A chorus of birds sang their usual song to the constant thrum of the current. The river was clear as usual and refracted the sunlight so that it positively sparkled and every stone in the river looked like a gemstone. Ryu Hayabusa sat on the bank of the river, his fishing pole dipping in the water. His eyes were closed as he focused to make sure he didn't miss one nibble. His straw hat kept the sun from scorching his skin, though the canopy of leaves also provided adequate protection.

Before he took the day off he had made sure that everything was in order at his antique store, and made sure to check in with his best friend at the Mugen Tenshin village. He was one of the few privileged outsiders that was allowed to come and go as he pleased. Being the last survivor of the infamous Hayabusa clan, the Mugen Tenshin clan was desperate to keep him on their side, which meant he was accepted as one of the clan. For a ninja with no clan to turn to it was a blessing.

The fish were not biting that day. Ryu's mind wandered off the the last battle that the ninja had fought, ignoring his pole completely. The battle against Helena and DOATEC was an intense one. The whole war surrounding DOATEC and ALPHA-152, Kasumi's clone, was so muddled. Everything was a mess. They had won, of course, but nobody could figure out who was where. It was a scary place to be in, to not know where your allies are.

What worried Ryu the most, however, was that he hasn't seen Kasumi since he sent her away while he battled ALPHA-152. When he had arrived at the cell where ALPHA-152 had been held, Kasumi was already there. It was almost destiny; the original was supposed to kill the 'improved' clone. However, Ryu could not bring himself to allow Kasumi to fight the hyperclone. She was so fragile looking, standing in front of a transient and all powerful version of herself. Although Ryu knew that she was a master of Mugen Tenshin Clan Ninjutsu Mon Sect he felt an overwhelming need to get her away from the dangerous super-clone.

He told her that it was his karma to eradicate the evil of ALPHA-152, and sent her away to help the other ninja destroy DOATEC. It was a lie. He knew from the beginning that if he were to play fate fairly that Kasumi should have been the one to handle the boss battle. But, to protect her, he sent her as far away from that abomination as she was willing to go. Ryu could not shake the nagging suspicion that it wasn't the wisest thing to do.
Ever since he sent Kasumi away to aid the other ninja, he hasn't seen her. Hayabusa was worried that perhaps the exiled princess had gotten killed while she was battle away from his watchful eye. His heart throbbed. He may be known as the 'super ninja' and the 'solitary ninja' but he wasn't invincible. The one thing that he was afraid of losing, his one and only weakness, was his best friend's sister. It was wrong, he knew it was wrong, she was an exile, but he still could not stop thinking about her. After all, he had strong feelings for the beautiful kunoichi even before she was exile. When she ran away Ryu was sent into despair knowing that she would constantly have to fight for her life. Now she just might be dead.

The fish were still not biting.
Ryu sighed and pulled the line from the water then picked up his fishing supplies and started home. As he was walking, he couldn't shake the suspicion that someone was there in the forest. He felt no hostility and no eyes on him but there was without a doubt someone else nearby. He shook it off and continued home.

As he grew closer to his destination he saw a form on the ground, warning bells ringing in his mind and telling him that he had to stop. With slight hesitation he took a detour to examine the anomoly.
He was near enough to identify silky long reddish-brown hair sprawled across the form's shoulders and ground. If the hair and her body were not a give-away, the clothes were. The person was wearing ninja clothes; a blue outfit outlined with white that tied around the waist then split into front and back flaps. On the flaps were designs of cranes. It was paired with thigh-high white boots and a katana sword was strapped to the lower back.

It was Kasumi. And she was not moving.
Panicked, Ryu dropped his fishing stuff and rushed to her body, afraid that she might be dead. He was relieved to see her chest rise and fall softly when he flipped her around. It occurred to him in the back of his mind that the presence he felt was hers, his mind unconsciously drawing him to the person he cared so much for.

Ryu was ashamed of himself when he realized that he was raking his eyes over her sinful body. Her cleavage peeked out tantalizingly over the neck of her outfit, her breasts boasting off a creamy and soft looking skin. Her firm thighs were open to the air, the sun-kissed flesh beautiful and so tempting he could barely tear his eyes away.
Kasumi's beautiful amber eyes opened slowly. He flushed, embarrassed to be caught in the act of ogling her form. His feelings were cut short when he realized that she was panting with the effort of breathing and her face was flushed. Putting a hand to her head he was alarmed to find she had a fever.
"Ryu?" She said weakly. He had to resist the urge to hug her tightly to his chest and baby her until she felt better.
"Yes, it is me." he managed. "What is the matter with you? And why are you so close to the village?"
"I don't know what it wrong with me..." Kasumi answered, obviously trusting him with the information and her safety. "I haven't felt well for days and it just keeps getting worse... I knew that I would get ill soon; I was sleeping outside, wasn't eating well, exerting my body with too much exercise from fighting, and only drinking when I came across a pond or creek. My body can't take the strain much longer. It's... it's better to die in my village than to die alone..." she trailed off and blinked slowly, obviously in pain.
"Kasumi, if you go back to the village, they will not hesitate to kill you." Ryu was alarmed by her rash choice to return.
"I know..."The corners of her lips pulled up in a sad smile. "But what other choice do I have? Living away from my brother is hard enough; he is constantly trying to kill me... I originally ran away to avenge him, but now he has returned and is leader. It seems I have been risking my life for nothing since he found his way on his own. Now there is no point to even be on the run."

"You ran away to avenge Hayate?" Ryu asked, trying to sort out the information that he had been given.

"Yes."She sighed heavily, which seemed to take a lot of effort. Her teeth clenched with pain.

"It was never clear why you, the leader of the Mugen Tenshin Clan, would become an outcast. It's why you are so hunted..."

"I know..." Her sad smile appeared again. "But I never bothered to clear up the misunderstanding. People wouldn't believe me anyways." She coughed and Ryu's hold on her shoulders tightened in worry. "Ryu, I know that this is a lot to ask of you, but will you please take me to the village?"

"I can't... Kasumi... you will die..." He couldn't take this woman to her death.

"Please, Ryu? I need to be with my brother again... if only for a moment before I am
eradicated. I need to see my home..." Her voice was saturated with tears.

Ryu's brows creased together in frustration. He could take her to his home and care for her, but then she would be angry at him and there would still be no guarantee that she would survive. Or he could take her back to her home, and ensure her death but secure her happiness. The decision was almost unbearable to make.
Another option came to mind. What if he begged his best friend Hayate to spare her life? Kasumi is his beloved sister; he might decide not to kill her after all. And honoring Kasumi's wish is the most important part of the decision...
"Okay." Ryu agreed as he picked her dainty figure up in his arms. Quickly he hid his fishing gear in some bushes before heading off towards the Mugen Tenshin Clan. Ryu hugged Kasumi a bit too tightly and intimately to his chest, but she didn't seem to notice or care so he didn't stop. He was just too relieved to even see the beauty alive at all despite her poor state.
As they breached the borders to the village, the people turned around and gaped at the two ninja. The exiled princess had returned to the village. It was unprecedented; a move so stupid there was no explanation for it. They received the stares all the way to the village center where the main house was.

