Heehee, angel foodcake... I really don't feel like I've anything to say on this fanfic that you won't see and enjoy just reading it, so rather than babble unnecessarily, I'm just going to shut up and let you get on to reading Ketsuke's story (which is both adorable and brilliant).


Twice Bitten


by Jacquelyn/Ketsuke



She wasnít exactly the first thing he usually had on his mind. She was, however, one of the last things he wanted on his mind. Especially when trying to complete the complicated model for a biology project.

It wasnít Ikkuís fault. She didnít know the random acquaintance she was talking about shared the girlís name. Nor did she know he had twice seen his first heartbreakís double today. It wasnít Ikkuís fault.

She was just conveniently near. In true Ikku fashion she wouldnít shut up, either. The name just kept repeating over and over and - thwashunk!

"Nicodemus?"

A moment of silence. Then, "Yes, Ikku?"

"Donít move, okay?"

He inhaled shakily, "Sure thing."

She stood carefully and disappeared down the hall. When she returned it was with a small roll of gauze in hand. Kneeling beside him she set the gauze down, pulled a tube of disinfectant from her pocket, and a towel off her shoulder.

"No sharp objects for three weeks, Nicodemus. I mean it." Her words werenít as harsh as she originally intended them to be.

"Promise," he sighed.

"Is that bone?"

"Possibly."

"Four weeks."

"Right." Nicodemus looked sadly at his hand. There was remarkably little bleeding for such a deep cut. He wouldnít be able to use his thumb properly for a while, though. Damn.

Ikku started reciting a story Nicodemus remembered her memorizing for English class however long ago. He remembered her telling him it had been one of her favorites for a while. He wasnít sure she even realized there were words whispering past her lips. It was comforting somehow.

When the words stopped and Ikku stood again to stretch Nicodemus stared at his hand dumbly. She had cleaned up the blood and bandaged his thumb with practiced ease. Frowning, he grimly admitted to himself he was the reason for her experience. It was hard to do things with her sometimes. The fear of inadvertently staining her was overwhelming on nights like this.

"Tea time!" Ikku unexpectedly cheered.

Then sheíd go and smother him with her endless Ikkuness. Maybe he should be the one worried about getting stained

Trading his frown for a weary smile, Nicodemus shook his head. "You plan to drink tea now?"

She blinked at him before laughing, "Of course not! What we need is something with lots of sugar and good music to dance to."

Even knowing what she was doing it was hard to resist. Nicodemus caved while he still had dignity left. Getting to his feet, he wandered over to the CD collection.

"You get the sugar, Iíll get the sound," he said over his shoulder.

It surprised him when she didnít protest. Sneaking a glance he saw her skip into the kitchen and knew she was planning something. He turned back to the music and frowned again. This was a tricky situation. He needed to find something Ikku would be more than satisfied with. However, he wanted to be able to listen without having more of his brain cells sacrificed. On the fourth time through he finally found one Ikku was likely to not throw back at him.

There was a crash from the kitchen area followed by the high pitched ringing of a metal pan. Nicodemus cringed and went to join his friend, setting the CD down by his ruined model. As he stepped into view Ikku kicked the ringing pan to the far wall.

She shook her fist at it commanding, "Stay there, then! Brat!"

"Ikku?"

"Yes," she turned to him looking like she wanted to laugh and cry all at once.

Taking the cookie dough on the floor into careful consideration, Nicodemus planned his words carefully, "I donít think sugar is what I want right now. How about we rent a movie?"

"Movie," she considered. "Yeah. That sounds like a nice plan."

Bundled against the evening chill, the two walked in companionable quiet over the fallen leaves. Mostly walked, that is. Ikku enjoyed a few mad dashes ahead to jump in carefully raked piles people had thoughtfully made for her destructive needs. After a few close calls with puddles, they walked into the relative warmth of their destination.

Ikku wasted no time bouncing over to the new release section.

Nicodemus rolled his eyes. He scanned the markers to make sure the manager hadnít implemented the bright idea of re-arranging the place again. They hadnít, but there were signs it was to happen soon. He hated feeling like a moron while wandering through isles that held extreme opposites of what he wanted. Really, who but the most sadistic store clerks swapped the horror and childrenís programming sections?

