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 The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)

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ConfusedShipper123

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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:45 pm

Unsettling. There was more to see than what they'd already seen. And Ulric did not wish to elaborate on just how unsettling Noia and her shadow were.

"I had grown accustomed to it, but... I hadn't been that far into Umbra in a while," he replied in a whisper, before slipping off the bed to sit next to her on the floor.

"It is really something else down there... and I'm sure the docks are much louder right now..."
---
The boy stared pensively through the window, crouched down so only his eyes and forehead might be visible to others, keeping watch while his mother climbed the rickety staircase back to their third-level shelter for the evening. He remember insisting to her, let them stay home. He could watch his brothers, he promised.

"Noia isn't safe, you're right, Tsvetan. But we have been here for too long. We need to leave again before we're caught."

Before Umbra had had enough of them. Before the careless man near the top of their hierarchy decided that they weren't worth the trouble anymore. At twelve years old, he had been thrown under the polished boulders of Sidero many times, forced to stick his eyes into the dirt, forced to feel the crushing weight of the enormous stones cracking his vertebrae and sinking him lower.

He wasn't a child, in spite of his youthful looks. In his mind, he saw himself charging the man with his long blond locks, taking the man's own blade from his jacket and pressing it close to the man's neck, hissing like he'd seen his mother do when the man came too near.

"Where is my brother?" he'd say, in his lowest, most intimidating voice. "I know you've taken him... like everyone else. We will have the last word! We will end this!"

Tsvetan did not often indulge in these disturbing fantasies, but when he did, he was elaborate, like an Aster designer. He intricately imagined the underboss's home, with marble white floors, and dark granite columns. A staircase in the background. Paintings of mysterious, Ariak men with intimidating eyes. He stared back at them with his own wrathful gaze.

"Who gave you the right to determine who lives or dies?" he whispers, pressing the blade in closer to the man's neck, as he stared back, completely petrified. And just when he drew blood, he took the blade from his neck and, with sudden strength, shoves the man to the floor. I'm better than you, he'd communicate with his arms. Don't come near my family ever again.

"Tsvetan. You need to sleep too," the woman said as she returned to the small upper room.

"Mother... I hate sitting back here. Letting them use us. Use you."

Deirdre looked at the floor before looking into her son's eyes, stricken by his familiarity.

"I know it's hard, Tsvetan, but this is what we have to do. At least for now."

"How many times have you said that, mom?" he replied, already exasperated.

"Go to sleep, Tsvetan. If you want to do something, get enough rest that you can carry your brothers a few hours when we move on tomorrow."
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:45 am

Phoenix raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"

---

Elesid had received the news that the shipment was coming in on time from the family's most trusted messenger. Her prediction had been correct. As usual. The storms were causing minimal complications with the immediate reception of the shipment.

As much as it pained her to leave anything under solely the supervision of Upton and Fioro, but if the boss permitted it, she supposed it was the right decision. She was there mostly to consult anyway.

She made sure that the waterways were always clear from Elios to Noia. She made sure that no one would ask any questions about the crates that were quickly dispersed throughout the city's circulatory system: its monorails.

She always made them dissipate and dissolve undetected by law enforcement. Because she was the Elosi diplomat here in Noia. And what she said went.

Elesid adjusted her long flaxen braid, throwing it over her shoulder. It appeared casual, but it was calculated, just like the slightly skewed writing utensils on her desk and the perfectly natural looking peachy sheen on her lips.

It all had to look accidentally flawless.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:36 am

((ELESID <3))

"There's a shipment tonight," Ulric replied, looking at the floor, the shadows projected by the single candle illuminating the entire room, besides the small rectangles of blueish light filtered by open edges of the curtain. Instinctively, Ulric moved further into the darkness.

"If we hadn't beaten the crap out of each other, we'd probably be out there tonight..."

"We would probably be out there with them if not for... the current situation."
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:48 am

Phoenix moved with him, positioning herself on the edge of his bed. Ever since they had been snatched and taken to the induction ceremony, she could not shake the feeling that they were being observed at all times of the day. Peris' warning also succeeded in making her more nervous.

