*HxH Disclaimer*
(I don't own HxH, and my mind as well, for it has been quite momentarily stolen by someone called Eros, and something called the gutter. :P)

Author's Notes: This is Bai-Feng's fault. xD I verily accuse her for my finally coming out with an rated M fic on one of my favorite pairings in HxH (Do read her fic "A Mischievous Ghost" which inspired all this). :3 I now officially have crossed the spectrum of writing rated K fics to delightfully adult pieces. Oh joy. :3 In a way I'm grateful that the rated M fics are automatically filtered out when anyone enters the FF site, else I'll earn some eye twitches from readers (and for those waiting for chapter updates for "Living Things") who thought all along that I dominantly write rated T fics. :3 TIEM FOR SOME TABLE DANCING

Bai-Feng: Here ya go, luv! I was kidding about accusing you. :PP This is done out of my own free will heeheehee.

Anyhoo, everyone, enjoy this lovely li'l… piece of mine. ^^;;


No-my will shall yet control
Thy will, so high and free,
And love shall tame that haughty soul-
Yes-tenderest love for me.

- "Passion," Charlotte Bronte

by: DW-chan

At seventeen, he was a child. Now, weeks before his twentieth birthday, he had stepped into the threshold of being a man. He grew a certain hardihood in his features; though his face still had the softness of youth, his cheeks lost their boyish roundness. His cat-like eyes had turned more trenchant; his gaze was more shadowed and impenetrable.

Senritsu felt the tiniest aversion for that change in Kurapica. It was less than subtle as he had grown more pensive, and there, just bubbling at the surface of his soul, was a belligerence that was more than ready to strike under profound threat. Three years had passed, and Kurapica had only been able to fulfill less than half his goal: he had gathered ten of his clanspeople's eyes, and had succeeded in annihilating four more of the Genei Ryodan members. Their leader remained untouched. He had but few leads to find the rest of the Scarlet Eyes. He had a long way to go.

Kurapica had not always been wholly self-withdrawn. Less than a year ago, he had aided Senritsu as best as he could with her own quest for the Sonata of Darkness; that was absolutely no easy feat. Two Movements have been destroyed so far: the Movement of the lyre, and the Movement of the flute. She was finally able to restore her true form, but not without excruciating moments of pain. He had been there when she was trying to get back to her feet. He had been there when in feverish nights she had called his name, and he sat there, by her side, just as she had sat by his side years ago in York Shin.

His eyes had held kindness and an openness which was only kept for the people he trusted. Sometimes, he even smiled. He spoke gentle words, and he listened to her play the piano or flute in times when she was lonely and somewhat disconcerted. She no longer possessed her superhuman hearing; it had disappeared when she regained her body. Gain for loss, loss for gain. That was the way it was, and she tried to move on.

But it grew difficult day by day when she can no longer decipher his heartbeat. They, along with Basho and a few more of the household, had remained in the Nostrad Mansion. After countless figurative storms, the household had finally quieted down; a little too quiet. The empty halls would reverberate with shadows, if shadows could even make a sound. There was the wailing of the wind. There were the hushed voices of the mansion's occupants every now and then. To cure herself from the near-madness from being surrounded by overbearing silence, she would play the piano, play the flute, play the tiny lyre she acquired so she could destroy a part of the Sonata.

While Kurapica's power grew, his presence waned. While his resolve to fulfill his goals grew stronger, his gaze became more distant. If only to hear the nuances of his heartbeat again, Senritsu thought. She could reach out to him once more as she had always done many times before, and drag him back to the plane of sanity, of friendly faces, of fresh air.

But yes, Kurapica was a man now. He may have lost the wide-eyed ideals of his younger days. He seldom kept in touch with Gon, Killua, and Leorio now. Moreover, she was under the same roof as he, but he had seldom spoken with her.

Until this day.

It was quite a confrontation, really. She did not know how to go about it. The words had slipped from her somehow. She was not even aware that what she told him escaped her lips, and had always known herself to be a temperate person.

"You've changed," Senritsu told him. She ignored her surprise at her own impulse as she faced the young man.

