Chapter Nine-

I woke up for no particular reason, to find it was still dark out. I looked up to see Amiboshi was still asleep. I smiled, thinking of how adorable he was. I pulled myself up a little to kiss him on the cheek, then wriggled out of his arms and silently climbed out of bed. I wanted to see what time it was and I didn’t think I’d be able to get back to sleep immediately.
I quietly padded out into the kitchen and peered at the clock. It was 4:39 am. I yawned and wandered out into the living room.
I looked around nervously. It was so dark and quiet in here. Suddenly, a hand grabbed my wrist from behind me. I screamed out of fright and shock, and another hand clapped over my mouth to keep me quiet. Both my arms were held behind me by the persons other hand. I writhed and screamed under the hand, thinking crazily, Shit! I’m going to die! This is a psychopathic murder who--
“Nishiko, calm down, it’s me!” hissed a voice.
I peered out of the corner of my eye to see flame color hair and amber eyes flashing.
“Mmmskii!” I cried, his hand muffled by his hand still over my mouth. Tasuki peered down at me, “Ya aren’t goin’ ta hit me or scream if I let ya go?”
I nodded, and he let me go. I whirled around to face him, and we stared at each other a long moment.
“Jeez, Nishiko, yer jumpy!” he whispered. I looked away, and he gazed at me suspiciously, “did somethin’ happen with you and Amiboshi? If he--”
“We’re fine,” I assured him.
He raised an eyebrow and ran a hand through his hair casually, “So, what’rya doin’ up so early?”
“Couldn’t sleep,” I whispered back, “what about you?”
He shrugged, “I’m a bandit. I’m used ta gettin’ up early.”
I raised an eyebrow, “Don’t you feel even slightly guilty for robbing people of their possessions?”
He sighed frustratedly, walking past me to plop down on the couch, “Aw, jeez, Nishiko. Do ya ever stop lecturing me?”
I opened my mouth to come back with something, but realized arguing with Tasuki was a loosing a battle for both of us. I put my hands behind my back and asked quietly, “So...what’s going on with you and Akai?”
He looked up at me, cocking an eyebrow, “Why the hell should I tell you? You’ll just yell at me more.”
I bit my lip and sat down next to him, “No, I won’t. Look, I’m sorry, Tasuki. I won’t yell at you this time. I just wanted to listen to your side,” he looked at me skeptically, “really,” I smiled, “I’ll just listen.”
He gazed at me doubtfully, but sighed heavily and leaned back, “Oh, I dunno. Nothin’ new.”
“But you like her, don’t you?”
He looked away, his cheeks blushing a light red, “Oh, well...yeah...I guess.”
I chuckled, “You do. Admit it.”
He smiled softly, “I do. But...I don’t know how ta tell ‘er.”
I watched him carefully, “Do you love her?”
He gazed at his hands, “I’ve never been in love with anyone before. It’’s scary. But...she’s a really great girl. She really cares about me.”
I smiled, “She does. She’s a great best friend and a wonderful girlfriend.”
He sighed again, “She...she loves me, I know. And I...I want ta let ‘er know, but...”
I gently took him hand, “Tell her, Tasuki. Kiss her, whatever, just let her know. You won’t regret it,” I got up and started off, “as for me, I’m going back to bed.”
He grinned, “Oh, I see.”
“No,” I laughed, “to sleep.”
“Sure,” he grinned. I rolled my eyes and headed back to Akai’s parent’s room.
Amiboshi was still sleeping when I came back in. I wandered over and sat down next to him, watching him. He was so peaceful. He hated war and death, and spent his whole life trying to get away from it. But Nakago had pulled him in and made him experience more pain. It made me mad. Amiboshi and Suboshi had gone through so much, and Nakago made them endure more, using them as his little pawns to carry out his plans. They didn’t deserve that. Especially my Amiboshi, who’d done nothing to the world and tried to make it better. I leaned down and kissed his lips softly. Just stay with me, I thought, stay with me and you won’t have to go through that.
Suddenly, Amiboshi winced painfully in his sleep. I sat up and looked down at him, concerned. He seemed okay now, but something caught my eye. On his arm, black writing slowly began to appear. I put a hand to my mouth. Suboshi. It was Suboshi. I gently lifted his arm and read it:
“Brother! Where are you?” it read in quick, almost sloppy writing. I stared at it sadly. Poor Suboshi. He must be frantic looking for Amiboshi. But...if I told Amiboshi, he might want to go back more than ever. I looked at him. He would have no idea. My mind raced between the two options, giving me a headache in that deathly silence of the room.
