The car sped off down the wet street, horn blaring and the driver shouting angry comments through the window. On the pavement opposite the NG building Ryuichi lay, his arms wrapped protectively around his daughter.

In his right hand he held a puffer to Lily's mouth as she tried to get her breathing back to a regular pace while his left hand hang limply over her ribcage, bruised and swelling up with each passing second.

As he whispered soft words of encouragement to her, the last few seconds of his life played over in his mind like a cinema reel.

Lily froze as a car's headlights threw themselves over her and the tyres screamed as they slid and swerved all over the road. A terrible feeling of de ja vu swam over Ryuichi as he watched the car come closer and closer, Lily frozen by the lights.

"No!" he screamed and without another thought, bolted out onto the road, right into the car's path.

With the skill of a professional rugby player he'd grabbed Lily around the waist and pushed her out of the way, the impact of their collision throwing them across the road and crashing onto the pavement opposite.

There'd been a snap as his wrist twisted under him when they hit the cement and Lily began wheezing, panic and fear feeding her attack. Without a thought for his own injury he'd helped her get her Ventolin out of her pocket and began coaxing her back to a regular breathing pattern.

Lily held up her hand, stopping Ryuichi from placing the puffer between her lips again. Her breaths weren't as loud now and the Ventolin had opened up her airways, allowing her to breathe once more. With rain drops splashing on her face she slowly took control of her breathing, thinking of nothing else but that.

Ryuichi carefully helped her sit up, his right hand placed on her back in a protective and supportive gesture.

"You saved me," she murmured without looking at him, her hair had come loose from her ponytail and hid her face. "Why?"

"What do you mean?" Ryuichi thought that she was mad to be asking such a question. "Isn't it obvious?"

"No," Lily sniffed, "it's not obvious. It can't be because you care about me, because you don't."

"That's not true I...."

"Left me," Lily lifted her head to reveal the hurt in her eyes. "You left me for nine years. You didn't care what happened to me at all!"

Ryuichi lost the weak composure he had tried building in those previous few seconds. He couldn't deny that he'd left her nor deny that it had been selfish of him.

"I did leave, but I did it for you," his eyes pleaded for her to understand. "I wasn't able to save Christina but I thought that if I could make something of myself I could give you a better life. But everyday was another day up hill to make it in the music industry. Every single day I thought about quitting and going back to get you. But each time I reminded myself that if I went back I'd have nothing to give you, I'd of accomplished nothing."

Lily didn't interrupt him or look away, all she had to do was look at him to know that every word was true.

"The weeks turned into months and the months into years. Even after I'd achieved my dream with Grasper and we'd disbanded, I still wanted to see you so badly."

"Why didn't you?" Lily asked grasping a handful of wet leather on his leg with her small hand, desperate to hear more. "Why didn't you come back then?"

"I was too afraid," he swallowed hard to keep the lump in his throat down. "By then you were ten and in the long term ward, how would I have known what to say to you when so much had changed around you? It would have killed me to see you in such a place and not be able to do anything, the same as it felt when Christina died."

Fresh tear started to fall from his blue eyes but he had to keep going, if he didn't get himself across now it would never happen.

"What if I had come back and you said you didn't want anything to do with me? What if I had come back and you hated me for my betrayal? I'd loose the person I love most and I couldn't live through that again. I had to accomplish what I had set out to do so I could come back to you and you'd have a dad that was worth something."

Tears ran freely down his face and with his right hand he tried to wipe them away, crying wouldn't get him anywhere.

"I'm sorry Lily chan I was wasn't strong enough. I'm a failure as a father."

A movement next to him then diverted his attention.

Lily crawled over to him and wrapped her arms around his neck, burying her face in his shoulder. Ryuichi froze as she rested her weight on his lap and squeezed him to an almost unsafe point.

"I didn't want a life full of fame and fortune," she croaked as she too started to cry again. "I wanted you."

Ryuichi wrapped his right arm around her and pulled her close, as his left lay beside him completely useless.

Around them the rain continued to fall.

Ryuichi's head felt heavy and hazy, like he was lost in a snowstorm in Tibet with a compass that didn't have a north. Where was he again?

He forced his eyes open and blinked repeatedly at the roof above him, not really acknowledging the perfectly even pattern of square white tiles made there. He heard something to his left jingle and he rolled his head over a bit.

His wrist was wrapped in plaster and hanging up straight by a collection of cords that tapped the bedpost when he moved. That clue was the one that gave the guessing game away.

