Title: Intruder Alert: Take Two

Author: Frostmourne

Disclaimer: I don't own Vision of Escaflowne so don't sue me…

Chapter Dedication: Diesty-chan, Night of the Raven, the original esca chick, Mistress Freak, Laochgael, Mad Meg Askevron, supergirl6, naria4, blue ice 2, misty, winds of fortune,           , Fictional-gal, MysticalDreamer32, Orange7, SabrinaYutsuki, TT, megami-sama, Catelina, Magicman/Smokegirl, Always Dreaming, Izzy, Moon Smurf, My Silver Flame , Amy, YingFa8, Xen003, dilly-sammas luver

Summary: Popular guy, Dilandau Albatou, had finally met his match in this green-eyed, short-tempered girl from America. Sparks flew between them from the start and intensified when they found out that they were actually engaged to each other. But when it seemed that they had settled the negative sparks between them, more embers glow from the outside.

Chapter 10: Take a plunge for the worst

Hitomi's tears raced down her cheeks as the taxi drove away. She couldn't block out what had happened. It was painful. The person she had learned to trust and care for had betrayed her. He had hurt her. She could still remember what she had come across with when she stepped out of the taxi after telling the taxi driver to wait.

Dilandau and his girlfriend were staring at each other. And when the girl spoke, her heart broke. His betrayal came slamming hard on her face.

"I did. Aren't you happy now? After all the trouble you got into because of her, you finally got back to what she did. She's completely ruined."

She had looked away then. She couldn't bear to see the smirk that would appear on his lips at his apparent success on getting back at her. Then she heard the girl once more and she could not stop herself from looking back at the couple.

"I did it for you. I love you, Dilandau."

They had kissed.

She should not have cared at all. But when she saw them, the hurt the betrayal made her feel intensified. And she wasn't able to hold back a sob. He had pulled away and had tried to fool her some more.

"I should have known better that to trust you," Hitomi sobbed as more tears escaped her eyes.

Hiko lay on his bed, thinking about the mess that was currently happening and the mess that was yet to come.

When Hitomi had arrived home, he had seen her tear streaked face. It was obvious that everything didn't go well enough between her and Dilandau. He tried talking to her about what had happened but she just pushed him out of her room.

And then another bad news came. He had learned from his friends in America that Allen and the rest of Hitomi's friends had actually had all their outings and everything about them have a budget cut. And now they've just confirmed it. The popular group of Hitomi would be coming here.

It wasn't a problem for the group being rich people's children and having had traveled to other countries before. Yukari have a relative in Tokyo and the rest could just simply stay with her.

'Now what?' He mused tiredly. 'Dilandau and Allen are sure to meet. And I can tell perfectly that Dilandau and Hitomi aren't just on-off friends. I'm pretty sure that at least one of them has got feelings for the other. If not, then I'm going crazy.'

"Dilandau," she whispered as she stepped closer to him and reached out a hand.

He stiffened. "Don't."

Her ice-blue eyes reflected hurt and she withdrew her hand in midair. "I---"

"Don't."

He sounded empty. Not raging mad, not threatening. Not even harsh. Just empty. And genuinely hurt.

"Please, I---"

"Just don't."

Clover looked at Dilandau's back with hurt.

He would never choose her no matter what she does. She was never good enough. Perhaps she was wrong. Perhaps getting Hitomi out of the way wasn't such a good idea after all. It only ended up with Dilandau getting even more hurt.

And it got her hurt, too. Now knowing full blast that Dilandau will never be hers.

Letting her tears drop to her cheeks, she whispered her sorry and walked back to her car, knowing full well that Dilandau would have nothing to do with her anymore.

Mr. Kanzaki knocked on his daughter's door. He had dinner brought up to her room a while ago. Perhaps she was through. There weren't any answer. Maybe she was asleep.

He let himself in, seeing her face down on her bed. But as he neared her, he could hear her sobs. His heart wrenched painfully. He did this to his daughter, to his beloved little Tomi.

