Chapter Four-

I wokeup for no particular reason. Everything was quiet and I rolled over to look at my clock, which read 11:48. My eyes widened, cursing myself for sleeping so late. I threw the covers off myself and climbed out of bed, yawning and getting dressed at quickly as I could, having just woken up. I rushed to the bathroom to brush my hair.
As soon as I’d finished getting ready, I headed downstairs to find it dark and quiet. I didn’t bother turning on the lights as I was leaving right then anyway. I wrote a quick note to Jiyu, who would be sleeping till 2:00 or so, and left.
I was on foot because I’d left my bike at Akai’s and luckily it was a nice day. The sun shone brightly on Akai and my little neighborhoods, lighting the high trees. I breathed in the fresh morning air and let it out, smiling. Maybe this is happiness, I thought. Amiboshi’s question had really made me think about life and happiness. Was there any possible way to achieve it? Whenever I thought of how I could be happy, I always thought of falling in love. But I should have rephrased it, thinking, having love in my life would make it happy. Maybe that was shallow, and something could make me happier, like friendship or acceptance, but even those seemed simple, which made me wonder if happiness had to be complex, or whether it was not at all.
I hardly noticed I’d reached Akai’s house I’d been so deeply in thought. I glanced at the side of the house to make sure my bike was still there, then headed up the huge wooden steps.
I opened the front door and walked cautiously in. It was dark and silent. I wonder if they’re even here, I thought, then added wryly, or even awake.
“Akai-chan!” I called, walking up the stairs and getting major fe ja vo, “good morning!”
Silence. I looked around the family room, peering on the couch and chairs. Nothing. I crept quietly to Akai’s room, and peeked in. Nothing. As I walked out, I thought angrily, that little brat! She left without me! She’s out around the town with two gorgeous guys--
And that’s when I saw him. Amiboshi lie, fast asleep on the couch in the living room. His hair fell across his eyes and looked almost blondish as the faint rays of sun light hit it. He breathed peacefully, his chest rising and falling rythmically. I smiled and let out a sigh. How adorable! I really didn’t want to wake him, but I had to find out where Akai and Tasuki were.
I sat sown beside him on the couch and shook his shoulder gently, “Amiboshi. Hey, Amiboshi, wake up.” I said softly. He stirred a bit, then opened his eyes. He blinked, as if trying to make them come into focus.
I smiled, “Did Tasuki and Akai leave you all by your lonesome?”
He looked around sleepily, “Are they gone?”
“Looks like it,” I nodded, “so you don’t know where they are?” Amiboshi shook his head. I sighed frustratedly, “how irresponsible of them. Going off to make out without telling anyone.”
Amiboshi’s eyes widened and I reassured him, “I was joking. They’ll probably be back soon. So, how’d you sleep?”
He yawned and laid his head back down, “Okay. I didn’t get much.”
I shrunk back guiltily, “I’m sorry.”
“No, no, it’s allright. We didn’t know it was so late anyway,” he reassured me.
“Hello, everyone!”
Amiboshi and I both turned to see Akai and Tasuki walk in. They both looked happy. A little too happy...
“Where have you two been?” I asked suspiously.
“Oh ye of little faith,” Akai smiled,c oming up and patting me on the head, “we were at Kissechi’s, pervert.”
I smirked, “All the more reason for me to be suspious.”
“Ah, but what were you and Amiboshi up to all alone while we were gone?” Akai grinned.
I saw Amiboshi redden, and I turned to her and replied self assuredly, “Talking. And besides, I’m not the one who’s all alone with two guys every night.”
“Oh yeah? Well...” she paused then cocked an eyebrow suggestively, “I guess you got me there.”
“Exactly,” I nodded, then, “hey, what were you doing over at Kissechi’s? I thought Tasuki was afraid of her.”
Tasuki puffed out his chest, “I’m not afraid of any women.”
I cocked an eyebrow, “Oh, really? Is it because we’re weak and helpless?” my tone was dry and on the verge of pissed.
“Uh, that’s not what I meant...”
“Yes, it is!” I narrowed my eyes, “you think we’re all weak, pathetic, fru-fru pansies! Well, I can tell you--”
I was cut off, feeling Amiboshi touch my arm, “Nishiko...”
I blushed, feeling embarrassed, but I finished softly, “Just don’t assume we’re weak and useless, Tasuki.”
Tasuki was looked down at his feet. I think my words actually hit him, and that was weird to me. I never thought I could actually make someone think about the feminist crap I’m always spouting.
Akai suddenly cleared her throat, “So, anyone want coffee?”
Everyone stared at Akai. I made a face, “Ick. Coffee.”
“What coffee?” Amiboshi asked. I looked at him, and hid a smile, realizing that he was still lying next to me.
“It’s a disgusting drink that wakes you up,” I told him.
“I think it’s good!” Akai protested.
