Sweat dripping down her back, his hands on her hips, the tiny squeak of the bed. Two bodies in inevitable motion, his hands up her belly, her sweat-dampened hair thrown back and shedding tiny droplets. The feel of him inside her, his hands on her breasts, his half-lidded eyes. Her lips parted, his thumb over her nipple, his soft moan. Her grim smile of pleasure, their hips grinding, her back arching. His hands roughly clutching, adding to her frenzy, her choked-off scream of ecstasy. Their shudder of release.

They lay on the tiny bed and shared the final cigarette of the day. He was already falling asleep, but she didn't mind. In fact, she preferred it this way- she didn't want his eyes on her when she slipped out of his room later, didn't want to answer any of his questions.

He slid a hand over the curve of her hip.

"Stay tonight, Fujin."

Why did he ask her that when he knew she wouldn't stay?

He's falling in love with you, that's why, she admitted to herself.

She twined a lock of his bright red hair through around her finger to avoid giving an answer. You need to end this.

She needed a shower.

Why did you even start this?

Because Raijin started working nights. Because I needed sex. Because I'm young and young people are supposed to go out and fool around, right? Because I couldn't stand to be in the house with him, without Raijin. Because I'm afraid he'll want to talk about what happened. Because I'm afraid it will happen again. Because I might want it to happen again. Because I'm afraid to hurt him. Because I want to hurt him. Because I'm a coward and I don't even know how I feel. Too many reasons.

Red was asleep. She wriggled out from under his arm and dressed.


She stepped out of the shower and to her displeasure discovered Seifer. He was brushing his teeth, clad only in pajama bottoms. She paused a moment, very aware that she was wet and unclothed and that the towels were on the other side of her roommate.

He glanced at her briefly, eyes flicking perfunctorily, dismissively over her body before tossing her a towel with his free hand. She made a point of toweling her hair before wrapping it around her body- she wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of seeing her embarrassment.

"Het un ooite?" he asked.

She blinked at him a moment and watched as he spit into the sink.

"Have fun tonight?" he clarified, giving her an inscrutable glance before bending to rinse his mouth out.

She reached for her toothbrush without answering and sat down on the toilet to brush. She congratulated herself on her tried-and-true method of ignoring someone in a ridiculously small room, a necessary skill for living with two men (one of them Seifer, which said it all, really), one bathroom, and no privacy: she concentrated very hard on what she was doing, brushing each tooth carefully. Upper left back molar. She wished she knew the proper names of teeth. I'll have to look them up.

She immersed herself in her task hoping that he would be gone by the time she finished.

He wasn't. Just as she completed the last tooth- lower right back molar- she smelled his shaving cream.

Can't he just go away? He doesn't need to shave, it's the middle of the night.

She had to duck a little under his arm to rinse her mouth out. Get out of my way, you bastard.

She wiped her mouth with a hand towel and sniggered silently when he cut himself.

"Clumsy," she jeered, unable to stop herself.

Big mistake. He turned to look at her and she saw that infamous Almasy scowl, half-hidden by the creamy white mask he wore.

He advanced on her and pressed the razor into her hand. "You do it, then."

Sitting sullenly on the toilet seat, he frowned at the damn bathmat. She stood there stupidly for a moment, confused.

Then her brain kicked in and she moved forward, unsure why she was doing this instead of throwing down the razor with a sneer and getting the hell out of there.

She'd never shaved a man before and wasn't sure where to start. But she wasn't going to let him know that. And she sure as hell wasn't going to cut him- she'd feel the edge of his tongue for certain.

So she started with the left side of his face, the one that was already wounded, blood trickled down his cheek, mixing with the shaving cream prettily. She cupped the other side of his face with her hand, ignoring the slimy feel of the shaving cream between her fingers, and set to work.

She discovered that she could push the horrible discomfort away by concentrating on the job at hand, just as she had done with her teeth. She concentrated on the razor and on the slow prickling sound that accompanied its movements.

This went on for a little while, and as she finished his chin she congratulated herself on what a good job she had done so far. All that was left was his throat, and she hadn't cut him even once.

She tilted his head back and began, horribly conscious of the delicacy of the skin there. But she was very careful and there were no mishaps even though she could feel his emerald stare on her face. It beat at her skin relentlessly, and she found her concentration breaking toward the end.

Finally she stepped back and tossed a fresh towel at him. He stood without a word of thanks and she watched as he toweled his face dry. He proceeded to examine the closeness of his shave and she decided that it would be the best chance she might get to slip past him.