Kurapica looked up from his reading. One of his chained fingers flicked a page. His gazed at her for a while before replying, "People change, Senritsu." It appeared that her words had affected her more than it had any effect on him.

Senritsu seemed at loss for a while. She released a breath. "You've changed… for the worse."

There, she had said it. She was not one who would be comfortable about lying. After all, once upon a time, she could detect lies as well as she could breath the free air.

Kurapica laid his book down, carefully, on the small table beside him. He was in one of the mansion's smaller studies, where he usually kept to himself for most days. Senritsu had never really stepped into the study as boldly as she did now. The youth kept his composure. "You've always worried too much. As I said, people change. I'm no longer that child you've befriended three years ago." He stood up from the cushioned chair.

"You're putting it too simply," Senritsu continued. "I…" I feel helpless, was what she wanted to say. "You're right, I worry about you. If there is anything bothering you…" she wavered. She knew she must sound so silly, so fragmented, and even desperate.

His eyes held a fleeting softness before it disappeared. "Worry about yourself, Senritsu. I'll worry about myself. We both have long ways to go." The cadence of his voice was losing its boyishness as well. It made him more imposing, if he could ever be more so.

"Kurapica…" Senritsu trailed off. There was no sense in arguing with him, it seemed. Perhaps the closeness they had once between them had finally come a close, and she was only picking up shards of it in vain.

Kurapica walked towards her, but only because she stood by the study's entrance. He was only about to leave. Senritsu, however, could not find herself to move away.

"Senritsu, please let me pass." It was polite yet detached.

She looked up at him. He had grown a head taller than her as well, even as she had returned to her normal height. She could not hide her perplexity as she gazed at him. Her mouth was dry.

That was when Kurapica's eyes narrowed, and he sighed. Not ungently, but with a sense of finality, the young man placed his hands on her shoulders. The hand where he wore his Nen chains heavily bore on her, but that bothered her less than the hard look he was giving her. "So I have changed, Senritsu. So now I'm different. So I'm not the Kurapica you once knew. Get over it."

Get over it. It was almost like an express command. His words stung her.

She was not an impulsive young woman, or so she thought. Feeling a wisp of dark anger rise up within her, she forcefully shrugged herself from the hands that held her shoulders. And, even before she could stop herself, she had slapped him across the face.

She did not strike hard; in fact, it barely made a sound. This, however, took Kurapica by surprise as it had taken her by surprise. Mortified, she drew her hand back, and she stepped away. Kurapica had resumed his gaze at her, but now, there was evident confusion in his eyes.

"Senritsu—" he started. He lightly touched his cheek with a knuckle.

"I'm sorry," she whispered, finding her voice well up from her dry throat. "I was… I didn't mean to…" How did she become so scattered and strewn? Kurapica was only one man. One person. Perhaps in the times they have been together in camaraderie, he had unwittingly become her world. She did not know whether to feel deprived or simply sorry for herself. The latter feeling seemed to be winning over. She could not meet his eyes. She turned and walked out of the study.

She was crumpling her wayward hand, the hand which struck him, as she held it to her chest. She found herself unappealing at that moment. She didn't entirely hate herself; a part of her convinced herself that the slap was not uncalled for. She had all but been kind and tolerant of him. He had all been cold and distant and less than friendly to her.

I should stop playing savior to him, she thought. If he wants to lose his humanity, let him lose it.

She regretted her words soon after, but a hint of bitterness remained in her. She had rushed into her beloved music room, and like a flustered man reaching for a cigarette when his nerves were high-strung, she instinctively reached for her flute which was neatly cradled in its case on the coffee table. She began to play.

She did not use Emission of any sort. She just wanted to play her cares away. She played a song from childhood. She played a song which she had loved as a girl. And then, she started playing songs she had usually played for him. She knew she was playing out of habit now, so she didn't stop herself, even if she wanted to push the thought of Kurapica far from her mind.

When she was finished, she only felt the tiniest bit of relief wash over her. In fact, she even felt exhausted, and a little bit empty. With slightly shaky fingers, she returned the flute to its cradle. She wanted to leave for her own quarters and was about to step out of the music room when she found Kurapica by the door.

