Author's Note: I'm getting tired of my Kurama + Botan fics so I decided a little change would do me good. Don't worry, though, as I have every intention of writing more K+B fics, but I need new characters to suit my other plots. This is my first Yuusuke + Keiko fics.


Disclaimers Applied!!!

Mixed Emotions

Chapter 1: The Beginning of the End

It was hard falling in love with your best friend. I am the living proof of that. And do you know what my ambition is? To prove that wrong.

To prove that falling in love with you wouldn't be as bad as I'd thought. But now…

"Ei, Keiko, I need to talk to you," you said to me one fine morning as I'd come out of the house. This has been our regular routine – though you never intend to attend the class, you never missed to walk me to school, or back.

I don't know your reason and I never had the courage to ask you, so I let it that way. After all, we'd been friends since we were three years old and sometimes, words need not be spoken. Actions are enough. But now –

"What is it?" I asked and frowned when you looked away. It wasn't like you to be like that. You usually are loud, even when talking about serious matter.

"Well, you know Kia, right?" you began and an uncomfortable silence enveloped us.

I made a face. How could I forget Kia Miruni? She's my archenemy and I truly believed she was put on earth just to make my life a living hell. How could I forget that ever since we've started first grade, she made it a point to humiliate me and make me look stupid in front of everybody?

"What is this about, really?" I asked you. I grew afraid just as the mention of her name. Her first name. When we were kids, you often referred to her as Miruni. Not Kia. When did you start calling her by her first name?

"We're, um," you stuttered. "She's my girlfriend."

I blinked as the message slowly registered in my mind. And when it finally sunk in – I wanted to die. I wanted the world to open up and swallow me. I wanted to cry from all the betrayal you've done to me. I wanted to blame you and say 'Isn't it enough that she made a fool of me? You have to be a part of it, too?' But I never did. I kept that to myself just as I had kept the love I felt for you.

"Oh," I said as I swallowed hard to fight the onslaught of tears from coming. But then, I'm not really able to conceal the hurt I felt completely from you. Because my knees weakened and I had to stop walking and grab your arm to keep me from falling.

You were instantly by my side, holding my waist. Holding me. It would have been a dream come true but at the moment, it felt like a nightmare. My worst nightmare. "I'm sorry," you mumbled. "I know you hate her and all but I really like her. She isn't that bad, you know."

She isn't that bad. Yeah, right. And that's coming from my very own best friend. Then, the whole world must think she's an angel if the best friend of her archenemy thinks she's not that bad. Yeah, right.

Again, I kept that to myself. "Since when?"

"One week," you said rather quickly as your hand dropped from my waist.

We resumed walking, but now, silently. Odd. Our mornings are usually filled with laughter and stories to tell to each other, and yes, bickering.

I've often scolded you, yes, but you know you can't blame me. You seldom attend your classes and you oftentimes get into brawls. That's what you are – a troublemaker to all, except me, of course. That's your reputation but you never did anything about it. Even if you knew what your reputation did to my reputation.

Not that it matters, anyway. Our reputation as partners had spared me from all the bullies around the school. And, well, you've got your fair share of assignments and answers on exams from me.

Yes, when the subject teacher allows us to sit with anybody whom we wanna sit beside with, you always made it a point to sit beside me. For exams, you told me and grinned. I did not mind, of course. I was a martyr. But then, the seat beside me tends to be vacant most of the time. As you were in the rooftop doing god knows what.

I sighed. And yeah, I know that you noticed that but I decided to ignore you by looking away. As if to say, don't ask me anymore. Good thing, you didn't. I wanted to be alone. To think. To reflect. But I didn't dare say it aloud. And I know I wouldn't dare.

Everything's going to change from now on, I can't help but think. It's the way of things, once a friend found his significant other, you will now be left. Alone.

No more walks in the morning and afternoon. No more visits in the ramen house and the talks. No more friendly dates that most often than not ended in a fight.

Not realizing that tears are flowing from my eyes, I continued to walk and reminisce the old times.

"Please don't cry," you told me and stopped me from walking to wipe the tears from my eyes. And when you looked straight in my eyes, I looked away. I looked at everything except you.