She was out of luck- his arm reached out and closed the door as she took the first step.

He turned to face her, staring at her in a way that made her extremely uneasy. It was his, "We're going to have this out, right now, whether you like it or not," look.

She aborted her doorward path and reached for the hairbrush sitting on the sink, feeling all at once small and frightened under his gaze, like an animal that has just been trapped and is only now beginning to realize that a killing blow will soon come.

He beat her to it, snatching up the hairbrush with one lightning-quick movement and closing the single step between them. He began to brush her hair, all the while looking into her face with that eerie, judging expression she'd come to dread.

"This is the least I could do," he began conversationally, "since you helped me shave and all." His tone was nonchalant, deadly.

She closed her eye as the brush flew through her short hair with some force, exactly as she did it herself; not enough to hurt but enough to get the job done fast.

The brush clattered on the bathroom floor and his hands were slicking her wet hair back, pulling her head up, and she opened her eye to look at him.

He was gazing at her with that same unnerving expression, and she found herself glancing away and then back. Her towel became untucked and fell to the floor, but he didn't even seem to notice, so intent was he on looking at her face.

"Have you been having fun?" he asked.

"Stop," she said immediately, but knew that there was no chance of that, and certainly no chance of getting away.

"I know you have. Going out, drinking, smoking, having sex. All those things that young people are supposed to do." He removed his hands from her hair and pulled her close.

"I'm glad you've been having such a great time, really I am," he whispered into her hair as his hands began to stroke her bare back. "But sometimes, and I know I'm very silly," and the way he said this set off all the danger alarms in her body, "I get the idea that you've been avoiding me." She found that she didn't know what to do with her arms- she couldn't very well wrap them around him, could she? Not considering the things he was saying to her.

"I can't imagine why you'd want to do something like that," he said, and was suddenly kissing her neck. She found that her arms had gone around him anyway, were pulling him close-

And she realized as he set her on the sink, as his mouth found her nipple, what the games with Red had been about. The handcuffs, the blindfolds, the way that she wanted Red to dominate her completely- and the way that sometimes, though less often, she turned the tables and dominated him- this was about Seifer. Always about Seifer, she'd wanted the rush she'd gotten on her living room floor a month ago. But Red wasn't Seifer, wasn't close enough to her or smart enough to dominate her mentally, which was what she really wanted, even now she could feel that rush, a gift from Seifer, who didn't need petty props

(just that green stare)

to make his domination complete.

The way he was dominating her now. His mouth on hers, his hands spreading her thighs. She was perched precariously on the sink, loving every second of it, and she would have been sickened had her body not been thrumming so loudly.

He thrust into her and she moaned, orgasm immediately ripping through her.

"Is it ever this good with him?" he murmured into her ear, hands on her hips, his own moving rhythmically. "Somehow I doubt it." And she realized that he sounded bitter. Seifer often sounded disgusted, or furious, or annoyed. But she hadn't heard him sound bitter in a long time- that flavor had faded from his voice over time, even when talking about Leonhart.

But she couldn't seem to think about it very hard- her world at the moment was sex and demanded all of her attention. She missed what he said next in the wake of another orgasm.

"...choice, or this family will fall apart. Family, posse, whatever." The voice in her ear was panting now, very close to the end, and the hands on her hips were holding her tighter. She would have light bruises there the next day, but she wasn't thinking about that now.

And suddenly he stilled, all motion stopped dead, his body tight and at the brink. He dropped his head to rest his forehead on her shoulder for a moment.

"I can't live like this any more."

She felt his shudder, and wondered if his orgasm felt like ecstasy or death.

And he was picking up his pajamas from the floor, walking out of the bathroom. The set of his shoulders was not confidence and arrogance, as was normal, but defeat and heartbreak.

Choice, she thought, deciding.


Raijin found her on the couch the next afternoon after he woke. She was curled up in a bathrobe, looking at nothing in particular.

"Mornin' Fuu," he yawned. "Where's the boss?"

She looked at him and he saw that her eye was bloodshot and her face was wet.

"What's wrong?" he asked, realizing immediately that it must be very bad indeed if Fujin was letting him see her weep.

She shook her head.

"Where's Seifer?" he asked.

"Gone," she said, and more tears crept out of her eye. He ran back to the bathroom to get some tissue and glanced into Seifer's room on the way. It was empty.

He brought her the tissue and she accepted it. When he sat down next to her she crawled clumsily into his lap and held onto him like he was the last person in the world.