Timelined after Alliances
<Hope> The talk with David had calmed Hope down considerably. She had a plan and a purpose to move forward with. She also had every reason in the world to fight again. She paused in the doorway of her and Shinobi's room, watching him for just a moment as she closed the door behind her.
<Shinobi> A sound barely registered and Shinobi rolled half onto his stomach, burying his face in Hope's pillow.
<Hope> That small movement was not lost on her. She smiled as she felt something warm in her chest. Quickly, she rid herself of anything she wasn't going to sleep in and carefully, very carefully, tried to slip into bed beside him without waking him up.
<Shinobi> It was a lost cause however, since he was still a fairly light sleeper. "Mmm, Hope?"
<Hope> Smirking to herself, she kissed his cheek gently. "It's me. Didn't mean to wake you."
<Shinobi> He stretched and pushed himself up on an elbow to look at her. "Where'd you go?"
<Hope> "Outside." She pressed her forehead against his, breathing him in for a moment.
<Shinobi> Since she was so close, he tilted his head and gave her a soft kiss. "Outside?"
<Hope> Smiling, she kissed him again. "Yes." She backed up enough to look at him, running her fingers through her hair. "Talked to David."
<Shinobi> "Everything okay?" It was rather questionable, considering the mood she'd been in when they went to bed. He reached over to the nightstand and picked up his phone to check the time. Early. They should both be asleep... or at least otherwise occupied.
<Hope> "It will be." She stroked his cheek gently. "I'm going to make sure it is."
<Shinobi> His first response was a noncommittal that's good, but something made him pause and look back at her. "Yeah?"
<Hope> She looked back at him for a long moment before she responded. "I'm not the target here and I'm not losing anyone else."
<Shinobi> Now he was awake, and he sat up, looking down at her. "What's that mean?"
<Hope> "That means I'm going to stop this. I'm going to Japan." She somehow managed to look up at him.
<Shinobi> "Hope... that's..." A terrible idea. He pinched the bridge of his nose, pressing his fingers into the corners of his eyes. "Why don't you let Sebastian handle this?"
<Hope> Because it was unlikely that Sebastian would. "I'm perfectly capable? I can't sit and do nothing? I don't want to?"
<Shinobi> "What are you going to do in Japan? It's... a pretty big country, you know." He could guess her answer, but it was still a terrible idea.
<Hope> Hope just stared at him. "Seriously?"
<Shinobi> He knew that look. "What!?"
<Hope> "I'm going to drink sake and eat sushi. What do you think I'm going to do?"
<Shinobi> "Yes, we can go to the Hellfire Club, but what? Is Oyama Kenji really going to just admit to this?" And then there was his real concern in this, the one he wasn't sure he wanted to talk about.
<Hope> Hope tried to keep the dark smile from her face. "He doesn’t have to talk at all."
<Shinobi> The chill that sent down his spine was something of a surprise. "You don't want to do this," he whispered.
<Hope> "Maybe not, but the alternative isn't a choice." She lay back on her pillow, staring up at the ceiling.
<Shinobi> "He's managed to stay alive this long on his own," he said, stretching out beside her. After a moment, he worked his arm beneath her to pull her close. "Is this what you talked to David about?"
<Hope> "Yes." She nestled into him, resting her head on his chest. "Why are you so opposed to me doing this? This is what I can do. Why have these stupid powers if I can't use them to protect my family?! What's the point?"
<Shinobi> He sighed and closed his eyes. "What did he say?"
<Hope> "He said he'd see what he could do. And that I wasn't going to do anything without him or Drake."
<Shinobi> "I'd hope not." What the hell was David doing encouraging her? But them, what could they do to stop her?
<Hope> "I'm not stupid. Plus, running off means they hover closer. I'm so over that." She snuggled into him better. "I have to do this, Obi. I can't just sit around and wait."
<Shinobi> "Yeah, I can understand that." He sighed and stroked her bare arm, tracing patterns into her skin. "I'm going with you then."
<Hope> Her head jerked over to look at him. "The hell you are."
<Shinobi> The motion of his hand stopped. "The hell I'm not."
<Hope> Hope sat up to look at him better. "And risk something happening to you?!"
<Shinobi> "Yeah, exactly. What if something happens to you?" he said, feeling a twinge when she pulled away from him.
<Hope> "Except I can heal. I have people with me who can heal. I can heal. Nothing is going to happen to me. You..." She closed her eyes, steadying herself. "You don't heal."
<Shinobi> "No, but I can be intangible." He sat up and pushed both hands through his hair with a sigh, staring at the wall instead of her.
<Hope> Her chest ached, forcing her to rub it. "If anything happens to you..." She looked over at him.
<Shinobi> He touched his sternum and turned to look at her. "That's what I said. If anything happened to you, and I wasn't there..."
<Hope> Hope swallowed and moved to him again, moving to his lap, facing him. "Okay." She ran her fingers through his hair and pressed her forehead against his. "Okay."
<Shinobi> "Okay," he agreed, tightening his arms around her. "I can't just wait around, hoping you're okay. I can help." Closing his eyes, he bent lower to rest his forehead on her shoulder. "And... what if I am one of them? I need to know..."
<Hope> Her fingers moved to his hair, holding onto it, careful not to pull too hard. She nuzzled his hair, closing her eyes again. "I understand. I just... I can't lose you, Obi. I can't. Maybe... maybe we can just gather information. Just look. Not engage."
<Shinobi> "That sounds like a better idea. Just look, carefully." And seemed like something David would agree with him on. Maybe between the two of them, they could stop her from being reckless. Her emotions in the link were almost overwhelming and he turned his face toward her neck. You won't lose me.
<Hope> She shut her eyes right, holding onto him and trying very hard not to cry on him. It was stupid to cry over this. She tightened her hold on him, breathing him in. How can you be so sure?
<Shinobi> He wasn't, but he needed to keep that to himself. Because I've done this sort of thing before. Raising his head, he tucked her against his chest. I know you're scared for Sebastian, but he's done all this before too.
<Hope> Why does everyone expect me to just sit at home and... and... knit or something. She hugged him tighter, nestling into his chest.
<Shinobi> "Knit?" He laughed a little, honestly amused by the very idea.
<Hope> "Stop that... you know what I mean." She grumbled at him.
<Shinobi> "I know," he said, kissing the crown of her head and lingering. "You don't want to see the people you love hurt, right? Reverse that." Closing his eyes, he drew in a deep breath. I'd do anything to keep you safe.
<Hope> And I will for you. She told him softly in her mind, relaxing finally. How quickly he had become the focus of her entire world. She didn't want to think about that world shattering.
<Shinobi> He smiled and rubbed her back, unsure how he'd managed to get so lucky to find this. I don't want to see him hurt either...
<Hope> Hope pulled away so she could see his face, studying him. So... together? Her hand rested on his cheek, stroking it gently. We do this together?
<Shinobi> Together. He placed his hand over hers. It helps you, too, because even though you can heal, that means you got hurt in the first place. If I'm there, they can't even touch you.
<Hope> She smiled at that, biting her lower lip. Yeah. We shouldn't be getting hurt at all anyway. Just gather intel. Just intel.
<Shinobi> Just intel. And I want to get a look at that guy... He shrugged one shoulder and gave her a slightly rueful grin. You know how it is. My father's never going to tell me, so maybe I can figure it out for myself.
<Hope> She met his gaze, kissing the tip of his nose. And I'll be right there with you, no matter what you discover.
<Shinobi> It made him smile, swallowing down the lump in his throat. "Thank you," he said quietly, and brushed noses with her before tilting his head for a soft kiss.
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