Love, Be Eternal

Disclaimer: The author's only intention is to entertain. FOR characters do not belong to her. Those characters that are not in the anime or the manga were created to fit their original purpose. Please do not sue her, since she hardly has enough money to buy herself a life.

Lots of thanks to Pratz-san, beta reader and the mastermind behind the plot of this thing.

This is the revised version of the fic. Very minor but significant changes

Chapter 1: Love is Blind

Aside from its usual share of microbes and molecules, there was something in the air that beautiful Saturday morning.

Fuuko Kirisawa peered over Tokiya Mikagami's shoulder, clicking her tongue in evident admiration as he lifted his pen from the notepad he held in one arm and showed her the product of 30 minutes ennui.

She clapped him on the shoulder, a wide grin spreading across her lips. "If I had an IQ less than 30, I'd fall in love with you after reading this poem." At that, she let out a soft, gentle sigh, which was rather unconventional of her.

Mikagami snorted, and looked out towards the pool of water a few feet away from where they were seated, face scrunched up in usual apathy. "It's pathetic, Kirisawa. A futile attempt to pass time."

Fuuko leaned back onto the rough bark of the sakura tree, following Tokiya's line of vision. "It's self-expression, something I didn't think you were capable of."

Tokiya eyed her impatiently.

Fuuko pressed on, unyielding. "It's amazing how you're just sitting there with an impressive amount of stoicism, while I'm fighting the urge to plagiarize your work and earn a few bucks." She broke into a round of carefree laughter.

Tokiya, as usual, said nothing and chose to listen to the sound of her laugh, which as much as he loathed admitting, was akin to music terribly endeared to him.

It was ironic that the same Fuuko Kirisawa who spent almost every waking moment thinking up innuendos to provoke his wrath was the only person in this world who could prove he was human too; that he was equipped with emotions and feelings. For that reason, he succumbed to her company and had yet to regret it.

A long period of silence passed between the two. He had long since assumed she was asleep when she suddenly stirred.

Fuuko smiled and whispered into his ear the very words that moved him to the core. "You're not as bad as you think, Mi-chan. In fact, you're not bad at all."

……………………………………………………………………………………………

"Guys, this is Kitsura Zensai, my cough cough…" Domon Ishijima inserted a proud smirk on his declaration. "GIRLFRIEND." He wrapped a beefy arm around the petite, pink-haired girl and grinned idiotically. A chorus of noise buzzed at his announcement.

Yanagi Sakoshita bowed respectfully and held out a hand to Kitsura. "Nice to meet you. I'm Yanagi. It's very nice of you to join our picnic."

Recca Hanabishi appeared at Domon's side. "Oi, you've put the line 'there can be miracles when you believe' into perspective. I was starting to lose faith in your ability to woo women." His teasing was emphasized by a large grin, and he handed his comrade a tall glass of iced tea.

"You know what they say, patience is a virtue." Domon countered, laughing maniacally.

Kitsura blushed and giggled along, jabbing an elbow at Domon's ribs. "Since when have you learned to quote?"

"Ooooh, love is changing every time…" Fuuko crumpled her fingers into a fist to portray a microphone. Tokiya merely shook his head and handed her a plate of potato salad.

It was a true Hokage reunion in the making. Recca and Yanagi had arrived an hour after Fuuko and Tokiya, fresh from their graduation ceremony. The latter pair, during an earlier conversation, discovered that Yanagi accommodated the slot of magna cum laude. It was a position Tokiya had earned at Tokyo University, also Fuuko's alma mater, where she in turn had graduated a month ago with honors and a bachelor's degree in physical science.

Ganko arrived shortly, a basket of food in tow. Gone were the marks of childhood, as apparently she had blossomed to a young woman, possessing the soft marks of grace and elegance. A glint in their horizon and soon, a handsome boy walked nonchalantly towards the clustered Hokage members. This triggered a gasp from Ganko as she ran to meet him midway and enveloped him in a bear hug. Apparently, he had returned from his "blast to the past" journey with Kurei. The kogan-anki wielder flashed them his swoon-inspiring fang grin. Ganko wiped tears from her eyes. Finally, Domon and Kitsura emerged from one of the ends of the woods, signaling the commencement of their bonding.

