Cowboy Bebop Fan Fiction / Gundam Wing Fan Fiction / Utena, Revolutionary Girl Fan Fiction / X/1999 Fan Fiction ❯ Black and Blue From the Game of You ❯ Chapter 1

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Title: Black And Blue From The Game Of You

Rating: PG-13

Crossover and Alt. Reality madness, note that neither characters from Utena, Gundam Wing, X/1999, or Cowboy Bebop belong to me I'm just you know… borrowing.

Yuri warning. Pairing Kozue Kaoru (Utena) and Kanoe (X/1999)

Poetry belongs to me.

**Lyrics from Wild

***Lyrics from Not A Virgin

> Lyrics from Haunted

>>Lyrics from Control

>>>Lyrics from Hey Pretty

>>>>Lyrics from Amazing

All songs listed by Poe off the album Haunted

About this fic: I was listening to this album and many of the songs just reminded me of Kozue from Utena, so I decided to write a fic. But I wanted to do something interesting so I asked a friend to throw out some interesting people for Kozue to be paired with. The list was pretty interesting; people from Utena and a few other series came up and then… She went and did something silly and added to the bottom of the list: Kanoe from X (oh that would just be weird). I revel in uncannon pairings and the mere suggestion of it being weird sent the wheels in my head turning. The rest is history. This is my first crossover fic. It is also my first Alternate Reality fic so be on the look out for cameos from various other anime as well. I really hope it meets expectations. Let me know if it does not. Thanks to Jilly-chan for the inspiration. Thank you all for reading.


And out of the dark

Straight to my heart

I find you like it better

When I am bitter

Still I'm feeling kind of used

Black blue and bruised

Lost under your smile

Lost in the long waiting while

The trials of truth under the lies

The lines of gold placed on the sand

Tricks and traps that fall at your command

Yes… it's all too true

I'm beaten, black, bruised and used

Unforgivably blue

Lost deep within the game of you

Slow and crowded that was how the club was, smoky lights bringing something of truth from the darkness, the chatter of inane conversations echoing past the low and steady sound of a weary trumpet, singing of loss. She had her place. A small table respectfully hidden from view where no one could see her; yet it was angled so that she could see everyone. Her ocean blue eyes flitted over the random groups of people, searching for prospects that would make her evening grand. Finding amusement in the tiny absent and unrefined way the men and women in the crowd would flirt with each other. The simple dance of seduction that very few got right, most stumbled, placing steps that where never necessary. Random points of interest took her from one moment to the next as the music shifted to something light and airy. The redhead near the bar trying to pick up on the stoic bartender with the graceful and perfectly curled auburn hair was something that made her giggle. And then there was dark and wolfish figure of a man, nearly princely, but mostly devilish who was playing his own sort of games with the ladies that flocked to him. She sighed. It was a dull evening. No one worth playing with amid the rampant beauty and she wanted to play. It had been ages since she had a proper challenge.

Slender fingers drummed silently on the table as she shifted her view to the stage. Bright and shining like a star the young man at the piano played songs to suit the mood. It made her a bit sick to her stomach all that light. The genius on stage had everything, and she wanted to be happy for him. The night was too heavy for her though and even with a lonely melody he shone too brightly for her tastes at the moment. She sniffed ready to make her exit through the desperate masses. She gathered her purse and began the muffled walk out.

She was halted by the bartender, "Leaving so soon Kozue?"

A bit of a weary grin tugged at her lips as she inched over to the bar to reply, "There's nothing for me here I'd rather not waste the night listening to my brother play for the rabble."

The bartender smiled as she washed out a glass. "What about the wolf over there?" She asked hazel eyes leading a trail to a huddle of people.

"No, Juri not him… not ever again, he's far too caught up in playing the prince and the devil all in one package. Fairytales and happy endings can not fool me now, and really that's all he has. Illusions of something I can see right through," Kozue stated over the low rumble of the room. "I'll see you around."

Outside the light fog rolling in off the bay clouded the satin night. The light and cool walk to the car was enough to sober her from the heat of the club and the haze of alcohol she had consumed. The defeat of leaving so early on a Saturday night without prey stung at her insides. For the first time in her still young life she wondered if the game was worth the effort. It was the lack of something new that made her want to quit. There was nothing she had not done. She'd been broken and used. She'd been cruel and taken what she wanted and there was little left that surprised her. She was a predator surrounded by willing victims, but what fun was it to hunt if at the end of the chase the prey merely collapsed in exhaustion, ready to be devoured?