Her gaze had been faraway, but she stopped short upon the sight of him.

"Kurapica…" she began, suddenly cold. Now that she no longer knew him, what would he do to ease his pride from the slap she gave him?

He slowly stepped into the light; the sun had set, and the lights were dim, but in the soft gloom, Senritsu can make out that the hostility had gone from his eyes. At least, she thought, she could still read a bit of what his eyes expressed. Even for this moment.

"You haven't played in a while," he finally said. It was as if he himself wasn't sure of what to do or say, or perhaps Senritsu was simply imagining it. Kurapica seldom lost his collected bearing. "I'm glad you've decided to play again…"

Senritsu felt somewhat cornered, but more so by her own self. Was this Kurapica's way of accepting her apology? Then it did hit her: it was true; she no longer played any of her musical instruments as often as she did. Or if she did, she played in private, in the confines of her quarters, where her music was only available to her own ears.

"You're glad?" Senritsu said questioningly. She took the risk of putting a bit of humor in this otherwise dismal and tight atmosphere. "So where's that smile, Kurapica?" Involuntarily, her own lips formed a small smile, and her in her eyes a flicker of light glowed.

She felt as though an embrace had engulfed her when he did smile back—barely visible, but it was there; it was as if it were a private, remote smile, a smile only reserved for her. The smile, no matter how small it was, was pure; it did not hold any malice, darkness, or bitterness. At that moment she wanted to clasp that smile in her hand, afraid that it might dissipate forever once it leaves his face and her memory.

"I have said harsh words back at the study, Senritsu," Kurapica admitted in a subdued tone, which was rather unimpressionable at first. "I really don't know what's come over me nowadays. I… apologize."

He was slowly opening up to her again! She had thought that such occasions were as good as dead. But had he stopped there? Perhaps it was her playing the flute that brought him back to his senses…

"I accept your apology," Senritsu replied, not hiding her own happiness. But she felt awkward afterwards; this situation seemed a little too formal. She softly cleared her throat. "Would you like me to play again?"

Kurapica had fully stepped into the music room, revealing the now gentle lines on his face. "I would like that very much."

Senritsu felt a beam of light crawl up to her heart, which was very much desolate not a moment ago. She picked up her flute once more, closed her eyes, and began to play.

The song was new, something she knew he had not heard before. It was a light, swinging melody which reminded one of serene lakes, tall trees, apples in bloom, and a sky so blue and high where little, colored birds took flight. For a moment, Senritsu felt weightless—is she being carried by her own tune? She had let trickles of her aura flow from her now gladdened heart. It didn't matter to her at that instant if Kurapica returning to better spirits was only fleeting and temporary. What mattered was the now. She had him back, if only for this tiny fraction.

When she finished playing, she opened her eyes.

Kurapica was still where he was, but the coldness had completely left his eyes. The expression on his face was still apologetic, but there was another kind of expression on it which Senritsu could not entirely figure out. The young man slowly began making his way towards her.

Senritsu froze, but she inwardly reprimanded herself for such reaction. She had given so much regard to Kurapica's dark volatility that she didn't at first realize that he had cast even that away. Soon, he was but a few feet away from her, but he had halted his approach. Was he trying to tell her something? She waited patiently, her heart in her throat.

Finally, he spoke. "You've always played beautifully, Senritsu." At length, he found his voice again. "Thank you."

Senritsu's brows knotted; she knew better than to question his words and the now-changed mood he was in, but she somehow wanted to know what really was bothering the young man. Now that she had lost her ability to hear heartbeats, she now can only rely on his words, his earnestness, and the light in his eyes. She wanted to say something but once again, her voice caught in her throat. It was her own heart she was hearing. It beat in her chest like a little wing.

"You know I've missed you," she confessed, not really knowing—and not really caring—if this was the right time to divulge such vulnerable parts of herself. Today, Kurapica might be here. Tomorrow, he might be faraway again, and who knows when he might ever return.

"I've put a wall around me," returned the young man.