As they neared Ayane stepped from the shadows, the sun glinting off of her purple hair and shining on her furious face. Her fists were clenched in anger as she looked to the bundle he held within his arms.
"That traitor isn't allowed within the city limits! She isn't even allowed to live! I should kill her now!" She pulled out a kunai and started towards her target, but Hayabusa easily knocked the offending weapon from her hands.
"Shut up, Ayane! I must see Hayate, now!" Ryu's voice was fierce and just as angry as his opponent was. Seeing as he hardly ever lost his temper, Ayane looked on in shock. Finally her face smoothed and she bowed to him.
"Yes, Hayabusa-sama." Ayane stepped aside with a glare.

Ryu moved swiftly inside of the house, worried about Kasumi's physical condition. He wasted no time as he walked to the dojo where Hayate could be found most of the time. Sure enough, he was practicing his fighting style, the moves graceful and deadly.
"Hayate." Ryu spoke loud enough to get his friend's attention. Hayate stopped his training and turned. His amber eyes, so similar to Kasumi's, fixed onto his sister and his expression filled with pain.

"No, she isn't dead. She is just really sick. If something isn't done... I don't think she'll make it." Ryu knew the reason Hayate was worried without asking. Relief flooded Hayate's features before quickly being covered with pain again.
"We'll have to kill her..." Hayate's voice was heavy, but it held a sort of finality that put Ryu on edge.
"No!" Ryu all but yelled. Hayate gave him a surprised look when he gently put Kasumi down then dropped to his knees and put his forehead to the floor in a submissive gesture. "Please, spare her life."

"Ryu, why are you doing this? You never beg anyone for anything. Is Kasumi's life that important to you?" When Ryu didn't respond, Hayate continued. "We can't just leave her alive. What if she runs away again? She holds all of our clans secrets!"
Ryu slowly got up from his bow. "Don't you think that if she was going to reveal your secrets she would have done it already?"
"Perhaps… But that doesn't change ninja law."
"She helped us destroy DOATEC! Surely that means something! And there is a reason why she ran away, you know!"
"So that she wouldn't have the responsibility of leading the clan. What other reason is there?"
"Are you really that stupid, Hayate? Does she seem like the type of girl to throw away her responsibilities? She disappeared so that she could avenge you! At the time we all thought that you were dead!" Surprise flitted over Hayate's face at that proclamation. Ryu sighed with frustration. "If you let her live and give her back her position as princess and she runs again you can kill me as well. Kasumi will be my responsibility from now on." Ryu gazed down at where he had set Kasumi. Her chest was rising and falling in labored motions. "Please… she needs medical care."
"How do I know that you are completely serious about what you just said? You might regret your decision later if she leaves again." Hayate was now massaging his temples with stress.
Ryu's face twisted in a pained way before he spoke again. "I will cut my hair to prove my seriousness."
"Your hair? But you love your long hair..." Hayate eyed the long brown hair Ryu had left down that day. He didn't plan on fighting or seeing anyone while fishing. With steady hands he took a kunai from his pocket, gathered his hair in a fist, and sliced it all off at his neck.
"I am truly serious about this." Ryu stated, hair locks drifting to the ground like snow.
"Now you're going to have to get it cleaned up! It looks all choppy..."
"Don't avoid the subject." Ryu scolded. Hayate sighed.
"Fine. I agree to your terms. I will hold a meeting with the counsel and get her sentence revoked. But if she leaves, you BOTH die. Understand?" He crossed his arms in finality.
"Now that that's settled..." Ryu swooped Kasumi up in his arms, her head falling limply against his chest. "Do you have a room that we can put her in? She needs immediate medical attention..."
"Yes, this way." Hayate led Ryu out of the dojo and down the hallway until they reached the end. "This was her old room..." He explained.

Ryu swiftly passed him and put Kasumi on her futon. He carefully tucked the covers around her body and adjusted the pillow for maximum comfort. After a few minutes she stopped shivering.
"Is there anyone who can help her?" Hayabusa asked, watching Kasumi intently.
"Yes." Hayate confirmed. "There is an old woman called Kaede who is skilled with the art. I will go and retreive her." Hayate pretended to not care, but Ryu noticed the urgency by which he left the room. He returned shortly with an older woman.

Ryu was still cautious. People would still be hostile towards Kasumi until Hayate took care of the meeting, so he sized up the woman. She wasn't a very large person and she was obviously elderly. Her old bones left her hunched slightly and her hands were knobby with arthritis. But her eyes were kind and her smile was gentle. She would have to do. Reluctantly he let the healer near Kasumi.
"Oh dear." The old healer said. "Hayate-sama told me that Kasumi-sama had returned but my old eyes had to see it to believe it was true! The poor dear always got sick in the village. It's no shock her immune system failed."

Ryu watched as the old healer examined Kasumi; felt her pulse and put her head to her chest to hear her breathe. With a nod, she took a small white paper pouch from her pocket and emptied the contents into Kasumi's mouth. She poured water in with it and Kasumi reluctantly swallowed, coughing terribly. It was either swallow or drown but the herbs must be terribly bitter. The woman disappeared for a moment and came back with a bowl and a rag. She dipped the rag in the bowl, moistening it, before placing it gently on Kasumi's forehead. After tucking the covers around her again she got up slowly on her old knees and faced the boys.

"She appears to be alright. If she was left unattended to, she wouldn't have made it, but the herbs I gave her should do the trick. She should gain consciousness anywhere from later on today to three days from now. By then her immune system will have started up again. One of you will have to change the rag when it gets warm and give her a packet of the herb medicine every night for four days."

"I will stay and care for her," Ryu volunteered, "Hayate is a busy man." The healer handed him the packets and left the room with a knowing smile.

"How wonderful to have dear Kasumi-sama back." She exclaimed before the door shut.
"Ryu, we must take you to Ami to get your hair cleaned up. She is quite skilled at hair styling." Ryu had forgotten about his hair in his impatience to get Kasumi cared for. Feeling the strands with a regretful frown he nodded and followed his friend.
Fortunately Ami was home. She was shocked to see that Ryu needed it hair cut; it was no secret how much his hair meant to him. She cut his hair quickly, obviously skilled in her craft, while Hayate and Ryu sat in silence. When she was through, Ryu's hair was very short, only about four inches long. Well, short for him. For a guy it was pretty shaggy.
When Hayate and Ryu left Ami, they headed back for Kasumi's room. Hayate broke the long silence that had settled uncomfortably between them.
"Ryu. Why were you so stubborn about keeping Kasumi alive and so anxious to get her treatment?" He studied his friends face skeptically.
"She is your sister." Ryu simply responded as if it were obvious.
"That's a lie. You wouldn't cut your hair and bargain your life if you only thought of her as my sister." Hayate studied Ryu's face more closely, causing Ryu's eye to twitch in a telling way. Hayate's eyes got wide with realization. "YOU ARE IN LOVE WITH MY SISTER!" Hayate exclaimed with accusation. Ryu flinched.
"Don't jump to conclusions..."
"There is no other reason! You would never fight her or hunt her! And you have been on edge since DOATEC went down! The only plausible reason is that no one had heard from Kasumi!" He laughed with disbelief as if he couldn't believe he missed it for so long.
"Admit it! She is my sister! I have a right to know!"
"YES! Alright?! I am in love with your sister! Are you happy now?" Ryu's face flushed slightly with the admission.
"You are in love with your best friend's sister! A princess! My sister! How could that possibly make me happy!?" Hayate threw his hands up in exasperation and horror. Ryu didn't respond. "How long?"
"I don't know! Since... forever? She is only 4 years younger than me!" He was going on the defensive, although he still couldn't look his friend in the eye.
"You better not only be after her for her body..." Hayate started, beginning to get furious and overprotective.
"Of course not!" Ryu finally swiveled to face Hayate. "You should know me well enough to know that I am not that kind of man!"
They both stopped and stared each other down for a minute. "I won't allow you to hurt her..." Hayate warned.
"I can't hurt her!" Ryu complained. "It was even hard to fight ALPHA-152! I knew that I had to get rid of that atrocity on the world, but it was difficult for me! How do you think that I felt trying to kill something that was the same size and shape as Kasumi? It was torture, even though the thing hated the world and had to be eradicated, I felt like I had to protect the vile thing!"