"No fun at all," she sighed as she slid into her car.

As the door slammed she started the engine and raced away. Winding down the streets to think and maybe stop somewhere new. Perhaps that was her trouble. Perhaps she just needed a slight change in scenery.

**So this is what it's like living in Limbo

First I'm high and then solo**

Much to be expected there was nothing exciting to keep her interest, and so truly defeated she decided to just spend the rest of the evening at her quiet spot. And her quiet spot was, to the outside observer, anything but.

Pulsing through the concrete walls was the dim echo of the release that waited inside, music and colored lights bouncing from every which way. Over loading the senses and making her feel whole as the rhythm captured the beat of her heart making her move and sway without care. The bouncer at the front gave her a broad smile as, free of charge; she entered her cathedral, her holy place of worship that whispered salvation with every haut breath. It was meditation incarnate as she slipped into the crowd of gyrating bodies, all ripe and pert with perfection, young and eager, all reaching for something in the noise, the movement of the dance floor, calling out their needs to the gods of the turntables. Hoping their prayers would be answered as the next song faded into existence.

Kozue loved to lose her self in the sea of familiar faces who had long forgiven her for her sins, past and present. The adoring bodies she'd hunted and caught and the very few who had caught her. Since the pretty age of fifteen she had graced the neon lit dance floor of the club and still with all the new trends and fads this was her true home. The solid rock and foundation that had helped to mold her into the wild creature she had become.

After a long turn on the dance floor she came up for air, ascending the industrial style staircase to the bar. She took a moment to wipe the sweat from her brow as the bartender retrieved a bottle of water for her. He smiled impishly as she gulped down the cool liquid, consuming over half the bottle in less than a minute.

"Hey wild thing might want to slow it down a bit," he mused. "The dance floor isn't going anywhere."

Her deep blue eyes narrowed a moment and then a slight grin formed at the corner of her mouth. "Give me another will ya", she said and then finished up the bottle tossing it playfully in his direction.

"Here you go," he handed her another bottle. "Where you been hiding kiddo? I haven't seen you around for a while."

As she unscrewed the cap she smiled replying over the all consuming pulse of music rising from the dance floor below, "I've been out hunting where my brother makes his living."

"Oh yeah, Find anything interesting out there," the bartender asked ignoring the calls he was receiving from the other end of the bar. He glanced over his shoulder and yelled to the patrons daring to interrupt his conversation, "Look! Make it yourself if you it want it that badly!"

"Honestly, Duo you never change," Kozue sighed.

"And neither do you kid," he replied slight concern lingering in his tone. "You look tired."

"I am."

"Then go home."

She shook her head; "Even wild animals have to pray Duo. I came to pray." She took a sip from her water. "You worry too much about me you know?"

"Well I can't help it kid. I got attached to the little cub who prowled around my club. It's human nature to care, even for things we can't seem to tame." His smile slipped away slightly, remembering the years gone by. He was a few years older than she was, and while he knew her to be cruel and often vicious in her games… He loved her like a brother.

"Thank you for the water, Duo," Kozue said slipping from over crowded bar.

Her heart eased back into its normal rhythm as she lingered on his concern. Despite her dislike of sympathy Duo was a good friend to have around. She supposed that if she were tame she might have ended up with him in a small little house surrounded by kids. And while the thought made her slightly ill she wondered if one day settling down would make her happy. She tried not to brood over it sinking into the call of the choir as she descended into the sea of dancers. Forgetting all concerns hoping her time of reflection and meditation on the dance floor would revive her. Make her feel again, and chase the wear of a lifetime of hunting into oblivion.

**So tell me what you've come for

Moving like a hunter through my back door

Leaving the perfume of all you adore

To die nameless on the floor**

"Last call! Last call for alcohol!" Duo's voice blared from above. "Last call kiddies! No more intoxicating fun after this! Come and get it while you can!"

