Venus found that the rumors did them no justice.
Everyone had heard of the Shitennou, of course. The four heavenly kings and guards to crown prince Endymion; renowned for their power and skill. But now she knew them. Serenity and Endymion were fully involved, and Venus had spent many nights with the young men, conversing and joking, while keeping watch on the royals. She had formed a tentative friendship with all except for him.
First Shitennou and warrior king of the middle east. Brilliant strategist, impressive fighter, and stoic commander. Sleek. Impenetrable. Remote.
His comrades were known for their charismatic personalities and charming dispositions at court, but he always held himself back. Thinking only of duty and what was required of him. He cared little for the trappings of aristocratic life: the wealth, the jewels, the vapid little girls who tried vainly to grab his attentions. Give him a purpose…. a land to protect. That was all he needed.
Venus found each Shitennou to be intriguing in his own right, but she was forever drawn to their leader.
Oh, she knew she shouldn't be there, she didn't even have the excuse of fetching her wayward princess since Endymion had surprised Serenity by sneaking up to the moon earlier that night with Zoisite in tow.
No, she had only one reason to be there: to watch him.
He was in the training yard, thankfully alone, and working through a drill with his sword. His shirt was folded neatly and placed off to the side, and as he moved she could see his skin gleaming in the moonlight.
Unconsciously licking her lips, she crept forward in the shadows, feeling more and more like a voyeur. While ducking from one dark pillar to another she momentarily lost sight of her prey, and she when looked up again he was gone.
Inching forward she craned her neck to see if he was by the weapons rack, but suddenly there a presence behind her and she whirled around to face Kunzite; her breath caught when she found a smile softening the hard plains of his face.
"You knew I was here? How long?" She asked, hoping her voice didn't betray her rapidly beating heart.
"The entire time." He leaned in close enough for her to feel his breath on her cheek. "You need to work on your spying skills," he finished in a whisper. Straightening to his full height, he towered over the blonde Senshi.
Taking in her appearance for the first time, he realized that she was not dressed in her uniform, instead forgoing it for a simple, dark blue dress the color of the night sky.
"Maybe I wanted to be caught?" Venus ventured with a demure smile while brushing back a lock of golden hair.
Kunzite only raised one eyebrow in question. "Why would that be?"
"Maybe I just want to get to know you better?" He nodded at that and turned back toward the training yard; she followed closely as he made his way to his discarded shirt and sword. "I feel like I know the others quite well, but not you. I need to take stock of the men who are constantly in the presence of my princess."
She watched as he shrugged into his shirt. "A sound reason, but not the truth," he said while fastening his sword and scabbard to his belt.
"Really, and what is the truth then, milord?" Venus shifted her weight slowly from one foot to the other, given his penetrating looks she was beginning to feel quite trapped. She didn't like it, but with a dawning realization, she knew there wasn't anything she could do to change it either.
Instead she willingly followed him when he started to led the way from the training yard and out into the gardens.
"Well, I've been trying to figure that out, actually. I do have a few theories." Kunzite strolled slowly with his hands clasped behind his back. And as he spoke he looked at her from the corner of his eye. "But none of them plausible."
The pair continued on in silence for a few moments, edging away from the palace. It was quiet out on the borders of the gardens, the only sound was the rustling of wind in the tree branches and a few nightingales singing.
The night was clear, no clouds in sight, and the moon and stars provided more than enough light to see the path before them. It was cool, but not uncomfortable, and shockingly intimate.
They came to a stop by an artfully placed gazebo covered in honeysuckle. The night air taking on the sweet scent of the blooms. Venus closed her eyes and took a deep breath, when she opened them again she found herself looking into fathomless grey eyes.
Nervously she licked her lips, and watched as his eyes followed the movement. Venus no longer felt trapped… she felt like prey.
"I came here to see you!" She blurted out, noting with a bit of smugness that he was surprised at that. Best press the advantage.
Venus drew herself up to her full height and swayed toward him, she placed one long, pale hand on his chest and pushed him back into the foliage of the honeysuckle. Several of the flowers were crushed in the process, making their scent even more pungent in the air.
Her lips hovered above his as her eyes locked with his. "You intrigue me, general, and I thought to learn what I could." Smiling sweetly she pulled back and started for the stairs of the gazebo, instead she was pulled back against a strong chest, and felt firm lips on her ear.
"Mahadevi." She wasn't sure what surprised her more: the fact he knew her true name or her reaction to him.
A giddy lightness was spreading from her head down to her chest, where her heart was thundering against her ribcage. Her skin was tingly and hot and breathing was growing more and more difficult.
One of his hands trailed down her arm, leaving her skin on fire. "You know what they say about me, right?" His voice was low and calm. He either didn't know or didn't care what he was doing to her.
