Chapter Ten-

The bus ride home was pretty peaceful aside from Tasuki and Akai teasing us about being disgusting. I suddenly remembered this morning in the band room and turned to Akai and Tasuki, “Guess what? Did you guys know the school’s going to be putting on Romeo and Juliet?”
Akai sat up, “Really? They are?”
“Yeah,” I shook my head, “it’s such a cliche play. It’s always done in those stories where the authors can’t think up any better play, so they throw in Romeo and Juliet.”
Akai snorted, “Yeah. It’s the play done to reduce extra thinking for the authors.”
I nodded wryly, “Yup. Anyway, in the band room this morning, I was reading it with Amiboshi, and the choir teacher saw us. He recommended us to try out, so,” I shrugged with a smile, “I guess we are.”
Akai’s eyes lit up, “Oh, good for you! That’d be so cute! Little Amiboshi in tights!”
Amiboshi’s eyes widened, “Wha...”
Tasuki, who had not really been paying attention to all this suddenly sat up, a sadistic grin on his face, “Flute Boy has ta wear tights?”
“If he gets the part of Romeo, he does,” Akai said matter o’ factly.
Tasuki burst out laughing, and Amiboshi turned bright red, “Tights...? I have to wear tights...?”
I bit my lip, “Well...yeah, you do...”
Tasuki laughed harder, practically dying in his seat, “This is too good...”
Suddenly, Amiboshi paled instead of turning red, and his hand tensed up in mine. I quickly glanced over at him. He seemed to be in a bit of pain, and I murmured worriedly, “Amiboshi...?”
“It’’s Suboshi...” he choked out, pulling his hand away from me and pulling down his sleeve.
“Suboshi?!” Akai cried, “quick, Amiboshi, hide your arm!”
Amiboshi did as she said, but gave her a desperate, pleading look, “Akai...but...what if...”
“Well, read it for Suzaku’s sake,” Akai sighed, looking around nervously, “just don’t let anyone see.”
Amiboshi discreetly pulled down his sleeve and gazed at the writing. I didn’t want to be rude, so I turned away. I could tell he was writing back.
He was reading something when he suddenly gasped out loud. I turned sharply to him, and he was staring at his arm. Without thinking, I glanced at the writing at the words, “KUOTO HAS TAKEN OVER” jumped out at me. I put a hand over my mouth in shock. Kutou took over? How...why...what became of Konan and the rest of the Suzaku seishi?
“What, what?” Akai asked, alarmed.
My mind flashed. I couldn’t tell Akai or Tasuki, especially Tasuki. Tasuki would demand details and would definitely be pissed and would do dumb things without thinking, out of his anger. It would only cause problems. He couldn’t know.
Making it extremely obvious, I turned around, shoving Amiboshi’s sleeve over his arm, “Nothing!” I cleared my throat, “uh...nothing.”
She narrowed her eyes in suspicion and whispered, “I know that’s not true, Nishi-chan. What did Suboshi say?”
I pulled her closer, deciding it would be okay to tell Akai, but definitely not Tasuki, “Well...apparently...Kutou’s taken over,” I looked at her with warning eyes, “but please don’t say anything to Tasuki.”
Akai nodded, stammering, “Yeah...of course not...”
She leaned back in her seat and began talking to Tasuki. I turned back to Amiboshi, who was pale and shaken.
“Amiboshi...” I murmured, trying to find the right thing to say.
He was still staring at his now blank arm, “ at peace now.”
I nodded solemnly, “Yeah,” but I felt sadness. Now he would really want to go back, with Kutou peaceful and all. It’s what he’s always dreamed of, I realized. I’ll...I’ll have to let go. You’re being selfish, Nishiko! I screamed at myself. Think of the seishi...the poor Suzaku seishi. They could be in prison or...I felt so shaken by the word ‘dead’ as it came into my head. No. They couldn’t be dead. Not Nuriko...again. Nuriko was my second favorite, the only other guy I would have wanted to come to our world {not true, actually, but he’s definitely my 2nd fav}. I had to watch him die once, I couldn’t bear it if I had to hear how he died a second time. I couldn’t stand that.
Amiboshi grasped my hand, smiling comfortingly, “You okay?” I nodded and he shrugged, “it’s our stop.”
