"I don't want to be a vampire hunter." Homura said petulantly.
"Oh come on, you already have most of the skill set for it." Shirou insisted, leaning against the doorway of the office which the two were standing in. "With your combat experience and powers, you'll only have to do some more training before you can jump right in. I'm sure Nero will be happy to make you a new battle outfit too."
"There's nothing wrong with my current one." He snapped. In truth he had been meaning to let it out a bit more to fit his new frame better, but he hadn't found the time. Ever since Shirou had told some members of the household that there were undead hiding in the city's sewers a few days ago, there had been disbelief, followed by panicking, followed by the inevitable paranoia. This was made somewhat more complicated by the fact that not everyone in the house was in the know, namely Yukari and Uzume.
"Questions of proper attire aside, I am going to have to agree with Homura-san on this." Homura returned his attention back to the child-like vampire in front of him, who was currently doing something with a set of diagrams marked on the floor in front of him. Homura had been uncomfortable when Shirou asked him to come along to his office so that his boss could study him some more (the memory of what Yukia had done was still in his mind), but Homura had eventually agreed on the condition that he would always be kept in the loop as to what was going on between the Church and the Sekirei. Most of the dealings between the two up to that point had only involved Miya.
"Why's that?" Shirou asked.
"I would rather not have a species so few in number to get involved in something as dangerous as this." Merem replied. He glanced up at Homura and spoke before the man could say anything. "Yes, I am aware that your kind is not exactly weak, but please take my word that the danger is still very real. If at all possible I would like to keep the Sekirei out of such sordid affairs until the situation with MBI is sorted."
"Yes, and just how is that coming along, by the way?" Homura asked, trying to suppress a shiver as the symbols in front of him glowed and a tingle ran through his body.
"Slowly, I am afraid. With the recent revelation of Ghouls in the city, the Church needs to refocus its efforts to exterminate the threat as soon as possible. It's fortunate for us that they have not been doing anything overt as of late." The boy said as he wrote something down in a notebook, though a small frown crossed his face. If he's smart, he's probably worrying about what their doing covertly instead, Homura thought.
After a moment, the vampire shook his head. "In any case, I don't think that we'll be needing help. In addition to Executor Kotomine's work thus far, I have managed to get a few more Executors past the city blockades. There are in hiding for the moment, but they will be most helpful getting to the bottom of this." The light from the patterns on the floor dimmed and he straightened. "There, we are done."
Homura stretched a bit. "Did you get everything you wanted?"
"More or less, though I would like to analyze more if at all possible. Right now, I only have you and Mitsuo."
"Wait, who's Mitsuo?" Shirou asked.
Shirou blinked. "Really? I had no idea she that had one of her own."
"I believe that you were intoxicated when she told you, but that is neither here nor there." Merem said with an arched eyebrow. "Really the one I would like to study most is Miya-dono, but I get the impression that she doesn't like me for some reason. I can't imagine why."
Homura had to suppress a snort. If the vampire child that came out of nowhere and completely changed Miya's world couldn't understand why she might not see him in a favorable light, he probably didn't have a very good handle on people. Eventually he settled on "Well, if anything changes, let's us know."
We made our way back to the inn in short order, but as we stepped into the yard I stopped, putting my arm out in front of Homura to stop him.
"Something wrong?" he asked, his body tensing up along with my own.
"I'm not sure." I said, taking in a breath through my nose. "There's a Sekirei in the house I'm not familiar with." The sent was… earthy, like freshly dug up soil. "Everything seems fine, but keep on your guard."
Homura nodded and the two of us moved forward carefully, opening the front door as quietly as possible. My hand slipped into my coat as we crept down the hallway, ready to draw blades at a moment's notice. I heard voices coming from the dining room, and that was where the new scent was coming from as well. In a fluid motion, I slid the door open and stepped in.
The scene was not what I was expecting. For one thing, the room had several of the inn's residents sitting around the table drinking tea. Miya, Matsu, and Kazehana were at one end of the table, while Rin, Sakura, and their respective Sekirei were at the other. The situation was quite calm and amicable, and it actually took me a few moments to find the new person. Sitting next to Miya was a man with silver hair and a yellow scarf wrapped around his neck, dressed in some sort of black body suit. While he seemed to be calm and aloof, I still didn't let my guard down, eyeing the sheathed sword by his side. I knew who he was from Matsu's files, so I was a little wary of having the strongest Sekirei belonging to the Ashikabi of the South in my dining room.
