A/N: ZareEraz here! I love Ergo Proxy and I wish there was more fanfiction! So I decided to help out and add a few of my own fics to this category. Enjoy!


A pulse; the measure of life…Feel the pounding in your chest as the pulse quickens…it belongs to no one else…it is the foundation of our truth…the truth that we belong in this world, that we are of this world. Can't you hear it…the pulse of the awakening beating in your chest?

"Ow! Pino!" Vincent groaned as a hunk of snow came flying towards him, smacking him right in the forehead.

"Haha! I got you, Vince!" the AutoReiv laughed as she socked him. He hurled a snowball at her after brushing the snow off his face but she dodged it and chucked another one at him, this time getting his shoulder.

"She's got a good arm," Re-L mused, enjoying the sight of the man being tormented by the little robot. She leaned against the railing of the deck, watching the two of them play. Kristeva was standing next to her, taking a moment to watch as well before going back to checking the ship's stock of food. The Rabbit was grounded due to the lack of wind and the little crew was taking a much-needed break. Just like last time, Pino and Vincent were playing around in the newly fallen snow, having fun, and getting some exercise. Running around wasn't Re-L's thing, but every once in a while she'd scoop up some snow from the deck of the ship and throw it at Vincent. She missed every time but whatever.

"Re-L! Re-L! Come play with us!" Pino called, waving at the woman, the ears of her pink suit bouncing with each movement. The raven noticed that Vincent was watching her too, his vibrant, green eyes filled with hope, his cheeks red from exertion, excitement, and affection. So useless.

"No way," she huffed, brushing off the offer with her signature disinterest. She even brushed a few stray strands of hair that had gotten in her face out of the way to emphasize her point.

"Aw! Come on!" Pino whined realistically (she was getting better at that emotion all the time when it came to Re-L's attitude, much to the woman's chagrin).

"Come on, Re-L," Vincent added. "Just for a few minutes?"

"I said no, didn't I?" The woman scowled as she folded her arms, her good mood being overtaken by their pestering. Pino mimicked her expression, crossing her arms moodily and pouting. "You two have fun without me."

"Aw!" they both whined, but they knew it was a losing battle to keep arguing and went back to their snowball fight. The two of them ran around in the snow for a good ten minutes before anything interesting happened.

It started when their snowball fight turned into a game of tag as well – Vincent ran around to one side of the Rabbit, Pino followed him, and soon they were both stuck on either side of the ship. If Pino moved to go get Vincent, he would run in the opposite direction, always staying on the other side even if she changed directions and ran after him the other way. This went on for a few minutes before the girl got sick of not being able to catch Vince and so she decided on a daring plan. The AutoReiv gathered up a snowball in her little paws and made some calculations of distance, velocity, and arc before hurling the snowball over the top of the Rabbit. Her target: Vincent's face. However, the one thing she didn't account for was ice, and just as she reached the launch point in her throw, she slipped and fell on her stomach, the snowball leaving her hand in a gradual arc rather than the steep one she'd calculated.

"Whoops!" she exclaimed, the lack of human emotion making the shout fall flat. The snowball flew through the air and hit a target, just not the right one.

Pino's snowball smacked Re-L right in the face as she was walking back towards the cabin and the force of the throw pitched her sideways. The woman yelped, startled by the cold and the momentum of the projectile. She lost her footing, falling right over the open edge of the Rabbit. Her breath lodged in her throat as she toppled over, her feet came up above her head, and the suddenness of everything condensed her thoughts down to only what she was experiencing. Timed seemed to slow for just a second and Re-L felt the piercing cold of the day down to the very bone, she observed her breath aching to come out of her body just before she hit the ground, and she acutely felt her pulse beating through her body rapidly as air rushed past her ears. Even a short fall like this could kill her if she hit the ground head first and broke her neck. That'd be it: one instant of panic and then everything would go away. Forever.

Re-L hit something else before she hit the earth and that thing grunted in pain under her weight. The raven was stunned; her face still stinging from the snowball and her breath had been knocked out of her as she found herself crashing into Vincent, both of them crumbling to the ground. Re-L could hear him calling her but it was like he was yelling into a pillow, his words muffled and unclear. Her body was still in panic mode, her lungs desperately fighting for air, her heart racing, her blood pumping quickly. It took a good moment for her to recover, her mouth and lungs finally opening deeply, pulling in oxygen in great gulps as the world around her finally cleared up.

