She stared, blinked sharply, and looked again, but the strange vision still didn't go away. So did that mean it was true?
Suzu covered her mouth trying to block the giggles before they could wake up the sleeping pair on the bed. Apparently, unless her intuition was failing her and it rarely did, Aku had started out the night just holding Enjeru's hand, and somehow, probably when he fell asleep, he'd migrated (again, probably with some of Enjeru's help) over onto the bed. Now he slept curled up to the general's body, Enjeru's uninjured arm tight around his back and his injured one draped around his waist, as he rested his head on the older man's shoulder. And for the longest moment all she could think was...
"How incredibly sweet," she breathed aloud.
"What's..."Miki began coming in the tent behind her. She glanced over her shoulder and giggled softly at him as his eyes bugged out, then frowned as he turned and made his way back outside.
Following him with a puzzled expression on her pretty face, she watched him as he walked all the way to the tree several yards from their leader's tent, leaned against it, and proceeded to let out one of the vilest stream of curses she was certain she'd ever heard. "What is it, Miki-kun?" she asked when he finally stopped for breath.
He turned towards her, a guilty look in his eyes and a frown on his face. "Suzu..."
"Is in Enjeru-kun and Aku-kun?" she pursued relentlessly. "Does this bother you so much? You yourself said they were good together."
"Suzu, the whole reason we fought was because he refused to listen to me about trusting Aku!" he exploded quickly. His next words were much softer. "I don't want either of them to get hurt."
"And you're afraid that if Enjeru-kun doesn't trust him, he'll end up hurting Aku-kun." She frowned. "Or vice versa." She sighed and stepped closer, putting a gentle hand on his shoulder and turned his head to look down at him. "You worry about us all too much, Miki-kun. You always have."
"I've...always wanted to keep you guys safe; it was supposed to be my job. Marie was the one who brought and kept us together, you were the one who made us smile and kept us from getting too involved in revenge, Enjeru was the serious one and the fighter and the one who need us to be strong, so I was supposed to be the one who protected you all. And I can't even do that!" He bit back the yell to keep it from waking the pair in the tent up and stared down at his hands. "My gods, how old are we, Suzu? I feel so old."
She smiled faintly. "You're twenty-six, and I'm twenty-two, and Enjeru-kun is twenty-four, and we're the youngest people in our history to hold our positions, Miki-kun." She slid the hand on his shoulder down and pulled the other around him as well in a loose hug, feeling vaguely pleased when he returned the gesture. "And Enjeru-kun didn't become general of this army by being stupid."
"That's why I'm worried about Aku. His father and then this war trained him to be ruthless and emotionless. I know he'd never physically hurt him, but emotionally is a wholly different story. He doesn't know how to be kind about another person's emotions." He sighed. "And it would be all or nothing with him. The kid's going to get hurt around Enjeru."
She stepped back just enough to stare up into his eyes. "Do you really want to stand in their way? It's going to be hard enough for them as it is, but they've both earned this chance to be happy. They deserve it, ne?"
"Hai... they both do." He sighed, leaning down close enough to let their foreheads touch. "But when they hurt each other, it's going to be up to us to pick up the pieces."
"If they hurt each other, that's all we can do, as their friends," she countered. "It's what friends do, be there for each other." She poked one finger into his stomach. "And that's what you're good at, Miki-kun."
He laughed softly. "Is that so?" Keeping both arms around her waist, he suddenly let himself fall back onto the tree, dragging her with him. Caught off-balance, she collapsed against his chest. As she turned surprised and wide golden eyes up to him, he grinned. "Ne... Is that all I'm good at, Suzu-chan?"
She hit him lightly on the shoulder. "You flirt," she accused.
Her eyes widened yet again as his face turned somber. "Only for you, Suzu. Only for you..."
"Wh-what do you mean?"
A gentle hand ran down the side of her cheek, and she shivered at the light touch. "You really don't have any idea, do you?" Before she could even breathe a word to confirm she had no idea what he was talking about, he continued. "Daisuki, Suzu-chan. I always have, ever since we first met all that time ago, and I always will."
