Card of Major Arcana; The Lovers

Card of Major Arcana; The Lovers. Symbolizing the love that unites all of humanity through intergration of masculine and feminine polarities. On the good side this card indicates affections and desires on a high moral; On the bad side, unfulfilled desires, sentimentality and indecisiveness.

~9 months ....had it really not been that long since Arago's defeat and the return of the remaining Ma Sho and Priestess Kayura? So much had happened since then and time seemed to slip by so slowly ~

Wincing away from the sunlight Nasuti slowly woke up. She was so warm and comfortable...surely none of the boys would mind if she slept in a little bit...she sighed with a hint of disapproval, rolling over onto her side and breathing in deeply.

~Yes, they would mind. Who else cooks their meals? Magical Elves....~

Her exhausted eyes reluctantly open while she sat up in bed. Pushing aside the blankets she bathed quickly and pulled on a modest yellow blouse and a pair of straight jeans. Dressed, she looked around her room and headed out toward the kitchen.

While retrieving the ingredients for breakfast her eyes widened with intrigue when she caught sight of a small scrap of parchment resting on the refrigerator door. It was folded in half, with her name written elegantly on the outside in Seiji's handwriting.

Dear Nasuti,

I'm out behind the house near Yamanaka lake practicing my meditation and flute as usual. Will be back shortly. If I am require before I return please send Ryo's over-grown man eating beast. Otherwise i'll return on my own.

PS: Please feed Byakuen before sending him after me. I really hate chasing after him every time he's hungry for squalls.

Date Seiji

A flash of humor crossed her face. ~Typical Seiji. Always polite enough to leave a note for his whereabouts.~ She admitted to herself that she was a little hurt that he'd left before morning but that was his normal routine. What right did she have to object.

Nasuti began breakfast in haste. Once the aromas of the sizzling food expanded towards Touma and Shu's room there was no safe hiding in the kitchen; as big as the area was. Shin came down the stairs soon after to assist her with the preparations. Shin was always generous enough to help with the food. When he began taking classes for traditional Japanese Cooking at the Teikoku (the Imperial) Hotel he insisted that practice was a necessity. Of course Nasuti didn't understand how a simple Western breakfast could help with Japanese cooking.

"Oneesan wa Ohayoo gozaimasu!" He greeted with intense pleasure.

"Good morning to you too." Taking a quick glance at her watch she walked forward toward the kitchen door pausing to turn around in Shin's direction. "Um, Shin, would you mind if I asked you to take over the meal? I have to retrieve Seiji."

"No of course not." Smiling he took over the meal.

- - - - -

*puff, whew, puff, puff, whew, puff*

~Damn it, Seiji! Couldn't you have picked someplace closer?!!! ~

She trudged through the bushes on weary legs, sweaty hair sticking to the back of her neck. She pulled at it angrily. ~I should have sent Byakuen after him. This is impractical! Oh god, I must look like a mess!? Wonder who would scare him more; the tiger or I?~

She paused leaning against a tree to catch her breath. Scowling with fury she broke into the clearing where Seiji said he'd be. There he was. Just sitting in the center of the clearing, looking for all the world as if he'd been out for his daily mediation. Completely undisturbed. Except that Nasuti's keen eye caught sight of all the leaves that were disturbed on the ground around him, and she wondered. If she didn't know any better, she would've sworn that he'd been pacing.

His voice snapped her back into reality. "You came?"

Nasuti blinked at him. "Yes...someone had to get you. I didn't want to wake up Byakuen."

He was looking away from her now as a bemused smile tipped the corners of his mouth. "I see. I'm done"

Her mouth quirked up in a grin. Shifting her gaze from his direction she looked around the surroundings of Yamanka Lake. "It's beautiful out her. No wonder you always come"

He took a deep breath and nodded in agreement. "Hai. I enjoy the serenity of nature and its splendors. It helps relax my state of mind and enable me to clear my thoughts as well as analyze my problems."

Pensively she looked at him, curious hearing the change in his tone. "Seiji, do you have problems you need solved? Is that why you've been coming out here alot more?"

He spread his hands regretfully and shrugged. "Could be," Bending down he gathered his things and turned to walk on silently. Nasuti notice that his shoulders appeared to have some kind of tension. Her questioning voice stopped him in his silent steeps.

"Seiji, would you tell me what you were thinking?"

Turning around slowly he raised his lids to find her watching him. "That depends,"

"Depends on what?"

"It's personal."

"You can tell me if you wish? I'm very understanding."

"I know."

"Seiji, can you tell me what does it depends on?"

Searching for a plausible explanation, which he could not answered. "I'm not sure if I want to tell you?"

"I would like it if you did. After all, I am older than you by three years, my wisdom maybe of some help?"