She found the shadows that tactfully avoided the candlelight to be pockets of safety.

"Oh... I see," she said, totally not shippingly eyes far away, imagining the scene at the docks.

----

Ares laughed quietly at his Tephran recruits. Blythe bared her teeth, fists clenched, ready to rip into action. Ares was incredibly amused at the way that staying out of the action seemed physically hurt her. Her breathing was loud and shallow, eyes were wide and it was obvious that her every fiber itched for blood.

Ros was entirely different in her pain. Her breath was profound and slow, eyes narrow with rage. Her entire body remained limber and ready to snap at anything that came close enough.

But her handler would never give her that opportunity and it was torture.

Ares merely licked his lips and sat back as some of his sector began to fend off enemy gang members.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:28 am

((ARES.))

Stamatia supervised her groups with a keen eye on anyone who seemed the slightest bit out of line. She couldn't trust the seeming perfection of the operation at this time. For as much as anyone could try to plan, there was always the unexpected. Even so, she tried to anticipate what would go wrong.
---
The clock had passed one in the morning. The shipment was important, but Blanat did not turn back on her own word, regardless of her husband's behavior. Umbra was quiet, eerie as it seemed as though double the population of Noia crowded its streets during the day. Tonight was busy just above them. The few who were out seemed innocuous enough, smoking at the edges of the streets, others lingering at the establishments which continued to stay open in Umbra. Day and night were usually not so distinguishable in this part of Noia, but tonight, it seemed as though the stone ceiling had turned to cold, clouded, black velvet, masking all possibility of natural light.

She pulled down the hood of her jacket, and exited Umbra, entering a hotel in the Aster district.

"Ms., do you have a reservation?" a young man with a well-kept light blue uniform inquired as the woman walked in, her eyes steely and awake.

"Yes."

"Ms... Blanat, yes?"

"Yes."

"Here's your key, have a good night, now."

"Good night."
---
The youths from earlier that night were stealthy as they continued criss-crossing between the perimeters of the shipment guards. There was just one segment left to go before they reached their goals.

But that place was guarded by two intimidating Tephran women.

"Come on, we can get past them..."
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:42 am

((STAMATIA.))

Ares watched from a small distance, but he was well-hidden. The boys watching Ros and Blythe were no match for the girls. But he would make them let the group through. Stand by simply because they were told to stand by. Become their master.

And then he would take them for himself.

---

Phoenix stretched, arms extending outward and upward. Then she let her body hang limp on upright shoulders. "I'm not tired." She didn't like it.

---

Fioro stood on the corner of a block in the shipping district. He was ready to watch all of the pieces fall into place on the table. The puzzle would fuse and form a flawless image. An image of success. Everything was moving through as planned.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:03 pm

(('Plannin'" ahead. lol FIORO. AND ARES. >Xl))

"I am, but... it's impossible to sleep now," Ulric replied, yawning before looking at the window again. Then he noticed his partner, the shadows casting over her in the night. Gentle darkness, softening her features. She looked tired, but he could tell that neither one of them would be sleeping this night.

"I wonder what else we're going to have to do..." he whispered, not so much wondering, but knowing what was to come, and just the level of destruction it would bring.
---
Upton returned to the place where he and his brother observed the shipment, looking over the men and women who began to move out at the commands of their trusted Capos. Everything seemed to be falling into place. He thought of the crate stashed several blocks away, awaiting its very particular delivery, of the moments just before dawn when he would carry it himself to the nearly abandoned building just outside of his city.

---

The four young men continued past, as they watched the Umbrans begin to move, before sliding into the crowd themselves, hopefully unseen.

---
A young man was cleaning the dressers in the enormous shared room of the married underboss's home when he spotted a sealed, folded piece of parchment lying upon the bedside table. In tall, loping, hardly legible script, was the name of the man. Upton.

He was not one to snoop, but it was odd, that someone other than himself, the man, and the woman would enter the room. Especially to leave a note like this. He couldn't break that seal. It would be too obvious...

However piqued his curiosity, he tried to deny it, going on with the cleaning. It would be a while until either would be home, with whatever the "family" was up to tonight.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:33 am

((OSHT, serviceboy!))

