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Author's Chapter Notes:
A little Author Note at the top once you click the chapter link (and at the end as usual). You know I wouldn't normally put one in the text, as y'all also know how I feel about spoilers, but I wanted to be cognizant.

This one gets a little smutty (as you likely expected); if that's not your thing, I encourage you to stop when you've reached your smut threshold and scroll to the line beginning with "After a few moments" as PBox&Co trend graphically violent over sexually explicit, so this isn't typical if you've been reading along and I wanted to make sure y'all still gathered the important bits of the plot if you chose to skip the smut.

Nick jolted, short and fast breaths escaping his lips. Just a dream...

“Nick…” She mumbled, breathing deeply as she snuggled against his chest. “Were you dreaming about your family again?”

“The castle…”

She blinked, but quickly fixed her gaze on his face. “The castle?”

“I kept dreaming about my family and it was a memory… The altar room… I wasn’t just in the castle with them. I was in the altar room afterward.”

“Nick, you saw--”

“I don’t want to talk about them.” With the secure embrace of his wings around her, his breathing steadied. Washed with calm, he leaned his head against her shoulder as he cupped her cheek. “I saw you.”

She pressed her lips together and wrinkled her nose.

“I know, it wasn’t you like you’re here now, but that casket with the blue light... I felt so sure that you would appear and help me if I filled it with light...”

“You know I’ll always help you, but I wasn't in the castle before...”

“I just knew it would be you if I hurried, but... that false God stopped me and that’s when I woke up in the dark.” He lightly caressed her cheek with his thumb. “It was horrifying, but… You filled the darkness with light and warmth. I felt like I finally belonged.”

“Of course you belong, you always have. Nick, you’ve always been enough.”

“You too. You’re all I need… all I’ve ever needed..." If you'll always find me, I shouldn't worry, but... "You said in the end, you wished for any miracle to find me again.”

“Of course I did. I wished as hard as I could and never stopped looking for you.”

“Your wishes work. Just keep wishing and searching for me. I’ll surround you in light and protect you with everything I have. Powers or no powers. You’re my everything.” He bit his lip. “I just… I’ll do anything I can to keep you beside me. To give you every piece of me and have every piece of you...”

“Nick…” She locked her gaze with his, her eyes sparkling and dancing as she parted her lips.

His breath caught in his throat, then he pulled her closer by her waist, pressing a fiery kiss to her lips before trailing a series of urgent kisses on her cheek, jaw, and neck. "I want you. I’ve been wanting you. If I protect you, do you…"

"I already told you I want you. Everything you are. Just you."

"Me too. Just you." He kissed her lips again fervently as he trailed his hand down her waist, hips, and thigh.

She locked her fingers in the hair at the back of his head and ravenously kissed him, closing the minuscule space between them.

You liked that last time too. He laughed quietly as he kissed her, then ran his finger along the inside of her thigh. Tell me you want me... He pulled back and grinned at her, his eyes gleaming.


He inhaled audibly. Just like that… "Every time you say my name, I want you more. It's the greatest sound in the world when it comes from your lips."

Her bright grin became a smirk as she ran her tongue over her lips. "Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick--"

After surging against them with a hard kiss, he pulled back with a grin of his own. "You're teasing me."

"I can stop…" She batted her eyelashes and parted her lips as she stared up at him with the same glinting smirk. "...Nick…"

Outwardly, he inhaled shrilly; inside, his heart leapt into his throat, undone by her pause and his name. Overtaken in the feeling's frenzy, he clutched her waist, erasing the distance between them as he locked their lips. I have to remember everything about this feeling. Everything you do. Everything you say. How much I adore and cherish you.

In contrast to his closeness, Minako pushed her palm against his shoulder until he pulled back and sat up.

"Minako?" He reached toward her hesitantly.

After brushing her hand through his hair, she draped her hands over his shoulders, running her fingers along the clasps above his wings. “Is this okay?”

