OOC: This is just a little thing I've had around for awhile. I polished it up an let you guys see it. Let me know what you think. If I get a response I might write more. Heck, I'll probably write more eventually anyway, but it'll be faster if you guys say something. Anyway, hope you enjoy.

I don't own any of the characters or copyrighted material posted here.

Ichika Orimura was currently facing one of the hardest decisions of his young life.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, he was not as dumb as most people thought. He in fact, wasn't actually dumb at all, testing above average on intelligence tests and making up for any deficiencies by being stubborn to a fault on the things he found important. Most of his deficiencies at being an IS pilot were simply a result of him lacking any preparation. Why study anything about IS's when the most he would ever be able to do to one would be to touch it? He was working on rectifying that situation, but being months and in some cases years behind the girls in prep time meant he had a very hard path in front of him.

Besides underestimating him in regards to general intelligence, the girls around him also consistently underestimated him in regards to how much he noticed them. Granted he wasn't exactly the sharpest stylus in the box, but he wasn't as dull as they seemed to think he was. It was true, he had been relatively clueless in the beginning, but Houki, Cecilia and Rin hadn't exactly been helpful in that respect. Houki had been angry at him too much for Ichika to think she liked him, Cecilia had never completely managed to stop acting like an upper class twit and Rin was as bratty as ever. But sometime between Charlotte declaring that she was staying at the Academy because he was there, while very unsubtly pressing her breasts against him and waking up with a naked Laura in his bed, he had figured out that they ALL liked him. The problem was, being a fifteen year old boy with no dating experience and raging hormones was not conducive to figuring out if he actually liked any of them. It didn't help that they were all extremely attractive in their own ways.

However NONE of the admittedly small amount of experience he had gathered so far prepared him for helping his sister pick out a swimsuit. Now, the exact swimsuit itself wasn't a problem, the problem was that Chifuyu was one of the few people in the world that could make a burlap sack look good. At 24 Chifuyu-nee was tall, athletic without being too muscular, had long dark hair and, as much as he tried not to think about it, a chest that was frankly amazing.

The only reason she wasn't one of the top models in the business, was that she thoroughly despised the fashion world and everything that went with it. Even before she had become an IS pilot, she had gotten several offers from semi-popular magazines. After she had won the first Mondo Gross, the offers had been almost nonstop and from around the globe. The only reason they HAD stopped was because Chifuyu had threatened to take Yukihira and put in places that the fashion reps hadn't appreciated. One had been so persistent that Chifuyu had actually partially summoned her IS before the idiot had taken the hint.

Now Ichika was in a position those reps had only dreamed about, being able to pick out what Chifuyu would wear. She was currently holding up two swimsuits for him to choose from, both bikini's. One was white, with a sport cut that was functional and, for a bikini, covered a lot of skin; Chifuyu would look good in that.

The other swimsuit she was holding was a different proposition altogether. This one was black. That alone put it ahead of the white one, contrasting with her pale skin nicely. It was also much more daringly cut. The top actually had two straps for the shoulder and around the back, giving it a more daring look, while simultaneously allowing it to show off more cleavage. The bottoms were also much different, being cut much smaller, especially in the back where it was basically cut to show as much skin as possible and still barely be decent. There was also some sort of frilly…thing that looked like it was supposed to go around her leg, which was there purely to provide an additional thrill for anyone looking. If Chifuyu put THAT on, Ichika was willing to bet the sun would appear darker and every male within a three mile radius would become distracted, including, as much as he tried VERY hard not to think about, himself.

In short, his decision was very simple; the black one was the clear and obvious winner. However, there was some part of him that was worried that the black one might be too daring, that it would draw too much of the wrong kind of attention to Chifuyu. The other parts of his brain quickly ganged up on that part and beat it up, reminding him that this, was, CHIFUYU! The woman, who had, in no particular order, essentially won the Mondo Gross twice without breaking a sweat, using only a sword, single handedly saved him from kidnappers when he was younger, taken care of him his entire life AND stopped Laura, who was in her IS, using only brute strength and a katana that was nearly as tall as she was. The entire might of the United States Military, including its IS's, MIGHT hold some danger to Chifuyu when she was serious. Random perverts on the beach would probably be dead before they realized they were being attacked.

