"I knew you'd come." She smiled as though she were genuinely happy to see him despite their blades crossed only inches from their faces. He gazed unbidden at her lips, before him now just as he saw them in his dreams: vermilion, slightly glossy, pouting sensually even as that smile filled him with a warmth and a strange elation that frightened him in a way their battles never did.

"Karai, get out of here." His voice gave her pause. She had never heard him so quiet, so deadly calm.

Leonardo caught her knee as it struck at his groin, pulling her so close that the polished edges of her armor jabbed painfully into his plastron. She laughed at him.

"Why? It's my room. Besides, you always seem so happy to see me." Her arms twined around his neck, and she played with the ends of blue bandana tails. As her fingertips brushed over his skin, Leo couldn't suppress a tiny shiver. She fed off his reaction, as she always did; suddenly, their lips were so close that what he'd always wanted became inevitable.

"I..." Rationale tried burst in at the last moment, but it was too late. Leonardo's eyes were already heavy-lidded, drunk on the seduction of those perfect lips and pulled in as inextricably as the end of the universe. Karai gave a tiny gasp as those deep sky blue streamers brushed over her cheek with a surreal gentleness, like the first breath of a spring breeze after the longest winter. She wondered for an instant what a turtle's lips would feel like, her own lips tingling from their heat so near; as they closed on hers, she found them as supple as any man's she'd ever kissed, yet velvety soft.

He pulled slightly away, and she all but fell into him in her eagerness to go on. Leonardo's large and bandage-wrapped hands landed at her waist, easily spanning its girth and holding her carefully away, though without a hint of distaste. She shook her head slightly.

"No, more-" Karai cut off her own words with his lips, pushing herself on him, returning the favor of his kiss whether he wanted it or not. But he did. Though his body stiffened, his mouth somehow became softer and sweeter still, not just tolerating the intrusion but welcoming it. He tried to kiss her back, though it was awkward and unskilled as he struggled to keep his tongue out of her mouth. She couldn't resist laughing, and pulled away a bit, looking wounded.

"I'm sorry." She was smiling, her voice still tinkling with mirth. "You're just so innocent...for a ninja."

Leonardo didn't look any less offended.

"I'm not innocent, Karai. I know all about the ways of the world."

"Do you?" Her fingertips trailed along the grooves scratched deep into his plastron, and he had to hold his breath to keep from gasping. She leaned close to his ear slit, warm breath fluttering over that sensitive skin. "Should I test you on that?"

"Karai..." Leonardo couldn't stifle a groan of need and a little dismay as he felt warm kisses, and a little bite, along his jaw and chin.

"I like how you say my name, Leo." Her voice was husky with the same desire, his name murmured against his throat as she tasted him, biting and suckling the verdant flesh, leaving her mark.

Slipping his arms from around her waist, where he was now embracing her more closely rather than holding her away, Karai pulled him down to the floor with her. She knelt, reaching behind to unhook the fastenings on her armor and tossing it aside, then pulling him close again. Her hands strayed over the worn-smooth ridges of his shell, tracing the spiral pattern, deep scratches, and small chinks lost to battle over the years. Watching Leonardo's face, she could see only a glint of sapphire under almost-closed lids; so intoxicated was he by the long-yearned-for touch. Yet she could sense he was holding back, as ever.

"Relax," she purred into the junction of his lips and chin.

Leonardo shuddered with need and a little fear as he felt her small, warm hand sliding down his front, catching briefly on the leather straps and his belt, but ultimately unrestrained. His own hand shot out to catch her wrist, but he found himself merely cradling it as she smoothed her palm across his thighs, feeling lean but powerful muscle twitch beneath her touch.

"No." Though his voice held that steely edge of a true leader, it was so tense that it seemed as though it could snap like a guitar string. The single word croaked out of a dry throat, and Karai knew from the urgency in every iota of his being that what he really meant was oh yes, please.

