*Tavestry's Note: You should run away now. Really. I'm being serious here. Run while you can! We're crazy!....Why aren't you running?! ACK!*

*Ani's Note: INSCRIBED with all faith and affection: to all the little troopers; to the happy and the sad ones; the sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones; the good ones - yes, the good ones too; and all the lovely bad ones*

"Mou! I don't wanna go!" Shu moaned, waving his arms about wildly and damn near giving Touma a facial in the process. "There aren't going to be any snacks and I won't even know any of the words to the songs."

"Shu," Shin began, the look of You-Are-Going-To-Do-What-I-Say-or-No-Waffles-for-You radiating on his face. "You don't want to disappoint Yoshie do you?"

Shu paled and looked at his dress shoe clad feet. "Noo...but Shin! It's gonna be boring! Can't we just buy a tape of it or somethin'?"

Touma raised one blue eyebrow and smirked in an oh so Touma-ish manner. "I don't really think they're going to be offering merchandise at the concert, Shu. If you don't want to go you could always give her a kiss for good luck now."

Shu's face went from tanned to flaming in point six seconds. Shin figured it had to be a new world's record. Attempting not to laugh at his best friend, Shin affected a sudden coughing fit which drew the attention of the wrong person.

Not that Dakota was evil or anything, but, well...Dakota was...Dakota.

And that meant Shu was in for it.

"What's all the fuss? Socks is just about ready to take us to the store to buy the flowers," Dakota asked as she leveled a glare that informed Touma that no matter what the truth of the situation was, she was going to hold him responsible. "What are you doing now, Touma Sempai?"

Kivrin, otherwise known as Socks-Chan, stalked into the room. "Can we just leave already? And no moaning, Shu! Get your ass in the car. Now!"

Shu glared at Kivrin and gave himself one more once over in front of the mirror. A clean, groomed and polished reflection looked back at him. Oh. I forgot to add that the reflection was wearing a tasteful black tuxedeo. Putting on a brave face, because Yoshie would be upset if Shu didn't come to her concert, Shu strode out of the room and after Shin, who was also in a tux. In fact, all of the men formerly known as the Yoroiden Samurai Troopers were attired in impeccable black tuxes.

Except Ryo.

He kept running away everytime somebody tried to put a black one on him. Ryo was garbed in a white tuxedo that just oozed the title of anime leading man.

"Ja! Let's go!" Dakota cheered as she rushed down the balcony to the waiting red car below them. She loped down the steps, swung around on a pole supporting the above walkway and giggled at the incredulous faces staring down at her. Kivrin merely shook her head and laughed. Dakota was once again hyper.

"I swear her blood must be made of pure sugar," Seiji muttered deep in his chest. "That child is positively hyper-active."

Shin grinned and drapped an arm over Seiji's shoulder. "You're just jealous 'cause you can't cut loose like that."

Seiji leveled Shin with a glare that informed him in no uncertain terms that if he continued along this line of thinking the red head was going to need a new head. Slowly, Shin removed his arm from Seiji's general area and backed away. Ryo looked at the two and then sighed. He was just here to take up space; no real character development what so ever.

"Neee! Socks-Chan! Hayaku ne!" Dakota wailed from behind the little two door Toyota Tercel, arms draped over the top."C'mon! I wanna get Pants-Chan's flowers before they're all gone!"

Kivrin leveled Dakota with one of those I'm-older-than-you-so-we're-going-to-do-it-my-way looks and took her own sweet time in getting to the car. Actually, Touma could have sworn he saw a snail actually pass Kivrin on her way to her car, named Ronin, which has nothing to do with the Ronin Warriors at all. Why do I get the feeling that you don't believe me?


"We are not all going to fit in that box you call a car, Kiv," Touma informed his bond-mate smugly. "Why don't you let me drive the guys while you take DemonChild with you?"

"DemonChild?!" Dakota squealed and was held back by a giggling Shu, which is a scary sight. Shu giggling that is. Some Troopers were not made to giggle.

"Yeah, Touma," Kivrin murmured, eyes sparking. "And you're not going to fit in the shoe box we'll call your coffin when I'm done with you."

For once in his manly exsistence...stop singing that song! This is not a Mel Brooks movie! Yes, Touma can be manly! That's what he was doing when he pulled the knife out of a dead body! I mean! No woman in their right mind, not even in their left mind would be so stupid as to PULL THE MURDER WEAPON OUT OF THE VICTIM! For once in his supposedly manly exsistence, Touma knew when to leave well enough alone. She could make him go through another period. Something he wanted to forget about as soon as possible. Sooner even.

"Fine," Touma grumbled and looked over his sholder at Seiji, telepathically begging him to offer his own car as a mode of transportation. Being trapped in a car with Shu was bad enough, but he'd been around Shu long enough to shut out the boisterous guy. But Shu and Dakota? Touma knew he would commit a felony at least. Seiji sent him a sympathetic thought and walked towards Kivrin, his best flirt type smile on his face.

"Kivrin?" Seiji oozed charm.

"Yes, Seiji?" Kivrin cooed and batted her big eyes at him. Remember this is anime. Everyone has big eyes. And really tiny mouths and occasionally no noses, like Ryo for instance.

"I was wondering if you would be so kind as to allow me to take some of the burden of driving off your shoulders?" he smarmed, as Shin, Shu, Dakota and even Ryo burst into fits of giggles.

"On one condition," Kivrin beamed so brightly that Shin was forced to put on sunglasses. "You don't ever look at me like that again or talk to me in that tone of voice again. Because if you do, I will drop kick you into the next life," she finished with a growl.

Seiji blinked and Shu just laughed harder.

"HELLO!" Ryo shouted/laughed/snorted all at once. "What time is it?"

You know, I have no idea what he's talking about.

Kivrin looked at her watch and mildly freaked out. "CRIPES! We gotta go! We gotta get to the flower shop, get the flowers, get to the concert (BEFORE it starts) and make sure we get good seats."

The group looked around and nodded in a descisive way and stood there.

"Ummm...." Dakota sweat-dropped and flashed a glance in Kivrin's general direction. "Socks?"

"Okay, look," Kivrin ordered with a sigh. "Seiji, you take Shu and Ryo and get to the concert. Touma, Shin, get in this car; we're gonna go to the flower shop NOW!"

There was a sudden scramble and much dust kicked into the air by the scared ex-Troopers. Seiji, Ryo and Shu bolted for Seiji's forest green sports car and jerked open the doors. Dakota winced as she heard the sounds of doors slamming and wheels screaming as the car roared out of the parking lot. Shin and Touma bolted for the red Tercel and tried to squeeze themselves into the back seat. There was much grumbling and arguing as two of the most calm and level headed men of the five-some bickered like old fishwives over who got to sit out of Kivrin's line of sight.

"I. Am. Going. To. Hurt. Him." Kivrin stated very calmly as she grabbed Touma by the shoulder and yanked him away from the back seat. She stared the boy down and shoved him into the passenger's seat. "You are going to sit someplace where I can keep an eye on you."