Sitting down beside her on the bed, he stroked her shoulder-length hair affectionately, comfortingly. She stiffened and struggled more to control her sobbing.

"It's okay, sweetheart. Just cry. Daddy will be here," he said softly.

Her tension seeped out and she sat up to look at her father through tear-blurred emeralds. He was looking at her sadly, apologetically, comfortingly. She had missed the comfort and the protection. And she couldn't help it. She cried again.

Her father drew her in a hug, rubbing her back soothingly. "I'm really sorry for all this, Tomi. I didn't know that you were suffering."

She cried even more.

"Why didn't you tell me? Why did you make Hiko not tell me and your Mom?"

She continued crying and struggled for coherency through her sobs. "I… I… I d-don't… want… t-to wo-worry… any… one."

He closed his eyes and hugged her closer. "It will all be okay soon. Daddy will make everything okay."

But it had another effect. Hitomi cried harder.

"What's wrong?"

"W-would… co-could y-you make… him… hate… me… l-less? Could… you m-make… me… h-hate him… less, too?"

He didn't know who she was referring to. Perhaps it was Allen. He could've learned of Hitomi's engagement with Dilandau and had had a huge fight with Hitomi over the phone.

"I will try, sweetheart. I will try."

~*A few days later*~

"Why isn't your brother down here?"

Celena looked at her dad. "He must not be in the mood to eat again."

"He's been like that since he went home very much upset," Mrs. Albatou noted. "That was many days ago. Do you happen to know what happened?"

She nodded. "I think he had a really serious fight with Hitomi."

Instead of looking angry, Donkirk Albatou seemed pleased. "Finally."

Mrs. Albatou frowned. "What are you so pleased about?"

"Don't you see? If he can get this imbalanced because of a fight with Ryu's little girl, that means he is affected by her. It means our son has finally learned lessons of the heart."

"I agree with you. But if my son continues this display of whatever it is," Mrs. Albatou stated. "I will personally have the two of them talk this fight over! I will not have my son moping around."

He didn't want to leave his room. All he wanted to do was stay there forever. Hanging around Hitomi sometimes had its downfall. And this was one of it.

As much as he wanted to hate Mei and especially Clover for all that they caused, he couldn't. He learned through Hitomi that hating was not such a good thing. He could remember Hiko's voice relating episodes in both his and Hitomi's life where they learned to forgive.

It would have been easier for him if he hadn't let himself get messed up emotionally and mentally by Hiko and especially by Hitomi. If he could just hate everyone and continue to brood, it would be easier for him. He can go back to school and pretend nothing happened. If someone reminded him of it, he could just backhand that person.

But oh no! He just had to learn to be nicer. He just had to be contaminated with her attitude.

This mess was much from his doing. If he hadn't just run out on his past and finished it properly, there wouldn't have been split ends bursting from his more normal present.

As much as Hitomi doesn't keep grudges, this misunderstanding is really a big thing. If he could only make it clear to her, perhaps there'd be chances that she'd forgive him and maybe not even hate him. But this was big. And she sure would not be listening and believing him, much more than she'd allow him to come near her again.

He was frustrated. He can't talk to her now. He has to let her calm down a little. But he can't help but feel restless. It was like another batch of wrong events would come his way.

When he thought things could go well, things just have to get so out of hand. Sometimes, he just wanted to drown himself in the tub or even hang himself.

Everything to him was just so darn frustrating. He couldn't even understand why he was feeling this way, why he so desperately needed to make Hitomi forgive him.

"F***ing s***!! I'm insane! Why would I need her to forgive me?!" He ranted as he paced his room agitatedly back and forth. "She's nothing to me! Just some damn pest I want to get rid off! Yeah, nothing but a damn pest!"

He stopped in front of the full length mirror and glared at the reflection of himself. Although glaring, his reflection spoke so much more than anger and confusion. There was hurt and fear… fear of losing someone… someone so important that he'd destroy or change just for that someone.

