When I think about this right now, I think I could get used to this quite quickly. Brian is so snugly, I almost hate to break our embrace and squirm out of bed.

He stirs a little when I move, and I see his eyes open part way. "Don't get up." I say, stroking his cheek. It was still early yet, a few minutes before nine this morning. He pulls me closer into a tight hug, mumbling his words. "Too late. What's up, doll face?" I hug him back even tighter. "Figured I'd get up and mess around on Deathscythe for a bit. Didn't mean to wake you, though." I roll out of bed and start getting dressed and head towards my desk, opening up the lid of the laptop.

He props himself up and starts getting dressed as well. "This time zone difference is difficult to get used to, threw my internal clock way off." I hand him his insulin and a syringe as I wait the ninety seconds for Deathscythe to soft boot. "Was it an interference the last time you were here?" I watch as the syringe fills slowly and he yoinks an alcohol pad from his pocket. He opens it and lifts his shirt, swabbing a black and blue spot on his belly I never noticed before.

"I honestly can't remember much from back then." I see him flinch when the needle is inserted, and this unfortunate elixir being inputted into his body. "If memory serves, Sarah always woke me up at decent times. And sleep would come easy from all the walking around we'd do." He ditches the components of this morning ritual in that empty tin again. "I'm gonna make some coffee, you want?"

"Mm hmm. Milk and two sugars, please." I give him a wink and turn my attention to his pride and joy. He keeps Steam active on a consistent basis, and I get to looking at his collection of games. Two of which I know this thing can't handle unfortunately. One game he's never even played. A demo that hasn't seen use in over a month, and the last untouched for five months. Not much into gaming these days, huh?

Not much here to garner my attention. Doom gets old quickly, and Stepmania apparently won't boot up. I manage to find my way to his music folder, mostly game-related stuff. An overall nice selection, he has good taste. I go and compile a random selection of stuff into Media Player and start it up.

Brian comes back up with two nice, hot cups of coffee and puts them on the night stand. He then drapes his arms around me and sneaks a kiss on my cheek. "I never did get around to copying all my music on here, just the stuff mostly on Epyon. Pretty much what I deemed 'important enough' to always have on hand." I stroke his arms gently, bringing his attention to some specific files. "I notice not all these are mp3's, but they play just fine. What's the story?"

He glances over to what I was pointing out. "Ah... those. Module-type files, think of it as a step up from midi files. But with great versatility and sound emulation. Never studied it too much over the years, but there's great software to making this stuff if one is musically inclined." I give him a slight nod. "You have strange and wonderful things on this heap of yours, love."

I get up, Brian still clung to me, and go for my coffee. Not quite what I keep at my place, but still good. "We'll probably head over to Shelly's at around 2 or 3. Just to chill out, nothing fancy." I take a small sip and determine this bugger is still too hot right now, and set the mug back down. He presses his chest against my back, resting his chin on my shoulder. "Sounds good. They're a nice bunch, if a little eccentric. My kind of people." he says with an amused tone.

I shiver at his close proximity, thoroughly enjoying the moment. "I figured ya'll would get along perfectly. The kids especially have taken a liking to you." He chuckles softly. "Which still surprises me, I never understood why children like me so much." My fingers tap to the beat of a song against his clasped hands along my chest. "Must be some aura you give off. Or some part of your personality they find really appealing. That's my theory, anyhow."

He pulls me back to the bed with a soft thump, me being on top of him. I squirm a little to turn myself around and face him, my forehead resting against his. "Nice to see you too, cutie." I say with a wink. He gives me a hug, nuzzling his cheek to mine. "Takes one to know one." He says playfully.

I giggle softly and plant a kiss on his cheek, tapping against his sides lightly. "We should eat soon, and I gotta get to my exercises." I pry myself from him slowly, enjoying the moment ever so much. I get to my feet as he lays there, looking me over with a cute smirk. "Fair enough." he says. "What's on the menu?" I take a moment to think about that. "Hmm. Bacon, sausage and eggs? I dunno, just anything with bacon to it right now is what I'm craving." He nods, rolling over and standing beside me. "That'll do."