“Yeah. Anything you want gone, just take it off.” He embraced her again, then began trailing kisses down her neck. You’re always asking if I’m okay. I wonder if that’s because of when we first met or because you want to keep being asked too. I’ll keep asking anyway, even if you're thinking of me. "Yours?"

“Undress me too." The clasps unhooked with quick pops of her thumb. "Now's good. Or soon."

You’re impatient… That only makes me want you more. He pressed his palm against her back, holding her close against his chest as his kisses continued. But I have to savor this and remember it. Every small moment. So I can make sure to keep doing every little thing you like. He inhaled deeply, his pulse racing. That woody and spicy floral scent is all I can smell. I would’ve begged to be this close to you a long time ago if I knew that.

The light fabric dangled at his back, forgotten amid the quick movements of her fingers. A whispered brush against his tunic. Three quick thumb pops at his collar bone. Gentle pressure down his sides. Nails dug into the knot in his sash. Tearing and pulling until it fell to the linens in a heap.

For a moment, he loosened his embrace, then quickly pulled the tunic from his arms before balling it up and tossing it to the ground. With a quick whisk of his arm, he thrust her back against his bare chest. Each fervent and heated kiss pulled her closer as he threaded and locked his fingers in her hair.

Her body melted beneath his urgent kiss. As she clutched his shoulders, she trailed her hand down his back and stroked the base of his wing at the tip of his shoulder blade.

He grunted, his muscles tightening as his wings unfurled and flared behind him. Stunned with enthralling dizziness, he hid his face against her shoulder as his heart thudded in his chest. Touch me again! He groaned quietly. But what if you thought that was weird… It’s definitely weird. Nothing else touching them has ever felt like that. I want you…

Minako giggled as she ran her hand through his hair. "I didn't know you liked that."

"I didn't either…" The words were almost inaudible as he panted against her shoulder, trying to calm the frenzied buzzing in his head. You think it’s weird...

"Sometimes I do this while you sleep and it makes your wings flutter. Do you like it too?" She stroked the membrane of his wing with her fingertips.

An enthusiastic yelp escaped his lips, then he peered up at her with a flushed face, his erratic breath as quick as his heartbeat. I love that! Do it again! No, it’s weird… No, I... "Minako…"

"You like it, but you're embarrassed? Don't be. You get to decide what you like. It’s your body." She brushed his hair back, pausing as though she considered her words. “But, umm… it’s not… enjoyable when they get hurt… is it?”

“What? No!” He flinched backward and tensed. It is weird… He exhaled deeply and hunched his shoulders, speaking in a low and hesitant voice. “Just… just you... touching them right now…”

Minako glanced at the ground and frowned, but just as quickly, a small smile perked on her face. She lowered her voice to a whisper as she spoke into his ear, her breath across his neck making the hairs stand up. "Can I tell you a secret, Nick?” She pulled back, catching his gaze and fluttering her eyelashes slightly.

“Always.” His pulse raced. Every time you look at me like that and say my name… He leaned back toward her.

Her airy and breathy voice danced across his skin. “I like it too, knowing that I can make you make those sounds… It makes me want you." She brushed her finger against the membrane of his other wing.

After a second excited yelp, his breath caught in his throat. I can’t savor it anymore. I want you. You’re just so… perfect. I have to have you. After pressing a hard and urgent kiss to her lips, he started unbuttoning the clasps at her collar bone.

She grinned against his kiss. "I wonder what else you like… Can I find out?"

“Touch me anywhere you want.” He continued kissing her urgently as he pressed his thumbs against her clasps.

As he worked, her gaze washed over his body, examining every option before beginning her meticulous investigation. A gentle brush of her fingers against his horns after running her hand through his hair. A deep kiss accompanied by a playful caress of his tongue and fangs. A short peck to his lips as she laced her fingers through his free hand. "No horny horns or teeth or claws." Her breathy giggle lingered between their lips.

He lightly brushed his thumbs along her collar bone as he grinned, then pulled her back into a long and lingering kiss. Her gentle kiss became another smirk as she brushed her fingers across his shoulder, embracing his back warmly as she stroked the base of his wing again.