"Yeah, right," he said sarcastically, angrily. "Nothing but a damn pest! And I'm here being such a pathetic as****e trying to convince myself that she's really nothing!"

He punched the mirror, breaking it to many pieces and cutting his beautiful, white skin. However he hated to admit it, he knew. She had become someone very important to him, however unconsciously it had started. Or else, he wouldn't have acted like a miserable moron, throwing away his pride and pleading… no… more like begging Hitomi to listen. And he wouldn't be this mentally and emotionally messed up.

~*Two days later*~

"I wonder what really happened to Dilandau."

"Yeah. How come he's not coming to school since we saw him go home that lunch time?"

"Do you think Kanzaki had something to do with this?"

"Maybe. She's a witch after all."

"That's it!" Celena slammed her hand on the table. "Can't everybody just f***ing shut up?!"

Everyone in the cafeteria just looked at her in shock. They didn't expect her to react that way or even simply react.

"Calm down, Celena," said Merle, standing up and motioning for Celena to follow her outside.

Celena glared at everyone before moving out with Merle.

"Do you think that Kanzaki witch has gotten into her, too?"

"Oh my! That witch---"

"Didn't you all hear Celena?! F***ing shut up!" Mei suddenly burst out, glaring at most students.

The students looked at each other in shock. And so did the rest of Celena, Merle, and Mei's friends.

"Now what is going on?" Van muttered, looking at his friends from their table just four tables away from where Celena and her group usually eat. "Didn't Mei dislike Hitomi very much?"

The rest of the table's occupants looked as puzzled as Van.

"But they were just so---" Celena raved once again as she paced the rooftop to and fro.

"I know that," Merle cut in. "But as I said, you have to keep your cool or things would get more out of hand than it already is."

"But they were just so---"

"Yeah. But then, do you think this would be good on us OR on Hitomi? They'd probably say that Hitomi's doing some hocus pocus on us to get us to side her. Remember, there are still rumors of cheating and hacking tagged on her name. We still have to get to the bottom of that and clear her up."

"But---"

Merle was about to interrupt. But Celena blurted out what she needed to say.

"Dilandau and Hitomi are having a gap!"

The pink-haired girl clamped her mouth together and stared at Celena for a while. "What?"

"I think the fight many days ago just escalated."

"What do you mean?"

"When he went home that time, he just sulked in his room. But when I saw him at home after some students saw him cut his classes and go home at lunch time some days back, he was different."

"How different?"

"He didn't just sulk. He was blowing up and then he'd just seem so agitated and he kept on burning hot and cold if you know what I mean."

"Like changing from raging to distant and then agitated to very calm and quiet. Then---"

"Yes. All those stuff. And most of the time, he's just plainly… uh scared."

"Scared? Celena, I think you just had a major brain damage. Dilandau? Scared? Are you crazy?"

"I don't really know. But it's really like he's scared that something would happen."

Merle thought for a moment as she looked at her friend. "Do you think something happened that day Dilandau suddenly went home?"

"I think so. But I don't know how to approach him. He's not just scary like he usually is when he's just had a serious fight with Hitomi. He's… I don't really know… but he's so different. Like he's not even thinking about reality. Like he's brooding somewhere in his mind about something really serious. And if you jerk him out, he'd jerk your life out."

Merle hesitated for a while. "Do you think… do you think your bro is… is in love?"

"I've never seen someone in love looking so deadly and so plain… weird."

"Hey, he had a fight with Hitomi and they haven't been talking for more than two weeks. Do you think someone in love would be happy with that setting?"

"But I said he just started being this… uh… different when he went home that lunch time."

