Alright! Welcome to Late One Night, a story that started out as an idea for a Lemon... yes you read that right. I've never written any explicit content before and tasteful is a fine like between cheesy and crass. Before you go any farther you should know this is only M-rated as it may have started it's life out much dirtier most of the more sexual details have been edited out. The sexual theams are still there but the details and explicit content has been changed or removed. It's not for everyone... now if someone might be interested in the original I might be convinced to post it on my DA. So far Miniclio is the only one other then me to read the original. She said it was soft core at best, but I didn't want to risk offending anyone or getting FFnet angry at me.

This story was intended as a one shot only but I have a few short story ideas rattling about so there might be a collection of other stories posted as later chapters.

A few of my other stories have been in first person perspective but this is not. This is more like Last Person on Earth viewing from a 3rd person perspective. No internal dialogue here.

Last Note: This takes place five years after the series but the time has been changed to reflect modern things. So this story takes place in the summer of 2015 with the adventure of Escaflowne having been in 2010. This is only important for the references to modern technology or popular items that did not exist in the early 90's. Enjoy!

Late One Night

The cards were all laid out. Expectant faces watched as the sandy haired girl's slender hand hovered nervously over the innocent looking objects that were anything but at this very moment. Of the five college students only one knew it was all up to her now. Hitomi Kanzaki liked that people believed her to be a normal twenty year old. The most unusual feature was her bright emerald green eyes, not commonly seen in full blooded Japanese girls. Though she knew deep down that normal would never be a descriptive that fit her; not after that fateful summer five years ago. No Hitomi was many things but normal was not one of them.

Directly to her right sat Yukari Uchida, Hitomi's oldest friend sipped a beer absently her chocolate eyes focused on the cards in front of her. Mostly unchanged by time Yukari's bright red hair hung loose just past her shoulders, seemingly unbothered by the warm night air lingering in the small crowded apartment.

Amano Susumu's hair was only a touch shorter than his girlfriend's, but had taken to wearing it back in a low ponytail after his return from living overseas. Hitomi's infatuation long past she could now see that he was 'too nice' to have ever been more than a crush. Amano balanced Yukari perfectly, where the other girl would have needed more of a challenge to be truly happy.

Next to the High School Track star was a more recent addition to the group. With her petite frame, medium brown hair in a high ponytail, and thick black and metal rimmed glasses the short art student looked out of place with the athletic group. In reality Marie LeBlanc had more in common with the others than their linguistics class. She knew what it was like living in a new country with a completely different culture, being a native of France she reminded Hitomi of a time and a land long past.

In sharp contrast the last member of the group towered over even the athletic runners. Tall at 6 foot 4 inches, broad shouldered, and covered in gray-wash tattoos the American's wide friendly smile offset the intimidating stature that normally turned people away. Unlike Yukari his red hair was almost rust colored, completely natural, and buzzed neatly reminiscent of his military career. Jace Black was a prior Coast Guard Cook which set him a few years older than the other students and led to his unusual habit of trying to take care of people… as well as the constant stream of dirty jokes and his love for using curse words for descriptive terms.

"You gonna read the cards or stare at them all day?" Jace stretched back taking up even more space in the small area, he draped one ink covered arm over Marie's small shoulders. Pulling his girlfriend closer he blatantly tried to get a good look at her hand of cards.

Noticing the direction of his eyes, she playfully smacked at the much larger person. "Don't rush her or I'll tell everyone what's in your hand." Marie warned darkly.

"Come on Hitomi it's not like your life depends on it." Yukari taunted getting really into her completive nature. "Don't forget to read the whole thing and not just the answers."

"I'm really going to regret this." Hitomi sighed picking up the over turned cards, taking a deep breath she read the first combination. "During sex I like to think about… a defective condom."

The group roared with laughter, quickly spurned on by the embarrassed flush on the reader's face. "You guys are mean. I don't know why I even play with you anymore." The girl murmured sourly as she regretted letting the American chose the game. Cards against humanity… more like friends against Hitomi.

"Maybe the next one isn't so bad." Amano prompted with a brotherly smile.

"During sex I like to think about… waking up naked in a Denny's parking lot." The laughter was louder this time since Yukari snorted some beer up her nose, causing painful colors to rise in her face.

Hitomi waited a moment longer for her oldest friend to relearn the art of breathing. With a sigh the card czar continued. "During sex I like to think about… Asians who aren't good at math.

Automatically everyone turned on the ex-sailor. "What?!" Jace questioned trying to look innocent.

"The racial ones are always you." Marie shook her head in disappointment.

"That's profiling." He responded with a serious tone, but laughter in his blue-gray eyes.