Hayate seemed to be lost in thought as he processed his best friend's feelings.
"If you ever hurt her in anyway, I will kill you whether she runs away or not!" Hayate warned. Ryu froze.
"Why do you care? You wanted to kill her before!"
"I wasn't going to kill her! I can't do it! Run away or princess, she is still my little sister!"
"So, you mean I cut my hair for nothing?" Ryu cast an appalled and annoyed look at his friend. Hayate laughed deviously.
They finally reached Kasumi's room, and when they did Ryu was just happy the awkward conversation was over. She looked better. Her breathing wasn't as labored and her face wasn't as flushed. Ryu let out a sigh of relief and felt the rag on her forehead. It was warm. He took it off and bathed it in cold water and put it back in place. She almost seemed to have sighed in relief.
After watching Ryu silently with a thoughtful look on his face, Hayate spoke up. "I have to leave, Ryu. I am really sorry, but I have to go. Important leader stuff. Can I trust you not to molest Kasumi while I'm gone?" Hayate turned towards the door and looked over his shoulder, raising one eyebrow.

"Shut up and die, Hayate." Ryu spat, completely aghast at the suggestion. Hayate laughed heartily as he exited the room.
Ryu looked back at the woman who captivated his heart and was surprised to see that she was moving around. Her brow was furrowed and she breathed in heavily before her eyes cracked open. They lazily looked around the room and finally rested on Ryu.
"I'm in my room...?" She asked, confused.
"I'm not dead?"
Kasumi's eyes searched his face. "You cut your hair."
"Yes, I did." Ryu said with slight pain in his voice.
"It looks nice." She smiled warmly and Ryu felt his cheeks heat slightly.
"You're just saying that because it's good manners." Ryu accused, avoiding eye contact with her. She frowned.
"No. I really like it better this way..." Ryu made a mental note to keep it short but it was cut short when her face grew serious. "So what is Hayate planning to do with me?" She added quietly.
"Nothing. He is letting you stay here and is giving you back your title." He averted his eyes from hers, not about to tell her the bargain he swung with her brother. She didn't seem to take notice.
"He just let me come back? Just like that?" Kasumi seemed unconvinced.
"Out of the goodness of his heart." Ryu half-lied. Hayate did let her back and he didn't have to, but Ryu had to put his life on the line first. That statement, however, seemed to have made Kasumi happy. She smiled blissfully before closing her eyes and resting. She didn't fall asleep, Ryo could tell because she wasn't breathing deeply, but she seemed to be enjoying her home. She must have missed the village while she was gone.
Seeing as Kasumi was bathing in a wave of nostalgia, Ryu slowly got up and left the room. Outside of the door was Hayate.
"You didn't really have anything you needed to do, did you?" Ryu accused.
"Of course not. I just wanted to give you some time to gaze upon your beloved kunoichi's face." His cheeky grin was aggrivating.
"Shut it, Hayate." Ryu growled.
"Anyways, why did you leave so early?" Hayate questioned.
"She looked like she needed some alone time."
"You mean, she's awake?" Hayate asked, suddenly on edge.
"You should go and see her." Ryu suggested, leaning next to Hayate. He seemed reluctant, but he stiffly nodded and entered the room. His footsteps alerted the princess to his presence. Kasumi looked up at him with weary eyes, as if she were ready to bolt. Of course, she didn't know the consequences that Ryu would have to face if she ran again.
"Brother..." Kasumi muttered with shock. She obviously wasn't ready to face him yet. Hayate looked upon his sister tenderly for the first time in years. It was unusual to see her in such a laid back setting. Normally if he saw her she would be fighting for her life.

"Hello, Kasumi." He replied simply, unable to think of anything more meaningful. "I have to say, you couldn't have made a more dramatic entrance walking into the village than in the arms of the Dragon Ninja." Her cheeks seemed to color at his statement.
"Ryu carried me all the way here? I have been such a nuisance..."
"He carried you princess style like the princess that you are." Hayate said it gleefully, a whole future of teasing ahead of him.
"That brings me to that topic, why did you let me stay here and restore my former position?" Kasumi looked like she didn't truly want to know the answer.
"Ryu didn't tell you?" Hayate asked, confused.
"He said you decided to do it out of the good in your heart... but it doesn't seem like that would be the case. You normally follow the ninja laws so closely..."
"Ryu swung a bargain with me. If you run away again, he dies as penalty as well. You are his responsibility now. He even cut his hair as proof that he would keep his word."
"Why did he do that?!" The look Kasumi's face showed that she was shocked and starting to panic at the notion. "Does he trust me that much? How does he know that I won't make a run for it?"
Hayate smiled warmly. "He doesn't, really. But he was more focused on saving your life than what would happen later. He really is a nice guy, Kasumi. You should consider him."
"Consider him for what?" She asked, lost.
"A possible husband. He is of the infamous Hayabusa clan. It would be acceptable for a princess such as yourself to marry him." Kasumi's face turned crimson red with embarrassment.
"Ryu wouldn't consider me as a possible marriage prospect! He is the 'Super Ninja'! Why would he want to marry the 'exiled kunoichi'?" She grimaced. "It even SOUNDS implausible."
"You'd be surprised, Kasumi. If Ryu wanted to marry you, would you marry him?" Hayate crossed his arms, showing that the subject was serious and deserved a serious answer. Kasumi was flushed with embarrassment as she averted her eyes to the opposite side of the room.
"Of course. Without question." She mumbled. Hayate smiled. His best friend might be fortunate enough to get his wish granted; not many guys got the love of a princess. Hayate, however, refused to interfere too much. They should learn about their love for each other all on their own. Kasumi's eyes darted to Hayate's with panic when she seemed to think of something alarming.
"You won't tell him I said that will you?" She was still blushing.
"Kasumi," Hayate began, "are you in love with Ryu?" He gave her the gaze that told her he was her brother and he would know if she was lying.
"Yes. I always have been." Kasumi looked almost ashamed, but in Hayate's mind things couldn't be more perfect. His sister was back in the village. DOATEC was destroyed. His best friend would probably wind up marrying his sister, making him his brother. The pieces fit together without fail like a puzzle. Hayate was elated.
He got to his feet and took long strides towards the door. "Rest up well, Kasumi. Feel better soon so that we can spar." She offered him a smile by response and closed her eyes to sleep.
Outside the door, leaning against the wall, was a very patient Ryu. He looked calm but Hayate could tell that he was actually nervous that things wouldn't go over well between the siblings. He wasted his worry. When Hayate approached Ryu's green eyes snapped open and focused on him. Hayate's ridiculously happy smile threw Ryu off balance.
"Don't give up, my friend. Things will go your way..." Hayate gave him a brotherly pat on the back.
"What?" Ryu asked. "Don't speak in riddles."
"Take care of my little sister, okay?" Hayate translated. This confused Ryu even more.