We head downstairs, Deathscythe and moderately warm coffee in tow. We set him shop in the kitchen. The music now cut, I notice him fooling around on Youtube as I get breakfast started. "Well..." he says, "since time allows for it, there's still that Final Fantasy 2 walkthrough I've been wanting you to see for so long." I glance at him as I rummage the fridge for the food, and something only now occurred to me. "How's your challenge run going?" I ask, starting up the stove. I hear a wry laugh in response.

"Not well, let's just say." He shakes his head. "The way I've limited myself has brought more trouble than I bargained for. And the very first boss battle was quite sloppy. I still can't believe I accomplished as much as I did so far." I find myself groaning at that. "It all sounds like such a chore, still unsure if I ever wanna try my hand at that one."

He gets up and begins to assist me, the video playlist still going softly in the background. "There's always that love/hate aspect of the game. Having the knowledge of all it's idiosyncrasies doesn't lessen the effect of things." he says with a hint of dread, laying out the bacon on the griddle. I see to gently placing the sausage in a hot pan, as he continues on with such in-depth knowledge to this relic. "And I still find the equipment set ups quite ironic, I can't recall any other RPG where defense is so... compromised in favor of agility."

I make a hmph-type noise in response, whisking eggs. "Had I never known that, I'd have been in for a rude awakening if I ever did touch the game. By today's standards, that's just unheard of." I perk my head a little at some noise, hearing Mom come by.

She regards us with a big smile. "My, you two look like such a domesticated couple. And a cute one, at that." I could sense Brian's amusement to that statement. "If I ever do bother to marry someone," he says, "Karli's long been on top of my list." I walk by him to check the bacon. I pat him on the shoulder with a soft chuckle. "Get on one knee with a Ring Pop, and I'm all yours." I said, Mom finding much amusement over this exchange.

Mom goes to steal some of my coffee and takes a seat at the table. "In all seriousness, you two seem good for each other. I notice a sort of... kinship you two regard each other with." Before I could say anything, Brian chimed in very matter-of-factly with this topic on conversation. "You wouldn't believe how many of our mutual friends would say the same thing. But as things stand, we're doing alright. Probably no need to be an 'official couple' as some would say."

Mom gives a slow nod before asking another question. "And if she goes and marries someone else? Where does that leave you?" He answers without skipping a beat, quite a surprise for someone usually so quite. "I enjoy my solitude well enough. And if she's happy, that's fine by me too." I shift glances between the two, wondering if this'll escalate in any way. Mom decides to concede in the matter. "Too much alone time, no good. You need a good woman in your life, is all I'm saying. But if this suits you, that's alright too. Just lose the stubbornness at some point, eh?"

He chuckles at that last sentence. "I've always had the stubborn streak, Karli and two mutual friends have had to deal with it for so long. I owe them for a lot, to be perfectly honest." I smile a little at that. Love, you don't owe me anything... With the conversation basically ended at that, I turn to Mom. "Would you like something to eat?" I ask, thinking we certainly made enough for three people.

She shakes her head. "Tempting, lass, but no. I'm going to meet with Pamela and Shelly for a bite and some coffee. You two can help yourselves to anything in the fridge. We'll meet at Shelly's later." We both nod at her. "Have fun." Brian says, tending to the food. "We'll be there around 3-ish." I tell her, glancing at the clock. Still got much time to kill till then.

After Mom left, I looked over at Brian. "Thanks for keeping your cool back there, I know that's always such a sensitive matter to you." He shrugs in response. "I had no reason to be annoyed over it, but I figured I might as well be honest with your mother about things." I chuckle softly. "If daddy were still here, he'd probably be out looking for a minister right now." Brian raises an eyebrow at that. "Geez... I can't even balance my check book or maintain my health properly. Pretty sure I wouldn't be good for any one in the end." I could have thought of numerous ways to respond to that, but I let it go.

We start eating, while I keep my attention on these videos. This ice cave thing, and the joining of a character name Josef, it hit me like a snowball to the ear. "Final Fantasy 9 mentions this moment, a letter written by Ramuh. I forget the specifics, but it's cool seeing this moment unfold before my eyes like this." Brian nods, sitting back and munching on a thin piece of bacon. "I've heard of this letter. I wonder if that's the only reference to FF2 in that one." I shrug at that. "Who knows, not like I know much about FF2 to begin with. And I couldn't finish FF9." I notice Brian just staring off into space, and I try to get his attention. "You alright?" He glances back at me. "Yeah, just thinking about that whole PS2 problem with PS1 games, hitting so suddenly. Maybe I've given Sony too much credit over the years, despite their faults."

