He was going to kill her, Kyo thought viciously. He was going to string the bounty
huntress up, gag her, and then throttle her. Finally giving up on
sleep, he sat up and listened to her footsteps padding down the hall. He was going
to do something about it. He wasn't putting up with that wench
disturbing his sleep. His body was already weary from all the training he had
received from Muramasa. Logically, he knew that she had a lot on her
mind and that her death in less than 33 days wasn't something most teenage girls
should be thinking about. However, it was doing little to ease his temper.
It was with this thought that Kyo slid the door open. He looked down the hallway, his senses already having accurately pinpointed her location despite the lack of light. Her movements were slow, almost lethargic, making him frown unconsciously. Was the stupid girl sick on top of dying? He shook his head. The damn chit wouldn't die. There was still much to do, and as much as he hated to admit it, it was his fault that she had received Shinrei's water dragon. If only he had been stronger and faster, if only he had his original form... Not for the first time, he cursed the dormant soul residing within the body. His fists clenched in response. She wasn't dying, he repeated, because he wasn't going allow it. It was as simple as that.
The murmurings were getting louder, words that slurred into others, making him wonder if Bontenmaru had perhaps gotten the young woman drunk. He made a mental note to remind the older man to invite him next time.
"...leave... come after you bastard..."
Kyo couldn't help himself. He smirked. There was little doubt as to who she was talking about. Leaning against the hallway, he waited for her to detect his presence. The irritability that he had felt initially gave way to amusement. The wench was certainly capable of stirring the strangest mix of emotions from him. It was only fair that since he had spared her life, she should be the one to entertain him. He rather enjoyed riling her, switching tactics constantly to get her all worked up. It would do no good for the girl to be able to predict his actions and thus become complacent.
Lately though, he hadn't had as much opportunity to see that temper in action. Training with Muramasa in the caves had taken away all of his concentration, and given the recent events, he doubted she had reason to get angry at anything any more. He remembered the day that they had returned back to Muramasa's right after Shinrei had implanted the water dragon. While helping his sensei, she had shown remarkable spirit, even going as far as to laugh and smile. But that smile had been wrong, Kyo thought. It was only when she thought no one was looking that she could let that happy mask fall. It had disturbed him greatly at the time, and it still continued to do so.
Bontenmaru hadn't hesitated to fill him in on what happened while Kyo had been gone. Unable to mind his own business, the busybody had told him about her nightmares and worries. Kyo wasn't sure what to make of the information he had just been given. Was he supposed to console the stupid girl? Hadn't he insisted that she not join him in the Aokigahara? If she had stayed behind, none of this would happen. None of his enemies would've been able to use her as a weakness against him.
His fists curled, annoyance filling him once again. He was a man on a mission. He had no use for distractions, much less a bounty huntress who had yet to figure out her own feelings. Hadn't she sworn to kill the man who had murdered her brother? Yet, Kyo could read her uncertainty. Where once she had been so sure about her actions, she was now confused as to what to do when it turned out that the sweet, kind-hearted Mibu Kyoushiro was the killer. The red-eyed swordsman nearly snarled at that thought.
He had seen the conviction in her eyes when they had first met. Hypocrite, he thought harshly before amending it. Naive was what she was. She had been fully prepared to sacrifice her own life to avenge the death of her brother, and he could still recall the fierce determination upon her face. Suddenly, his own words were thrown back at him. Hadn't he sworn to kill her if she hadn't been prepared to keep her word? Who was the hypocrite and naive one now?
A deep, near silent sigh rose from him, the sound unusual for a man who had killed as many as he had. He waited for the anger to rise against the young girl. His deep distrust towards women had been ingrained after what Sakuya had pulled, yet he knew on some level that she was different. He just wasn't prepared to admit it quite yet.
The footfalls weren't too far away now. He wasn't going to throttle her anymore - not as hard at least. Never had a woman made him so aware of his faults, and made him so pensive. He wondered what his enemies would think of him now. The corners of his lips twitched a little before settling back down. Kyo leaned against the pillar, and thought about pulling out a smoke when he heard her stumbling.