All of this passed through Ichika's brain in a matter of seconds, but it was still long enough for Chifuyu to say, "Well Ichika, which one would look better on me?"

"The black one," he said honestly.

"Oh," said Chifuyu, her voice taking on a hint of surprise, before continuing on in a teasing tone, "Are you sure your old sister can wear something so daring?"

"Chifuyu, you are the most attractive woman I know," said Ichika honestly, not noticing the slight blush that appeared on her cheeks, "You could wear whatever you felt like and nobody would complain."

"Hmm," said Chifuyu, fighting down the heat rising in her body after Ichika said that, "You're not concerned about some pervert coming after me if I wear it?"

Ichika laughed at that looking down at, but not really seeing, the floor, "As much as I want to protect you Chifuyu, there really isn't a point," he said, a mild tone of sadness coloring his voice, "If there's something you can't deal with then I certainly won't be able too." Sighing, he continued, "That's why I've always done my best to support you in any way I can Chifuyu-nee. My beloved onee-san was always so perfect in my eyes, so beautiful and strong, somebody I never deserved. I felt I could only do little things to help and even as I tried to catch up you were always so far ahead of me." Looking up he gave a small, but still somehow sad smile, "So that's why I'm not worried about you nee-san, you've never needed me, not really. If anything I've been a burden to your entire life."

As Ichika spoke, praising her the entire time, Chifuyu Orimura felt something warm spread within her, something just as hot as before, but now it was softer, fuzzier even. It had been a long time since Ichika had been able to speak this freely with her, their relationship as teacher and student had prevented anything else. But it surprised her how much she had actually missed the terms of endearment that he used.

What also surprised her was how much sadness Ichika seemed to contain when he spoke. It was…surprising to say the least. Ichika had always seemed happy to her, somebody that had no reason to be sad. On the rare occasions she made it home he always greeted her with a smile and never seemed to have a care in the world.

But looking back now, she saw how much effort that would take, to always smile for her and have the house clean. To always get the grades he had, even though he was not a natural student. Even when he had that part time job, none of that had changed, not one iota.

And what had she given him in return? She had taught him sternly from a young age to be polite, to be respectful, and to be able to take care of himself. From the moment he had been able to take care of himself she had been out of the house, earning money for both of them. After saving him from his kidnappers she had spent a year away from home, in Germany, teaching others to pay off her debt. But she had never quite delved into what that might have done to him.

She had always loved her brother, she knew that. But now she wasn't so sure that he knew that. The sadness in his voice, the look he had while saying those things about her, he had no idea that he was the only thing driving her, that he was her one treasure in life, the only thing she would never ever give up. He saw himself as a failure, taught by her to be something that he could never be for her. He didn't see the marvelous young man she saw, the one that she relied on for support in her soul, the one that she was proud of to no end…and the only man in the entire world that held, the only one that would ever hold a piece of her heart.

"Baka," she said softly, leaning forward and placing her forehead against his, "You are the only man on the planet who comes close to deserving me."

"N-Nee-san?" said Ichika uncertainly. He had never seen Chifuyu like this before and it had been a long time since she was this close to him for anything but hitting him on the head. Her proximity had suddenly made him aware of how…right, she smelled and enough of her hair had fallen so that he could tell how soft it was by brushing his cheek.

"You heard me," she said, her voice returning to the strong tone Ichika was used to as she pulled her head back from his, "Now come on, let's pay for our purchases and head back to the train, I'm sure those girls are waiting for you."

"Y-yes, Chifuyu," said Ichika, following after Chifuyu as she headed for the checkout counter.

For her part Chifuyu was glad that Ichika was behind her. She hadn't counted on how she would feel so close to him and the heat it had brought hadn't gone down. Something had changed in that store; something he had said or done had made her realize how much he loved her…and how much she loved him. Now she was more determined than ever to keep him by her side. And something inside her said that the little bikini she bought might be the key to making him stay.