The place was memorable in itself, one of the Hokage members' "training grounds" since time immemorial. For Kaoru, it was a place to escape from the pressures of day-to-day living. Domon found it indispensable in his quest for objects to test his strength, it being an area where trees were abundant. Ganko liked to go there to read. It was a place of retreat for Yanagi and Recca. Tokiya wandered to it from time to time whenever he craved to be by his lonesome. Fuuko came because she loved the lake, and sporadically, to vent her spleen from whatever triggered her frustration. It was a 15-minute drive from the outskirts of town, requiring one to possess enormous skill in driving in order to get to the site of the lake. In unwary positions stood such towering trees that one would have to steer his vehicle with accurate precision to avoid any sort of collision. The effort was worth it, of course, once your sight beheld the lake.

"And Recca was actually so dumb; he gave the spiked punch to Yanagi and not to me." Domon was recollecting, in the process perplexing everyone by shoving dumplings down his throat and rambling at the same time. He remained oblivious to the death glare Recca was shooting him.

"Hey, hey, what about the time Recca brought Kondo to his final exams and adorned him with jewelries and whatnot? He pretended Kondo was some sort of idol and prayed for wisdom." Fuuko chimed in, with spurts of chuckles in between.

The whole group, save for Tokiya, Kitsura, and Recca who was beet-red, burst into a round of wild laughter.

Recca shook the bangs from his eyes, recovering quickly. "Here's a howler. Do you guys recall that night when Fuuko surmised a burglar had broken into her home, which was really inconceivable by the way, and decided to surprise-attack the "culprit"? Poor Mikagami had to bear the brunt of her violence."

Domon had fallen off the bench, clutching his stomach and guffawing so hard that tears streamed down his face. Kitsura and Yanagi were not succeeding at choking back laughter, which was supposed to count as a sympathetic gesture on Fuuko's behalf. Recca began to look smug.

"What do you mean, he had to bear the brunt of my violence? I didn't get him! He was too fast for his own good." Fuuko slammed both fists on the wooden table, casting a sideway glance at the reserved bishounen. The eating utensils and other dishes on the table jiggled.

Recca yawned. "Naaahh… I think you were just losing your touch, Fuuko. Ever since our madogous were destroyed, your agility seemed to be deteriora—"

Fuuko growled and a lump suddenly formed on Recca's forehead, followed by the noise of chopsticks bouncing off the ground.

"I think otherwise." Mikagami muttered, eyeing the fallen Recca. Yanagi immediately rushed to the flame-caster's aid. "Res ipso loquitor."

"Um, what's that?" Domon asked.

"It's latin. The evidence speaks for itself." Mikagami answered.

Fuuko giggled in glee and tried to coax him into a hi-five, but he would not.

………………………………………………………………………

Two weeks had passed.

Fuuko raised a brow when Mikagami opened the door, brushed him aside without a word, and barged into his house. Crossing both arms over her chest, the violet haired girl proceeded to glare malevolently at him. "Did you, or did you not receive an invitation?" she spat out, flickers of aggression dancing in her dark blue eyes.

"Yes, I did." He admitted, throwing her an exasperated look.

Fuuko buried her face in her hands in order to keep from wringing Mikagami's neck. "Mi-chan, I know you're busy and all but as pathetic as it sounds, I expected to see your face there. I don't turn twenty-two everyday. It's a special occasion I want to spend with special people."

He looked at her wearily, tried to ignore the tug at his heart and ran a hand through his silver hair. "I had a deadline to meet." He answered, which was half-true actually. Mikagami was a lawyer on balance, and his work demanded much of his time.

She stepped closer to him. "Can't make time for a friend?" she gazed up at him pleadingly. Tokiya felt floored.

"I almost… no, I really missed you back there." she said sincerely. "It would have been more exciting for the guys if you had been there to grace everyone with his presence."

"You exaggerate." He flinched at her warm words, because it got the better of his icy heart. "It's your birthday, remember? You deserve all the attention."

She rolled her eyes. "Why didn't you go? Raiha was there."