Oh. I’d been so lost in thought, I hadn’t realized we were here. I got up, still holding hands with Amiboshi. I’ll just have to savor my time with him as much as possible, before...I took a deep breath. Before he has to go back.


My hands shook slightly, and my stomach felt like a cage full of butterflies. I suddenly felt Amiboshi take my hand, and I looked up to see him smiling comfortingly at me. But he too looked nervous.
We sat in the auditorium, in the audience, waiting for our audition. As expected, many, many other kids were trying out.
“And...” Ms. Siton looked at her paper, “Kanjoteki Nishiko and Bu Amiboshi?”
Taking in a quivering breath, I stood up and Amiboshi did also. Both of us shaking, we headed up onto the stage. There were some other people out in the audience, but most people who had already auditioned had left, and the ones who still had their audition to do were out in the hall practicing.
Amiboshi and I had worked so hard, practicing and memorizing. I found that Amiboshi was wonderful at memorizing, and we got through it pretty easily.
Up on stage, I took another deep breath, and turned to Amiboshi. He stared down into my eyes, and I could see them full of fear. With a brief, reassuring smile, I whispered, “We can do this. You’ll be great. I believe in you.”
A little relief flooded through his large violet eyes, and he nodded slightly. With that, we got into stance and began the scene we’d practiced in the band room.
“If I profane with my unworthiest hand this holy shrine, the gentle fine is this. My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss,” Amiboshi said in a hushed voice, his eyes locked on my, taking my hand up to his lips.
“Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much. Which mannerly devotion shows in this. For saints have hands that pilgrims hands do touch, and palm to palm is holy palmer’s kiss,” I smiled slightly at him, bringing my palm up to his.
“Have not saints lips and holy palmer’s too?”
“Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer,” I said, persisting to dodge him moving in for a kiss.
“O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do. They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to dispair,” he said, gazing down at my, his hand locked with mine, our eyes locked to each others.
I stared at him deeply, “Saints do not move, though grant for prayer’s sake.”
Totally into the moment, he pulled me to him, tilting my chin up,“Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take. Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.”
With a short dramatic pause, he leaned down and touched his lips to mine. I kissed him back, not even focused on the play any more. How many more times would I get to do this? Gods, I wanted him to stay...
A silence fell over the auditorium, and we pulled away, aware that we were auditioning here, not just finding an excuse to kiss. Ms. Siton and the choir teacher stared at us. Finally, there was applause, and Ms. Siton smiled, “Nice job.” We began off the stage, and I caught the choir teacher giving us a grin and a thumbs up quickly before we left.
Once off the stage, Amiboshi looked at me quickly, “How do you think that was? Did we do okay?”
I smiled, “I think we did great. I wonder when we’ll find out the results...”
Suddenly, a friend of mine, Gino, the assistant director, ran up to us. I sighed, thinking of how much this was like one of those stories where you dramatically find out the results to something immediately after because the author doesn’t feel like spending any more time thinking of things to happen while you would wait for the results in realistic time.
“Nishiko! I was sitting next to Siton during the whole thing...she barely breathed! After you guys went off, she said to me, ‘I think we’ve got them.’” he smiled happily, “you guys got it!”
I stared at him, “What? We did?”
“We did?!” Amiboshi exclaimed after me, blinking a bit.
Gino grinned, “Yeah, but it’s not fair. You guys weren’t even acting. You do that in everyday life.”
I blushed slightly, “Yeah, well...”
“So...we’re going to be Romeo and Juliet??” Amiboshi asked excitedly, turning to me. I looked at him with a happy grin and nodded.
“Well, I gotta head back in there. Good job!” Gino said once more, and turned to run off.
I couldn’t believe this. I was actually going to get to play Juliet! This was a dream!! Play Juliet with Amiboshi??!!! Gods, this was too good to be true...
“Come on! We gotta go tell Akai and Tasuki!” Amiboshi said with a grin, taking my hand and beginning to pull me off down the hall. Well, such is life.


The days after that passed rather quickly, with some rehearsals. Amiboshi did great at the part, at everything. Many of the drama people, in addition to the awed band people, suddenly admired him and were wowed.
