CORINNA IS A TROLL AND TOTALLY DIDN’T LET ME EXPECT THIS AT ALL AND SO SHE WROTE THIS AND YEAH
AND I’M SO
Kaede was honestly surprised it took Yuri so long to show up. He was furious when he did, pale eyes flashing, gray suit rumpled from the drive over. She opened the door with a sigh. “Okay, look, I know it wasn’t the best idea to—“
“Not the best idea?” he demanded, nearly quivering with anger. “You crippled yourself. You trapped yourself in a falling building with nothing but the most useless of powers.”
“I know, I know, three hundred thousand dollars in fines.” Kaede rolled her eyes. “You already yelled at me in the courtroom, Your Honor. You didn’t have to come to my apartment to do it again.”
His eyes blazed. “You were careless. You were stupid. I thought you knew better than to risk yourself like that.”
Kaede stood her ground, hands on her hips. She wasn’t afraid of the fire in his eyes. He’d never hurt her yet, no matter how much control he lost. “What was I supposed to do, huh? Use your powers? Yeah, I’m sure Hero TV wouldn’t have picked up on that at all, the Copycat blasting around with Lunatic’s flames.”
“So you grabbed Origami Cyclone, the most useless excuse for a Hero since the program began.”
“Who also happens to be my friend,” she pointed out. “Knock it off. Why are you so upset, anyway? It’s not like the city has to pay the fines.”
“I don’t care about the fines!” he snapped, and lunged forward to grab her around the waist, kissing her hard.
Kaede blinked, relaxing into the kiss after a moment. Yuri so rarely took the initiative, as if he were afraid of corrupting her or something. It was nice on the occasions he did, but this didn’t feel like one of those times. He was kissing her like he was afraid, like he was desperate.
Like he thought he’d lost her.
She remembered, then. Her dad had called her right after she’d escaped the building. Nothing wrong, no need to worry, but Daddy was watching his little girl on Hero TV and did she know a building fell on her? Okay, just checking to make sure she was safe, since it looked like the Copycat was dead.
She imagined Yuri in his office, with his dozens of computer screens flashing at him from all directions, as the commentators howled about how exciting it was, how any of the Heroes could go down at any moment.
And now he was clinging to her, pulling her close as if it were his last chance.
She pulled back an inch or so, smoothing her hands over his hair. “You know it’s all spectacle,” she said softly. “You know how much of it’s fake, you more than anyone.”
He looked away, as if actually embarrassed that he cared about her, that she’d caught him caring about her. He acted so cold, but Kaede knew that it was as much a lie as Hero TV was.
Now she’d spooked him, given him an excuse to pull out his old excuses. Well, there’d be none of that. “Come on.”
He scowled. It was probably a lot more effective on other people. Kaede only grabbed his hand and hauled him away from the door. She threaded her arms around his neck, pressing little kisses to his lips. “Don’t worry. I know how to handle myself.”
“That’s why you went charging in with a power you’re not supposed to have in public?” he asked, eyebrows raised.
“I got the call right after I saw you at lunch!” she said defensively. “And in my defense, your Honor, I would have been able to get myself out of that building in a heartbeat with your power.”
“Of course. But I must remind you, Miss Kaburagi, that an excellent power one is not permitted to use in public is useless when applied to a circumstance that—”
She cut him off with another kiss. He tasted like honey, which sort of made up for the fact that his clothes smelled like the mothballs he used on his robes for work. She pulled away, satisfied that she’d shut him up. “Can I have another lesson tonight? Since you’re here and everything.”
He smoothed back his hair, making her itch to pull out his ribbon. For all his snide comments, he’d brought the books, and set them up on the coffee table without being asked. “Fine, but we’re going to get through an entire lesson this time without you jumping on me.”
“Yes, your Honor.”
“Stop calling me that.”
“Yes, Judge Petrov.”
She laughed, and bent over the books. “Where were we?”
“Taxation of common-law property when one party is considered missing.”
She tried to keep from yawning already. Once they got going she perked up, and she loved hearing him get really passionate about the law, about how everything was supposed to work in a fair and just system.
It didn’t. She knew that. He knew it. And she wasn’t her father, to condemn and chase after him for it just because they saw things differently.
After three hours, he checked the clock. “I should be going. Your father said he was coming by in the morning, didn’t he?”
“Yeah. But…do you have to go now?”
Yuri adjusted his tie, not quite meeting her eyes. “I’ve got work to do tonight.”
Oh. That work.
She sighed, flopping down onto the couch. “Hurry up. The faster you start, the faster they can call me out, and the faster I can get to bed.”
It was a lie. They both knew how the night would go.
He also knew that if she ever did catch him, really catch him, she wouldn’t hesitate for an instant to turn him over to the police.
And if she didn’t….
She knew where he lived.
They always had the best sex after a fight.