Then Dakota knew it was coming and there was nothing she or Shin could do about it.

"That way, Shin and Dakota can sit in the back seat!" Kivrin finished in a fairly good impersonation of Washu. Dakota could almost see the puppets erupting from her shoulders. "Nee! LET'S GO! I don't want to be late, do I Touma?"

Touma nodded blindly, thoroughly petrified of his bondee.

Shin sighed and scratched his head ruefully. Since Touma was already in the car, with the door closed, Dakota was going to have to crawl in from the driver's side to get to her seat. Shin held the door open, in a truly chivalrous manner and waited for Dakota to squiggle her way past him. Dakota groaned and made a mental note to do something particularly angsty to Kiv in a later fan fic and threw herself into the red box.

"Move it! Move it!" Kiv roared as she ushered, no, shoved Shin in the general direction of his seat and leapt into her car. Slamming the door, she gunned the engine and put it into reverse.

"You've been spending way too much time around Trigger-Chan," Dakota mumbled as she and Shin did their best to untangle themselves from each other."Ow! Hey! Watch what you're grabbing Shin! This is not a free-for-all ya know!"

Shin did that classic I'm-Too-Cute-To-Be-Guilty look and sat up hurriedly. "Umm...Gomen, Dakota."

"Sure," Touma snickered, eyes alight with evil mirth. "Of course you are, Shin."

"Touma!" Kiv snapped and jabbed him hard in the ribs. "Keep your eyes forward! I hope you're going to behave yourself while we're at the concert, Touma. Especially since I want to enjoy myself once we're there after all the stress I'm putting myself through getting us there."

Touma swallowed and tried to slink down into his chair, pulling his collar up around his chin like the eighties reject he was.

Yes, go ahead and laugh at Touma.

"So what kind of flowers are we looking for, Kiv?" Dakota spoke up from the back.

"Umm...Orange ones. Preferably roses, at least the ones from Shu anyway," Kiv grinned. "I don't know about the rest of us. Maybe we'll give her something nice, like pink carnations."

Shin nodded carefully, doing his best to ignore the encouraging looks Touma kept giving him. Scowling mentally, the red haired bond-mate of the girl in question, Yoshie, sunk into a dark silence, leaving Dakota with nothing to do.

Did I mention that this is a bad thing?

I didn't did I?

Well I did now.

Touma, who was fast on his way to the land of sleepy time, was suddenly awakened by the shrill screeching of Kiv. Well, he called it shrill screeching. We'll just call it shouting.

"SIT UP STRAIGHT! DO YOU WANT TO LOOK LIKE A DIRTY RUMPLED LUSH WHO SHOWED UP FOR THE FREE DRINKS?!" Kiv...shouted. Touma rubbed his eyes, pulled himself up into a lazy reclining position and shot back, in that horrific accent from Queens, Tokyo.

"Who are you? Mah mutha?" he muttered, blue eyes indigo with a bad mood.

"Thank God I'm not! Otherwise you would have been dead a long time ago," Kiv sniffed as she shot a furtive glance at her watch. Sighing, she said in a more normal and less stressed tone of voice, "I'm sorry I've been such a bitch this evening, but I just really wanna make sure we get there on time. I HATE being late for things."

Touma nodded and sat up a little straighter. "Yeah, I understand. I'll try to behave, 'kay?"

"Thank you," Kiv smiled mentally and the two left it at that.

No. They are not an item. They are best friends, get your minds out of the gutter!

That's what Seiji and Lee are for!

A sudden jab jolted Shin out of his sulky reverie. "Itai!"

Absolute silence.

Shin shrugged and went back to his thoughts about how he was going to torture Touma for...for...thinking those thoughts at him. Oh yes, Touma was going to...OW!

"Oi! Yamatte," Shin muttered as he rubbed his poor ribs. Turning to look at Dakota, all he got was a stony profile. Sighing, he shrugged and turned his gaze back out the window to the rainy night. He thought it was over but then...

He was being...TICKLED!

"AH! YAMERU!" he shouted and recoiled from the phantom fingers. Glaring at the innocent looking girl next to him, who was blinking up at him. "Dakota..."

"Nani?" she asked, giving him her best angelic look. If she had her florescent halo with her she would have plugged it in and set it on her head."Doushite, Shin?"

Grinding his teeth together to keep from snapping at her, Shin answered, "Stop tickling me, please?"

Dakota shook her head and smiled. "You must be mistaken, Shin. I haven't touched you all evening."

"Not for lack of trying," Touma muttered. Kiv giggled and made shhing noises at him. Touma whistled and ignored the barrage of 'Shut ups' and 'Urusais' from Shin and Dakota.

In a voice of clear disbelief, Shin asked, "Well, if it wasn't you, Dakota, then who was it?"

"I dunno. It must've been....Touma," she replied, shrugging as if confused.

"NANI?!" Touma sat bolt upright in the passenger seat. "How the hell would I.....," pause, "....better question, WHY the hell would I......?"

"No, no, no, it was definitely you, Dakota. I've been keeping an eye on Touma and he's been behaving himself....for the last few minutes anyway," Kiv added as she pulled into Ellis Floral. "Here we are, First Floor: Flowers, Cards, and Sundry Items. All out." Throwing the car into park, her left hand opened the door and locked it simultaneously as her right hand slipped the keys out of the ignition with the same sort of fluid motion. Stepping out, she slid the seat forward just as Touma was climbing out on the other side. Dakota clambered out somewhat awkwardly as the front seat slid forward; the blue-haired freak was right: this car was a box. Not that she would ever, in a million years, admit to agreeing with Touma on anything. Kiv helped Shin out before shutting her door, reminding her other two passengers to lock their door before they went in.

"Yeh, yeh, I know, I know," her bond-mate replied tiredly. How many times did she hafta remind him before she remembered that he'd remember to lock it? Hell, they were bonded, they could share thoughts....you'd think she'd trust him to recall something like that.

She tried not to snap at him out of stress, years of conditioned habit telling her they should be moving at approximately light speed about now. "Well, I'm sorry, but I'm just a little...."

"Paranoid is the word you're looking for, I believe," Dakota supplied in a helpful tone.

Glare from Kiv. "No, I think I wanted the word 'cautious', Hightops-Chan. But thank you for playing." Everyone out and the doors all locked, the happy little quartet proceeded inside.



Meanwhile, in Seiji's car, the hapless trio of Seiji, Shu, and Ryo had been trying to figure out how in the hell Kivrin had managed to usurp Ryo's usual leadership.

"I dunno," Shu said for something like the twelfth time. "I think it's just something girls can do, ya know? I mean, you think you're in control and then, BOOM!, just like that," he snapped his fingers, "they've got the wheel."

"I think it's more likely that Ryo was just distracted," Seiji commented, a small smile on what could be seen of his face.