“Tasuki’ll probably like it,” I commented, then turned to Amiboshi, “I don’t know if you’ll like it though.”
“I’ll go make some,” Akai bounded off to the kitchen, chanting, “coffee, coffee, coffee.”
I raised an eyebrow, but turned to Tasuki and smirked, “Did you and Akai have a good time?” I knew Akai’d had a good time because of how incredibly happy she was.
He gave me a strange look, “Uh, we were walking to Kissechi’s, that’s all.”
I smirked but kept silent. I got up and went into the kitchen, followed by the guys.
“Hi, everyone,” announced in a sing-song voice as we walked in.
I cocked an eyebrow, “Ok-ay. Just a bit happy, Akai-chan?”
“Yeah, yeah!” Akai replied, “I’m in a really good mood for some reason. I haven’t been this happy since...” she paused, “well, not for a while.”
What was the key to Akai’s happiness? I wondered, what if...
“Is it almost ready?” Tasuki asked curiously, breaking my thoughts.
“Nope. It still has to perk,” Akai began to dance around the kitchen, “why am I so happy?” followed by a giggle.
I crossed my arms over my chest and leaned against the counter, watching her. Alright, I admit it. I was envious of her happiness. It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy, but I was almost certain something had happened between her and Tasuki. Why else would she be so happy? Maybe I was envious of that.
“You all right?”
I looked up as Amiboshi came over and leaned against the counter next to me.
“Oh, yeah,” I forced a smile, then sighed silently, watching Akai enviously once more.
Akai danced around more, then pranced over to the fridge, “Soda, Nishi-chan?”
I shook my head, “No.”
“Suit yourself,” she shrugged, followed by yet another shrill giggle, then going to the coffee, “damn, still not ready.”
I saw Amiboshi watching me out of the corner of my eye, and turned to him, “What?” I asked, smiling slightly.
He shrugged, looking down at his feet, “You just look upset.”
Oh jeez, I thought, I’ve only known him two days and he can already read me. I laughed softly, “Upset?”
“Hey, Nishi-chan, what should we do today?”
I shrugged and walked to the fridge, checking in it, “I dunno. We could just hang out.”
“We could,” she said, tapping her foot. She looked over at the coffee pot, “coffee’s ready!”
“Uh, are you okay, Akai?” Tasuki asked nervously, edging over to her.
“Yeah, yeah, just hyper,” she replied.
“Huh?” Tasuki asked.
“I’ve got a lot of energy,” she said, pouring herself a cup of coffee and adding cream and sugar, “and I’m about to get more.”
“God help us,” I muttered only loud enough for Amiboshi to hear.
Akai sipped the coffee, “Ah, perfect,” she held the cup to Tasuki, “try some. Nishiko hates it and I need someone to be hyper with me.”
He took the cup hesitantly, and tried some. His face lit up, “That’s pretty damn good!”
“Ick,” was my imput. I turned to Amiboshi, “you can try some,you know. Just ‘cause I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s forbidden.”
Amiboshi shrugged, but went up to Akai for a sip. He took it from her and took a hesitant taste.
Again, I got to see the disgusted, horrified face. He shoved the cup back to Akai and forced himself to swallow it. “That’s awful,” he commented, “it’s so bitter!”
“Yes!” I cried triumphantly, pointing at Akai, “that’s one for my side.”
“Well, Tasuki likes it so biiiida!” she stuck her tounge out at me. I had the urge to start a biiii war, but resisted, reminding myself that I didn’t get into that sort of thing.
“Is there anything you like?” I asked Amiboshi desperatly.
“I like Chinese food,” he shrugged helplessly.
“Who doesn’t?” I pointed out.
“We can’t feed you Chinese food all the time. You have to find something you like,” Akai sighed and Amiboshi seemed sad that he couldn’t eat Chinese food all the time.
“Should we taste test?” I asked Akai.
“Hey, yeah, that’s not a bad idea,” Akai agreed. I began to pull various things out of the fridge, handing to Akai, who set them on the counter. After that, I wandered over to the cupboard and began pulling out more food.
“All right,” I said, turning to Amiboshi, “where should we start?”
“I vote for the jello,” Akai said, managing to look innocent. I narrowed my eyes at her and stepped closer to Amiboshi, “Keep your paws off ‘im!” I paused, “and besides, Amiboshi doesn’t need to eat horse and cow bones.”
“You eat horse and cow bones here?” Amiboshi asked, looking horrified.
“I don’t, but she does,” I pointed at Akai, then added, “she likes to do other things with jello too.”
Akai grinned wickedly, “You have no idea.”
“And I don’t think they want to either,” I said and went back to the food, “all right, we’ll started with...cheese. Behold the power of cheese.”
Amiboshi looked frightened.