"I do, too," Phoenix said in reply, her voice somewhere between a whisper and a mutter. She was afraid of what they would have her do. Not because of the action, but because she was afraid of herself. Of the fact that she might like this line of work. Might want to stay here forever, fighting every day to stay alive just for the thrill.

The adrenaline made her feel real. Like she was doing something significant.

She didn't want to be bloodthirsty, but when she lost control in the fight, it became a part of her.

----

"Everything still going smoothly, Upton?" Fioro asked, eyes still glued to the windows. The corners of his mouth were tight with anxiety. The look in his dark eyes was hard. Elesid had been jumping down his throat lately about the family's direction. They couldn't afford to have anything go wrong this time.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:56 am

((YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYAH, GRRL. AND BOII.))

"Just as we planned," Upton replied, smoothly, erasing entirely his encounter with the woman just a moment ago. He understood his brother's anxiety, the pressure and dissatisfaction of their consigliere; he greatly valued her views, but it was obvious whom she wanted to benefit. The directions she wanted to take. His eye would be on the family above all, but the woman had power. They couldn't afford to lose such an advisor.
--
Ulric never wanted to find himself living this life again. He'd been running from his previous actions, running since the last treatment he'd run outside of the family's approval. He'd been hiding, even if in plain sight. Even if he'd been guarding within the city, only sending his money home in order to keep his family secure.

They were going to leave Sidero. He'd written them, promised them. Nothing had come of it yet.

An indeterminate amount of time had passed since the last time they'd seen each other... weeks? A month? It must have been several. Their correspondence had grown so minimal in that time, so brief, for fear of safety.

This was for them, he'd told himself. What they would do here, the capture he and the bounty hunter would make would send his family to Aster. They could finally come clean, to the Senator, themselves. Truly start anew for the first time in their lives.

The young man hadn't been so certain of these things at the beginning, but he'd been willing to take the risk. And now, he was more uncertain than ever. His brother would have to do unthinkable things to have them leave. To keep them alive with his mother. Ulric nearly gasped at the sudden and steadying sting of his thoughts. The ache of their collective losses. It seemed they would never be free...
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:22 am

Phoenix stared at the drapes. She decided to swallow her fear, or at least put off having to feel it. Her tongue tapped the roof of her mouth as she swallowed. Her throat was achingly dry. It cried for a drink to make her numb for a while.

But she didn't like to drink when she was feeling bad. She needed a distraction.

Her eyes shifted to her partner, slowly adjusting to seeing his visage in shadow. She noticed the faraway look in his eyes. "Where are you?" she asked.

----

Fioro nodded his approval, briefly making eye contact with Upton before focusing once more on the streets. The marina was quiet. The lack of noise left him alone with his thoughts and they buzzed around in his skull like angry wasps, ramming the insides of his cranium.

"I'm glad to hear it. How is your wife?"
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:13 am

Ulric was jolted to the present, once more by his partner.

"I'm sorry... I um, I..."

He debated honesty again, but decided he'd covered up enough from Phoenix.

"I was thinking of my family," he continued quietly, staring straight ahead, at his partner's empty bed, the blankets untucked, the wall also empty above it, but so clean and washed in light yellow from the lights outside, the only thing indicating life in Noia at that time.

---

Upton tensed at the mention of his wife. He usually appreciated concern about his personal life, but this was an immensely trying time with Blanat. And their unborn child. He still wasn't certain how true that could be. It wasn't that he didn't believe her, but the news was just so unbelievable.

"I think she'll be alright," he replied, as apathetically as possible, but the slight sigh at the end of his words indicated otherwise. He wondered if she would be there when he came home tonight. And what it meant to him if she wasn't.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:34 pm

Phoenix nodded, "Oh..." She wondered if his family still lived in Noia. Or if it had become too dangerous for them to stay there. And then she got to wondering about his family in general.

"What are they like? Your family."

---

Fioro did not see his brother tense, but the sudden drop in the volume of his voice told him enough. Upton and Blanat were having issues with their marriage. Which was to be expected in their line of work.