"Re-L! Are you okay? Re-L!" Vincent's puppy dog eyes were trained on her, his normally quiet voice sharp and loud in her ear.

His strong arms were wrapped around her securely, holding her steady as she recovered her senses. She was cradled to his chest, her head resting in the crook of his neck and her ear pressed against his skin. She hadn't seen him move, but Re-L knew that he'd dashed for her the moment she'd started falling, his Proxy strength enabling him to catch her just in time. Vincent hadn't changed forms, but his body was hot and tense, the way it always was right before he transformed. Like her own breath, his was heavy as it caressed her skin. He was looking at her, his eyes flickering between vibrant green and electric blue as they scoured her body. His hand came up to her face, lightly caressing her skin and brushing the snow off her cheeks. Part of her face stung and she flinched when he brushed the spot, his eyes flashing with worry. It was a few more moments before she could talk, finally getting her voice back when her body was sure that she wasn't going to die right that instant.

"I'm…fine," she gasped, her normal harshness gone. Her body was still recovering from the shock and she didn't even grumble as Vincent's grip on her tightened, pulling her into a hug.

"Thank goodness!" He sounded so relieved and he even started to gently stroke the raven's hair, his gloved hand brushing over her ear, jaw, and neck, leaving a hot trail in its wake. Re-L was surprised by her body's reaction to his touch but she blamed it on the situation and the fact that she wasn't functioning properly. But that didn't stop her from spending a few more breaths begrudgingly enjoying his soft caresses. Then she snapped back into herself.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine! Get off!" She pushed a hand against Vincent's chest and pried herself out of his grip. If anyone looked closely, they'd have noticed that her normally pale skin was flushed at her cheekbones. As she stood up, she made sure not to step on Vincent like she normally would and turned her fierce glare on her accidental attacker. "PINO!" she shouted, her voice a roar. The girl's head popped up out of the snow where she had fallen and she gave the raven her normal resting face.

"Yes?" she asked, watching Re-L's expression scrunch up in anger. The incident had been an accident but the AutoReiv knew that the woman needed someone to get angry at and she was going to get angry at her. The raven's fists were shaking in anger but then she huffed and half of her rage vanished.

"Watch what you're doing!" she snapped and started stomping towards the ladder, her hands gripping the railing. Re-L paused through, her foot resting on the first rung. "And Vincent!" The man snapped to attention at her tone and his name mixed together.

"Y-y-yes?!" he squeaked back.

"Thanks." The statement was so quiet that it was pretty much lost to the wind, but Vincent heard it and his face lit up like the sun. Re-L scrambled up the ladder before he could say anything back and she was glad for it. She dashed past Kristeva on her way to the cabin and caught the AutoReiv's one remark before slamming the door shut.

"Your face is red and your pulse is rapid," Kristeva observed, checking the young woman's vitals and rattling them off.

"Shut up!" Re-L's retort was followed by the cabin door slamming shut loudly. If the Entourage could've smirked, she would have.

Vincent thought that the day was beautiful. And that was saying something since the Earth was still pretty barren. The dark clouds that had hung over the planet for hundreds of years had thinned and on days like today, they parted and let the sunshine sprinkle down. It was truly a blessing that he could enjoy such a luxury, letting the sparse sunlight warm his face as he closed his eyes. He felt refreshed by it even though his kind was not supposed to survive in the sunlight. Like Real/Monad and Proxy One, he should've disintegrated under the light's influence, but he had been created to withstand the UV rays and therefore was the only Proxy in existence who could live to see the sun's return. It was a miracle.