It soon was Wednesday. Getting off from rehearsal today, Akai and I sat on her parent’s bed, talking, while Tasuki and Amiboshi were watching “I Love Lucy.” They’d become surprisingly very fond of the show.
“You know, I love him, but nothing could ever take the place of having a girl talk to,” Akai sighed.
“You know it. So tell me, Akai,” I rested my chin in my hands and grinned at her, “is he a really good kisser?”
Her eyes became sorta glazed over and she flopped down on the bed, “Ohhh yeah.”
I smiled at her, chuckling a little, “He seems like he would be, despite that he’s got little to nil experience.”
She got a wicked gleam in her eyes, “I read that Aries are suppose to be great lovers. From what I can tell, it’s absolutely true,” she suddenly grew serious, “hey, Nishiko, have you...told him yet?”
I grew confused, “Uh...told him what?”
“Have you told Amiboshi that know, love him?” she asked uncomfortably.
I softened my gaze, “Well, yeah. That’s,” I chuckled, “that’s kinda how we got together. I was an idiot and blurted out that I loved him,” it had never occurred to me that I never told Akai how we’d actually gotten together, “why?” I asked, “haven’t you told Tasuki?”
She looked away, blushing, “No, well, not exactly.”
I frowned at her, “Why not? Scared?”
“No, it’s not like that,” she frowned, “well, okay, yeah, it is. But that’s not the only reason,” she paused, “I mean, we just really don’t have that kind of relationship. We’re not like you and Ami-chan. I want to tell him, but I just don’t think...”
She trailed off, and I struggled to think of something comforting to say, when suddenly I saw something out of the corner of my eyes. I turned to the full-length mirror next to us, as did Akai, which was clouding over. As the cloudiness thinned, a figure came into view. It was a man, with light blue hair, whose bangs stuck up in a peacockish manner. He held a staff, and smiled when he say us, “Da!!”
Akai and I stared, then screamed at the top of our lungs, and I found myself falling off the bed.
There was suddenly a pounding at the door, and we heard Tasuki and Amiboshi shouting to us. Without thinking, I rushed to the door and held myself against it.
“Are ya two all right? What’s goin’ on?” came Tasuki’s pounding on the door.
“Akai!” I cried desperately, “help me hold the door! Hurry!”
“Tasuki...the mirror’s for you,” Akai murmured, staring abstractly at Chichiri, while Tasuki persisted to try to get the door open, and I tried with every ounce of strength in me to keep it closed.
“Uh, everything’s fine!” Akai called, snapping back to reality, “we just...saw a spider! Yeah, oh, look, there it is! Icky icky!”
Akai stomped on the invisible spider and the pounded halted.
“Can we come in?” Amiboshi asked urgently.
“NO!!” Akai and I both cried in unison.
“!” I repeated, calmer, “we’re having girl talk. We’re talking about...our periods!” I cried, having it be the first thing to pop into my head. I saw Chichiri frown confusedly in the mirror.
There was a silence from the other side of the door, and Tasuki said, “Okay, we’re leaving. Come on, Amiboshi.”
I could tell he was leading the younger boy off and heard Amiboshi ask softly, “Their what?”
I sighed and slid down to the floor.
Akai approached the man in the mirror and said, “Chichiri-san. I’m Akai. Pleased to meet you.”
I stared at the mirror, my mouth open in shock, still on the floor, murmuring, “Chichiri...?”
Seeing him watching me, I scrambled to my feet, blushing furiously, “I’m sorry, Chichiri-san, for being rude. I’m Nishiko. Pleased to meet you...”
Chichiri cocked his head to one side, “How do you know my name no da?”
I couldn’t reply. I was in a bit of too much shock. Chichiri. The real Chichiri was here. He was so cool looking! Even more so in person!
Akai beamed, “You said ‘no da!’ How cute!”
Chichiri looked uncomfortable, and suddenly, a thought struck me. I knew why he was here.
“You’re here for Tasuki and Amiboshi, aren’t you?” I asked in a solemn, soft voice.
Chichiri looked at me again, then replied, “They are here na no da?”
“Yeah,” Akai gasped suddenly, “Kutou! Everyone...are they all right? The seishi, Miaka--did they survive Kutou’s take over?”
Chichiri’s face fell, “They...not everyone survived. But how do you know all of this no da?”
