Crown of Thorns

The war was something that she never desired, but her birthright as a daughter of the Yagari family forced her to be a part of it. She killed level Est and slowly destroyed herself until the night her life was saved. Salvation was a distant dream, but maybe it was closer than she had originally believed.


17. The First Few Steps

His lips were pressed hard against her own. She could feel his hands moving over her, exploring her. There was a ripping sound that she was barely aware of. She was cold suddenly. Her eyes closed when she was laid down. The bed shifted when another weight was added to it. Opening her eyes, she saw that Kenta was hovering over her. His lips were on her neck. She turned her head and stared at the far wall. There was a crack in it. It was barely noticeable, but now it became the focus of her attention. She followed its jagged edges with her eyes.


The room was dark. She could hear Kenta's heavy breathing as he slept, exhausted. Her gaze still lingered on the crack though, she could no longer see it. Now though, she focused on the breathing of the male beside her. It was slow and even. Closing her eyes, she found the same darkness of the room. It was black. She opened her eyes. After a moment, she will herself to move. Slowly and carefully she shifted so that she was lying on her side. Curling up slightly she closed her eyes again. After a moment she reached for the blankets and pulled them over her, feeling a little bit warmer.


Kenta's arms were wrapped around her, keeping her close. His touch was unwanted. She could not bring herself to move though. There seemed to be no reason to. She would only have to return here to his bed. Shifting slightly, she felt his hold on her tighten be a fraction. Was he awake? She didn't want to turn over to see if he was. That would imply that she cared when she did not. What felt like hours passed. She felt him shift and then his lips press against her shoulder.

Opening his eyes, Kenta looked at the woman that laid in his arms. Her back was to him. He brushed his lips against her shoulder before nuzzling the back of her neck. Shifting, he then sat up enough so that he could rest his chin on her shoulder. "You are awake."


"Did you not sleep?"

"I slept a little."

"I see." He lifted one hand to play with some of the dark strands of her hair. "We have plenty of time to rest."

The gesture made her uncomfortable. She turned her head and stared at the window. It was not dark as it had been the night before. Now, there was light beginning to filter into the room. She found herself wishing for the darkness. The thought of this new day, the knowledge of this new life... A knot formed her in throat. Why did this have to happen? One of his hands was trailing down her form, causing a shudder to pass through her being. Moving away a little she turned onto her side again.

Kenta frowned, but did not do anything else. Things would change in time. He sat up abruptly and swung his legs over the edge of the bed.

The bed shifted and she looked to see what he was doing. For a second time the bed shifted when he stood up. His back was to her. She found her eyes trailing down his naked form.

He glanced at her before pulling on his pants. A short time later, he left the room.

She lay in bed for a few minutes longer after he had left. When several minutes had passed, she then sat up. Her movements were slow when she felt some discomfort. There was a pain where there should not be. She sat on the edge of the bed. It was uncomfortable and she was not wholly fond of the feeling. Hearing movement in the hall, she quickly rose and pulled on her robe. Kenta entered the room and she looked at him.

His gaze lingered on her before he looked away. She was up at least. He had thought that she would lie in bed all day depressed. "Are you hungry?"


She put on her slippers before leaving the room. Her duties as a wife would start now, she supposed. As she passed him, she saw what she thought to be surprise appear in his expression before it was gone. Going into the hall, she made her way to where she assumed the kitchen to be. It was a short walk, an unfamiliar one. She pulled out some food and started to make breakfast for the two of them. This, she was more accustomed to. She supposed that she would become used to the rest, that she would become used to being Kenta's wife. As the rice cooked, she glanced around. The interior of the room was not that different from the kitchen of the house that she had grown up in. It just lacked the familiarity. She supposed, that in time, it would gain that. Hearing the sound of heavy footsteps, she looked at Kenta. He stood in the doorway, watching her. She wondered what was going on in his mind. He seemed to be surprised and maybe even impressed that she was being such a good wife. She turned her head, not wanting to look at him any longer.


Her stomach knotted. She could only imagine what he wanted to talk about, what he wanted to do. To her own relief the rice had finished cooking and she quickly attended to it. Kenta said nothing more and when she turned around she saw that he had sat down at the table. She filled two bowls with the white grains and brought his breakfast to him. Sitting down across from him, she kept her gaze on her meal. After a few minutes though, she found her gaze drawn to the window and the to the life beyond the walls of this house.

There was a strained silence between them. He knew that she had no desire to be here, to be with him. She was only being the obedient individual that he had known when he had first met her. In time, he knew though, the tension between them would relax and she would accept her new position in life. "Shiriko," he said again. She met his gaze this time. "Are you finished?"

There was something about this that was normal. This wasn't right. Nothing about this was normal. They sitting across each other wasn't normal. Right now she should be sitting across from Toga and they both should have been eating their breakfast together; not she and Kenta. At this moment Toga would have been leaving to train or they would have been talking about her garden. Her garden... Who would be taking care of it? She would have to return home if Kenta allowed it. Though, she was rather certain that her father had taken every measure to ensure that she would not return home. There was too much risk in doing such a thing. That thought left a bitter taste in her mouth.

No answer had been given to him yet. He waited, patient. With her, he would have to be.

The weight of his gaze drew her from her thoughts. It was heavy and demanded attention, almost, it seemed. Focusing on him, she then looked at her empty bowl. "Yes," she answered after a moment.


Why had he said that? She watched him, unable to read his thoughts as much as she wanted to. Perhaps it was better that she was unable to though. Kenta had set his chopsticks down and she found herself standing with him when he rose from his chair. He walked around the table and then took a step towards her. She didn't move as much as she wished to draw away when he came close to her.

His movements were slow as if he were afraid that he would frighten her off. A few more steps and he was standing before her. Lifting one hand, he touched her cheek before tracing the curve of her neck. His gaze didn't leave hers. He lowered his lips to her ear. "Come," he said lowly.


Kenta had gone. To where she did not know. He had said that he would return later in the evening. Sitting alone in the kitchen, she was no longer able to avoid her thoughts. Everything that had happened began to replay itself in her mind. Their wedding night, the gentle touches, his deep voice whispering words that she couldn't remember now. Had he been comforting her? Had he been trying to make her feel better? There had been pain, that she remembered. It had not lasted long though. What had she felt? She didn't know. Had she felt anything then? She thought that she had. It seemed as thought she had. She bit her lower lip. It was too confusing. None of it seemed real. It was though. Kenta's constant presence and the ring, that felt heavy on her finger, was proof of that. She supposed that she had felt something. Kenta had made certain to remind her again. Accepting. That seemed to be the appropriate label of what she felt right now. Everything else was... She played with the silver band. At the moment, she was very tempted to remove it. She could not though, without incurring her father's wrath. What more can he do that he has not already done? She pulled her fingers away from the band as if the metal had burned her.

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