It was a couple hours later, and we’d gone through almost every food in Akai’s kitchen. Poor Amiboshi was stuffed and looking sick. But we’d found some foods he liked: he liked pasta, mashed potatoes, peanut butter, whipped cream, fruit, and we’d found out that he especially liked ice cream. Tasuki had been trying things as he pleased, and liked just about everything he ate. Although, he didn’t like whipped cream....
“Are you okay?” I asked Amiboshi, who was looking rather green. He gazed at me and nodded weakly.
“Hey, Nishi-chan? Did we have any homework in Algebra?” Akai asked suddenly.
I thought for a moment, then replied, “Yeah, but I got it finished in class. I don’t think you’ve got it done yet.”
“What’s Algebra?” Tasuki asked exasperatedly.
“Math. Chiriko would know about it,” I replied. Tasuki and Amiboshi both gave mne weird looks, and I remembered that neither one of them knew who Chiriko was, but the seventh Suzaku seishi Amiboshi been disguised as. I bit my lip and looked down, “, real Chiriko.”
There was a really akward silence, and Akai broke it, saying, “It’s boring. It’s the most boring thing you could ever do.”
Tasuki thought for a moment, then asked, “How come they make ya learn it then?”
“’Cause they’re adults,” Akai shrugged.
Tasuki looked disturbed, “In my world, we’d all be adults.”
“Things are a lot different here,” Akai sighed.
“Ya said you were on Spring Break. When’d ya hafta go back?”
I thought a moment, “Let’s’s Wednesday? We go back Monday, so...five days,” I suddenly got the impact of this and stared at Akai with wide eyes, “Akai! What are we going to do with them?!”
“Take us with ya!” Tasuki grinned crookedly.
“With us?” Akai cried, “to school?!”
I choked out a laugh, “Uh, I don’t think so...”
“Why the hell not?”
Akai and I exchanged skeptical glances, “Teenagers in this world are...different,” I said warily.
Akai snorted, “They’re more corrupt than most adults. It’s sickening.”
I bit my lip, “Not nessicarily. But they’re really...judgemental and prejuduce. Unless you know how to handle them, they can make people’s lives hell.”
“I can handle anyone,” Tasuki declared.
I sighed, “Such pride, Gen-chan.”
“She’s right,” Akai nodded, “they’ll rip you apart if you let them.”
Tasuki looked half mad that we didn’t want him to go, half curious about these teenagers that were so bad. He suddenly looked determined, “If you don’t take me with you, I’ll fight with Amiboshi. I could kill him, you know.”
I felt a pang of anger and worry and the tinge of giving in. I think Amiboshi was too sick to notice. I thought, then smirked, “What if we take Amiboshi with us and leave you here?”
“Besides,” intejected Akai, the logical one, “you said that you wouldn’t. You told me you’d keep your word.”
Tasuki looked stuck, and thought for a moment. As if not finding anyway to talk us into it, he crossed his arms across his broad chest stubbornly, muttering, “Can’t belive all these God damn bossy women...”
I felt bad for him. I think he really wanted to go. I looked at Akai helplessly and asked her softly, “It might not hurt...”
“I suppose you’re right,” Akai turned back to Tasuki, “you’ll have to get up early. And we’ll have to plan everything perfectly so my parents don’t catch us.”
Tasuki grinned crookedly, “Ya won’t regret it.”
The thought of Tasuki in school scared me--not so much for his sake, but for everyone elses. Suddenly, I remembered Amiboshi. I looked down at him. He’d crossed his arms onto the table and had laid his head down. His eyes were closed but I wasn’t sure he was sleeping.
“Amiboshi?” I asked, and his eyes flicked open. I smiled, “Just checking to see if you’re awake. Tasuki’s going to school with us when we go back. Do you wanna come?”
He sat up and nodded quickly.
“Then it’s settled,” I shrugged. God only knew what would come of taking two guys from Ancient China to High school.


I absolutely hate getting up early unless I have an exciting reason. This morning, I think it would be safe to call it a safe reason. I’d jumped out of bed, barely tired, dressing quickly, rushed downstairs to shovel some breakfast and headed out the door. I’d been riding my bike quicker than I thought. I road down Akai’s street to the corner, almost whistling. Why the hell was I happy? I thought suddenly, then smiled, thinking, maybe it’s ‘cause I get to show off a really hot guy to all my friends. I took a deep breath. Cool it, Nishiko. He’s not yours yet. I chuckled to myself, realizing I’d added the ‘yet’ to my sentence.
I spotted three figures standing at the corner. I got up to Amiboshi, Akai and Tasuki and murmured a breathless, “Morning.”
“Morning. Been riding awfully fast, have you?” Akai smirked at me.
I nodded, then caught myself and gave her a weird look, “So?”
She continued to smile smuggly, “Nothing.”
I turned to Tasuki and Amiboshi and nodded at them, “Morning. How’d you two do getting up this early?”