The others were enjoying the sun too as they anchored the Rabbit down to enjoy some leg room. Pino was laughing and running about on the hard ground while Kristeva watched her. Re-L was still up on deck but she'd undone her coat and shirt a little bit to soak up some warmth. It was by no means warm outside, but it was deathly chilly either. Vincent was sitting on the ground himself, his arms wrapped around his knees and a smile on his face. He listened to the wind and the sounds of Pino and Kristeva talking and just enjoyed himself. His relaxing moment was interrupted when he heard Re-L's boots on the ladder and opened his eyes to watch her approach him. They didn't say anything to each other as she sat down next to him, mimicking his sitting position for a moment before letting her legs sprawl out. She rested her hands back behind her and let her head tip back, eyes closed, and face pointed towards the sky. Vincent's heart jumped a little when her leg came close to his body, resting just a few, short inches away. She always did this to him, making his cheeks flush whenever she came close and everything just seemed brighter with her near him. He was hopelessly in love with her and he knew it. The man's thoughts of Re-L were interrupted when she started to speak, his attention becoming undividedly hers.

"I still don't get how you can just sit forever. I get fidgety," she sighed.

"I-I don't know," he shrugged, gazing at her peaceful face (a miracle in and of itself). "It just feels nice to sit and not do anything. It's even nicer with the sun out."

"You're lucky to even be seeing the sun," the raven snorted.

"Wh-what's that s-supposed to mean?" he questioned, pouting a little. She seemed amused by something and when she was amused it usually meant something insulting or painful was going to follow.

"It just means that you're lucky to be able to live in the sun. Otherwise, you'd be dead,"

"And this is coming from the woman who swore to kill me," he managed to keep the stutter out of his voice for once. "Without me, you'd be dead several times over." Re-L's body stiffened, her eyes wide as Vincent actually stood up to her, mouth agape at his boldness. Her lips moved without making any sounds for a moment and to the man's satisfaction, he'd got her there.

"I should've shot you!" she snapped when she found her voice again. Re-L punched Vincent in the arm, but it wasn't a hard punch at all and he caught the next one that came flying towards him in his hand.

"H-hey! That's not n-nice!" The fist fight turned into a grapple as their fingers tangled together. Vincent was pretty sure that the raven was trying to claw him but she'd just clipped her nails a day or so ago so it didn't hurt much.

"Who said I wanted to be nice?!" The woman pulled back her arm angrily, but she was caught in his grip and his strength was vastly superior to hers. Finding herself stuck, Re-L gave a last-ditch effort to squish that idiot and used her legs to push herself over him. Vincent fell back to the ground, his instincts kicking in as he was attacked. He stole all of her momentum before she could use it against him and she shouted, "Hey!" as he placed a gentle foot on her torso and tensed his arms and leg so that the raven was suspended above him. "Put me down!"

"You started this!" He had meant for the reply to be more serious but he started laughing as he watched Re-L struggle to get down. She was just so cute! Even if she was mad she wasn't mad-mad so he knew he wasn't in too much trouble.

"What's so funny?!" she snarled, glaring at him. Vincent's mouth ran away with him and he told her the truth before he could stop himself.

"You're so cute." That comment had both of them blushing and Re-L even stopped fighting against him for a moment.

"You do not get to call me cute!" she hissed, jerking her arms while trying to get off of him.

"But you are!" he stated firmly, the blush on his cheeks deepening. Before she could snarl at him again, Pino's voice was calling to them both.

"Vince! Re-L Re-L! Look what I found! Look what I found!" The pair glanced over at the little girl and saw her jump up and down on a boulder happily, hair wild in the wind. She was a fair distance from them but the smile on her face was still easy to see.

"Coming!" Vincent called, ending their fight and rolling back up while setting Re-L on the ground. He stood up and offered her a hand, but she got up herself and stalked off towards the AutoReiv. Vincent smiled, following behind her like a love-struck puppy.

"What is it, Pino?" Re-L barked as they reached the two AutoReivs.

"Look! Look!" Pino was really excited and slid off her rock to point at the ground. Vincent's eyes darted down and he saw a little patch of green and blue hugging the ground. The dirt around the patch was still brownish but there were little blades of grass poking up here and there along with several fragile blossoms. Pino had found life out on the barren plains!

"Pino wanted to show you the flowers," Kristeva said, standing demurely next to the bouncing girl. Pino crouched down and smiled at the plants, fascinated even though they looked a little tired.

"They're beautiful," Vincent smiled widely just as excited as Pino as he crouched down next to her. The earth still had some life in it, after all the centuries. "The flowers are probably happy that the sun came out."

