Notes and Disclaimers:  The following is an original work by me, freely using the creative genius of Tachiwaka Megumi, to whom I am indebted.   The characters of Saint Tail, Asuka Jr., et al are owned by Kodansha and TMS.  

I sincerely hope you enjoy this fic half as much as I do, and you'll be inspired to let me know.  May we all find a love like Asuka Jr. and Meimi.

                                                                                                                            Stirling Twilight


9 Days

It’s been 9 days, 13 hours and I don’t know how many minutes since I told her I’m in love with her.

Asuka Jr. stole a glance at the young woman who was walking beside him. Her hand was clutched in his own, which felt hot and thick in the cool night air. Neither one spoke as they slowly strolled toward her home.

I’m nervous.

It was perhaps the thousandth time he had had that thought this evening.

I’m really nervous.

With a mental grin he returned his eyes to the path before them.

He had offered to take Haneoka to the library as they left the school grounds and she had presented him one of those dazzling smiles by way of acceptance. He always seemed to lose his composure when she smiled at him like that. Then, while seated at the library, her proximity had made concentration harder than he would have expected. So many things were changing in his life, and the cause of these changes was willing holding his hand. For a fleeting second this thought made him light-headed.

It’s been 9 days…

Nine days since she, blushing, unable to meet his eyes from behind her fringe of red hair, and asked him to call her Meimi. Nine days of walking her home, to school, and anywhere else he could think of accompanying her. Nine days of knowing who Saint Tail was, and loving every second of it.

"You’re very quiet."

The sound of her voice startled Asuka Jr. out of his revere. He made a non-committal sound, not trusting his voice.

Meimi came to a stop, letting his hand slip away. The young detective turned, surprised, and found the petite redhead moving toward a bench. A streetlight nodded over the bench to one side, creating a pool of golden light surrounded by deep shadow. It was into the shadow that Meimi moved.

Asuka Jr. swallowed hard.

I can do this.

She waited for him to join her, and he sank onto the grass beside the bench, happy for the inky darkness. The gentle rise of the park put them at eye level and when the young detective was settled, the former thief spoke again with soft and measured tones.

"If you don’t tell me what’s on your mind, I can’t know," Meimi's voice betrayed the smile on her lips. "It’s not a kind of magic I practice."

Asuka Jr. grinned at her and feigned surprise. "You’re saying you can’t read my mind?!"

Meimi smiled back and said nothing for a long, uncomfortable, minute. "Actually," she concluded, "I think I can." There was a degree of mirth in her tone that made the color rise to his face as he looked away in embarrassment. He hadn’t thought he was being so...obvious!

"Is there something you’d like to ask me, Asuka Jr.?"

Meimi’s head was cocked to one side as she regarded him. He was still unable to meet her eyes so she continued. "Chances are," her voice a mere sigh, "I’ll say yes."

His head jerked up as he turned to face her. Asuka Jr. wasn’t quite sure if he should believe her or not, but the smile in her eyes allayed his fears. He rose to his knees and faced her. Willing his hands to stillness, he tenderly touched her cheek. Meimi smiled and her eyes closed as she gently pressed against his palm. Asuka Jr. placed his other hand on her face and lightly lifted. She didn’t resist.

His entire body was suddenly numb. A steel band was crushing his heart and his lungs were having a very hard time remembering to actually work as he looked down at his lover.

It’s now or never.

Swallowing yet again, Asuka Jr. locked his eyes on her lips and slowly bent his head to bestow the promised kiss.

He didn’t hurry. As he moved closer, the warmth of her skin caressed his face and, closing his eyes, Asuka Jr., drew in a deep breath, drinking her in. Carefully, gently, he pressed his lips to hers. For the briefest second he melted into her mouth, and then she responded, kissing him back.

After a long minute, Asuka Jr. reluctantly drew away. He was eager to gauge her reaction but found he had lost the ability to speak. Mutely, he gazed down at the closed eyes of his obsession. A smile slowly blossomed on her face and finally Meimi opened her eyes. They sparkled like diamonds in the lamplight.

Asuka Jr. sighed from deep in his soul and shook his head.

"You should have sent me a challenge," he whispered just before pressing his lips to hers again.

Meimi made a soft inquisitive noise.

He pulled back from her, but only far enough to allow for speech...only long enough for one sentence. "'Tonight I will have the courteousy of stealing the heart of Asuka Jr....Saint Tail.'"