His voice pulled her from her quest. Reminding her that she was no closer to answering questions she hated than when she had arrived. And as the miniscule exodus from the dance floor wrapped around her, bodies fighting to indulge in one more sweet and bitter sip of luscious sin, she came fully into her senses. Having been lost in her need for silence and prayer she had never noticed the eyes that watched her, playing up and down her form with each move she made. She stopped. Glanced up to the bar and glimpsed the creature that dared to devour her with eyes alone. Ocean blue eyes wide as she recognized hunter smiling down at her, cunning and seductive.

**You've got some nerve to come back here

You're not the only one who can smell fear**

***I can see right through you

On a cloudy day and darlin' I think you wanna play***

She stalked up the steps to the bar, fighting the masses grabbing for the last drink of the evening. The rush of the music and her memories making her heart beat in off rhythms. It was something she hadn't experienced since she was very young. And all the while as she approached her destination she felt the pull of deep amber eyes playing over her. Kozue pushed a young dancer out of her way, politely rude in her need to confront the hunter.

"Isn't this place a little beneath you," Kozue asked as she stepped in close, deep blue eyes regarding the woman before her with a slight arctic tinge.

A soft and broad smile swept across the woman's lips as a perfectly manicured hand swept through long dark ebony hair. "It is terrible isn't it," she replied. "I'm here to watch someone."


"Yes, and not you," she mentioned flatly.

"Have your sights on a new ingenue then?"

The chuckle that left the woman's throat was a light cross of sincerity and wicked intentions. "No. Technically I'm a chaperone."

Kozue fought her natural instinct to laugh out loud and merely grinned a bit. "So who are you 'chaperoning'?"

"The DJ."

"The curse of being such an obedient secretary," Kozue quipped. "I had no idea Satsuki the Beast had rich parents."

"Rich uncle," was the swift correction.

Both women shifted their focus to watch the young DJ on the upper most platforms. Kozue was highly impressed with the young woman's skill at presenting interesting mixes and crowd pleasers. The past bit at her heels though and she wasn't ready to just fall into a game. So Kozue exhaled a deep breath and with tact let fly her walls of protection.

"Well I'm sure you'll be happy with whatever you do with her. She certainly meets your age requirements, Kanoe," Kozue said softly, not shifting her gaze in the least.

"She's older than she looks."

"So was I."

A dark eyebrow perked as Kanoe offered, "Want to take a turn at her? Her nickname is quite the opposite of her personality though… she's rather shy. Music and computers, measures and numbers that is the world she's comfortable in. Still I bet you two would get along nicely," she paused to add softly. "You could share terrible stories about me over coffee."

"I'm not here to play-"

"No you're here to pray," Kanoe intruded gently.

**You've got a lot of nerve to come back

Plan your attack and I am still waiting

Did you want something**

"Tell me what you've come for," Kozue asked as she leaned against the railing taking in the pulse of the music, eyes drifting over the thinning crowd. "What you've really come for?"

Kanoe looked over the young woman's face and replied, "I came to be a mock chaperone." Catching the scathing look from Kozue she added, "Really and truly, no lie no and no game there. Although I must say… seeing you out in the crowd… that was an added bonus."

Brown eyes locked on blue as the whisper of an offer floated to the surface like a strange song.

"Don't think you can play with me like you used to," Kozue warned softly.

"I'd never dare. You have an interesting reputation these days."

"No more interesting than yours."

Kanoe inched closer, "The night is practically dead in the water Kozue. Don't you want your prayers answered?"

"Not by you." She sighed amending, "Not tonight."

"Defeated by the night so early in life", Kanoe breezed. "How sad…"

A light smirk replaced Kozue's defensive; "Trying to challenge me will not make me change my mind. Try something a little more dangerously true it's much sexier and has always looked good on you." She stepped in close, "But if you want to play with me Kanoe I'd just like to remind you… I'm not a virgin anymore."

"So you're not." Kanoe's eyes drifted over to the DJ platform and catching an interesting glance from the young woman at the turntables whispered, "Maybe we should continue this later then when you're ready to play."

Ocean blue eyes caught the nearly jealous and sad look from the DJ still meticulously spinning records and her heart dropped a bit. That look reminded her of her first encounters with Kanoe. She shook her head a bit a replied softly, "I think later would be much better. Don't want you to have to leave anyone in the dust on my account."