Lily had noticed his wrist hanging in a completely different direction than it was supposed to when he tried to stand up again outside NG and had brought him to the hospital. A nurse had given him an injection and anything beyond that point was somewhat sketchy.

Kneeling on the floor with her head resting on the bed Lily slept, dark rings under her eyes and her hair had gone crinkly from the rain.

Ever so carefully Ryuichi wiggled around until he was sitting up, throwing off the drowsiness that plagued his head. He reached over with his right and patted Lily gently on the head.

Slowly with a yawn she lifted her head and looked up at him sleepily, giving a loose smile.

"Have you been here the whole time I've been asleep?" he asked as he rubbed her hair gently.

"Yes, after all, you did the same for me not that long ago."

"I should have stayed with you until you woke up then," Ryuichi sighed and let his hand slide down to her cheek. "Not just until the danger pasted and then leave you with Yuki san."

"Don't worry about it," Lily mumbled and lent into his hand with a deep sigh. "You're here now, that's all that matters."

The curtains around the bed were thrown open to reveal a mass of bodies lying on the ground, cameras and notepads scattered around them.

Lily and Ryuichi both screamed at the sight and the curtain was pulled closed again as Dr Sullivan walked in reading her clipboard.

"Relax Sakuma san," she said casually without looking up. "Some members of the press came by but since I believe that people should mind their own bloody business and I don't like my patients to be disturbed while they recover, I gave them all a ticket to La La Land."

Ryuichi swallowed hard and nodded his head to show that he believed her and she looked up from her clipboard. Her red eyebrows shot up when she saw Lily on the floor holding Ryuichi's good hand.

"We just keep on running into one another don't we Lily?" she said with amusement and looked around with a glare. "Did you bring him with you?"

"No Yuki san isn't here," Lily said recovering from the shock of the bodies lying everywhere. "This is my Dad."

"What a shame, I went to all the effort of making him a nice stew made from Yellow Jasmine and Foxglove," the doctor sighed and shook her head.

"Aren't those flowers poisonous?" Lily asked awkwardly.

She began to wonder if Yuki was right about her being incompetent and dangerous.

"Clever girl you know your flowers."

"Well she is named after one," Ryuichi said proudly to the doctor. "While the Lily white shall in Love delight, nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright."

"I was always told they represented the purity of Christ," Dr Sullivan said tapping her pen against her bottom lip, "but they always remind me of funerals. You could say that they're a typical death flower. But anyway, we're straying from the original topic. I want to keep you here overnight Sakuma san and I'll give you a whole heap of happy pills before I clear you tomorrow ok?"

"I was kind of hoping that I could take Lily home tonight na no da," he mumbled lowly and looked up at her with his big blue eyes.

"Keep dreaming baby doll," she said coldly and adjusted his IV.

Ryuichi stood holding a bouquet of white lilies as his Lily gently brushed dead leaves off of the marble and pulled out a few dozen scraggly weeds that were climbing upwards, hooking their claws into the engraving.

Christina's grave was a neglected mess compared to the rest of the tombstones surrounding them. The others shone painfully bright in the Wisconsin memorial park with fresh flowers in their pots and not a bit of dirt to be seen.

"She'd think we'd been lazy," Lily said softly as she removed a clump of dirt from the letter T. "It's been over five years since either of us came. The hospital staff let me come once for my birthday."

She smiled a bit and closed her eyes for a few seconds before releasing the ocean blue again.

"Most kids ask for cake."

"I don't think so," Ryuichi responded with a light breeze flicking his fringe. "She knows that we haven't exactly had a walk in the park. Right Christina?"

Lily turned her face skywards to see his solemn expression, his eyes being the only part of him that weren't occupied. His left arm was bandaged up in a blue sling and the white flowers wrapped in paper resting on his right.

"What makes you think she can still hear you?" she asked sceptically.

"What makes you think she can't?" Ryuichi asked with a kind smile at his daughter's lack of romantic sense.

Lily thought about that notion for a minute before continuing to remove leaf litter from the headstone.

"Don't answer a question with a question."

Ryuichi sighed-he would have to start using his brain again if he was going to have debates with Lily. Otherwise she might just make him look bad.

A week ago Dr Sullivan had cleared him from the hospital and his first impulse was to take Lily back to his apartment where he'd always left a room vacant for her.

"All my stuff is at Tohma san's," she'd said playing with her thumbs after K had picked them up in his car.

Those words had meant more than just to say that she'd have to put all her possessions back into her suitcases. She wasn't like Ryuichi. She could not be spun around three times blindfolded and then be told to walk in a straight line. Ryuichi would have to put his impatient impulses aside and take things slowly.