Finally, I shook my head. Don’t be selfish, Nishiko, I told myself. How could I ever think of being so selfish?! I gently shook him.
“Amiboshi! Amiboshi, wake up,” I said quietly, and his eyes slowly fluttered open.
“What is it? Are you okay?” he asked, sitting up drowsily. I lifted his arm and brandished it at him.
His eyes widened as he read it, and he clutched his arm, “Suboshi!”
I watched him, then asked quietly, “Are you going to respond?”
He looked up, startled, “Of course!” he smiled joyfully, and I saw tears shimmering in his eyes, “he’s all right! Suboshi’s okay!”
I couldn’t help a little smile from coming across my face. He was so happy, so happy he was almost in tears. Now that’s love. I was silent as he began to write on his arm with his little finger, his hands shaky.
“What are you saying to him?” I asked curiously.
He didn’t answer, then looked up, “Did you say something?”
Pain struck me and I looked away, “Nothing.”
I understood how excited he was about hearing from his brother, knowing he was okay. It was so understandable, so good for him. But deep in the back of my mind, I felt envious of Suboshi. Sure, a sibling’s love would always beat a romantic love, but that didn’t mean I would be happy about it.
He finished writing and waited. Every now and then, he’d look up and smile happily at me. I’d forced a smile and just sit quietly. His face lit up every time he read his arm, and he would write something back eagerly. Finally, he pulled his sleeve up over his arm and smiled brightly at me, “He’s okay! Gods, I missed him--”
I cut him off, not able to hold it in any longer. I fell into his, wrapping my arms around his neck, holding his tight, and closing my eyes painfully.
“Nishiko!” he exclaimed in alarm, his arms grazing my back.
“Don’t leave me...” I said softly, my voice choked, “I couldn’t stand it if you left. I love you too much...”
He held me a little, “I...I love you too. I could never forget about you, Nishiko. I was excited about hearing from Suboshi, but you’re my love, my angel. You’ll always be number one,” he chuckled a little, “you don’t need to be jealous of my brother.”
I widened my eyes a little, then smiled, “How’d ya know?”
He smiled warmly at me, “I’m not as dense as Tasuki, even if I seem like it sometimes.”
I kissed his cheek softly, “Thank you,” we were silent a moment, then I said, “You wanna get up now?”
He nodded, and we climbed out of the bed, going out to the living room with our hands clasped together.
And we stopped. There in the living room, Akai and Tasuki had their arms around each other and were kissing deeply. I cleared my throat loudly, smirking. Akai and Tasuki broke the kiss and turned to us, their eyes wide. I smiled rather smugly, “Don’t let us interrupt you.”
They both looked rather embarrassed (okay, Akai looked exceedingly embarrassed), but Tasuki tightened his hold around Akai’s waist and shot back, “What’re ya starin’ at?! It’s not as if we don’t know what ya an’ flute boy’ve done!”
I raised an eyebrow moodily, “How would you know what we’ve done if we haven’t done anything?”
“Suuuure you haven’t done anything,” Akai said sarcastically, “you’re sharing a bed with the person you love and you haven’t done anything? Nobody has that kind of willpower.”
Amiboshi turned red, and I replied, failing to keep the blush out of my cheeks, “Nothing you’re thinking of. Besides,” I grew serious, “he...he got a message from Suboshi...”
Akai paled, “S...Suboshi? What’d he say?”
Amiboshi pulled back his sleeve, revealing a clear arm, “It’s gone now, but he said he’s okay. It’s been seven years there.”
I swallowed. Suboshi would be...22 by now. He was now older than his older brother, as impossible as that sounds.
There was a fragile silence between us, and Akai asked slowly, “Did he say anything else?”
“Amiboshi shook his head, “Not really.”
“Would Suboshi go to anyone for help?” I blurted out and everyone turned to me, “I mean, would he put down his pride and anger to go to Taiist-kun or Chichiri? He’s arrogant and stubborn, but this is Amiboshi, his beloved brother we’re talking about.”
Amiboshi was watching me, as if surprised to hear me talk about Suboshi in this way.
“I hope so,” Akai said quietly, “if he wanted to take revenge on Amiboshi’s disappearance...” she trailed off and shuddered, “Suboshi isn’t the kind to think things through before he acts. No offense, Ami-chan.”
Amiboshi was silent, frowning.