"Noooo!" Kasumi shrieked, jumping away from her brother. Hayate lunged forward and tackled his sister mercilessly, pinning her to the ground. She tried to squirm away, but her sickness made her too weak. Hayate reached into his pocket and took out something.

"Now stay still." He said.

"No! I don't want to take it! It's so bitter!" Kasumi struggled to no avail.

"You have to take your medicine!"


"Ryu is going to be here any second now! Do you want him to see you acting like a child?" Kasumi froze and stiffened. "Do you?" Hayate prodded.

"No…" Kasumi said, taking the little packet of herbs and dumping it down her throat. She shuddered and made a face. Hayate grinned and released her, sitting next to her as she chugged water to wash the medicine down.

"So… you going to tell him?" Hayate asked, fiddling with a thread on his clothes.

"Tell who what?" Kasumi asked back between hearty gulps of water.

"Tell Ryu that you love him of course." Hayate said it like it was common sense that she would do that. Kasumi choked on her water and pulled it back, sputtering with horror.

"Of course not! I can't do that!"

"Why not?"

"Because he'll reject me that's why!" Kasumi rubbed at her throat. Hayate couldn't stop smiling. They were both so shy.

"You don't know that." He pointed out, rolling his eyes.

"I don't want to chase him off! If he finds out I feel that way he may stop talking to me or behave awkwardly! I don't want that at all!" Kasumi crossed her arms over her chest.

"Yeah, yeah. By the way, you may want to right your robes before he gets here." Kasumi looked down and squeaked. The robes she was wearing were open in the front, nearly showing her whole chest. Her belt had loosened so she was exposed all the way up the thigh. She was even more indecent than usual. Before she could do anything though, a knock sounded at the door and Ryu walked in.

"Hey Kasumi, feeling better today?" He had a fairly casual demeanor before her took in her state of dress. His eyes roamed over Kasumi slowly before he caught himself and his face turned bright red. "I-I'm so sorry… I'll be waiting out in the hall…" Ryu skittered out of the room.

Hayate pointed to the door where Ryu just disappeared behind with a smug smirk. "Still think he doesn't like you?"

"Any man would do that, seeing me in my state." Kasumi said stubbornly, straightening her robes.

"It would make me really happy if you married my best friend." Hayate whistfully added, pretending to examine his nails.

"That choice is up to Ryu, not me." Kasumi countered on a sigh. "Why are you so interested in this anyways? YOU aren't even married."

"I just want to make sure you are safe, Kasumi. You haven't been for a long time now." Hayate looked at her with a soft gaze filled with adoration. "You are my little sister. I want you to be happy."

Kasumi smiled shyly. "Maybe you should focus on your own happiness every once in a while, brother."

Ignoring her, and not checking to see if she's decent, Hayate yelled "It's okay to come in now!" at the door. Ryu inched his way in, not trusting Hayate in the slightest.

"I'm… er… sorry about before… I didn't realize…" Ryu covered his red face with his hand in an attempt to hide his emotions.

"It isn't your fault!" Kasumi said quickly, her face reddening too. Hayate looked between the two and smiled slyly.

"Well, thanks for coming to watch her now, Ryu. I have to… umm… go get my hair cut. I have an appointment with Ami. Don't leave her side until I get back!" Hayate got up and walked past Ryu towards the door.

"Wait a minute, Hayate, what are you doing?" Ryu hissed, his eyes widening with panic.

"Getting my hair cut." Hayate replied simply, slamming the door behind him. Ryu stared at the door in disbelief.

"I-I'm so sorry, I didn't realize Hayate had to leave!" Kasumi's beautiful voice brought his attention back to her. "You don't have to stay to watch me though! I'll be fine on my own…"

Ryu smiled slightly at her flustered behavior, which was almost as bad as his own. "It's fine. Don't worry about it, Kasumi. It'll be my pleasure to stay and keep you company."

"B-But I don't want to inconvenience you. You are probably busy, with your antique shop and all." Kasumi stared at her hands, which were neatly folded in her lap.

Ryu frowned and his heart sank when a sad possibility hit. "If you don't want me here, you can just say so."

Her amber eyes shot up, panicked. "NO!" She yelled, grabbing his hand. Ryu could feel his heartbeat spike. "Please, stay." Kasumi asked with a helpless look on her face. Ryu had a sudden urge to kiss her. To tell her that everything would be okay and he would be delighted to stay. To hold her and stroke her hair until she was convinced that everything would be okay when he didn't even say a word.

Holding back on his urges like a gentleman, he squeezed her hand gently. Her face relaxed a bit and he sat down next to her bed. He didn't let go of her hand though. He couldn't bring himself to do it. Slowly, as not to alarm her, he threaded their fingers together. It was a perfect fit. Her small hand was nearly engulfed with his, the larger hand seeming to protect hers.

Ryu looked up from their interwoven fingers to Kasumi's face. She was staring at their hands, a look of astonishment pasted onto her features. Her cheeks were flushed a pretty pink. Kasumi's eyes followed Ryu's arm and landed on his face, their gazes locking together. A sizzle of awareness sparked between them. Kasumi's lips parted on a sharp gasp.

They stared at each other for a long time before Kasumi's eyes widened and she looked away from him shyly. Ryu felt such a sense of loss that he released her hand and cupped her face in his, forcing her gently to look at him. She looked at him wearily, but he was too far gone to notice her insecurities or his own.

He dropped his eyes to her lips. Never before had he thought of her in a way such as this. As they were growing up, he always imagined himself holding her. Walking hand in hand with her. Laughing with her. He admired her body. But never before had he wanted to do such sinful things with her. He wanted to strip off that flimsy robe and explore every inch of what is Kasumi. He wanted to kiss her until they both couldn't take the pleasure anymore. He wanted to drive himself deeply inside of her and feel her around him. He wanted her so badly he could feel his erection pull at his leathers. All from the stare of her kind amber gaze.

Kasumi bit her lip in confusion. She wasn't sure why Ryu was acting this way, but he was so gentle. So tender. So unlike the "super ninja". His gaze heated as she sucked her lip into her mouth with thought and without further notice he dipped his head so that their lips met.

Her lips were so soft against his, like velvet to him. He let out a groan, all his pent up sexual tension for Kasumi being let out at once. He allowed himself to slide over to her and position himself so he pressing her petite body against his own. Urgently he moved his lips against hers, a desperate hunger bringing him to devour her mouth.

It was only then that he considered what he was doing. What if Kasumi didn't like this? He just suddenly started kissing her. Knowing her, she will be afraid of him after this if she doesn't like it. The thought sat like lead in his belly.