Exactly why he decided against going. "I told you—I was busy." He amended in place of the truth.

It was not a secret that Raiha had this fondness for Fuuko. But he had been discrete, almost dormant in his actions that in due time, Tokiya was inclined to presume this "crush" of Raiha on his friend was nothing but seasonal.

Fuuko forced a smile and steeled herself to look him straight in the eye. Cobalt blue met somber cerulean shades, and Fuuko was tempted to forfeit her plan of revealing anything to him. As if he were reading her, looking straight into her soul. She'd never felt that much impact on her emotions before. Her heart was suddenly beating so fast, and all of a sudden she understood how difficult it was to tell him, of all people, when she would rather let him be the last person on earth to know. "Mi-chan, I want you to know..."

Tokiya gave her something akin to a quizzical look.

She sighed and took a deep breath. "I'm together."

Tokiya felt the blood drain from his face. He was reduced to stare at the space above her head for with an expression that gave away nothing, although he felt as if something—the very core of his existence—-had been viciously shaken and hurled to the moon.

"Say something."

There were options of course, like, "Leave me" or "Stupid girl". But all the atrocities racing across his mind vanished instantly when he saw the look in her eyes.

What was it reflecting in orbs of dark blue? Was it joy, fear, regret? Why were her eyes glinting? Was she going to cry or was she restraining herself from jumping up and down in delight? Was she happy? Was he

He could not explain logically or otherwise why he felt like he could not be his usual selfish-prick self anymore. He could enumerate the cons of her impulsive decision, but why was he rooted in place? And why, even with his occupation as a lawyer, was it so difficult to lie? It was so difficult to tell her but…

"Congratulations." He said anyway.

Fuuko averted her eyes. There was a tense silence in their midst, rendering her unease by its familiarity.

Tokiya threw the door open. "I think it's best if you leave now."

It was stupid. She was stupid. She didn't know what she was doing. She didn't even think—about how he would feel, how it would affect both of them. Their friendship. It just proved his feelings didn't matter to her at all.

Fuuko nodded and walked to where she had parked her car, securing her seatbelt first before allowing the stampede of tears she had been holding back to flow freely.

…………………………………………………………..

"Fuuko, are you sure I can trust your opinion on the benefits of microwavable meals?" Raiha asked, as they loaded four paper bags of fresh grocery items… or rather, frozen goods to the backseat of his car.

Fuuko laughed and got into the passenger seat. "Like I have been patiently reiterating, if you're going to be busy enough not to have time for cooking, the microwave's your go-to guy."

Raiha started the engine and smoothly stirred the car out of the narrow parking space and into the wide street. A red light loomed in front of their view, causing him to tap the brakes lightly. "Where do I drop you off?"

"Mi-cha--Mikagami's place." She answered after a moment's hesitation. If she did not keep her tongue in check, Raiha would again comment on her odd nickname for the ensui-wielder.

He snickered as the lights changed. "Still haven't patched things up."

"He's just busy." She said immediately, and Raiha noted the defensive edge in her voice. If it were not for the reality of his friendship with Neon, Miki and Aki, he would perhaps be a little bit jealous.

"He's been busy for three weeks." Raiha pointed out cheerfully, swerving the car towards Mikagami's neighborhood.

Fuuko kept her silence and undid her seatbelt as the car slowed down and stopped directly in front of Mikagami's two-storey house. Raiha whistled at the vast expanse of land and the large domicile centered on top of it. "Look at this place."

He reached out and grabbed Fuuko before she could unlock the door. "I'll miss you." He murmured.

"Mutual." Fuuko kissed him on the cheek and stepped out, taking one good look at Tokiya's house. She had an intuition immediately. "I don't think he's home." She turned to Raiha and sighed.

"Tough luck." He smirked. "Do you want me to take you home?"

"Nope." She shook her head, the purple locks bouncing involuntarily.

Raiha raised a brow. "Are you sure?"

She nodded and waved shortly. "Have fun. And come back soon, with the antagonist screaming for mercy."

He gave her this cute salute. "Good as done." He promised and restarted his engine. "I love you."

Fuuko swallowed. "So do I.", she replied softly, merely blinking as he gave her a short wave and zoomed off.