He truly wanted no part in it. He was happy with his servicegirlsandboys.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:00 pm

"My family is... Well, they're all... really great people. I... we haven't really seen each other in a while," he said, quieting at the end of his sentence.

"My sister didn't make it... and you know what happened... to my... father, but... I have four brothers. My mom and I. We all... take care of each other, you know? But I think they're worried. We haven't heard from each other in a while either."

---

Upton stared out at the soldiers as they carried out the shipment. There was nothing of note occurring. He yawned. He needed to sleep tonight, at least a few hours. It had honestly been a while since his last all-nighter like the one he'd had the previous night. He hadn't done anything like it since he was a Capo.

He saw the disinterest in his brother's face; the man knew nothing of commitment, but who was he to judge? It seemed Blanat thought the same of him.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:51 pm

Phoenix gently laid a hand on Ulric's shoulder upon hearing that his sister did not make it. The Native Virus had taken her. She couldn't imagine losing a loved one to something like that. But she always pretended that she could for the sake of her backstory.

"I'm sorry to hear about your sister..." she said, keeping her voice low, "And that you never see your family." She gave his shoulder a squeeze that was just barely there, "It's nice that you're close to them, though."

---

Ares moved out of the shadows when the men passed. "Stay," he growled at the Tephran girls, as he stalked his prey. Silently, he slid the blades out from his sleeves, ready to take them out quietly. One by one.

And the last one would feel the true fear of being alone in the face of death.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:19 pm

The prey was completely oblivious to the predator stalking just behind them, their eyes on their own prey. The crates being passed and carried onto and away from a ship.

The first went down without so much as a gasp, freezing at the touch of the blade barely realizing when it sunk into his neck, sending blood flowing to the ground where he fell.

When the other two realized their partner's fate, their eyes widened, their feet sped. No longer were their minds on what they'd come there for.
---
Ulric was still looking at the wall when Phoenix put her hand upon his shoulder. The small squeeze and her sympathetic words did eventually bring him to gaze upon her shadowed face again. He wondered about her, her family. Who they were, where they were, how she felt about them. But he wasn't certain he could ask. If she had an answer.

He tried to see into her feigned-blue eyes, back to the amber he had seen the night they had met. He had never seen eyes like those before, not as he had with her. He wondered what her natural eye color was. Amber eyes were uncommon for an Ariak, an Aster. They were not as much for Tephrans. If she'd been raised there, what kind of life had she endured? His hand found her shoulder as well, hoping that whatever she had to hide had at least begun to heal within her.

"How about you?" he whispered. "What's your life like... outside of this?"
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:40 pm

Ares lurked, following the men again after he took the first of them. His body went into autopilot. Its every move was calculated and he became a lethal automaton. When it was time for the men to turn a corner, he removed himself from the shadows and pulled his second kill into the darkness.

His hand clamped over the man's mouth and his knife slid across the man's throat, making a gaping red grin from ear to ear. He threw the body back into the street, still gurgling and convulsing and disappeared again to watch his last and most exciting victim.

Now the chase would begin.

---

Phoenix debated telling him the truth. She did not want to tell him about where she grew up, or how she grew up because she was ashamed of her heritage.

But he had told her so much.

All she could bring herself to do was omit some of the truth. "My parents died when I was too young to remember. I have a sister, but she married young and I never saw much of her after that," her voice fell a little toward the end. "So I got a mentor to help me join the Ariak military and I ended up doing this instead."
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:57 pm

Ulric tied together the few stories of her life she had permitted him to see, hoping he had begun to understand his partner at a level beyond her many disguises. Neither of them told the whole truth to the other, he noted. But he all they could ask from one another was what the other was willing to give. Her story was punctuated by loss, like his own. They had both seen too much.

He looked into her eyes, seeing beyond the dye. He wanted to tell her how much he wished that she hadn't ever suffered. She was so passionate, so alive, when they were in the city, searching for more to bring them closer to their goal. She had such fire in her, but she was so vulnerable, so honest here, in this darkened room. Slowly, he touched her other hand with the one that wasn't upon her shoulder.

"You seem... very content, when you're working," he whispered.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:26 am

Phoenix felt herself gravitating closer to her partner. She looked into his eyes and could see kindness veiled beneath their exterior. He was different from what she was used to dealing with in a person. He was never asking anything of her. He was content with coexisting with her. And she with him.