"Wow, a hole three years? You're really old Yagyu-san." Seiji's tone carried a heavy amount of sarcasm.

She laughed to cover her annoyance. "Please....what does this question depend on?"

"You" the reply was curt and abstracted.

She colored fiercely. "Me?" He nodded back at her without speaking. Angry at herself for being embarrassed by his statement quickly tried to cover it up. "You still haven't told me what your question about me depends on?"

"It depends on whether you would answer my curiosity?"

"Depending what you ask me, yes. I would answer to the best of my capabilities."

Seiji pursed his lips.

"Well Seiji?"

Turning he shifted indignantly from foot to foot. "Do you remember about 9 months ago? On the 18th of September? The day we had another confrontation with Arago's Ma Sho and the youjakai?"

Nasuti's mind burned with the memory. "Very well"

He regarded her with somber curiosity. "That day was a very painful one...."

Nasuti pinched her pale face. "Seiji, unless you have something else to say I'd rather you stop this conversation. That was the past. And the past is just that."

"Is it?" He was silent as he stared back at her for several moments. "I think not. The past always stays with you, like your own shadow. Might be forgotten for a time but always right behind you, always at your side, never gone." he paused. "The only time you can move on is when your mind is clear of the events that took place." His glacial eyes moved upward to her face. "I am not clear of the things that took place that day Nasuti."

"I see your point. But my answer still remains. Unless you have something else to say I see no point in continuing this matter." She told him, her tone also serious. After a moment or two of further hesitation he spoke up. "Do you remember what you said that night?"

She wondered if he could be baiting her...~baiting me for what?~

"I said alot of things Seiji. What words could you possibly mean?"

"You quoted something that I believed was intended for me." he stated calmly looking her straight in the eyes.

Nasuti couldn't deny the fact that she didn't understand what he meant; it was quite obvious from her features.

Sighing from annoyance he let the words slip out before he could stop them, astonishing him just as much as they did her. "You vowed you didn't want to live without me....never"

She froze, clutching her hands she began digging her fingernails into her clamy palms . In a very small voice that tugged her mind she repeated those words.

~I don’t want to live without you… Seiji… never…~

Her voice was very quiet when she replied. "I remember some of it."

He gave a impatient shrug while lowering his head. "Nasuti, I feel awful with these memories. I don't know why but I must know your answer. I must move on from that incident."

~Did it seem to be a mistaken incident to you?~

Minutes passed like hours, and finally he had to force himself to meet her eyes again. They were wide and astonished; she was biting her lip, looking very worried. "Do you have interment feelings towards me Nasuti? Or did you just mean those words in a platonic nature?"

The words hung between them in the air; he almost wished he could pull them back. Anything to get rid of the tension he felt, waiting for her to reply. ~Please~... The plea floated through his mind unbidden, and he couldn't tell what he was hoping for- ~a yes, a no, any end to the waiting... ~

"I… it’s… I’m sorry Seiji, it’s hard for me to say." She stammered quietly sounding very much like a little girl. "You…a..are to away."

He inclined his blond head which appeared to be glowing with a faint halo from the early sun. Taking a deep unsteady breath he stepped forward looking at her intently. "It's a simple question that deserves a simple answer. If you do have strong feelings for me then I understand why you're hesitant. Nasty, if you don't answer me I will draw my own conclusions. Do you really want me to do that?"

"Er...I th..think we should head back Seiji. This question is I was under alot of ..well..that day was very emotional..I don't even know what it was I said?" She lied filled with humiliation. ~How I would give anything to take back those words I said to him so long ago. I completely forgot.~ She bit down hard on her lip. "Why are you asking me?"

~Why?~ he thought in surprise. "Why not?"

"Seiji, I want to go. Please.... Stay if you wish but I'm leaving with or without you." Oddly enough Nasuti wouldn't make any attempt to move unless she knew that Seiji was satisfied with her curt reply and wouldn't make any notion of asking this question again.

Smirking he took a abrupt slow, intimidating steep forward, stopping in front of her. Smothering a shaky breath she stepped back. He took another lesisurely step, closer so that he was able to look her square in the eyes intensely. So began their game, as she would take a step backwards he would do likewise by taking a step forward. The game stopped when he moved her against a tree, leaving her with no room at all. There was no escape but to walk forward, where Seiji was boldly standing. Nasuti wasn't intending to shove him out of the way; that would be rude. ~Maybe I could throw him out of the way?~ She considered with some effort she would be able to knock him off balance.

"We're not leaving until I know your answer. Did you or did you not mean those words in a sensuous meaning?" he said in a low, composed voice. His eyes were icy and unresponsive. Firmly she replied. "Don't be silly. There's nothing to answer. You're like a younger bother to me, just like Shin, Shu....."