"No, that's fact based statistics." Amano retorted smoothly.

"Last one." Hitomi stated trying to end this round quickly. "During sex I like to think about… Waiting till marriage."

There was a collective breath before everyone started talking at once.

"Oh, that is hitting below the belt." Marie stated

"I think that's physically impossible." Jace added

"Makes sense to me" Yukari grinned. "The resident virgin can't answer a sex scenario any other way."

"Yukari…" Amano warned his girlfriend.

"What?! It's true." The red head threw her hands up innocently. "Hitomi's been asked out tons of times, but she always turns the poor guys down without an actual reason."

"That's her choice." Jace countered defending their host. Then with a grin he added. "Every girl can't be lucky enough to date me."

"Lucky wouldn't be the word I'd use." Marie added dryly.

Making a decision Hitomi held up her 'favorite' card played trying to defuse the mounting tension. "Who had Denny's parking lot?"

"Thank you!" The tall man snatched the black prompt card off the table in victory.

"I was sure my Asian card was a winner." Amano smiled.

"You framed me!" Jace boomed acting offended.

"Why that one?" Marie asked her short haired friend over the guys' antics.

"All the cards were pretty good, but… it's the only one that almost killed Yukari."

They played a few more rounds in which the winner was declared, not that it mattered or anyone really kept score. Yukari was the only one sullen about losing. It was nearing one in the morning when the party broke up. Amano informed the short haired girl that her roommate would be staying the night at his place.

Jace and Marie had already left when the only remaining guy pulled Hitomi aside. "I'm sorry about how Yukari acted tonight."

"Don't worry about it." Hitomi responded quickly. "She'd been drinking, and we all know how she hates to lose."

"True on both counts, but it's really me she's mad at." His brows furrowed thoughtfully before continuing. "She asked if we could move in together, but I told her I'd have to think it over. Not exactly what she wanted to hear."

Hitomi was taken aback, the pair always seemed so happy and perfect together. "What's wrong? It's like you guys have been married since High School."

"That's kind of the problem. Don't get me wrong, I love Yukari… but sometimes I wonder if we are just settling at this point."

"Okay, I want you to answer quickly without thinking. I'll ask a few questions." Hitomi explained the rules to her little 'experiment' and began firing questions at the brunet boy. "Coffee or Tea?"

"Coffee."

"Swim or Run?"

"Run."

"Call or Text?"

"Call.

"What makes you more nervous taking the next step with Yukari, or never being with her again?"

"Never being with her." Amano blurted out quickly. Realizing what had just happened he relaxed visibly. "Thank you Hitomi. I think that really helped… though you might need to find a new roommate soon."

"It's fine." She smiled warmly. "I'll figure something out. I'm just glad I could help."

Amano studied her for a moment. "If we played that game with you answering would you have said the same thing regarding your guy?"

Now it was Hitomi's turn to be shocked. "What makes you think I 'have a guy'?"

"In High School when you returned… from wherever you went, well you'd changed. You had become more mature, more thoughtful, and you honestly looked like you would gladly be anywhere else. I think you fell in love on that mysterious adventure you took, and had to leave him behind."

"How'd you get so smart?"

"You still love him right?" Amano asked no judgement in his eyes, only concern. "No one else seems to compare, so if you got the chance to do it all over would you have left him?"

"'What if', is what I've thought of a million times… but part of what I love… loved about him was that even though he wanted me to stay, he would never ask me to give up my family or life just to be with him." The words came out in a rush.

"Don't correct yourself." The long haired boy chided. "You had it right the first time. You love him. It's why you can't settle for just any guy with a smooth line and a pretty smile. One day you will have to make a choice to live in the past or to make a new future."

"Thanks for the advice." Hitomi sighed in relief. It was kind of nice to talk to someone else about it, even if her feelings were only the tip of the iceberg as far as a certain king was concerned.

As if on cue the red haired roommate cane storming down the hallway with a bag slung over her shoulder. "This is such a pain." She huffed annoyed. "Oh and Hitomi, not that you'll ever need it but I restocked the contraceptive drawer in the bathroom."

"You think I should tell her now?" Amano asked the short haired girl in a low tone so the approaching girlfriend wouldn't overhear.

"No, let her suffer a little longer." Hitomi answered in a dead paned voice, not at all amused by the other girl's focus on her non-excitant sex-life.

"What are you two whispering about?" Yukari's eyes narrowed suspiciously.

"How you're a mean drunk." The green-eyed girl quipped watching her best friend color.

"Actually I was telling Hitomi that she might need to start looking for a new roommate soon." The male stuck between them corrected smoothly.