"What do you mean?" Ryo asked, looking at Seiji for the first time in the last few minutes. He'd dropped out of the conversation sometime back, keeping company with his own thoughts instead.

"Well, I think you're just preoccupied thinking about....a certain someone....."

Shu caught on to Seiji's hint. "Yeh....a certain someone who goes by the name of Magma Angel......or, as she is sometimes called...." Seiji and Shu said it together, "Magma-chan!"

Yes, I had to put Magma in here. I miss chattin' with her....and I KNOW Ryo misses her too. Evil grin.

Shu about doubled over as he turned to look at the fearless leader. "You know, Ryo, red always did look good on you...."

Ignoring Shu (and trying to ignore the heat in his face), Ryo commented, "Well, you know, with Seiji everything comes down to girls, girls, girls." Shu hooted with laughter.

"Hoooo boy, did you see the look on his face when Kivrin laid that 'I'll drop kick ya into next week' bit on him?! Oh, for one of those instant cameras....if that wasn't a Polaroid moment, I don't know what is!!"

Ryo chuckled, having successfully turned the topic away from himself. "Yeh, it was almost as good as that look on Shin's face that one time...."

"What one time?" Seiji asked, still a tad miffed about that whole incident with Kivrin. He was worrying that he was losing his touch.

"That one time," Ryo repeated. "You remember, don't you, Shu? That time where he said he'd watch after you and....."

"OH YEAH, THAT TIME!!" Shu realized, and that didn't help his laughing fits any. He was practically in tears.

"Uh, I wonder what kind of flowers Kivrin'll pick out," Seiji mused aloud, trying now to turn the topic away from himself. Hey, if Ryo could do it, surely he could.

"Nothing for you, that's for sure!" Shu exclaimed, actually shedding tears, he was laughing so much.

Seiji gave up. "I still don't understand why that didn't work. It's worked before."

"Not on Kiv," Ryo pointed out.

"She's bonded to Touma," Shu reminded him, wiping mirth-induced tears from his eyes. "She's become immune to smarminess."

"I think it's more like she's become immune to Seiji," Ryo suggested with a smile. "After all, with all of us living in the same house......"

With a flip of his hair, the blonde-haired young man smiled. "That must be it. It only works on girls who aren't used to my......"

Shu supplied, "Oozing?" Ryo stifled a laugh.

"Charm," Seiji finished, taking his eyes from the road just long enough to blast a You-obviously-have-no-idea-what-you're-talking-about-as-usual look at Shu. Shu just giggled.

*shudder* Tav's right; some Troopers are just not supposed to giggle. Even when they're sober. Especially when they're sober. *shudder again*



Now safely en route to the concert hall, the intrepid band of Kivrin, Touma, Shin, and Dakota were strangely.....getting along(?!). Kiv was still high-strung but was determined not to show it. They still had about 15 minutes before her preferred time of arrival, which in turn was about 20 minutes before the concert would start. They'd be fine. She repeated that last bit over and over in her mind.

Touma was behaving himself, as he'd promised Kiv he would. She was one of his (very few) best friends, and he didn't want to lose that. It was pretty much her and Seiji, and, well.....Seiji......he DEFINITELY didn't want to alienate her in any way. Mentally, he was stocking up on the comments to use against Shin later on, but he kept 'em to himself. He kept his word. Besides, as stressed as he knew she was, she'd toast him for the smallest thing if he slipped up.

Shin was holding the bouquet of orange roses they'd managed to hunt down for Yoshie. Surrounded by white tissue paper and tied with a light blue bow, they looked like the loveliest flowers ever seen. Graceful, elegant, perfect as a gift from Shu to Yoshie. Even if Shu didn't know about them. Yet. Shin smiled. This would make Yoshie happy, he was sure of it.

Dakota was holding the other bouquet with a card that was signed by all of them. Well, okay, so Seiji and Ryo hadn't signed yet, but they could do that at the concert. They'd chosen a rather simple and pretty arrangement of pink carnations and yellow roses, with some baby's breath thrown in for decoration's sake. The orange roses had some too....it was required for bouquets, Dakota thought. She looked at "Shu's" bouquet sitting on Shin's lap and sighed mentally. Thinking how much she would love getting a bouquet from Shin, she missed Kiv's comment.

"Huh, what? Sorry, I was thinking."

"For once," Kiv murmured. Dakota shot her a You'd-better-be-kidding glance and Kiv replied with a Of-course-I'm-kidding look. Who needs telepathy when you have looks, glances, glares and stares for every occasion?

"I said, 'We're here, you can get out now'," Kivrin repeated slowly, scooting the front seat forward. Kivrin had actually allowed them to climb into the Tercel and seat themselves this time. Shin had climbed in from the passenger side and Dakota had made her way in from the driver side. She was used to sitting just behind Kiv when she drove them anywhere. That was HER spot, as far as she was concerned.

"Oh, uh, yeah, sorry." She noticed Shin was already out of the car by this time, and Touma was locking and shutting the door. Clambering out as best she could again, she looked around and spotted that forest green car that could only be Seiji's. "Looks like they got here all right."

"I'm surprised Seiji could see where he was driving with all that hair in his face," Touma commented. He almost expected to be snapped at for the remark, but Kivrin only laughed softly and closed the door behind Dakota. Of course, she wouldn't care if he attacked Seiji, especially after Seiji's attempt at.....charming....her earlier.

"Well, let's head 'em up and move 'em out," Kiv said. Doing her best military-style "about face", she headed for the Creative Arts Center.

"You HAVE been around Trigger-chan too long," Dakota repeated. Kiv turned back around long enough to do that "pull-one-lower-eyelid-down-while-sticking-your-tongue-out" face and then continued to walk in a dignified manner into the building.

Touma was a happy little bundle of relief right about then. Her stress level had gone down considerably since they'd arrived, so she was less likely to attack without notice. She was starting to act normal again.....well, normal for her anyway. He wondered again why the bond was such a good thing.

"Oi! DAKOTA!" Shu bellowed across the parking lot, waving his arms madly and all but hopping around like a giant black rabbit. "Did ya get it?"

"Nope," Dakota sighed and flipped around an obnoxious strand of hair out of her eyes. "I didn't win it."

"Win what?" Ryo asked, once again locked out of Dakota's mind. He didn't know why she didn't like him, but her dislike for him was about as bad as Mason's dislike of Shu.

Shu and Dakota grinned, flashing victory signs and waving Japanese fans. "The Lottery!"

Touma held a hand to his face. "Oh please? Just one little comment?"

Kivrin glared, which was enough to silence Touma, again.

You know, you gotta feel for Touma. This is just not his night.

But then again, if he's saving up stuff for Shin, maybe we should start worrying about him.

Nah. I still feel for Touma.

"So now what?" Seiji asked, as he eyed a passing woman with legs that went up to there. He was upset in his courteous way that his 'oozing' as Shu called it, hadn't worked on Kiv. She was a woman. It should have worked. She couldn't be immune to him! Completely disregarding Touma, who had warned him once to keep his hands off of her, Seiji decided that Kiv was just playing hard to get.

