Through the Night

 

Part Five: Shigeru and Satoshi

 

I think I'm going to die with all of the blood that's rushed to my cheeks. He can't possibly know just how crazy this is driving me... Though I suppose I should cherish this time with him. Oh Mejiro, why do I just keep falling harder and harder for this Satoshi?

It's the type of thing that makes me sigh. I wonder if he knows just how fascinating he is... He's innocent and he's perfect, he's everything I wish that I could be. He's *good*... And he's my enemy, isn't he? And I'm his captive.

"How long are going to be up?!" I shout. I don't think he heard me. This is such a different experience... it's like being above the clouds, it's being a part of the wind, it's... it's a heady experience, it makes me dizzy.

"Satoshi?!" I cry again. This time he hears me, and looks back, his deep dark brown eyes wide.

"What is it?!" He asks in reply.

"How long are we going to be up?" I ask. He grins and impish light plays in his eyes.

"It's amazing, I know. We're still on border duty... Well, I am! Remember that, Shigeru." He smiles and turns around and my heart sort of flutters in my chest. He's so oblivious...

It's... addictive. Like addicting yourself to watching the moonlight...

Oh Satoshi, if I could just tell you something...

I end up leaning my head against his shoulder, listening to his heart, listening to the sound of the wild flapping wings as we cut through the air. It's more than anything I've ever experienced before...

"Satoshi..."

By the time we set down later that day, my legs are numb and I don't feel like I can move. Satoshi's smiling brightly and chatting away as we set down. "So how was it, Shigeru?" He asks, untying me to slide off of the saddle.

He helps me down and my knees tremble and want to give out, but I smile and shrug. "It's beyond words, Satoshi." He beams even brighter.

"I know, Shiika's amazing that way... yes you are, girl." He pats her affectionately then helps me down again, "Do you think you can walk?" I nod and he goes about tying my wrists again. I wish that I wasn't who I was... it would be nice to be his friend.

"Come on, it's time for lunch." He smiles. "You're hungry, aren't you?" I nod rapidly and he laughs. There's this aching hole and I want to fill it with something... food is something.

We sit and Shiika's hunting again. He offers me more fruit from my bag and I end up munching on an apple. I guess I could get used to this. It's almost normal, in a twisted sort of way... I can't believe that I think this is normal in the least.

"Satoshi..." I sigh again and he looks at me intently. "Hmm?" He murmurs. I hadn't realized I'd said his name out loud. "Oh... um... why don't you tell me about yourself? We talked about me all ready..."

He looks thoughtful and he takes a bite of his rations -- those things are disgusting. I don't want to have to ever eat them... "Well, you told me about yourself, I guess the least I could do is offer you the same!" He says brightly.