I sighed, “I...I can’t help but have a little faith in him, although it’s probably foolish. I probably expect too much.”
Amiboshi furrowed his brow and said quietly, “My brother isn’t an awful person. He’s headstrong, but not a bad person,” he shook his head, beginning to turn and walk away, “but never mind. I understand your opinion.”
Tasuki suddenly spoke up, “Who’s Suboshi?”
Amiboshi turned back around, “My twin brother.”
Tasuki blinked, “You have a brother?”
Amiboshi nodded solemnly, “A Seiryuu seishi also.”
“He’s not a bad person,” Akai said, “I never said he was. He just gets...misled.”
“Anyone can get misled,” Amiboshi said seriously, “with a leader like Nakago.”
Oh great, I thought, Nakago’s coming into the conversation. What a war this could turn out to be. Hmmm, maybe I can lighten the mood a little...
“Hey, remember that time when Chichiri disguised himself as Nakago?” I blurted out, grinning, “that was hilarious! And he said ‘da!’” I forced some laughter, but just received odd stares from everyone, basically saying ‘Nishiko, what are you doing?’ I sobered and said quietly, “okay, maybe not. I’ll be quiet now.”
“Nakago can be a real creep,” Akai said softly, “I mean, he told Suboshi to-” she stopped abruptly and I knew she was about to say something about Suboshi killing Tamahome’s family. Baka, Akai! I thought, Amiboshi doesn’t know!
Amiboshi gazed at her suspiciously, “He told Suboshi to do what? Was it while I was gone?”
“Uh, nothing...” Akai laughed nervously, “I don’t know what I was going to say.”
Amiboshi still looked at her doubtfully, “You-”
“Uh...Suboshi wanted to go to Konan with the alias of Chiriko instead of you...” I filled in quickly, “he wanted to do away with the Suzaku seishi instead of you...But Nakago told him he couldn’t.”
Amiboshi was silent, then asked, “Why does that make Nakago a creep? It seems sensible; Suboshi hasn’t built up his chi as much as I have, and he’s much more reckless. Suboshi might’ve gotten hurt, or even killed if he’d gone.”
I felt my heart jump to my throat, remembering the river scene. I shuddered, having his standing right next to me and knowing what would have happened.
There was a silence, then Akai said, “Did you ever think that you might get hurt too?”
Amiboshi stared at her, startled, “I...I thought I’d get away...” he replied softly.
Tasuki suddenly took Akai’s arm and looked her straight in the eyes, “You know what happened that day, don’t you?”
She cringed, “Well, um...I....”
Tasuki stared at her, then asked, “Would Tama and I have killed Amiboshi?” when she didn’t answer, he let go of her arm and put a hand to his head, “my Gods, I’m a bandit, but I never thought I’d kill anyone.”
I glanced over at Amiboshi. He was snow pale and looked incredibly disturbed. I think the whole realization that his life would have ended if he’d not come here hit him--hard. I touched his arm gently, but he made no response. He just stared distantly.
“You were upset. Really, really angry. Besides,” Akai hesitated, “you didn’t kill him. Miaka stopped you.”
There was an uneasy silence, and we all jumped when the phone rang. I was the nearest, and picked up the receiver shakily, “Hello?”
“Nishiko, hi, it’s mom.”
I sighed a bit, “Oh, hi, mom.”
“Did you forget? We’re going to church. We’re coming to pick you up now.”
My heart sank a little, “Oh, yeah.”
“’Kay, see ya soon. Bye.”
“Bye,” I hung up the phone and turned sullenly to the others, “my mom’s picking me up for church,” I explained quietly.
Akai had her hand on Tasuki’s cheek, and his hand up, covering hers. As I turned around, she dropped her hand down embarrassedly, then said, “That sucks. Too bad we can’t all go with you.”
I snickered at the mental image of Tasuki in church, then shook my head, “Oh well. I’ll be back later.”
I turned to Amiboshi, who had taken out his flute and was looking at it with startled, lost eyes. My heart broke. My poor guy, he was so much in shock.
“Are you going to be okay?” I asked softly, taking his hand. He glanced at me, then asked confused, “Are you leaving?”
I sighed and led him over to the chair, “Poor thing, sit down.” I sat him down and kneeling in front of him, “now,” I said seriously, making sure he was awake to reality, “I know all this has hit you. The future is something we shouldn’t know. But I don’t want you to think about all we’ve been talking about right now. Think about Suboshi, and how he’s okay, and how happy you’ll both be when you go back and see each other again.”