Amiboshi yawned and shrugged. Tasuki grinned smuggly, “Unlike Miss Sunshine here, I’m used ta gettin’ up early.”
Akai glared at him, “I’m used to it too, but that doesn’t mean I like it. At least I don’t snore loud enough to wake the dead!”
“At least I don’t hafta eat every five minutes!”
“At least I can swim!”
“Okay, okay, let’s stop this now,” I intervened, holding up my palms to them, “let’s make this fighting...”
Both of them glared at me, but kept silent.
“Okay then,” I sighed.
We all looked up suddenly to see the bus coming. I’d just realized how extremely frightening a huge, yellow, noisy vehicle coming towards them would be. Amiboshi’s eyes widened and he stumbled back a little, his hand near his flute. Tasuki swore.
“What the fuck it that thing?!” he exclaimed.
“It’s a bus,” Akai reassured him, “it’s like a car, only bigger and more...yellow.”
“We’re going to ride in it to school,” I explained, then turned to the flame haired boy, “all right, Tasuki, here’s your first experience with high schoolers.”
“Why just him?” Amiboshi asked, and I could hear a bit of hurt in his voice.
I felt bad and said, “Well, it’s just...I think you’ll get along better with them.”
“What the hell?!” Tasuki exploded, but I didn’t have time to answer him. The bus stopped in front of us and the doors opened. I guestured for Amiboshi to get on, and he (cautiously) did. I followed, then Akai, then Tasuki. We were the first ones on the bus, so we went to the back. Amiboshi sat in a seat with me and Akai with Tasuki. Being so close to Amiboshi, I could smell his subtle scent of...I couldn’t even describe it. It was just Amiboshi. I breathed it in and leaned back against the seat with a dreamy sigh.
I suddenly noticed Amiboshi gazing excitedly out the window.
“Pretty different,” I spoke suddenly and he turned his gaze to me. He nodded and was content to stare out the window again. I watched him, how his eyes, and unusual light purple, sparkled with excitement.
Akai nudged me suddenly, “Hey, Spacey, wake up. I can see the H-rays you’re emmitting from over there.”
“Oh ho ho!” I laughed coldly and smacked her upside the head roughly, “don’t even say that to me, girl,” I pulled her closer, “at least my guy’s modest.”
“Pacifest,” I heard Tasuki snort.
“That,” she said matter-o-factly, “is your loss.”
I gave her a glare and snorted, “Loss? Forgive me if I like guys who aren’t full of themselves. I don’t consider it a loss.”
Now we were talking lous enough and Tasuki and Amiboshi were listening. We didn’t particularly care, I think.
Akai shrugged, “To each her own,” she leaned forward and whispered, “I think it’s kinda sexy.”
I shrugged and leaned back, “Whatever. I--” I didn’t get to finish my sentence as a girl who rides our bus got on. I was silent, remembering what a guy-addict she was. She eyed Amiboshi and Tasuki suggestively before sitting down and asking, “New guys?”
Akai nodded, “Yeah. Shina, this is Tasuki and that’s Amiboshi. Guys, this is Shina.”
Amiboshi nodded his head and said a polite, “Nice to meet you.”
Tasuki, still gazing abstractly, muttered, “Nice ta meet ya.”
Akai elbowed him and hissed, “Don’t be rude!”
“Damned women,” he muttered, but turned to Shina, “Nice ya meet ya,” and he shook her hand.
“They’re your boyfriends?” Shina asked causally. I reddened and looked away, murmuring a soft, “Uh-uh.”
Akai smiled and replied, “Just friends, eh, Fang Boy?”
“Uh huh,” he murmured. Shina nodded and smiled knowingly, “Ah.”
We were to the next stop: Kissechi, Miyuki, and Kankyou’s stop. I suddenly leaned over to Akai, “Akai! Miyuki will know who they are!”
Akai’s eyes widened and she nodded. Miyuki was in the Anime club at school. And she was a Tasuki fan.
She was the first one on, then Kankyou, then Kissechi. Miyuki sat in her seat tiredly, looked and Tasuki, and blinked slowly. She turned to face in front of her and muttered, “I really didn’t get enough sleep last night.”
Kankyou didn’t say anything as he sat down, just gave us weird looks. Kissechi raised an eyebrow in an ‘oh’ expression and turned her back to us grumpily. I do believe she was tired.
“Miyuki, Kankyou, this is Amiboshi and Tasuki,” Akai introduced once more, “this is Miyuki and Kankyou.”
Both the seishi said hello, and Kankyou did also. Miyuki was now staring at them frightenedly. Akai leaned over and whispered something to her. After a moment, Miyuki swallowed and choked out a hello.
We had to pick up the middle schoolers, then we got to school. We went past all the middle schoolers to get off the bus, Tasuki giving them ‘what are those?’ looks.