"A challenge," Seiji murmured slowly, his eyes glinting with...Duo?


No, Duo. The 'other' L word.

Well, make up your mind already! MOU! Saa....LUST!

Thank you, Duo. You can go back to Gundam world now.

Do I have to?


Can't I just stay for the concert?

No, Duo. You can't.

BUT! My feminine half is in there! I gotta go visit her!

Duo....Heero is lonely. He said that he's going to self destruct since you left him.

That never works. Only when the drama calls for it. There is no drama in him self destructing right now.

But there would be tragic irony.

Damn. *Poof*

Thank you. Now where did the plot go? P-Chan! Go find the plot! *SQUEAL!* No. It's not down Akane's shirt...Nevermind. Found it.

*Socks would just like to beg for help right about now.*

"So now," Dakota grinned as she strutted into the concert hall. "We find a good seat and wait for the show to start. C'mon! Oh! Ryo! Seiji! You need to sign our card!"

Shu blinked and looked puzzled. "I don't get to sign it?"

Kiv grinned in a horrible Kivrin type of way. It's that way that if it were translated into language would literally mean, trouble. "No! You get your very OWN card! It even comes equipped with its own bouquet!"

Shu blinked again and as realization hit, broke another world's record for fastest blush in the world. This time Shin timed him.

"Wow," the water boy murmured. "Nice. Look Ryo! 0.000000001 seconds. Do you think we should report this?"

Ryo grinned. "Definitely. Dude, can we just go in there and find a seat? I'm getting kinda...wet."

Those still outside, essentially everyone except Dakota, who was giggling inside, rushed towards the door. The small stampede resulted in several mild bruises and in the case of Seiji, a good jab at the hair.

"Errgh," Ryo growled as he rubbed his newly injured cheek. "What was that for Seiji?"

"Nani?" Seiji asked, doing his best I'm-too-cool-to-be-guilty sniff of haughtiness. "What are you blithering about?"

Meanwhile, Kivrin was strolling into the concert hall, completely oblivious to the ensuing brawl between the five boys in the bodies of young male adults. Kivrin was continuing on her mission to find a seat so she could watch the concert. That was what she was here for and that was what she intended to do.

"Help me?" Touma begged mentally as someone demanded he choose who the truly guilty one was. "Get me outta here before I really do snap!"

"Just walk away," Kiv replied, slightly disgusted at the others' behavior. Then she added with a twinge of humor. "Like I did. It's not that hard, Touma."

"That's easy for you to say," he growled back, actually getting angry at the offending Ryo demanding Touma pronounce judgement against his only other best friend. "You don't have a black, red and white blur clinging to you!"

"That's your own fault for being slow," Kiv replied loftily. Then a thought crossed her mind and the evil smile returned. "He probably thinks you're cute."

And with that, Touma became a blue and black blur that finally perched itself by Kivrin's side.

"I knew that would work," she chuckled as Touma mumbled something that sounded vaguely derogatory. But Kiv left it at that.

Thank god for small favors.

Somehow Shin managed to manuever Shu into the hall and sat him down in the middle of the row, far enough away from Touma, who Shin had newly dubbed "The Ego Deflator". This was hard enough for Shu as it was, falling in love with a girl bonded to his best friend, who thought he was in love with her but it turned out that he wasn't and not to mention all the angst and dying that was...I have to stop the sentence now.

The grammar Queen is upset with me.

At least I'm not a Drama Queen.

Oh so that's what we're calling Blouse-Chan now eh?

No, that's YOU, you goober.

I am not a goober. I am a DemonChild.


Shin shook his head and left the thought unfinished. He just knew that if he did try and finish it, someone, namely a statuesque blonde with a love of hair gel would snag it and torment the poor love sick Shu endlessly. Sighing, he sank down into the chair next to Shu and smiled.

"Nervous?" he asked Shu, who was trying to twist his bowtie off. "Stop that. I went to a lot of trouble tying that for you. Don't tell me you don't want to impress Yoshie! You'll knock her sideways in that tux."

" 'Allo Jeeves," Touma snickered mentally.

" 'Allo Bertie old thing," Shin shot back, ever-present smile plastered onto his face.

Ryo and Seiji finally made their way into the auditorium and flopped into their respective chairs, heedless of the women around them gazing at them longingly. Kivrin groaned, wished Seiji to some place very, very warm and she wished him there very, very soon.

"Nee?" Ryo asked, batting at his hair ineffectually. "Where's Dakota? She's not here."

Kivrin felt her stomach and Touma's sink down into her kneecaps. Simultaneously they moaned. "Oh no!"

Shin and Shu turned away from their prose to send Kiv confused looks...Yes girls, THE confused looks.

"Dakota will kick herself for missing that, Kiv," Touma smirked gently. "I don't suppose you could telegraph that to her. It might summon her back to us, if she doesn't sublimate into a puddle, that is."

Kiv nodded and sent a thought tendril in the general mental direction of the new rekka wielder and was met with a solid wall of...of...oh good lord. NOT THAT! DAKOTA! GET OFF THE INTERNET! I DON'T CARE HOW YOU GOT ON BUT GET OFF! NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO DROOL OVER HIEI AND KURAMA!

Dakota snickered as she put block after block of yaoi fanfics up in her mind. Kiv would be digging through that mess for the entire concert if she really wanted to get around calling her. Confident that she could now prowl the concert hall in solitary bliss, she set off to find some mischief.

Well, she tried anyway.


Dakota did an impersonation of an anime take.

Then she bent over, affected the cough of an emphysemic hag and scratched her back. She created a bad Russian accent and grumbled, "Be grateful."

Shu, who was just about choking Ryo in his fury, bellowed mentally, "NOW!"

Waving a limp hand, Dakota smiled and loped back towards the main hall. "Coming, minna! Don't forget to save me a seat!"

Shu sighed.

"Right next to Shin," Kivrin mumbled to Touma, who hid his laughter in his chest.

Don't ask.

Blouse said he should hide it in a bottle.

Dakota grinned as she stood in the aisle right next to Kiv. She frowned and made a face of slight distress as she realized that Kivrin had the aisle seat and Touma was ensconced next to her. She looked down and realized the only seat left open was either next to...to...Seiji or next to Shin.

Dakota chose puddle form over being convicted of murder in the first degree. Groaning, she jogged around, because Dakota never walked anywhere, and shuffled her way to her chair, next to Shin.

"I am going to melt into a little puddle of ooze," she hissed mentally at Ryo, the only other person besides the girls and Shu she talked to about Shin. "I'm going to sit there in a gelatinous blob listening to the music. Then he's going to step on me and I'll be trapped under his shoes for the rest of my natural life."

"Or until he throws you away," Ryo commented dryly, glad that Dakota was still talking to him. "Err...I meant the shoes."