"Hello, Sahashi-kun." Miya said pleasantly. "Please, do sit. You should relax when we are entertaining a guest." I did not fail to notice her slight emphasis on the worlds 'relax' and 'guest'.
I did as she asked and let the tension bleed out of me. If Miya thought everything was fine, then I would believe her. Besides, the man was horribly outnumbered at the moment, so it was unlikely he would try something. I noticed Matsu patting an empty seat next to her and looking at me expectantly, so I gave shrug and walked to the seat. "If you insist. But you have to admit this is a little weird."
"Mutsu-san is an old friend," The landlady replied as I took a seat. "Current circumstances not withstanding, I see no reason why we shouldn't be able to enjoy each other's company."
"Do you mean the current circumstances of being in a death match?" Homura asked dryly as he sat down next to the other male Sekirei with a cautious eye. "Because that one is a little hard to overlook."
Mutsu merely gave him a look. "Firstly, I know better than to challenge the 01 in her own home. Secondly, the Sekirei Plan has all but been postponed by this point thanks to her, much to my master's displeasure." The man paused and turned fully to look at Homura. I was then struck with the realization that this was the first time I had ever seen another male Sekirei aside from my own. Considering how few males there were, it was probably that this was the case for them as well. And something about my Sekirei seemed to pique Mutsu's interest. "Why is it that you are so… built?" He finally settled on.
Homura was surprised by the question for a moment, but he retorted by simply saying "Protein shakes." I didn't fail to notice the small smirk he had on his face, or the way his chest puffed out slightly at the comment. The profiles I had seen of the other male Sekirei showed a distinct trend toward the effeminate, so Homura seemed to be taking some pleasure in defying the norm. He hadn't changed much since the initial growth, but I swore that his voice had become a little deeper as well.
Mutsu gave him an unreadable look, but said nothing. Matsu on the other hand started to giggle. "Fufufu… is Mutsu-tan jealous of Homura-tan's sexy body?"
He gave the woman a flat expression. "Of course the pervert would jump to that first." He muttered. "I wept for whoever ends up winging you."
"Oh! That would be Shirou-tan!" She exclaimed as she leaned into me, my arm disappearing into her chest. I shifted uncomfortably as she pressed close, but is still gave her a smile. She was still persistent in her attempts to get closer to me, and to her credit she was getting better at it, but she also was still making it abundantly clear how she wanted things to become more physical.
Mutsu blinked in surprise. "Really? Huh. I thought he was with the alcoholic."
"Who's the alcoholic?" I asked. "And why would you think-" I stopped and looked to my other side as I realized that Kazehana was currently mimicking Matsu, pressing herself into my side such that it took very little for me to guess her proportions. "Ah." I said flatly. The dark haired woman had also become something of a fixture in my life as she was often assisting Matsu's schemes to get into my pants. Whether or not the woman herself was planning on joining such pants infiltration was still unclear though. She tried to flirt with me on several occasions, but it never progressed beyond that. It was almost like she was testing the waters, as it were. Of course, considering the current mess that my love life was, I felt no need to involve myself any further than I had to if she wasn't going to do anything.
Speaking of which, I was trying very hard not to look at Rin and Sakura at that moment. I could almost feel their eyes narrowing at me as the other two women snuggled closer.
Thankfully I was saved by Miya, who simply had to smile demurely while lifting a ladle in her hand. The two quickly gave me back my personal space. "This is such a nice reunion." She said as if she hadn't just made her silent threat. "And under far better circumstances than the last time we were together."
I blinked and thought about what she said for a moment before I remembered the brief history of the Sekirei after MBI found them. "Oh right. Aside from Karasuba, you four make up the original Disciplinary Squad." A far cry from what it currently was, the original Disciplinary Squad was made of the first five Sekirei awakened and tasked with the protection of the rest of their still sleeping numbers and the ship they came to Earth in. They ended up dispersing after Miya left MBI.
Kazehana gave a small hum. "It's probably for the best that Crow-chan isn't here. She never was one for parties. Well, the peaceful kind of parties anyway."
Miya's mouth twisted at the name of the woman. "Indeed. Regardless, I suppose this is something of an occasion. The lot of us haven't been in the same room in ages."
"It's more than that, Miya-tan!" Matsu exclaimed. "Aside from Karasuba-tan and Yume-tan, this room now holds all of the single digits! Such a thing has never happened before!"