Confused for a moment Yukari was silent until it clicked and she threw her arms around Amano almost hitting Hitomi with the bag she forgot was over her shoulder. "Oh! Are you serious? This is awesome!"

"I'm sure." Amano laughed hugging his girlfriend back. "I love you and moving in together is the right thing to do for us."

Yukari planted and excited kiss on his lips before letting go and quickly attaching herself to the best friend she has ever had. "You talked to him didn't you Hitomi? Thank you!"

Hitomi patted her friend's back grateful to feel the ice melt between them. "It's nothing; I just want you to be happy."

"I know I can be kind of a brat about it, but that's all I want for you too Hitomi." Pulling away Yukari studied the girl she had known for nearly ten years. "You try to hide it but I can see how lonely you are and it kills me."

Hitomi softened "It's not an act… me being happy, but other things are more important to me right now then romance."

"Well part of being happy is making memories that you can hold on to. If you get a chance don't let it pass by just because it may be temporary."

"We'll see…" Hitomi hedged before changing the subject. "You guys should go. It's late and once the bars announce last call there won't be any parking left in front of your building."

"Oh god your right!" Yukari laughed. "Maybe we should move, that building has a terrible parking situation."

Amano sighed as he led his chattering girlfriend out the door. "Don't forget to lock up Hitomi just because we live on the top floor doesn't mean you are safe alone." The lecturing got slightly fainter not that the track star was having any luck shushing the woman by his side, as she called back to her friend standing in the doorway. "Lock your windows too!" Who knows how many people the drunk roused from their sleep, but Hitomi was sure she'd be kicked out if the other girl didn't move first.

Once they were gone the silence in the apartment was almost tangible. Hitomi remembered all over again why she liked hosting those gatherings in her tiny apartment. It made the place feel full of life. Even when it was just Yukari and her the other girl's exuberance for life was almost infectious. It's not that she couldn't afford to live alone, but more that she didn't want to.

A memory so strong hit her like a truck; the smell of spring, wild raven hair, stubborn mahogany eyes and the softness of pure white feathers. The sudden force caused a pang to shoot through her. She missed him so much it hurt sometimes, but she had to be strong. Life didn't stop because you were lonely or sad.

Gathering the last few empty bottles and cups from the table; the girl took one more look around the empty apartment before trudging back to her room. Though her room was smaller than Yukari's, she didn't mind in the slightest because it was the only one with access to the balcony right outside. The room was dark and something in the air seemed off. Hitomi fumbled for the light switch, heart pounding in her throat. All Yukari's drunken warnings ran through her mind on repeat the only thing that was known for sure was that she was not alone.

A shape moved out of the shadows, but before she could scream a large gloved hand clamped firmly over her mouth. The leather glove was rough against her lips, though it was the smell that silenced her. The crisp sent of spring intermixed with wood smoke and the sharp tang of metal; only one person in any world held that aroma naturally. Van.

Now her heart thudded loudly for another reason entirely. The hand dropped away sure that she would no longer scream. In the absence of that contact she suddenly felt cold and knew she had to see him. She had to have proof that it wasn't just her desire making her imagine things that could never be.

Finding the switch easily now that she was calm, light flooded the small space. He was taller then she'd thought he'd be and leanly muscled like an athlete built for endurance and speed not strength alone. A face lengthened and sharpened by time can lose its childishness while still remaining handsome. If anything he was even more so with his broad shoulders and rugged good looks. Something warm smoldered in his reddish-brown eyes even as they were hidden partly behind the wild pitch colored hair. His thick hair hung longer, almost to his chin and the added weight kept it from spiking as much as in his youth, but it was still quite untamed.

Those eyes she had dreamed of so many times studied every inch of her body, just as she had of him. Each change was noted and silently compared with memories never to be forgotten.

Honey brown hair only a touch longer curled softly tucked behind her ears. High cheek bones and full lips accentuated the large bright emerald eyes that hadn't changed in the slightest. Everything else had been touched by the merciful hands of time. Still taller than average she was no longer a girl stuck in the awkward stage between child and beauty, she was a full fledged woman with slender pale neck, toned arms, full perky bust, narrow waist, hips that begged to be gripped tightly, and long runner's legs. Just the sight of her maturity stirred a deep longing to forget himself and just touch her until the rest of the world faded away.

The silence stretched between them as they drank in the sight somewhere deep down they thought would never actually happen person.

"Van, what are you doing here." Hitomi's words shattered the dream, but when she didn't fade away as he feared the man too chanced a few words of his own.

"I can't stay." His voice was lower but still familiar sent a warmth spreading through the girl. "I don't have much time."