His muscles flexed tightly as he pressed his chest against hers, pulse racing with each urgent, blazing kiss against her lips. Touch me again! He slid his hands beneath the loose fabric at her shoulders, pushing it away from her skin. I want you. I’ll never tell you to stop, but… I really did want to remember every little thing about you…

With a soft, lingering pressure against his back, she trailed her hand across his bare skin until she reached his butt, quickly squeezed, then caressed his tail.

A dizzying moan filled the silence as it stiffened in her hand and he clutched her hair with his clenched claws. In the hazy pleasure, his urgent kisses became unremitting. I have to have you! I have to have you right now! Silken fabric swept from shoulders. Tenacious grip on her arms and sides. Sash ripped from her waist.

When her dress fluttered to the floor around her waist, her sleeves bunched and pooled beside her elbows. In the absence of the deep sapphire fabric, her black bra accented her skin and the glimmering golden chain around her neck. The reflection of the oval mirror charm danced glimmers of light across his face.

He paused, his eyes roving across her nearly bare body as he held an awed breath. Beautiful. More beautiful than I imagined. Just… perfect. I can’t rush. I really do… need to remember every small thing. With a light caress, he brushed her hair behind her ear. Lingering down the strand, his hand gently trailed down her chest toward her waist. So soft… This is probably what it feels like touching those clouds. Though he clutched her gently, he kissed her with a fiery intensity before pinning her body to the mat beneath them.

She reached her hand toward him, but his elbows trapped the pooled fabric from her sleeves, halting her movements.

His gaze roved across her body again as he licked his lips. "Your turn. Ready?" He lifted his elbows, then slowly pushed her sleeves off her arms, letting them gently fall to the linens.

“So ready.” Light glinted and danced in her eyes as she stared up at him, her fingers faint against his cheek as she pulled him in for a kiss.

He picked up the mirror dangling around her neck and fiddled with it, turning it over and running his thumb over the written engraving on the other side. “How about this? You want this on? You want it off? It’s pretty, but kind of heavy. Are you always wearing this?”

“Always, but whatever makes you happy is fine.”

Nick shrugged and set it on the mat beside her shoulder. “Here’s good. I think I’ll keep you just like this anyway.” As he kissed her fervently, he trailed his hand from her chest to her stomach to her hips, then down the outside of her thigh and back up the inside of her thigh.

Her leg trembled as her muscles tightened beneath his touch.

You like that… He grinned and brushed his finger back down the inside of her thigh, then back up. When her back arched, his grin grew. "This is fun. What next?"

"Keep going..." Her fingers grazed his waist, then brushed against his wrist and palm and she gently pulled his hand lingering beside her thigh.

"Minako…" He swallowed and tucked her hair behind her ear. “Tell me anything you want and I’ll do it.” Anything for you. Always...

She pulled his hand up between her legs, brushing his fingers against her underwear and letting them linger on the edge. “ You can take them off if you want or just… move them...”

He pulled aside her underwear and slid two fingers inside of her. As he began building a rhythm with his fingers, her legs trembled again and he inhaled sharply. You like this… I like it too… watching your legs tense while I touch you. What can I do to make you make a noise? Something else that lets me know you like it and to keep going...

She bit her lip and her breath quickened as she gripped his shoulder, then moaned quietly.

A noise! Make more! They’re better than your scent. He locked his other fingers through her hair and cupped her head as he began kissing her fervently again, first her lips, then her neck. But that’s getting stronger too. He inhaled deeply. This is perfect.

"Nick…" she whispered and brushed her fingers against the membrane of his wing again.

He moaned against her lips. Keep wanting me! I’ll give you more! Moan and say my name again! As his wings fluttered, he quickened the pace of his fingers and pressed his pelvis against her thigh, his pants bulging against her bare skin. I want you! Am I doing enough to show you?

She winced and shifted underneath him causing him to pull back and frown.