Merle sighed in exasperation. "I never thought Dilandau and Hitomi's relationship could get THIS complicated. I'm not even so sure if they're really on to some thing. Your parents see them very angry with each other but they're okay with that. And we see them hating and annoying each other and then boom. The next time around they spend time together and you are ordered to leave Hitomi with Dilandau. Then…"

Celena's focus faded on Merle's ranting on past events regarding her twin and her friend. Something was nagging at her about all this. "Do you think my parents had engaged them? I mean, my parents and her parents are REALLY good friends. Besides, this is a good marriage if you look at it in parents' perspective… good family for their children, joined international companies, good-looking grand children. Am I ringing any bells or what?"

The pink-haired girl fell immediately silent at Celena's question. Now that she thought about it, it did seem likely. "I think that's it! I mean they hate each other but then they suddenly spend time together and your parents are even happier. Then, when Dilandau got in trouble because of Hitomi, your dad didn't do anything but just have him grounded and he looks even pleased that Dilandau is actually looking out for Hitomi. And they even have to go to places together even if at first they don't want to."

"This means if they were truly engaged, this had been purely parents-decided-engagement. Hitomi's parents and my parents made it."

Merle nodded at Celena's statement. "But then, they started becoming real friends. That's why even when they're nice and they are together they really insist that they're just friends. Because they really ARE just friends! Now what, Celena?"

"I don't know. But I think my bro had just about discovered that he doesn't just see her as a forced fiancée or something even if he denies it."

"That is logical. Considering you said he was burning hot and cold. But how did he discover that? No offense but your bro is just so stubborn and he takes pride in being able to be above those love things or any display of it."

Celena suddenly gasped. "Do you think that Hitomi came to school and he and Dilandau had an unpleasant… encounter?"

"Oh no! Viole and I were in here that day and from here we saw Manhattan's car drive away from near the school gate. And if Dilandau was said to have went home that lunch time---"

"He could have had a brush off with Clover and maybe Hitomi came to the scene and heard something she wasn't supposed to hear or---"

"Maybe she misinterpreted something wrong and…"

They looked at each other.

"We seriously need to know where this engagement stands now. Hitomi hasn't been coming to school as well as Hiko. And it may be that they're going to be either transferred next semester or even shipped off back to America."

"I need to talk to Viole. He or someone in their group have to talk to Dilandau."

"And I will try on Hitomi while you hold Mei and the rest of the school out from suspicion," Celena decided.

"But why?" Donkirk Albatou asked his friend for the nth time.

"As I said, we may have been rash about the decision."

"Why?"

Ryu sighed. He was about to repeat his answer again but Donkirk made his questions clearer.

"Why do you think it's been rash?"

"We didn't really take into consideration that our children may have had other serious relationships then. They could've been at war with each other."

"But what about all those times that---"

"We may have interpreted it all wrong. We've jumped to a conclusion about everything."

"But they get along now."

"Yes. Now. But what about their former lives that we've ruined with our inconsideration? We are the parents. We're supposed to do things to help their lives become more livable, easier to handle. Not do something that would ruin them like this."

Donkirk thought intently. What if Celena had just interpreted wrongly about Dilandau? What if he had interpreted wrongly about his son? What if he's really miserable because he wanted out of this engagement?

He sighed. "I suppose we could just sacrifice whatever happens. It was our fault to begin with anyway."

Ryu nodded. "I'm glad you understand."

"So, when are we going to talk to them about this?"

"After a few days. My daughter needs some time to recover even a bit from what happened in school. I've told you about the circumstances."

"So you did. Well, I suppose you're right about the schedule. My son is not doing so well, too. He rarely leaves his room that is if he really does leave his room as some of the maids had claimed."

"What happened?"

"They said he just went home one lunch time looking so down. And that's strange considering the fact that my son never feels bad about something."

"I see. Perhaps---"

"Yes. The engagement may have something to do with this. You're right. We have to break this up and just take the consequences of what others here might say."

~*Two days later*~

"How is it?"

"I still couldn't talk to Hitomi," Celena said, looking slightly irritated. "Her phone is disconnected and when I called Hiko, he said he's not allowed to give the phone to Hitomi. How about Viole and the others?"