It was Kurei who had asked Raiha to hunt down one of Kouran Mori's ex-henchman, who was suspected of stealing some of the Uruha valuables. The offender was at present cowering in a remote place in one of the islands south of Asia, as last reported by Mokuren of the Uruha. When asked to accept the job, Raiha pronounced it a chore and vowed to accomplished in less than a week.

After what seemed like an eternity of standing beside the lawn, gaping at the house and half-expecting Mikagami to open the door, Fuuko shook her head and decided to stroll. She did not understand the urge to visit Mikagami's house, which she had abstained to set foot in for almost a month. Maybe it was a desperate attempt to fix their friendship. He had been blatantly clear about not wanting any disturbances during the week and the weeks before.

Before she knew it, Fuuko had strayed from Mikagami's neighborhood and was walking towards Yanagi's abode when the image of a man with bounded hair, grasping a cellular phone to his ear appeared on her field of vision.

Is that…?

As if her thoughts were audible, the handsome young man looked up and nodded coldly to acknowledge her. Fuuko screamed, humiliating Tokiya immensely, and cut the distance between them in a mad dash. She threw her arms around his neck, which reduced him to immobility, partly because he had seen it coming, but did nothing to stop it.

Trust Fuuko to be extremely capricious and cross the line. Why could she not see that he was unreachable? Untouchable? Why was she so aggravatingly stubborn about insisting to be a part of his life? He was in no mood to forgive, he still held a grudge because of her news two weeks ago.

After a long time wherein the purple-haired girl insinuated that she would sleep in that position if she had to, Tokiya peeled her arms off him and looked at her coolly.

"Say it, Mi-chan. You are so psyched to see me." She grinned. "Thanks. I missed you too."

He snorted. Her ability to concoct bizarre theories always puzzled him. Although they weren't the farthest from the realm of truth. "What is it now, Kirisawa?"

A vein assumed position on the girl's forehead. "Do you have to be constantly thinking that I need something from you every time we see each other? You think I planned to run into you on purpose… just to get something?"

Tokiya had attained a healthy interest on the mailbox behind her. "If you want nothing from me, then excuse me, Fuuko. I have business to attend to."

"No, there will be none." Fuuko stated authoritatively. On a tyranny of impulse, she stepped on his toe. Tokiya cringed and looked at her in a manner that dictated she had lost all reason.

Fuuko raised her chin. "You're wearing your Nikes. That implies you're free of meetings and other obligations for the day."

Tokiya made a mental note to burn the shoes when he had the chance.

She pulled his chin downward and stared him pleadingly in the eye. "Can't you make time for an old friend?" she batted her eyes at him teasingly.

He never recalled giving her the title. He merely assumed she had baptized it on herself. However, he had not seen her in such a long time; and he did not have the nerve to turn her down. He would have given a million sunsets to know why was her smile getting into the way of his decision-making.

He pulled her hand away from his face. "You did want something."

"It won't cost you anything. Well, except maybe your time, but you won't mind, right? After all, you still owe me for missing my birthday. This can substitute for a birthday gift." said she.

Actually, he did have a gift but he would never be able to give it to her now.

So there he was; forced to spend the whole afternoon with her, which he inwardly did not mind, although his actions indicated otherwise. He found himself sitting next to her in a seaside restaurant, eating shrimp and fish, which startlingly suited his taste. When he looked at her from between bites, she greeted him with a knowing smile.

He had no idea how she could identify his preferences.

They were walking back to his car when she gave him a smug look and declared, "Bet you don't know how to play tennis.", which he interpreted as a challenge, and the afternoon ended with him showing her how much of the game he knew.

And when the ball of fire descended from its position in the sky, they were sitting in front of the television. Tokiya stiffened when he felt a sudden weight on his shoulder. Fuuko came absolutely close to scaring him by edging closer and burrowing her head on his neck. A soft snore ensued. Tokiya had finally resigned himself to the fact that the girl used him as her pillow most of the time and leaned back onto the couch, eyes on the weather news.

She awoke after a short while, rubbing her eyes and suddenly jerking away from him like he had suddenly incurred a contagious virus.