The lot of us blinked and glanced around the room, noticing it for the first time. The old Squad (minus a certain crazy woman) made the first five, Homura was 06, and Tsukiumi was 09. I guessed that the one I didn't know was 08, so that left… My eyes drifted to the pale woman in the kimono.
"What?!" Tsukiumi said in surprise as she looked at Akitsu, coming to the same conclusion I had. "Why didn't you say that you were the 07?!"
"Ah," the woman hung her head somewhat. "I am not anymore. I am broken."
"She has a point." Mutsu commented, giving the woman's forehead a sideways glance.
"No." The rest of the room turned towards Sakura, who had a dark look on her face. The few near her leaned back a bit, and I swore the area around her grew slightly darker. However, it was only for a moment, as a second later he expression relaxed. "I am sorry, but please don't talk like that." She said to the assembled Sekirei. "I can't stand it when someone implies that Akitsu is less because of how she is."
Mutsu looked like he had a comment on that, but a short intense glare from Sakura caused him to shut his mouth again. The display filled me with equal parts amusement and concern. The past few days I had spent with her showed me that Sakura was… well, different than I remembered. For the most part, she was still that sweet girl I knew, but she was not as passive as she used to be. Whereas back in high school she would have always tried to be unobtrusive as possible, now she was not hesitating to state he opinion. Normally I would consider this a good thing, but there was a darker side to it. She hid it as best she could, but Sakura was still having bouts of sudden negative emotion. I could only hope that she would get better with time.
My gaze drifted over to her Sekirei then, who had shrunken down a little more and was blushing slightly. Akitsu was… interesting to say the least. It seemed that everything she did was with Sakura in mind. I had heard the Sekirei throw around the term 'eternally devoted' in regards to their Ashikabi, and Akitsu was determined to emulate that. She regarded me in a somewhat elevated light due to how Sakura felt about me. I honestly wasn't sure how to feel about that.
Eventually Mutsu spoke. "Anyway… as everyone is here, I might as well bring up the less social reason for my visit." He gave a last sip of his tea cup before setting it down, glancing at Miya. "How much have you paying attention to the other contestants in the Plan?"
She shot a look at me before saying "Not much I am afraid. I have been making sure that nothing unseemly is happening, but beyond that I have had… other matters occupying my time."
She could say that again. Between the Ghouls, the Church, MBI, and all the personal nonsense that had been going on as of late, the whole Sekirei Plan had kind of fallen by the wayside as nothing had been going on with that front.
Mutsu simply grunted before saying "The East has gone dark."
Miya frowned. "Dark? What do you mean?"
"I mean that any Sekirei or Ashikabi that wanders into the East's territory has disappeared." He said. "No battles, no terminations, just gone. Higa and his Sekirei haven't been seen either."
"I… see." Miya said evenly. "What do you think is happening?"
"I don't know." The man said, His expression shifting to concern. "I'm not used to this kind of fight. But I have a bad feeling about this. I wondering if this might be one of those… things outside the city we need to be concerned about."
I wasn't sure what he meant by that, but the landlady seemed to understand. She nodded slowly. "That… is certainly possible. Point of fact, such matters have been one of the things I have been distracted by of late." She gave me a meaningful look. "We will look into it."
"We will?" I said. I wasn't surprised that Miya wanted me on it if she did think that Ghouls were involved, but her tone clearly indicated that she meant the both of us.
"I would not be much of a leader if I let my people disappear, now would I?" The woman said.
I nodded after a moment, but I still held back a grimace. I had just gotten back from Merem saying he didn't want the Sekirei involved in this. Of course, if the Ghouls were responsible for those disappearances somehow, then their involvement was already a given.
I tuned out the rest of the conversation as they went back to more pleasant topics, thinking of how the best way to handle this was. It was looking likely that Nero would be making Homura a new outfit after all.
The past several days had been… good to Sakura. At the very least she could say that her life at the Izumo house was a dramatic improvement over her previous one back in Fuyuki. The inn was continuously bustling and full of life, and the various people therein were all friendly (to various degrees anyway). Her family could no longer control or hurt her, and she was completely free to do as she wished. This however led to a problem she had never faced before: she had no idea what to do with herself.
To be sure, she helped around the inn wherever she could, cleaning, cooking, laundry, and various other domestic activities. Still, she felt like she had no sense of purpose. She had honestly not giving much thought to the future back in high school, besides which Zouken would have never let her leave the manor for any prolonged period of time, so college was not something she was prepared for at the moment. She supposed she could get a job, but the idea both lacked appeal and her only useful skill set at the moment meant she would probably be a maid.