“Not...everyone...? Who...?” Akai paused, pulling herself together, “the story, your story, is very popular in our world. And we found out about Kutou’s takeover from Amiboshi and Suboshi’s link.”
Chichiri was quiet, then spoke again in a soft serious tone, after removing his mask, “Miaka and Tamahome...were killed in Hokkan Country, on Mt. Black.”
I felt like I’d been punched. I couldn’t see clearly. My hands hit the floor as I collapsed to the ground. Miaka and Tamahome....on Mt. Black....Miaka and Tamahome were....dead?”
It hit me, but I don’t deal with death well. They way I cope with it is not at all. I always have trouble believing someone’s dead. It’s kind of a denial thing, I guess. Maybe it’s because I’ve never seen a dead body. Even as I heard Chichiri say they were dead, it didn’t seem real. It couldn’t have happened, could it?
“Miaka...Tamahome...dead...?” Akai murmured, sitting down on the bed.
“You’re lying...” I said in a soft voice, then looked up at him with angry eyes, “you’re lying!”
“ were they killed?” Akai asked softly.
“They were trying to get the Shinzaho. A Seiryuu seishi attacked, and they were killed,” Chichiri’s voice was quiet.
“Ashitare!” I cried, “he would have killed Nuriko!” I looked at Chichiri, “who did Nuriko go with to find the Shinzaho?”
“So, Nuriko and Ashitare never met. And Tamahome, to protect Miaka...oh god...” Akai began to cry, and I looked away, closing my eyes painfully. A flash of Miaka, unprotected and unarmed against Ashitare, a ruthless, blood-thirsty beast came into my mind. If Ashitare could kill Nuriko or Tamahome, killing Miaka would be like squashing a bug, as sickening as that was.
“But that’s not exactly what I came to talk to you about no da,” Chichiri left his mask off, but his tone suddenly became higher, “it is, but you were right. I’m here for Tasuki and Amiboshi na no da.”
I looked at him sharply. No. He was going to take them now ? But...
Another startled scream escaped my throat as a huge, wrinkled face appeared in the mirror. It backed away, revealing it was Taiist-kun.
“Taiist-kun!” Akai gasped, “what’s going on?”
“Ah, just the girls I was looking for,” Taiist-kun said, “do you realize you’re the cause for Suzaku no Miko and Suzaku seishi Tamahome’s death, and Kutou’s takeover?”
What?! What the hell?!
“What are you talking about?!” Akai exclaimed, jumping to her feet, “we have nothing to do with it!”
“Ah, but you did. You don’t quite realize that it was you two that got the seishi here, do you?”
We both stared at her, wide-eyed. “We did...?” I stammered, “but, we have no power....”
“You do. Very small, but power none-the-less,” Taiist-kun nodded.
I stared at my hands, “But...I don’t understand...”
Taiist-kun sighed roughly, “Geez, I have to explain everything to you kids, don't I? Never take my word for it...Anyway, each of you has the power to bridge worlds. Only three times though. You never realized it, but if you both have a latent ability, spawned from your immense love for these seishi. In wishing for them to be real together at the same time, from the deepest depths of your hearts, you bridged the worlds and made your wish come true. You’ve now used your power once to bring them here. Now you must use it again to send them back.”
Send them back? We were going to have to send them back? But how...? Even if we had powers to send them back, how would we ever truly wish it in our hearts? That would be impossible, for in our hearts, we truly wanted them to stay.
“Se...send them back?” Akai stammered, “why?! It’s not like they can do any good!”
“Not send them back to the hell the world is in now,” Taiist-kun replied, “I can manage to send them back to the time from which they were originally taken, but getting them from one world to another is completely up to you.”
“” Akai protested, “!”
I thought a moment, then said softly, “And then things will be as they should? If we send them back?”
“No!” I cried suddenly, surprising Chichiri and Taiist-kun, “how can you ask this of us? There’s no way we’ll ever want to send them back!” I shook my head, “I know it’s selfish, but we want them to stay! We can’t do it out of our own free will!”
“Akai put a shaky hand on my shoulder, “What happened to the rest of the seishi?”
Chichiri looked saddened, “We’re all here, at Mt. Taikyaku no da. Since Kutou took over Konan, we’ve had to hide away. Basically fugitives no da.”