He's... Oh Mejiro, please don't tell me this is what I *think* it is. It's hopeless...

~~~~~

OK... Things about me... I guess I should start at the beginning, then. I smile up at him. It's flattering that he'd take an interest in me. I mean, he's a noble and all -- most nobles just don't care beyond the fact that I'm a dragonrider. That's sweet, though, that he'd actually want to learn more...

"Mmm... OK, I lived in Masara until I became a dragonrider and got Shiika. That was just a few years ago..." I struggle to remember everything. "There weren't many people living there; it was small. But I always lived next door to my best friend -- his name's Hiroshi, Mikagami Hiroshi." I smile. "I don't think we've ever been apart for more than a few months; we're that close. He's a dragonrider too, but he has a gold, named Koori."

I look up, and there's the strangest expression on Shigeru's face. "You're really close to this 'Hiroshi', huh?"

"Yeah." I shrug. "Like I said, we're best friends. We grew up together; it's hard not to be close when you've known each other that long, don't you think?"

"I guess," he mumbles. Now what on earth is wrong with him?

"Anyway," I continue, deciding not to comment. "We stay at the base in Kanto when we don't have an assignment -- usually border duty, like I'm on right now." I grin. "It's pretty boring for the most part, but if there's trouble, it's best to have speed on your side, and Hiroshi and I have two of the fastest dragons."

"So he's on border duty somewhere, too?" Shigeru asks. I really don't understand why he's got such a scowl on his face all of a sudden... Was it something I said?

"Actually, not this time." I sigh, remembering where my friend is right now. "He got lucky." Now I glance up at Shiika; both of us feel the same way about this -- envious. "Because Hiroshi's the kind of person -- and Koori is the kind of dragon -- that you more or less want to be showing off, he got to be a guard for the ambassador to the Orange Islands. I'll bet he's having tons of fun right now." A grin flashes across my face. "Probably showing Koori off to a bunch of pretty girls. Hiroshi attracts lots of attention most of the time."

"I don't know why he would," Shigeru blurts out suddenly. "I'd think he'd hardly get noticed with you and your silver around; the two of you are just so mesmorizing..." He blushes and his eyes widen as if he's only just realized what he's said. "I-I mean... you..."

I think I've forgotten to breathe. He thinks that about me? Wow... I smile at him. "That was so nice of you to say, Shigeru, thank you." I'm touched that he sees me like that. "But, you know, when you see Hiroshi, you'll understand better, I think..."

"I don't think so." He's still blushing, but looks me straight in the eye. "No matter how impressive this 'Hiroshi' is, I don't think I could ever be as fascinated with him and his dragon as I am with you and Shiika."

Now *I* am blushing. I blink, and raise a hand to my cheek. I think it's the way he looks at me that's sent all the blood rushing to my face, but I don't understand why... "I'm flattered that you think so." I smile again, and this time he returns it.

You know, he's so nice-looking when he smiles...

"Nice to see you smile." I grin. "I was wondering if I'd said something wrong; you looked so upset earlier. I thought it might have been something I said."

"No, not really." I don't think I've ever seen anyone blush so much in such a short period of time. "It's just me, that's all. I was thinking too much -- I do that often."

"Well, I don't think enough before I act, so maybe we can balance each other while we're together." I really must be saying more than I realize; I can't think of anything else to explain his reaction to my words. "Shigeru, you are feeling all right, aren't you?"

"I'm fine." He manages a reassuring smile. "Just fine, Satoshi."

I like the way he says my name; it sounds real nice... "Are you sure? You look all flushed."

"It's nothing." He looks at the ground. I feel disappointed, though I can't explain why. Maybe it's because he's not looking at me any more, and I had gotten used to having him watch me, seeing his stormy eyes looking back into mine. I stare at him until he has to raise his face again.

"Wh-what?" he stammers, and I shrug.

"Nothing." It's the same answer he gave me; I can use it if I want to. Besides, I'm not so sure I can explain how I feel, anyway, since it's confusing even to me. "Are you sure you don't want to try eating some of these rations? You're going to have to eat them sooner or later."

He shudders. "I'll take my chances."

I laugh at him. "Sure, Shigeru." He'll learn later on. That food of his will all have to be eaten within the next week or so, and I'm on border duty for quite a bit longer than that...

~~~~~

I really don't know why I feel so disappointed... I knew that it was hopeless, and now I've seen the truth. Whoever this 'Hiroshi' is... I sigh and then grin at Satoshi. "I'll show you." He just smiles enigmatically. At the least, I'm sure I could create something edible with my magic...

Now that I know something about him... I just don't know.

Is it possible that he could feel the same way? Just because he blushes doesn't mean a thing at all... I finish what I'm eating, "We're going to be leaving soon, do you think you can manage it?" Satoshi asks.

I nod, "Hai..."

I just want to cherish every moment that I have with him. Because I was telling him the truth. I could never be more fascinated with Hiroshi, than the way that I already am with Satoshi... because I've fallen hard, and fast. I wonder when I'll hit the ground...

I just have no hope.

"All right," Satoshi starts with a chipper smile. "are you ready, Shiika?" She nods yes and Satoshi helps me up. It's just easier with my hands tied like this... anyway, I like the way his hands feel.

Oh gods, I truly am hopeless.

"You look flushed again..." Satoshi presses his hand to my forehead and leans close and I lose my voice. "Maybe you're coming down with something." Am I going insane, or does he sound like he cares?

"It...it's nothing, Satoshi..." I manage to speak with a weak grin. He gazes at me steadily then sighs.

"If you say so, Shigeru..."

I grin haphazardly. "I do."

That makes him smile. He has a beautiful smile...

"All right, come on I'll help you up again..."

And we end up the way we were before. And I'm blushing just as much as I had been before. He's just so *close*... His scent, the way he feels near me, it's truly is so very addictive...

I just need to take a break and try and calm myself down. This isn't going to do me any good. I can't let myself fall in love... is that what it even is? It's just an infatuation. That's all it is...

Right?

