Kivrin came down the stairs and Touma shot Seiji a "Don't You Even THINK About It" look. Seiji stared back impassively, saying without a word that he had no intention of making any sort of comment on how the other half of Touma's mind was dressed.

She was wearing a white dress shirt, buttoned up, with a navy blue necktie. A (rather tight) navy blue skirt and pantyhose completed the outfit, with navy and white flats. Her blondish-brown long hair was brushed and even curled a little; most of it was pinned up, but strategic thin waves fell along her face. She was definitely wearing lipstick, and might've been wearing rouge too. She was wearing her contacts instead of her glasses, and she was just finishing putting in the pearl stud earrings. She had her navy trenchcoat thrown over one arm.

"How do I look?"

Touma shot another warning glance at his best friend, who ignored it. "Is this a business dinner?" Seiji asked with an imperceptibly raised eyebrow at the necktie. At least, Touma hoped it was at the necktie and not at any part of Kivrin's anatomy that happened to be in the necktie's general vicinity.

"Nope. But I'm sure he'll get the joke," she informed them. When they both looked confused, she grinned and ran back upstairs. "Hold on, let me show you!"

Seiji turned back to the blue haired archer and professor of astronomy. "Touma, settle down. I promised you a long time ago that I had no interest in your bondmate. Just because you're overprotective of her on her first date here in Japan does not mean you're allowed to take it out on me."

"It's not that," Touma lied, pouting.

"Of course not," Seiji replied drolly as Kivrin returned, manga in hand. She bounced down the steps and thrust it in front of their faces with a triumphant, "SEE?"

"Gunsmith Cats," Touma read, and then rolled his eyes. Should've known. Kivrin was pointing at a particular panel, and Touma had to admit, except for the hair and the trenchcoat, what Kiv had on was exactly the sort of thing Rally Vincent, the manga's protagonist, would wear.

"He reads manga?" Seiji asked.

"Well, he picked up Gunsmith Cats 'cause he saw the guns and stuff. He said he couldn't understand that much of it 'cause he can't read as much Japanese as I can, so I translated some for him." She was beaming. KIVRIN was beaming. She bounced away upstairs again to put the manga back.

"This is just so....weird. This is not how Kiv is supposed to be," Touma said aloud.

"Let her be happy, Touma."

"She'd be this way if I was the one going out on a date."

"No she wouldn't," Seiji told him. "She'd be happy for you and she'd tease you about being a gentleman."

"Yeah but underneath it all, she'd be convinced that I was acting strange."

"Yes, well, the first stages of physical attraction are rather powerful..."



"I don't want to hear about it."

Seiji smirked a smirk almost worthy of Touma himself as he stood. "Just pray she has the bond closed."


Kivrin returned just as the doorbell chimed irritatingly (to Touma's ears anyway). "That must be Andy!"

"Since when did you start calling him 'Andy'?" Touma inquired in vain. Kivrin pulled open the door so quickly, Touma was surprised the door was still attached to the hinges.

"Konbanwa, Andy-San. Would you like to come in?" Kivrin was still beaming. Touma resisted the urge to put on sunglasses. It wasn't hard, because now he had the ability to finally check out this Andrew guy.

In stepped a tall, slender man with brown hair and fair skin. Touma was a little surprised before he recalled that this was a gaijin from England. He was wearing a brown harris tweed suit underneath a nice black leather jacket. His hazel eyes scanned the surroundings, and Touma supposed he was nice-looking. Kivrin was certainly rapt upon him.

"Let me introduce you," she said, stepping up to Andrew, threading her arm around his and leading him over to where Touma tried not to conspicuously sulk on the couch. He stood up as they approached. "Touma, this is Andrew Fletcher. Andy, this is my 'Nii-Chan', Hashiba Touma."

"Andy" bowed, which Touma wasn't expecting. He'd already had his hand half way poised for a grudging handshake. Touma bowed in return.

"Pleased to meet you," Andy said pleasantly, with a noticeable but not thick English accent.

"Hajimemashite," Touma returned. "Kivrin, you promised to stop by the Archery Club tomorrow and you have an early class, remember, so don't stay out late."