That is why Ryu was so shocked when Kasumi actually started kissing him back. It was unlike her to be so wanton, even if he advanced first. He was so shocked, in fact, he came to his senses.

He suddenly pulled back from her and looked down at her face, shock making his muscles stiff. She was flushed, her cheeks a pretty pink, and her eyes were half-mast and lazy. Her breath came out in short pants through swollen lips. She looked delicious. She looked dangerous. Ryu jumped back and away from her, tempted to have a second go. He knew his own cheeks were flushed.

"Ryu?" Kasumi had confusion saturating her voice.

"I'm so sorry." Ryu said; the gravity of what he just did hitting him full force. Panicking, he then turned tail and almost ran out of the room. Down hall he met Hayate, who was practicing zen meditation. He looked up at Ryu in shock.

"I thought I said to stay with her. And what has you so flustered? You are never flustered." Hayate jumped up to meet his friend, ready for a fight.

"I defiled your sister. I am so so sorry. I didn't mean to… she grabbed my hand and…"

Amusement flickered over Hayate's face, not anger. "You DEFILED her? Well that was awfully quick. I didn't know you were a minute man, Ryu."

Ryu froze. "What are you talking about?"

"Well, you got laid, what else? Although I do have to admit, it's a bit disturbing to think that my sister…"

"NO!" Ryu's face flushed completely. "No, I KISSED her."

Hayate laughed. "I figured as much. You don't have the guts to sleep with her. And if you did I'd have to kill you. A kiss isn't a big deal, really. It's fine."

"Well… what if she didn't like it? I felt like I forced myself on her… and then I wanted to do more but I didn't want to do anything until I promise her commitment but I wanted to so badly so I left because I didn't want her first time to be like that and…"

"Whoa. Ryu…" Hayate clapped his back. "You are babbling. Calm down. I've never seen you like this."

Ryu attempted to hide his face in his hands. " Well, I have never felt that way before…" he confessed shyly. Hayate froze, shock covering his features.

"Y-You don't mean…Ryu... you're a VIRGIN?" Ryu clapped his hand over Hayate's mouth.

"Shhhh! Not so loud!" Hayate pried his friend's hand off.

"How?" He asked, a bit quieter to respect Ryu's wish of silence. "I mean, you have had women flock to you. A lot of the women in the village find you attractive and would love a piece of you. Plus, you are such a good fighter you are famous!"

Ryu averted is eyes in embarrassment. "I told you. I have loved your sister from the time when we were small. It didn't feel right to be with anyone else."

A grin spread across Hayate's face. "I didn't realize you were such a sentimental guy."

"Shut up." Ryu mumbled.

Hayate's grin didn't falter. "I'm glad you are the one who will be with my sister." He said, fondly. He took Ryu's hand and pulled him towards him, giving him a hard clap on the back. A man-hug between best friends.

"Soon you will be my brother-in-law."

"Stop talking nonsense." Ryu said, but he found himself grinning at the thought that not only would Kasumi be his wife, but Hayate would be his brother. They were already like family, but to actually become part of the Muugin Tenshin clan would be so great he couldn't even put it into words. He'd have a clan again.

"Go cool yourself down, Ryu. I'll go check on Kasumi." Without another word, Hayate strolled down the hall and into his sister's room. He didn't even bother to knock. She was laying on her futon, seemingly breathless.

"Hey, Kasumi. You look a bit shaken." Hayate was casual as he sat next to her, cross-legged. She looked over at him in astonishment.

"He kissed me!" She exclaimed, her eyes twinkling slightly.

"Still think he doesn't like you?" Hayate sounded slightly sarcastic but he was trying not to smile.

The twinkle in her eyes faded and she closed her eyes in disappointment. "Yeah. I bet I just happened to do something to turn him on. It probably didn't mean anything. And when he realized what he did he practically ran away. Probably to find someone else."

"You're…" You're wrong! He's a virgin and he only loves you! The words were at the time of his tongue, but he didn't want to ruin it for Ryu. He wanted him to tell Kasumi these words himself. "You're impossible…" He finished.

Kasumi seemed to have deflated her elation and she turned away from him, depressed. "Can you leave for a while, Hayate? I want to be by myself."

Hayate frowned and rubbed the back of his neck. They were both idiots. "Fine." The word came out with a bit of hesitation and more than a bit of bitterness. He got up and left the room, annoyed.

Kasumi laid there for a few seconds before standing and changing into a martial arts outfit. This one was white with Sakura Blossoms on it and a red trim. She slipped her thigh high boots on and walked out the door to her room, only feeling slightly woozy, which happened to be a huge improvement from earlier. She didn't feel like digging through her old stuff for her tarot cards and her rune stones, her favorite thing to do was fortune telling, so she wanted to do the second best thing to calm herself: martial arts.

Kasumi walked into the dojo and smiled with nostalgia. This is where she would spar with her brother. She dropped down into a fighting position and starting training by attacking the air. She tried Ren-Kaio-Sentotsu and Renko-Rishu a few times, but she quickly ran out of breath. She was still weak from illness.

Behind her, she heard the door to the dojo open up. "Nii-san?" She asked, turning to find Ayane, not Hayate. "Oh. Ayane. Hello." Kasumi greeted nicely, still slightly winded.

"You shouldn't be here." Ayane said darkly.

Kasumi blinked at her. "Why not?"

"You ran away." She spat. "You abandoned us all. Their precious little princess that they pampered all her life abandoned us and ran off to escape the responsibilities of leading the clan. Pathetic."

Kasumi glared at her. "Wherever you got those stupid generalities, they are wrong. I left to avenge Hayate."

"LIAR!" Ayane screamed, running at Kasumi. Kasumi braced herself for battle, knowing that Ayane would not hesitate to kill her. Ayane came at her spinning and Kasumi threw up her arms to block, but she was still weak and couldn't put any force behind it. Ayane's punch knocked her back and into the dojo wall. She was already winded, but this time the breath got knocked completely from her. Kasumi gasped as she slid down the wall. Ayane pulled out a kunai knife and strode towards her in quick strides.

"Hayate-sama may have told me not to kill you, but you are still a traitor to the Muugin Tenshin. I will fulfill my duty as a konoichi and eradicate you."

Kasumi closed her eyes in defeat. She was too weak to fight back. At least she would die in her village with the peace that Hayate is no longer her enemy. And that Ryu took her first kiss. Ayane neared with her kunai.

Suddenly, a loud 'clang' echoed through the dojo and Kasumi's eyes snapped open. She knew the form in front of her like she knew her own name. The strong back belonged to none other than Ryu. Like Ayane he had a kunai in hand, but his was extended as if he just struck something. On the floor was the kunai that was supposed to have stolen her life.

Ryu positioned his body protectively over Kasumi.

"Hayabusa-sama?" Ayane said, shocked by his blatant act of opposition.

"Ayane. Back off now or I will kill you." Ryu said darkly, his feet slowly inching into a fighting stance.

"But, Hayabusa-sama! She's a traitor to the village! Why would you protect her?" Ayane bent to pick up her kunai again but Ryu acted quickly and slapped her hand away.

"You will not touch her. Ever." Ryu growled.

"Why do you protect her?" She asked again, growing furious.