"Yeah, I know," Dakota sighed and looked studiously away from Shin and his puddle-inducing aura of cuteness. "Nee, Ryo? Wha...well...and...SAA!"

"I haven't gotten a chance to talk to him about it, Dakota," Ryo replied, sending her soothing thoughts as the lights in the house started to dim. "Shin's entombed himself in the kitchen since Shu and Yoshie hooked up. If I didn't know better, I'd almost think Shin was jealous. Not of Shu, but...of...I'm not sure."

"Honto?" Dakota asked, trying hard not to be excited. She was worried though. "What could he be jealous of?"

"Dakota?" Kivrin burst into the mental conversation. "The concert's starting. Can we save the mental conundrums for later?"

"Yes, mother," Dakota mumbled and pouted, her face dark as she did her best not to lean in the general direction of her heart's desire.

For the duration of the story anyway.

The band marched onto the stage, looking like there were at least five other places they'd rather be right now, and the orthodontist was high on the list of those other places. Yoshie soon made her entrance and Shu was smothered by a sudden mental mob ordering him to keep his cheering down to a minimum.

"GO YOSHIE!" Dakota and Touma cheered just to be perverse. They leaned forward in the chair and flashed each other a thumbs up. Shin reached a hand forward and gently slammed Dakota back into her seat.

"Sit," he ordered gently. "Or I'll be forced to hurt your Gundam tapes, Miss Duo."

"Ack," Dakota gagged as she did her best impersonation of an angel fallen from Heaven.

"Touma," Kiv muttered and sent him a mental image of a tampon chasing him down the hallway.

Touma paled and looked at her, his eyes wide with fully acknowledged fear written there. "No! You wouldn't!"

Kivrin just grinned evily.

Soon one of the conductors walked up to the podium and bowed before the audience. In his left hand, he held a brown case that was about as long as his arm. Slowly, as if he was handling something rare and precious, like it was Action Comics #1, he removed.....the baton?

This guy definitely needs a life, Dakota thought to herself behind her walls of sarcasm.

"Repressed, isn't he?" Shin whispered down at Dakota, who was halfway onto the floor by now. She perked up at that comment, from SHIN of all people. "What? Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Are you feeling okay?" she whispered back at him, eyes very worried. Dakota reached a hand to Shin's forehead as the music started. Shin frowned and tried to jerk his head out of her grasp, blushing furiously for some odd and unexplained reason.

"Stop that! I'm fine! Can't I make a snide comment every now and then?" he hissed at her, heedless of Shu jabbing him yet again in his battered ribs. "Touma's not the only one who can be snide you know."

Dakota pulled back, more offended and hurt than she cared to admit. "But...but...I..."

"Shut up!" Shu snapped as he leaned across Shin to give Dakota a glare that promised her a slow and painful death if she in any way caused Yoshie the slighest hint of pain. "If you two can't behave I'll throw you both out of the auditorium! Am I understood?"

Shin paled and nodded. "Wa...Wakatta."

"Hai," Dakota smiled weakly and returned to her black mood.

The song was a very pretty one, whose name currently escapes me. It was a very pretty little song that swirled around those listening to it. Most of the assembled group eventually let their eyes wander over the entire band, but Shu's eyes never left Yoshie. She was even in a dress. A DRESS! He'd never seen her in a dress before. She looked so....so....ah, hell, he thought, I don't even know the words for how she looks. Seiji'd probably know. And probably wouldn't have trouble telling a girl she looked that way too. Of course, Seiji was.....Seiji. And the thought of Seiji telling Yoshie how....well, for lack of a better word, nice....she looked in that dress made his blood boil, or at least simmer. He wasn't lettin' Seiji anywhere NEAR Yoshie.

In his own mind, Seiji was enormously happy they'd come here. He even forgot about Kiv (and Lee!) while his......mind.....was thus occupied. At least half the band was female!! Was this his lucky night or what?! Well, except for that brief thing with Kivrin, but, for the time being at least, who cared about that?! The first flute was H-O-T and he didn't even hear the haunting refrain she played. All he could hear was the various lines he could use on her and her possible reactions to each.

Ryo rolled his eyes. Yeesh, what a lecher. Not that he couldn't appreciate what Seiji was seeing, but his mind was more concerned with someone who wasn't even there tonight. Who knew where she was, really? She had said she was studying for finals, and he trusted her and all, but was that the REAL reason she was staying away? He thought back to the night he'd confessed how he'd felt to her. Well, sort of confessed. He'd chickened out at the last second and substituted "like" for how he really felt.

He was sure she was the one this time. What he'd thought was love for Nasuti and Luna was nothing compared to how he felt about Magma.

Can we say "Romeo", boys and girls? If you don't understand that comment, go re-read the play. I mean, Romeo's all "Oh Rosaline, you're soooo beautiful....." and then BOOM!, he's all "Oh Juliet, you're soooo beautiful....." I hate to say this, but it's probably a good thing they died; this way, when she's older, she won't have to walk in on him in bed with some gorgeous 14 year old. Anyway, plot, plot, plot (such as it is)......

Kivrin, for her part, simply closed her eyes and listened to the notes. It was as if she could hear each individual note and yet, at the same time, hear the whole melody they created as well. She let her mind drift on the music, enjoying the chance to do nothing but listen to the music and be.

And while she was getting philosophical, Touma whispered, "Hey, don't fall asleep! You were so anxious about gettin' here!"

Her eyes shot open as she realized that she'd unconciously shut the bond down. Her mind, when she was like that, was hers and hers alone; that was the way she preferred it.

"Baka!" she hissed, punching him lightly on the arm. "I wasn't asleep! I'm not like you, who falls asleep every chance you get!"

"I do not!"

Shu hissed at them to pipe down and they both did so immediately, embarassed about interrupting Shu's obvious enjoyment of watching Yoshie.

"The point is," she continued mentally, "that I was just enjoying the music. I happen to prefer listening with my eyes closed, to block out the real world."

"Sorry, I didn't know. I didn't mean to.....gomen," he apologized, a whisper even in her mind.

" 'Sokay. I know what I must've looked like. I'm sorry I shut you out. I didn't mean to do that, it just sort of.....happened," she replied with a mental shrug.

"Yeah, well I can understand that."

She smiled at him in thanks and closed her eyes again. She tried to leave the bond open, but she knew it slipped shut again. Some part of her just would not allow anyone else's presence. But the lovely melody overtook her and she forgot to worry about why that was.

Dakota, meanwhile, was trying very, very, VERY hard not to look at Shin, because she was halfway to puddle form already. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see that smile that was nearly always super-glued to his face, and that was bad enough. Cursing peripheral vision, she tried to keep her eyes forward. Shooting a telepathic glance at Kivrin and her mental state, she grew envious. What she wouldn't give to be able to be so calm and relaxed right now!! Of course, Kiv wasn't sitting next to someone who could turn her into silly putty. Heaving a mental sigh and leaving Kiv alone, Dakota tried what Kivrin was doing: she closed her eyes and tried to think only of the music. All she could come up with was Shin's face. Muttering a curse under her breath only got yet another "Shhhh!" from Shu.