"There not doing so well. Viole told me that Dilandau's not answering their calls."

"Now what?"

"I honestly don't know. Do you think we should just leave them to arrange matters on their own?"

"Do you think we should?"

Merle just kept silent.

"I said open this door," Donkirk repeated, trying to hold his temper.

He wasn't really expecting Dilandau to do so. He was just hopelessly hoping like a father would on his son. But perhaps this was all pointless. Maybe he should just say it all out in a way that Dilandau would have preferred instead of some serious, fatherly talk.

"Dilandau, this is about---"

The door opened slightly and Dilandau's head peeked through. His son looked at him wearily. "I didn't hear you minutes ago. Guess I fell asleep."

Donkirk looked at his silver-haired boy. He looked pretty tired for someone who had been locking himself up in a room full of things to do for relaxation. "Are you okay?"

Dilandau nodded. "Is this about---"

"I'm not going to comment about you not going to school for the past few days. But I need you to get dressed and come with me to discuss things regarding the engagement."

Ruby eyes widened slightly and there seems to be some sparkle there before he went inside his room. Was he just imagining it or was that sparkle somewhat close to hope?

Maybe he was being so inconsiderate. Dilandau really did want to be out of the engagement.

Hitomi stared at the well polished conference table, oblivious to her father's concerned look. She sighed. How was she going to face Dilandau? She didn't want her father to worry. She has to make it look like there wasn't anything wrong.

A few minutes later, the conference room opened. She didn't look up. She knew they were here.

He on the other hand looked at Hitomi. She wasn't looking at him but on the conference table. It was obvious to him that she's not only mad at him, but that she hates him as well. But he had to try. It wasn't in his system to let go of something he wanted. He's a bastard as*****, true. But he's not going to just drop this, not when he knew he was going to kick himself if he lost this fight.

He sat next to her and continued to look at her. "Hitomi?" He whispered cautiously.

She ignored him.

The two parents looked at each other before their children. The children were sure puzzling them.

"Perhaps you two need to talk for a few minutes?" Mr. Kanzaki asked.

Hitomi didn't move but Dilandau looked at him hopefully. "May we?"

The two parents nodded and left the conference room. A few minutes of silence was what took Dilandau to take the initiative to talk. He sighed, gathering courage and looked at his fiancée. "Hitomi, I---"

"Please. I'm tired. Can't we just---"

"Let's fix this. It isn't what you think. You have to believe me."

"I heard---"

"You didn't hear everything! Only those that would seem so wrong to you!"

She abruptly looked at him and glared, anger radiating from her whole being. "Don't even put me in the wrong just to defend your lies!"

"I am NOT lying to you!"

She stood up and glared down harder at him. "I don't care what you say! I heard you and I even saw you! Why don't you just go and enjoy her then. You know, for celebration," she muttered sarcastically. "And oh, can I be one of the godmother of your children in case you get her pregnant?"

His temper rose and he stood up. "What---"

"Now I understand why those guys in the mall said all those things to me. You---"

"Who told you?"

"It's none of your f***ing business!"

"Who told you?" He asked again, voice louder.

Hitomi glared defiantly and refused to answer him.

"WHO TOLD YOU?!" Dilandau demanded loudly.

"Do you think I'd tell you? It's not really that important anyway!" She hissed. "I shouldn't have thought we can be real friends. I should've known that you were planning something big on me with your girlfriend!"

"She's not my girlfriend!"

"Another one of your lies! You were kissing her! But oh yeah, you even go to bed with other girls so maybe she's really not your girlfriend but just one of your girls!"

His fists clenched painfully as his fingernails dug into his palms. "Hitomi, what I said back there is true. You have to believe me that I would NEVER do something to crush you!"

"Liar!"

"Why can't you just give me a chance and actually believe me?!"