“Are you okay? I’m sorry.” He brushed her hair behind her ear.

"Too fast... just hurt a little." She whispered into his ear, “Keep going, just gently.”

“I got a little excited...” He laughed quietly as he slowed the pace of his fingers and brushed kisses up her neck. They’re sharp and I’m a lot bigger and stronger. I have to remember to be careful and gentle with you instead of getting carried away.

She moaned quietly, her voice breathy between urgent kisses. "Take them off. I just want to feel you."

“Yeah, me too.” His breath caught in his throat and he lowered his voice to a whisper. "Anything you want, I'll do." Your confidence is so sexy, it makes me want you more. He pulled his fingers back, then wrapped them around her underwear and began slipping them down her legs as she pulled her dress from beneath them, tossing it aside before unhooking her bra. So perfect. Everything I’ve dreamed of. His eyes roved over her body and he grinned as he held her. I have to tell you. "You're beautiful and perfect, like a sunbeam."

"That's sweet... but you're still wearing your pants."

He inhaled an awed sharp breath, his pulse racing as his heartbeat thumped in his ears. When she grimaced and hid her face against his shoulder, he started laughing.

His skin muffled her nervous laughter. “I love when you say sweet things. That was awkward…” she mumbled.

“Don’t be embarrassed either. It’s just you and me. I’ll probably do something else awkward too.” He kissed her head as he ran her hand through her hair, gently holding her shoulders. “Doesn’t matter. All I want is you, just you. Sweet and silly and sexy Minako. You’re perfect. Everything I’ve dreamed of.”

She glanced up at him as she pulled back from his shoulder, then kissed it and smiled. “I’m glad we can laugh about awkward things together.”

As he ran his hand through her hair again, he pressed gentle kisses to her lips.

“You’re all I want too, just you. Gentle, kind, brave, protective Nick. So sexy too. Perfect just the way you are. All I’ve ever wished for.” As her body relaxed in his embrace, she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him deeply.

I never thought I could be enough until I had you. I should have told you a million more things I love about you. Maybe I can show you instead.

She pulled back and winked. “Still want you naked though.”

“Good.” After laughing quietly, he brushed her necklace back over her shoulder then began kissing her jaw and neck as he gently pinned her back to the mat beneath him.

When he skimmed his fingers along her chest and stomach, she inhaled quickly. He skimmed his fingers back up, finding quiet pleasure in her delayed exhale. She hurriedly tugged at his pants, pulling them as far down his legs as she could reach, then brushed her hands up his thighs. While she held his hips tightly, he cupped her breasts, pressing fiery kisses to them in response to her lingering touch.

"I can feel your heart beating against my lips." He smiled against her chest as he kicked his pants off, then settled his legs between hers, pressing his hard dick against her inner thigh.

She swallowed and reached toward his hand. “You always want to make it louder… I’ll show you how.”

He nodded eagerly, running his hand down her arm before lacing his fingers through hers. She brushed their hands between her legs, then began rubbing in gentle circles against her clit. She let her fingers linger for a moment, then pulled her hand away. After running her hand through his hair, she held his lips in a gentle kiss.

When Nick began enthusiastically copying her motions, she gripped the linens beneath them as her breath caught in her throat. Her moan filled the silence and his awed inhale was fleeting as he surged toward her lips again. His urgent and heated kisses against her lips matched the eagerness in his touch. He hurriedly kissed every inch of her. Lips, jaw, neck, collar bone, but lingered on her breasts as her heartbeat thundered in her chest. I really want you...

"Nick…" She moaned quietly, then brushed her hands up and down his shoulders and sides. When his fervent kisses returned to her lips, she held his back tightly with one hand and trailed the other down his chest to his abdomen then to his pelvis. “Can I touch you right now, too?”

“Y-yeah.” He swallowed.

His abdominal muscles clenched beneath her electrifying touch as she brushed against the shaft of his dick teasingly, before grasping it in her hand.