Lily carefully slid the flower stalks into the permanently half-buried pot, a little rusted from battling the elements for nine years. Without crumpling the decoration paper too much the cream trumpets stood brilliantly before the grave.

The two stood for a long time, reading and re-reading the perfectly square letters and watching the bright green leaves sway in the wind.

"For so long I had to see so many people die in hospital," Lily broke the silence, "and to see all the people they left behind grieve. What do we do when we can't help any more?"

In Ryuichi's mind a memory of a crowded roadside and bloody hands were refreshed by those words but he didn't cave in.

"I don't know," he admitted and took a few steps forward. Lily leaned back against him gently but was careful not to knock his wrist. "There will always be grief when those we love leave us but," he tried to think of the best way to phase his scrambled thoughts.

Blue orbs looked up at him expecting an answer to all the questions and his handsome face smiled down at her.

"They didn't die so we would mourn forever. As much as we want your mum back, and as much as we miss her, we must remember that nothing will ever take away the time we had with her."

With a gentle nudge on Lily's back she stood straight and he light-footedly walked over to the tombstone of his loved one.

She watched him crouch down in front of it, expecting him to crumble like he did when he'd pushed her off the road. Instead he wandered in his own thoughts for a long time, his face showing only a small smile.

In her head Lily thought about what her father had just told her. How could a man who had hid and cried into the arms of self-pity say something with such profanity? Was he ready to leave her mother behind and move on with his life?

Ryuichi placed a small kiss on his fingertips before placing his long hand on the grave. A small touch of the romance Christina had only known.

"I wont say goodbye Christina," he spoke loud and clear, unashamed to be speaking to someone beyond the mortal plain of existence. "Because no matter what happens, I'll never let go of you. Right Lily chan?"

He rose and looked at her with pleasant smile and light in his eyes. After a second Lily shook off the confused expression and smiled back.

"Right! I'll never let go either Mum." She paused for a second before she said what she'd wanted to say ever since the music festival.

"Let's go home Dad," she swallowed hard but kept strong eye contact. "Together."

"Mm," Ryuichi nodded his head in agreement, restraining himself from crushing Lily in a hug with his good arm.

The two made their way back onto the main path walking hand in hand.

"Today twelve members of the Barton Beef Export Company were charged and arrested for blackmail, money laundering, embezzlement and fraud along with several other charges today in Wisconsin, America."

Yuki opened his new deck of cigarettes and watched the morning news as Shuichi flew around the apartment trying to get all his things ready for travel at the last minute. He would call out to Yuki asking if he knew where something of his was, but Yuki would never answer because five seconds after asking Shuichi would find whatever it was he was asking about.

"Police were alerted to these crimes after a book kept by the company's founder detailing the time and place of each crime was handed in anonymously to a local station with a note inside reading: 'Screw them, screw them hard!'"

The picture on the TV changed from the newsreader to a collection of men and women being bundled into police cars with handcuffs on. In the background a herd of passers by were looking on intently behind police barricades.

One of those on lookers happened to be a skinny teenage boy in board-shorts and a bucket hat performing some form of funky chicken dance in celebration.

"Barton? Barton? Barton?" the teacher reading out the roll class called out. "You mean to tell me that Lily Barton is away AGAIN?"

Joan smiled to herself as she wrapped her index finger around the end of her right pigtail. If the teacher was spazzing out now about one student being away she couldn't wait to find out what would happen when she hit a certain button on her keyboard.

'I always thought that cracking into the city's electricity mainframe would have been so much harder.'

"Well even without Barton here we shall still do the test,'' the teacher grunted and collected a stack of papers from the desk behind her.

'Fly my little virus fly!'

There was a hum throughout the building and all at once the lights shut off. A buzz of voices rose from all the classrooms in the hall and the teacher flicked the light switch back and forth.

"Excuse me class, I will find out what's going on and be back to start the test."

The classmates started to chat to one another excitedly and after a few minutes their teacher returned, looking suitably peeved.

"The power in the school has gone down," she informed the collection of children all wearing the same clothes, "and by law we cannot have students in the building when the heaters aren't on in winter. Class dismissed."

'I'm so good I scare myself sometimes! Anyway I'd better get to the bus depot.'

"Wait! Wait for me and Kumagoro!"

Shuichi stopped halfway up the bus stairs and looked around. Across the bus depot he saw Ryuichi running with Kumagoro, followed closely by Lily with Joan trailing.