These words pained me, but his soft smile made it worth it. He lined my face with his hand gently, “You’re so good to me, Nishiko.”
I smiled lightly, “You deserve it. You so deserve it.”
With that, he lowered his face to mine and kissed my mouth gently. I deepened it, holding his face with my hands.
We were still making out when I heard a car honk from outside. We parted reluctantly. Akai and Tasuki had been talking and Tasuki’s expression was a little stricken.
I ran my hand down Amiboshi’s cheek as I stood up, “I’ll be back later. You’ll be okay?”
He kissed my hand tenderly and nodded, looking up silently at me with his gorgeous eyes. I smiled once more before saying, “Good bye,” I turned to Akai and Tasuki before heading out, “see ya later.”
“Bye, Nishi-chan!” Akai called after me as I shut the door behind me and ran out to the car.
I opened the door and scooted in, and my mom turned to me, smiling, “Did you have a good time?”
I held my hand to my cheek where Amiboshi’d kissed it, “Yes.” I looked back to the house, already beginning to miss him. I shook my head. Pathetic, Nishiko, just pathetic. What are you going to do when he goes back?


“It took you people long enough no da!” Kissechi exclaimed on the bus. Akai and Tasuki sat together, and Amiboshi and I sat together, his arm around my waist.
Akai grinned at her, “It’s not my fault.”
I snorted, “Bull shit. You’re almost as stubborn as him.”
She pouted a little, “’Almost’ being the key word. I don’t think anyone could be as stubborn as he is.”
“Hey!” Tasuki cried. She looked at him, smiling, then turned back to us, “Besides, it’s not as if I didn’t go through hell trying to get you two together.”
I shrugged, “We never asked you to.”
She rolled her eyes, “Oh please. You didn’t have to say anything. The way you two were mooning over each other was asking enough.”
“Don’t assume so quickly,” I smirked, noticing a hint of color coming into Amiboshi’s cheeks at Akai’s statement, “we didn’t need any help.”
She looked like she wanted to say something, but just smiled and said, “Sure, whatever.”
I knew she hadn’t failed, just postponed the argument and I settled comfortably against Amiboshi, who held me a little closer.
We got to school then, and as we got inside, I turned to Akai and Tasuki, “We’re going to the band room, ‘kay?”
Akai nodded, smiling, “Yeah, we’ll be upstairs if you decide to come and see us and the Anime Club.”
I nodded, and Amiboshi and I went off. Some people we knew gave us ‘looks’ for holding hands and being ‘smootchy-face’ as Kissechi called it.
When we got in the band room, we stopped dead when we found it empty. We looked around, confused, and then suddenly, I remembered something.
“Oh right! The jazz bands went to the middle schools this morning,” I explained, setting my heavy backpack down. He nodded, setting down the backpack we’d got him. There was a heavy silence in the empty band room as we glanced around nervously. We’d been alone before many times, yet we seemed more nervous than usual.
He came to me then, and ran a hand over my cheek, gently stroking my cheek with his thumb. I smiled softly, bringing up my hand to run through his hair. He brought me closer, but instead of kissing me, he pulled in into a warm hug. I closed my eyes, sighing deeply and holding him close to me.
“You know how much I love you?” he said, entwining his fingers in my hair.
“Yes,” I answered softly, “I love you too.”
He kissed me now, softly and sweetly, but I pulled away, smiling, “You know we’d be in big trouble if we were caught making out in the band room.”
He chuckled, nodding. I turned and looked around the band room, the room I saw everyday, but I wasn’t really thinking of it. This was the life I wanted. To have Amiboshi as a school boy, my boyfriend, with me everyday, cuddly and romantic, to have best friends that were also going was all so perfect. My face fell, as I was reminded that it wouldn’t be like this forever. He...had to go back.
“’Give me my Romeo,’” I quoted from Romeo and Juliet, thinking of Amiboshi more than ‘Romeo,’ “’ and when he shalt die, take him and cut him out into little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine, that all the world will be in love with night, and pay no worship to the garish sun.’”
I whirled back around, “It’s another thing from Romeo and Juliet. Juliet...” I looked down a little, “Juliet misses Romeo, for he hasn’t come by in awhile. She just wants to be with him.”
He was quiet, watching me, and finally he said, “You and Akai talk a lot about this ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ What...what are some other lines from it?”
I smiled, “Want me to teach you some?”
He blushed a little, “Sure, I guess.”