"They're kind of pathetic," Re-L snarked, but her eyes were shining too as she gazed at the small flowers. Pino's head snapped up and gave the raven a glare to express her irritation at her treasure being called pathetic. Vincent chuckled and patted the girl on the head, letting her know that he was on her side. Pino smiled at him and then went back to looking at the flowers. She reached out to grab one, but Vincent's hand stopped her.

"We shouldn't pick those, Pino," he said softly.

"Why not?" she asked, her childlike mind curious.

"Last time you picked flowers for graves but we don't have any graves. We should let them grow, okay?"

"We should let them grow?" she repeated.

"Yes," he nodded. "One day, there'll be flowers everywhere and then you can pick them."

"When they're everywhere I can pick them? Yay!" Pino's face lit up again and she danced around for a moment. "Can Pino have one?" she asked after her dance, holding up one finger. Vincent looked at Re-L and she stared back at him.

"Why are you looking at me? I'm not her mother." The woman rolled her eyes at him and started walking back toward the ship. Vincent shrugged.

"Sure, you can have one."

"Yay!" Pino looked over the blossoms and picked the one she liked best. She twirled the flower in between her fingers and then suddenly held it up to the man. "Here!" Startled, Vincent just stared at the flower as the AutoReiv put it in his hand.

"Why are you giving it to me?" Pino giggled at his confusion and brought her face close to his ear. She whispered for a second and then pulled away grinning widely. Vincent's face turned beet red as he listened to her and he shook his head animatedly. "I can't do that!"

"You can! You can!" the little girl cheered, pulling on his hand that wasn't holding the flower. For a small robot, Pino had more strength in her than her body gave away and she hauled the man to his feet, pushing him towards Re-L.

"P-P-Pino!" he stuttered, panicking both inwardly and outwardly.

"You can!" She cheered again, giving him a wave and dashing behind a boulder to spy on them. Finding himself without much of a choice, the man trotted off after his crush, flower in hand.

"Re-L!" he called after her. She stopped and turned to watch him approach her.

"Yeah, what?" Vincent's heart was beating fast in his chest and it wasn't from his short jog. His body felt all tight and hot like he was about to transform into Ergo Proxy, but he knew he wasn't – he was just really, really nervous.

He always got so flustered when it came to Re-L and he never knew whether she was going to like what he did or said or if she was going to hit him. He was nervous but he actually wanted to do what Pino had suggested. He swallowed down his nervousness and ignored his racing pulse as he reached out to her. The woman was startled as his hands came up to her hair, but he quickly slipped the flower into her raven locks. He was blushing like crazy but with the cute, little flower matching Re-L's eyes perfectly, he couldn't help himself. As he took his hands away, he allowed himself to caress her cheek just once and then threw his hands behind his back so he wouldn't be tempted to do more. That would definitely get him punched. The woman's hand came up to her hair, gently cupping the flower, and then she started blushing as she realized what he'd done.

"I-I wanted you to have that," he mumbled, looking sheepish. But he was smiling and he thought that she was so cute. His loving gaze took in the sight of his battle-hardened Re-L standing there shocked and blushing, wearing a little blue flower in her hair.

"I-Idiot!" she sputtered, turning away quickly. "You're so weird…" She wasn't railing on him, so Vincent knew that she'd liked the gift a little bit. His smile turned into a huge grin. Re-L started walking back toward the ship, but her pace was a little faster as if she was trying to outrun her embarrassment.

It was only later that Vincent found out that Re-L had pressed the blue flower in her notebook to preserve it and when Pino figured that out, she wouldn't stop drawing blue flowers on every scrap of paper she got her hands on, just to embarrass her.

"Shit!" Re-L shrieked as she slipped off the edge of the embankment and fell into the small lake with a splash. The hunk of earth that had fallen with her splashed next to her and sank to the bottom as the woman floated for a minute. It was so cold! Her body gave a huge shudder as the freezing water seemed to soak into her very being before she swam for the surface. She burst out of the water, gasping for air, and dragged herself to the shore. She scrambled up onto dry ground and fell flat on her back, breathing heavily as she stared up at the roof of the dome.