"Minako…" As she began stroking it, his breath raced like his pulse. Though he kept his touch between her legs gentle, his hard kisses mirrored his hand tightly wound in her hair. Your intoxicating smell, your gentle touch, how beautiful you look…

She moaned, pulling on him harder as she stroked the base of his wing; he moaned in response, his heart leaping against his chest as he embraced her tighter.

Every noise you make, your lips like honey… I can’t wait anymore! I have to have you! "I want… to be inside you…" he whispered.

"I want that too." She swallowed, holding his cheek tightly, only a whisper between their lips. “Oh, but um…” She paused. “Let me up for a minute.”

“Minako?” He pulled back from her and frowned as she stood. “You okay?”

“Yup.” She rummaged around in her bag on the shelf and pulled out a condom. “Being safe is better, right?” She held it out to him when she sat beside him again.

“Yeah. You know I’ll do anything you ask.” He smiled warmly as he took it from her.

“Good.” She held his cheek and kissed him. “I just want to be with you, but I’m not ready to fulfill some womanly destiny and start giving birth to demon-human hybrid soldiers if that’s even a thing.” She winked.

Nick groaned. “Awkward things now are fine, but old awkward things already happened. I said I was sorry about saying that.”

“I know you did. Just teasing.”

“Help me? Could be more fun.” He ripped it open, then pushed it back toward her and grinned.

Minako grasped his dick again, stroking it gently before rolling the condom down the shaft. “I love you.”

"I love you too.” He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, admiring the tranquil and ethereal warmth that surrounded her. “I'll protect you, I promise."

"And I promise that I’ll stay here." She brushed back his hair and pressed a gentle kiss to his lips.

He kissed her again as he trailed his hand between her legs, massaging gently. When she moaned quietly again, he moved his hand then settled between her legs and slid his dick inside her.

He inhaled sharply, holding her waist tightly as he thrust against her, slow at first, but more forcefully as he built a rhythm. This is amazing. More amazing than I imagined… But I can’t lose you for this. I have to protect you. I have to do everything I can to keep you here. As he pumped, his skin began glowing with a bright and warm pale blue light.

“Nick, you’re glowing...” She pressed her hand against his chest as the light reflected on his face.

“I don’t know...” He pressed urgent kisses to her collarbone as he thrust, inhaling her intoxicating scent as he massaged again. You’re perfect. Are you enjoying this? Show me...

“Nick…” She moaned, clutching his shoulders tightly.

“Keep saying my name…” He grunted as he continued massaging and thrusting. Keep moaning it!

"Nick!" She stroked his wing again as she began thrusting against him.

Sweat glistened on his skin as he moaned, his frenetic kisses matching his thrusts as he pulled her waist and chest closer to him. She responded with equally energetic thrusting, gripping and pulling his hair as she arched her back. Warm pale blue light from her own skin danced across her face.

"Nick... why am I... glowing?" Between kisses, her voice was breathy.

"Minako!" He panted, thrusting harder and deeper.

As his thrust deepened, she moaned loudly and clenched her eyes shut. Lost in the moment, she clutched his shoulders before grasping every part of his body within reach: butt, tail, wings, hips, back. Her back arched and the rest of her body tensed in pleasure. "Nick!"

He grunted, then began thrusting faster, pressing haphazard kisses to her face while brushing her hair away from it. When she continued to moan and clutch his body tightly, he gripped her thigh and waist, pulling her hips closer, trying to be deeper inside her. Overcome by equal ecstasy, he clenched his eyes shut and moaned against her shoulder.

After a few moments, the only sound in the room was their quick breathing.

“You’re still here…” He panted as he leaned his head on her shoulder.

“I’m still here. Nick...” She brushed his drenched hair from his eyes, a breathless smile spreading on her lips.

“Minako! I’m glad! I’m really glad!” He embraced her tightly against his chest, forcing deeper breaths into his lungs.

She wrapped her arms around his neck tightly, pressing closer to him. “Me too! I told you I’d stay!” The excitement in her tone matched his as she held his cheeks tightly, kissing his lips gently.