One arm still draped around his neck, Karai pulled back to watch his eyes. He could barely keep them open, but the heat in his gaze as she explored him sent an electric spark down her spine. Her questing fingers finally found purchase, sliding between the smooth folds of his pouch and wrapping around the shaft. It was utterly smooth, a little slick, even hotter than his mouth; Leonardo's strangled groan told Karai all she needed to know.

As she lay back, she found her head in a puddle of water where the vase had spilled; as Leonardo covered her body with his own, she felt the delicate blossoms crushed beneath them, tickling her hips and rear. Though she still held and stroked him none-too-carefully, his kiss was still utterly tender; a satin-soft brushing of his lips over hers, even as he could only catch his breath in small hitching sounds.

Huge, yet surprisingly dexterous fingers slid over the mesh she wore beneath her armor. Leonardo swallowed hard, barely able to get words out as she teased beneath the swollen head already wetting her fingers with his need.

"May I?" He tugged gently at the zipper.

"Yes." Karai felt cool air on her skin as soon as she spoke, the fastening sliding down with the ease of water on water. That sensation was quickly replaced by warmth as his roughly callused, yet infinitely gentle hands, helped to slip the fabric down and away until she was naked to his gaze.

"Leo…" He was still watching her face, reading every flicker of expression that crossed it, as though he didn't trust himself to be intimate with Karai despite her doing the seducing. She shifted, drawing him between her thighs and reaching up to caress his burning cheek, where a passion-flush of deep burgundy staining the emerald skin. "Go on…"

"No." This time, steely edge to Leonardo's voice had been cloaked in a silkiness that seemed to stroke her all over, making her shiver. "I want to see you first." Grasping her wrist again, he reluctantly extricated himself from her grip, kissing the backs of her fingers. She felt him hard against her thigh for a moment, his whole body trembling with restraint.

"What…Leo!" Karai was shocked as she suddenly found her wrists pinned above her head; as she watched, the strip of blue fabric he always wore was deftly untied. She was so fascinated by the soft, yet handsome curves and edges of his bared face that she almost didn't feel her wrists being bound: just tightly enough to restrain her from taking control again. Leonardo's eyes glittered down at her in the faint golden light, finally allowing himself the luxury of taking in her golden-ivory skin, dramatic curves, and parts now rosily flushed under his perusal. The fragrance of the orchids and peonies beneath them was intoxicating, almost a presence of its own, as he leaned down to taste the velvet flesh tipping one breast. The first touch of his lips was almost too light, nearly a butterfly's touch; when his thick tongue flicked out, Karai whimpered and arched into his ministrations, feeling both nipples tighten at the warm wetness.

A thick, rumbling churr was pulled from his throat almost as though unwillingly, and she felt it vibrate against the skin between her breasts as Leonardo buried his face there, breathing deeply of her warm skin-scent mixed with the dying flowers surrounding them. He nuzzled at her breasts, kissing the very tip of each hard bud before suckling, lapping up the light mist of sweat that formed on Karai's skin as she writhed beneath him, pulling uselessly at her gentle, but very secure, restraints. He pressed a kiss to her belly.

"Relax," he husked, turning her earlier command against her. Karai felt Leonardo's utterly smooth cheek rubbing against her thigh, those sure and strong fingers cradling her hip as he moved ever lower. She could pull herself up just enough to watch as he nuzzled between her thighs, tickling himself with the nest of dark curls there.

"Karai, you smell so good…" The words were murmured against her swollen mound, making her catch her breath. He had always loved her scent, been haunted by it even in his dreams, and here it was the strongest. His tongue was wet and oddly nimble as it stroked between her already-open petals, tasting her lightly at first and then lapping her up greedily. Karai tasted of cream and honey and a little lemon, and Leonardo couldn't get enough, content to simply drown in her warm and wet softness even as her legs clenched around his neck. Her gasps and moans were lusty, noisy, reverberating throughout her whole body and his neck and shoulders as she tried to force him closer with her sleek but strong thighs, and Leonardo obeyed, laving his tongue around her opening to drink up every drop of her essence.

