Hana's eyes shot toward the front door of their humble, one-room home. Her heart seemed to stop for a moment as the hope gathered up in her chest. It all released as a sigh of relief came from her mouth.
She stood up from the futon that they shared and realized just how nervous she had been when her knees trembled as she stood up.
Standing at the door and kicking his sandals off was her husband of almost six months now, Ryusuke.
His black hair looked rattier than the usual ungroomed appearance he was known for. A chain hung around his neck that always shone and stood out to Hana because hanging from it was his wedding ring.
He saw her walking towards him and gave her one of those smiles that always made her heart dance.
And then that smile instantly disappeared and was replaced by a look of sheer terror as he spotted the anger on his wife's face. She grabbed the collar of his kimono, wadding up the fabric and bringing his nervous face closer to her's.
"Where the hell were you?!"
"Six hours late Ryu... SIX WHOLE DAMN HOURS!"
She motioned to the small table behind them in the center of the room, "There's your cold ass food that's just been sitting there. I had to eat my dinner alone with my grim thoughts thinking you were fucking off dying in a pit somewhere. Just what the hell do you have to say for yourself?!"
The neighbors were definitely listening in, their lives were too relaxed for them to just ignore the newlyweds arguing.
Hana panted as she waited for an answer, just staring into his brown eyes.
Eventually it was clear he couldn't handle her stare because her normally loud and boisterous husband was silent, he tore his gaze away from her and bit his lip before saying softly, "I have a job to do Han."
Her grip on his kimono tightened and for a second her eyes darted down to the katana just hanging from his sash.
She sent the inanimate object a glare before saying, "You promised me that if you had to work overtime you would let me know, somehow." Her voice had calmed down, mainly so the neighbors couldn't hear them.
He still avoided eye contact with her and she saw him take in a big breath of air before just sighing.
The anger pricked back to the top of her throat but she stopped herself from yelling when a thought popped into her head. As she searched his uncharacteristically quiet and almost guilt-ridden face it occurred to her.
"W-Were you doing something that you didn't want me to know about?" Her heartbeat picked up as his face darkened and - rather than lie to her - he nodded solemnly.
A lump formed in her throat and she hated that this news she should be used to still shocked her enough to make her wanna start bawling like a child. When she married the young member of the town's small police force she knew that he would be getting himself into lots of trouble. Dangerous trouble.
She had seen him get hurt for years before she was brave enough to admit she loved him and wanted to spend the rest of her life with him.
After that things had always just seemed like the normal level of hectic that she was used to, no dangerous trouble in sight. Her husband was safe and strong and happy and he loved her just as much as she loved him.
But now that she had a tight fist in his collar and was staring at his somber face, she realized that there was still trouble out there. Trouble that would make him six hours late for dinner and trouble that he didn't want her knowing about. Trouble he didn't want her involved in. She soon spotted a cut just above his right eyebrow; it wasn't intense or graphic just a simple cut. But being able to leave a scratch on Ryusuke was a rare feat, and graphic or not it was still there and it just made the lump in her throat grow.
Using her free hand she reached up and brushed her thumb over the cut, he didn't react and was still not looking at her.
"Who managed to get the jump on you?"
Her lips were trembling. She made the big mistake of overestimating her ability to control her emotions because the second she opened her mouth tears began to fill her eyes and a sob interrupted her sentence halfway through.
The sound of that sob got Ryusuke's attention instantly and he quickly turned to look her directly in the eyes. She saw the panic in his face and it only fueled her tears even more.
She instantly let go of his collar and stepped back away from him and almost tripped over their table. He followed her on her distraught journey through their home, not saying anything and just letting her try and catch her breath as she continued to cry. She knew he was gonna stay like that until she wanted him to comfort her, that's how this always played out.
But now she didn't want his attention or love or pity.
She wanted him to be safe every second of the day.
She wanted him to be her's every second of the day.
But she couldn't have that, not in the slightest. Because he was not her's. He was the world's protector and that meant putting his life on the line for not just her but people he didn't even know.
And all she would ever need to do was accept that. But she couldn't. She absolutely refused to accept that the only man who was ever patient enough with her to love her could just suddenly get himself taken away...away from her.
Everyone would leave her, she had always been left behind and people's promises meant nothing to her broken trust. But Ryusuke's words were never bullshit promises or proverbs or even pity, they were a point. And it was a point she understood and eventually believed.
She needed him so that she could trust people again. If she couldn't trust him how the hell was she supposed to trust anyone else?
The only thing that made this worse was the fact that he was okay with this. He had accepted this. He was totally fine with suddenly dropping dead and leaving her a sobbing mess. As if he didn't know just how much of her life he held in his calloused hands.
Her heart seemed to stop when Ryusuke grabbed onto both of her hands and held them tight. "Hana you know that's not true! Leaving you is the worst thing I can imagine, the thought of you alone hurts me so much more than you think."
Hana blinked at him for a second, her vision was blurry through the wall of tears. Had she said all of that out loud?
He let go of her hands and cupped both of her cheeks as if she were the most delicate thing in the world.
Her sobs hadn't died down but she brought her hands up to place them over his.