"What happened?" Kristeva's voice floated over to her as the AutoReiv came running over. Only Kristeva could make running look as effortless and elegant as she did.

"I fell in the lake." The raven huffed, her body continuing to shiver. She knew that Kristeva's next move was to scan her for injuries and after a few moments she voiced her findings.

"You have no internal or external injuries, but your body's temperature has dropped several degrees."

"No shit," the raven grumbled, hugging her arms to her chest. The Entourage came over and helped her to her feet and led her back to the park's entrance. They'd stopped at an abandoned dome to resupply and all Re-L had wanted to do was take a stroll away from everyone else. Of course, Vincent had sent Kristeva to keep an eye on her in case the Proxy of the dome showed up, but she'd gotten herself into trouble before that was even a remote possibility.

"There are houses over on the east side of the park," Kristeva informed her. "We will go there so that you can clean up and change before you get sick."

"Okay, mom," Re-L rolled her eyes as she sarcastically replied. Raul must've felt babied with Kristeva hanging around him all the time; Re-L knew that she had done just that.

The pair reached the cookie-cutter houses a short while later and the AutoReiv sent the woman upstairs to shower while she searched for a suitable pair of clothes for her to wear. The house was empty, the owner gone. As with each of the other domes the crew had encountered, this one was abandoned, devoid of citizens and the AutoReivs here had stopped working long ago. It was a sad, sorry sight, but for now, it was their haven and their meal ticket. The raven shut the bathroom door after walking through the silent house, praying that it had running water. Running, warm water. She started undoing her vest and shirt, letting them fall to the floor wetly before kicking off her boots and wigging out of her soaked pants. Her undergarments were next and they fell into the pile of wet things soon after, leaving her as bare as the day she'd come out of the Wombsys. Re-L turned on the shower, smiling as water started flowing through the pipes. She shivered and held a hand under the water until it was warm enough for her before hopping in. Thank god for little things. As the woman warmed herself up she picked up on the sound of someone knocking on the door through the fall of water.

"Yeah?" she called, poking her head out of the shower's stream. She heard the door open and Kristeva's voice followed shortly after.

"There are no clothes fitting your body's parameters in this house. I and going to search another for a suitable outfit."

"Okay, have at it," the raven replied, not really caring what the AutoReiv did as long as she got to enjoy this moment of glorious, untimed, stress-free bathing. Damn, she really hated those three-minute showers.

The water felt so nice and warm on her skin, washing away the chill of the lake and seemingly the exhaustion grim from their endless journey, even though she did get to shower every day. The raven missed the times when she could just soak in her bath for as long as she wanted, heating up the water with a fresh stream whenever it cooled down. She sighed as she missed her big bath at the old house (the one that Vincent had destroyed…come to think of it, she still needed to get him back for that…) It was all a moot point though since the whole of Romdeau had been destroyed when its citizens and AutoReivs went bat-shit crazy.

Re-L ran her fingers through her hair, combing out the twists and tangles while she looked around for something to wash with. There was a half-empty container of body soap left on a shelf and that was better than nothing. The woman popped the cap open and sniffed at the contents, making sure that it was a scent that she wanted on her body. There was nothing more irritating than putting on something smelly that didn't appeal to you and then you had to smell it on you until it finally faded. Thankfully, it was a neutral scent, fresh and kind of minty. She squeezed a generous glob of soap into her palm and put the bottle back before running her hands over her shoulders, arms, and torso. She cleaned every part of her body, even sitting down to wash in between her toes (a luxury that she never had aboard the Rabbit) and once she was done, she shrugged, thinking what the hell, and squeezed out some more soap so she could wash her feet again and then washed her hair too. She stayed in the bath until long after her hands had gone wrinkly and enjoyed every minute of it.

When she hopped out, feeling clean, refreshed, and warm, she was grateful to see that Kristeva had left her a towel since she'd forgotten to look for one herself. The raven wiped her skin off and then bent down to dry her hair, tossing it down in front of her. She rubbed harshly, wanting it as dry as possible, and then thought that she heard Kristeva at the door again.

