Disclaimer: Anything appearing here that has previously appeared in any other form does not belong to me. No copyright infringement intended.

AN: Sorry for the long break, but exams and all that rot were awful pressure. Don't worry I haven't forgotten this story, and I think my aim is to finish this before I die and all this unadulterated fan fiction time left now that I've finished school FOREVER can only help. Thanks to all reviewers for the last chapter, I don't have your names here with me but thanks.

Anyway, happy reading and please review!

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Kiss Me Twice, Girl

6: Eitoku was in a temporary state of busyness as students moved between classes, pushing and shoving and chatting amongst themselves. From an overhang above a particular courtyard patterned with elaborate fountains, Soujiro leaned out from the balcony rails and observed the moving ground mass. He followed the path of a junior, a pretty thing with skin the colour of moonshine, but a thudding sound brought him back to the problem at hand.

Or rather, Akira's problem at hand.

With a sigh, he turned around and looked on coolly as Akira knocked his forehead against a large stone pillar, apparently his latest method of wallowing in self-pity.

"Akira, stop it," Tsukasa said, irritated. "You're hurting yourself."

"I don't care," was Akira's muffled reply. He looked up at his friends briefly and held up his palm desperately. "I was so close…this close! And I blew it." He turned on Tsukasa suddenly, wild accusation in his eyes. "You! I should have just let you punch the guy!"

"Well, why didn't you?" Tsukasa growled.

"I don't know!"

With a groan, Akira returned to abusing his head against the pillar.

"Stop it!" Tsukasa yelled, frustrated.

"No," replied Akira stubbornly.

"Firstly, Akira, that's pissing us off to hell," Rui intervened. "Secondly, you're damaging your brain– "

"Thirdly, you're mussing your hair," Soujiro said off handedly, at which Akira immediately ceased, standing up straight, hands checking through his long locks carefully. Rui rolled his eyes.

Having fixed his hair, Akira sighed and moved to stand beside Soujiro. His friend punched him lightly on the shoulder.

"Get over it, mate. We'll just chuck her a red note– "

"No!" and Soujiro jerked, taken back by the sharpness of Akira's voice. "I said she's mine. There will be no red note."

"Well, you haven't done a brilliant job," Rui said, his tone frank.

Tsukasa groaned. "Oh, shut up Rui. Why are you giving him more of a reason to whine and complain? Honestly, we haven't heard the end of this since the game."

Akira stared down at the fountains, the reflection of the water sparkling in his eyes.

"Maybe I should just go drown myself," he said thoughtfully.

Soujiro sighed, exasperated. "For goodness sake, Akira, don't be such a pathetic sob over it– " but Akira didn't appear to be listening.

"Drown myself." He turned his head so he was staring at Rui straight in the eyes and cried dramatically, "I shall no longer continue my life as a failure. Goodbye, farewell!"

And to the shock of students passing by directly beneath, he threw his entire self from the balcony of the overhang.

Screams began to vibrate in the air as he hit the water with the most tremendous, sickening crack and people rushed to crowd the edges of the fountain. For everyone everywhere, it was panic and hysteria as they slid their eyes frantically over the disturbed water, watching for the poor soul's body to resurface.

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Something was crying inside Kei and she didn't think it would ever, ever stop.

She pushed past all the pulsating bodies, struggling to reach the front, the edge of the fountain pool, while at the same time a voice inside was telling her to turn around and run away because if she saw Akira's body folded and shattered, dark limbs and hair faded, she would disintegrate into nothing.

If anyone asked, she couldn't tell them why she cared. It wasn't as if he had done anything substantial for her really, except for those flowers on Valentine's Day. Except for making her heart shiver when his lips had caressed ever so lightly across her cheek. Except for the awesome model he had created for their History assignment, which he had had to do all by himself, overnight, since she had refused to talk to him since the game.

Except for the way he always seemed to be there for no apparent reason at all but just to talk to her.

She reached the front, her heart pounding too loudly in the silence that had suddenly come about. She blinked.

Akira was sitting in the water, saturated to the bone. His clothes clung to his body, muscles drawn taut from the cold, his limp fine hair framing a forlorn face. He had caught sight of her and his pale ashen lips had just turned in a diffident smile when their contact was broken in a sudden movement as three pairs of arms jerked him from where he sat.

"You are the biggest idiot," Soujiro fumed, his face disgusted as he let go of Akira and wiped his hands gingerly on the front of his shirt. He turned to the swarm of people before him, of which between a curious litany was beginning. "Alright kids, show's over. Akira's done this before, and he's not dead so back to your classes."

Not dead, Kei thought as she watched the four of them leave.

He passed her a timid glance over his shoulder and somewhere she felt relieved.

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"Rui, I've got it!"

"I don't care."

"I've got the answer, the solution to my problem."

"Akira, I don't care."

"Did you see her face when she saw that I wasn't dead? She– "

"Akira, you will be dead soon if you don't hang up now. Because it's damn well two in the morning and I want to sleep."

"Just hear me out, Rui. She was relieved when she knew I wasn't dead. She cares! She can avoid me for days, she can nearly wreck my perfect grade in History, but she cares if I get hurt or not! I just need to get hurt again, not badly enough to impede myself for life, but enough."

There was a thoughtful silence of a sort. Then:

"Rui, will you break my arm or something?"

"Gladly."

"Thanks so much! Good night Rui, I've got to call Jiro now to tell him!"

Hanazawa Rui gritted his teeth and buried his head under his pillow.

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"Kei! Kei!"

She paused mid stride when she heard Julie's voice, enticing those behind her to glare and mutter and walk around her inconsiderate form. Her friend caught up with her, pretty face torn with wild exhilaration.

"Kei! Have you heard?"

Puzzled, she shook her head.

"Akira's in the hospital!"

And everything was suddenly falling to a sudden halt around her, faces blurring and blending together and she couldn't hear anything anymore, only the distant hum of what ought to be distinct sounds but weren't.

What had happened between now and yesterday? Perhaps he had caught pneumonia from being soaked to the bone and was devastatingly ill and close to death and she would forever regret ignoring him and not telling him that–

That she cared.

Startled by the thought, she jerked back into a state of semi-consciousness and Julie's voice comes nattering back to her, talking as if the news was just gossip and not an amazingly important issue of life and death like it really was.

"…but it's just a broken leg and they say…"

Or not.

Kei found it suddenly easier to breath again.

"…apparently he fell down the stairs of something. Hey," Julie said suddenly, eyes sparkling as if she had suddenly had a revelation. "Do you want to go see him?"

"What, now?"

"No, next year." Julie rolled her eyes. "Duh, now!"

"But we've got classes and…"

"And all that rot! Come on, it'll just be for a while."

"I don't know," Kei said weakly.

"Come on. We can play the sympathetic friends, who of course he falls in love with because we're so– "

Come to the game tomorrow, Kei. I'm playing…I'll play for you.

Kei squared her shoulders.

"Alright then. Let's go."

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AN: The next update will be coming soon, hope you all enjoyed this one. Please review!