"Han do know the thing that terrifies me the most? The thing that actually manages to scare my slow, dumb brain?" She shook her head quickly even though she knew the answer.
His eyes examine her face for a moment, he swallows, "Losing you. It's always gonna be the thing that haunts my dreams. Every hour of the day I'm fuckin' terrified that I'm gonna lose the only person who's ever loved me like this. I-I wanna be with you forever Han - you know that! A-and losing that life with you would kill me."
She shut her eyes tight, his shaking voice, almost on the brink of tears was too much for her.
Letting go of his hands, she slowly brought them to rest in his tangled, messy hair.
Their eyes locked onto one another and they froze.
The tears in the corners of his eyes only wanted to make her start bawling as loud as possible. But instead she took a step forward so there was no space between them and combed her fingers gently through his hair.
His amber colored eyes shone with such strong emotion that it made her heart ache.
Slowly, she began to pull his head down towards hers and said in a soft whisper, "I need you."
And that was all she needed to say as he felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up and she closed the distance between them and their lips met.
She was quickly taken aback by the way he almost pounced into the kiss. Just the way it felt so needing and aggressive at the same time. His hands slid down from her cheeks and rested on either side of her neck, his thumb brushing along her jaw.
Eventually he recognized the tell of her biting his lower lip and letting him know she wanted more.
So he gave her more in the form of soft moans.
After what felt like hours they pulled away panting and smiling. Ryusuke gave her that same grin that he always gave her. One that captured his childlike wonder and innocence and always made her dark world feel a lot brighter.
And suddenly she recognized a heat in her stomach, one that made her cheeks flush and legs grow weak.
Her and Ryusuke had yet to actually have sex since they never did get a proper honeymoon (it was just their luck that they were staying at a inn where a group of human traffickers had set up shop. Hana has yet to actually let Ryu forget about that and is still demanding a redo). That, and Hana never saw the importance of it after spending a good portion of her teen years working in a brothel.
Sex just felt like an everyday thing to her now, there wasn't much special to say and she didn't understand why people attached so much sentiment to it.
But lately she felt like she was beginning to understand.
Just being with Ryusuke, getting to see every little quirk and side to him only made her love him more and she wasn't even sure how that was possible. The more he loved her, the more she wanted to love him back, and God did she ever wanna give him all the love she had left to give.
Anything that hadn't been stolen by the men who paid to rip off her clothes and treat her like an object.
Those men never stole short kisses in an attempt to make her forget who or what she was ranting about. They would never fall into a fit of giggles because they couldn't for the life of them figure out how to help her get on her yukata. And they wouldn't start leaving gentle kisses on her neck after a long and frustrating day alone.
Somehow...she wanted to go further than simple teeth grazing against collarbones.
And as she looked up at him and was aware of his eyes darting between her eyes and her lips she wondered something. If he wanted that same thing.
Suddenly her mouth began to open and she had no clue what her body was planning on asking him.
"Ryu?" She rested her head on his chest to listen to his heartbeat, which had sped up after their random make out session.
"Hmm?" His hands rested on the small of her back and she told that part of her brain that wished he lowered his hands more to shut the fuck up.
"Have you had sex yet?"
Instantly her face flushed and went hot and her jaw dropped, she was glad she was hiding her face in his chest because she was too embarrassed to face the universe at the moment.
Being married to him had turned her into a prude.
There were a few seconds of punishing silence before he simply said, "Nah."
"Ryu what the hell does that mean?"
She hated how damn cute he could be even though she had just made a fool of herself.
"I've never had sex before. How's that?" He said it stiffly with a smile on his face.
Hana felt her heart sink, "So-...So I'm gonna be you're first?"
"Yup." He replied and she could hear the grin in his voice.
He sounded a lot happier about the idea than she did. "So you have to give your virginity to some bitch who gave her first away for money?"
He laughed, "You make it sound like virginity is an object."
She didn't say anything for several seconds; Ryu took it as a sign to continue, "One day, I'm gonna have sex with my wife - this beautiful woman named Hana not sure if you've met her - and it will just so happen to be my first time. Who cares? It's gonna be with the woman I love the most and it's gonna be special."
Hana was still remaining silent, but she had wrapped her hands around his neck and squeezed him into a warm hug.
One that made him smile as she nuzzled into the crook of his neck.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and continued, "Us having sex for the first time isn't gonna be about me Han, it's gonna be about us."
Hana nodded and said with happiness in her tone, "Since when did Mr. Virgin Workaholic become so wise on the concept of sex?"
He chuckled deeply, hot breath blowing on her neck and causing her to let out a content sigh. "I do actually listen to what Tomori has to say when she gives me marriage advice."
She bit her lip, trying to hold in a laugh, "Remind her to thank me..."
"Oh Han - you know have a terrible memorRYY!" He jumped at the feeling of hot kisses being place on the border between his shoulder and his neck. Realizing what was happening, he smiled and hugged her tighter.
Ryusuke knew that Hana really liked it when he would start kissing her neck and would sometimes just let him sit there for what felt like hours before telling him she needed to make dinner. He now totally understood the appeal.