"That isn't any of your business, Ayane." He was starting to lose his restraint. When he struck the deal with Hayate he thought that Kasumi would be safe, at least within the confines of the house. Instead her half-sister tried to take her life.

"If you won't tell me, then I'll just wait to slit her throat in her sleep." The words were like a snake bite. Ayane pulled out another kunai to emphasize how capable she was of completing the task.

"BECAUSE I LOVE HER!" Ryu yelled with fury. "PUT THAT KUNAI AWAY!"

Kasumi's eyes widened with amazement. He loved her. He loved HER. Her heart beat picked up with joy, and she couldn't breathe. She wasn't sure that was because of his confession or that she had the breath knocked out of her earlier.

In the next instant, Ryu had Ayane on her back with a kunai to her throat. He was actually pressing hard enough to draw blood. "You may be a friend of mine, but if you ever try to harm her again I will kill you in cold blood. There will be no mercy. Understand?"

A bead of sweat rolled down Ayane's temple as he crushed the kunai out of her hand with his foot. "Yes, Hayabusa-sama."

Ryu got up and brushed himself off. "Now leave." Ayane bowed before leaving the room, casting a dark glare over her shoulder at Kasumi.

He slowly turned to Kasumi with what seemed like an ashamed look on his face. He hadn't meant to proclaim his love for her. She would be troubled with how to act towards him now that she knew. He caused unrest in her soul and it was all because he couldn't hold his emotions in. He felt shameful as a ninja, a person who wasn't supposed to feel emotion.

That was when Kasumi did the unthinkable. She stood up on shaky legs and fell into him, wrapping her arms around him in a passionate embrace. Ryu was speechless anf froze, unsure how to take the action.

"Ryu…" She said in her soft, angelic voice. "I love you too."

Ryu's heart swelled with joy and relief. She loved him. It was the one thing he always wanted and thought he could never have. Kasumi. Ryu looked down at her in astonishment and put his finger under her chin, lifting her head so that she looked at him. His gaze was filled with love and it caused Kasumi to flush slightly. He realized that she was telling the truth.

"C-Can… I kiss you?" Ryu asked, nervously.

"No." Kasumi said. Ryu's face fell. Perhaps he misinterpreted things. "You'll get sick…" She explained, a little disappointed herself.

Ryu's mouth spread into a wide grin. "Well, I already kissed you, so it's too late now."

Ryu wrapped his arms around her, bringing her closer to him. He dipped his head so that his face was near hers, but instead of kissing her he pressed his forehead to hes. Allowing his eyes to drift closed he felt at peace. As he breathed in her cherry blossom scent he knew instinctively that this is the way that things were supposed to be.

"I've dreamed of this moment for a long time." Ryu admitted calmly, not opening his eyes.

"How long?" Kasumi asked, following his lead and closing her eyes. Enjoying the moment. He smelled of pine, and it fit him well. Whenever she imagined him she thought of him by a river fishing, or hiking. Something that had to do with the woods.

"Since you grew up… since I first met you… forever." Ryu said, thinking of all the different stages of love for her. First it was fondness, looking at her from afar. Then it was love, when he wanted to hold her hand and hold HER. Then came lust; that unquenchable thirst for her body against his. For skin to skin contact.

She reached up and brushed her fingertips against his cheek. "Me too. I've loved you for longer than I can remember." She laughed nervously, her voice quivering a bit. "It feels so good to get this off my chest. To have you near me after longing for so long."

"Kasumi…" He said, almost as if he was saying a prayer. He nudged her chin up and meshed his lips to hers. Slowly, meticulously, Ryu started to move his lips on hers. Massaging them. Kasumi followed his lead, and went even further on instinct. She nibbled at his bottom lip, sucking it into her mouth. Ryu let out a growl of desire and, unable to be gentle any longer, thrust his tongue into her mouth, claiming her.

Kasumi was timid with her side of the kiss, having not done anything like it before. But she knew what to do like she knew how to breathe and she starting rolling her tongue on his. Battling with his tongue. Ryu threaded his hands through her copper hair and tilted her head so that he could access her mouth better and ravage her more completely. He had kissed before, but never like this. Never so passionately.

Ryu was the first to pull back, much to his surprise. But her warmth was too much for him. He had to stop or he'd take her right on the dojo floor where anyone who walked in could see. His passion for her was more intense than he had imagined it would be, the kiss more drugging than he thought possible. Kasumi made a small sound of protest at the loss of the contact but Ryu gently traced her lips with a fingertip to stifle her words.

Ryu stared into her beautiful amber eyes and he felt a sense of fulfillment. Like, finally, he found what he needed to survive. And he knew that even if he were reincarnated, his soul would still love hers and find her again. He didn't want to ever lose her. So he decided to be spontanious.

"Marry me." Ryu said on a whim, his green eyes still locked on hers.

"What?" She asked, astonished.

"Marry me." Ryu said again. "Please. I want you to belong to me. Only me."

Kasumi's decadent lips spread into a smile of happiness. "Of course I'll marry you."

Ryu beamed with joy and he grabbed hold of her hand, leading her towards the door of the dojo.

"WAIT! Are we going to do THAT now?" Kasumi asked, suddenly alarmed.

"What?" Ryu turned to face her, obviously not in the same gutter she was in. "I was taking you with me so we can tell your brother our news."

Despite herself, Kasumi felt disappointed. "Oh…"

Ryu pinned her with a green-eyed stare, "Why? Do you want to…?"

Kasumi flushed deeply. "W-well. There's something you should know… I-I'm a virgin so… I don't really know much about these things…"

"I know." Ryu answered to that simply.


"I wouldn't let any other man near you. I always threatened them if they got too attached to you." Ryu looked slightly embarrassed at his behavior. "B-but I'm glad that I'll be the first man to touch you…"

"I wish I had the same privilege with you…" Kasumi said quietly to herself, but Ryu heard. He cleared his throat.

"Um… you do." Her eyes shot up and searched his face in disbelief. "I saved myself for you…" Ryu's face turned a shade of crimson and he looked away, chastising himself for that cheesy line.

"B-But… all those women. They were always flocking around you and feigning for your attention! Surely…?"

"None of them were you…" Ryu squeezed her hand. Kasumi didn't want to show him how happy she was, so she kept it to herself. Instead she asked: "So we are going to experience our first time together?"

Ryu smiled a bit. "Yeah." He tugged on her hand. "Let's go tell your brother." Kasumi followed him out this time.

Hayate ran down the hall towards them in a panic. "Kasumi! Are you okay?" He didn't seem to register that Ryu and Kasumi were holding hands as he took her by the shoulders and shook her anxiously. "Ayane told me what happened! She'll be punished for disobeying my orders, but are you okay? You were all weak, did you injure anything?"

"I-I'm fine, Hayate. Ryu saved me." Hayate let out a sigh of relief. Then his eyes followed Kasumi's arm to their interlocked hands. Hayate then looked to Ryu confused. He slipped his arm around Kasumi's waist and drew her into his side for clarification.

"Hayate…" He began, then looked to Kasumi for support. She nodded to him and he looked back to his best friend. "We're engaged."

Hayate looked shocked for a few seconds, then his lips twitched into a grin. "Oh, this is great. I thought it would take much longer." He turned around and started walking off.