Leonardo's tongue flicked, as though by accident, over the hardened nub above, and Karai all but screamed in frustrated desire. "Leo, please!" He murmured her name into her softness, suckling it the way he had her breasts, holding it firmly but delicately between his teeth as he licked. She was flushed, glistening with sweat that made his skin slip so smoothly over hers. His mouth pressed to hers again, letting her taste her own essence on his tongue as they kissed more deeply this time, a mingling of breath and souls as he draped himself atop her once more.

"Do you want me, Karai?" His voice was still pure dark silk, quiet against her lips, heavy with the force of his self-control as he waited. Her own words were broken and needy-sounding as she trembled beneath him.


Leonardo's muscular shoulders pinned her to their bed of cool marble and fallen blooms, comforting rather than crushing her with his weight. He reached up to untie her hands at last, slipping her arms around his neck once more and pausing to brush his lips over the delicate skin inside one wrist as he did. Karai felt warm fingers sliding her legs apart; he was hot and blunt and probing at the still-tingling flesh there, and as he pressed gently, she realized he might be too big. Looking up, she caught him gazing at her, his eyes concerned, the stormy blue of a midnight ocean.

Karai swallowed hard, but the naked trust on her face spoke for her. Sighing so deeply they both felt it, Leonardo buried his face in her neck, rubbing his nose along her chin, as he sheathed himself fully in her tight, welcoming, but still hesitant heat and wetness. He couldn't smother his groan as she squeezed him, making a rippling pleasure that set every nerve in his lower half aflame and left him panting into her shoulder.

"Mmmmm, oh yes, yes…" She had never felt more completely filled in her life, and though the sensation was almost too much, it created a delicious urge to feel it over and over again. "Please don't stop."

Surprised at her heated words, Leonardo shifted atop her, making Karai moan again. "Are you sure?" Her face had been tense, almost twisted, with what he was sure must be pain. Her hands slipped restlessly over his shell, seeking something to hold onto in her ecstasy; her hips pressed against him, her body begging as surely as her words.

"Oh, Karai…" Her name came out a broken, animal sound of need as Leonardo finally let himself go; her legs were so tight around him that he could barely move, and she felt the slight roughness of his hands on her thighs and hips as he held them, thrusting smoothly, deeply, but with all the power of muscles finely honed from years of training with two katana. Each stroke rubbed against that sweet spot inside her as she was filled totally, and Karai couldn't resist dragging her fingernails up his shell, across the back of his neck, down to grasp and squeeze his biceps, tense with restraint; as she pleasured him with the tiny sharp pinpricks, Leonardo could control the thrust of his hips no more.

The rough thrusts should have been painful, but as her eyes squeezed shut against her will, Karai found they were exactly what she needed. She was slipping over the edge of something she'd never experienced, not on this level, and as her eyes snapped open she found Leonardo staring down at her with intense sapphire concentration as he pleasured her with all his might.

"LEO!" Karai screamed outright, gripping his arms so tightly she feared she might hurt him for an instant, but they were so tense with self-restraint that he felt nothing. As though from a distance, she heard and felt Leonardo's groan into her hair as she spasmed around him. His hands slipped up her sides, caressing her now almost unbearably sensitive skin, every nerve alight.

"More, Karai." The words were growled softly into her ear. Leonardo still thrust into her, more slowly and softly now, but still rubbing against that perfect point of ecstasy deep within. His hand strayed between their bodies, slipping between her open and slippery wet outer lips to find the pearl he'd teased only with his tongue before, rubbing against it too hard for a moment and feeling her hips jerk before settling on a more delicate stroke. His mouth rubbed almost playfully over Karai's, feather-light and promising. "Give me more."

She couldn't have refused if she wanted; a second, more urgent climax was building and quickly spilling her over the edge. Too hoarse from the intensity of the first to scream again, Karai managed only a whimpering cry as she came again, even harder, wrenching and moaning beneath him as though possessed.