"Shuichi you jerk! You were going to leave without saying goodbye to me!" Lily smacked his arm playfully before giving him a farewell hug.

A very anxious Sakano san begged the singer to make his goodbyes quick so they could get to their first concert but no one was really paying attention. Poor Sakano san, only after two cancellations was he finally fulfilling the company president's request of a nationwide tour.

The first refusal was Yuki's fault and this time Lily had indirectly been to blame. Wanting to put things right before they left, Bad Luck had delayed their tour for close to a month, nearly causing their producer to perform ritualistic suicide with a fountain pen.

"That's a lie!" Shuichi pretended to be hurt by Lily's comment and hugged her back.

Over her shoulder he could see Ryuichi standing next to Joan with Kumagoro hanging off his head. Between the two of them he couldn't figure out who was the mature one (if either of them were).

"Goodbye Lily chan!" Hiro called as he hung leisurely out of the bus window.

"Ah Nakano san!" Lily now had about as much interest in hugging Shuichi as she would a Mexican cactus. "Good luck on tour and please look after Shuichi for me."

"You know if you place lovers over friends you won't have anyone to go running to when you break up," Joan said as she quoted the soap opera she'd watched last night.

Lily went redder than a Chinese New Year dragon with sunburn.

"How do you know I like him?" she hissed in her friend's face as Hiro watched the scene he'd caused with great humour.

"You mean you were trying to keep it a secret?" Shuichi asked weakly with disbelief as he lent into their conversation.

"Shindo san, please," Sakano pulled on his hair anxiously as K reloaded and rolled the chamber of his Cougar Magnum.

"Oh all right," the aspiring youth sniffed to hold back forthcoming tears.

Memories of their elementary school camp were reignited in Hiroshi's mind so he prepared the keyboardist for evasive action.

"Try your best na no da!" Ryuichi punched the air around him playfully and nearly knock Joan's glasses clear off.

"Not only is your Dad full of beans," Joan whispered in Lily's ear as she watched the legend push the bawling Shuichi onto the bus, "he's also super hot!"

Lily's red face turned to green and she held her hands over her mouth as she gagged.

"Joan please," she shook her head fiercely when she'd made sure the vomit was properly suppressed.

It was then she noticed the other person watching the show Shuichi was putting on. With a smile she scooted over to him.

"Good morning Yuki san," she said cheerfully as she stopped next to him in the dark corner of the bus shelter. "How are you?"

The taller man pulled the cigarette away from his mouth and let out a large cloud of smoke to mingle with the early winter air.


"That's good!" Lily was genuinely happy to hear. "Your new novel is coming out today isn't it? It's been promoted in all the papers."

She didn't say anything about wanting to read it because that would have been a lie.


"YUKI!!!!!" Both Hiro and Suguru were physically restraining Shuichi as the bus doors closed with a whistle.

As she watched Shuichi run to the back of the bus and pound his fists on the back window with snot and tears running down his face, Lily wondered if she would ever get used to Shuichi's wild antics.

Not likely.

"Y'now," she said after a minute without the courage to look Yuki in the eye, "if you get lonely while he's gone I could come and visit you."

"Heh," she heard him laugh and took her eyes off the bus disappearing into the crisp morning sky.

Yuki was walking off now, flicking some ash off the end of his cigarette as he went. Had that been a 'if you want' or a 'not a chance?' or a 'we'll just see about that' heh?

"Will he be ok on his own?" Ryuichi popped his head on Lily's shoulder and looked after his ambiguous acquaintance with a hint of worry.

"Yea he won't be able to crush a will to live if Shuichi is gone," Joan asked, hands perched on hips.

"I wouldn't worry about him," Lily said dryly. "I'm sure he's perfectly capable of looking after himself. Besides, I think he likes people more the longer they stay away."

"That's really weird," Joan scrunched her face up and flapped her pigtails. "I begin to miss people when they've been gone for half an hour."

"Yes you're mobile phone bill proves that. When I spoke to Artemis last he told me that he'd been receiving several phone calls in the very early hours of the morning. He wasn't too happy by the way."

"He should learn to chill out a little more," Joan argued with her arms folded over her chest.

"Chill out more?" Lily spluttered at that last comment. "I don't think it's humanly possible to be any more chilled than him! This is the boy who......where's Dad?"

The girls stopped their tennis match of comments and looked all around the bus depot to find Lily's missing parent.



"Hey he's not your Dad!" Joan received a frown.

"Whoops," she giggled with a sheepish shrug and corrected herself. "Lily chan's Dad!"