>And I'm haunted

By the lives that I have loved

And actions I have hated
I'm haunted
By the lives that wove the web
Inside my haunted head <

There was barely a crowd at the bar, but then it was a Tuesday night. Even the yuppies rushing from the office were too caught up in the early week pressures to sit and have a drink after work, or even listen to a bit of jazz. She wasn't there to do anything but think, stirring olives around an untouched martini as she watched the people outside scurry to their homes, wives and children, lovers and personal computers. Her mind was working over Kanoe and what she was going to do, if she was actually going to play and then how the game should go. It was a hard decision to make. Kozue shifted her gaze and noticed the bartender looking her over with a curious eye. She forced a smile as the stoic barkeep padded closer.

"So, you do realize that not drinking that martini is an insult to my skills and a waste of the best vodka money can by," the bartender lightly joked, hazel eyes trying to capture Kozue's problem.

"Yes well don't worry Juri I'll finish it…eventually."

"Hmm…well we'll see," Juri smiled and then it faded as she found something in the young woman's meditative state. "It's not like you to be in here on a weekday."

"I know," was the soft reply.

"So you come to think or do you actually want advice?"

"I'm not sure. I think I came for both," she paused and took a sip from her drink. "Did you have a nickname in high school that just stuck with you?"

The auburn haired beauty considered for a moment, "I had a few."

"What were they?"

After a long moment of consideration the barkeep let fly with, "I was known mostly as The Panther, but there was also Fallen, and Angel, devil a few times… hard to keep track of all of them. Why do you ask?"

"I was Wild…" She clicked her tongue and continued, "The rest of the nicknames I earned in high school were far less endearing. I asked because I was wondering. Just curious and maybe… I dunno. I have a game to play and I'm not sure I'm up to it."

"Doesn't sound like you not to face a challenge?"

"It's not about a challenge Juri. It's about the past and the only person was ever allowed the privilege of really hurting me", Kozue confessed. "Why'd I just tell you that," she asked herself.

Juri shrugged, "Maybe you needed to say all that out loud. Actually hear what you fear."

"I'm not afraid," was the quick defense.

"No?" An eyebrow arched and then settled as she offered, "Maybe you need to stop playing games. Stop hunting and settle into something."

"How boring…"

"Wouldn't be boring if you found someone as wild as you to settle with," Juri whispered.

Kozue grinned wolfishly, "That an offer?"


"I like maybes," Kozue whispered "Maybe is always a yes waiting to happen."

If I'm lost

Then I'm bitter

If I'm cruel

Then I'm sweet

Oh but you know too well

The end of it all

The things that make me crash

The things that make me fall

At the heart of it all, beneath the feelings of hurt and pride was a five-year age difference. In the end when the game from the past was broken into its simplest pieces it was a sixteen year old heart breaker trying to keep up pace with a twenty-one year old mistress of the cruel. That's all it was and all it could ever be. Maybe not exactly innocence lost but for Kozue it was definitely a wake up call to what being hurt was. What being dragged through the mud of her emotions could do and how in the end… With all her new walls built, rules placed, and cruelty replaced… how her heart betrayed her by wishing to be so near the one person who could break her.

And of course new and waiting like a simple dream was an offer from a panther she never imagined she would get. Kozue couldn't decide which offer sounded better. To seek a sort of vengeance and find a way to break Kanoe, or to fly into something that was less dangerous and yet surprisingly exciting. In the end there was only one place to seek such retribution and she wondered if she would be allowed to meditate further on the problem or if all possibilities would be halted by an elegant lady's cool presence.

**I go wild
'Cause you break me open
'Cause you left me here
I go wild
'Cause your promises are broken
When I feel you near**

A small crowd was already gathering outside the inviting dance club when she arrived. There were still twenty minutes to wait before it was officially open but as always Kozue passed through the line into the empty cathedral with ease. The bouncer at the front smiled a bit when he saw her.

"What ever happened to being fashionably late Kozue," he asked politely.

"I'm never late, Fuma. I'm always right on time for everything," Kozue replied with a grin. "You know that."

He laughed, "I do."

Quick steps took her from the entrance of the club up the steps to the bar where Duo and the club's owner argued over an unimportant issue concerning lighters. They didn't even notice Kozue step up and lean against the bar, listening with some delight at the quick back and forth.

"Don't be insane," Duo said. "Everyone knows Zippos are better than normal throw away lighters."