Kivrin rolled her eyes. "I won't!! Jeez, Touma, you're supposed to be my older brother, not my father!" She leaned up and kissed his cheek, leaving a light lipstick mark there. "We're just going out to eat! Maybe next time you can come too, to chaperone. Since it bothers you so much, my having a social life." The frown was in her eyes, not on her lips, and was definitely in her tone.

"Have a good time, Mouto-Chan," he replied.

"We will, won't we?" she asked Andy. He smiled.

"By the way, nice outfit, Kivrin." She giggled.

"I thought you'd like it. I don't quite have Rally's hair or skin tone but..." She shrugged as she pulled him towards the door.

"So how many weapons do you have stored away under all of that, hm?"

She laughed. "Wouldn't YOU like to know?" And the door shut behind them as Touma grumbled and turned on the TV.


About two hours later...


Noise. On the front porch. Touma roused himself from the Playstation-induced-stupor. They're back...

He crept towards the door. He normally disliked eavesdropping, unless part of a good practical joke, but THIS was different. This was his sister, his only REAL family, out with some stranger. Touma knew ALL about the male libido, and he'd be damned if anyone tried anything funny with HIS sister.

"I had a wonderful time, Andy. Thank you. I'm just sorry you got spaghetti sauce on your shirt..."

"New tie. It's a magnet for spaghetti sauce."

Kivrin's laugh, followed by awkward silence. Touma desperately wanted to open the bond but he'd promised Kivrin he'd leave it closed while she was out on her date. He didn't THINK they were kissing....yet.

"So, Kivrin, or should I say Rally Vincent...?"

Kiv laughed again. "Kivrin will do fine. In fact, you can call me Kiv. Most of my friends do, and...well, I'd like to think you're at least my FRIEND, ne?"

"Definitely. I...just wanted to know....when we could do this again?"

"Well...let me check my busy social calendar..." A brief moment's pause. "I'm free anytime you are."

"Stop by after class Tuesday. We can shoot some and then try to find a decent Chinese place around here. How's that sound?"

"Like a plan." She was walking towards the door, her hand was on the knob...and then she paused. She'd turned around, she was walking back towards him...and silence. Touma gritted his teeth. You'd better behave yourself buddy...and realize what it means for her to kiss you.

"Goodnight." Kiv's voice, soft, and very feminine. Touma blinked. So un-Kiv-like.

"Goodnight." And Kiv's key was in the door. Touma ran back, vaulted back onto the couch, and restarted the game as she entered. She reopened the bond herself, and he felt positively awash with ooey-gooey sentiment.

"Hello, Touma. I'd stay up and beat your ass at Darkstalkers again except that, as you pointed out earlier, I have to get up early. Goodnight."

"Goodnight, Mouto-Chan."

"And, just in case you were wondering, Andy was a perfect gentleman."

"I'll bet."

Kivrin paused on the first step, then turned and walked toward her nii-chan. Leaning over the back of the couch to look at him, she added, "And from now on, do NOT eavesdrop on my conversations."

"I had the bond closed," Touma reminded her.

"I know you were at that door listening, Touma." She frowned. "I know you're just being the protective older brother, but give me SOME credit. Even IF Andy was the kind to try something, WHICH HE ISN'T!, I can take care of myself. You trained me to protect myself and to kick ass, remember?" She kissed his cheek again, and hugged him briefly. "I'm a grown woman, and as much as I love you, if you don't take your head out of your ass, I'm going to be very angry with you, Nii-Chan."

He paused the game as she stood up and headed back for the stairs. He knew she was right, but...he couldn't help it. Could he? I...I should try. For her sake. So far, at least, he makes her happy...and that's the important thing. And if he did try anything, Kiv'd drop-kick him into next week. The image was very soothing. "Oyasumi, Touma," she called, waiting.

He didn't let her wait long. "Oyasumi, Kiv."

He felt her smile resonate in his mind and then she was letting the bond close as she ascended to bed. He shut down the Playstation and headed for bed himself, yawning and telling himself, for the first of what he was sure would be many repetitions until he got it through his thick skull, "Maybe this Andy guy's not SO bad after all..."