"I am. I love my job," she murmured. "But you... Do you like being a bodyguard?"
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:37 am

((*shippingsqueeeeee*))

Ulric was unfamiliar with the increased notice of his pulse, the pounding in his chest, for something so un-threatening as his partner moving closer. It was not like the times he'd been so aware before. The same sensation, but completely different. It was not a warning, not a call to run, but an indication of something else. Something desirable.

"...Do you like being a bodyguard?"

So many unfamiliar things were happening this night. No one had ever asked him this before.

"I... Sometimes. I've been told... I'm good at it, in the very least. I do what I have to... but... I prefer to avoid any shoulders that brush with Umbra. But that's what I'm usually hired for..." he said, looking away briefly. Only recently had his job become harder than ever. There had just been too many close calls. But this would be the closest of them all. Even so, he could not forget the cause of his heart rate's increase now, just before him.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:56 am

((*squeeeeeee!*))

Phoenix nodded, "I see. Umbra is part of the reason why I left Sidero for such a long time... But I guess you already know about that." She saw something else in his face, but she wasn't quite sure what it was. Almost like he was uncomfortable. Or couldn't quite make sense of something. It was slight, available for her to read only in the way he set his chin and brows. It was made clearer by her close proximity.

She could feel something odd in her stomach, like small butterflies. Something she hadn't felt in a long time. She shifted her eyes down and to the side, her appearance becoming almost shy and demure.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:02 am

Ulric found himself gravitating toward Phoenix as she had just before him. He wondered if she felt what he was feeling, if she understood the unfamiliarity. But he saw her eyes, her face illuminated by the light slipping in from the curtains. He closed his hand over hers, moved his arm around her shoulders. He wasn't sure what was happening, but he needed to be even closer to her. Seeing her face, so demure, so unlike her. It was stunning, just being that near to her.

((SOMUCHSHIPPING.))
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:17 am

Phoenix leaned into him gently, upon feeling his arm around her shoulders. She gently stroked his hand with her thumb and brought her eyes up to meet his. The blue was fading out of her eyes and the gold was starting the seep back into her irises with time. Her heart was pounding in her chest.

Her eyes dropped to the floor again. This couldn't be happening. He was her partner for a bounty. This was her job. She was working.

But he was looking at her. He made her feel small and vulnerable. His features were strong and handsome in the softly fading light. And his gaze was gentle.

And before she knew it, she found her face dangerously close to his and her eyes closing.


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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:25 am

((AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!))

Ulric saw any residual evidence of Lita, of Phoenix's other personas fade away as she came closer, the flecks of gold present in her eyes. The uncommon softness, shyness, in her face, though her movement toward him was anything but shy. He found himself pulling her even closer when her face was close enough to his that all he saw was that face. He closed his eyes also, all thought flying from him, all logic from his mind, all rules stripped away, every remnant of his painful thoughts, their peril, obliterated, when he gently pressed his lips to hers.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:22 pm

((AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!11ONE1!!!1!))

Phoenix softly laid her hand on the nape of his neck, pulling herself a bit closer to him before gently pulling away. She did not fight the delicate red that rushed in to tint her cheeks. Her eyelids lifted and she looked at him, an easy smile playing across her lips. It was different from how she smiled as Lita. Softer. Less practiced and professional. A little goofy. More human.

She slowly pulled her hand back to her side. "Well..." she murmured.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:19 pm

((FANGIRLSQUEEINGANDGIGGLINGANDAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!))

Ulric saw her face, her smile, her expression more genuine than he'd ever seen, her cheeks such a soft shade of pink. She looked unlike he'd ever seen her. He'd felt her hand on his neck, the softness of her lips. It seemed like masks had fallen, like smoke had been cleared. It was as though he was seeing her clearly for the first time.

He smiled back at her gently, so tempted to pull her in again, but the moment was so perfect, so different from anything he'd ever understood, ever experienced, ever understood before. He wasn't even sure he could articulate this in words.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow of Peace (Abeiya and ConfusedShipper123)   

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