Legaia 2: Duel Saga

Hopefuls part 2

Lang adjusted his hands behind his head as he stared at the tightly joined wood portions of the bed above him. He breathed in deep and released it slow. He couldn't sleep. He kept thinking about her and is she safe traveling with us? Maybe I should have made her stay with Faldo, even though he is a jerk. Pushing her around and putting her on the spot like that. What an ass. Doesn't he know she's shy!

Lang yawned. I wonder why I bought her that Diamond ring... 'course, she really wanted it, and it was really not that much. She sure smiled pretty when I bought it for her... Sharon shouldn't give her such a hard time about her clothes. There's nothing wrong with what she wears, and she's from Yuno! She's used to wearing things like that...

He yawned again. Maybe I talk too much to her? She doesn't seem to mind. But maybe I sound like an idiot? I should have her talk about stuff more. The door to their quarters opened, and Lang looked to the right-- he sat up so quickly that he clobbered his head on the bed just above him.

"Ouch!" he hissed, but then he focused on Maya still standing in the doorway looking frightened and uncertain. He stood and made his way to her. "What's the matter, Maya? Did you have a bad dream?"

Maya shook her head. "I think someone snuck into my room," she whispered.

"What?" Lang frowned and grabbed his sword, storming past to her room two doors down. Maya hurried after him.

"Lang, be careful," she called in a soft and timid voice.

He smiled at her and winked before entering her room. "Come out, come out, wherever you are," he called softly, sword held at the ready as he stepped further inside. The darkness didn't give hint to what could be hiding in the corners, and that made Lang uneasy. He adjusted his hold on his sword and took another cautious step forward. "It's not nice to sneak into a lady's room," he told the darkness. "Now step up and get your punishment."

There was a creak and then a step as a tall man in black stepped from the shadows. His head was shrouded with the same black material as his clothes, revealing only his gray-green eyes. Lang's frown deepened as he tensed.

"My business with her is none of yours," the man in black said in a low and threatening voice. "Move along."

"'Move along' my ass, death bait," Lang snapped. "You're the one who needs to get out of here. If you know what's good for you, you'll do it now."

The man chuckled and moved slightly to withdraw a katana of bluish silver with an etched stain of blood. "My, my, aren't we the conceited pup."

"Lang..." Maya whispered, tone fearful.

Lang adjusted his stance and stretched an arm out behind him. "Keep back, Maya."

"How... heroic of you." The man set his stance and then tilted his chin. "Come along then, hero."

Lang yelled and charged forward, blade meeting blade with a ringing so shrill and loud that it left a residue in the air long after they separated.

"Ah. There is a strength in you," the man in black observed. He struck a second time, and Lang parried and thrust. The man chuckled. "Very nice. But too slow."

Lang smirked, defending a slash and the immediate upswing. He heard Maya's fearful gasp and clenched his jaw. "I'm just getting warmed up. Sleepy, you know," he forced out in a light tone.

The man's eyes narrowed. "You are an arrogant one, aren't you?"

Lang thrust and struck quickly twice, catching the man's shoulder with the blade of his sword. The man staggered back, lowering his gaze to the gash and the blood oozing from it. Lang adjusted his hold, eyes never wavering from the man. "Nope. Just giving you some warning."

The man raised his eyes from the wound for a secondary regarding of Lang. Then he chuckled and took a step back into the shadows. "I thank you for that. Until we meet again..."

Lang stepped forward quickly into the shadows, but the man had gone. "How in the hell...?"

"Lang!" He heard running feet and turned just in time to catch Maya's slim form as she threw herself against him. She held him tight, burying her face into his neck. "I was so scared. I thought he was going to hurt you."

Lang smiled as his arms adjusted themselves around her. "No, no. I'm okay," he said softly. He put his hands around her small waist and lowered her until her feet touched the wooden floor. Then he met her wide and frightened gaze with a serious one. "Are you alright?"

She nodded, hands tightening on his arms.

He smiled again. "Okay." He noticed the moonlight glimmering off a tear trail on her cheek and brushed it away. "Hey. You don't need to cry. He's gone and I'm okay."

Maya nodded again, eyes not looking away from his. "Lang..." Then she held his face gently in her hands and leaned forward to touch his lips with hers--

--Lang startled awake, sitting up while softly calling "Maya!"-- and sharply hitting his head on the bed above him. "Ouch!" he hissed. He rubbed at his head and glared at the underside of the upper bunk. "Dammit," he grumbled. Then he fell back, interlacing his fingers behind his head as he again stared at the tightly joined wooden portions of Kazan's bed above him... He smiled.