Tears didn't stop and I reached for your hand caressing my cheek to remove it. I resumed walking, knowing that my face is stained with tears. I knew it, even without looking at a mirror. I felt the wetness of my cheeks.

Twice, you tried engaging me in a conversation but I did not say a word. I know my voice would give me away. Betray me just as you did.

In the end, you stopped talking to me as we entered the campus. You were frustrated, I know. And I don't care. You often accused me of having a very bad mood swings a woman can ever have but now, I simply won't care. I am hurt and I am angry and there's nothing you can do or say can make me talk to you.

I refused to talk to you.

*****CHANGE OF POV*****

I knew this would happen, I thought to myself as I watched you walk beside me, not caring at all if tears kept falling from your eyes.

I knew it but I swear I didn't want anything like this to happen. I care for you so much that the thought of hurting you and making you cry didn't even entered my mind even once.

But then, I had to make this one big mistake of my life. I had to fall for Kia Miruni. Yeah, so I really didn't know her the way I do you but well, I'm just a guy and she's really damn beautiful.

So, I courted her, or course, without your knowledge, for three days. Then, she said yes. Simple as that. I know she's been doing bad things to you and making you miserable but that didn't even stopped me. We kept our relationship a secret but since I was used to telling you everything, I just decided to tell you.

Of course, this is a very sensitive matter that's why I put up all the gentleness and sensitivity I have inside of me. But I could have been blunt and an asshole for all the hurt and anger that flashed your face.

I know that you do not intend these emotions to be known to me because if you really want to do that, you would have lashed at me. Blame me, accuse me and make me feel guilty for doing this to you.

But you didn't say anything. You didn't even looked at me. And that made the guilt triple. I wanted to cry myself, torn between you and Kia, between a best friend and a girlfriend.

But I didn't, my male ego refusing to do that. You cried, and though you didn't know it, my heart cried for you.

I wiped your tears, whispering the first coherent sentence that came to my mind, "Please don't cry."

For once, I'm feeling all the gentleness in me, feeling that I am not the troublemaker that everyone thought of me. For once, I felt like the gentle mad you'd always told me you want to be with.

I did not tell you this, but I was jealous of that guy. That nameless guy. We haven't met him yet but I am already insane with wanting to beat the hell out of him. Because I know he's going to take you away from me. He's going to take away the only best friend I ever had.

And for that brief moment, as my fingers caressed your face, I imagined that I am that guy. I imagined that I am the guy that you wanted and needed. Until you removed my hand from your face. Refusing me to touch and caress you. refusing the comfort and apology I intend on giving. Refusing me.

I felt cold by that action. Bringing me back to reality that I am not that man. That no matter what I do, I could never be that man.

I dropped my hand and honored your wish. I understand, even if I didn't want to.

Silence. But then, you know I'm really not used to it so I tried thinking of something to talk about. Something with no connection to the topic that made you cry.

"I decided to attend the class today. Kia said," I stopped, and stole a glance from you knowing I, once again, had said something I'm not supposed to say. "Well, she said there might be an exam."

I waited for you to reply. I waited for you to tell me that it was good that I decided to attend the class. Nothing. I waited for you to lash at me, telling me that you'll not let me copy your answers again. Nothing. I waited for a simple nod, an acknowledgement that, somehow, you've heard what I said. Again, nothing.

I sighed, it's not good, you know. I'm not used to the fact that you're not talking to me. I'm not used to your silence. I would rather choose that you shout at me, scream at me, hell, I would rather choose that you slap me so hard even if it meant that my cheeks would be stinging for hours. I would choose anything against the cold shoulder you're giving me.

And I know, I had to try to make you talk to me. We are approaching our campus now and I want to settle this before you see Kia. Damn! I'm beginning to think of breaking up with her, just so you would talk to me. So, I had to try again.

"So, what's the menu of the day at the ramen house?" I asked and I was sure I'd get my long awaited response. But asking that question had been a mistake since my mouth started to water and my stomach rumble even if I'd just eaten breakfast.

It's no surprise, really. The whole town knows that Yukimura-san's ramen house is the best. That's why the place is always hopping with customer and you have to help your father as well though you still have to study, even if you don't need to. You're smart enough as it is.

But then, I'm really not so sure if your father cooks really well. Because as far as I can remember, you're the one who's cooking for me, especially those times when my mom is too drunk to cook, which is very often.