His words sunk in slowly, and her eyes flashed with challenge. "You haven't answered me. What are you even doing here?"

Van's hands clenched at his sided at the combative tone. "I could feel you needed me, but not why."

"It's not important." Hitomi looked away suddenly shy.

He snorted as if not convinced. "I came all this way and that's all I get?"

Hitomi narrowed her piercing eyes. "I don't remember begging you to come!" Taking a deep breath the girl let out some of her outrage and a bit of the truth. "It really wasn't anything important. Just my friends teasing me… it happens all the time."

"It must have been something if you are this upset." Van stated evenly. Tentatively he took a step towards her, but stopped thinking better then to corner her in a small space. Hitomi was just as unpredictable as any creature without a chance to escape. "You could tell me, or I should just go if I'm not wanted."

She sighed leaning against the door. "They are all seeing someone, and I'm… not."

Confused the oblivious man tilled his head not familiar with the slang. "Are you not seeing me?"

"Dating… being intimate. I've never- I've never been with anyone, and it hurts sometimes to be alone." She was embarrassed to say it out loud, but somehow freer for finally having someone that could understand the truth fully. "I've missed you Van."

"It doesn't have to be like this Hitomi." His voice softened as his eyes hungrily searched her blushing face.

"Yes it does Van. I'm not ready to come back. I may never be ready!" Hitomi crossed her arms over her chest as if cold and let out all the confusion, hurt, and longing for the first time in years. "It'd be so much easier if we both just moved on, but I can't. I can't see anyone else when all I think about is you!"

The force of her words sent heat surging through his veins. Losing all rationality he grabbed her shoulders firmly but not hard enough to hurt. The second action made the girl's eyes widen, as he bent down smoothly pressing his lips to hers in tender contact. Electricity sparked as she relaxed into the kiss savoring the connection. A soft noise escaped, and Van pulled back startled by his own forwardness and not quite sure who had made the sound.

"I'm sorry. I couldn't hold back even if that is what you want." There was a deep longing in his voice. "I can't be this close to you and yet be so far away."

Her lips tingled from the loss of his caress. The physical closeness was still there as Van remained holding her arms, but a distance began growing between them once more. Yukari's advice about not letting chances pass and making memories whenever possible; spurred Hitomi into action.

Grabbing the bright fabric of his iconic red shirt Hitomi surprised the man by pressing her body against his, her face in the curve of his neck. He was so very real in that moment. Solid forms fitting together like the missing pieces of a puzzle.

Her warm moist breath fluttered against his heated skin. "Can I be selfish tonight and ask you to stay?"

Struggling to maintain rational thought Van tried to pull away, but couldn't force his body to move from the only thing it had ever truly wanted. "Hitomi you know-"

"Just for the night." She pleaded quickly silencing his argument.

"Do you know what you are asking?" His voice came out husky and she could feel the vibrations rumble through his chest as he spoke.

"Yes, I'm asking that just for this night you are not Van Fanel King of Fanelia and I am not Hitomi Kanzaki Girl from the Mystic Moon." She paused tilling her face up to look into his eyes. So close and so tempting. Lips trembling, cheeks flushed, but eyes direct with need. "Tonight you are Van and I am Hitomi and we are just a couple in love."

In those words he was defeated. Even if his mind were to scream that this was wrong the rest of him was lost to the promise of her. Capturing her soft lips once more, but this time with more urgent demand. Changing angle of the kiss his tongue tentatively begged entrance. Hitomi parted her lips allowing him to taste her deepening passion.

She was burning up, hands tangled in his raven locks exactly how she had only been able to imagine before. Van refused to stop kissing as he let go of her arms just long enough to deftly remove his gloves, not caring where they landed on the floor. One now bare hand cupped the back of her neck tenderly as the other began to roam begging for skin to skin contact. Rough and calloused as his hands were from training, fighting, and working they also were incredibly tender, lighting trails of fire every place he touched. Suddenly there wasn't enough flesh to caress.

Breaking contact for a moment Van shed his shirt in one smooth movement. No words were needed as Hitomi quickly followed suit dropping the thin top on the floor followed shortly by her simple white bra. Panting and flushed the couple stood bare from the waist up bathed in the bright florescent light. No scar, freckle, or mark hidden from the other. Hitomi reached for him first, studying each hard plane of muscle with exploring finger tips. He shuddered with a deep sigh as she traced a pale scar on his ribs she didn't remember from their war-torn youth.