Shu was obviously enraptured. All you had to do was look at his face and you knew. It was obviously.....Duo?

Now what? I thought I had to leave!

Just give us the word, Duo.

Which one this time?



Read the sentences before that one.

*reading* Uh......LOVE?

*nod* Yep, that's the one.

Alright!!! LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you, Duo, that will be all.

*mutter* I hope I get a tape of the concert at least.

Uh, Duo, they aren't recording this.

DAMNIT! *Poof* *Reappear* I ain't comin' next time. You can do it yourself! *Poof again*

Okay, well, to return to our erstwhile plot......

Yes, you'd have to be dumb, deaf and blind not to see that Shu was head over heels for Yoshie. Dakota doubted he even noticed anyone else was on stage. Actually, she bet that if the world exploded Shu would still be there, smiling at Yoshie while she played her flute.

Grumbling mentally, Dakota went back to studiously ignoring Shin. He was not there. He was not smiling like that. He was not close enough to lean against.

Shin, who was peacefully oblivious to Dakota's lust issues, was throughly enjoying himself in his own repressed way. He had blocked out all treacherous thoughts of wanting to wring Shu's happy neck. It wasn't that Shin was jealous, no that wasn't it. Shin and Yoshie really weren't meant to be together. It was that simple. But still, Shin had to admit that he liked having someone to care about in that way. It was a special feeling, that if Shin was being truthful to himself, which he wasn't, but if he was, he would have to admit that he missed it.

Shin was jealous that Shu had someone to love and he didn't.

Then Shin's mind kicked into high repression mode and rocketed him back to the music at hand.

Or ear rather.

And speaking of rockets, let's go back to Touma, who was very busy studying the music. He was trying to calculate the possible wave lengths and frequencies employed by the great masters of yore. He was very happy, alone with his calculations and scientific theories. And the fact that Kiv was blocking him was not bugging him.

No, that was not what was simmering in a low blue rage at the back of his mind.

Kiv had nothing to do with it.

That didn't mean it didn't involve her.

He was mad at Seiji.

His best friend. His first TRUE best friend, Seiji Date. The former warrior of COURTESY FOR PETE'S SAKE! Whoever Pete was.

The more Touma thought about it, the more enraged he got. What was formerly a simmering blue inferno of rage was now a boiling blue hot forge of insane anger.

Touma calculated more figures and kept quiet, blocking everyone out.

He was not happy.

And that was a bad thing.

After the concert the assembled ex and IU troopers lounged around waiting for Yoshie to be released from the conductors. Seiji was flirting with random girls as they left the auditorium, gratified that THEY responded to his 'charm'. Ryo was talking quietly to Shu about something inconsequential while Shin pondered the thunderous look on Touma's face. Kiv and Dakota were giggling as they imagined the look on Yoshie's face when she saw all the flowers they had for her. Until Shu gave her his bouquet.

"I still think that she'll blush and be too shy to do anything," Dakota insisted as she leaned around Shin to gesture at Kivrin. "Shu style puddle form!"

"Nah," Kiv shook her head and smiled, the good mood from the concert permeating her whole self. "I betcha she'll give him a huge hug and the two will be inseperable the entire night."

"Personally," Seiji murmured, brushing that...that...that lock of hair out of his eyes. "I think that she'll faint. Then we'll need Shu to...eh...revive her."

Shu's eyes snapped up and glared at the blonde, indigo blue eyes promising extreme violence if Seiji's mind went down that dark tunnel of perversion.

"Oi!" Ryo protested softly, sensing violent undertones in the originally benign conversation. "Let's not get rough here."

"I'm sure Yoshie will be delighted regardless of what Seiji said," Shin smiled.

"Nani? What was that? What did Seiji say about me?" Yoshie asked, puzzled, as she walked up to the group.

"NANDEMONAI!" the entire group, except Seiji, exclaimed. Seiji's one visible eye blinked (well, they both did, but no one can see the other one) as he murmured, "Whoa. It wasn't that bad."

They ignored him, which was almost always guaranteed to piss Seiji off. Normally, pissing Seiji off would be a bad thing, but with so many of them against just the one of him, they figured the odds were on their side this time.

Kiv started it off, once again usurping Ryo's leadership. "Great concert!!" she exclaimed, clapping, which set off a chorus of clapping and compliments. Yoshie blushed slightly and pointed out, "You know, I was only one of the flutes. I'm not really...."

"You were great!" Shin insisted. Dakota handed over the bouquet that she'd been watching over throughout the whole thing. Now she had her hands free for deviltry again......BAD DAKOTA! NO DEVILTRY! okay sorry, I had to say that. Not that it'll matter any, I'm sure.

Yoshie smiled and ooo-ed as she smelled the carnations and roses, and laughed at the multiple signatures crammed onto one tiny little card. If it's possible, Shu puddled. We're not sure. Touma made a mental note about that. He had been considering studying puddle-form, its causes and effects, and writing a paper on it.

Shu was so busy possibly puddling that he didn't even recall he had his own bouquet to hand over. That didn't mean that somebody else didn't, however.

"Hey!" Shin hissed in his best friend's ear, jabbing him in the ribs. A small part of him thought that that felt rather good; it was just that he was sick of being the only one to be jabbed in the ribs. Well, Touma'd been jabbed once by Kiv, but other than that it had been Shin, Shin, Shin. "Go ahead! Get on with it!"

"Huh? Oh....uh," Shu stammered, finally remembering the flowers he was holding behind his back. "Y-Y-Yo-shi-e?"

"Yes, Shu?" she asked, turning to him, eyes bright and curious. He (possibly) puddled some more. How was he ever going to do this?

"C'mon, just give her the flowers! You don't even have to say anything!" Shin's voice echoed in Shu's mind.

"Yeah, man, they're just flowers. Hand 'em over already!" came Ryo's voice.

"Oh, like you'd be so easygoing about it if it was you and Magma instead of Shu and Yoshie," Touma responded telepathically. Shu didn't need to look at Ryo to know he was blushing. "We're tellin' ya you have nothing to worry about, Shu! Just go for it!"

"She'll love 'em," Seiji reassured him mentally. "ALL girls melt over that sort of stuff. Trust me on this one."

That only made Touma boil more.

In fact, Touma didn't boil.

Touma exploded.

"THAT'S IT! I CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE YOU CHAUVENISTIC OVERBEARING EGOTISTICAL ASSININE LECHEROUS PLAYBOY!" Touma shouted at the top of his lungs, putting just about everybody in shock, minus Dakota who was intrigued by the new attitude in Touma. I mean they went into a super deformed hair standing on end type of shock. "WHAT'S IT GOING TO TAKE TO KEEP YOUR ROVING EYES, HANDS AND HAIR TO YOURSELF?! MY GOD! HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT WOMEN ARE NOT COMMODITIES THAT YOU CAN PURCHASE AND TAKE BACK WHEN YOU GET DONE WITH THEM?!?!?"