We began walking to the front door of the school, accompanied by all the other high schoolers. Amiboshi and Tasuki looked at them strangely, probably because of their clothes and the masses of them. I leaned over and said softly to Amiboshi, “Just act like you know what you’re doing and you’re in.”
He nodded unsurely and we went into the school. I thought for a moment, then turned to Amiboshi, “Hey, I said I’d show you some of today’s music. Well, the jazz bands practicing right now. I’m sure you’ll love it. Wanna come?”
He nodded and I turned to Akai and Tasuki, “We’re going to the band room. You guys wanna come?”
Akai shook her head, “Nah, you two go ahead,” she gave me a knowing look and I dismissed it, “besides, we have to introduce them to the anime club. Might as well get it over with all at one time.”
My eyes grew wide. Oh jeez, the anime club. They’d go nuts. I smiled, glad that Amiboshi and I weren’t going.
“’Kay, see ya third period. I guess I’ll just take Amiboshi to all my classes with me,” I grabbed Amiboshi arm gently, walking off. I took him to my locker and while opening it, I asked, “How are you doing?”
He had been watching all the kids passing us in the hall nervously and turned to me, “Oh...fine.”
I smiled, grabbing my geography book for my first period, “You look a little nervous.”
He chuckled softly, “Is it that obvious?”
I smiled again and closed my locker softly, “That’s okay. It’s really normal, especially since you’re not even from anywhere around here.”
He smiled and we began walking to the band room. I saw some girls looking at Amiboshi with a ‘ooh, he’s cute’ expression, but Amiboshi, of course, was ablivious to it all. I smiled, feeling so lucky that it was me walking down the hall with him, and worried too, that one of these girls could and might take him from me.
We reached the band room, and before we went in, I blocked the door and said quietly, “Okay, these people are nuts. They’re totally into music and very, very crazy. They’re out going and blunt, so if they say something to you that no one would ever say in Ancient China, don’t take it to heart.”
He nodded unsurely and we went in. The jazz band was still in practice, but Mr. Genkun, the band teacher, was talking to the trumpet section. A couple heads turned as we walked in, and I silently lead Amiboshi over to the couch and we sat down.
“I think you’ll like jazz,” I whispered to Amiboshi as Mr. Genkun began to conduct, and the band started to play.
Here’s the thing about our jazz band: they’re excellent. They’re, like, really, really good. They went to nationals and placed third best jazz band in the country. They wow a lot of people. Amiboshi stared at the band, wide eyed, his mouth open a little. I could imagine how this must sound to someone who’s never heard more than four people playing instruments together.
“Amazing...!” he murmured under his breath. I smiled and nodded. I felt so much affection for him then, I wanted so badly to hold his hand, to reach out and take it and have him hold mine warmly in his. The thought of doing something that daring and risky made me tremble and I turned back to the band, trying to dismiss it from my thoughts.
Suddenly, to my absolute shock, I felt him take my hand and entwine his fingers with mine. I looked at him, startled, and he blushed a little, “ were shaking. I thought you might be cold.”
I let out a surprised breath and smiled shyly, “I...I was. Thank you.”
He nodded, smiling a little and turned back to the band. I glanced at our hands for a moment, biting my lip in happiness. His hand was so big and warm. I let out a silent sigh and turned back to the band.
They finished practice and everyone began packing up and getting ready for first period while talking. Amiboshi and I got up from the couch, letting go of each other’s hands, and I took him over to meet the band people. I introduced him to the saxaphonists, then the trombones, and lingered a little there, deciding the trumpeters might scare him because they’re absolutely nuts. He was talking to one of the trombonist when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see Akio.
“Hey, how’s it goin?’” he asked, smiling.
“Good,” I felt butterflies in my stomach.
“Cool. I just thought I’d say ‘hi’ ‘cause I haven’t talked to you in a while,” he said. Amiboshi suddenly turned around next to me. Akio and him stared at each other a moment, then Akio smiled, “Hey, I’m Akio. Are you new here?”
“I’m Amiboshi,” he replied, “I’m...I...Nishiko..?”
He looked at me helplessly and I filled in, “Yeah, he’s new here. He’s a friend of mine,” I struggled to think of more to say, “uh...he plays the flute!”
Akio looked surprised, “Really? I’ve never known a guy who plays the glute before.”
An idea suddenly struck me, “Hey, Akio, you have band second period, right” the handsome dark haired boy nodded, “well, do you think Amiboshi could stay with you during band? I’ve got nutrition, and I don’t think he’d enjoy it very much.”
Akio looked at me strangely, “Doesn’t he have a schedule?”
Oh crap, I thought, “Uh...he and his family came here so abruptly they didn’t have a schedule for him, and since his family and my family are friends, they said he could come to my classes with me for the first few days till they fit him into classes. And he’s gonna join band anyway, so I figured he might as well start now, right?”