In return the man leaned down to place a kiss just under her chin, trailing one after another down the slender curve eliciting a shudder of her own. His large fighter's hands had their own goal in mind and were unbelievably gentle. At every gasp, moan, and tremble of the woman in his arms he ached for more. Nearing the end of his control Van lifted the object of his desire into the air then quickly onto the nearby bed.

Calloused fingers gently tilted her face up to meet his fathomless eyes. "We don't have to do this."

His voice was soft and low. The regret in his eyes was not from the possibility of losing the chance to have intercourse with her, but from hurting her both in the act and at the loss that would surly follow.

"Please don't stop Van." Hitomi swallowed with some difficulty, but the fear was gone replaced by an overwhelming love. "I know we are on borrowed time, but just for this once can we live for the moment? It may be temporary, but the memories won't be. I want you to be my first."

"I want to be your only." Van almost growled. "I know there is no changing your mind once it's set, so I will just have to show you." Crawling onto the soft mattress the movement of muscles rippling under his naturally tan skin was a mesmerizing sight. He paused hovering just over the girl of his dreams, not touching, only air between their bodies.

Caving in Hitomi broke the invisible barrier first grabbing the back of his neck and pulling Van down to resume their contact from earlier. This time it was her turn to be in control, exploring his mouth hungrily. Without breaking the kiss Van balanced himself on one arm so the other was free to roam once more. It was one thing to feel how ready she was but the smoldering look in her crystalline eyes urged him forward.

"Please Van." Her voice came out breathy and low, and with those two simple words he was lost. There was no going back. The only thing that mattered was the contact of flesh. Every breathy moan, each tremble and arch only drove the need to new heights.

Once spent with perspiration cooling Hitomi found her self embarrassed for the first time. It wasn't that she had just thrown caution to the wind and slept with Van, whom she hadn't seen in five years, but the fact that it was him who had thought of the consequences. Hitomi was grateful at least one of them had been aware of the danger they were chancing by having sex without any protection. He had pulled out, a method of chance really, but better than nothing when trying to prevent pregnancy.

If she wasn't ready to commit and returned to the other world with him there was no way a child would help the situation. It wasn't something they talked about, though it should have been. Truthfully there hadn't been very much talking at all. Maybe if they had stopped to take the time one of them would have decided the risk was too great, or the time too short. Hitomi knew she should have been the logical one, but somehow there wasn't a shred of regret. She'd do it all over again, and somehow she hoped there would be another chance to test that before their time was up.

"Sorry." Van apologized though he knelt there without shame.

"I wasn't aware you had anything to be sorry for." Hitomi teased with mock seriousness.

Van's low startled laugh might just be her favorite thing from this evening, but Hitomi doubted it would remain on the top of the list for long.

"You want to wash up?" She asked, her eyes again being drawn to his lower region in fascination.

"Definitely." Van quickly agreed

Hitomi moved with a wince, she was sore now that the endorphins had faded into memory. The naked man opened his mouth to apologize but was quickly cut off.

"You had better not be thinking of saying you're sorry again." The girl threatened, then her voice turned soft as she met his mahogany eyes. "Do you regret it?"

"No, I don't" He answered simply with a slight uneven smile.

"Good, because neither do I." She responded with a smile of her own. "Come on I'll show you to the bathroom I'm sure you are… sticky."

Van simply nodded with a slight flush and followed the naked girl from the room. She made no move to cover her pale skin and enticing form, for that he was grateful. The view of her lean back, slender waist, and perfectly shaped ass was not one he would ever get tired of seeing. Unfortunately the trip was over too soon.

Flipping the light on in the small bathroom Hitomi knew it would be slightly familiar, but also completely different then what he was used to. Some of the places they stayed on Gaia had running water while others most currently didn't. Van turned the sink faucet on easily testing the water and finding it satisfactory he quickly washed his hands with relief.

Focusing on the pouring water he addressed the girl standing behind him, her stance less comfortable then before as she attempted to cover her chest with left arm crossing to grip her right upper arm. "You should clean up too."

"I'm okay…" Hitomi shifted her weight from one foot to the other.

"No, look down." Van stated unwavering.

Sighing the girl humored him and was surprised to see blood on her thighs, not enough to be worried but still smeared and drying. Proof that she was no longer the virgin her friends taunted. Had it really only been such a short time since she sat playing Cards Against Humanity with her closest friends? It felt like a lifetime ago.

"Take a shower with me." She stated leaving no room for argument.

Van watched her as she padded over to the narrow tiled shower. One of the biggest differences in the bathing chambers was that on his world washing was more like traditional Japanese baths, or at least it was in Fanelia. Rinsing with buckets of water before soaking in a large tub. The glass enclosed 'western' style shower was a strange sight.