He marked himself as warned for the next visit. Tonight the foreign films were what he wanted. A taste of the other side of the world, and the nostalgia of a movie night. He mulled over Ikkuís general mood trend again before selecting three titles. All had plenty of violence and little enough dialogue she wouldnít kick him for it. In short: perfect.

There was outrageously priced candy and popcorn begging for purchase while he waited to be noticed at the register. Shrugging, he gave in. Setting a box of the popcorn and two bags of gummies coated in an extra layer of sugar beside his movies seemed to finally make him a valued customer. The guy behind the counter mumbled something about some sort of promotion going on Nicodemus ignored in favor of watching Ikkuís long, wavy hair bound toward him.

She stood beside him, staring intently at the clerk. Unnerved, the boy quit trying to get Nicodemus to sign up for a magazine trial and gave him the total. Everything paid for, Ikku lead the way out letting him carry the goods. At the corner she collapsed in a fit of laughter.

"Did you see his face? He was terrified of me! They must warn the new kids Ďcause I havenít seen that one before."

Sighing, Nicodemus stepped around her and continued on. In his opinion she took a little too much pleasure from terrorizing low-wage workers. He paused mid-step and went back over his thoughts. No, Ikku was fine. Let her have some fun. It was a healthy experience; what didnít break them would make them stronger. Best not to think any more about it.

Ikku trailed behind him, further scattering the leaf piles on the return trip. Whatever had been bothering her before appeared to have been worked out of her system by the time they walked back through the door. Slumping onto the couch together, they sat for a moment and enjoyed the peace.

It wasnít long before Ikku grabbed the bag and emptied it out beside her. Sitting still with nothing to keep her occupied just wasnít an option. She poked the popcorn box before possessively snatching one of the bags of sugary goodness. Finally, she was ready to scrutinize the movies Nicodemus had picked.

"Why these?" she asked, holding up the most appealing cover.

He shrugged, finding a loose thread on the couch back extremely interesting.

"Right," Ikku correctly passed it off as Nicodemus being nostalgic. She didnít mind anyway. Movie nights always ended up interesting with him anyway.

She pushed herself up, candy still held close, and made her way over to the television. Making sure everything was set up correctly, she popped the movie in and flopped onto the cushions again. She nearly protested when Nicodemus left her in favor of micro-waving the popcorn for himself. But there was a bag of gummies in her possession, and another on the floor in front of her to tide her over until his return. She chose to let him satisfy his own cravings.

By the time the feature presentation started, Nicodemus was back and relaxing on the couch with his chosen snack. As the movie progressed the atmosphere eased back into more light-hearted comments and laughter. They made jokes and even pointed out serious costume and prop mistakes to one another. Nicodemus had slowly spread himself out on the couch, legs stretching down the length. Ikku hadnít complained. She shifted her own position until she was practically laying on top of him. It never occurred to either of them what they would look like to an outsider. Ikku knew she was comfortable between Nicodemusí legs and he knew the weight of her head on his shoulder soothed away less physical pains.

When the credits started to roll and they had to separate for the changing of disks, it was with an unspoken agreement that they dropped back into their previous positions. There were some small changes, but nothing to really change how they fit together.

A quarter of the way through the movie Ikku started to drift. There was less commenting and more random giggle fits when actors looked too serious on screen. Eventually even those trickled to a stop.

A little over halfway through Ikku gently interrupted the quiet lull between scenes, "Nicodemus?"

"Need something?"

"No," she smiled. "Not yet anyway. But in the morning youíll still be here, right?"

It was an odd and unexpected question coming from her. After all of the dayís troubling thoughts he couldnít help the slight downward tilt his lips took as he considered what to say. Of course he would still be there.

"I wonít leave you, Ikku," he finally assured her. He wasnít sure why he had worded it that way, but he felt tension melt out of her.

"Good." Then, just when he thought she had fallen asleep, "I have angel food cake waiting for us. Youíre eating a whole one for breakfast."

Nicodemus smiled. Jacob had never promised sugar in cake form as breakfast any of the times he had stayed over. Taking a deep breath filled with the scent of Ikkuís shampoo, he couldnít imagine life without her now. After being so careful to not get hurt again he had to admit it would hurt to loose her. She had become important to him and didnít want to leave her. Ever. He knew he should be scared, but the solid comfort Ikku offered could not be resisted. Somehow she had built up his trust and he was only able to be thankful for it. Softly laughing at himself, he let his eyes close.

"Donít ever leave me, either," he whispered into her hair.

The End



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