"Where are you going?" Kasumi called.

"To plan the wedding." Hayate was still grinning. Kasumi blinked.

"Didn't think he was the wedding planning sort of guy…" Ryu said, voicing her thoughts. Kasumi took a deep breath, gathering her courage, and tugged on Ryu's hand so that he followed her lead. She turned towards her room. As soon as Ryu realized where they were going, she could feel him hesitating.

"I-I don't know if I am ready…" He said, panicking.

"Calm down, I'm tired so I'm only going to lie down." A lie, but it was an effective one because he relaxed. Kasumi's heart rate picked up. She had never done anything so daring before, except for perhaps run away from the village. She led him into the room and he went ahead of her, sitting down by her bed. She flicked the lock on the door discreetly and walked towards him.

Ryu didn't think a thing of it. He thought she was walking to her bed. She hesitated, and really thought about crawling into the bed. But, following her original plan she reached behind herself and untied her sash. Her stockings were next, leaving her legs bare. She then pulled open her robes and stepped out of them, completely naked.

Ryu was waiting for her to slip into her bed, but looked up when he noticed she didn't do just that. His eyes widened as they traveled over her body, his face flushing with shyness. He gaped and swallowed heavily, his eyes alight with desire. Kasumi felt nervous and almost backed out and put her clothes on, but she did not want to be a coward.

"Kasumi?" He asked, a bit confused. But, despite his confusion his eyes wouldn't leave her body. She stepped towards him, a bit timidly. He looked like he wanted to inch away, but he kept to his spot. "W-What are you doing?" He asked, unable to control the shake in his voice.

"What I've been dreaming about since I knew what desire was…" Kasumi closed in on him, stopping mere inches from where he perched. "I had always loved you from afar, giving up hope that it would ever be mutual love. But here we are. Engaged. I know this happened really fast, but I want you to take my virginity. Please."

Ryu's eyes crinkled with restraint. "You're ill. We should wait until you are better. I don't want to hurt you…"

"I'm a konoichi, Ryu. I can take all you can give me. Please." Kasumi took another step towards him and brushed her fingertips against his cheek. "I want to know what it feels like to be one with you, after all this time."

Her touch was enough to send him over the edge. With a growl he jumped up and took her into his arms; conforming her body to his. "I can't resist you, Kasumi. I don't know how I managed for this long…"

Kasumi let out a sigh of relief; she was half expecting to be rejected by him. But she could feel his erection pressing against her belly. His need was just as strong as hers and that made her feel less ridiculous.

Ryu threaded his fingers through her hair and pulled her head back gently, angling her for another kiss. He pressed their lips together for the third time that day, but this time it felt different than before. While the other kisses were like jolts of electricity, this one was pure, undiluted desire. It spread like fire through his body as he sucked on her lips with his. He thrust into her mouth with his tongue and plundered it. Ryu conquered every corner of her mouth and he still was not satisfied. It was unlike he had ever experienced.

Stroking her tongue with his own, he allowed his hands to roam her body freely. Ryu cupped his hand over her generously endowed breast and massaged it, the mass of it overflowing his hand. It was like a dream, they were so soft and they fit in his hand perfectly, filling it completely. She gasped as his finger brushed her sensitive nipple and he felt a lance of need shoot through him with just that little sound.

He couldn't believe it when Kasumi's delicate hands slid up his side, catching on the leather that covered him. "Ryu…" She whispered against his lips, his name alone on her breath causing his cock to jerk with attention. "I want to see you…" Kasumi moaned, tugging at his leathers again.

Ryu took the hint. He stripped all of his ninja gear off and worked on his leathers. It took a few minutes but the passion between them did not dwindle. He could feel Kasumi's heated gaze search him as he removed his garments. When he removed the last bit of clothing, he straightened to meet with Kasumi again. She was watching him.

"Beautiful…" She whispered, taking in his natural state. Ryu felt slightly shy by her words. He had never been called beautiful before. It was usually a feminine compliment, but the way Kasumi said it made him feel a rush of pride.

She leaned into him, her breasts flattening on his bare chest. She was so soft he let out a hiss of ecstasy, winding his arms around her again as he took her mouth once more, not even bothering with the foreplay and plunging his tongue into her sweet, welcoming warmth.

He couldn't believe how phenomenal she tasted. It was as if he couldn't get enough of her. He felt like he could kiss her all day, but that thought was cut short when Kasumi's hand innocently roamed down his chest and brushed his sensitive erection. At that moment he wanted to do so much more than kissing.

Ryu nudged Kasumi over to the bed. She obliged easily, tumbling onto the futon without any effort expended from Ryu. She was a vision of beauty, her long red hair spread about her head like a halo; her cheeks flushed a soft rose. Her eyes were wide, those beautiful amber irises focused on his face, completely enthralled by him. As he was of her.

He didn't fit himself on top of her yet, he wanted to take her in. Her creamy ivory skin, her rosebud nipples, her flat stomach, her long legs. He loved all of it, and desired all of it, and all of it was his. It was hard to comprehend how in the short time since she returned he was able to claim her as his own. It was almost too good to be real and he briefly filed it in his mind as a dream. Then she reached up and ran her long fingers over his pectorals and he let out a hiss, the fires caused by it convincing him that it had to be real.

Mine. He thought, pulling her into his arms. She fit there perfectly, as if she were made to someday be in his arms as such. It was sinful how she could be so wanton without knowing it, her back arching so that their skin could flatten together in a tantalizing way. He groaned, almost too turned on to control himself, but he didn't want to hurt her.

"Kasumi." He licked along the tendon of her neck, eager to taste her and not waste time. "I need to prepare you."
"Mmm..." She was beyond words at this point, the sensations overheating her brain. Taking that as consent he trailed his hand down her flat stomach before finding the silky bush of hair covering her most private of regions. She arched into his touch.

He found the spot he was looking for seemingly all his life. She was wet, her body naturally creating lubrication for his arrival. He swirled the slick substance around her opening and Kasumi groaned with anticipation. Slowly he dipped a finger inside of her causing her to cry out with pleasure.

Finding a rhythm he stroked her, her hips rocking to the beat. When she became slick enough he decided to add another finger in, stretching her further. He was enjoying her reactions, enjoying that he was the reason she was in such a state of disorder. Her inner walls spasmed around his fingers and he knew she was close to coming. To prepare her for what was to come he thrust a third finger into the mix, stretching her almost to her limit. She screamed, arching her hips so that he went deeper. His whole hand was covered in her juices already, but after a few strokes of his fingers she came and drenched him even more.

She was panting underneath him, completely at his mercy. He knew that she was ready for his girth. He paused to take in her pleasured form for the first time. The hesitation caused her eyes to flutter open, the depths glazed with satisfaction.

"Ryu?" Her eyes widened when he put his slick fingers to his mouth and licked her off of them, reveling in her flavor. Then, after licking his fingers clean, he meshed his lips to hers again, overcome by a savagery unlike any he felt before.

He positioned his shaft at her wet opening, circling his hips minutely to tantalize her. She widened her legs to an attempt to tempt him inside and it worked. With a groan he pushed the head inside, causing her to stiffen. She had never felt anything like this before. He allowed her to adjust before pushing in further, the strain causing beads of sweat to appear on his skin.