Kivrin blinked and reached out tremorously . Touma was in a word, freaking, actually it's in two words, freaking out. His whole body was ramrod straight, fists clenched at his side, eyes burning in blue black flames. Touma, never, ever let his emotions get the better of him.

That was until Seiji had started flirting with HIS bond mate.

The other half of his mind.

It was like Seiji was flirting with HIM!

Or a sister of his.

Touma did not like it and had told Seiji as much. Seiji had assured him that it was all harmless and that he meant nothing by it.

His exact words had been, "Am I ever serious about any of the women I date, Touma? You know me."

"Go Touma!" Dakota cheered on as she leaned over Shin's shoulder, eyes alight with mischevious glee. "You tell him! Kick his overbearing masculine ass! Damn the blonde man!"

Shin grabbed Dakota and put a hand over her mouth before she could urge Touma onwards to more violence. Normally, she would have turned into a puddle of ooze on his lap but since Touma was acting like a normal human, she hardly noticed.

"Touma, Seiji, please," Ryo tried to mediate but to no avail.

Seiji narrowed one blue-grey eye at Touma, his best friend. He tilted his head and smiled grimly. Folding his arms over his chest, because he wouldn't be Seiji if he didn't do that, he leaned back and fixed his placid gaze at Touma. "So you think I'm a playboy, eh, Touma?"

And he said Touma's name in that anime way, when their name is pronounced and it makes it seem like there's more in that one word than just the other person's name.

Kivrin, who was finally getting a clue from the flashes of fury radiating from Touma, looked at Seiji darkly. She didn't know what the blonde was thinking but from the looks and feel of things, he was upset that Touma had snapped in front of him.


"I think he's a tad upset," Shin mumbled to Dakota, who was waving her hands around.

"Just a tad," Ryo nodded, thoroughly at a loss for words.

"Ravishing?" Yoshie mumbled, thoroughly confused. She looked at Shu, who just gave her another adorably cute look. He was just as lost as she was.

"I would hardly call a little healthy flirting 'ravishing' and 'seducing', Touma," Seiji murmured deep in his chest and once again in that anime way.

And then, the last restraint spontaneously combusted.

And Seiji found himself flying through the air, victim of a vicious right jab and soon to be introduced to the far wall.

Did we mention that Touma, of the five, has the most upper body strength, being an archer and all?

Now we did.

Ryo winced as Seiji was implanted into the wall. Blood trickled down on the visible side of his face, his very shocked and upset face.

We would like to remind you again that it is a very bad thing to piss off Seiji.

Shin and his repressed sensitivity looked between Seiji, halfway in the wall, and Touma, standing there glaring angrily, and decided that this would be a perfect time to leave. Knowing Dakota was too enthralled to leave on her own, he picked her up and threw her over his shoulder as he ushered the rest of the group out.

"We're leaving now."

"NOW?" Dakota whined.

"NOW," Shin responded firmly.

"But....Touma's kickin' ass! Seiji ass, no less! I mean, this only happens once in a blue moon! Hell, a plaid moon with pink polka dots!!!"

"Too bad."

"But SHIN!!!!!!"

"No buts. WE. ARE. LEAVING. NOW. DAKOTA. I'll bind and gag you if I have to.....with duct tape no less!"

"ACK!" she exclaimed, her eyes widening in fear. Shin was now never without his trusty duct tape gun. It had become a necessary survival tool of late. "You WOULDN'T!" she declared/pleaded.

"Don't test me on this one," Shin told her coldly. "Do you want YOUR rear-end splattered all over the wall??"

"Touma wouldn't hurt sweet, lovable ol' me," she replied in a honey-drip tone.

"No, he'd probably kill you," Shu commented quietly. Unfortunately not quietly enough.

"If I wasn't slung over Shin's shoulder like a sack of potatoes, I'd bonk you for that, Shu!!"


"Bonk. Shut up, Ryo," she growled while Shin smiled in that repressed-obnoxious-we-can't-get-rid-of-it way of smiling.

"I'm surprised you aren't puddle form by now," Ryo said with a smile.

"I. SAID. SHUT. UP. RYO," she said between her gritted teeth. She looked like a wild animal snarling.

"What's 'puddle-form'?" Shin asked. Naturally he was curious; he liked water, after all.

"NANDEMONAI!! NANDEMONAI!!!!!" Dakota roared. Shin would've shrugged, but there was something impeding his shrug......namely a screaming, hissing, and, if Ryo was close enough, biting girl.



Meanwhile, back at the ranch.....I mean....the slaughter......

Seiji had managed to up-root himself from the wall. There was a rather nice impression of Seiji in the wall, especially his hair. It was gonna take A LOT of plaster to fix that up, Kiv thought.

Seiji wiped the blood from his face with the back of his hand. "First blood, eh?" he commented, following it up with one of those menacing oh-so-you-do-know-how-to-fight-this'll-be-fun laughs.

Can you tell we like hyphens???

A-N-Y-W-A-Y....... ^_^

Touma was doing one of those grit-the-teeth-and-growl things (MORE HYPHENS!!) and Kiv, standing a short distance behind her bond mate, was just sort of in shock.

"Touma....you....you're....de-evolving. This....isn't like you....at all." This was how shocked she was: she was reduced to making statements of the obvious. She wasn't happy about that, but she couldn't think of anything else to say. She kept the bond shut; she didn't think her mental situation would improve any by opening it to all that anger. Besides, there WAS gonna be a fight. NOTHING was gonna stop it now, and she, personally, did not want to feel every single hit Seiji would land on Touma. She hoped, for Lee's sake, that her bond with Seiji was similarly closed, or she'd already be in pain.

Touma didn't answer the statements of the obvious. At this point, he could growl and that was close to it. If he tried speaking any human language, he'd probably just grit out some cuss word. That's the way pissed-off macho-acting guys are. Don't ask us why. Possibly the sudden rush of testosterone to the brain. Touma could figure out why, but well....he was rather unable to do that at that moment.

Calculus? Astrophysics? All Touma could think of was, "MUST.....BASH.....SEIJI.....MUST.....MAKE.....HIM.....VERY.....VERY.....SORRY"

And, well, to reduce Seiji's thoughts to brass tacks, his only thought was, "OH GOD I'M GONNA DIE!!!!" The jury is still out on whether or not Seiji will have learned his lesson after this. We, the members of the jury, doubt he'll go after Kiv again, but we're pretty sure he'll continue....charming....most other members of the opposite sex. It's too ingrained in his personality.

Then Seiji remembered that the best defense was a good offense and flew towards his best friend like a released spring. BOING!! (hey, Tav made me put it in there....and yes, of course we're crazy)

Seiji raced towards Touma, impossibly fast, and lashed out with a leg for Touma's midsection. Kivrin clasped her hands together and prayed that the concert hall would make it out of this in one piece.