He cursed as he moved swiftly to catch the little klutz. For a bounty huntress, she was strangely uncoordinated. Her soft body melded against his own, her small hands clutching his gi. He swore some more under his breath as he tried to get her to stand on her own feet.
"Oi, ugly. Are you that crazy about me that you can't keep your hands off me?"
The retort Kyo had been expecting never came. Instead, her fingers tightened around the material, and her mumblings sounded clearer.
"-idiot-why can't you see-leave me-"
Understanding dawned upon him as the lines on his forehead eased. The stupid wench was sleepwalking. Of all the dangerous, moronic things to do, she had to sleepwalk. God, she was more than a handful. With muttered oaths, he tried to lift her up but found her uncooperative.
"Oh for fu-" he began saying before he felt a warm wetness against his chest. She had buried her face between the folds of his gi, her slender body shaking slightly. He couldn't hear the words that she was saying, and he wasn't really sure if he wanted to anyway. It was bound to be something stupid, womanly and-
He really was going to regret this at some point, but right now, no force on Earth was going to stop him from pulling her closer. His hand stroked her back awkwardly, not really knowing what to do to stop her from crying. Killing people he was used to. Onime no Kyo didn't exactly go around comforting people on a regular basis. He nearly cursed out loud when she only cried harder.
How the hell did people ease each other's pain? He wasn't even sure what the stupid twit w as crying over. And for that matter, what moron would sleepwalk and then just fall into someone's arms so trustingly? What if she had done that while they were in the Aokigahara? He made a mental note to keep a closer eye on her, and also to harass her even more than usual to compensate.
In the meantime, there was still a crying bounty huntress in his arms. His jaw was clenched tightly, as he pulled her away from his body. Her fingers clung on stubbornly, but he realized his mistake as soon as he did it. He had only wanted to hear what she was blubbering over. Thanks to the moon peering behind a window, he could now see the tears trickling down her cheeks. He told himself it didn't bother him, and if the hands holding her were a lot gentler, he sure as hell wasn't acknowledging it.
It was just a muscle spasm that happened to be in the general vicinity of his chest, Kyo thought as he heard her words. She was still upset about the water dragon. He had already figured as much. It couldn't have been easy for her. Even with her spirit and optimistic nature, even with her belief in him, it was still a hard thing to deal with. A seasoned samurai like him had faced death countless of times, and as such wouldn't affect him. For a young girl like her still, a small part of him felt disappointed. He would've thought her stronger than that. It didn't stop him from wanting to assure her somehow though.
Leaning forward so his lips were next to her ears, he said, "I won't let you, you hear me? You won't die on me, ugly."
But as if she hadn't heard a thing he said, the tears continued falling. He cursed more body parts, gods, the Mibu, and Kyoushiro all in that order. If this continued, she was going to wake the entire household up with her crying. He was about to pick her up to take her outside when her next words caused him to freeze up.
"Don't die, Kyo-"
His jaw nearly fell open in surprise though his eyes did widen. The chit was facing possible death and she was crying over him? Some unmentionable part of him felt smug. Some other part of him thought she was an even bigger idiot than he'd originally thought. And the part he refused to acknowledge was undeniably affected even as the rest of him screamed violently in protest. He was almost positive that Kyoushiro was grinning smugly at him.
"Moron, worry about yourself first," he whispered as he pulled her back against him.
He muttered graphic depictions of killing under his breath to assure himself that he hadn't gone soft. He waited with unusual patience for the crying to subside to little hiccups. Then with unaccustomed gentleness, he lifted her into his arms.
She was really far heavier than she looked, he thought with a grunt. The glint in his demon eyes belied his dispassionate expression as he looked down at her. She was cuddled quite snugly against him, her face looking even younger as she slept. She gave one last hiccup before burrowing even closer.
With a silent sigh of suffering, Kyo glanced down the hallway where her room was. He should really bring her back so she could rest. But he needed payment for all the grief she had caused him tonight. The smirk reappeared, samurai Kyo back in full force as he carried her back to his room. Let her sense of modesty be offended. He would enjoy her outraged shrieks when she woke up next to him. The sound of his soft laughter would've stunned servants and enemies alike, but Muramasa, safe in the confines of his room, only smiled before falling back asleep with the rest of the household.