But then the rush of sparks that he was feeling went away when she pulled back from the hug and let go of his neck.
She tilted her head and smirked at the obvious pout on his face.
Quickly she grabbed onto his hand and began to take them on the daring adventure towards the futon they shared to save space. It was crammed into the corner of their home so it was up against two, very thin, walls. And Hana wasted no time in shoving Ryusuke into the one on the left side of their bed.
He let out a surprised 'Oof!' but was prevented of further reaction by her straddling his lap and placing a full kiss on his parted lips.
She felt his hands slide up her sides and rest comfortably in her slightly disheveled dark hair.
His touch was like fire against the few bare spots of skin available and she hummed into their kisses. She liked it when he pulled her hair, something she discovered recently seeing as he wasn't the first man to pull her hair but he was the first man to make it feel sexy.
Right now he was just massaging her scalp gently with his tired fingers.
Everything about them felt melted together as she licked the roof of his mouth and softly tugged on her hair, causing her to groan.
But then Ryusuke quickly pulled away and brought his hands out of her hair.
"Time out I think I have a hair in my mouth."
She huffed and squirmed on his lap as she watched his attempt to get a hair out of his hot, wet, addictive mouth. As she watched she ignored the fact that she would rather watch him put her fingers in his mouth than his own.
Honestly she did not need to make every action he did sexual but her whole body was just waiting for it.
Finally he triumphed in his hunt and pulled out a short, brown hair that belonged to neither of them. But Hana didn't give it a second glance and the second Ryu shot her that stupid, proud grin she began to ravish his face with open mouthed kisses as she continued to squirm on top of him.
She wanted to kiss every little scar on his body tonight.
Pulling back she heard a quiet whine escape his throat, his breathing was heavy and his face was totally red. She giggled, "Jesus, I'm really not giving you anytime to process am I?"
He smiled and nodded at her, indicating he was okay with it.
"Good." She leaned down and kissed her way up to his ear where she said in a hushed whisper, "Tell me Ryu," She heard his breathing hitch, "You have no damn idea how to get this thing I'm wearing on," He giggled at the memory and she felt him nod, "But do you have any clue on how to get it off?"
Hana slowly opened her eyes to the sight of their dark home, sunlight just barely peeking in through the edges of the door.
For a second she pondered the dream she had and wondered if she needed to start putting things in her tea to calm her raging desire to bang her husband. But then she felt her bare legs rub up against another set of bare legs and she quickly remembered that was no dream.
That was a wonderful and intense reality that the neighbors definitely heard.
She began to sit up and noted that she was laying on his side of the bed. She always liked to sleep sandwiched between Ryusuke and the wall, nothing in the world made her feel safer.
Looking down at his sleeping face she smiled at how his hair was poking up all over the place due to her constant combing. She remembered hitting a stubborn knot and becoming frustrated so she just yanked her fingers through it. He then responded with a loud yelp of pain before tugging hard on her hair as payback.
She smiled as he had childishly said, "See how you like it."
But he would have no way to react when she told him to do it again.
She groaned and put her head in her hands. Even a totally inexperienced and disinterested guy like him had to know that she asked him to do a lot of weird things, all of which he complied to.
Rubbing her neck, sure she had a fair share of marks (she liked the hair pulling and he liked to bite, a symbiotic relationship of sorts), she looked at the state of their home. His untouched food was still on the table and she realized he still had quite a lot of stamina for someone who hadn't eaten anything since breakfast time.
His kimono was on the other side of the room.
'I threw it that far?'
She thought as she began to rub her now cold arms and was ready to go back into the blanket.
But then she felt the person next to her stir and her heart leapt in her chest. She really did just wanna hear his voice.
He blinked sleepily for a few seconds before looking up and seeing Hana looking down at him lovingly. He gave her a grin and attempted to stifle a yawn.
"Morning gorgeous." Hana said as she shifted around so she could gaze down at him more comfortably. And became aware of how sore she was.
He inched closer to her and she felt him tangle their legs together.
Totally unnecessary and she knew that meant she needed it.
"I love you, so much. Maybe a little too much."
"No such thing as too much."
Her heart ached, "Good, because that's nonnegotiable. Me and the boatload of love are a package deal."
He giggled and placed a kiss on her stomach.
Then they were just silent for a few minutes, Hana finally spotting her yukata tucked under the blanket and Ryusuke wrapping his arms around her torso.
Her hands found their way into his tangled hair.
"This isn't gonna be the last time I'm six hours late for somethin'."
He let go of her torso and sat up and for a second she was afraid he was gonna leave the bed.
But instead he leaned forward and rested his forehead on her shoulder. And then a wave of heat fell over her and she remembered that this is what he saw as home, and she knew he would always return to her. To his home.
"But...But that's okay. Be-...Uh because you'll never leave me Ryu. Your warmth and your smile and your voice. Those will always stay with me, no matter what."
She wrapped her arms around his neck sighed at the feeling of their bare chests pressed together. This was a closeness that she would always crave, and one day she couldn't have that. But it would be okay. Because he loved her and was already holding onto her as tightly as he could.
And she was sure they would never be separated forever.