“But you’re all safe, right?” Akai asked.
“Yes, everyone’s okay no da. Not the happiest people you’ve ever met, but who can blame us,” Chichiri grew serious, “but if you send them back to right after the calling ceremony, we have reason to believe everything will work out for the better.”
“We’ll...send them back. You don’t have to worry, Chichiri-san,” Akai choked out. I looked at her, a little startled. But I sighed and shook my head, “But how ? I just find that it would be hard to send them back willingly after we’ve...”
I trailed off, and Chichiri watched me curiously, but kept silent.
“You do realize you’ll have to erase their memory of all this,” Taiist-kun suddenly said casually.
“What?! You didn’t say anything about that!” Akai cried, “you didn’t say they’d have to forget about us!”
“Of course,” Taiist-kun replied, “they can’t go through their lives with the past of being in another world and in love with two girls.”
“That’s another thing no da,” Chichiri put in softly, “you can’t exactly tell them you’re sending them back. They can’t know.”
“You want us to lie?!” Akai exclaimed, “I can’t do that! Send them back, sure, make them forget, maybe, but lie ?!” she shook her head, “I’m sorry, Chichiri-san, but I can’t lie to Tasuki. I just can’t. Not like that.”
Chichiri nodded, “You love them no da..right?”
I blushed a little, “Y-yeah.”
“Then you have to lie na no da.”
“Because they won’t go back if they knew. It’d make it harder,” I realized aloud, “but how can we send them back and make them forget without them finding out?”
“There is a type of broth that makes one forget the past,” Taiist-kun said, “bokkyaku broth. I will tell you how to make it and somehow, you must make them drink it. The most likely case is that they’ll pass out, and you can send them back then.”
“So, you’re telling us to trick them into drinking the drugs?” I asked a little hotly.
Chichiri looked a little uncomfortable, “Well, yes no da. It won’t hurt them.”
I chuckled coldly, “ Oh, you mean physically. I see.”
“I will give you the recipe for the broth now,” Taiist-kun said, almost ordering.
I looked away with gritted teeth, “This makes me sick.”
“She’s got a point!” Akai said, “you can’t think we’ll be able to drug Tasuki and Amiboshi!”
“You have to, don’t you realize?” Taiist-kun stressed, “it’s the only way. Now, I suggest you get something to write this down on.”


Nearly an hour and a whole lot odd debating later, Akai and I emerged from the room exhausted, confused, and more than a little depressed.
“Okay, we can wake up from this nightmare anytime now,” Akai put her face in her hands, “we don’t actually have to do this, do we?”
“They said we should do it soon. I’m assuming Saturday would be good,” I said, basically ignoring her question. In a way, I wasn’t dealing with this well. It was that denial thing again, kicking in. In some ways, I wanted to glomp Amiboshi and say, “No! You can’t have him back! He’s mine!” In other ways, I completely knew it was the right thing to do and I should never even consider the first option, but for the most part, I didn’t believe it. This couldn’t happen, could it? Amiboshi didn’t have to go back to his rotten {I am a Shun-chan fan honto!} brother and twisted fellow seishi. It had all been a joke.
Told you I don’t deal with things well.
But as we walked into the living room, and I saw them, cracking up at “I Love Lucy,” I had a the sickening realization again and felt my heart sink.
They looked up as we walked in, still grinning in the cute way they grin.
“Finally done talkin’ about ‘girl stuff?’” Tasuki smirked.
“Hey, Tasuki told me to ask you guys,” Amiboshi started, “what’s your--”
Tasuki burst into laughter, cutting Amiboshi off.
Akai shook her head, smiling weakly, “You’re mean, Tasuki-kun. You know we’re not going to explain it to him.”
Tasuki blinked innocently, “Well, yer girls. I’m not gonna be the one ta explain it ta him.”
Amiboshi looked frustratedly from Akai to Tasuki, “Explain what ?”
Tasuki laughed and Akai patted Amiboshi affectionately on the head, “Don’t ever change, ‘kay, Ami-chan?”
He still looked confused, “You guys are mean. Really mean.”
He took my hand and pulled me down to sit next to him on the floor, then put his arm around my waist, pulling me closer as Akai and Tasuki walked out. I tensed up for the first time, feeling like my heart was being shattered.