"That's not the point I'm trying to make," the owner huffed as she brushed back her deep violet hair, green eyes sparking in the dim light.

Kozue let a chuckle leave her lips, broad grin taking her over as the two finally noticed her presence.

"Do I even want to know what brought up this little argument," Kozue asked.

Duo shook his head replying, "Ms. Valentine is trying to prove that her little disposable lighter is cooler than my Zippo."

A violet eyebrow arched, "And Mr. Maxwell is losing because there is nothing cooler than this lighter."

She held up the lighter. It was a simple disposable thing but it had a picture of the band Swordfish II on it. Before Kozue could comment Duo dug out a Zippo lighter in the shape of a robot from one of those Japanese cartoons he was so interested in.

"I can see where the debate comes into play," Kozue uttered with a fleck of sarcasm. With a shrug she dug into her small pillbox purse and took out what looked like an expensive pen. She flicked the bottom of the pen open and pressed a tiny button that produced a good-sized flame.

"Well," Duo said with defeat, "there's a lighter you don't see everyday." He glanced at the owner of the club and continued, "I think the kid has us beat Faye."

With a sigh and a roll of her emerald green eyes Faye wandered off muttering, "I know I have something better to do."

Duo chuckled and then moved closer to Kozue with a large smile on his face.

"What's shaking kid?"

"Nothing much," was the soft reply. "Who's the DJ tonight?"

"Some new guy… Wu-Fei something. You know I can barely keep up with these guys there are so many? Any reason," Duo asked still jovial and bouncy.

Ocean blue eyes shut briefly, "Just wanted to know what my evening was going to be like."

He lost his smile then, "You're gonna play tonight aren't you?"

"Don't look so disappointed in me. You know how I am… you know how I have my fun." She looked into his baby blues and sighed, "Of course this isn't gonna be fun."

"Anyone I should know about," his concern clear and uncaring of her need or want for it.

"Kanoe's back."

His eyes got wide and before he could speak she shook her head.

"Don't do that," Kozue whispered. "I won't get hurt."

He sighed, "That's what you said last time kiddo."

"Last time I was too young and stupid to see her for what she was."

"You still are young and stupid."

"Don't argue this with me. I saw her last week and we have unfinished business."

"Please Kozue," he pleaded and it caught her off guard. "It was hard enough watching you after what she did to you the first time. I don't want to ever have to see that side of you again."

"You won't," she promised. "I'll make sure of it."

**You're not the only one who runs on instincts

Yeah I've got instincts of my own**

She was dancing when her senses kicked in, the feel of seductive deep amber eyes playing up her, moving closer, hoping to surprise. Kozue was all too aware of the approach though, and did her best to hide herself in the crowd. The music was appropriately exotic, something primal about the beats and rhythms that worked through the dance floor. Purposely losing herself as she felt Kanoe near, inching so close she could have blindly pulled the older woman into her. She didn't want that though. She wanted Kanoe to feel she had the upper hand. So Kozue shut her eyes and let her self be captured. Smiling as she heard, "Hey pretty wanna go for a drive"; whispered closely into her ear.

A soft gasp left her lips as she replied, "I'd rather dance a bit more. Wouldn't you?"

Kanoe pulled Kozue closer, her elegant hands brushing through the young woman's topaz hair. "It's all part of the game love. If you think it gives you an advantage to keep me here then we'll play that way."

"We both know," Kozue offered, wrapping an arm around the older woman's near perfect waist. "You don't play fair."

"I guess you really think you've got me there."

"No," was the quiet reply, her lips so close Kanoe's pale neck she could practically taste her. And in the midst of the play Kozue found her heart dipping into betrayal, reminding her how sweet and tart the older woman's skin tasted beneath her tongue, like raspberries. She took an unnoticed deep breath and gathered her purpose. And her purpose was to win, and winning meant being the one in control at the end of the evening. Being in control and having the older woman desperate for her.

>>While you were looking the other way
While you had your eyes closed
While you were licking your lips

While you were tearing a hole in me<<

It was a slow business day for a Friday night. So Faye went down to the bar to see if Duo could use any help pouring drinks or entertaining the rabble. Along the way she spotted Kozue dancing and her eyes practically bulged out of their sockets. Before she could run onto the dance floor and investigate further she felt a slight tap on her shoulder. She spun around and came face to face with Duo's impish grin.