She stood there, frozen in something akin to a state of surprise, which moved into full-fledged shock when she felt his lips touch hers. When she'd been little, all those years ago, this was how she'd dreamed it would be - and then some. Sweet like candy and smooth like chocolate and gentle like nothing she'd ever felt before, but it wasn't supposed to be over so quickly! She stared up into his sapphire blue eyes that ran even darker now, almost as dark as Aku's, and touched her lips in wonder. "Miki...kun...I...."
A loud shrilling noise cut through the air, saving her from having to say anything else. Maybe five seconds after it started, both Enjeru and Aku appeared beside them, looking more asleep than awake, but armed and ready for whatever set off the alarm. Enjeru's eyes widened just perceptively and Aku raised an eyebrow slightly as they stared at them. Looking down, she noticed exactly where she stood and exactly where Miki stood and remembered that the alarm had interrupted what pretty much amounted to a make-out session, and she jumped back out of his arms.
Aku chuckled lightly as Miki pouted, running a careless hand through his dark brown hair. "Damn... this had better be something really important. I hate interruptions," he paused, looking up at her with promises in his eyes, "especially in the middle of something... important." She immediately felt herself flush scarlet.
"We don't have time for this, Miki," Enjeru complained. He sounded so weary in her ears, everyone else's too by the way they each turned to him frowning. After all, he'd nearly died the night before. Now he stood before them, sword in hand (not the usual hand though) and breathing hard, apparently from just the stress of moving this far or maybe just holding himself upright.
"You should not be up, Enjeru," she scolded, on some level glad for the chance for things to return to their usual normality but at the same time missing the novelty of a single kiss.
"She's right," Aku argued softly, placing a gentle hand on the general's shoulder. "You really should still be in bed."
He paused for along moment, staring down into navy blue eyes, then shook his head. "Iie. If it is a battle, then it'll do good for the troops to see me out there fighting with them."
Aku frowned, apparently unable to think up a quick argument to that frame of logic, and leaned just a bit closer to him. "Promise me you won't hurt yourself? Won't overdo it or anything?"
Enjeru frowned, apparently quite aware that he was being trapped in his own words, that he never broke his promises. "I promise," he sullenly replied. But he didn't turn away, even when the younger man beamed happily up at him. "We need to get to the gate and see what the problem is," he offered almost too quietly to be heard.
"We're being attacked!" someone screamed before they could move a step.
With a celerity that was frightening to see, the so-called Holy Trinity's faces all dropped into scowls. "Aku?" Suzu whispered.
"Whatever you do, stay close to one of us. I don't trust one of our men not to get all caught up in the fight and try to kill you too."
He swallowed hard, nervously shifting his blade in his hands. "Hai, Suzu..."
Just outside the gates, the battle roared like a caged lion, sword clashing against sword and occasionally magic against magic, until it was almost impossible to tell who was fighting who. Then, without warning, the other side signaled a full retreat, just as Enjeru felt himself ready to collapse from exhaustion.
The general slammed his sword down into the closest available corpse and wearily leaned against it, barely able to keep himself upright even like that. Small hands grabbed his waist and helped hold him up; looking back over his shoulder, he favored Suzu and Miki a small smile...
...that immediately dropped into a frown as he noted something. "Where's Aku?"
"I was about to ask you that."
He shook his head. "I thought he was with you." He yanked his body upright, sneering as it protested the movement rather loudly, and glanced around desperately. All he could see were the familiar forms of his troops - and black dots swirling alarmingly for his eyes. "He's not here. I don't see him."
"You need to recuperate before you try anything," Miki advised cautiously, trying to grab hold of the general's arms.
He shook off the offending hands. "Iie! I promised him I wouldn't let anyone hurt him. I promised I wouldn't let his father get him! I broke my promise to him!" Fury turned his eyes dark, and his hands clenched at his sides. "I'm going to get him back!" Immediately preceded by a violent ripping sound, he vanished into the air.
18 July 2001
The actual fic is done now... Here are the story notes in a more easy to read format...
- Daisuki means "I love you" but it isn't quite as permanent a love as ai shiteru... It's more like "I like you a really lot"
- See!!!! Miki-kun finally told her how he felt. *muttering* Damn bad guys... had to interrupt a sweet moment...
- Please send me lots of reviews and/or e-mails, onegai... We're about to go into parts that are difficult for me to write...
- And am I evil or what at that ending?!? ^_~ *looks at ending again* "... violent ripping noise..." What the hell...?
See you in the next chapter!!!