He wasn't really a thought in her mind before the fight with Masamune. He was simply a feeling of guilt before. A feeling of inability to stand on her own. A shame that crept into her chest in the dark, when he lay sleeping on the couch rather than in the single bed in their tiny apartment. Of course he had to go, and change that. He had to prove himself so much more than an unfortunate pawn in her chess game against her erstwhile brother.

Then, he was a beacon of hope, and light through the mourning period. She'd seen him mourn once, his father's death had hit harder than he let on, but he'd never asked for help. Still, he was a constant while she grieved. She'd thought before that it wouldn't hurt. That she'd already lost Masamune. That nothing could hurt worse than the first time, and while this was a closure to a long, thorny path, she still felt the pain of past cuts more than ever before.

Mostly, she assumed it was the feeling that his death was avoidable. That feeling held her down, and mowed her over, time, and time again. It made her feel like she was caught in the dark, alone, and unable to breathe. It made her panic.

Of course, then, when it got to much to bare, and the panic was in her bones, there Black Star was. There he was like he was actually a star, banishing the bad things. They started to share the single bed. He started to care for her as well. About a week after she fell into her period of inability she realized that he hadn't come away from his mother without the ability to cook fried chicken, and pancakes. They were his favorite foods. She hadn't known that before. They'd been together half a year, and she hadn't known that before.

She felt like a child when she finally came out of it, and the tears stopped falling. It was embarrassing. Humbling even. She was two years older than him, and yet he was the one walking her through the valley. He was the one holding her hand. That's probably when the last mask fell away, and reality sunk in that she was falling in love with this boy.

It was two o' clock in the morning when she dried her eyes, and realized she wasn't really crying for Masamune anymore. Now she was crying for herself. For the things she had lost, and the fear of what she'd gained. His arm felt heavy slung across her lap like it was. When she looked down at him, he was asleep, his head turned away from her.

In the quiet of the room, she could now hear his breathing over her own, and it was even between her sniffles. He was the real child here, despite her feelings. He was the boy, and she was the growing woman. What was wrong with her?

She bit her lip as she carded her fingers through his hair. It was softer than she'd expected, something that made it seem as if it's buoyance were natural rather than trained with product.

"Why do you have to be such a problem all the time?" she asked his sleeping back.

He didn't reply with anything other than a small snort.

It wasn't until a week later that she even considered pursuing it. He was a mounting force in her thoughts. Something that drew the eye, and demanded attention. He was a problem at almost every turn. In the mornings, he would use the living room as his own personal playground while wearing no more than a pair of boxers. Something that had always caught her attention, but she hadn't given it any thought before now. Too solemn then in her promise to exact justice. At school he was always too close, reaching over her, or brushing her side as they walked. And in the evenings he was near nude beneath thin covers, fighting off summer heat no more than ten inches away.

It spelled the problem of attraction. She wondered if it was born from her affections, or perhaps it was something she'd simply refused to acknowledge before. In the face of her indecision, though, he was getting closer. She could feel him.

It was like she was being pulled into a decaying orbit, the one she had maintained no longer sustainable due to new realizations. The gap was closing. She was loosing ground. She felt the need to back pedal, but couldn't. Not now. Not when she'd promised to repay her debt to him for helping, without question, a cause he didn't understand.

The first kiss was sudden, but it shouldn't have been a surprise. Shouldn't have been. He was in the habit of challenging her to meaningless spars in the living room, and he was also in the habit of winning. So when he pinned her to the matt, that was nothing surprising, and the kiss shouldn't have been either. His lips brushing hers, not even a push really so much as the feeling of his skin gliding over her skin. For a while she wondered if it had even been a kiss at all.

Black Star was rarely one to be anything less than forthright. He was always outspoken about his intentions, and desires. But then again he wasn't. She stepped back, and tried looking at the bigger picture, and what she saw was a bit out of place with what she thought.

He had a tendency to hide behind things. Big things. Overhype the small stuff, and make the important things look negligible. He hadn't been outright with her in anything except his will to overcome god, and his ability to not ask questions. He hadn't even told her who he was- where he was from until he had to. The change in perspective allowed her to realize that he was hiding for fear of her rejection. The weight of how much she must have meant to beg that kind of a response from him was monumental. It crashed down around her in waves, and washed her ashore in a shower of reality.

She returned the kiss three days later. A playful, joking moment that mirrored his own manner. It was a parallel that was cut brutally short when he pushed back with a surprising amount of force, and closed the distance completely.

She realized at that moment that she was in too deep, but there was no stopping it then. He was the undertow, and she'd been caught.

He moved too fast. He was a driving force at her back, and the conniving voice at her side. On occasion she felt as if there were simply too much of him. Had to push away, and get some air. Had to put some distance between herself, and his devilish, invading hands.

She was sworn chaste, and he was the thing that made her want to break promises. He made her want to be ruined. It was a bad thing, she knew, but he was like a drug. She couldn't pull back now. She was caught in his gravity, and she was going to burn. If the sun was a star, and so was he, she would surely die within the hour.

She was kept living by some strange, and cruel magic. Perhaps by his unrecognized divine will. She knew she was going too far, but she was caught up in justifications, and enjoyment of the ride.

It was three weeks later, after she'd justified handjobs, and was falling into the realm of something a bit farther down the line (something that involved mouths, and bodies being a bit too close) that she finally reached another epiphany.

This one was the first to be had outside of his presence. It was delivered by Maka, during a study group at the library. She had been preoccupied with thoughts, and romanticized analogies, when Maka had called her back, impatiently to the reading of a text book just in time to hear the passage:

"The bond between weapon, and meister is something on an entirely different level of human interaction, and some have even likened it to a marriage of the soul."

That passage gave her comfort at night when he was pressed too close, and she was burning in his intensity. She didn't need to worry that much about saving herself for marriage, when they were married in a way not many others ever could have been. Tied by a tether at their souls.