"Because that would be the biggest mistake of my life!" Her tears started to glisten in her eyes and her voice dropped. It suddenly lost all its anger and just contained hurt. "Like me being friends with you… and actually letting you see… the real me by and by."

He looked at her with hurt. "So you regret all the time that---"

"Yes!" She said suddenly regaining her hostility. "I hate you so much!"

It was at that moment that the door opened and the two parents walked in.

"It's really confirmed then," Mr. Albatou sighed.

"What's confirmed?" Dilandau demanded.

Mr. Kanzaki looked at them seriously. "You two obviously don't get along and if we two force you together, you both will have a hard time and the marriage would be your greatest regret."

Dilandau's brows furrowed and Hitomi looked ready to have the world fall on her.

"So what exactly is going on?" She asked cautiously.

"The speech on the greatest regret," Dilandau interrupted. "Does it mean… does it mean we're both free from this engagement?"

Mr. Albatou sighed and nodded. "Yes."

Both teenagers for a moment had a pained expression and it confused the two grown ups.

"Aren't you two happy?" Mr. Kanzaki asked with confusion.

Hitomi looked away and took a deep breath. She then looked back at their dads and smiled, looking really happy. She had to wonder though why she had to force herself to smile convincingly when originally this announcement would make her jump for joy and throw a celebratory party. Maybe she just felt bad that they hadn't settled their fight yet and now, there would be no reason for them to fix it. They could be enemies like they originally wanted which deep inside her she could honestly admit she didn't want anymore.

Dilandau glanced at Hitomi and saw her smile. That hurt for reasons he couldn't understand, for reasons he didn't want to understand. So she was really waiting for this. And to think he thought they were getting along. Was this how it felt when he had dumped all those girls? Was this how it was when after the girls did everything they wouldn't normally do he just dismissed them without any second thoughts?

'I'm not a weakling. Two can play this game,' he thought angrily, trying to save the last of his pride. "Great," he said in a convincingly happy voice. "Finally." He turned to Hitomi and gave her a mocking smile. "What can I say? I had a blast of time."

It was even more painful than when she had to leave America permanently and she couldn't understand why. Dilandau had betrayed her even before this meeting. So why did it hurt even more now that she could see plainly that he didn't really consider her as a friend, that he was just toying with her all along?

"Same here," she said, giving Dilandau her best shot at copying his mocking look. "Well, it's settled then. Thank goodness! For a moment there I thought I'd be really stuck with you."

He scoffed. "Likewise."

"It's over then. Dad, let's go?"

Mr. Kanzaki nodded. He never knew his daughter hated Dilandau this much that she acted so scornful even if front of them. He looked at Donkirk before leading his daughter away.

Dilandau ignored the pointed look his father was giving him. To hell with the scolding for being so openly contemptuous! He was just saving what's left of him.

Hitomi looked back and their eyes met for a brief moment and he couldn't understand her blank expression.

When the door closed, he was still staring at it.

"Yes, it's over," he said faintly as he forced a smile.

~end~

Author's Note: Really am short of time so I think I'd skip on the replies and I might get back on that the next time around if ever there would be. *bows apologetically* I know the ending is a bit bad but I tried to make them make up but it seemed unlikely especially with what was going on with others around them as well. This ending is for those who like a sad ending. But for those who want a continuation and want me to take my usual pace, I'm going to make a next one on this. And hopefully I'd be able to put that up soon.

      Thanks to Colerachel for reviewing Intruder Alert even when it's long been history.

      To everyone who's been with me and has kept on making me know that they're still around through their feedbacks, thank you very, very much. As long as people still want this thing around enough to send me reviews, I'm going to continue trying to write this no matter what happens. TO THE REVIEWERS: DON'T FORGET THAT YOU MAKE THIS POSSIBLE.

      I guess this is it for others then. Those who like this ending may stop here but for those who'd want to join me in the next part, you're all welcome to take another ride. ^_^ Well then, tell me what you think of this ^_~ And do forgive me for any error I have incurred in this story grammatically or what.