I approached him and had him take my hand, “All right, Romeo and Juliet have just met for the first time at the Capulet Ball--basically, Juliet’s families’ party-- and Romeo is trying to get a kiss from Juliet. You, as Romeo, say, ‘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.’”
He repeated after me, and I gestured for him to kiss my hand, which he did. Smiling, I nodded and went on, “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 brought up my hand to his, palm to palm, “and Romeo says, ‘Have not saints lips and holy palmer’s too?’”
He repeated after me again, and I went on, “Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.
“Romeo says, ‘O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do. They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to dispair.”
I stared deeply into his eyes, “Saints do not move, though grant for prayer’s sake.”
I told him Romeo’s line, and he drew me closer, staring down at me, repeating, “Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take. Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.”
We stared at each other for a moment, the air between us silent and still. Then slowly, he leaned in and touched his lips to mine softly.
We suddenly heard from the other end of the room, applause. We immediately separated, red, to see the choir teacher standing at the door, watching us and smiling.
“Bravo,” he said, approaching us, “simply breath taking.”
I flushed heavily, “ were watching us?”
He smiled, “Yes, I was, and I have to say, you two have the best chemistry I’ve seen in a long time. Very believable love,” I blushed, and thought how ironic this was, “have you two been rehearsing to audition for the play?”
I stared at him, “Huh? What play?”
It was his turn to stare at us, “You mean you don’t know? Ms. Siton is putting on Romeo and Juliet. I thought for sure you guys were...”
“They’re doing Romeo and Juliet?” I gawked, “really? But...we didn’t even know...”
“Well,” he smiled proudly, “you’re a definite shoe-in, I’ll tell you that. You try out, you’ll get it. If you want me to, I’ll personally recommend you to Ms. Siton, after the performance I just got.”
He winked and said, “I’ll talk to you later, Nishiko.” With that, he went back into the choir room.
I stared after him, but Amiboshi interrupted my thoughts, “What did he mean, they’re putting on Romeo and Juliet and we’re ‘shoe-in’s?”
I didn’t look at him, “Romeo and Juliet is a play, and they’re going to be performing it here. He was saying we could be Romeo and Juliet.”
“But what does that mean, exactly?”
I now turned to him, “It means, performing what we just did---and the entire play--in front of a whole bunch of people. Like, LOTS.”
He nearly face faulted, “What? Perform front of lots of people?” I nodded and a soft smile grew on his face, “ might be nice, to perform in from of an audience, have everyone clap...”
I felt myself smiling softly at him. It was clear the idea was rather exciting to him, and I felt flustered at it too. Me? Play Juliet? I think almost EVERY girl dreams of playing Juliet. Could this be my chance?
I looked to him, “If you want to try out, we’ll try out,” I said, breaking his thoughts.
He looked at me, “Are you comfortable...doing this in front of people?”
I shrugged, “Hey, it’s playing Juliet. It’s a dream. Especially with you as Romeo.”
I didn’t mean it to sound so corny, but it was true. There’s no one else I would want to play romantic roles with, and I don’t know if I could play Juliet with anyone else.
He smiled at me, “Star-crossed lovers, eh?”
I chuckled, “Yeah, I guess so. World crossed, more like it--”
I was cut off as he suddenly pulled me to him and kissed me, surprising me. But the world just sort of melted away as he kissed me, like a haze and we were the only two people in it. My heart ached, so heavy, so in love. I wrapped my arms around his neck, holding him close, finding an absolute haven in that one, insignifigent kiss. It was perfect.
I did, however, begin to freak out as the band room doors opened and the room began to fill with voices and people crowding in. Amiboshi and I abruptly pulled apart, but we’d already been seen.
The comments and innuendoes came rushing at us, and all we could do was stand there, bright red. Luckily, the bell rang, and we headed off to first period.


I gave a long sigh as I lowered my violin from my shoulder and into it’s case. Another long day of orchestra, I thought wryly, and then wondered why I was even in here.
I suddenly felt a hand on my shoulder and looked up to see Amiboshi smiling down at me. After I locked my case, he took my hand and helped me up, and we began off to put my instrument away.
With that done, we began to head down to lunch, but suddenly, I stopped, “Oh! I left my backpack down in the band room. You go ahead, I gotta go grab it.”
He shrugged, and let me go. I turned at walked down. I got down there and came into the band room to find some people still in it. I went and grabbed my backpack, but a friend of mine, Amenda, another violist in the orchestra, came up to me with a big smile, “He’s your boyfriend, right?”