Akio looked skeptical. I hoped he wouldn’t be smart enough to figure out that they didn’t really do that. But he shrugged, “Yeah, sure.”
I sighed in relief, “Great, thanks so much. I’ll send him back here second period,” I said, and we started to leave.
“Aren’t you in band?” Amiboshi asked me as we went through the door.
“No, I just play piano and violin,” I replied.
“Pee-an-o and vy-o-lynn?”
I chuckled, “Yeah, do you remember that big thing Akio was sitting at, playing? That was a piano. I play that. Violin is a stringed instrument. I’ll show it to you sometime.”
He nodded and I led him to my geography class. I decided I didn’t really have to come up with an excuse for my geography teacher. He was pretty ablivious to things. I could almost bet he wouldn’t even notice Amiboshi.
We got into the classroom and I instructed Amiboshi to sit at the desk next to me, towards the back. There was a kid who sits there, but he was barely ever there. I smiled at him encouragingly and said, “You’re doing great. This class is pretty easy, but it’s boring. We’ll probably just watch a video or something.”
Class started and sure enough, the teacher didn’t even notice an extra kid sitting in class. He made us turn our desks around, and sure enough, we watched a video on Mt. St. Helens. With the lights turned off, the girl who sits in front of me, Tori, mouth to me, “Is he your boyfriend?”
I shook my head quickly, and I was glad Amiboshi didn’t see her mouth that.
During the video, Amiboshi was captivated. The shots of the volcano and it’s eruption made his eyes widen and during one of the scenes of the eruption, he turned to me and whispered, “Why do such horrible monsters live in this world? What do you do about them?”
I smiled softly at him, “They’re not monsters. They’re volcanos. They’re a natural disaters. See, they’re moutains that are formed by melted rock, or lava, that pushes it’s way up thru the crust, which is--”
“Miss Kanjoteki, I suggest you pay attention to the video.”
I jerked my head up to the teacher, who rocked back in his chair and frowned at me.
“Y-yes, sir,” I murmured, a little startled.
The teacher leaned back further and sighed, muttering under his breath, “Slackers.”
The rest of the movie I really didn’t pay attention. I mostly would glance over at Amiboshi then turn away shyly when he caught me staring at him. I kept thinking about when he’d held my hand in the band room. He’d only meant it as a comforting friendly guesture, I knew, but I couldn’t help but wish it’d been more.
After class, I lead Amiboshi to the band room. He looked a little distant, a little deep in thought. I wondered what he was thinking. “Do you miss your home?” I asked softly.
He looked at me, “Not really. I don’t really miss my life. I miss my brother.”
I felt so bad. It must be awful for him, both the brothers. Each other was all they had, and now they were seperated between worlds, between years.
“We’ll find a way to get you home,” I told him softly. He didn’t reply.
We reached the band room and I smiled encouragingly, “There you go. You can just sit over by the trumpets with Akio. Look for him in there and just stick with him the whole period. Don’t say anything about Ancient China.”
“Okay,” he took a nervous breath, but went through the doors. I watched him go, but then hurried away to my nutritions class.


I rushed as fast as I could from my nutritions class back to the bandroom. I prayed to Suzaku he’d been all right, and the band people hadn’t scared him too badly. I pushed my way through the doors to see a large crowd gathering around something. Suddenly, I could hear excellent flute music coming from the crowd.
“Oh, God,” I muttered, hurrying to the crowd. I gently pushed my way through the shocked band people to see Amiboshi in the center of the crowd, playing a beautiful song. All the band people were in complete awe.
Amiboshi suddenly saw me and stopped immediatly. The crowd erupted into applause. Amiboshi stared at them in shock.
“That’s amazing!”
“How long have you been playing?!”
“Oh my God, that was good. Geez, I wish...”
Questions and comments and all around jubily flooded in towards Amiboshi and he began to look a little overwhelmed and frightened. I grabbed his hand to pull him out of the crowd, and the band people parted, some following with more comments and questions. I felt the urge to shout, “My client will not take any more questions at this time!” but then reminded myself I wasn’t Amiboshi’s lawyer=.).
Ayameko, a trumpeter and friend of mine, came up to us and asked, “Where did you get him?! We want him in our band now !”
“Uh, I don’t know when he can start band,” I replied uneasily. Akio came up beside Ayameko and stopped me, “You never told me he was that good!”
Amiboshi blushed at this.
“Hey, can I see your flute?” Akio asked, staring at Amiboshi’s old flute. I had just remembered Amiboshi had his Ancient China flute with him. Amiboshi handed it to Akio, who examined it with wide eyes, “This is amazing! I’ve never seen any kind of instrument like this at all, except in museums.... It almost looks like an ancient one from the east or something...” I stiffened, getting a little nervous. Akio looked at Amiboshi, “where did you get this? How old is it?”
Amiboshi answered, “It was made for me, when I was about nine.”