Senritsu smiled. "I noticed."

There was an uncertainty, but a soft kindness on his face. "I… worry about you too."

The revelation took her lightly off-guard. It seemed unlikely, as his regard for her had been otherwise, but Kurapica was clearly letting her see into his eyes. He was not lying.

"Why… put a wall around yourself?" Senritsu inquired of him in her sweet, gentle voice.

Kurapica merely muttered, but it was loud enough for her to hear. "There was nothing," he said. "There was only revenge."

Senritsu was silent for a while. It was apparent that he was struggling to tell her more.

"There was only revenge," Kurapica repeated, but there was something now more resolute in his voice. "I didn't want to hurt you when it completely consumes me."

"Will you let it consume you?" Senritsu asked once more. She only wanted to reach to him, now that he had let his guard down. There seemed to be a tunnel of light emanating from his heart. It was only her imagination, she convinced herself. But she felt it.

"Once," was his reply.

She had realized that it was his bludgeoning, raw hatred that had kept him strong and nearly invincible. If he replaced it with something else, he may be next to powerless…

"But there was… something more constant out there." The young man labored to continue. His gaze held hers. Little by little, she understood.

"No one has to live this world alone," she said softly.

He was closing the gap between them. His movements were open, honest, unguarded. He kept his gentle eyes on her as he asked silent permission to take the flute off her grasp. She assented; he had placed the flute back to its cradle, on the table not far from where they stood. He was before her once more. She could feel the warmth radiate from him. For a moment she was disoriented. What was happening? Like a powerful roll of a wave, it was as if Kurapica had instantaneously torn down the wall he had placed around himself, and he now stood before her nearly as vulnerable as she.

At first, Kurapica was uncertain of his gestures. Then he was lifting a hand; the chains around them had disappeared. Then slowly, tenderly, he let his fingers lightly slide on the surface of her hair that framed her face, barely touching the strands. His fingers stopped midway. They were now gracing her cheek; two of his fingers had reached out, holding her chin unresistingly upwards.

A tremendous weight lifted off Senritsu even as though she felt her body begin to shake. Kurapica seemed to be holding back at first, but that reluctance dissolved quickly. He seemed to be studying her; he was trying to read her eyes in silent fortitude, awaiting her consent. Senritsu felt the relentless pounding of her heart as she understood his intentions. He was lowering his gaze; she had closed his eyes.

Warmth and electricity surged through her as his lips met hers. Her body was now trembling in earnest; her heart continued to pound in her chest as she now felt a thousand wings instead of one.

Kurapica's kiss was timid at first, but there was definite hunger in it. Perhaps he had never kissed a girl before. Even as he stepped into manhood, there was an endearing clumsiness in his actions which revealed that he had never yet had this closeness with anyone.

He was not forceful, yet Senritsu knew that he was deepening the kiss. Of their own accord, her hands had strayed to his tunic; she lightly gripped at the cloth as he moved her mouth against hers. Had she not hung on, her legs would have given way. All her thoughts were suddenly turning to him and him alone. He was finally here, he was holding her in a way she had never imagined he would, and she held on to him.

An abrupt sense of modesty somehow managed its way into her consciousness when, for a moment, she was aware that they were still in the music room, which was more or less a common room. But no one else was there, only a seemingly endless vastness all around them. Kurapica continued to kiss her fervently; his eyes were now closed, and his hand had slowly slid down the graceful curve of her neck, down her shoulders, deliberately down her arms, to grasp at her waist in a delicate frenzy.

The warring chill in Senritsu's body had been completely replaced by a slowly building flame. He had released her from the kiss so that he could lightly nibble on her neck. Senritsu released a sigh she realized she had been keeping deep within herself. His mouth was warm and his breath was hot against her skin. One of his hands had strayed back to her shoulders; she wore a gartered dress and while the cloth covered most of her shoulders, the sleeves could easily be slid down with the slightest maneuver…

The warmth of his lips now grazed her shoulder; the cloth had significantly slid down her arms so that both her shoulders and most of her chest, a little above her heaving breasts, were now exposed.