"Hey there you are," Duo beamed. "I was just gonna ask you to come down and- What's wrong?"

"Look on the dance floor and tell me I'm imagining things," Faye replied a bit green.

"What are you talking about?"

"Tell me that's not Kozue and Kanoe dancing like the past five years have never happened," she begged.

"Hate to burst your bubble but-"

"What the hell is she thinking," Faye erupted.

"I think that actually may be the problem," Duo mentioned. "I already had a talk with her about it but… well you know how she is."

Faye huffed and stomped off towards the bar, "I need a drink… and a cigarette… and maybe another drink."

Duo followed after her curious about the strong reaction. "Faye? Faye wait!"

"What?" She asked harshly stopping in her tracks.

"I didn't think you cared about Kozue that much."

"I don't… Wait?" She looked puzzled. "Kozue?"

"Yes Kozue," Duo replied now even more puzzled than he had been before. "Kanoe ripped her heart out the last time. Who are you talking about?"

Faye twitched slightly and then shook her head. "Kanoe… last time... or after with Kozue. She was well… all broken."

After a few moments of silence, people buzzing about them, music swelling an odd moment of clarification hit.

Faye bit at her bottom lip. "This isn't gonna be good is it?"


"So Kanoe broke Kozue last time huh?"

"Yup." Duo replied with a nod. "And Kanoe was broken after what happened with Kozue?"


Duo sighed sadly, "And now they're both on the dance floor playing a game to make the other hurt."

"Looks like."

Duo threw his hands up in defeat, "I need a drink… and a cigarette."

"You don't smoke."

"I do now."

** You wrote the rules to try an contain me

You broke 'em now you've untamed me**

She liked the winding roads best, ones that swerved into sharp curves and dangerous turns as she took her car like she took everything, to ultimate limits. She shifted in and out of gears occasionally glancing over at the young woman who sat silently beside her. Watched ocean blue eyes linger on the stars or the moon, reveled in the way the wind picked up through Kozue's short hair. The way the wind had always moved around the girl as if she controlled it. Kanoe slowed a bit as she neared a turn the highway patrol liked to frequent. As much as she tried to feel in control she had played the game long enough to realize that Kozue held all the cards. She found it amusingly appropriate that the roles had reversed. She pressed her foot on the gas wondering if the roles would reverse all the way through. If everything she had done to Kouze would come crashing back to her like a tidal wave. Kanoe almost wished she could know the complete out come of such a thing. She shook her head at the sudden doubt. She couldn't afford losing to Kozue. She had to prove a point about her heart.

"Are you taking the long way," Kozue asked absently.

"No. Why do you ask?"

"I don't seem to recall you living so far from the club," was the swift reply.

"I've moved since then."

"Ah… On to bigger and better, more expensive apartments?"

"House," was the gentle correction.

"However do you do it being a secretary?"

Kanoe grinned, "Perfect secretaries have interesting secrets they have to keep. It's serves as a nice little bargaining tool when it comes time for pay increases."

Kozue chuckled, "Blackmail… How fun."

"It's only blackmail if I have to go out of my way to find a secret, and most are conveniently dropped into my in basket." She watched the smile on Kozue's face grow a bit. Finding it interesting what impressed the young woman now that she was a bit older.

>>>I am the soul architect

I built the shadows here

I built the growl in the voice I fear<<<

The house was bigger than Kozue thought it would be, and settled neatly on possibly the most expensive piece of ocean view property Kanoe could afford. Mostly modern inside and out with a slight Japanese feel. The large mural on the living room wall was impressive and almost too appropriate for Kanoe's style as it depicted a large and elegant black dragon about to descend on an unsuspecting village.

Kozue sat in the living room patiently as Kanoe busied herself in the kitchen pouring two glasses of wine, listening to the sounds of the house beneath the polite background music. Outside the wind was howling threatening to become fierce, causing a wind chime somewhere to sound. She shut her eyes and enjoyed the song that played at a low level unclear what she was going to do. If she was going to do something so simple as refuse or tease was beyond her knowledge. Kanoe entered just at the right time and oddly Kozue found need to keep herself in check as the older woman glided over to the couch, sitting with elegant purpose as she put the glasses of red wine down on the coffee table.