Akio regarded him with a disbelieving look. He blinked, then seemed to dismiss it. He suddenly looked at both of us more clearly and smiled a little, “Are you two going out?”
Jeez! Why was everyone asking us that?! I looked down, and realized I’d still been holding Amiboshi’s hand. I immediatly let go out it, turning red, “No, we’re just friends.”
Akio smiled and nodded, “That’s cool. You two seem to have a lot in common.”
I bit my lip a little nervously, avoiding Amiboshi’s gaze. I smiled at Akio, “Well, we gotta get to choir. See ya later.”
“See ya,” he called as we turned to walk out of the band room to the choir room. Amiboshi asked quietly, “What did he mean, ‘going out?’”
I bit my lip again, “He was asking us if we were romantically involved, basically.”
“Oh,” he said softly.
“Hey, Nishiko!” I heard someone call my name from the band room. I turned to see Ayameko motioning me to her. I turned to Amiboshi, “I’ll be right back. Go ahead into the choir room. I’ll be right there. Akai should be in there with Tasuki.”
He nodded and I went back to Ayameko. She grinned, “Man, he’s cute ! Is he your boyfriend?”
I flushed again, “No, we’re just friends.”
“Ahh..” Ayameko raised a suggestive eyebrow, “where’d ya meet him?”
“Uh...” I scanned my brain. I met him when he suddenly appeared in Akai’s living room and after I fell down the stairs and he used his chi through his mouth to revive me. That’ll sound great! “he’s a friend of the family.”
“Cool,” she cast a quick glance at the clock, “well, I gotta go, I’m gonna be late for third period!” she smiled, “see ya.” and hurried off.
“Bye!” I called after her and turned to go into the choir room. It was an all girls choir and I was curious, perhaps a little worried, at how the girls would react to having two gorgeous guys in the choir room while they sang.
I walked in, seeing Amiboshi, Akai, and Tasuki. I went over to them and smiled, “Hello, everyone. Sorry, Ayameko wanted to talk to me.”
“Ah, one of the much awed band people, I’ll assume?” Akai asked.
“His flute playing wasn’t all she was admiring,” I replied wryly, cocking an eyebrow. Amiboshi looked confused, but didn’t ask (thank Suzaku). Akai chuckled and even Tasuki seemed to get it and snorted.
The bell rang and we took our seats. We told Amiboshi and Tasuki to go sit on the couch on the side of the room. The choir began warming up and both tha guys watched, interested. We began singing, “Hotaru Koi,” a Japanese childrens song. The seishi seemed to think it was pretty cool. I think they rather liked the sound of a large crowd singing.
We kept singing and I began to drift into my own thoughts. Suddenly, around the middle of the song, out of all the light women’s voices came a low, man’s voice. I jerked my head to see Tasuki, staring off boredly and resting his chin on his fist, singing along loudly. I choked out loud. I saw Akai had noticed this too, and one by one, the girl’s voices faded out and stopped to stare and listen to the fire-haired bandit sing about fireflies. They stared at him, eyes wide. Everyone had stopped by now, the choir teacher stopped playing the piano, leaving Tasuki singing acapella by himself. He suddenly seemed to realize he was singing all by himself and looked to the choir, his eyes a little wide.
“What;d ya stop for? Ya were doin’ good!” he said loudly. Akai put a hand to her forehead in embarrassment. I laughed out loud, then put a hand over my mouth. I seemed to be the only one to find it amusing.
Tasuki shot a glare at me, “What the hell are ya laughin’ at, Nishiko?”
I shook my head, still smiling and trying to hide it, “Nothing.”
At this, the whole class began chatting about anything but Tasuki.
Kimiko, a friend of ours and in the anime club, turned to Akai, “Does he always do things like that?”
Akai nodded tiredly, “He’s been nothing but trouble since he got here.”
“You’re loving every minute of it, though.”
“Damn straight.”
Kimiko smiled at Akai. I figured then that Akai had already told the anime club about Tasuki and Amiboshi. I glanced over at the two. Amiboshi was giving Tasuki a ‘you’re so stupid’ look, then Tasuki shouted something to the younger boy with a death glare, and Amiboshi looked away innocently. I smiled at this.
Kimiko seemed to notice and said, “Oh, that’s right. You’ve got Amiboshi here.”
I looked at her, “Huh?”
“Is he as sweet as he is in the series?” Kimiko smiled.
I rolled my eyes dreamily and sighed, replying wistfully, “You have no idea.”
Akai chuckled, “They’re living in my basement, you know.”
I sighed, “Yeah, you would know, wouldn’t you. You’re probably getting to know him better than I am,” I sighed again, more grumpily this time.
“Oh, relax,” she assured me, “I’m not after Amiboshi. Maybe I can even put in a good word for you.”
