A/N: Just picked up my first Yellowcard CD. It makes me happy. Also, starting to get into Fruits Basket, so it and said CD are my current muse.

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"How It Feels To Not Believe"

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"Letting out the noise inside of me

Every windowpane is shattering

Cutting up my words before I speak

This is how it feels to not believe.

Way away away from here I'll be

Way away away so you can see

How it feels to be alone and not believe

Feels to be alone and not believe

Anything."

~ "Way Away"; Yellowcard

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"What's it like?" she asks from behind you as she joins you on the roof.

You look at her, puzzled. She looks back, troubled.

"What's what like?" you ask bemusedly.

"Not to believe," she clarifies as she carefully sits next to you, still with that same troubled expression.

"Lonely," you admit after a moment. You can't deny her.

"I thought it might be." She looks regretful now. "Can I help?"

"You already do," you tell her, looking away to hide your embarrassment. "It's easier . . . with you."

That makes her feel a little better, but she still says, "I want to know if there's more that I can do."

You don't know what to say to that. You wish the reply were something easy, like, "Let me kiss you," or "You already have." Something simple, that you could somehow articulate. Something that you could explain. You know she'd do anything you asked. She's so nice, so concerned for other people's happiness, that it would be easy for her.

But there really isn't anything she could do. She can't give you what you want, even though she already has it, ironically enough. And it seems that she has had it since before you even returned. That precious thing that you try to deny wanting . . .

A small scratching noise alerts the both of you to the presence of a rat. It cocks its head at you and nuzzles her bare ankle lightly. It is not him, but you know he sent it.

"Tell him he can come up," you say with a sigh, and the rat squeaks an acknowledgement and scurries off. A bare instant passes, and he appears, sitting so that she is between him and you. She always will be, really. Not the only thing that is, but maybe the only one that really matters.

So the three of you talk. Mostly it's her, but he adds a little and so do you, and you can tell that he's trying not to antagonize you just as much as you're trying not to get antagonized. The conversation is light- school, plans for summer, nothing really intimate or important.

Until she turns to him and asks, "What's it like not to believe?"

"Believe what?" He doesn't understand the question.

"Believe in people," you explain, and both you and she look at him expectantly.

He is silent for a moment, uncomfortable, but says the answer easily. It's something he's thought about too.

"It is . . . lonely," he says slowly.

She smiles at him, and then asks the second question. "Can I help?"

"You have," he tells her, not quite meeting her eyes in an attempt to hide his embarrassment. "I can believe in you."

"I want to know if there's more that I can do," she says. It's like she's reading a script while you and he try out for some role. And you haven't missed how close his lines are to yours.

He doesn't seem to have any more reply to her than you did, but there is nothing to interrupt his silence.

"Is there?" she prods. She didn't get this far in the script with you.

He still doesn't speak, simply drawing his knees up to his chin and wrapping his arms around his legs. Fetal position, like he thinks it can protect him. You wish it could, because you can't.

But what else is new?

"No," he says finally. "No, you've done all that you can. More than you needed to."

"So what do you want?" she asks, tilting her head to the side.

"A lot of things," he replies quietly. "Acceptance. Invisibility."

"Those don't go together," you say bluntly, rolling your eyes.

"Sometimes they do," he says, resting his chin on his hand, his own voice tired.

"I want to help you," she cuts in, and she puts a hand on both your and his shoulders. "Let me."

You are about to speak, and so is he, but her light touch suddenly turns into a tight grip, and she yanks both of you forward by your collars and ducks.

If this were a fight, she would have just knocked both of you into unconsciousness. But it's not a fight, and she's not pulling quite that hard. Just enough to make your noses brush together.

You can't resist the opportunity, even though she's right beneath you and you know she's watching. You kiss him. Just a brief, light brush of lips, something that he could dismiss as an accident if he chose. Only he doesn't choose to.

Because he's been looking for that feeling from you. He's been reading too much into the things you say and trying not to fight with you . . . and you know this because this is what you've done with him.

She giggles. "You're cute together." You feel yourself blush, and see him do the same.

"Okay," you admit, "maybe there WAS something more you could do." And it seems that she's given him to you after all.

"I thought so," she says smugly, releasing you both. "Now, I'm going to go make dinner and anyone who drops by will have to help me- say, Ayame or Kagura or Shigure-san . . ."

"You are a true friend," he says with a laugh as she gets to her feet and dusts off her skirt.

She smiles. "I just want everyone to be happy," she explains warmly.

"One down," you say, pointing at yourself and giving him a meaningful look.

"Make that two," he confirms, catching your free hand in his. She smiles again and leaves, probably already debating what kind of salad to make in her head.

You look at his hands, then at his face. He looks back, smiling himself.

"You're cute without me," he tells you.

You brush your free hand against his shoulder. He gives you a thoughtful look, and then leans forward to kiss you, and someone would really have to be the king of idiots to be able to pass this one off as accidental.

And now you believe.

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* fin *

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. : opposites attract. and then they explode : .