In a flash of annoyance he reached out with his right hand and clutched the tree trunk, scratching the surface with his fingernails. His action silenced her quickly. A warning cloud settled over his stilled and serious features scaring Nasuti to the bones. ~So this is the true Korin~ ... she thought.

"I now know why you hate lies Nasuti. You're horrible at it." She looked away swiftly at the sight of his scowl.

Seiji sharpened his words vehemently. "I am not at all ashamed of what I've just said Nasuti, and if you are, then you had no right to say such words which interest ones mind in the first place. Nasty, you can't go around saying things without thinking of the consequences of your speech. How would you feel to have your best friend suddenly proclaim feelings of a non-platonic nature? Would you just continue as though no such words were ever said? Tell me, I'm quite interested..."

Her eyes flared. "You bastard!" she shouted. Tears began to blind her eyes and her voice started to choke. "How dare you talk to me in such tones...Do... think I don't feel ashamed of what I've said? I didn't mean to? I'm sorry..I didn't mean too"

Stunned, he just looked at her. "I am not at all ashamed of what you've said."

"What?" She was caught off guard by the sudden vibrancy of his voice. "Seiji, you're just as hard to understand as a spoiled child! Of course you're ashamed of me. I'm an older woman who had romantic fantasies about a boy! What is there not to be ashamed of?"

He stiffened as though she had struck him.

Coldly he shot back. "Would you stop treating me like a nine year old. I'm a man, not a boy. I swear you're the one whose acting like an adolescent. Are you not the one who is yelling?" She had not missed his quite flare of temper. A warning voice told her to stop before she really angered him; she ignored the omen.

"You are a boy!"

"How on earth can I still be a boy in your eyes while everyone else thinks me as a man? If I wasn't brought up to respect women I would..."

"Not like I could shame you even more Seiji!" Her voice broke into a sob.

"In Kami-sama's name! Nasty, you've never shamed me. Never had and never could. Kuso!"

A soft gasp escaped her lips as she giggled.

"Nani?" He merely stared, tongue-tied.

" I hate to be amused at a time like this Seiji but it has come to my conclusion that I've never heard you swore before nor say so many angered words..."

He stared, completely surprised. "Why would that surprise you? I've cussed many times, just ask Touma."

She turned crimson with resentment. "Seiji, I apologies for my behavior. I was out of line. We must head back, Shu and Touma can't wait much longer for us. They're probably drooling over my table." she muttered uneasily.

He shot her a cold look as he glared at her, frowning. Looking down in shame she attempted to move away. 'Attempted'. His eyes darkened dangerously when he roughly thrusted her back against the tree. Both his hands on either side of her head. His face set, mouth clamped and his cold demon eyes held her still.

His voice hardened ruthlessly. "Did I also mention you're horrible at changing the subject?"

She could hardly lift her voice above a whisper. "One of many things that I've heard today." She firmly met his surprised expression. "May we go now?"

He spoke in a broken whisper. "Christ Nasuti. You think you irritate me? That I'm really ashamed of you?"

"It is so. What else am I to think? How distasteful for you worry about me actually having affections for you."

"Nasuti! I never said that...I...I meant....all I wanted to know was if your words were true..that's all. I never said anything about being irritated nor.." Shaking his head he paused to study her face. "I never meant to hurt you. And I was never ashamed of you...never"

Nasuti gulped a sob and tried to force her face away from him, she hated to cry in front of people. Out of guilt he slowly bent his golden head down to whisper in her hair, trying to calm her trembling body. "I'm so sorry. I never meant to be impudent. I wasn't thinking." Putting a large hand to her waist he drew her form to him as he continued to speak softly. "I'm not ashamed of you. Not ashamed of what you've said, not ashamed for what you feel for me. Never ashamed."

His arms tightened around her automatically when tears silently made tracks down her cheeks. Feeling like the worst scoundrel on earth he slowly dragged his mouth to her ear and whispered "Please don't cry Nasuti. You never cry. Remember, you hate crying. Please stop."

"You're an idiot if you think I'm crying because I'm sad. I'm crying beacause you confuse me too damn much! I can't be-...." Before she had a chance to finish her words Seiji grabbed her face between his hands instantly, sliding his right one to cup her chin tenderly he kissed the tip of her nose, then her eyes, cheek and finally satisfyingly dragged his lips to come coaxingly down upon hers, tender and light as a summer breeze. She was too stunned to respond at first, weak, confused as well as intoxicated by the light touch of his lips brushing hers. "You don't want me Seiji...." she breathed out finally, pulling away a bit to look at him.

She felt his mouth curved into an unconscious smile when he leaned downward to brush his lips against her jaw line.

"But I do."

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