I throw a piece of sausage at him in annoyance. "Jerk, I thought it was something more serious for a minute there. Had me a little worried." He takes the now discarded piece of food, that ultimately landed on his plate, and takes a bite. "You seriously wanna start a food fight?" he asks in mock seriousness. "Cause I'm game. Around my way, it's always go time."

I just roll my eyes at him. "Pfft, whatevs." He leans over to me with a piece of bacon, pressing it against my lips. I take it in two bites, and proceed to suck his finger. Looking at him sensually, we never break eye contact. I slowly remove his finger and press it under my neck, allowing him to notice how quick my heart rate raised in the past minute. I notice a sort of self-satisfying smirk on his face as a result. I wink back at him. "Someone's looking smug over there." I say playfully. "If you're a good boy, I'll give you something later."

"Aren't I always a good boy?" He says, winking. I get up and walk behind him, caressing the underside of his neck and leaving a slight trail of kisses on his cheek. I whisper in his ear, "You're rarely a good boy." Leaving one last kiss on his cheek, I proceed to grab our empty dishes and set them aside. He walks behind me and wraps his arms around me, returning the flurry of butterfly kisses upon me. My body once again shivers in response, my hands instinctively clasping tightly onto his.

"Has anyone ever told you that you're a great lover?" I ask him with much honesty. He nuzzles my cheek and gives me a hug tight enough to crack ribs. "You're the first. I'm gonna step out for a smoke, care to keep me company?" I cling back onto him as he loosens our embrace. "Of course, love."

We step out and he lights up. Even with the slight elevation in temperature, it still feels way to chilly for my liking. And his as well it seems, he was already shivering a little. "Feels a little like back home." he says. "Even with adequate clothing, I wouldn't come out in this without good reason." I tuck myself under his arm, rubbing his lower back. "This is still a little warm compared to the norm for this time of year. Even so, I usually don't come out wearing just one thin layer." I try to fight off any discomfort from the smell of that cigarette. He notices and tries his hardest to keep the smoke away from me.

"Would either of these elements aggravate your asthma?" he asks with much concern. I get on my tip toes to kiss his cheek. "If it hasn't already, then I'm not too worried. A warm shower is sounding nice right now, though." He squeezes my shoulder gently. "I agree. Mind if I join you when we get back in?" A slight hint of playfulness was heard in his voice, before he goes and takes in a ridiculously long drag from his smoke. I look up at him with a smile. "That's cool with me. Naughty boy."

He chuckles and continues his smoke at a more moderate pace. I notice it burning unusually fast. "Is that supposed to happen? The ember looks kinda big..." I say, perplexed. "It happens now and then, I honestly couldn't say why. Doesn't exactly taste good like this, either." He flicks his more or less discarded smoke and we hurry inside.

We head upstairs and strip down. As I got the shower going, he was stretching out any soreness in his back and neck. I look at him with some concern. "You want some advil for that?" I ask, rummaging through the medicine cabinet. "Just one, these showers usually do more for my back than pain killers really." I hand him a capsule and he swallows it whole. I flinch a little at that, that's one thing I could never do.

When we step in the shower, I turn him around almost immediately and feel around his back for anything I could think of. Tight or inflamed muscles, any oddities with the spine. Nothing unusual, so I can't even begin to guess at this chronic pain. I rub his back gently. "I don't get this. When you got that X-ray, you're positive that nothing unusual was found?"

Brian was braced against the wall, trying to keep his body relaxed. "That's what the doc said, the best I could get were muscle relaxers. That did nothing but make me nauseous. The pain comes and goes, but not nearly as debilitating as before." He tightens the muscles of his lower back some, and I try to accommodate for his shift.

"Relax yourself, I can't do much like this." I tell him with some annoyance. As I'm massaging, I notice a strange scar running down his right side. "What's this? Looks old, but pretty bad." I say, running my finger along the distinctive mark.

He glances down with a confused look. "I've never noticed that before. Weird... I've never had any major accident to incite such a thing." I look at him skeptically, but I don't feel he's hiding anything. I figure by this point, right now even more so, there are no secrets between us.

