By San

Ito felt a soft brush across the hair on the back of her neck. She sighed, reaching back, and said, "Not now, Sosumi."

Instead of the soft fur of her ferret, however, she encountered the skin of another human. Startled, she turned her head as Max gently dug his fingers into the taut muscles of her shoulders.

"I think I should be insulted."

"You don't have to be," she said, "just don't stop doing that." His fingers deftly sought out each knot, and she pushed aside the law journal she'd been studying and let her head fall forward. "Is Foster still mad at me?"

"He'll get over it." He stopped massaging and she whimpered, which caused him to chuckle. "Poor Ito."

"I said not to stop. I guess if you forgave me for the Chopstick Incident..."

Max paused with her hair captured in both his hands. "We agreed never to speak of that again."

"I'm sorry! You're a tease, Max." The nape of her neck felt cool, exposed to the air as he twisted her curly locks up into a ponytail. She expected him to resume the massage. Instead, his lips brushed softly against the nape of her neck and she shivered.


She turned to face him, pushing the chair away from the table. "Friends with Benefits time, is it?"

He grinned at her, and she shook her head. "Thought you and Foster might be getting it on," she mused.

Max replied, "Eww. No. That'd be a little too much like having sex with my brother. Well, if I could break my brother over my knee, anyway." He caught her hand in his and pulled her out of the chair. "Going to tell me no?"

"Depends. Are you going to tease me and leave? I know I'm not quite your type."

They met each other's gazes for a long, hesitating moment and then Max pulled her to him and they kissed. Ito's hands went automatically around his neck, thumbs along his jaw."

"We'd probably better move to the bedroom, then," she said when they came up for air. "The last thing we need is a repeat of Sosumi's cold little feet on your butt."

Max's laugh was half a groan and he swept her up, carrying her into the bedroom.

It took them little enough time to strip down; Ito pulled her light comforter off the bed and Max into it.

fade to black

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