I gazed at Amiboshi, taking every line of his face. I thought out loud, “I’m getting way too in love with him.” I then widened my eyes, realizing I’d said this aloud. Blushing and trying to cover it up, I hurridly said, “I just meant that I like him, that’s all.”
Akai smiled faintly, “Sure...”
Kimiko smiled but seemed to think of something, “Hey, are they gonna be here for Junior Prom?”
My eyes widened and I turned to Akai, “J-junior Prom?”
“Yeah, it’s coming up soon...” Kimiko said.
“Shit!” I said rather loudly.
Kimiko nudged Akai, “You should ask them to go.”
Akai stared at her, “Me?! Ask him?! To...Junior Prom ?!”
I felt butterflies in my stomach at the thought of slow dancing with Amiboshi. But suddenly, the bell rang, and I saw all the girls beginning to leave. Was class out already? And it was time for lunch?
I saw the guys get up and start cautiously towards us, being stopped by flirty girls (“oh, Tasuki! You’re such a good singer!”) (“Amiboshi, I didn’t know you liked choir! I bet you sing great too!”). I rolled my eyes in disgust and started down to them, along with Kimiko and Akai.
When we got to them, it occured to me that Kimiko hadn’t met Amiboshi yet.
“Oh, Amiboshi, this is Kimiko. Kimiko, this is Amiboshi,” I said, and Amiboshi held out his hand. Kimiko shook it and smiled, saying hi, and he said hi back.
We walked to lunch, sat at our table and then the rest of the anime club came. They seemed relatively calm, but would cast disbelieving stares at the seishi every now and then.
“So, you guys would know better than me,” Akai said, leaning forward, “just how long do you think it’s been in their world?”
“Months, at least,” Kimiko shrugged, “Maybe years.”
“Probably years,” Jin, Kimiko’s sister, agreed, “at least ten, I’d say.”
I heard Amiboshi drop his chopsticks (we’d brought some for him) beside me. I turned to him, his face in frozen shock. Oh Suzaku, I thought, I didn’t exactly want Amiboshi to know. I guess I was afraid he’d be mad at me for the time difference, with Suboshi and all. I don’t know why me, exactly.
“T...ten years?” Amiboshi choked out.
“He didn’t know?” Bishimon asked.
“I...I thought...” I began, but all sound was cut off from my throat as Amiboshi turned to look at me.
“Is that right?” he asked in a weak voice. I didn’t know why he trusted my answer at all.
I felt my gaze drop, my hair falling over my cheeks, “It’s right.”
There was a silence, then Amiboshi turned away from me and got up abruptly and left, saying shortly, “Excuse me.”
I jerked my head in his direction to see him walking swiftly out of the cafeteria. Without hardly looking back at the others, I got up and took off after him.
I don’t think he even knew where he was going, but I knew how shocked he must have been. I didn’t even know why I was following him. When people are upset like this, I usually let them go, not wanting to agrivate them further, giving them time to cool off, but something was pushing me forward. I just didn’t want him to have to deal with his pain alone.
I followed him all they way down the empty hall and finally called out, “Amiboshi!”
He stopped, his back to me. Slowly, he turned and looked at me from far away down the hall. I jogged to him till we were within feet of each other. He stared at me, not with cold or accusing eyes, but with an expression I couldn’t read. His gaze fell to the floor and he asked me softly, but I could hear the tinyest bit of coldness in his voice, “Why didn’t you tell me, Nishi-chan?”
I was silent. I think for the most part I didn’t want him to be upset, but another part of me didn’t want to tell him so he wouldn’t be as urgent to go back. After the past week, I’d become so attached to him, I didn’t even want to let the thought of them going back creep into my head, because it hurt.
“I didn’t want you to be too worried,” I replied sadly, looking at him ashamedly.
“I’m just...I’m really worried about Suboshi. We...were so close. We can’t even feel each other’s chi’s anymore. I just hope nothing’s happened to him.” he spilled out, his voice painful.
I felt like crying, “That’s what I didn’t want you to worry about.” I’d known Amiboshi and Suboshi’s bond was strong, but I don’t think anyone ever really knew how strong. It wasn’t just that their chi’s were linked: they shared an enormous, strong, powerful love for one another, one I’d never seen in siblings before.
Suddenly, to my shock, he suddenly put his hand to my cheek, stroking his thumb back and and forth gently. I looked at him with startled eyes, and we were silent as he stared back. As he stared into my eyes, I felt suddenly so vulernable, like he could see straight to my soul, like he could read my every thought and see my every flaw. That he could see my memories, all my intrests, my passions,...and my love for him.
He suddenly took his hand away from my face, looking away, “It’s okay. There’s not much we can do now.”
He began to walk back to the cafeteria, and I shot a hand to my cheek, where he’d held it. I could feel myself shaking, my heart pounding furiously in my chest. I tried to shake it from myself, and turned to follow him as the bell rang.


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