"Nice house," Kozue commented quickly taking up her glass and sipping.

"Thank you. Took me a while to get it but… I think it was well worth the scrimping and saving," was the reply polite as it was.

"How many secrets does it take to get a house like this?"

"Quite a few," Kanoe grinned. "And a picture of the CEO in a pair of black fishnet stockings"

Kozue giggled as she asked, "Do I even want to know how you got the picture?"

"I told you," Kanoe replied softly. "Things just have a way of ending up in my in basket. She took a sip of wine, amber eyes locked on blue ready for an attack. "What are we playing for Kozue?"

"Don't know… What did we play for last time," was the curt reply.

"I really don't remember," Kanoe's voice had a hint of regret lingering in it. And something else, like sadness perhaps but it was hard to tell. It was always hard to tell. Her eyes grew a bit dark as she added, "Do you?"

"No." It might have been a mistake but Kozue inched a little closer. Her knee in close contact with Kanoe's, eyes locked on the look that crossed the older woman's face. "So… What do you want with me?"

"I think I should be asking you that. Don't you agree?"

"Maybe," she paused to take in her position. She still held the cards, but only because Kanoe was letting her. She didn't trust it. "What do you want right now?"

"Silly girl…"

The ease with which she turned the tides was remarkable. Kozue found herself beneath Kanoe's polite weight. Lips so close it was painful, and the look in the older woman's eyes just a bit more than lust, more than regret or sadness.

"I broke all the rules to have you," Kanoe whispered.

"What rules?" She was tempted just to take. Surprise her sudden captor but she wanted the answer.

"My rules. Rules anyone who plays the game has to keep safe," was the swift reply. "And I broke them all because of you."

"Does it matter," Kozue whispered back. "You still broke me. The only one who could and the only one who can even now… But that's just it isn't it?"

Their lips met then. Leading to things neither was ready for, kisses that forgot the game, caresses that were not meant as play. It felt like revenge, and it was possible for revenge to be as burning with love as anything else could. What crueler thing was there than to break what one loves. It was possible it was just lust, something left over from the past, but it felt deeper. It burned. Burned as Kozue tore away to look deep into eyes that wanted her.

"It's funny," Kozue began. "I could leave right now and know I won, but I won't."

Kanoe recaptured young lips, growing frustrated as they once again departed.

"Don't you care that I've won," Kozue asked. "Doesn't it matter to you?"

Quickly Kanoe sat back, brushed back her hair and said, "You won when I broke you five years ago. You won when I broke all my rules to have you, when I made myself leave you because I couldn't be kind. I still don't know how to be kind. I don't know how to settle. But I know how to keep girls like you from getting bored." She traced her fingers along Kozue's jaw line. "And you where so bored when I found you. You're still bored aren't you?" She kissed the top of the young woman's forehead. "Nothing out there you haven't done." She moved lower pressing her lips into a flushed cheek. "Nothing to really challenge you." Lower to the neckline, where she lingered for ages, slowly tugging up Kozue's blouse. "No game you haven't won." The blouse suddenly found itself flung far across the room. "And if all prey falls to your willing command", she paused to trace a few light patterns along the satin of Kozue's bra with her fingertips. "If that happens there's only so many things a wild creature like you has left to do."

If it was torture Kozue showed no signs of it. She wasn't bored with the seduction, but she wasn't falling into it, as she would have years ago. She waited to see if Kanoe could offer anything new, taken by complete surprise when the older woman removed herself completely and walked away. She lay on the couch bewildered and intrigued, ocean blues eyes wondering what her old foe was up to. After a few deep breaths she sat up.

"I hate being teased," she whispered taking a large gulp of the wine on the coffee table.

>>You may be king for the moment

But I am a queen understand

And I've got your pawns and your bishops
And castles
All inside the palm of my hand<<

It was instinct alone that her to the bedroom, instinct because the house was that big and because Kanoe left no clues as to where she had retreated to. It was a short chase, but unlike other games that had ended quickly, the chase dying with capture, there was something all too exciting about hunting down Kanoe in her own home. Opening the door Kozue slowly entered realizing that perhaps it wasn't a hunt so much as a trap, and an easy one for a hunter to fall into. Without much hesitation or wonder Kozue was soon prey to Kanoe's wanting lips. And with all her strength she took for a bit and then released the young woman with a sigh.