A small push later caused her to gasp. He met a small resistance before it gave way and he knew that her hymen had been pierced. She was no longer a virgin. He waited for her body to relax and adjust to the pain before pushing the rest of the way in. Once he was engulfed to the hilt, he held her face in his hands and had to her look him in the eyes.

"Are you doing okay?" He asked, unable to indulge in his selfish desires until he knew she was unharmed.

"I'm fine, Ryu." She smiled at him and arched her hips, causing him to touch the deepest part of her. He hissed with the sensation, falling into her. The pleasure was the most intense he had felt before. "Love me hard."

With a defeated growl he started pumping into her with all the pent up frustration he had for her. He moved his hands to her hips and dug his fingers in, going wild. She spread her legs as far out as they would go, allowing him to penetrate her deeply. Her fingers clutched at the linens desperately, trying to find something to keep her in this world.

He couldn't seem to stop, his hips moving with a fury he didn't know he had. Soon the woman under him was thrashing her head around with the sheer intensity of it all, her inner walls contracting around his member as she rode through her orgasm. It was like she was milking him and he couldn't stand it anymore. He thrust into her one more time before his muscled stiffened and an orgasm ripped through him. The sensation was mind numbing. He pumped into her a few more times, the motions slow as he shot his load deep into her body.

Finally, after that explosive release, his muscles relaxed and he practically collapsed on top of her. He had enough sense to shift to the side so that he didn't crush her before taking her into his arms and hugging her against his body.

"I love you." He told her, more at peace than he had ever been before.

"I love you too, Ryu." She whispered with a smile, kissing his lips lightly.

He realized they were still joined and pulled out of her gently, before stiffening with a realization he didn't want to have.

"Kasumi, I didn't use protection." His voice was grave when he said that.

"I know." She said lightly, snuggling up to his side.

"But you might be pregnant now."

"I wouldn't mind having your kids, Ryu."

"Are you sure? It's a big commitment and..."



"I want to be committed to you. And..." She blushed. "I think you'd be a great father."

"In that case..."

"What is it?" She blinked up at him, her blush fading.

"We better keep trying. You might not be pregnant yet." Not waiting to hear her response he kissed her like it was the first time. He vowed that every kiss he gave her would be with so much passion her toes would curl. Ryu was anxious to start a life with her. He thought she'd also be a great mother.

One month later...

"What?! What do you mean I need to push up the wedding? You can't wait 3 months? I invited all the other clans!" Hayate seemed aggrieved by the notion of having to send out new invitations.

"I need it to be faster. Like in a week." Ryu's hair had grown out a little since it was cut and he blew it out of his face. He was sitting across from his friend, legs and arms crossed, with a very serious expression. He made an imposing figure in black; he was in his ninja garb still since this was the first place he stopped after his mission.

"A week?! A WEEK?! Do you know how much I'll have to go through to get it pushed up that far?!" Hayate was more upset about this than Ryu thought he would be. He didn't leave any room for negotiation, though, and stared his friend down.

"I need you to do it."

"I need you to tell me why." Hayate growled back, rather annoyed now.

"Uh..." A stalemate. Ryu rubbed the back of his neck with the stress of the situation, unsure if it was wise to tell the truth. Hayate had known Ryu long enough that he could read his body language. He stiffened.

"You didn't." Hayate's eyes narrowed.

"Uh... didn't what?" Ryu offered a small friendly smile, starting to sense hostility.

"You got Kasumi pregnant, didn't you? That's why you want the wedding to be sooner."

"W-well... I just think that it would leave a better impression on the other clans if they don't know about her premarital pregnancy, given that we broke ninja law to bring her back..." Ryu decided to try to change the subject from the pregnancy itself to the marriage date, but it didn't work.

"You! You... irresponsible...!" Hayate tackled his friend, snapping. "Couldn't you have slowed down a little?! I can't believe you! You slept with her! I thought you were a shy guy! And she's my sister! You knocked up my sister!"

He threw a punch at Ryu, but Ryu managed to counter it and push Hayate off of him. Hayate wasn't deterred for long and pushed off the ground, coming at Ryu with a spinning kick. Ryu dodged, twirling around so that he was behind Hayate.

"Hayate, let's talk about this!"

Hayate wasn't having any of it and pivoted with a high kick. Ryu managed to block it but it was more powerful than he thought it was going to be and it caused him to stagger a bit. He forgot that Hayate knew karate as well and he was capable of putting a lot of power behind his moves. Hayate saw the opening in Ryu's defense and performed a high jumping kick, aiming for his face.

"Brother!" Before the kick could connect, small hands wrapped around his ankle and used the kicks momentum against him, spinning him around and tossing him into the wall. He broke through the flimsy paper wall, crashing into the hallway. "I can't believe you would attack Ryu like that!"

"Kasumi!" Ryu rushed over to his fiance and looked her over. "You should know better! What if you had gotten hit? Or put too much stress on your stomach! You have to be careful!" He pulled her into his arms.

"Ryu, I'm fine. Besides, if I hadn't of intercepted that kick you would have a very sore jaw."

"I'd rather have a sore jaw than have you lose the baby." Ryu's words were very serious.

"Kasumi, did you have to be that violent about it?" Hayate groaned and sat up, rubbing his head. "You broke the room!"

"Well, if you hadn't attacked Ryu this wouldn't have happened! What is wrong with you?" She put her hands on her hips angrily. "You're lucky I don't hurt you more!"

"He got you pregnant before marriage, Kasumi!" Hayate practically whined the words. "I wanted you guys to end up together but I also want him to respect you!"

"It wasn't his fault! And he respects me just fine." Kasumi threw her hands in the air in exasperation. "Does it even matter? I thought you'd be happy for us!"

"Of course I'm happy for you!" Hayate sighed and hugged her. "I just love you is all." He looked to Ryu. "But you slept with my sister!"

"What did you think couples do?" Kasumi asked, rolling her eyes. "Can you just move the wedding?"

"Only if you name the kid after me." Hayate said it matter of fact, like there was no negotiation.

"Were were going to anyways." Ryu said on a sigh.

"Great. Now that that's settled..." He took advantage of the relaxed nature of the room to take Ryu and Kasumi off guard. He socked Ryu fairly hard in the face, causing his head to whip to the side.

"Ryu!" Kasumi ran to her beloved's side before casting a glare over her shoulder at her brother. "Brother! Could you just behave?"

"I will now." Hayate cracked his knuckles, satisfied. "I had to punch him. It's a brother's duty to punch the guy who took his sister's virginity. Especially if it's his friend. Now that that's taken care of, I have to go get this wall fixed and send out new invitations for you impatient lovebirds."

After watching him walk away with annoyance, Kasumi turned back to Ryu.

"Are you alright?" Her voice was dripping with concern. Ryu nodded and straightened so that he was facing her. A bruise was forming on his cheek, but she could tell that he wouldn't have a black eye. She touched the spot gingerly, worry creasing her features.

"Don't worry, Kasumi. I'm fine as long as you are around." He gave her a kiss before leading her out of the destroyed room. "Let's go have lunch."

He put his arm around her and rested his palm against her stomach, including their growing child in his hug.