"Come in," she called, rolling her eyes that the AutoReiv thought that she needed to knock every time. Re-L flipped her hair back as she stood up again, facing the door as it opened. What walked in was not the Entourage, but one very surprised Vincent carrying a pile of clothes and staring directly at her naked body.

"RE-L?!" he shouted his face turning beet red as it dawned on him that this was the first time he'd ever seen his crush stark naked. He was so embarrassed but she was very pretty nonetheless. He may have stared at her chest a little longer than was necessary but eventually snapped his eyes up to her face.

"VINCENT!" Re-L's face was just as red as his and she stumbled back, the towel falling out of her hands and onto the floor in shock. She realized that without the towel, he could stare at her still and she attempted to cover herself up with her arms before realizing she should just go for the towel. Before she could move, arms came around her, pulling her body into a solid chest and hiding her from view. Vincent was holding her tightly, the heat of his body increasing the longer he embraced her. The raven's pulse was racing at the compromising situation and she could feel the man's pulse doing the same against her cheek. His heartbeat was so loud that it was the only thing that she could hear for several beats, the sound and his warmth surprisingly comforting and alluring despite her situation. She stayed in his arms, her own pinned between their bodies and she enjoyed it before her embarrassment came racing back to her head.

"What are you doing?!" she shouted, her blush spreading to her ears and down her neck.

"S-s-sorry! Th-this was the only th-thing I could think to d-do!" he stuttered, squeezing her even tighter.

"Y-you could've just turned around or closed your eyes!" Re-L snarled, her cheeks getting hotter the longer he held her.

"Oh, r-right…" he breathed sheepishly.

"What are you doing in here anyway?!"

"K-Kristeva told me that you needed a change of clothes!" he admitted, "But I didn't think that you'd be completely n-naked!" Re-L wasn't pushing him away like he thought he would; her attitude and body language were not matching up. If Vincent didn't know any better, he'd think that she didn't want to move.

"I just took a shower after falling in a lake! Why would I not be naked?" Her voice rose to a high pitch, the anger in her head fighting with the embarrassment in her stomach, and her heart was having a fun time telling her that it was great to be in Vincent's arms. All of Re-L's emotions were making her very confused and she didn't like that one bit. What the hell was she supposed to do with all of these feelings?!

"I'm sorry!"

"Then why are you still holding me?!" The woman pushed against him, but his arms were as strong as iron.

"Because I want to!" He just blurted it out and his honesty stunned Re-L to the point where the only organ in her body that kept talking was her heart. She looked up at him and saw that he was looking down at her, his blush just dusting his cheeks now rather than painting them red. And then he got even bolder. "I've wanted to hold you like this for a long time."

All of a sudden, Vincent's timid nature gave way to one that Re-L would've attributed to Ergo Proxy because his eyes turned molten with desire and his hand came up to his mouth, teeth gripping his glove and pulling it off. It dropped to the floor as he pressed his thumb against her lips, just as he had that night she first met Ergo Proxy. His other arm stayed locked around her back and the woman found that she didn't mind staying right where she was. This Vincent was possessive and he had no intention of letting her go. Re-L felt her body relax into his embrace, her lips opening as the pad of his thumb swiped over her bottom lip again. He was watching her and under that piercing gaze, the woman's pulse raced. She knew where this was headed as his fingers gripped her chin, holding her still as his lips came down on hers.

The kiss was gentle but firm, just like Vincent himself when he grew a pair. Re-L gasped after a few moments when his tongue flicked at her bottom lip. Taking that as an invitation, Vincent's tongue entered her mouth and stroked her own tongue, seemingly asking to play. Re-L had never kissed anyone like this before and it was both parts terrifying and exciting. All the heat in her body seemed to be focused on the parts of her skin that touched him – her waist, sides, breasts, stomach, and lips burned. She could feel the rush of her blood as she gasped again, opening her mouth even more to him. Vincent growled in approval and ran his fingers through her hair as their kiss deepened even further. Everything was tender, oh so tender, but Re-L could feel a fire beginning to blaze in her that she'd never felt before, one that Vincent stoked inside of her. She was afraid of it only because she'd kept herself ice for all the years she worked in the Intelligence Bureau and to distance herself from everyone, but this heat was inviting and sweet and she wanted to give into it. Just not right this second.