Turning the nobs with practiced ease Hitomi tested the pouring water with her free hand. A slight adjustment here a few more moments of waiting there and the water was just right. Turning from the prepared shower the girl opened a small cabinet door retrieving a spare towel for her guest.

Van's eyes followed her around the tiny space and though she knew it would inevitably led to an argument the question had to be asked. She clutched the soft fabric to her chest obscuring her nudity, but somehow he seemed to wear his nakedness proudly.

"I just can't figure out, can you tell me why?" Hitomi asked determinedly looking only at his face when she spoke. He shrugged not exactly sure of the 'why' she was referring to. "Why after all this time did you come now? It's not like I've never missed you or been lonely before."

"I've felt those time too." The sadness in Van's voice startled her. "This time was somehow more… intense. I was drawn to come." He touched the innocent looking pendent hanging around his neck.

"Fate?" The word hung heavily between them.

Van shrugged again, his eyes shifted to watching the steaming water pour behind her. "The strength of a wish maybe."

"Mine or yours?" Hitomi's question was soft, but Van took a single step forward closing the distance that had grown between them.

"Both." One word and a warmth that told the girl he wanted nothing more than to kiss her in this moment.

"How long can you stay?" Her question stopped his advance.

With a sigh Van knew he had to tell her the truth. "Just till morning. I don't belong on this world somehow it seems to know, and rejects my presence here."

Morning? As in sunrise! That was quickly approaching. Hitomi knew that they were wasting valuable time, but they needed to talk just as much as she wanted his hands on her body at least once more. Hitomi hung the spare towel up just outside the shower baring her pale skin from head to toe once more.

With a teasing note to her voice the girl stepped into the streaming water, pulling him quickly in after. "I thought you were going to say something about Fanelia and the danger of leaving Merle in charge."

"That is also an issue." The words felt thick in his mouth. Despite the water rapidly soaking his hair and rolling down his sculpted body nothing mattered but the girl standing before him. "Are you sure you won't consider-"

"No." She cut the question off short, voice firm and determination unwavering. "If I return to Gaia it will be on my terms, and I still have a life and family here. I can't just vanish."

Trapped with only inches and steam between them it instead felt like a chasm was growing. "What about the life and family you could have there? Is one more important than the other?"

Hitomi met his question with a direct unwavering glare. "That's for me to decide because. I'm the one that has to live with my choice."

"I understand… so I won't say anything more about it, but remember I've already made my decision and waiting for you won't change it." Though Van would never go back on his word the pain in his eyes was tangible as if he was letting her go for the last and final time.

"Van, let's not fight." Hitomi wrapped her arms around him in a tight embrace. Her soft cheek pressed against the hard planes of his shoulder. "Our time is so limited I just want to make the most of it."

"Okay." She could feel the deep sigh he exhaled while returning the embrace, bare skin contacting he knew this fight was over and she remained the victor.

With their bodies pressed together Hitomi knew that the shower was far too small for anything to happen, not from personal experience but it was still a fact. Yukari had tried; she had laughed at her friend's experience when the door got jammed and she had to let the naked people out like a perverted clown car. Now she felt a bit of what had driven her friends to try such a stunt in the first place.

Trying to distract herself the girl gently brushed the dripping hair from Van's face. "Can I wash your hair?"

A little surprised the man just nodded dropping his head down slightly so she could reach easier. As her fingers began to work the mint and lavender shampoo into his scalp he began to relax enjoying the soothing feeling. "You're pretty good at this." He mumbled.

"You sound surprised." She teased. "I've never had to wash a man's hair before if that's what you were wondering. I think Jace might be a little taller then you but only by an inch or two." The moment the words were out she knew they sounded worse than intended.

Van clenched his jaw grinding his teeth slightly. "Do you also talk about other men when you are with him?"

Shocked by his accusation her hands froze in mid-motion. "Why would you think that?!" Since it was already within her grasp Hitomi grabbed both fists full of his soapy hair forcing him to look her in the eyes. "How dare you accuse me of something that is honestly none of your business Van Fanel! To set matters straight I was only talking about height. A 'friend' of mine is tall and it was a comparison of that and only that."

Just like that the jealous man was gone replaced by the almost unsure boy she spent a summer trying to understand. "Sorry."

"Damn right." Her grip loosened now that he had been thoroughly chastised. "I love you and don't even look at other guys like that, but you don't own me. I can't have you getting possessive now or ever."

"How would you feel if I spoke of how Merle had developed compared to you or some princess I knew and you didn't?"