"They say that I have no heart; no feelings other than loyalty. They even say that I do not fancy women; since I am never in their company." Here he chuckled softly, the sound resonating deep in his chest and causing a shiver to run up her spine.
He tightened his grip around her waist, his hand grazing up her arm and over her shoulder. "The truth is I hold my duty above all else, so I never entangle myself in courtly pursuits. The truth is I do have a heart, and I do," his voice dipped to a low whisper, "like women."
Whirling her around suddenly to face him, Venus found herself rooted the ground by the heat blazing in his eyes.
"Do you know why I'm telling you this?" Venus could only shake her head dumbly. He raised his hand to cup her cheek, caressing her lips with his thumb.
"Because I find that you have completely unarmed me, and distracted me from my duty. I find that my heart beats faster when I see you. And I find that I cannot stop thinking of you."
Venus felt her heart contract and dazedly wondered if she would ever breath again. His hand left her face and he started to circle her slowly.
"You are so beautiful, as a Princess of Venus should be, and powerful, as Serenity's guardian must be. But you are so much more than that, aren't you?" His hand brushed up one arm, across her back, and down the other arm as he circled behind her. Venus swallowed slowly, breath hitching.
"There's more than the proud warrior and beguiling princess with a thousand admirers falling at her feet to worship her like a goddess, isn't there?"
"Of course, just as I'm sure there's more than the cold, removed commander you appear to be." Venus straightened her posture and tried for a cool demeanor. The Princess of Venus should not-would not-be unnerved by a mere man.
"Indeed." He smiled again, a slow quirk at the corner of his mouth that lead her thoughts racing around, wondering if his lips were as soft as they appeared.
So, she decided to find out.
She leaned up, hands balancing on his broad chest, and pressed her lips against his.
They were softer.
The kiss was heady, like the scent of the flowers around them, and thoroughly intoxicating. She found her knees buckling slightly, and was immensely thankful when he wrapped her his arms around her waist-dragging her closer and supporting her weight.
Her arms snaked around his neck as he titled his head to one side, deepening the kiss.
She might have been drowning or floating or both, all she knew was that she had left the Earth a long time ago and was floating among the stars. They burst around her in gold and silver hues, dazzling and warming her.
Eventually air became a necessity and they pulled apart, resting their foreheads together and panting softly.
Venus realized then that she was still firmly planted on the Earth. Never had she experienced a thing like that, but it was like a drug and she wanted more. She rocked forward and crushed her mouth against his again.
This kiss was far more passionate and full of wanting. The pair stumbled back against the honeysuckle and Venus sank into the springy foliage as his solid frame pressed against her, molding her body to his.
His left hand came up to grip the back of her neck, angling it more to his liking as he ravaged her lips. Long fingers tangled in her hair as his thumb brushed the shell of her ear. His right hand trailed up her arm, over her shoulder and down her back before cupping her ass, pulling her hips flush against his-the growing need was quite unmistakable.
Venus wrapped one lean leg around his waist, rocking against him, and dug her fingers into his silver hair. Never before in her life had she felt like this; her body was on fire, tingling all over from his touches, and she wondered if she was glowing.
She gasped slightly when his warm hand grazed up her leg, pushing back the skirts of her dress, and started massaging her upper thigh. The sound must have roused him from the oblivion of his need because in a heartbeat his warmth was gone and he stood before her, breathing shakily.
"I-I'm sorry, I should never have gotten so carried away…" He raked a hand through his tousled hair and Venus smiled, not even bothering to hide her giddiness.
"Don't be, I'm not."
Kunzite swallowed, Adam's Apple bobbing slightly, before shaking his head slowly. "Good, neither am I," he whispered.
Venus glanced up to the moon, gauging the time and felt her new found euphoria sagging slightly. "I should go." When she lowered her gaze again she found Kunzite had moved closer again.
He lifted his hand to cup her face, and she nestled her cheek against his palm. "Will you be back?"
"Mmmhmm," she mumbled, biting at her lip. He bent forward and started brushing kisses against her face. Their lips met again in a bruising kiss that left Venus full of longing.
"You should go," he whispered against her lips. "Before I drag you back to my room and prove to be the savage Earthling the Alliance thinks I am."
"Sounds lovely," she giggled, but pulled back nonetheless. "I must go though, I've been away too long, and I can't get caught."
He nodded slowly, "I know." His fingers brushed her cheek again, unable to stop touching her.
"I'll be back tomorrow, at sundown." She kissed his fingers and moved out of reach, toward the woods. "Meet me here?"
"I'll be waiting." Venus gave him a bright smile before ducking through the trees, heading away from the palace where she could teleport back to the moon in safety.
Kunzite waited until he was sure she was gone before turning back toward the palace and his lonely chambers. But the thought of tomorrow had a small smile tugging at his mouth and a lightness in his step as he ducked back inside.