After I finish the massage, he goes and returns the favor just for the fun of it. However clumsily done, it still felt good. Between his touch and the hot water, this truly felt like heaven on earth. I shove him aside playfully and soak my hair as much as I can. I notice the color running slightly. I'll have to dye it again soon... damnit all.

With a big blob of shampoo in his hands, he grabs my hair and tells me to hold still. At the time of this writing, the length of my hair reaches just below my neck. If it were as long as it was years before, I'm sure Brian wound find it a little daunting to try. xd

But overall, he was gentle and thorough. And again, felt nice overall. When I went to return the favor, again I'm left a little perplexed. On the surface, his hair looks full and firm. When I touched it, it felt thin and straw like. "Have you been caring for your hair like I had suggested?" "Er... not entirely. I shampoo every other day, like you said. But I still don't use conditioner, it's just not a force of habit for me." I shake my head. "You have so many split ends, it's crazy." Could be from all that gel you use, darling...

After a few minutes, I shut off the water. We went back to my room to dry off, when a daring question came to my mind. "Hey. What physical features do you like on a woman, anyway?" Even as he looked me over in a non perverted way, he still shrugged. "I guess I like long legs. Aside from that... I dunno, I never gave it much thought." I shake my head and giggle. "Any preference on chest size?" "Around the range of B or C cups, somewhere around your range." he says as he gives my breasts a poke.

As I walk behind him to grab some clean clothes, I give him a light slap on the butt. "That really surprises me, you really don't entertain these sort of thoughts?" He starts rummaging through his shirts, pulling out a Ranger suit-looking shirt. That symbol so doesn't look fitting for Dragonzord...

He puts it on and looks over at me. "Truthfully? I spent a lot of my life thinking this stuff could never happen to me. So I convinced myself, why waste the energy wishing and dreaming? I can't help old habits, even if things on the contrary occurred the past few years." that last little bit said with a shy smile.

Fully dressed, I start tying my hair in a ponytail. I walk over to Brian and give him a kiss. "Love, things have a way of eventually happening. Nice guys might finish last, but they always reap some good rewards."

After getting a worn out belt on his pants, I see him struggling to clip the Morpher holster on it. "Dude, I'm buying you a new belt when we get to the Mainland." He shakes his head in annoyance. "You know, this came from the NYPD's equipment section. I've only had this two years, blew $50 on it. You'd expect better quality material from such a place." My eyes widen a little. "Seriously? If this is what your uniformed guys use, I feel bad for them..."

As we walk downstairs, Brian explains a little more (or what he could afford to tell) about the inner workings of his police department. Some aspects I can feel sympathy over. But overall, I still can't stand half the people he deals with on a regular basis. I look over at the clock, then over at Brian. "I know it's early yet, but you wanna head out now?" I ask, finishing my now cold coffee. And his.

Brian gives a once-over to Deathscythe, closes and unplugs it. "I don't mind, let's roll. I just wanna have a smoke first." I nod and toss him his hoodie, then grab mine before locking up. He's already lit up before I can go and warm up the car. "Take your time, love. There's hardly any need to rush." I give him a little kiss and head to the car.

After about five minutes, we start heading off. Once at Shelly's, things seem pretty quiet. Mom, my aunt's, Jared and Amanda are in the kitchen talking. Alex and the twins are asleep, while Hayley finds a corner with her DS. And Sirena sitting next to her, on the Wii. I pat Brian on the shoulder and send him off. "I'll be in the kitchen if you need me." He nods. "I'll be on the couch with Deathscythe and the girls."

Everyone greets me as I enter the kitchen. Mom peeks over my shoulder slightly. "Where's your pseudo-husband?" she asks teasingly. I point in the direction of the couch. "He and his laptop are over by the gamer's club." Jared gives off a hearty laugh. "Ma was telling me about breakfast, he does seem like a good fit for you." I roll my eyes at him. "I'm inclined to agree, but we have our reasons for these unusual arrangements." Amanda gives me a teasing look. "So, you act like boyfriend and girlfriend. And yet, you guys are single. 'Unusual' is an understatement."

I grab a glass of wine and take a seat with them. "It's... complicated, he and I. Not just because of the past he and I share, but he's also grown jaded over many aspects in his life. Relationships especially. I was friendly with his last ex, she turned on me and treated him like trash. That was basically the last straw for him."