He looked at me, his face concerned, “Is everything all right?” I didn’t reply for a long time, and he gently shook me, “Nishiko!”
“Everything’s fine,” I replied quickly, making it sound as convincing as I could. He was silent, gently stroking my arm with his hand. He then lifted his hand to my chin and turned my face to his, staring deeply into my eyes.
He frowned, “Something’s wrong. I can see hurt in your eyes.”
I quickly turned my head, avoiding his eyes, and forcing a smile and a laugh, “You’re funny, Amiboshi. Everything’s fine.”
He didn’t laugh, but gave me an even more concerned look. I smiled before kissing him (it was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to do) and saying, “I think you’re imagining things, dear.”
He looked back at the TV, but his gaze was distant. I turned his face back to mine, “Hey, you don’t worry about me, ‘kay?”
His gaze softened, “I always worry about you. It’s not really something I can help, nor do I want to.”
I pushed back the tears that threatened to fall and smiled, “That’s sweet.”
He smiled rather forcively too and looked back to the TV.
I suddenly remembered something and glanced at my watch, “Crap! I gotta start home!” I cried, pulling away from him and standing up, “my parents’ll be home soon, and I haven’t got my chores done yet.”
He stood up too, following me to the door.
“Akai, Tasuki, I’m leaving! Bye!” I shouted upstairs, opening the door. Amiboshi came out with me and grabbed my hand to stop me. I turned to him questioningly, and he pulled me to him by my waist, kissing me deeply. He pulled away slowly, running his hand over my cheek, “I love you, Nishiko,” he said quietly, “don't’ forget that. I’m actually kind of hurt that you won’t talk to me.”
Again, the pain stabbed my heart, “No, Amiboshi, please. Nothing’s wrong. And...and..” I looked down, then up again at him, “I love you too. I can talk to you better than anyone. Don’t mistake that,” I smiled softly, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
He looked at me with eyes that made me want to cry, “I’ll miss you, even though it’s only for one night. I miss you every night.”
I turned now, not able to take it any longer, “Goodbye, Amiboshi. you.”
With that, I ran away to where my bike was, and rode off without looking back.
His words clung to my brain, “I miss you every night.” I hastily wiped the tears that has wet my cheeks, longing for some way to rid myself of the pain. I loved him so much, and he was making it so hard. My heart felt worse than it ever had before, ten times more than with Akio. I wondered if he was still standing there on the doorstep, but I couldn’t for the life of me, bring myself to look back.


I’d been a little unnerved around Amiboshi the next day, but I’d acted as normal as I could, and we were still kissy and snugly and disgusting as always, so I think he felt a tad bit better.
My parents had Bible Study that night, so I was staying at Akai’s till real late. We had just finished some Thai food Akai’s mom had brought home and it was starting to get dark out.
I got up to take the plates upstairs when Amiboshi grabbed my other hand and said rather quietly, “Nishiko, can we go outside? I’d kinda like us to be alone for a little while.
I nodded, a little confused, and we turned to Akai and Tasuki, “We’re going outside, ‘kay? If my parents come, run out and tell me.”
I headed up the stairs after telling Amiboshi to go outside from downstairs, and I’d gone out from the porch so Akai’s parents wouldn’t see him. I put the plates into the sink and headed outside.
It was getting darker every second, and I shivered in the cold as I headed down the porch stairs to the main level.
I didn’t see him, and Akai’s backyard made me nervous as it was. I called out softly, my voice shaky, “Amiboshi?”
“I’m here,” he replied quietly, stepping out from the dark shadows. Just looking at him, I felt my heart ache. He was so beautiful, the moonlight shining on his soft hair, playing up his gorgeous violet eyes. His eyes. I loved them so much, and just looking into them made me feel so happy, so much love.
He smiled gently, now in front of me, “Kinda scary out here, huh?”
I nodded, hugging my arms around myself, “Yeah. I’m always afraid some guy with a knife is going to jump out at me.”
He came to me and wrapped his arms around me, holding me close to his warm body, “I’ll protect you, Nishiko.”
It felt so warm in his embrace, and I laid my head against his chest. I wanted to stay this way forever. Just me and him. I felt another stab of pain.
