Rogue was just a teenage girl who couldn’t touch anyone. Accelerator was just a teenage boy no one could touch.
It was cold out. Winter had never been particularly friendly to the wayfarer in the wilds beyond reach of city or road, let alone to fugitives, fleeing their former masters. Snow had piled deep through every thicket and stretch of the wood, ice coated the river in all but the most rapid sections, and no path was visible in any direction.
In short, Ishalt was lost, which wasn’t a terrible thing in summer when there was food for forage and the only thing that mattered was suitable distance from one’s pursuers. In winter, it could mean life or death to find shelter.
It was almost bewildering, just how excited Misaki would get when Saruhiko let him play with the game he was working on or even look over his shoulder as he hacked through some supposedly secure system.
No one had ever been excited because Saruhiko did something for them or let him be around them. The only reward he’d ever received for creating before had been the immediate destruction of whatever he’d made.
“That’s amazing!” Then there was Misaki, eyes aglow, voice alight, and something lit up inside Saruhiko in response.
He found himself unable to quite hold in a smile.
A moment of peace, rain falling gently against the windows, the scent of fire and red aura mingling with mundane smells of an apartment shut up against the weather, stale scents of breakfast and cigarette smoke.
It’s rare and remarkable for highly ranked blue and red clansman to share that moment of peace together.
Seri lets her wary edge slowly fade before Izumo’s openness. He seems so close to his king, in ways she doesn’t have with the Captain. Friends.
She looks at him talking about friends and wonders a little to herself if this is what that feels like.
She was beautiful, truly beautiful, and he didn’t just think that because she was hot.
Kusanagi enjoyed watching Seri take charge of her clansmen with firm authority and easy competence. He admired her elegance and the way she’d sometimes soften her expression when she cared. He liked that they could talk comfortably about their mutual difficulties taking care of their clans.
“Always a pleasure, Seri.” He smiled when she found her way into his bar, ordered her horrible drink, sipped it slowly.
“Surely you jest,” she commented, eyebrow raised.
“Why wouldn’t I be pleased to serve such a beautiful woman?”
He knew it was a bad decision the moment he did it. It had been months since the last time Rhezere contemplated the knives in the drawer with more than clinical disinterest in slicing food. Now, the blood welled up over his fingers as he cradled his arm and stared down at it.
He felt nothing, then sudden overwhelming panic flooded into the spaces where his heart was numb.
He went without thinking, moving quickly into Kasuru’s office where he was meeting with the ship builder Nanere.
Kasuru said nothing, just pulled Rhezere to the space beside him and took down the healing scanner, a steadying hand firm on Rhezere’s shoulder.
Nanere dropped her gaze back to the plans they’d been discussing. Kasuru patiently ran over the arm until the wound no longer gaped. The flesh still looked raw and blotchy, less severe but not fully healed.
Kasuru wrapped it in bandages, then tucked his fingers under Rhezere’s chin to draw his gaze up. “We’ll let it rest overnight then look at it again.”
Nothing could be healed in a moment.
Rhezere knew that. Something inside him eased at realizing he’d been willing to be healed at all.
She should be afraid of him and what he can do.
With a cocky grin, he charges his cards and brings down his enemies in flashes of light. With a casual word, he charges a room with tension of one kind or another. He charges relationships, conversations, tempers.
He charges her.
With his skillful fingers, he sets her glowing and sparks in her stomach, her arms, her sides. The air grows hot with what’s going to be.
They won’t get the gloves off. They’re going to burn.
She should be afraid of him and what he can do.
They seemed innocent at first.
Touching her on the shoulder to get her attention. Brushing past her in a crowded room. Making contact while training in the Danger Room. (How could anything in that room be innocent?)
Tracing her contours before she even noticed his closeness. Brushing a kiss across her knuckles while whispering, “You’re belle.” Pulling back her hair into a ponytail for her before a training session. (How could anything in that room be innocent?)
She’d catch the brightening of crimson eyes and catch her breath in anticipation.
Touches turned to whispers. Whispers turned to touch.
It started with glances.
The first time Rogue saw Remy LeBeau, he was leaning on the banister staring at Kitty with a cocky smirk. His red eyes drank in the smaller girl, almost undressing her, but not quite so brazen.
Rogue had been uninterested, but Remy glanced at her and blinked in surprise before continuing his conversation.
Since then, whenever she walks into the same room with him, he glances over, then returns to what he was doing.
If he would stare, she could brush him off. If he would leer, she could ignore him. But he doesn’t.
There’s something different about the way he whispers. Something different in those urgent whispers as he draws his hand from the nape of her neck to the small of her back. Something different from the appreciative glances, lewd compliments, and in-your-face flirting he gives the other girls.
Something that makes her stop noticing when Bobby glances at Kitty. Stop staring at her boyfriend wistfully. Stop regretting the Cure.
Something that makes her blush every time that Remy looks at her. Something that lights a fire in her belly when he slides up behind her in some dark corner—and whispers.