"Kurapica… the door…" she managed to say; the music room entrance was still unguarded, and what was about to transpire was not for all the mansion to see.

Senritsu felt a smile form on Kurapica's lips in between his kisses; inch by inch, he led them both to the open door, still entwined, and with a free hand, he slid the entrance shut. The effort was supposed to be comical and Senritsu felt the light-hearted playfulness in it; Kurapica was kissing the smile that formed on her own lips. His hands were on her again, and wherever he touched she felt little dots of fire spill from within her.

Kurapica was strong, but he was not brazen. Senritsu did not question the sudden force that compelled him to her, as she was compelled to him. In the silence of the room they could hear each other's rapid breathing, the sound of the rustling of cloth, of lips meeting skin, and even the howling of the wind outside was tamed into a hallowed silence.

There was only revenge, Kurapica had said. He had moved his lips to the side of her face, and she was moaning faintly, her mouth slightly open, her eyes closed. The sight of her in this state, so vulnerable, so open, so trusting, sent his mind drowning in a blistering sea. She was beginning to fill his mind entirely. Yet you never left me, Senritsu. Never.

Her name escaped his lips. He loved the sound of her name. He had long associated her name with compassion, kindness, and a patient, persevering spirit. Her changed form was only a shell a man could visually desire, though her form was undeniably beautiful. However, he knew that whatever form she was and will be in, she will always have a strength in her that no one else will ever have—not even him.

His mouth continued to explore the corners of her face, her neck… she smelled wonderfully, intoxicatingly of jasmine blooms, and it was almost as though the jasmine blooms themselves were scattered about them, reflecting tiny little lights. At the back of his mind, he tried focusing on those soft lights. He let out a barely audible moan as mounting passion began to envelop him like a mantle. He did not want to lose control. He had never done this before. He did not want to hurt her.

Senritsu let out a small, impassioned cry as Kurapica momentarily drew himself away from her so he could slide his tunic up his body. His mouth was still on hers but she was eagerly helping him out of the garment. They only broke the kiss for a second so he could pull the tunic over his head. He absently discarded it beside him, his breathing heavy as he felt Senritsu's fingers—seemingly cool over his heated skin—daintily dance over his bare torso. She slid a soft hand up his chest, and it glided to the nape of his neck, where it rested; he pushed the kiss even deeper, until he was certain that his control was peeling away from his senses.

"Kurapica…" came Senritsu's melodic voice—her name had always suited her perfectly. Unwillingly, for a moment, he looked up at her, and from the haze that floated about him he knew that his eyes had turned into their heated scarlet. Senritsu's fingers were on his cheek, and she was looking into his blazing eyes. "Just hold me, Kurapica," she breathed, as if she had sensed the battle for control within him. She whispered sensually, innocuously into his ear. "I'm not afraid."

You are strong, came Kurapica's thoughts; he was gently laying her on the huge cushioned divan at the center of the room, and she willingly obliged. Strong… his thoughts trailed off, and despite the inner strength that stemmed from her, all he could feel from her was softness… her velvety skin, her hair of spun silk, her lips of molten satin… Senritsu had taken one of his hands and guided it to the back of her dress, to the zipper that trailed across it. In an instant, the zipper came undone, exposing more of her: her milky skin, the mounds of her breasts, the length of her back as she sat up for a moment so he could slide the cloth away from her body. Her skin was searing against his fingers as he slid her dress down her waist, her thighs, and finally down her legs. The garment fell soundlessly to the carpeted floor.

The mansion's music room was hardly a place for such unbridled passion, but all sense of propriety melted away, and it was just the two of them, their bodies against each other, only skin against skin in magnificent incandescence; they had finally cast everything off into full nakedness.

Not a mark of the curse was on her skin, Kurapica noted as he once more tenderly ran his fingers down her arms. Senritsu's lips were nipping at one of his shoulders; her hands had entangled themselves about his flaxen hair. Their ragged breaths seem to meet in unison as Kurapica skated his hands over her bare thighs, down her legs. There was heat everywhere—in his eyes, down his body, in his loins. Yet he couldn't make himself take her, not yet… but then his hands in their own volition were upon her breasts, and she softly cried out. He bent down to pepper her neck with kisses, and through glazed eyes he caught sight of Senritsu's trusting gaze upon him again.