"I can't let you win," Kanoe whispered pulling Kozue close.

She chuckled into the kiss that threatened to take her. Near breathless as she replied, "What is winning Kanoe? Is it taking and breaking me again?" She pushed her weight forward so that the two fell into the plush comfort of the bed. Taking the slightest control as she laughed, "I'm not inclined to believe anything you say to me. Not inclined to listen to your promises broken as they are. How do you win if you know I can go when I like?"

"But you can't," Kanoe answered. "You had your chance to leave. You followed me instead, and I knew you would…You hate being teased, as much as you tease others, you hate it being done to you."

An elegant hand reached up to touch a still young face. Kozue let it bring her down. It wasn't losing. It was compromise, because at that point neither could claim a clear victory over the other, try as they might. The betraying wish of her heart let her glide into a deep kiss. Let her delicate fingers trace down a porcelain neck, work away unnecessary fabric, and in turn have the same done to her. Ocean blue eyes eager, lost under the feel of satin sheets gliding across bare skin, and Kanoe… Yes Kanoe in all, her perfection, elegance, wisdom, and beauty trapped beneath her and wanting. And just before Kozue let the world vanish into swirling intoxication she whispered close, "There go the last of your rules."

Oh it's all too true

I'm lost black blue and bruised

Lost in the game…of you

It was easy to lose she found. Easy to let go of what the game was supposed to be. The minute the heart wanted something more it was over. The game was lost. Waking she knew it to be true, but she had known the same thing five years earlier when she had done the same thing. Amber eyes fluttering open in the darkness, ears catching the sound of Kozue's soft breathing, and the feel of the young woman wrapped around her. She wanted to believe that in the morning when the sun shattered everything, Kozue would still be there, but she knew better. And unlike her past folly Kanoe wasn't going to try and keep her favorite girl captive. She shut her eyes again, savoring the moment and the memories. Remembering how that very first time she wanted nothing more than to wake each morning wrapped up in a wild embrace, and how the very thought of settling frightened her into breaking everything. It was easy to lose everything to her heart. Easy to forget the game she wanted to play. But things were finished and she would have to find another bored and wild thing to settle with.

>>>>It's amazing to me but I can't
Seem to say what I'm doing here
My tongue is all twisted around the air
I'm looking for words that were so well rehearsed
But I can't find them anywhere<<<<

"Oi! Juri! Another round!"

The stoic beauty quirked an eyebrow at the over excited and happy young man at the end of the bar. She poured him a pitcher of beer and shook her head as he grabbed it from her.

"You're the best!"

"And you're annoying Sorata. Couldn't you and your friends find someplace else to celebrate," Juri asked with a huff.

"Nope. This is where Arashi is making her debut," he beamed. "Besides sis I thought you'd be happy for me. After all I am your only brother and besides… My hot girlfriend gets to play with the famous Miki Kaoru."

A slight grin tugged at her lips, "Go sit down before you burst… and mind your friends don't tear this place apart. This isn't some rag tag bar for frat boys."

Sorata leapt off with his pitcher of beer in hand. Juri watched him happily bounce around wondering what it would take for him to actually calm down a bit. She shrugged and made her way back down the bar, filled orders and then took up her position leaning against the back counter. The door swung open and hazel eyes watched as Kozue entered and plopped onto a barstool. Juri sauntered over and just waited.


"So," she whispered.

"Game didn't go well," Juri questioned.

"It went the way it was going to go," Kozue replied.

"Then why do you look like someone took you and threw you into the ocean?"

"I dunno," Kozue replied. "Maybe I wish things could have been different." She paused and muttered, "Why am I telling you this?" ocean blue eyes catching the almost mournful way hazel caught her.

Juri busied herself making a martini and mentioned, "It's an exciting day you know? Miki finally agreed to let Arashi play with him. I think after a week of Sorata harassing him he just caved in."

Kozue chuckled, "He never just gives in. I'm sure she's very talented though." She looked at the perfect martini sitting before her and grinned a bit. "Thank you for the drink."

"The least I can do."



Kozue thought for a moment before sighing and asking, "When's your day off?"

An auburn eyebrow perked, "You actually asking me out?"


The stoic barkeep laughed and replied, "I like maybes. Maybe always means yes."