Author's Note: I'm back! It's been a long time, but this story is not over, nor has it been forgotten. Since I have so many unfinished stories, the ones that are updated are the ones that I have been thinking about or have had the urge to work on. This update is a consequence of one of those urges. Leave me feedback or constructive criticism if you'd like!

Disclaimer: I don't own Akira

Tetsuo relaxed himself as they entered the city, even more so when he parked in front of her dorm building. In that amount of time Kaori had taken two naps and processed most of what she and Tetsuo discussed that night.

Her thoughts were flooded by fantasies of the future they were likely to share now that she knew what he thought of her physically. She imagined the happy times their future would bring. They would go out more and he would spend the night more. She had a feeling that, now that he told her one of his biggest secrets, she would never catch him in compromising situations ever again. That last thought made her heart soar.

Her excitement was not radiating off of her like it usually did when she was happy, though. She couldn't understand why she wasn't beaming as bright as the sun at these wonderful thoughts. She refused to dwell on that for too long. Figuring that it was just fatigue, she laid her head on his shoulder for one last moment of the peaceful ride before standing.

Both walked into the building and entered the room in silence. The way they moved about and got ready for bed was almost mechanical. Kaori was not surprised that he was spending the night with her, though most would think that after all the time they'd spent together, he would be sick of her. But what they established that night changed everything, and both knew it.

Kaori got out of the shower to see Tetsuo already in bed—clad in a red wife-beater and another pair of sweats from his personal drawer—waiting for her. She sighed in content and walked over to lie next to him. She could barely repress the smile that graced her face as he took her form in his arms and pulled her to his body. She snuggled up close and positioned her head directly over his heart, listening to his heartbeat as he stroked her hair affectionately.

The time they were spending was theirs. There were no problems and nothing could break them apart. She noticed that, in that span of time, there had been no Alex, no bike gangs, no promiscuous girls vying for her man's attention...nothing. This continued for a few more serene minutes before Kaori broke the silence.

"I can't sleep, Tetsuo."

"Really? Why not?" He asked tenderly. The tone he used made her heart soar.

"I don't know. I guess I'm just thinking about everything that's happened with us."

He was silent for a moment as he thought about what she said. It was true; what went on between them was an enormous step in their relationship. That was the first time since asking her out that he was truly able to open up.

"Yeah, me too." He replied.

Kaori lifted her head from its place on his chest to look him in the eyes.

"Tetsuo? What if Alex comes by? Or we see him if we go out?"

She didn't know why she was asking this.

"I don't want to talk about that loser right now." He replied gruffly. He still did not trust "pretty boy", and the last thing he wanted was to talk about him after such an emotional day.

"We'll deal with him if we see him. Same goes for Kaneda and the rest of them. But I'm pretty sure none of them are going to come by tonight. By tomorrow though…" He trailed off and Kaori glanced up in question.

"Tomorrow I may not be around a lot. Kaneda wants to go after the clowns one of these days, so we have to plan how we're gonna do it."

Kaori nodded against his chest and moved closer to him. Even with the threat of him getting injured or worse, Kaori was kind of glad that he was hanging out with the gang tomorrow. It felt like things were going back to normal, back to before she met Alex.

Because the girls and boys had their own separate schools, Kaneda and the gang would wreak havoc on their own and then meet up with the girls by the end of school. They would all then go their separate ways with their respective girlfriends or they would all stay together and keep planning attacks while the girls would sit together and complain about how the guys weren't spending any time with them. Then Kaori would leave earlier than the rest and go back to her dorm and study a little before either calling her two best friends to hang out or calling it an early night. Tetsuo didn't normally come by as much as he had in the last few days, so normally she would expect him at some early morning hour maybe once or twice a week. And then the cycle would repeat the next day.

It seems like somewhat of a menial existence, but considering how much Tetsuo and most of the other orphanage kids weren't huge fans of change, this schedule was just fine with them.

As Kaori felt Tetsuo dose off, her mind kept racing and thinking about what she was going to do about everything. Between her dreams of a future with Tetsuo and Alex coming into her life, she realized that there was a lot that she wasn't happy with and wanted to change. She already took the first steps in helping her relationship, and that had amazing results. Tetsuo wouldn't change overnight, and nor would she. But even still, they had a deeper understanding of one another's feelings that they hadn't previously had, and they were both happier already. Now she wanted to focus on what to do about her friendships, specifically Alex.

He'd made his intentions with her known basically from the moment the two met. She liked him as a friend and he liked her as more than a friend. But despite Kaori being a nice person, she wasn't that nice. She saw how the last few days affected everything around her, and she also knew that Alex did a lot of what he did purposely. Whether it was an attempt to break Kaori and Tetsuo up or just an attempt at protecting her, she wasn't sure. But the one thing she did know was that next time she saw him, she was going to make it very clear that in order to be her friend, he needed to keep his distance and stop provoking Tetsuo. She just met Alex a few days ago; he had no right to walk into her life and cause the drama he had. And it also wasn't right that she allowed him to do it.

So, in order to start her improved relationship with Tetsuo properly, she would tell Alex all that she was feeling. With that problem solved, she could concentrate on more important things.

But as Kaori drifted off to sleep with Tetsuo's arms firmly wrapped around her, she suspected that this talk with Alex was not going to be as easy as she hoped it would be.