It was midnight and Sousuke had not even considered the idea of sleep. How could he? He was discharged from Mithril. To him, his life was practically over. He wasn't even given a sidearm in the event that it would come handy. Sure, the threat of the Whispered was nearly neutralized and Gauron's death had been confirmed, but Sousuke couldn't help but feel vulnerable to an attack without his hardware. Suddenly he recalled the conversation he'd had with his teammates before they left.

Melissa placed a hand on Sousuke's arm. He had not taken the news of his suspension well at all. She knew that Sousuke had no other skills than warfare, and it hurt her as much as it did him that he was torn from his lifestyle. "I'm sorry, Sousuke. I tried to talk Tessa out of it, but it was out of her hands."

Kurtz's face held a sober expression, but the bottle of Heiniken proved otherwise. "We tried everything. Old Man Kalinin tried as well, but the board would not listen. That idiot Markudas wouldn't listen." He took a great swig and gazed daze-eyed at Sousuke.

Melissa ignored Kurtz's action, making a mental note to beat the crap out of Kurtz for drinking on the job. She continued optimistically, her approach somewhat of an appeal to Sousuke's willingness to grow mentally. "Look at it this way, Sousuke. It'll be a good experience for you."

Smiling, Kurtz placed the empty green glass on the ground. "You lucky dog, you! No more orders to follow. No limit as to how much booze you can down. I wish I was in your place, Sousuke old boy." He continued to stare into nothingness as if it were all just a dream.

"Maybe they're right. It WOULD help me to understand how to act more like the post I was assigned to." Sousuke was referring to his undercover post as a teenager attending Jindai High. In fact, he was certain he would adapt more easily without the presence of his equipment. It seemed to get him in trouble with Kaname more times than he bargained for.

"Then its settled," he stated in finality. There was no one other than himself in his apartment, but he wasn't aware of that. "Yes…perhaps it is time for a change. Kaname is constantly coercing me into trying new things."

Making up his mind, Sousuke took his place in his cot and drifted off into a trouble-free slumber.

In the following morning, Sousuke decided to visit the multiplex. Since he was going to change his lifestyle, he had to have the wardrobe of a normal teenager. Besides, not many teenage boys wears camouflage every single day. After picking out an outfit that seemed adequately normal, he went to wait in line to pay for it. When it was his turn, he placed his clothes onto the countertop.

"Hi. How's your day been?" asked the young woman working the register. Sousuke smiled, returning the greeting. Suddenly, he remembered a quote Kurtz had recited to him, saying that it was bound to capture the heart of any girl. After Kurtz had said that, he started winking in exuberance. Sousuke had thought his teammate was in need of an eye-disinfectant and immediately rushed him to the medical ward on the De Daanan. But now that the opportunity was right in front of him, he felt somewhat responsible to carry out Weber's bidding.

"Horrible," Sousuke responded, his face contorted in an attempt to earn the woman's sympathy. "Me and my girlfriend broke up today."

"Oh no!" The woman covered her mouth with one hand, her chest with her other. "Why?"

"I'm not sure, it was kind of like a blur. All I know is that I gave her everything... I gave her what she wanted... but still, she throws me off the curve like a usless rodent. I need her, I really love her." Sousuke paused, just like Kurtz had demonstrated, before continuing. "I don't understand, she likes him and not me. I ignored what people say about her, and take good care of our relationship we had for so long, but she throws it away … are women really like this?" He sniffed, looking away and pretending to wipe a tear away. Kurtz had been VERY specific about this aspect of the trick.

Sousuke buried his face in his hands, waiting for a response. He parted his fingers to take a peek only to see the woman standing there. Of course it didn't work, when does any of Kurtz Weber's advice do any good? Giving up, Sousuke retrieved the merchandise and started for the exit, only to be stopped by the employee he had told his story to.

"You seem like a very nice guy," she started, a small smile on her face. She had a folded piece of paper in her hand and gently placed it in Sousuke's palm. "I'd love to help you get past your past relationship. Call me anytime, okay?"

Sousuke stood dumbfounded when the woman stood on her tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek.

Did he just hit on a girl?

Kaname was deeply sedated in the comfort her bed provided when her intercom came to life. Slowly and not to forget grudgingly, she sat upright in her comfy bed and stared daggers at the small intercom near her door. "What kind of person, no, IDIOT, has the NERVE to disrupt my beauty sleep?"

"Kaname, it is I." Sousuke's voice came from the intercom.

Speak of the Devil…

After buzzing the otaku in, Kaname went into the bathroom to freshen up. She was halfway through brushing her teeth when her doorbell rang. She ignored it and commenced her task. It wasn't until the fifth time that she finally gave up and walked toward the door, toothbrush, toothpaste, and all.

