A/N: This anime is sadly lacking in fan fiction.

Rating: T

Pairing: Kazuma/Ayano

Anime: Kaze no Stigma

Summary: When questioned, Kazuma demonstrates his capabilities. Unsurprisingly, Ayano doesn't take kindly being shoved off a building.

Pun Intended

It had started innocently enough, really. At the request of her father - and in the presence of a large sum of money - Kazuma had agreed to train Ayano in regards to her swordsmanship and her hand-to-hand combat. These sessions frequently left Kazuma smirking amusedly and Ayano slightly unhinged. Most nights, Ayano opted to skip their cool-down sessions to instead storm off and seethe not-so-silently about the 'evil-jerk-fascist-slave-driver'. It was usually around midnight by the time Ayano and Kazuma finished their training session. By the end of these sessions, one would end up exhausted and highly irritated, the other smug and mildly amused. No further explanation required as to which was which.

However, on this particular night, Kazuma had propelled them atop a building, where they were sharing an oddly peaceful moment. Ayano stood with her back to Kazuma, enjoying the feel of the wind through her matted hair, shivering when it cooled her heated and damp skin. Kazuma stood a few feet behind her, watching with his typical aloofness, occasionally manipulating the wind to lift her skirt, hoping to get a rise out of her.

"I wonder how much longer I'll have to train until I can hold my own against you in a match." Ayano wondered aloud, in one of her rare pensive moods.

Kazuma smirked. "Don't be stupid. No amount of training will ever help you come anywhere close to beating me in a fight." he said, and His smirk widened as he sidestepped, avoiding her fist effortlessly.

The aforementioned 'peaceful moment', of course, merely implied the absence of death threats and explosions.

"I'm serious!" Ayano bit out, scowling at his relaxed form.

"So am I." he replied, then proceeded to deflect her high kick with a move that sent her crashing into the roof . She lay dazed for a brief moment, before jumping up to her feet and pointing a particularly offensive finger at him.

"Argh!" she growled. Kazuma raised one eyebrow tauntingly.

"Very articulate." he mocked.

Spinning away from him and stepping dangerously close to the ledge, Ayano stared out at the city light, but didn't take in any of their splendour. Instead, her gaze was focused inwards. Kazuma was slightly disturbed by her thoughtful and decidedly un-Ayano behaviour.

"After everything that happened with Pandemonium," she began softly, "I realized that I'll need to get stronger if I want to uphold the Kannagi name and protect my family. Right now I can barely protect myself. Ren needs-"

"Don't be a fool." Kazuma interrupted, "Sure, you could improve your fighting, become stronger, but matching the strength of a contractor isn't possible. Besides, didn't I tell you that I would protect both you and Ren?"

Ayano waved her hand dismissively. "I want to be able to protect myself" she said, but at his look she amended, " you cant always protect us, kazuma. Someday you wont be there, or you wont be able to get to us on time. If Bernhardt comes back, I want to be ready for him."

He stepped up behind her, close enough so that Ayano could feel the outline of his body through her thin jacket, making her tense.

"I told you I would protect you. Believe me." he said softly, the perpetual smirk distinguishable even in his voice. Ayano rolled her eyes, but turned an interesting shade of red nonetheless.

"You can't protect me. Not always. You aren't a god, Kazuma, even you have limits. Besides, I don't need your pro-" her voice died abruptly at the feel of his hands sliding over her shoulders. Leaning in close, so that his mouth was beside her ear, Kazuma spoke.

"Trust me." he said.

Ayano blinked.

One minute she was standing tensely, trying not to blush girlishly at their proximity, at the warmth of his strong hands on her shoulder, and the next she was freefalling from the roof of a thirty-five floor complex at 100 miles per hours.

Blinking owlishly against the harsh wind, her body thrashing wildly, Ayano put two and two together-


-and came up with four.

The bastard pushed her. Off a building.

Postponing her apoplectic rage in light of her current impending demise, Ayano contemplated courses of action that wouldn't result in being reduced to a splat on the sidewalk. She pondered for a moment. Nope, nothing, She was doomed. Totally and utterly doomed, and it was all Kazuma's fault.

Shrieking violently and attempting to propel herself upwards with jerky arm movements that could be called flapping if one was generous, Ayano train of thought reverted to its original and familiar state of righteous fury. After her untimely demise, she decided, she would haunt that jerk until his last dying breath. Then, once they were both on the same plane of existence, she would skewer him with Enraiha, chop him up and feed bite-sized pieces of his remains to squirrels.

Not known for her observation skills and momentarily caught up in her pleasant, slightly graphic, revenge scenario, Ayano failed to realize that she was not longer plummeting to her death. This shortcoming was quickly remedied when a soft, baritone voice whispered soothingly into her ear.

"Hey, its okay." Kazuma said, tightening his grip on her, "I got you."

It occurred to her, perhaps a little late, that she was no longer in mortal peril. Kazuma had them suspended a good forty feet above the ground, holding her, bridal style, against his chest.

Had she been in a less homicidal state of mind, she might have been inclined to blush. As it were, she was not, and instead proceeded to wrap her hands (not arms) around Kazuma's neck and squeeze with all her might, which, despite being considerable, did not seem to perturb him in the least. He simply release her legs from his grip, so that she either had to wrap her arms around him or take a dive into the concrete below.

"Kazuma! You jerk! I'm going to kill you!" Ayano shrieked. Though admittedly it would have been far more intimidating had she not been clinging to him rather desperately. Kazuma laughed softly.

"Shhh! I wouldn't actually let you fall-"

"What do you mean you wouldn't let me fall? YOU PUSHED ME!"

"Yes," he enunciated slowly, "but I didn't let you hit the ground."

"That's not the point you jerk!"

Rolling his eyes to the heavens, Kazuma took it with a grain of salt. "I was proving a point."

At her uncomprehending and mildly rabid look, he explained further.

"I am strong enough to protect you. Both of you. When I swore that I wouldn't let anything happen to either of you, I meant it. You need to learn to trust me. Have a little faith."

Ayano snorted. Trust him? Have a little faith? Unlikely, seeing as he just pushed her off a building.

Glancing up at his soft smile, her resolved cracked. Well, he did catch her. She felt a warm, affectionate emotion override her anger. It's reign was mighty but brief, as Kazuma opened his mouth again.

"I always knew you'd fall for me."

Ayano debated whether to kiss him or knock his front teeth out. She chose the latter, and he deflected her fist without so much as a blink.

"I didn't fall! You freaking pushed me!"

"But I caught you, didn't I?"

So caught up in trying to sort out a manner in which she could accomplish murdering him and not falling several stories to her death simultaneously, she didn't read much into the subtext.

Kazuma, entirely aware both of her murderous intent and obliviousness, just smiled.