“Here, let’s go sit on the grass,” he said, leading me over with one arm around me. We sat down, and I leaned back against him as he wrapped his arms around me again.
“It’s beautiful tonight,” he commented, running a hand through my hair. I smiled, taking his hand and squeezing it lightly. His brought my hand, with his, up to his lips and kissed my hand tenderly. Gently, he let it drop, and put his arm back around me.
“This night is perfect,” he continued, “I...uh, wanted to tell you something.”
“Shoot,” I said, staring out at the stars.
“I...” he paused, “I’ve decided to stay in your world.”
I felt my face pale, my heart stop. What? Stay in this world?! Oh, Amiboshi, couldn’t you have said this when I didn’t have to send you back?
“What?” I asked, “you have?”
“Yeah,” I heard his voice shake a little, “I’m going to stay. Because I want you to marry me.”
I felt my jaw drop a little, and I swear, my heart entirely stopped. But soon, it was beating quickly, nervously, and I could barely get out, “M..marry you?” I took a deep breath, shifting a little, “I...I need some space.”
He obediently took his arms from around me, and I stood up, shaking.
He gazed at me, his eyes a little hurt and worried. He bit his lip and began saying, a little urgently, “I’ll make you happy, Nishiko, I promise I will. I’m really sorry I don’t have a ring, but I wasn’t sure how to get one, and I didn’t know if you wanted one! And...and I’ll find work somewhere in your world so we can have a nice house, and raise a family, and--”
“Amiboshi, I’m...I’m only fourteen!” I stammered, racking my brain for excuses. It killed me to be like this, and I wanted more than anything to run into his arms and kiss him and tell him I would marry him for sure and nothing would stop me. But I knew he had to go back, regardless of the fact that he wanted to stay. It would kill me even more than it was now, to say yes to him, and then trick him into going back.
“We can wait till we’re older, and just be engaged for now,” he stood up, his eyes definitely worried now.
“But...” I caught an excuse, “not going back? Is that really responsible?”
He looked confused, “Nishiko!”
“I mean, what about Suboshi? And Kutou’s take over?” I continued.
He wet his lips, “Well, that’s actually the reason I can stay here. I have no duties as a seishi anymore because Kutou is safe. I don’t need to try to prevent war because there is no war. And Suboshi must be as happy as ever, living in the palace, because he’s a Seiryuu seishi. He doesn’t need me to protect him anymore. They don’t need me there.”
I stared at the ground, scanning every excuse there was, “Amiboshi, I...don't...”
He put his hand on my waist, pulling me to him gently, “Nishiko, I’m asking you to marry me! I...” he lifted my chin with his hand to look him in the eyes, and as he saw my face, filled with hurt and regret and rejection, his violet eyes went wide with the realization, and he dropped his arm from me, backing up, stumbling a little. Staring at me, his breath came out heavy and staggered, and his voice trembled as much as his eyes, “I...I...” he looked away and choked out, “I..see....I understand..”
“Amiboshi--” I started, but he looked up at me, and his eyes were filled with tears, his lower lip quivering. I cut myself off, my eyes growing wide, my heart absolutely being torn in half.
When I didn’t continue, he turned swiftly and ran into the house. After he was gone, I stared after the door, then collapsed to the cold grass, painful sobs breaking from my throat. Why did everything have to be so cruel?! Why did he have to be so sweet?! I couldn’t take it. My heart was shattered and hurt worse than I could ever, ever describe. It wasn’t me I was crying about, not that at all, but the fact that I’d hurt him, that I’d actually made tears come into his gorgeous eyes. I would so much rather have him hurt me than have to see his face after basically telling him I wouldn’t marry him. His pain was the most awful thing that could happen to me. Did he really love me that much?! I wept bitterly, more than I ever had before, till I was gasping for breath and completely exhausted, and it still hurt. I hurt. I hoped I never stopped crying. I deserved it.


I pulled up on my bike, feeling rotten, to say the least. I didn’t look up at the three people in front of me.
I’d left that night when my parents came to pick me up without saying anything to anyone. Once home, I locked myself into my room for the whole night, skipping dinner and refusing to let anyone in, or come out. I so didn’t feel like going to school the next day, but my parents, not too happy with my behavior last night, said I wasn’t sick and I was going to school. So, with the heaviest heart ever, I rode off towards Akai’s.