For the first time, Sakura found herself missing the drive and focus she had before coming to the inn. Everything was simple and clear. Find Shirou and everything would be right in the world. Unfortunately, that had not worked out quite as well as she had hoped. There had been an awkward tension between the two of them ever since she had confessed her love for him, and while she was happy when they were together, the two just didn't known how to behave around each other sometimes. He also seemed to be having the same problem with Rin of late, for reasons the white haired woman could guess.
Sakura pushed the complicated feelings aside as she walked out of the yard of the inn and towards the adjacent lot, leaving the most of the residents behind to enjoy their tea with the guest. Even if she didn't have an overall purpose to herself, she had resolved that she would never be used or too weak to change anything again. The news of undead in the city had been stressful to her, as it meant that the peace she had gained thus far could be ruined. Granted such a thing wasn't terribly likely as most of the residents of the inn were super-human to some degree or another, but she refused to be the useless one in the group.
Her own magic power was considerable, and after the events of the War, she quite possibly had the most raw magical power of anyone in the world. However, her control of it was tenuous at best. It had threatened to slip out of her grasp during her fight with Nero, and she shuddered to think what would have happened if it had. And that was to say nothing of technique or skill, as all she could do was lash out with (very deadly) shadows. Needless to say she had already asked Rin for assistance in this, but she had someone else in mind for her current task of self-improvement. Namely, learning how to fight.
Rin and Shirou would help and teach her to use her magecraft better, but Sakura was certain that they would try to keep her out of harm's way as much as possible. It might not have been so bad if she hadn't just awoken from her coma, but it was clear that the two were very protective of her because of it. Thus, she needed someone else to train her, someone who knew how to fight and knew what she could do. Unfortunately, that left only one person.
Sakura walked around the fence to find said person haranguing the poor man building Rin's workshop. "No, no, no. You must put that window high and to the left in order to properly catch the morning rays." Nero said. "Furthermore, the roofing should be shingled such that-"
"Damn it woman, it's a bloody shed, not the Sistine Chapel!" The poor man yelled back at her as he hammered nails into place.
Sakura gave a small sigh as she approached. "Nero, could I speak with you for a moment?" she asked.
"Hmm?" the blonde woman turned to look at her. "Oh, of course, I will be with you in a moment." She said before turning back to the man. "As I was saying, you should treat everything you do as a work of art! Anything less is shameful."
Irritation welled up inside of Sakura, as it usually did when she talked to Shirou's… wife. Try as she might, she just did not like the woman. Nero had apologized for what she had done all those years ago, but Sakura didn't think she was really sorry. The blond was arrogant, willful and selfish to no small degree. She was everything that Sakura was not.
And Shirou had chosen her over herself.
She doesn't love him. Not like I do. It would just be better is she was out of Shirou's life. Sakura closed her eyes and shook her head slightly, trying to shut out the dark thoughts. They were infrequent and she was doing her best to keep them down, but it was hard. It was not like the all-consuming hatred and bitterness she had been controlled by when she was possessed by Angra Mainyu, but it still upset her. Rin and Nero were the ones who set it off the most, and Nero's current attitude wasn't helping any.
The man turned from his wok and glared at the woman. He was fairly tall and well built, his jeans and undershirt doing nothing to hide his frame. He had a mass of wild brown hair which framed his scowl. "I know for a fact that you're not the one paying me, so I don't have to listen to a thing you say. Besides, it's amazing that I can still do it at all without tearing everything down since I was told it's have to be twice as big as the original design!"
The blonde woman stood there for a moment, a hand stroking her chin in thought. "Yes, you do raise an excellent point." She said, the other man relaxing slightly at this. However she continued "The only way to achieve maximum ascetic potential is to start from scratch! Make haste and tear this down at once!"
The man looked at her flatly before resting his face in his hand. "'I have a job for you Seo', she says. 'It should be simple and easy enough for a man like you', she says. I have to stop trusting that shrew so much."
She's so wrapped up in herself she can't see how much of a bother she is to everyone else, Sakura's thoughts continued.
Nero's thoughtful look returned, though this time she was looking more intently at the man himself. "I am certain that you are able to manage. However, if you want an extra incentive, I believe I can think of something." She cocked her hips out to the side slightly. "What are you doing later?"
Seo blinked and looked at her for a moment, his brain catching up with her implication. "What a sec, are you saying what I think you're sayin'?" A slow grin split his face.
"I should think so." She replied with a coy glance. "Now, just how… flexible are you?"
Sakura's widened before they narrowed again, and her fist clenched at her side. And now she's soliciting from some random man she just met. How can she think she deserves Shirou? She thought, and she had a harder time pressing that one down.
Before anything else could happen though, a bolt of lightning suddenly fell out of the sky and struck the man, causing him to twitch violently before collapsing on the ground. The two women present blinked in surprise at this before noticing another two women approaching, a pair of twins by the look of it. Seeing as how they were dressed in a number of form fitting leather bands that could only be described and 'S&M clothes', Sakura was reasonably sure that they were Sekirei. However, while they did look angry, it seemed more so with the man on the ground rather than trying to pick a fight. "Seo! What have we told you about trying to wing other Sekirei!" The one in the dark purple outfit said.
"Grgal…" was all the man managed to say in response as he twitched on the ground. The other one in the lighter purple outfit merely gave a sigh and picked him off the ground.
"So, I am guessing that he is yours?" Nero asked questioningly.
"Damn straight the idiot's ours." The bossy one said before pointing a finger at the blonde. "And I don't care if you're reacting to him or not. Come near my Ashikabi again, and I will put you down. I'm only not doing it now because we're a stone's throw away from her house." She pointed at the inn.
For her part, Nero simply looked amused by all this. "Actually, I am-"
"Don't care." The other woman said before turning around, gesturing for her sister to follow. "Come on, it's time to bring the dumbass home anyway."
Nero watched the two walk away with an arched eyebrow. "Territorial, are they not?" she asked rhetorically.
Sakura however was more focused on the woman's whose back was turned to her. It was just the two of them at the moment, and Nero wasn't paying attention to her. It would be best if she just disappeared… the thought seductively echoed through Sakura's head. Unbidden, she found her hand reaching towards the other woman's back.
Nero simply sighed. "Ah, it is such a shame. He was just Shirou's type, too."
Harlot. Whore. Slut. Cu- "Wait, what was that last part?" Sakura said, drawing her hand back and snapping out of her own thoughts.
Nero finally turned to look at the white haired girl. "Hmm? Oh, while some may prefer men with a feminine touch, Shirou is a man who prefers his diversity among the sexes. That man there was a prime example of the masculinity that Shirou desires."
Sakura's entire train of thought was completely derailed as she tried to process this information. "Wait… do you mean that Shirou…"
"I suppose you wouldn't know, would you? To put it plainly, my husband is not bound to attraction to only one of the sexes like most men in this era, and we have indulged in such several times in the past."
The mental image of that inevitably popped into Sakura's head. Her mouth opened and closed wordlessly as she stared off into space, lost in her own little world.
"Your nose is bleeding." Nero remarked with some amusement.
"No it's not!" Sakura yelled in panic, quickly wiping at her nose. Finding nothing there, she looked back at Nero to find the woman giving her an insufferable grin. Her annoyance with the woman came back to the forefront, but it was a more manageable level now. "Look," Sakura huffed. "I'm here to ask you a favor."
Nero looked surprised, but she said. "Of course. What do you need?"
"I need you to teach me how to fight." Again, Nero looked surprised, but Sakura continued on. "During the War, I could do nothing other than watch everyone get hurt, or become a monster and kill innocent people. I don't want that to happen again. I am working on control, but I need to learn actual combat. Also, I need you to not tell anyone about this, as I am sure that Shirou and Rin will worry endlessly about it."
Nero was silent for several long moments, a look of contemplation on her face. Sakura was briefly worried that she would say no, but eventually the woman nodded. "Very well, I can see the logic behind your request. However, I must warn you that in order to properly acclimate you to battle, we must duel like we mean to hurt and kill each other. Are you sure that you can do this?"
Sakura tried to hide the fact that the thought of smacking the woman in front of her around a little gave her a small, dark pleasure in the back of her mind. "Oh, I think I can manage."
Before I knew it the day was over and I was laying on my futon, my hands behind my head and my thoughts buzzing about all the things I had to keep track of. Mutsu's news did have disturbing implications, but I suppose it was naive to hope that I could keep my job and the Sekirei separate. The best I could do was prepare the Sekirei in the house the best I could for the dark parts the world had to offer. Unfortunately, I knew that wouldn't do any good for the ones who had already disappeared, or my sister and Uzume who I couldn't tell.