"His name is Ryuichi!" his daughter snapped as she went to look behind a parked bus.

"Well excuse me," Joan huffed and went inside the office building to ask if any of the off shift drivers had seen her latest obsession- and to see if they had any biscuits lying around, it was nearly morning teatime.

She straightened out any crinkles in her jacket so she could play the part of a clean-cut youth and opened the door.

"Excuse me gents but have you-Ryuichi san what are you doing?"

Joan lost her composure at the sight the thirty-two year old presented. He was standing in the empty office building by the electric heater while he oohed and ahhed at a completely fascinating and enigmatic object.

"Joan chan take a look at this!" he squealed excitedly, turning to her so fast that Kumagoro nearly fell of his head.

"Where did you get that?" she asked tipping her head to the left as her brain tried to make sense of her companion.

"I ran off to say goodbye to Yuki san and he said I could play with this today if I let him borrow Lily chan," he nodded zealously with his smile radiating pleasure. "And then a really nice bus driver said I could stay in here while I played with it so Kumagoro wouldn't get cold!"

"So you swapped your daughter for a kaleidoscope?" Joan asked taking the coloured tube from the man's hand.

"Yep, yep, but just for the day though," Ryuichi made sure that Joan understood the full terms of the deal.

"Works for me," she said and propped up her glasses to see the glass pieces form different shapes in the end of the tube.

There was no way that Lily would mind being swapped for a children's toy, after all, she loved Yuki san!

"This is so unfair I hate you!" Lily hissed pointing her finger in Yuki's direction like a holy man would at an unbeliever.

"Feeling's mutual," Yuki replied taking delight in Lily's outrage, "but I must say, to get a day's worth of labour out of you in exchange for a ten yen toy sure is a great deal. And that dress looks great on you, so it'd be a shame to let it go to waste."

Lily didn't think her dress looked great-she loathed it. This time is was a bright yellow, lined with white frills and arm length gloves to accompany it. On her feet she wore yellow buckle-ups with tiny roses on them and in her hair was an abnormally large gold ribbon.

"I'm going to kill you," she said laconically, "and bury you in this dress."

"But Lily chan," Yuki's tone had a derisive note in it. "The sight of that loudmouthed, whimsical, frigid kid made me very lonely inside. Didn't you say you'd visit me if I got lonely? You're breaking my heart."

"This is not a visit!" Lily shouted slamming her fists on the table they were siting behind causing her hair ribbon to bob up and down.

"I meant popping in at your apartment after school or meeting you somewhere for a cup of tea-not to be your lackey! And for the record you're heart is pure black!"

She slumped down in the chair with her arms crossed and pouted like a little kid to show her annoyance, but this only fuelled the slavedriver's blithe feelings.

"Not to worry Lily chan," the grammar particle didn't hold the affection and familiarity Shuichi always added to it. Instead it was used as a form of ridicule. "These next four months you and I will be spending heaps of quality time together."

"Turgid stupid-headed sugar-daddy," Lily let her emotions out in English.

"Oh that's a pay docking," Yuki said very clearly and precisely in fluent English.

His slave cringed and sank a little lower in her chair as the clock's big hand moved to the twelve. The bell attached to bookstore door jingled as the owner allowed the rampant fan girls to flood in.

'Please come back soon Shuichi,' Lily begged him telepathically as she tried to block out all the "cute" and "adorable" that came from the herd of women.

'I can't deal with this man by myself for four whole months, he's a villain! My rock legend over-protective father gets distracted by shiny objects, my best friend thinks that Shakespeare is a dip for chips and my groping other best friend is visiting next school holidays!'

With all that taken into account, Lily had never felt better in her entire life.


Hikaru's say: And there you have it, sure it took a considerable amount of time but I got there in the end. Thankyou to everyone who reviewed for their support, encouragement, patience and corrections.

I do have a sequel planned but I've honestly got no idea when that will be up because I have very scary and very important mid year exams coming up in a few weeks so I have to spend all of my time studying. Wish me luck! I also want to take the time to plan out the chapters and such next time so there will be a bit of a wait before I sit back in down in my swivel chair. As for what it's'll just have to wait and see. Chapters five and eighteen have been reloaded due to a song translation complication but nothing really major.

Gravitation belongs to its creator Maki Murakami and all song lyrics used are from respectively.

Please leave me with your final thoughts and if anyone starts up any fanfiction or Gravitation website and you want to have this fic on there, just ask me first and I'll be happy to oblige.

Catch ya round!-Hikaru