“Morning, Nishiko!” Tasuki said cheerfully. I looked up to him. He looked so happy. Poor fool, I thought bitterly at his happiness, he doesn’t even know what’s coming to him. I immediately after felt awful for thinking that.
“Morning, Tasuki,” I replied back, my voice ten times less cheerful than his. Without even thinking, I looked to Amiboshi, who looked at me suddenly. Our eyes met, and we both looked away quickly, feeling pain. I wondered how he was doing, if he was feeling all right. I wanted to run to him and kiss him fully on the lips, but I lowered my gaze to the ground once more and stepped next to Tasuki.
Tasuki looked from Amiboshi to me and wondered aloud, “What’s goin’ on with you two?”
I felt the urge to smack him up-side the head, but looked away, coming up with nothing. Amiboshi didn’t reply either.
“Well?” Tasuki asked a little impatiently.
I thank holy Suzaku that the bus come at that moment. Without answering Tasuki’s question, we got on, and Amiboshi and I sat in two different seats. It felt lonely, sitting by myself with no cute, green-haired flutist next to me, so I brought out my math book and busied myself in homework I hadn’t finished.
Akai and Tasuki were talking, maybe arguing, I couldn’t tell, and I blinked as I realized I’d doodled a little flute on my homework paper. I sighed, erasing it. Get a grip, Nishiko. It’s not the end of the world. Yes, it is! I’ve lost everything important to me! Did you hear me? Get a grip! But, I...Oh gods, I thought, I’m arguing with myself. Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic.
I suddenly heard Tasuki ask loudly, “Are ya guys really havin’ a fight?”
“Tasuki!” Akai cried, and I heard her smack him.
“Did she dump you?” he continued curiously, then leaned forward into my seat, “did you dump Amiboshi?”
I turned to him, glowering my death glare, and he leaned back, “Okay, maybe not. Then you dumped her, right?”
I heard Akai smack Tasuki again, “For Suzaku’s sake, Tasuki! Have some delicacy!”
Suddenly, Kissechi got on the bus, sitting in the seat across from me, in front of Amiboshi. She looked from us the way Tasuki had and asked, “What’s with the love birds?”
“They broke up,” Tasuki said casually, and I heard him cry out in pain from the third smack Akai gave him.
Kissechi looked at each of us, an eyebrow raised, her gaze lingering on me in a ‘what did you do?’ kind of way.
“I have homework!” I said uncomfortably, as if it were an excuse for me not sitting with him.
“Yeah, right,” Tasuki snorted, “she’s just pissed ‘cause her and--ow! Would ya quit fuckin’ hittin’ me?!”
“I will if you’ll quit being being such an idiot!” Akai snapped, “don’t you have any tact?!”
Luckily, we pulled up at the school. I gratefully got off the bus and walked sulkily with the others to where the anime club was sitting.
I looked at Amiboshi, who was half listening to Bachiko go on about something or other. I sighed silently, wishing to be near him and in his arms. He suddenly looked at me, but instead of looking away, to my horror, he got to his feet and started to come over to me. Oh Suzaku, I thought, he’s going to say something sweet and romantic and make me cry and kiss him and--
“Nishiko, I--” he was now in front of me, and had reached out to touch my arm gently. I jerked away quickly at his touch, and we both froze. His eyes wavered painfully in mine, and I felt my heart shatter. How?! How could I be so cruel?!
His arm still frozen in mid-air, me clutching my own arm where he’d touched it, we stared at each other sadly. Finally, he lowered his head and brought back his arm, “S-sorry.” With that, he turned and hurried back over to Akai, his eyes on the floor. I clutched my arm, staring after him longingly. What had I done? I wanted to kill myself right then and there. I made him sad again. I should be put to death. I lowered my head sadly, just as the bell rang.
“Akai, can I go to your classes with you?” I heard Amiboshi ask as I turned away. With that, I took a silent breath and started off down the hall quickly, unable to take it anymore.


ProlougeChapter OneChapter Two
Chapter ThreeChapter Four Chapter Five
Chapter SixChapter SevenChapter Eight
Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve