Misunderstandings Noriko's secret training sessions with one of Irk's friends results in a jealous Izark. Set a few months after the series ends.

30 Days of Multi-Fandom Fanfiction Challenge Day Nine

Write a short fanfiction set after the events of the fandom's source material.

Noriko pushed her feet off of the ground, propelling herself forward and trying not to wince when she landed awkwardly on one foot. The branch she was brandishing was her sword, and she was fighting against make-believe monsters and villains from her memories. She spun on her heel to catch the side of a tree, its leaves dancing in the wind before her providing smaller, more difficult targets for her to focus on.

She wasn't certain how long she had been gone for, but it was as the sun was sinking below the horizon that she realized how worried Izark probably was. She bid goodbye to the spirit who had been training her, changed back into her dress, and released her hair from its messy bun.

"Thanks!" she called behind her before running directly into Izark's solid form. His hands steadied her and he looked at her with concern.

"Is everything all right?" his tone was gruff, coloured anxiety.

She shrugged him off but planted a kiss on his cheek as she passed. "Everything's fine!"

"I thought I heard voices. Was someone here?"

She smiled at him sweetly and answered his question with as much honesty as she could. "I was talking to one of Irk's spirit friends. I told you that I've been able to see them more clearly lately."

He nodded in understanding and then hesitated. "Who were you talking to, in particular?"

"Balder," she answered cheerfully.

Noriko didn't comment on the jealous look that flashed across his face.

"What is he like?"

"He's very fit," she commented. "He was a traveller, like us! He got caught in the woods by the monster when it first appeared."

"We're not travellers anymore, Noriko," he reminded her gently.

"But we still travel all the time!"

He sighed. Izark had felt... burdened by everything over the past few months. He wanted to give Noriko a home, a life where she could be comfortable and taken care of. It would be nice to know that they had a place to rest at the end of the day, a place where they would always be welcome and that was set aside just for them, but she still loved travelling through the strange world she now lived, making friends and discovering new things to love about the world she had been transported to. Izark wanted to slow down, but she wasn't ready to quit moving forward.

She took his hand in hers as they walked back, shifting the old clothes to her other arm. His smile was breathtaking when he leaned down to catch her lips in a gentle kiss. His lips moved over hers gently before he tried to move back. She launched herself at him, dropping the clothing to the ground and wrapping her arms around his neck.

Her lips were unyielding, demanding for more in a harsh kiss that was all tongue and teeth as she invaded his defences. He poured himself back into her eagerly, his hand on her lower back pressing her against him while his other tangled itself into her hair.

All too soon he was setting her back on the ground, straightening her clothing for her and tussling her hair. He led her down the path before stopping and turning back. "I think you forgot something."

She watched him, her heart still fluttering in her chest as he bent down and picked up the tattered old clothing she had dropped. He seemed confused for a moment, the tip of his index finger running along the battered material. Lifting it up into the sun, he noted the worn garments. "What were you doing with these?"

Her heart quickened uncomfortably and she turned red. She didn't want him to know that she was learning to fight! It was supposed to be a surprise, so that he wouldn't worry for her anymore. She licked her lips and took the garments back, the false smile on her face giving away the lie he was certain she was about to utter.

Instead, she pressed against him, removing them from his grasp and running towards the house. "I was just on my way to throw them out!"

He watched her go, suspicious. Noriko was hiding something, and he was going to figure out what it was.

That night she collapsed into bed beside him early, exhaustion coating her features.

"I am so sore!" she complained arching her back and listening to the unhealthy sound of bones popping.

He stood by the last candle, watching the lights and shadows flicker for dominance across the white gown she was wearing. Instead of blowing it out as she expected him to, he moved it closer and sat down on the edge of the bed. His hair came down to tickle the back of her neck as he whispered in her ear, "I know what you need."

"Izark-" She moaned when she felt his fingers run up and down her spine before the tips pressed themselves into her sore muscles. Izark's hands were magical. She let herself relax and gave into his touch.

"Is this all right?" he teased at her moan of encouragement. She considered the question for a moment before she sat up. His hands fell as she untied her robe and let it fall down her shoulders, turning back to look at his surprised face. His eyes had darkened, scorching her with their intensity and shining like burning coal.

She eased herself back onto the mattress with her arm cushioning her face, trying to ignore the blush she could feel staining her cheeks while Izark sat behind her, his breathing deep and even and his eyes fixed on her soft skin. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, she felt his hands return to where they had been, his touch softer, turning into caresses against her unblemished skin and rubbing thoughtfully against her small collection of scars.

She sighed in contentment as he finished, dropping his mouth down to place a kiss on her right shoulder. Her eyes closed while he pressed a second kiss to her other shoulder, and then his lips burned a path between them, his breath leaving a hot trail that made her heart pound.

He continued lower, his lips finding the dimple in the centre of her back and resting there for a moment. She could picture him, his eyes closed, his mouth open. He kissed back up her, pressing his face against her neck when he had finished.

The young woman pressed her face into her pillow and hummed in contentment. She was contemplating all of the things that she wanted to do with those lips as she closed her eyes and drifted off, leaving a very frustrated young man to cover her up and slip in beside her.

Izark brushed her hair back from her forehead and pressed a final kiss to it before blowing the candle out with a small gust of wind. Was he still successful if he hadn't learned what he set out to discover? Softening Noriko up with a massage only added to his curiosity; the tightness of her muscles concerned him as much as her strange behaviour had. His dreams were filled with different scenarios, some ridiculous nightmares that included her fighting monsters on her own, others featuring the mysterious Balder she had mentioned earlier.

"Izark!" He awoke to her screaming his name, their link allowing him to hear her despite the distance that he could sense was between them. As he predicted, her side of the bed was empty. It took him a moment to realize his sword was missing, but sensing her distress he chose to leave it and rushed out across the forest as quickly as his feet could carry him. The scene before him made him come to a complete stop.

Noriko brandished his sword with confidence, her stance open, ready, though her expression was anything but calm. She ducked as a bandit swung at her, and then turned and kicked him in the shin before kneeing him in the groin, effectively stopping him from touching her. Once he was down she smacked him on the head with the sheath of the sword and stepped back, a small, proud smile playing on her lips.

Izark watched the young woman use the sleeve of her robe to wipe up some blood that had landed on her hip. Her disdain was clear, even from a distance.

He stepped forward, intending to confront her, when he saw her look up and converse happily with something to her left. Her gaze swung around to meet him, and he stepped back into the trees and walked quickly back to the house. He knew why his blood was boiling, but he could do nothing to stop the jealousy. It didn't matter that she was with a spirit; Noriko was keeping secrets, and she was sharing them with another man.

He caught her by surprise when she came in, pulling her roughly into a restraining embrace and leaning forward so that their noses touched and he could almost taste her skin. She didn't swing at him, didn't behave in any sort of suspicious way, just let out a small 'eep' and offered a sheepish 'good morning.'

He caught her hair, still filled with tangles from the night before, and put his mouth over hers, taking what he needed, what he wanted, and pouring himself into her. He wanted to send a message; 'you are mine, and I protect you.'

He pulled away mid kiss and summoned up a glare. "I know what you've been doing Noriko."

She gasped. "But I-"

"How could you? After everything that we've shared together! The life we were going to have..." He trailed off, his shoulders slumping. He kept his hands on her upper arms, pleading with her silently to tell him the truth.

It was her turn to glare. "What exactly do you think I've been doing?"

"You've been with another man Noriko, out in the woods, fighting bandits. You're just lucky you weren't hurt! You told me that he was a warrior, but that doesn't mean that he can protect you!"

She stepped back and burst into laughter that left her gulping for air.

"You think that I... Me and Balder... Izark, it isn't that you... Oh my!" Finally, she calmed down and a smile tugged at the corners of her lips. "So, you were angry because you were jealous over nothing?"

"It isn't nothing Noriko!"

"Yeah, it kinda is."

She took his hand in hers and kissed his calloused palm. "Come outside, I'll show you what I've been working on."

He let her drag him along until they made it to a clearing where Irk rested in the branch of a great tree. The spirit brightened when he saw the man and addressed Noriko. "Balder said that you were ready, I'm so glad that you've finally decided to fill Izark in!"

Izark looked confused as Noriko greeted 'Balder' with the word sensei, bowed before him, and took an offensive stance, holding Izark's sword expertly in her dainty hands.

With Irk there, the spirit's powers had grown, and Izark was finally able to see what he had been jealous of. The elderly man was short and muscular, laugh lines on his face and wrinkles adorning his form. He gently pushed on Noriko, checking to see if she was properly balanced. She remained straight, not even bending against his firm touch.

And then it began. The woman twirled, cutting easily through any of the other spirits who came near her. The blade passed through them, and a few who were stronger than the rest even carried branches to defend themselves with.

Finally, he understood. She wasn't depending on another man; Noriko had just wanted to be able to take care of herself.

Eventually, the fight wound down. Izark walked up behind her, took the sword from her hands, and tossed it onto the ground. He took her hands in his and whispered his words of approval. "I love you."