I looked up, surprised. But I smiled, glad to finally be able to say he was, “Yup.”
She continued to grin, “He’s cute! You two are so cute together!”
I blushed, straightening up and tossing my back pack on, “Thanks. How are you and Maruku doing?” I asked of her boyfriend.
Her smile grew wider. She loved to talk about her and Maruku. “Great! He gave me a rose yesterday!”
I smiled, “Really? That’s so sweet!”
“Uh huh! I gave him a huge hug and a kiss.”
I chuckled, but suddenly, another girl in the orchestra, Gokau, came up and squeezed my shoulder, “Damn, girl! You are lucky!”
I turned, “Huh?”
Gokau smiled, rolling her eyes, “You and Amiboshi. He’s such a gorgeous guy! And sweet too. You shoulda heard what he was saying about you yesterday.”
My eyes widened, “What?”
She giggled, “He was all talking about his great girlfriend, and how beautiful she was, and how much he loved her, and such like that,” she nodded, “and he’d faithful too.”
“You know, Maruku said something about--” Amenda started, looked a little worried that the conversation was going away from her and Maruku.
But Gokau ignored her and continued, “I tell you, keep him away from Eris. Damn, she was all over him in band the other day. But he just shrugged her off, telling her he wasn’t interested and he had a ‘wonderful’ girlfriend.” she winked at me, “he’s definitely a keeper.”
I stared at her. Could he...he’d said all that about me? I couldn’t believe was too sweet. I...I didn’t deserve someone like him...Gods, I loved him!
All teary eyed, I thanked Gokau and said bye to her and Amenda and left the band room. I reached the cafeteria and approached the table where Amiboshi, Akai, and Tasuki were at. Akai and Tasuki sat on one side, and Amiboshi stood on the other, setting down his backpack. He looked up as I approached and, after setting down my bag, I hugged him tightly, then brought my lips up to his, kissing him gratefully, not caring about present company (i.e. the whole cafeteria). He made a noise in startlement and I let him go. With a teary-eyed smile, I whispered, “Thank much. For...being you. I could never ask for anything else.”
He stared at me, still a little confused and bewildered, but we now turned to Akai and Tasuki, who’d watched the entire thing with interest. Akai grinned like a Cheshire cat, “Careful, Nishiko. They’ll suspend you for that kind of P.D.A.” {our school really doesn’t suspend people for kissing, Akai’s just being dumb.}
Tasuki chuckled softly, “I didn’t know ya had it in ya, Amiboshi. I’m impressed.”
Amiboshi blushed once more and looked down, “Had what in me? I didn’t do anything.”
“Oh sure,” Akai said, “not now.”
“Ya must’ve done somethin’ ta get that kinda reaction,” Tasuki added.
“Were you two having a majiwaru marathon in the band room before school?” Akai chided.
We sat down, Amiboshi’s arm around my waist, and I shot back, “No! I don’t see why you guys have to attack us so much! You two are together and in the same house every night! And your parents were out of town when you got together!”
She smirked, “Yes, but at least we don’t do it in school.”
I resisted the urge to punch her right in the face then and there (which was very hard, let me tell you) and smirked back, “Really? At least we don’t do it at all.”
“Oh sure. That’s what you say,” she stood up, “I have to get some books out of my locker. I’ll be right back.”
She left and I turned to Tasuki, anxious to change the subject, “How was 1st and 2nd period?”
He shrugged, “Boring. What else is new?”
I nodded, “Yeah, school’ll be out soon.”
He looked confused, “Huh? Out?”
“Yeah, we get three months off in the summer. A break,” I explained.
He frowned, “Oh...” he suddenly looked at Amiboshi and me and frowned further, “You guys are disgusting.”
I blinked, “Huh?”
He rolled his eyes, “All lovey dovey, mushy, kissy-face shit. It’s disgusting.”
I felt a tad insulted, but frowned and said hotly, “If you don’t like it, leave.”
He got up, “I will. I’m gonna go see Akai.”
I winked at him, and he just glared at me. As he began to walk off, while he was still in hearing range, I said loudly, “Oh, I love you so much, Amiboshi! You’re so sweet!” I turned and kissed Amiboshi blatantly and heard Tasuki snort in disgust. As soon as he was gone, I laughed and said to Amiboshi, “Sorry ‘bout that. He’d just fun to tease.”
He smiled, getting over his surprise, “Oh, it’s okay. I don’t mind,” he kissed my cheek softly and we turned back around.