Jared makes a gruff noise. "Good riddance to that one, then. He's a quiet one, but I like your guy pal there." I jab Jared lightly in the ribs, smirking. "You just like him cause you have a drinking buddy besides me." Everyone gets a good laugh from that remark.

Aunt Shelly, being the voice of reason, backs me up on things. "Well, it's their life. Their friendship. If this dynamic works for them, they must know what they're doing." I nod enthusiastically to that statement.

The next three hours was filled with conversation and laughs. I hadn't heard from Brian in all this time, so I excuse myself to check up on him. Hayley gives me a thumbs up, and I return the motion. Brian and Sirena are snuggled against each other, watching a movie. I take a peek at Deathscythe. "Ninja Turtles 3? Boy, you two are brave to sit through that." Brian looks at me a little wearily. "Much bad acting. Such bad costumes. Doge no approve." Sirena shook her head. "Never again. Curiosity killed my buzz."

I chuckle softly. "You guys are in need of Mystery Science Theater. And alcohol, I'll grab you guys a beer or something." I head back in the kitchen to get them stuff. "How's everything out there?" Mom inquires. After grabbing the last two beers, much to Jared's dismay, I address Mom. "Ren and Bri watching a real bad movie aside? Things are peachy."

I head back out to bring them their beers, and lean in to give Brian a kiss. "We'll head back in another hour. 'Kay?" He nods. "Got'cha, thanks for the liquid bread." He winks. Ren looks up at me as well. "Thanks, sis."

Back to the kitchen I go. More idle conversation. Some about Brian, some not. That last hour went by quickly, I was quite sad to go.

As we start packing up leftover food in the car, Brian stayed behind to have one last cigarette with Sirena and Jared. Conversation seemed to be at a minimal, rather surprising for big mouths like Ren and Jared. Once Brian was done smoking, we all said our good byes and started heading back.

"Honey, what time are you two heading for the ferry?" Mom asks, killing her phone battery once again with Candy Crush. "We're gonna wake up at 6:30 and aim for the 8:30 ferry back. I figure if we get there early, we'll have time for coffee and a light breakfast. I wish I didn't have to go back so early, but my last sitter for Gus flaked on me." I said, mildly irritated by this missed text I caught half an hour ago. "If I can, I'll wake up to see you guys off. If not, have a safe trip back and call me when you get in." Mom says. Brian peeks back at her. "I'll remind her when we get back."

We get back to the house in record time. Mom bids us good night and takes her leave almost immediately. Brian and I head to the kitchen, him doing the scant amount of dishes we left behind and myself making tea. We head to my room.

I set our tea down, and Brian immediately tackles me on the bed. I look at him with a playful smile. "Looks like you got me where you want me, now what?" He trails kisses slowly along my neck and throat, that mild touch resonating through me on the whole. The alone lit enough of a fire in me to roll him over and assume a domination position, pinning his arms. He looked on calmly, licking his lips. I smirked and released my grip, getting up. "I'll return the favor later, lover boy. I've got some writing to tend to, I'm sure you'd like to double check your usual stuff too."

I place Deathscythe next to him and I boot up my heap. I hear him playing Final Fantasy 6, and memories of childhood come rushing back to me as I hear the Fanatic's Tower music going. He chuckles to himself and I glance back at him. "What's so funny?"

He lays back in bed. "I've got Mog with me, and I don't feel like fighting all the battles here. I'm just gonna slap the Moogle Charm on this b*tch and breeze through here." I just shrug. "Whatever floats your boat, man. I guess as long as you have someone with Life3, it doesn't matter much anyhow."

"And Vanish. And Doom. 'Cause I'm a big cheater like that." he says. "I'm just here for loots anyway." I just shake my head in response. "That Gem Box you're never gonna use, how does it taste?" I hear him get up and move towards me, kissing my ear. "It tastes... gemmy. Or something. I dunno." I laugh and reach over to caress his cheek. "I'm just about done here. Go beat the boss so we can has fun times."

With a turn-heel, he does so. I hear the action, or what little there is anyway. The battle is over in barely two minutes, ending the way it always does. The chime of the Life3 spell doing it's thing before the victory music hits. With that, another wonderful night comes to a close.