He smiled against her kiss. “You’re safe.” His smile grew into a broad grin as he tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear, his fingers lingering as he brushed them through her hair. When he reached the ends of her hair at her chest, he pulled back and a frown quickly flashed across his face. “Why are you glowing?”

“I don’t know... You are too...” She pressed her hand to his chest. “I tried to ask you, but you…” She shivered as her breath caught in her throat.

He gripped her tighter and continued to frown. “Are you cold?” He pulled back from her and grabbed the linens bunched at their feet, wrapping their bodies in them as he settled in beside her. His warm embrace mirrored the gentleness in his soft kiss as he held her.

The glowing light reflected and danced in her eyes as she smiled broadly at him, despite the flush of her cheeks. After brushing his hair back, she gave him an equally soft kiss.

He chuckled. “Not cold. If you keep looking at me like that, I'll have sex with you again right now.”

While fluttering her eyelashes, she ran her tongue along her lips.

“You’re trouble.” He smirked. “We’ll have to make more time for just us.” As he held her chin, his lips swept over hers with a simmering kiss, then he tucked another strand of hair behind her ear. “Is it me?”

She danced her fingers on his chest absentmindedly. “The glowing?”

“They all said when I’m not calm, my powers will probably be erratic.”

“It’s not hurting, it’s just... glowing… What were you thinking about?”


“Nick…” She giggled.

“You were all I was thinking about. I wanted to make sure I remembered everything. The way you looked, moved, reacted, sounded, touched, felt, smelled… Just you.” He held her cheek as he pressed a gentle kiss to her lips and tightened his arm around her. “And most of all how much I wanted you to stay and still be just you.”

“Me too, every little thing.” She trailed her fingers down his chest to his stomach then to his pelvis, causing his abdominal muscles to tighten before brushing her fingers against the membrane of his wing.

“Minako…” His face flushed as he inhaled a sharp breath and clutched her waist.

She beamed as she snuggled into his chest. “But most of all, I wanted to stay with you… just you. Maybe your powers were trying to protect me and that’s why we were glowing.” She pulled his hand from her waist and laced her fingers through his. “I was thinking about them, actually… What if they were the reason I was able to come back that first time?”

“But the oracle got you…”

“I don’t know how she found me, she just did…” She shrugged. “You said you filled that casket with light... What if your powers stayed with me from that time and they’ve just been here? Maybe they’re that light, warmth, and brightness you feel… Or maybe the oracle searched for that light… Or maybe that’s why Brian’s grandpa thinks I have demonic power…”

“That’s all just you…” Nick scooted down and leaned his head against her chest as he ran his hand beside her collar bone. “I guess I've never really thought about why you radiated with light. I thought maybe that was just what Pandoras felt like… Or what a Sapphire Pandora felt like for a Sapphire demon… But then no one else said that you did… They said warm, but meant more like kind and welcoming.” He smiled. “I guess it feels… similar… Maybe it would make sense if it came from me... But mine just feel warm and bubbly... Your light is warm too, but also loving and bright. It’s always made me feel strong enough to do impossible things. I just want to be surrounded by it.”

“Nick…” She brushed her hand through his hair, embracing his head.

"You asked me that one time what you smelled like… I like it, but maybe that's why I thought you smelled normal… just like how everyone else said the crater reeked of demonic energy and I couldn't smell a thing. Maybe if I let you have some of my powers, it helped me feel you because we smell too similar."

"What do I smell like? You never really said."

"It’s... like being surrounded by lemon trees and raspberry bushes in the morning… when everything’s covered in dew… It feels… comfortable and familiar. But under that is this calming spicy, woody, floral smell that’s… breathtaking. It's always made me feel like everything is okay."

"I wonder what you smell like? That tarty citrus smell?”

“Probably? I can’t really smell myself...”

“I can’t smell anything specific, but I know that you smell like you and I like it."

You like it... Clutching her tightly, he pressed an adoring kiss to her collar bone before scooting back up; he leaned his head on hers again, nuzzling against her neck. “Can I tell you something?”