She broke away from the kiss, breathing heavily, but Vincent apparently wasn't done and came back to press their lips together again once…twice…and when the raven turned her head away, he kissed her cheek and ear. His lips made their way down to her jawline and rested where her pulse was the strongest. Re-L shivered, half from cold and half from pleasure, the feeling so foreign to her that she didn't even know what to do.

"Vincent…" she breathed, unable to find any other words.

"I've wanted to do that for a long time too," he quietly replied. His voice was husky and rough with desire – something that the woman wouldn't come to understand until later. His arm around her waist started to move, sliding lower…

Suddenly, it was like a switch was flipped inside Re-L, her inability to resist replaced by a burning need to get the hell out of this uncharted area that Vincent had dragged her into.

"Vincent, stop. That's enough." There was no room for argument in her tone, the ice her eyes held halting the man's wandering hands.

"Re-L…?" Vincent looked like he didn't want to stop but he reluctantly brought his hands up to her waist and loosened his grip. He blushed furiously, finally realizing just what he had done, and quickly let go of the raven. He whirled around, flustered, cheeks red but a smile on his face. "I'm s-sorry," he whispered, as he picked up the clothes he'd dropped on the floor, back to normal. He held the clothes out to Re-L with one hand, his head turned away.

"Don't be," she replied, being surprisingly merciful. She took the clothes and slipped them on, once again grateful that Kristeva and found her new undergarments to wear as well. Once dressed, she tapped the man on the shoulder. "You can look now, idiot." His eyes met hers and Re-L knew that the desire he'd shown her was still burning in those green depths. They'd crossed a line just now, and neither of them could go back to the way things were before, she could tell that much. But that didn't mean that she was going to start going easy on him. He was useless after all.

"I'm still mad at you," Re-L informed him, crossing her arms. Vincent's face seemed to fall a bit but a grin broke out on his face when she spoke again. "But the kiss was nice."

"Really?" Oh dear, his puppy dog eyes were back and instead of finding it just annoying, Re-L found his expression endearing and annoying.

"Yeah, sure, whatever," She ran a hand through her slightly damp hair. "Now grab my clothes and let's go. You have to do my hair." As she took a step towards him, her hand came up on its own accord and cupped his cheek. Her heart was racing just from doing that but she felt the need to go one step further. The raven gently laid her lips over his, drawing a gasp from him this time before whooshing past the man.

"Re-L…did you just…?" Vincent watched her exit the bathroom, hand resting on the doorframe as she paused to look back at him.

"I don't know what you're talking about," she replied slyly. The smile on her face possibly held a promise of more later as she showed it to Vincent, hiding the fact that Re-L's ears were still red from their heated encounter. "Come on."

"Coming!" Vincent bent down to pick up his beloved's wet clothes and wrung them out in the shower before dashing after her.

Night had fallen. The earth was quiet. Nothing stirred out of the plains surrounding the Rabbit. The planet was still slumbering, on the verge of waking up. Only the wind flowed, moving through the air, sweeping up dirt and pushing the Rabbit forward. Pino was charging her battery by the door while her human companions slept. Re-L was wrapped up in Vincent's arms, their two bodies pressed together on the little cot. In all honesty, Re-L had only allowed Vincent to sleep on her cot with her recently, claiming that she hated tip-toeing around him in the morning and that it was warmer with him next to her. But she'd had other ideas as well and Vincent was all too eager to fulfill her every need, once he'd gotten over being shy or not wanting to hurt the woman. However, despite their intimacy, she would punch him in if she woke up and his hands were somewhere suggestive and she didn't like it. That wasn't fun but Vincent supposed that there was a price for every blessing. Especially when it came to Re-L.

The man was musing over these thoughts as he listened to Re-L's steady and deep breathing. She was asleep now, cradled to his chest and she was only this relaxed when she was unconscious. Her normally tense body was loose and all the aggression she held inside was dormant. She was warm in his arms and he loved looking at her in these moments. It was one of the many favorite things he loved about her: her lips were slightly parted, making her look childlike and he ran a soft, soothing hand up and down her back. She stirred in her sleep but didn't wake. Wanting her to continue sleeping, he stopped caressing her back and rested his fingers on her neck where it met her jawline. Re-L had such beautiful skin and it was soft. Even the slightest touch satisfied him. Two of his fingers came to rest by her jawbone, their sensitive tips picking up her pulse. It was as steady as her breathing, signaling peace and life. He wanted to hear more of that and gently moved so that his head rested against her chest, his ear to her skin, listening to each steady beat of her heart.