"Oh yes, Karai…" Whatever came after her name was lost in a half-grunt, half-moan. Karai opened her eyes, every nerve still aflame and pulsating with sensation, just in time to watch his expression of intense, almost pained concentration as Leonardo finally let go. He hid his face in her neck, breathing hot and heavy on her exquisitely sensitive flesh and making her tremble still more, as she felt his hips jerk hard against her one more time before she was suddenly flooded with warmth. Leonardo pushed her back into the now tattered mass of blossoms, breathing deeply of both their fragrance and hers, squeezing his eyes shut as his hips thrust unwittingly a few more times. His lips drifted over her flushed cheeks and swollen lips, still buried inside her even as she could feel sticky warmth trickling out of her and down her thighs as she relaxed her legs at last.

In Leonardo's mind, he was lost inside Karai for a blissful eternity; only the feel of her shifting beneath him made him lazily raise himself up on one elbow to watch her. He looked charmingly worried, as he so often did; as always, it made her want to tease him.

"You're crushing me."

"Oh! I'm sorry, I-" Leonardo started to get up, reluctant to leave the paradise between her thighs, but was taken aback as Karai laughed softly at him. Sweetly, she looped the bandana around his neck, pulling him back down with an irresistible force that had more to do with her smirk of feminine satisfaction than it did her lesser strength. Her lips rubbed softly over his in a breathy kiss, nipping at his chin. He responded by sitting up, pulling her into his arms and holding her close. He reached up to brush bits of pink and purple petals from her hair, caressing her cheek with the backs of her fingers as he withdrew. Then he sighed.

"I really shouldn't have-"

Karai cocked her head to the left, looking at him.

"Why? Wasn't it good?"

Leonardo swallowed hard, and dryly, at the memory of her writhing beneath him in the throes of an uncontrollable ecstasy he'd created, on a bed of expensive, ruined flowers.

"It was, but I shouldn't-"

A wise old voice echoed in his mind, the one he'd trusted for longer than his memory. Only with someone you love.

Will anyone ever love us?

Karai was a little unsettled by the sudden distant intensity in Leonardo's eyes. His warm hand came up to cup her cheek, and he pressed his forehead to hers with a sigh.

"Karai, do you…" The words didn't come at frst; they were too difficult for even the fearless one to push through his fear. "Could you ever love me?"

She stared at him in mute shock. What kind of a male asked about love at all, much less right after sex? Her heart ached at the guarded vulnerability in the gentle blue, almond-shaped eyes, in the suddenly hard-set lines of his face; Leonardo suddenly looked particularly like a brave little kid, preparing to be punished for someone else's bad deed.


He looked away, and a jolt of pain went through her. Karai stroked his cheek, and he couldn't help glancing at her again, though there was a dangerous emptiness in his eyes now. Her heart spilled into her throat, almost choking her against her own words.

"How could I not?"

A heavy weight seemed to fall off his shoulders, and Leonardo pressed a soft kiss between her brows.

"I love you too, Karai." He sounded so serene, so comforted by the knowledge of her love, that a lump formed in her throat. She cleared it with difficulty.

"But uh, this relationship will probably never work…"

He nuzzled at her neck. "I know."

She embraced him with languor, arms draped loosely over his shell, rubbing noses with him.

"Then why does it matter if I love you?" Karai wanted to laugh, but knew it would come out a high-strung, hollow sound. It always had to be like this for her, no matter the man. Even with someone as extraordinary as him, happiness was always doomed by her lifestyle, the way of the kunoichi. Even Leonardo, who understood the duties and obligations of a ninja to one's master and father better than anyone.

Leonardo stood wordlessly, gathering her into his arms, shivering in pleasure as her arms found their now familiar place around his neck. The massacre of flowers beneath caressed his toes as he carried her to the bed, laying her gently upon the violet and silver brocade as he leaned down to kiss her once more.

"Center yourself, Karai. At least we have right now."