blue sky where a dark shadowy cloud had always been. Kyle held Fuu-chan's hand as they walked outside, far away from the Root and the safety it had once meant to them.
Even though the world had slowly recovered from the near-total devastation it had suffered ten years ago, people were slow in making the transition from below-ground to the surface. Things had to be built, aboveground. Gardens needed to be planted. It was a slow-process, but it was happening.
"Kyle, what is it?" Fuu-chan asked for the umpteenth time.
And for the umpteenth time, Kyle refused to answer.
The path they took wasn't marked out before, but Kyle knew where he was going. He clambered past steep hills, knotted wildlife, the newly-sprouting greenery of the reborn world. Fuu-chan followed, irritated at being left in the dark, but without complaining. Kyle stopped briefly at the top of a hill, looking all around him. In the distance he could see the fallen structures of rusted buildings, and the sand dunes that were now slowly being turned into more hills. This was the place.
He sat down.
"Do you know where we are, Fuu-chan?" Kyle asked.
Frederica continued to stand, folding her arms and staring down at him. "No I don't. Why don't you tell me, for a change?"
He gripped her hand harder, telling her that this wasn't a joke. That he was serious. As serious as he would be about anything in his entire life. He pointed, "Look. That's entrance 5, the one we came out of. The one that's next to the canteen, and was open even in the days of hiding."
They had made a large number of new entrances after the war had ended and the sky had returned, of course. And now there were more than Kyle could even begin to remember. But the first twenty or so were committed to his memory, out of necessity. He saw Frederica narrow her eyes, and nod reluctantly.
"And there," He pointed again into the distance. "Those sand dunes, about the same distance away. Below that is the training gym, where we always fight and I always win."
"I've won too," She shot back, but distractedly. She was still trying to figure out what he was getting at, and she was growing increasingly frustrated. Kyle tugged at her hand again.
"There, then." He gestured to a large field of grass that was closer to them. "Do you know what's underneath all that?"
"The power-generating plant."
Frederica closed her eyes to visualize better, and then opened her eyes to shoot him a withering glance. "That's where we grow food in the greenhouses. Now what is the point of all of this?"
He smiled, and then pointed, to the ground beneath him. "Do you know where we are now?"
Frederica went completely still, looking at the land around her with a startled, calculating air. Kyle could see the map forming in her head, because next to the greenhouses was...
"The eastern wing?" Her fist clenched. "Which doesn't exist anymore..."
He sighed. "Fuu-chan. Where, specifically."
Her knees hit the ground as the realization struck her, finally. Her startled blue eyes stared into his, wondering why he would do this to her, wracked by guilt and confusion.
"Why...why did you bring me here, to the place where Granny is buried?"
He held both her hands in his, now, smiling a little as the mask of arrogance finally slid away. "Because, don't you see? Even if we lost the eastern section, where Granny's tomb is, we haven't lost her completely. Look, isn't this a beautiful place to be buried?"
She did not have to look around to agree. This was the tallest location in the area, with a vantage point that spread across the entire valley and plain. If Granny Elmore's spirit still resided in this world, she would be able to see the entire process as civilization slowly rebuilt itself. Instead, Frederica clutched Kyle's hands and ducked her face to hide the tears. Even though it had been half a year already, the death of their beloved Granny, Elmore Tenjuin, was still a source of grief for the Elmore children. Every time they accomplished something, took another step toward the light, they thought of her and how she should have been there.
"Don't cry," With a gentleness that was uncharacteristic of him, Kyle tenderly touched her cheek, wiping away the tears. His heart suddenly began to beat hard in his chest, and he felt a strong surge of protectiveness for the girl he had always considered to be his sister.
But he couldn't consider her a sister now. Not with the kinds of feelings he had for her. As if his touch conveyed his thoughts, Frederica looked up at him slowly, fixing him in a stare that wouldn't let him go. A little, just a little, her hand tightened on his, telling him something that she would never have told anyone else. That she was scared, just a little, but she relied on him.
His hand moved to the back of her neck, tracing the smooth skin beneath her jawline and ear. Was this sin? He didn't know. He had never believed in a god, could never bring himself to it, after witnessing the destruction of the world. But he was doing this before his Granny's resting place, and that counted as a confession if anything did.
Then he pulled her close, meeting her lips with his in a kiss that shattered everything. The sunlight, the flowers, the wind, everything was gone, became distractions to the sweet shudder in her breath when he used his other arm to pull her entire body into his lap. The taste of her lips, when he tentatively swept his tongue across her lower lip, and the electrifying moment when she had responded the same way. His entire body was humming with a pleasant feeling that made Kyle press father, kiss deeper.
Frederica, unsurprisingly, became bolder as time went on as well. Once the initial fright had worn off, she leaned against him, her arms around his neck. They stopped when she made a soft sound, admitting defeat. Kyle pulled back a little, slightly dazed, a little shocked that he had become so aggressive with her. Hadn't he wanted to be gentle with her? To give her time to refuse, in case she didn't feel the same way about him.
But now her breath came short and fast against his collarbone, and she rested contentedly on his shoulder. Her weight on his hip was a comforting reminder of how close she was. He pressed his lips to her forehead, hesitated, and then was stopped by a hand on his chest.
"Wait," Frederica whispered in a laugh. "Okay. I get it. I love you too."
His heart leaped at that, as if it had been freed from an enormous burden. She did feel the same! Delighted, Kyle pressed her knuckles to his lips, his voice coming out a little rough with emotion. "I'm sorry. I should have warned you."
He got a noncommittal "Mhm" and the distinct impression that she had smiled. Kyle shifted her more comfortably in his lap, and was about to kiss her again when Frederica pushed him back, a little scandalized. "Not here, Kyle. This is Granny's grave!"
Kyle laughed at her. "Okay, okay!" But when she wasn't looking he kissed the palm of her hand, grinned impishly at the look on her face, and then pulled her into a hug. That was allowed, wasn't it?
I am quite certain that this is the first kiss I've written about on !
So how'd it go? o.O AAAAHHH I'm really nervous! I like to think that I'm more of a mystery writer, but this was a shipping fic...so...
Please review! I'd love to hear your comments!