Ever since becoming aware that he was a Proxy, Vincent had been drawn to the idea of a pulse and the pulse of the awakening. He vaguely remembered that the old man in the bookstore talked about this once, along with his Proxy self. He said something like…what was it? Oh, a pulse is a measure of life and each animal's lifespan could be predicted by its pulse. The pulse of the awakening had been the final stages of the Creator's plans, signaling the start of the Earth's rebirth – the start of a new life pulse. Vincent felt his own pulse strongly whenever he transformed into Ergo, the heat and need to fight and live overriding everything until he had fully changed. Ergo Proxy had said that the pulse in their chest was for both of them, the constant link that connected their minds and desires no matter how different they had seemed to be. Except now Vincent didn't quite agree with that statement. But before he could finish his musings, Re-L's breathing quickened and Vincent knew that she was waking up.

"What are you doing?" she mumbled, finding that instead of waking up snuggling into her lover's chest, he was snuggled into hers. Vincent looked up at her and then went back to listening to her heartbeat.

"I'm sorry, did I wake you?" he asked.

"Clearly," she yawned, but her usual snark was caught up in the softness of sleep. "What are you doing?"

"I'm listening to your heart," the man replied, gently caressing Re-L's arm, aiming to calm her back to sleep.

"Why?" Her question was short and to the point…offset by another yawn.

"Because I want to. It tells me that you're alive."

"No duh, I'm alive." The raven's sass started to kick in but Vincent knew that she wasn't mad at him because one of her hands came up to his head, sleepily playing with his wild hair. It was sticking up in all directions and she liked to pull at the spiky strands softly, or viciously if she was pissed or when they were making love. Like a cat, Vincent nuzzled his head against her hand, a noise of contentment coming from his chest. In a rare moment of sweetness, Re-L spoke up again, without any sass this time. "Let me hear yours."

"My heart?"

"Yes, numbskull." Vincent relinquished his spot on her chest and gathered his beloved into his arms so she could rest her head on his chest again, awake this time. Re-L snuggled into him, both of her hands pressed to his skin. She was listening to the man's strong heartbeat, her face scrunched up in her normal concentration look. Vincent blushed at how serious she was taking this. He'd done it on a whim, but then again, he had always kind of stumbled through life by going with his instincts and gut feelings. Re-L was the opposite: she was very logical and precise, so much so that putting a "pinch" of salt in water to boil pasta didn't make sense to her.

"It sounds like it always does," the raven concluded after listening for a few more moments. The man chuckled softly, the sound rumbling through his chest and mixing with his heartbeat.

"That's the point. It means I'm alive, that I belong in this world." He brought one of her hands up and placed it directly over his heart. "Its pulse is for both of us. I promise that as long as my heart beats, I'll protect you." Stunned by his bold declaration, Re-L found herself blushing and she hid her face before Vincent could see it.

"You dummy…" she grumbled. "How did I ever fall in love with an idiot like you?"

"What did you say?" The man couldn't properly hear her when her face was squished against him but instead of repeating herself, Re-L just kinda punched his chest.

"Nothing! Go to sleep!"

"O-okay, okay…"

It wasn't long before Vincent fell asleep, his arms around Re-L loosening gradually. However, Re-L couldn't get back to sleep because Vincent's incredibly gooey comment was banging around in her head. He was so laid back and passive that it ticked the woman off sometimes, but when he was boldly honest and upfront with his feelings, he could be very charming as well. But like, charming like a puppy…a dopey puppy. A dopey puppy that could kick ass but then fall on his face for no reason at all. But the longer she stayed awake, Re-L realized that all she wanted to do was listen to his heartbeat, letting herself be lulled back into unconsciousness by its steady rhythm.

The End.

A/N: And there you go! I hope you enjoyed my little fic and don't forget to let me know if you liked it! :3