“Hey, Amiboshi?”
“Do you know Eris?”
He was silent, chopstick in mid-air and asked slowly, “Why...?”
“Uh...” I realized I shouldn’t have said anything and shrugged, “no reason. Just curious.”
I looked to him just in time to see a faint blush in his cheeks.
Suddenly, Tasuki and Akai came back to the table. Akai looked pretty shaken, but happy, and Tasuki looked down right pissed.
I blinked, then asked, “Did something happen?”
Tasuki started to say something I was sure would be filled with anger and explicitives, but Akai silenced him, “Namida’s just being an asshole. More than usual, I mean.”
I cocked an eyebrow angrily, “Did he hurt you?”
“Not badly,” she said quietly.
“He fuckin’ made you bleed!” Tasuki exploded.
“Tasuki...” Akai murmured.
“He made you bleed?!” I exclaimed, outraged, “that bastard!”
Amiboshi held my hand and squeezed it gently, “Nishiko, stay here. Don’t...” he bit his lip, “don’t start anything.”
“He hurt Akai!” I cried.
“It wouldn’t do any good to piss him off further,” he said seriously, “just stay here.”
“Yeah. Besides, Tasuki already...let’s say, took care of it,” Akai grinned at Tasuki, “Namida never knew what hit him.”
A grin broke out on my face, “You punched him? All right, Tasuki!”
“Punched him?” Akai snorted, “he threatened to kill him! It was really cool!”
“Jeez, Tasuki,” Amiboshi said suddenly, staring down at his food, then looking up at Tasuki with an almost desperate expression, “what is it with you and killing?”
“I’m a bandit!” he cried, “what’dya expect? Besides, he hurt Akai! I couldn’t let him get away with it!”
“But what has it taught him besides to be afraid of you?” Amiboshi continued softly, staring down again, “it hasn’t made him respect Akai or Nishiko anymore. He won’t think of them differently just because you threatened to punch his face in. He’s still the jerk he always was. Violence doesn’t change a person’s heart. It can’t,” he shook his head, “it just causes more pain.”
“Namida deserves pain,” Akai spat, “and maybe violence isn’t the answer, but nothing’s going to change the way he looks at us. Or what he did. He deserves pain for the hell he put me through,” she looked away bitterly, rubbing her shoulder.
“Akai,” Amiboshi said, staring pleadingly at her, his tone sympathetic, “I am in no way trying to offend you. I sympathize deeply with your situation, but...” he stopped, leaning back a little and lowering his voice, almost timidly, “he’s a person too. As cruel and cold-hearted as he is, he’s a human life, and no human life deserves pain,” he smiled softly, “I mean, Suboshi’s done a lot of stupid things, but he doesn’t deserve pain either. Nakago’s hurt a lot of people, but he doesn’t deserve pain either. I...I guess what I’m trying to say is...” he paused, thinking, then he looked up, “pain is the same for everyone. And it always hurts.”
I squeezed his hand tighter. My gods. I couldn’t believe I actually had the gift of coming in contact with someone so wonderful, so intelligent and empathetic, so...selfless. My poor, sweet, smart Amiboshi. He never wanted anyone, not even those who caused him pain, to go through suffering. How absolutely selfless.
Akai didn’t reply, but a silent tear slid down her cheek. She got up quickly and ran out of the cafeteria.
Amiboshi’s face fell to rest in his hands, “Oh, Seiryuu, what have I done?”
“You asshole!” Tasuki cried, “ya made ‘er cry!”
He looked almost like he wanted to punch Amiboshi, but I held up an intervening hand, “No, don’t fight,” I turned to Amiboshi, and ran a comforting hand down his back, “you didn’t do anything bad, I’m sure. She probably just couldn’t handle the conversation. Don’t feel bad.”
He stood up, “I’m going after her I’ll be right back,” with that, he left, following the trail Akai had gone.
I turned back to Tasuki, who looked at me with an outraged expression and pointed in the direction Amiboshi had gone, “He made ‘er cry!”
I sighed and shook my head, “No, she’s okay. Just emotional.”
He frowned by stayed put. Eventually, he looked back at me and raised an eyebrow, “I still say ya guys are disgusting.”
I laughed, “Ah, but it’s fun being disgusting. You and Akai should try it once in awhile.”
It was his turn to laugh, “That’d be interestin’. But I’m not the type of guy Amiboshi is.”
I snorted, “That’s for damn sure.”
