A Shadow Skill Fanfic by Yen (December 2000)

Disclaimer: Shadow Skill belongs to Megumu Okada-san and others.

Yen's Note: Relations is a sequel to Secrets, Learning, Guardian, Possibilities and Consequent.

Lillbelt ate her ice cream, steadily finishing it with small delicate licks. She paused to grin at Darkness, whose hands were a mess from melted ice cream. His cone lay forgotten and wasted on the floor while Darkness frowned at his sticky fingers.

"You can lick them clean," Lillbelt suggested sweetly. Darkness' frown deepened. He attempted to shake his hands clean instead.

Lillbelt giggled and immediately assumed a straight face when he glanced at her. She gave him a small wave with her ice cream cone and continued eating it. She rarely had ice cream. They were seldom lenient about her diet.

Darkness was now attempting to clean his fingers by wiping them on his cloak. Lillbelt choked, "Darkness, don't do that!"

With one hand stretched out for balance, she clambered to her knees on the bed and almost dropped her ice cream cone. Darkness' cloak immediately wrapped around her waist to keep her from falling.

"Oh, thank you," she said gratefully. Then she thrust her cone towards him, saying, "Here, you hold this."

After a slight pause, Darkness took the offered cone while she leaned over to open a small drawer in the side of the bed.

This will have to do, she decided, as she took out a pack of tanini leaves. She opened the seal and shook out several limp sheaves. With practiced fingers, she pealed off a sheet and reach out to take Darkness' free hand.

I'll have to ask them for another supply, she thought absent-mindedly, as she began wiping dried ice cream from his fingers. Tanini leaves were used by Juliannes nobility to clean their faces. It was also a custom nowadays to leave a sheet of tanini over their faces while sleeping as it maintains and rejuvenates the skin.

Darkness suddenly tensed, and Lillbelt looked at him to see that he was staring at her ice cream cone whose contents was now melting quite quickly in his hand.

He's too warm... Lillbelt pondered as she squeezed his hand reassuringly, drawing his attention.

"You can finish that for me."

Darkness blinked at her, and she said, "Go on now. It's only right since you dropped the other one. It's not good to waste food, especially ice cream."

He continued staring at her then looked back at the ice cream, then back at her. His expression saying that he hoped it wasn't really necessary for him to eat the ice cream.

Lillbelt crossed her arms and stared back at him stubbornly. She could have sworn she heard a sigh before Darkness drew the cone to his mouth and made a tentative lick.

His eyes lit up, and Lillbelt smiled warmly when he began eating the ice cream with unmistakable enthusiasm.

"I told you it was good," she said. Darkness wasn't paying attention to her. He was now looking at the ice cream with wonder in his eyes. It was the same expression on a child's face the first time he or she tasted ice cream.

Lillbelt sat down on her calves and just watched him finish off her cone. When the ice cream was all gone, he examined the cone minutely before throwing it aside to lick his fingers clean.

She winced as the discarded cone hit the floor. She really didn't want to explain to them about the mess. She jumped when Darkness suddenly kneeled down.

"No, don't eat that!" Lillbelt tackled Darkness aside before he could lick the ice cream off the floor.

She landed on her back with Darkness atop her.


"Darkness, would you please get off me?"
"Did I hurt you, my dear Lillbelt?"
"No, not exactly. I'm just a trifle bit uncomfortable with this position."
"You do seem to be quite concerned with positions."
"That was different."
"Yes, Black Wing was certainly uncomfortable about it."
"I know he was."
"Black Wing does not care for me to be in close quarters with him. Understandable. I was the one who killed him after all, but why are you uncomfortable, dear Lillbelt?"
"... This floor is very hard."

Lillbelt's eyes widened when she found herself levitating an inch or so off the floor. Darkness' cloak slid in between her body and the floor, cushioning her. Though thin, it felt like the most luxurious of silk covered beds.

"Is that better, my dear?"
"Yes," she squeaked.

She almost whimpered when Darkness shifted his position over her. His face moved closer to hers, and his knee between her legs moved forward, brushing against her thighs.

"D-Darkness, please get off me!"

One moment he was there. The next, he was gone. Lillbelt scrambled awkwardly to her feet, trembling.

Oh gods... what am I feeling? Embarrassed, she covered her face. How could I have felt that way for him? Not Darkness. I mustn't feel that way for him.

"Lillbelt?" She lowered her hands to find him standing in front of her. His eyes were puzzled.

"Are you all right, dear Lillbelt?"

She swallowed hard before answering, "I'm fine, Darkness." Her voice sounded awfully thin. "I was just a little shaken up by the fall."

Darkness looked like he didn't believe her, and her nerves were severely shaken when he suddenly leaned forward to kiss her.

She felt his tongue glide over her lower lip before the kiss ended. Before Darkness could say anything, she murmured, "I know. I had a little ice cream on my mouth."

Darkness nodded once, still looking perturbed. Lillbelt watched as he licked his lips unknowingly. Perhaps it had been a bad idea to introduce him to ice cream.

But then, how could I have known he would so quickly developed a taste for it. Still... I should have guessed. We are quite alike, he and I.

Lillbelt sighed and walked towards her bed, gesturing at Darkness to follow her. She then took another sheet of tanini and continued cleaning Darkness' hands.

"You know, Darkness," she said conversationally, "there are a lot of other flavors beside chocolate and vanilla."

Darkness listened with rapt attention.