“You can tell me anything.”

“When you first appeared here, I wanted to borrow a tiny bit of your priestess powers to wish for… a light that could create miracles, something that would destroy the darkness.” He wrapped his arms around her waist. “And when you said you would give me one of your wishes for anything I wanted, it made me happy, but… I was more happy that you were thinking of me than I was about possibly getting my wish. And I realized that I didn't need a miracle when I had you.” He smiled warmly, meeting her stare, before roving his eyes over her shoulders and chest with a wide grin. “And I still have you. All of you…”

She gave him a warm kiss. “You can always have all of me, any part you want.”

“Me too. I’ll give you everything I have.” His lips quirked upward as he exhaled through his nose and tightened his embrace. “Including powers I didn’t know I had, I guess.” His smile grew. "You surrounded me in light when you accepted all that I was and supported me as I tried to become everything I could be. You’ve always shown me that I’m enough. You’re better than any miracle and worth any wait." He shook his head and embraced her tighter. "I don't say it as often as I should."

Minako brushed the hair on his forehead and gave him a second gentle kiss. "Even if you don't say it constantly, I always feel and understand your feelings. You show me every day." She kissed him again. "Nick… I was really glad that you were the first one I met too. Back then, I always thought I was useless, so I clung to the things and people I already had, like Renee…"


"I don't know if you meant to, but you always challenged me to be more than just nice, to become someone who did anything I could to help lift other people up… You always made me feel like I was strong enough to carry anything on my shoulders. That I could be confident and empowered to really make a difference... But I still…"

He tightened his embrace around her, holding her against his chest. "Stop. We're here together now and I know you made those decisions because you were doing everything you could to support us. You don’t need to feel guilty. You’re constantly worried about me and always supporting me.” He brushed her cheek with his thumb. “That’s all I need. Let me do that for you too.”

“I just want you to be happy. I’ll do anything I can.”

“I know. Me too. I love all those things about you, so I will do everything I can to keep you with me and you can keep becoming that person. If you need my power to be safe and strong, I will give you all of it."

"I love you no matter what. You’re always trying your hardest to protect all of us and getting stronger to help. It’s fine if it makes you happy, but you need your power too."

"I feel fine. And when I stop feeling fine, I have you." He gripped her chin. "Minako…"

She pressed a gentle kiss to his lips. "You’re all I want too, forever."

He smirked, then licked his lips. “Me too.”

"Nick…" She giggled. “It was supposed to be sweet!”

He pressed searing and urgent kisses to her collar bone, neck, and lips.

"Nick!" She giggled again, but then kissed him just as urgently.

Chapter End Notes:
Once I realized it made sense in the narrative, a challenge to myself this year was to write a sex scene -- the one thing I'd never really done (outside of "fade to black" type stuff). And it was a struggle; the amount of editing it took to get it to this point was ridiculous. I pretty much completely rewrote it three times, including a head hopping version that I almost decided I was happy with before ultimately settling on Nick's perspective only -- it being a Backstreet Boys fanfic and all.

But it gave me a new lens to think about character reactions from that isn't always immediately clear to me as I write: trying to convey exactly what other characters are thinking through actions instead of words and/or through words that aren't quite what's running in their heads (as opposed to vaguely thinking, which I usually know). A good example would be that we're in Nick's head a lot and can see it, but the amount of times he's internally spiraling while saying nothing or something simple are really high, for instance, and the other characters don't always know that (though Minako figured it out pretty early on in PBox). It was a fun experiment trying to convey Minako's thoughts in any other way than what they were, but still make them implied to y'all reading along and to Nick who would have to react to them in real time, of course. Like I said, I almost decided "in this sex scene, it's very close to both of them, so you can hear what they're both thinking," but since the head hopping is absent in the rest of this one (Pbox is ishy still despite its big edit), I ultimately decided to avoid it here as well. Anyway, I did something new! Let me know how well it was executed. As always, thanks for reading and see y'all next week.