Between One and the Other

There are things he was made for, but this was not one of them; even if he were not a priest, even if he were nothing but himself, he was not be made for this. Ririn looks up at his pale face afterwards, where his expression has gone impassive but his eyes are burning like he could skin her alive with his gaze alone. She wants to apologize but knows he wouldn’t accept it no matter how delicately-phrased, so she doesn’t bother.

It’s a pity — she genuinely likes him, he’s funny — but her mother’s guards are sniffing through every corner of the palace and she doesn’t know where his friends or hers have hidden themselves; it’s just them in this dark narrow place with his knees in her hips her elbows in his sides and they’re practically tangled together, at this point. And he was the one who tried to move, trying to shift away from touching her when there was nowhere else for him to go. He kept swearing at her, banging all his long limbs against the rocky walls and cursing at that and someone was bound to notice very soon–

So she’d wrapped herself around him — sort of forcibly, arms and legs both because any longer and he might have started backing her out of their hiding place — and she’d grabbed his skinny face in both her hands and bitten his mouth before he could cry out. She’d even tasted blood, more sour than she expected, tasting like dull metal and salt and old alcohol. The scent of cigarette smoke clung to him like a mist, sharp in her nose and trying to tempt her to sneeze.

Under and against her he’d gone stiff and abruptly silent, but she didn’t let go for long moments after, listening as the guards drew closer, then moved away, shouting to each other, their voices echoing in the hallways. And Ririn had let go slowly, sliding down to stand on her own two feet again. At least he was no longer trying to fight his way out, holding ramrod still, which was both relief and troublesome both.

She doesn’t entirely regret it, though. Though she has bruises on both her elbows now, and he’d probably shoot her as soon as he had the room (even Sanzou is not quite so trigger-happy that he’d shoot in a narrow place where bullets could ricochet), she doesn’t regret.

If she’s honest, she doesn’t think she ever will.

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