A sour feeling churned in her stomach and deep down she knew he was right, she would be jealous and angry. Just the thought made her sick and though it had been careless of her to bring up in the first place it didn't mean his reaction was okay, even if she would have responded in a similar way.

"I wouldn't like it." She admitted honestly. "Please don't compare me to them."

"There is nothing to compare since I don't even see them. I never have, not after I met you." It didn't matter who started the argument, the only thing that mattered now was that his lips tasted of the herbs used in the shampoo, mint and lavender.

This was not the boy who blundered a simple confession, but the strong sure man that he had become. Hitomi couldn't get him dry and back into the bedroom fast enough, they washed quickly.

Aware of the time passing swiftly the girl turned off the water and began drying her hair and body quickly, with equal urgency Van followed suit. Towel tucked around a form the man would be dreaming of from now on, Hitomi opened the small drawer under the vanity and began searching through her roommate's 'emergency supplies'. Moving wrapped condoms aside she found her prize a small prescription looking cardboard box labeled 'Plan B- Emergency Contraception'. For once she was grateful for her friend's neurotic tendency to overdo precautions 'You can never be too safe.'

"What's that?" Van asked curious at the small package in her hand.

"It means this time I don't want you to stop." She responded with certainty in her bright emerald eyes.

He gaped for a moment fighting to find the words. "But the risk-"

"This medicine prevents that. There are other ways, but I don't want anything between us. It's for emergencies and I would count this as one." Without waiting for a response Hitomi took his hand in hers guiding him back to where it began and where it too would end.

Van didn't say anything, the knot in his throat too tight for words. He could feel the pull of his home world growing stronger as the hours grew thin. The strength he used to force a path to open would not work another time, and unless she chose to return this really would be the end of their love story. What was the harm of a few more stolen moments?

The overhead light still shone brightly, fighting against the steady lightening of the sky outside. Hitomi turned to gaze at him as if for the last time, noting all the little things for her memory: the light stubble on his cheeks from needing to shave soon, firm lips that could be incredibly soft when needed, his unruly raven hair that he'd let get longer then preferred, and that his deep mahogany eyes were as intense as she'd ever seen them. It was far too much to resist this one last contact.

It started out slowly tasting like a good-bye kiss, but it was more than that. She reached up and he in turn gathered her close and wouldn't let go. They were drowning together, too much and not quite enough at the same time. What could it hurt to say good-bye in this way? How much more special was it for them both knowing that this could be the last time.

Even though Van prayed that he would see her again, he wasn't stupid enough to blindly believe in naive dreams anymore. He wanted to drink in every moment, remember every detail, taste every kiss, replay every sigh and moan. There was an urgency in every touch, a deep need that had been ignored for far too long.

Hitomi wasn't hesitant in her own caresses charting the planes and valleys with each touch, marveling at the changes and yet he was still the same boy that appeared first in a vision. There was so much of him to explore and not nearly enough time, as his lean muscles rippled beneath her finger tips. Everything about his body was so fascinating especially the smell, even under the scent of her soap it was still him, the sharp clean breath of a spring wind.

Their blood heated together, skin becoming sensitive, every nerve pulsing vibrantly. The danced together on the edge of danger, at some time they ended up intertwined and tangled in the bedsheets. This time there wasn't any pain only pure sensation. It was all too much for Van as he finally let go of everything. In that vibrant moment spilling from his back erupted enormous white wings. Joy and a feeling of utter completeness filled the lovers.

Van held her close as his wings dissolved in a storm of feathers. Somehow Hitomi held back her tears, it wouldn't do to let him see her cry now. For a short time he was hers alone, and though they would go their separate ways she would never forget this feeling or the love she held so tightly. She had to put the pain aside and cherish this brief time without regrets, it would be the hardest part.

As their breathing slowed and the pace of their hearts became normal once more Van lay completely at peace, the girl who had saved him in so many ways lay content in the circle of his strong arms. No false words or promises were said, just listening to the silence between her ever deepening breaths. What he wouldn't give to make this moment last forever, but she wanted no great sacrifice just the truth. Nothing and no one could ever take this night from them.

The night that as each second passed gave way to morning a little more at a time. Gently Van slid from Hitomi's warmth and dressed, he felt like a stranger in his own clothes. Despite his wishes life moved steadily forward and Gaia was calling, Fanelia needed him. Hitomi was stronger than even he would ever know and one day she would find him again. Only then could their story truly begin.

Careful to not wake the girl he gently pulled the tangled sheets over her still bare form. Tenderly Van bent down placing a soft kiss on her forehead. The whisper of his low voice was quiet and adoring. "I will always love you."

"I will never forget you." Hitomi's sleepy voice responded without pause warming him to the core.