Just when Seiji's foot was going to make painful contact with Touma's ribs, he was gone in a blue black blur. Seiji whirled around to find Touma standing, no, fuming on the stage, back lit by the stage lights still on. Honestly girls, he looked very cute. An enraged Touma is a cute Touma. Somebody take me a picture quick.

"I see this won't be as easy as I thought," Seiji said, more to himself than anyone else. Then turning to Kivrin, he smiled, no, oozed, and took her limp hand. Hey! The girl was in shock! Normally she would have smacked Seiji before Touma had punched him but...well her mind wasn't very happy. It was screaming bloody outrage and various obscenities at that.

Seiji decided to rub salt on the wound; he was in a masochistic mood tonight.

He's a liberal after all.

"How about a kiss for good luck, Kivrin my sweet?" he murmured but loud enough to know that it carried to Touma on the stage. "I would die fighting for just one kiss from those soft lips."

Pardon us while we vomit.

*vomiting noises*

*cleaning up vomit noises*

Kay. We're back.

And so is Kiv.

With one fluid motion, learned from hanging around with a ROTC nazi for an Ancient One and the psychotic maniac that Lee was sometimes, Kivrin smacked Seiji's hand away from her presence. Then, with skill born from training with Touma, she vaulted onto the stage and stood next to him, her burning brown eyes matching Touma's for sheer pissidity.

Seiji sighed and flicked that goddamned hair out of his eyes and narrowed them both at Touma and Kivrin. "Fine. Two against one eh? Nice odds. I might not hurt you too much, Touma."

Touma vanished.

And reappeared in front of Seiji, rapidly punching and kicking a la Ranma 1/2.

Seiji, who was no slow poke himself, did his best to block the flurry of punishment being rained down on his arms, shoulders, ribs, and legs. Sadly for Seiji though, Touma was that much faster.

But just because you're faster than Seiji, doesn't mean he can't give as good as he gets.

Seiji found an opening and let fly a knife hand strike at Touma.

Kivrin heard a sickening gagging sound come from Touma's throat and as bad as she felt for Touma being on the receiving end of that, some secret part of her was glad she didn't have to feel it herself.

"Stop, Touma," Seiji said, voice once again calm and in control. "I apologize. My actions were stupid and uncalled for. I will not flirt with Kivrin again. I swear on my honor."

Touma's face twitched. "Wh...what ho...honor?"

Seiji went pale.

Kivrin whistled. "Low blow, Touma."

Touma pulled himself up and leveled a glare of pure venom at his former best friend. "You....ah...said that before. You sa...said that you were never serious about the women you date. Is that HONORABLE?!"

"Or courteous?" Kivrin added from her spot of relative safety on the stage. Behind her back she held her armor orb for the Tenku yoroi. She didn't want to have to use it, but should the fight get seriously out of control, there was no way in hell she was going to jump into that fight unarmed.

Seiji's face took on a horrific twisted expression. It was like his face was silly putty and it had been stretched too far. He snarled, he too now de-evolving. "Fine. We'll do this your way. HA!"

The fight was fierce and swift. Seiji was the yellow black blur striking at the dark blue black blur that almost faded into the shadows of the hall. Grunts and sharp breathing were all that Kivrin could hear on the stage. The longer the fight continued, the more she thought about armoring up and stopping the two. She made up her mind and held her orb aloft, mentally informing Dakota to be prepared for anything.


"TOUMA!" Seiji screamed as Touma, who'd alighted himself on a rather precarious ledge high in the hall, fell gracefully to the floor. Moving even faster than Touma, Seiji leapt, caught his friend and landed. Kivrin, forgetting about everything ran to the two, terribly afraid that something had literally snapped in Touma's mind.

Seiji held Touma carefully, mind scanning to see if there was anything wrong. He encountered Kivrin's mind screaming Touma's name frantically. The two just about ripped Touma's conscious mind to shreds looking for any sign of life.

"WHAT ARE YOU TWO TRYING TO DO TO ME?!" Touma howled mentally as he reached a shaky hand to his throbbing temples. His eyes opened and he shot them both a glare, but not filled with venom like his earlier ones had been. If anything, Touma just looked exhausted.

"Touma!" Kivrin exclaimed, eyes wide with relief. "You're not losing it totally!"

"Huh?" Touma mumbled as he took stock of where he was. "Umm...Seiji?"

Seiji was gazing at Touma thoughtfully, his eyes not really focusing on the blue haired man he held. Then as if he'd turned a light on in his mind, Seiji nodded.

Keep Mink away from this last paragraph. She would have too much fun with it.

"Touma," Seiji murmured, deep with anime meaning, and eyes vibrating. "Sumimasen gozaimasu. I have behaved horribly to one whom you value. I apologize most humbly and beg your forgiveness."

"And courteously?" Touma chuckled weakly.

Seiji nodded and then turned to Kivrin, eyes thoroughly shamed. He opened his mouth and then closed it, at a loss for words.

"Apology accepted," Kivrin smiled, no, it was more like a smirk. "Just don't do it again."

"I won't," Seiji smiled, a normal human smile. Not one of 'those' smiles. "I don't really think I could handle Touma kicking my ass all the time."

Touma chuckled.



Outside...it was still raining.

Thank goodness our heroes were inside.

Listening to Dakota, Shu, Ryo and Shin go at each other.

While Yoshie watched, sniffing her flowers and smiling happily. Shu was here and in a tux. The poor girl was not going to be able to do much more for a while. Until the newness of a dandified Shu wore off.

The door flew open and the bickering quartet turned to look and see who survived and in how many pieces the loser was in.

Touma was leaning heavily on Seiji, with Kivrin holding his other arm. Seiji smiled and flashed them a victory sign. Touma smirked and raised an eyebrow at Shu. Kivrin chuckled and looked pointedly at the bouquet still behind his back.

Shin, once again being intuitive in his repression, elbowed Shu hard. "Well, go on!"

"Go on what?" Yoshie asked, her face a mask of trusting innocence. Think a mixture of Quatre and Shin, then multiply that by ten. "Nani? Shu, what are they talking about?"

Shu's face flamed.

Dakota giggled and leaned against Ryo, the two engaged in some wicked mental conversation no one really needed to hear at the moment.

"Really, Shu," Seiji admonished. "I mean, I know you're not the fastest guy in the bunch but really!"

"Ummm..." Shu looked at his shoes and then up at Yoshie, another delightfully cute expression on his round face.


"Shu," Touma said, his own voice rumbling low in his chest. "Hayaku ne."

Yoshie blinked and looked at the battered trio by the newly trashed concert hall and back at Shu. She did her best to give him an encouraging look. "What is it, Shu-Chan?"

"Uh...," Shu mumbled. Then he got a mental jab from four directions and cleared his voice. "These are for you."

And FINALLY, Shu gave Yoshie the roses.

"What the hell took you so long?" Dakota muttered.