"Sousuke, don't you know better than to disrupt a –" She stopped in mid sentence when he abruptly walked past her and plopped down onto her sofa. Still ogling, Kaname walked back to the bathroom to finish brushing her teeth. The toothpaste made it look like she was foaming at the mouth. When she returned, Sousuke was lazily looking her up and down. Kaname couldn't believe her eyes. Was he checking her out?

"Good morning, Kaname," he said smoothly, his attention drawn at the kitchen. Suddenly he felt very hungry. "Would you mind if I make some breakfast here? I haven't had much for dinner last night, and I completely blew off breakfast this morning." After his excursion at the multiplex, he had gone back into his apartment to review several surveillance vids of Sgt. Weber. His actions were, to say the least, peculiar in Sousuke's opinion. But he was willing to do whatever's required in order to achieve his goal.

"No, I don't mind. I was just about to make something to eat. Umm, just stay put and I'll make us something to eat."

"Great! I'll make some tea," Sousuke offered, wearing a smile that seemed to trigger the young Whispered's blood circulation. Kaname blushed when he walked past her and accidentally brushed his hand on her derriere. She wanted to call him a perverted otaku, but it would be wrong of her to. After all, she HAD bought that skimpy white bikini to get his attention, and calling him an otaku would be unjust since he had done nothing the Sousukeshe knew would do.



"Something's different about you…"

"Oh? Yes, I bought some new threads at the mall this morning."

Kaname frowned. 'Clothes? Mall?' Those were two words Sousuke would never be caught saying together.

"Yes, I've noticed your new outfit. It looks nice on you, Sousuke."

Sousuke smiled warmly on her comment, causing Kaname to blush. He was about to comment on her appearance just when Chidori the Cat walked in and gave a welcoming "meow" to her owner. Instead, Sousuke turned his attention away from Kaname and busied himself with his cat, giving Kaname the time to take big breaths to calm herself down.

'It's Sousuke for crying out loud!' screamed her conscience. 'You must be getting soft if this trouble-prone otaku's getting to you, girl.'

"Shut it!" Kaname gasped, covering her mouth when she realized she had said it aloud. But the damage was done.

"Hmm? Kaname, do you need my assistance?"

"Yes, yes that's it. Can you close my sliding door? It's getting to be quite breezy."

She smiled evilly.

"Actually, leave it. You wouldn't want to miss anything good if a strong draft comes into the room, do you?"

She struck a provocative pose just for emphasis.

"Of course no, Kaname," he responded suavely. His eyes were once again transfixed on the girl's body.

Kaname was nonplussed yet again.


She had expected the routine "Uhh…" she was so used to getting from Sousuke when she broached on a subject he had no previous knowledge about. "Hmmpphh!!" She turned indignantly away to get dressed into her outside clothes but her dramatic exit was compromised when she tripped on the steps that led from the kitchen to the living room.

In a swift maneuver, Sousuke hopped over the couch and expertly caught her before she hit the ground, saving her a great deal of embarrassment.

"Are you all right, Kaname?"

Sousuke was not aware that his hands were dangerously close to her chest. To put into words Sousuke could understand, the 'restricted area'. The new Sousuke thought nothing of it. It was, after all, part of his "education".

Kaname was all too aware of how close she and Sousuke were. Yet there was something about him that she had desired for so long, something normal yet nearly unachievable by the likes of Sousuke. He was NORMAL. Before she could muse further, something hard was starting to form on her back.

'But what could…' She froze in her thought.

"Is something the matter?"

'Grr…that damn otaku is getting on my nerves!!'

"Uhh…no, nothing. Help me up." Kaname pulled at his sleeve as he held out his arm to support her. A note of paper consequently slipped from his sleeve. She knelt down to retrieve the small piece of paper and gave him a quizzical look. It was a post-it from a clothing store in the mall. She felt her heart skip a beat when she unfolded the slip of paper and silently read its contents.

Sousuke stiffened when he noticed the hardened look on Kaname's face, knowing all too well what was formulating in that mind of hers. He had seen that look on Sgt. Major Mao's face countless times whenever a certain blonde Sergeant entertained the Special Response Team with his past escapades, which included the opposite genders mores times than none.

"Sousuke, what is this?" It was not a question he was ready to answer.

"Uhh……" He backed into the wall, the advancing Kaname looked more formidable after each step.

His current predicament reminded him of a mission he had dubbed the "cul-de-sac". The SRT received a distress call from a friendly located near North Korea. Mithril had no jurisdiction there and therefore was considered an enemy by the North Koreans. And as it turned out, the distress call was made by a North Korean military official. He, Mao, and Weber went into unordered territory on a false assumption. Metaphorically,they drove onto a street that provided no exit.

In any sense, it was the end of the line for Sousuke.

A/N: Sorry I haven't updated in a while. I promise to make it up to you, the readers, by completing this story by the end of this month. Please review.