"Gomen nasai for inconveniencing you." She said with an inflection that compromised awkward and flippant.

He snorted. "You are an inconvenience alright."

"Hey…" she bapped him on the head with a white cushion pillow, and settled back to her original position, a grin spreading on her lips. "You know what, Mi-chan, your ice block self isn't slighting me anymore. I might even start getting attached to it."

Tokiya grunted.

Fuuko laughed.

"Do us both a favor and don't." Tokiya said.

"It won't hurt, you know." Fuuko lifted a hand to cover a yawn. Then she fell back leaning on the other side of the sofa, and before Tokiya could come up with a retort, she was already sound asleep.

………………………………………………..

The cigarette fell from Hamada Kiro's lips.

"No one provokes the wrath of Kurei and lives to tell about it." The silhouette of a tall man emerged from the shadows. From the form alone, Hamada confirmed his worst fear. Kurei's right hand man stood ominously in front of him, eyes narrowed to slits.

Raiha found him in one of the islands near the Cape of Good Hope, where the fugitive was operating on a marijuana business. There was no mistaking the amount of uprooted plants piled on one side of the small hut.

"Don't you dare come near me." he slurred nervously, groping his belt for his weapon.

Raiha allowed one side of his lips to curve. "Dispel your fears; I'm merely here to teach you a lesson."

A thumping sound reverberated through the room and both heard the sound of a door opening and closing. An old man with disheveled pepper and salt hair ambled into view, supported by a wooded cane. Through bespectacled gray eyes, he glanced at Kiro. "A visitor, Kiro?"

Raiha straightened from his defensive stance and looked towards the direction of the incomer, bowing his head in respect.

Kiro saw his opening and seized it. With one swift motion, he retrieved his pistol from his belt and aimed it at Raiha. Raiha suddenly found himself shoved against a wall, the dessert eagle in Kiro's hand thrust against his neck. "Your loyalty to Kurei beckons your death, you spineless wretch."

Raiha rammed his knee with all the force he could muster at Kiro's groin, causing the latter to curse in pain. "You will pay dearly for that, Raiha." He said spitefully, gripping his pistol with both hands.

One second too late would have sent the ex-raijin wielder six feet underground. Raiha ducked to the left just as a bullet whizzed past his head and he tackled Hamada to the ground, wrestling the gun away from him.

Something was wrong. Why was the dessert eagle, which was aimed straight at his nose, not swerving to the left, where he had directed all his strength and force? Either this man was a counterfeit of Domon Ishijima or Raiha had become weaker.

Kiro was looking at him triumphantly, ignoring protests from the old man who was long since screaming his head off for the two to stop. "I'll take you out of your flesh, Raiha."

"In your dreams." Raiha replied through gritted teeth and with one last surge of strength, managed to revert the pistol's aim away his face.

But the bullet had been fired, and a sickening cry of pain filled the room. The cry was not from him. Raiha's eyes widened as he saw the old man collapse to the ground, followed promptly by his wooden cane. A pool of blood was growing quickly on the space beside him.

"You killed him!" Kiro accused, sharply delivering a punch to Raiha's gut.

Amidst the pain, Raiha felt nothing but the life seeping away from an innocent victim; he heard only his cries; saw nothing but the old man's blood . He could feel the perspiration dripping down from his forehead to his chin, and tears were stinging his eyes. He sensed Kiro's escape yet his will did not allow him to pursue.

Raiha rolled himself to a sitting position and crawled to the old man's side, carefully pushing a hand under his knee and one around his shoulders and prepared to lift him up.

But it was too late. He was dead.

…………………………………..

If not interested in the author's gripes, stop here. If you don't mind reviewing, please do.

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Notes:

Revisions…revisions… How did your reading go?

Old Author's notes before the revision:

After a long time, I decide to write again. Partly because I enjoy fanfiction and because of the uplifting messages of encouragement I received from you guys. If I'm not dormant, it's because of Pratz-san who took the time to e-mail me and send me creative juices just when I was pondering what to do with the next fanfic. It's after a book. I hope it's… um, tolerable. Please drop me a review to let me know what you think. That is of course, if you don't mind.