Shiika beats her wings a few times and then we're in the air again. I tighten my arms around him, I'm not sure if it's the faint fear of falling or just wanting to have him close that spurs me on...

I'm pathetic.

And I'm also in love, no matter what I try and deny. So... I don't know how to handle this. I've never felt this much in my entire life. It's scary... and it's a hopeless battle. If he has someone else...

I sigh and just savor the feel of him, so very close...

~~~~~

"There!" I point downward, to a clearing barely visible from above. It's late at night, and I think Shigeru's falling asleep behind me; he's leaning against my back, sort of. "Take us down, Shiika! That's where we can camp for tonight."

She dives for the ground as if eager to land. Well, I suspect she is hungry and wants to hunt. My stomach is making a few protests too. But it was so beautiful out tonight, that I just wanted to stay up... I suppose we can't ignore hunger for too long, though, can we?

"Are you hungry, Shigeru?" I ask, glancing back to look at my prisoner. He blinks up at me. Oh. I guess he was tired enough to fall asleep. "Sorry. I didn't mean to wake you."

"S'all right." He yawns, and I smile. "Yeah, I'm pretty hungry. Are we landing?"

"Yup." I point. "For the night, actually. Sorry we were out so late, but I really like to fly at night. Moonlight compliments Shiika."

"It compliments you as well." Oh. I think he's still half-asleep, but he blushes anyway. I feel my heartbeat speeding up... It's strange.

"Thanks," I answer, and then we land. I untie his hands and dismount, then help him down and retie him. It's not that I actually think he'd run away, it's just... well, appearances, I guess. He's my prisoner, so he's got to be tied up.

He slumps down to a seat as I set up camp. "Are you sure you don't want any of my food?" I know what his answer will be. The shudder. I grin. "All right, if you're sure..." Then I move behind him and dig into his bag. "What do you want to eat? You have more fruit, meat, bread..."

"I don't know." He shrugs. "Pick something."

"Here." I pull out a small packet of what looks like small pieces of chicken -- cooked chicken, too, it's just been kept cold. "You should eat these soon, or they'll go bad."

"OK." Then he looks helplessly down as I pour them into his bound hands. "I can't eat these without being untied, Satoshi."

I hadn't thought of that. "I guess I could untie you..." I'm not real enthusiastic about the idea. Shiika has gone to find food, and I'm unprotected if he decides he wants to escape. I don't think he'd actually try anything, not really, but it wouldn't look good if someone found out I let my prisoner go free. I'm not supposed to be careless; I'm a soldier, for gosh sakes!

"Er..." He's gone red again. "I have an idea, if you don't want to do that, Satoshi," he murmurs, looking away. I think he sensed my discomfort and wanted to do something about it... "Why don't you feed me these?"

Oh... "That's a good idea," I admitt. "I never would've thought of it. Thanks, Shigeru." I take one of the pieces of chicken from his hands. "You just hold them, and I'll feed you, OK?"

"Uh... sure." He looks nervous. I can't imagine why... I hold up the first piece and he opens his mouth to take it. This must look really weird. I wonder what Shiika would think if she came back and found us like this. That makes me giggle a little.

"What's so funny?" Shigeru asks, when he finishes chewing.

"Nothing. Here." I feed him another piece. He's staring at me... Uh-oh, that funny feeling is back. I don't know why he looks at me like that; what does it mean?

I finish with the chicken pieces and brush off my hands. "There you go. All done." He's still staring at me... Oh. I don't think we've ever been this close, not from the front anyway. I blink, but his eyes have me pinned; is this some kind of magic? I can't move...

He leans forward then, and I wonder just what's going on here; whatever it is, it's making me feel dizzy, and Shigeru's eyes are half-closed, like he's dazed. His face is so close that I can feel the warmth of his breathing on my cheeks. I close my eyes instinctively, and...

A snorting noise makes me turn, and I see my silver, back in the clearing looking halfway satisfied and halfway... amused? Not upset, though. I guess I wasn't under a spell, after all... She would've sensed it, I think. So what...?

Shigeru sighs. I look back at him; there's resignation in his eyes now. I really wish someone would fill me in on what just happened. It's like there's something going on right under my nose and I can't quite see it...

"Good night, Satoshi," Shigeru says, and flops down on his side without another word, shutting his eyes as if to block the world out. I glance back at Shiika, who seems to be almost smirking at me, then bite my lip in frustration.

What on earth is it that I'm missing?

 

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