He smirked, “Ya dun like guys like me, do ya, Nishiko?”
“Nope,” I smirked back.
“That’s good, ‘cause I dun like girls like you at all.”
I forced a laugh, insulted, “Oh, thank you, Mr. Tact!”
He rolled his eyes, “Ya know I don’t. Yer always beatin’ me up!”
“So does Akai.”
He frowned, “Yeah, but...yer just too...I dunno,” he threw his hands up in the air, “yer frustrating! I don’t know how Amiboshi puts up with ya!”
I leaned forward, resting my chin in my hands and smiling innocently, “I’m not frustrating to him. Just to you. Just because you bug me.”
He smiled innocently back, “Well, you bug me.”
“Good, I’m glad.”
“I’m glad I bug you.”
“Okay then.”
We sat there, smiling innocently at each other, then burst out laughing.
“We’re so psycho,” I laughed.
He chuckled, “Definitely,” he suddenly grew serious and seemed to look through me, “I hope she’s okay.”
“I’m sure she is,” I assured him, “Amiboshi’s a good comforter.”
He raised an eyebrow and smirked at me, “You would know.”
I threw a fry off my tray at him, “Ecchi.”
Akai and Amiboshi suddenly appeared back at the table, their arms around each other’s shoulders. Akai raised a wry eyebrow, “What’d you do now, Tasuki?”
“He was hitting on my while you two were gone,” I replied with a serious face.
“What?!” Tasuki exclaimed, then looked at Akai desperately, “I wasn’t Akai, really! I don’t like her at all!”
“Moron, I know she’s joking. But...thank you for the reassurance,” she sat down next to him and ran a hand through his hair.
I dramatically put a hand to my forehead, “Tasuki! How can you say you don’t like me after all you said to me?” I pretended to faint sideways and found myself leaning against Amiboshi, who’d sat next to me.I grinned, looking at him upside down, “oh, hi, Amiboshi.”
“How come you don’t say things to me, Tasuki-kun? You say things to her, and not me? I feel so unloved!” Akai said melodramatically.
I grinned at her, running a hand through my dark hair, “It’s because I seduced him with my womanly wiles,” I turned up my nose, “you haven’t learned to seduce men yet.”
“Oh, yeah?” she grinned, “wanna bet?” With that, she pulled Tasuki to her and kissed him passionately. I mean, French French! I doubt Tasuki’d ever been kissed like that before. His eyes were huge as she pulled away, smirking. He sat there, shocked, his mouth a little open, as she said, “now that’s what I call womanly wiles.”
I laughed, “Okay, okay, you win,” I smirked, “we all know I can kiss Amiboshi just as good,” the poor boy blushed furiously, “but we can save that for later,” if possible, Amiboshi blushed more. I turned to Tasuki, “I think you need to get him back to reality though. A little shocked, Tasuki?”
Tasuki blinked, “Huh?” then looked at Akai, who simply grinned at him. He blinked again, speechless, and Akai laughed, “I think this worked better than I thought it would.”
“Womanly wiles always do,” I said just as the bell was ringing. We got up and began to head off to Algebra. In the busy hall, we lost Akai and Tasuki, having to go to my locker to get my math book.
Everything seemed perfect. I had my boyfriend, Akai had her boyfriend, we were all getting a long, and it was just...wonderful. Closing my locker, I turned to Amiboshi with a warm smile, “I love you.”
He blinked in surprise, then rubbed the back of his neck with an embarrassed smile, “Well, I love you too. Why just now?”
I bit my lip, shrugging. I really didn’t even know, “I dunno. Just wanted to tell you.”
He chuckled, and we leaned in for a kiss. It was broken as I felt a smack on my shoulder. I looked up to see Ayameko smirking as she walked down the hall, “Get ta class, you slackers!”
I chuckled, and noticed Amiboshi red in the cheeks. Grabbing his arm, I pulled him away, “Come on, let’s go.”
We got to algebra, and Akai and Tasuki looked up. Akai smirked, “Guess I was wrong.”
I looked at her, “’Bout what?”
Tasuki grinned smugly, “Akai thought you two were off making hot, passionate love in an empty classroom.”
We both face faulted, turning bright red. “What?!” Amiboshi exclaimed, “leave us alone, you guys!”
“Hey, I was just kidding,” Akai assured us, “relax.”
Amiboshi looked like he wanted to reply, but class started and we all slid into our seats. I glanced over at Amiboshi, touching my lips lightly. Gods, I was lucky.


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