"Even when I'm old and grey." Van finished the exchange with a small smile. He stepped purposefully out onto the balcony just as the sun chose to crest the horizon. A bright blue white light flashed quickly against the rose colored sky and just like smoke on the wind the scent remains but the rest is gone.

A few hours later as the sun rose steadily on its usual path, the latch of the front door turned and clicked, opening to reveal a certain red-headed roommate balancing a tray of disposable coffee cups in one hand along with her keys and a bag of pastries in the other.

"Hitomi! You ready yet? The seminar starts in half an hour." Pushing the door closed with her hip and dropping her keys into the decorative bowl next to the door. Yukari was fully surprised that her best friend wasn't already up and puttering around the house waiting for her to arrive. Hitomi was never late, unless it was Yukari over sleeping or she had to help the other girl find something like a missing shoe.

Hitomi had been an okay student when the met in middle school and high school, but that all changed after her disappearance. The Hitomi that returned was 'interested' in school work and learning how the world worked. She studied harder, spent less time hanging out, but she was still Hitomi. When some people start college they go crazy with the freedom of finally being away from home. Not Hitomi, unlike other students she didn't drink or date. Really it was class, a part time job in the library that paid for her books, and the occasional hang out planed with the same small group of friends.

Yukari wanted to see her friend let loose and have fun for once, but there always seemed to be something holding the other girl back.

Despite being a business and economics major Hitomi often took non-required classes instead of improving her social life. Classes like; First Aid and Emergency Response, Self-Defense, World History 301 Ancient Civilizations, and Public Speaking.

Some of her friends liked to tease that the green eyed girl was studying to take over the world, to which she would merely smile secretly and say "Maybe one day."

Though it was Saturday the symposium on 'Strong Female Leaders throughout History' was one Hitomi had been looking forward to all month. The fact that she wasn't lecturing Yukari on her unpunctuality and missing out on the best seats, worried the girl. The apartment had been tidied after the card game, but not nearly as much as normal. The logical explanation was that the short haired girl decided not to wait after all and left without her tardy friend, no her keys were still in the dish and her shoes remained undisturbed by the door. Had something happened to her? Could someone have broken in and harmed Hitomi?

The wild scenarios played in Yukari's head as she approached Hitomi's room cautiously. Pushing open the cracked door slightly she heaved a great sigh of relief. The sheets were rumpled and nearly torn from the bed, but the girl slept soundly a content smile on her face. It was strange for Hitiomi to be so messy, as even her hair looked crazed like she had slept on it wet, something she never did. The oddest thing had to be the feathers. Long white feathers littered the room and one even rested on the pillow next to the girl.

Strange but her roommate appeared unharmed and completely happy for once, so this time she would just let her sleep. Closing the door Yukari met with some resistance and found a towel dropped carelessly on the floor, something Hitomi would never do. With a shrug she gathered the still damp fabric and took it into the adjacent bathroom to hang up properly.

Everything looked normal here with one exception, stuck to the mirror was a small note written in Hitomi's neat characters, the words shocked the girl so much that she dropped the towel with a startled shriek.

Yukari,

Don't freak out, but I had to use your morning after pill. I'll buy you a new one...it was an emergency.

P.S If you tell anyone (even Amano) I'll never talk to you again.

In the other room Hitomi smiled and brushed her fingertips down the length of the silky feather beside her. Truly a night she would never forget.

The End.

AN- Thank you for reading please let me know what you think. I've never written anything like this before... edited or not. I tend to 'fade to black' or interrupt the poor characters before anything dirty can happen but I really wanted to show the need, tenderness, and bittersweet affection between Van and Hitomi. I do believe that though they are by far my favorite couple a relationship between the two would take a bit of work. They are from different cultures and times and thought they love each other they both have very strong personalities. I think the fighting is just part of them trying to learn how to understand each other.

As far a heights are conserved in the series Van was about 5'5. Hitomi was 5'3 and Folken was approximately 6'1. For the purposes of this story adult Van is 6'2. Hitomi is 5'8(still quite tall for a Japanese girl).

The original characters who make a cameo in this story are Jace Black who is a male I made up to RP with but then realized I am terrible at it but still love him. You might see Jace pop up in other stories where a Cameo of my original Medina won't work.
The other Cameo was Marie LeBlanc who in reality is Miniclio who won a bet like a year ago and I owed her a Cameo. She has also been invaluable to bounce ideas off of for this and my other stories.

Thank you all for Reading Please let me know what you think, and be honest this is new to me. Do you like it? Do you hate it? Do you want to read the smutty version? Do you want more of this in general?

~banryuu