Yeah, so I had to be honest that you really do look good in an apron and when your face was glowing from the heat of the fire but I never did tell you that. I know you wouldn't let me live it down for the rest of my life if I say something as stupid and corny as that. You might even think I'm teasing you and you might put some peppers in my ramen, or worse, slap me in return. Kami knows I've already gotten more than my fair share of all the slaps given in this world.

Oh, where were we before my mind had turned to the slaps you've given me? Such romantics thoughts, huh? Oh yes, getting a response from you. And well, as I've expected, there is none from you. I don't know why you are so stubborn that once you decided not to talk to me, you did just that.

I sighed again and stole a glance from you and I had to shake my head at your face – it was expressionless. You seemed to master that these past few years when you don't want me to know how mad you really are at me.

I'm starting to get irritated. You were always like this and it's already tiring me. I wanted to say, 'oh, get over it, you immature girl.' But I didn't. and I wouldn't. Because I know that once those words are out of my mouth, I'll be risking fifteen years of friendship. And I know I can't do that. You know I can't lose you, not now, not ever.

We have now entered the building and I'll be damned if I let all the people know that you are not speaking to me. I know all of them would go 'hey, good job, Keiko-san, it's about time you wake up from your insanity with being friends with that wretched man.' So I had to try again, for the third time, though I'm really close to exploding.

"Look, Keiko, I'm really sorry for this," I said as I looked at you straight in the eye. But you seemed to look everywhere but me. However, something flickered in your eye and though it's a sign that you're listening to me, it's still not enough.

"You know that I would never ever intend to hurt you," I said once again. Of course, I at least expected a snort of disapproval from you. I know that you seemed to think that 90% of all the pain you experienced are because of me (assuming Kia doesn't exist, because, then, the percentage would differ) and that I'm doing it on purpose when I don't go to class, when we fight, when I teased you, and when sometimes I forgot to meet you at the place and time I promised I would.

And maybe, even if I talk all day, telling you that I didn't mean all that to happen, that I didn't even know it caused you this much pain, I know you still won't believe me and you will still think I'm such an insensitive bastard. I don't know, maybe you are right. How the hell would I know? I'm just born like this, raised like this.

Your chin rose a notch. Ah, now I know that one. You always do that to me when you're holding a grudge against me. I think I would congratulate myself. I had now interpreted a woman's body language.

We continued to walk across the crowded hallway and I almost bumped into a wall when we turned left because I was busy looking at you. No, scratch it, staring at you. I don't know how you do that. You know, keeping your gaze away from a person even when you know the person is staring at you so powerfully.

Maybe because you've encountered lots of people staring at you and you don't want to look at them for you to master that craft. Hn. I want to throttle each and every one of them. They don't have the right to stare at you, you know? It's rude.

"Keiko," I started a conversation again for what seemed like the nth time and since the hallway is empty, I mustered enough courage to be bold and got hold of your chin so that you would be forced to look at me. Don't get me wrong, I know what's at stake here. I know that, because of this act of boldness, you might decide to slap me to death. I don't care. It's better than having you ignore me as if I don't exist.

But you still wouldn't look at me and I guess something inside me snapped. "Dammit, Keiko, would you please say something?" The words are out even before I could think of it and I was so surprised that I had to remove my hand from you. I know my eyes are wild, I never shouted at you before, well, of course, I yelled at you but it's because you're also yelling at me. I never started the yelling, of course, it was you who had the tendency to nag me and I had to yell back so that you would be able to hear what I have to say. So that you would hear my voice despite your own loud voice.

"I need to go to the bathroom," that's all you said before you walked away from me, chin still up.

*****CHANGE OF POV*****

Bathroom. Of course, it's just my sorry excuse so that I could get away from you. Away from all those gentle words that before, I could have sworn you're not capable of saying.

I turned on the faucet on and as I watched the water flow from it, tears simultaneously flowed from my eyes. I had lost you and today, I need to make myself get used to the fact that from now on, I'll be alone. Damn it all!

Author's Note: Well, how was it? I know Keiko seemed to be overreacting but I just based this chapter from the experience of a girl-friend of mine with her guy-bestfriend. So I guess she's not really overreacting.