"You are troubled." I looked over at Nero, who was giving me a concerned look as she undressed. "What is on your mind now?"
"Take your pick." I grumbled. "At the moment, I'm wondering if the Sekirei will survive this world."
"I would hope so. There are such an interesting species. So human and yet so not. Full of contradictions and strange logic, yet having desires that consume them so utterly we can not help but pause in wonder. They would fit well in a work of romanticism, I should think."
I gave her a sidelong glance at this, but in the end I decided to change the subject. "So, I heard something interesting from Sakura today. Namely that you tried to proposition the man building the workshops out back."
"Ah yes!" She said as she half-laid, half-sat herself down next to me in a nightie. "He was very strong and masculine. I am sure you would have liked him, but unfortunately his own lovers retrieved him before I could negotiate."
I sighed. "Nero, I have enough relationship stuff going on right now as it is with Matsu and that other woman. I think. The point is why would you think now would be a good time to start trolling for partners?"
"Because he was a man!" She declared proudly. "I decided that since it was mostly women giving you grief in that regard, then the thing you needed was a tryst with a male partner with no strings attached to get your spirits up!"
I gawked at my wife for a moment before a burst out in a fit of laugher. Nero had a very strange logic at times, but that did make a twisted kind of sense. Then again, maybe I was just used to her by this point. The small pout she put on her face at my laughter only made it worse. Eventually I managed to say "I appreciate the thought, but I don't think casual sex with strangers is going to help things right now. I think I mentioned something like that before."
The woman gave a small huff. "Well then, as far as your relationships with the various women in the house go, what do you want?"
I frowned and thought for a moment. That was the crux of the problem. I simply didn't know how to handle any of what was going on. For the time being I had been ignoring it in favor of more serious matters, but I had to deal with it sooner or later. A thought occurred to me at I looked at Nero's expectant face, and I realized what I needed to do first. I shifted uncomfortably for a moment before I said "Nero… I have to tell you something."
"Oh?" She arched an eyebrow. "Do tell."
I sighed. "Well… I've come to realize that… I may still have unresolved feelings for Rin and Sakura." I paused, waiting for her reaction. However, she merely continued to look at me expectantly. "So… yeah. I kind of thought you would be more taken aback by this."
"Oh, do not be fooled by my appearance." She said plainly, though I could see the corner of her mouth twitching upward slightly. "I am in fact shocked to my very core by this news. It is taking all of my not inconsiderable acting skill to refrain from fainting on the spot."
"Ok, now you're just being condescending." I grumbled petulantly.
It was my wife's turn to laugh now. "Praetor, while you have come a long way from the boy I met all those years ago, nothing about you has changed that would change the way you feel about those two. Your fire burns so long as you live, and time and separation will merely cause it to dim somewhat."
My mouth twisted. "That's very poetic, but what am I supposed to do about it?"
"I should hope that I would not have to walk you through the steps of courtship, but then I suppose you have not had a lot of practice. I would start-"
"What about you, damn it!?" I yelled. "I can't understand why you seem to be perfectly fine with me loving other women, let alone being in a relationship with them! At the very least that means I spend less time with you! At worst I start caring about all of you less like people and more like replacements! Why am I the only one worried about this!?"
Nero was taken about by my sudden outburst and said nothing for several long moments. Eventually, she titled her head back, reached up behind her head and loosened her bun, her long blonde hair now flowing freely down. When she locked her eyes back onto mine, they were much softer than her usual intensity, and the sight made pause. "Shirou," she said gently. "You would never do that."
"How can you be sure?" I said just as softly.
She moved such that she was on top of me, her face mere inches from my own. "Because I know you, even if you doubt yourself. You would never treat those you cared about any less than what they deserved, especially myself."
I found my will to argue with her diminishing as I looked into her beautiful eyes, but I still said "And you're still fine with all this?"
"Love should be reciprocated. Those women care for you in some way or another, and their efforts deserve fruit. It is enough that I am and will always be your wife."
I closed my eyes and let out a breath, but a smile threatened to tug at the corners of my mouth. "And what a lucky husband I am to have you."
"Indeed you are." Nero then stretched, and as she was on top of me I felt every last part of her body pull tight against mine. "And if you are still worried, I can think of a few things that will keep your mind on me for the night." She whispered as her lips met my own.