"You will not hurt me, Kurapica," she whispered, and it almost sounded like she was singing a sweet, airy song. "It's all right…" Kurapica listened to her enchanting voice speak. He was entranced.

"Senritsu," Kurapica heard himself say, in a voice husky and rich, almost not his own. She had laid back again the cushions so that he was heavily on top of her; he began to shift his weight but groaned when he felt his hardness grace the skin of her thigh. He had welcomed all sensations that assaulted his young, inexperienced body; he sucked in his breath as Senritsu, in turn, trailed kisses down his jaw.

He did not doubt her words. His mouth had covered hers again. He wanted to drown out her cries; he only wanted her to feel his tenderness, his undivided and pure regard for her.

And she had cried out as he melded with her, driving himself into the heat of her core. She was no stranger to pain, but it was mixed with a wave of inexplicable pleasure that for a moment everything seemed surreal. It was surreal for Kurapica as he began to move against her; he heard his own low, indulgent cries. A carnal thrill spread through his body when he heard her whisper his name, again and again and again in between moans, whimpers…

He buried his face in her dark mahogany hair, and from the corner of an eye he caught a glimpse of her shadowed face that held an amalgam of innocence and reckless abandon, and it only urged him on. She fumbled and gripped at his hips like a frantic child as they rhythmically met hers… she had folded her knees at each side of him, anchoring herself as she met his thrusts, which he played out with permeable, encompassing languor… Instinctively he let her feel every inch of him, every fiber of him, and she suppressed her cries of pleasure and pain. They both rocked in an arcane lullaby of untethered desire that was all too human. The moon was finally out, and from the heavily curtained windows a sliver of its pale light danced into the barely-lit room.

Rough and languid, like a beating heart, he moved against her; his own groans of ecstasy—a feeling still so alien yet it enraptured him so, was a sound foreign to his ears, and yet he drank every moment of this delicious intimacy; he just wanted to hold Senritsu, hold her until every shred of his being was rid of the rage, the hatred, the wreckage in his soul, the poison in his spirit.

Finally, in a roaring crescendo of sensation, he called out her name in blinding release, and his body trembled for a moment—it was a force he was readily helpless in. Fighter or not, warrior or not, killer or not, he was only Kurapica now, a man at the mercy of his own covetous yearning for this young woman who held him like he was the most precious gem in the world.

They lay there for long moments, basking in the aftermath of primal license, their breaths quivering. He kissed her forehead, her hair; she ran her lips down his neck, as the crashing waves of lust ebbed away. Kurapica was slowly regaining his senses, and he was waiting for his heart rate to return to normal; he was covered in sweat, and Senritsu was no different, and she looked so peaceful, so radiant as she rested her head contentedly on his chest.

"The most beautiful sound in world," Senritsu whispered after a moment, sleepily secure in his embrace. He knew that she was listening to his heartbeat now that her ear was pressed to his chest, and a smile was playing on her lips even as her eyes remained closed.

Kurapica's lips brushed the top of her head, and he smelled the heady aroma of jasmine blooms once more. Settling himself in the comfortable wash of pale light, he wondered why he even had the impudence to scorn her, to shut her out, when all she had ever wanted was to let him know.

"I love you too," he finally whispered into her ear, but she had fallen asleep, her breathing even and slow.

And he would listen to that sweet melody, that captivating, soothing music, as far as his days would take him.

A/N: FLIP ALL THE TABLES AFTER YE DANCE ON THEM! There it's done. As Bai-Feng said, I regret nothing! xDDD

Well, so maybe it's not that explicit. I still have to get my diploma for writing all-out nastiness. ^^;;;; Maybe it'll happen, maybe not.

Excuse me while I twiddle my thumbs in ambivalent glee. I'm not sure if I've corrupted my favorite pairing or simply celebrated their tender headcanon love. Arharharhar.


DW-chan :3