A/N: A g00d day t0 y0u… This fic is an entry t0 the December 2004 challenge in the recently b0rn fanficti0n site called 'Whispers'. It's a pretty simple yet c00l shrine, and I bet after s0me time it w0uld c0ntain t0ns 0f fics. n0ds appr0vingly Anyway, with0ut much ad0, read 0n. ü

Disclaimer: I d0 n0t 0wn Flame 0f Recca 0r any 0f its characters. The general idea 0f this fic d0esn't bel0ng t0 me as well. All I 0wn are the supp0rting details, descripti0ns, and this fic in its written state (at least there's s0mething, n0h?). Hmm, are there m0re? Standard disclaimers apply. ü

Another accompaniment of thunder and lightning split the solid sky in half and brought an inevitable sound to its spectators. Droplets of water fell from the endless patch of black, soaking every uncovered being instantly. Yet, most of these beings, specifically the youngsters, didn't take heed of the downpour; they dashed as a pack across the streets, even letting out a chorus of laughter when a companion or two accidentally loses his balance on the wet pavement. So lost in their fun, they unknowingly took their elders for granted. The adults either ran for taxis or took shelter beneath waiting sheds to escape the coldness of the pouring rain. A couple, or so it seemed, did the latter.

"I wonder when this rain would cease." Hanabishi Shigeo complained for the umpteenth time that night as he rubbed the exposed flesh of his right arm with his left hand. He shifted his weight slightly and arranged his right hand's grip on the shopping bags that it held, which were getting heavier and heavier as time continued to fly. Beside him, Kagero stood wordlessly, yet the same feeling could be painted from her beautiful face – eagerness to go home.

They had been standing there, under the care of the waiting shed, for half an hour already. They had gone out to buy something to eat for Recca and his gang, because the children were having a sleep over at the Hanabishi residence that night. Unsuspecting the heavy rain, they left without even securing themselves with umbrellas. And so there they were, witnessing how it rained cats and dogs and hoping that the rain would get lighter immediately. But they knew that it would take ample time before that happened.

"So," Shigeo started, finally giving up on their standing match. He made his way to the wall behind them and sat himself on the ground. "Hmm, it feels better. My legs are aching terribly!" He flashed Kagero a smile and the woman smiled back. She moved as well and sat herself beside him.

Shigeo reached inside the shopping bag and brought out some muffins. He grinned at the beautiful lady beside him and remarked, "Guess we're having our own picnic." He could see the sparkle in her eyes when she saw their to-be treat.

Kagero nodded, masking the hunger that she instantly felt, and replied, "I bet the children are having their leisure time as well."

And indeed, they were having their leisure time. Hmm, rephrase that. They were actually having the time of their lives. But that was before something dreadful happened.

Missing Piece

By: Yuki ü

A triumphant shout echoed in the whole house as an overjoyed Hanabishi Recca jumped with glee for several times. Yet, despite his attention-catching behavior, he caught none of the house's occupants' attentions, except one – that of a scowling Koganei Kaoru who was slumped on the floor in defeat. Recca flashed the boy with a peace sign, and Kaoru accepted it reluctantly. They had been competing with each other in a battle game in the play station, and Kaoru had been losing for ten times successively.

"What a lucky guy…" The young boy with spiky brown hair murmured to himself, as they readied themselves for another battle.

Meanwhile, the same competition was cooking on the other side of the living room. Kirisawa Fuuko was dancing around as the screen in front of her displayed her favorite boxer, punching its opponent mercilessly to a pulp. On the sofa opposite the screen, a frustrated Ishijima Domon sat, fingers crossed and praying that his bet would pay back for the punches bestowed on him. Fuuko noticed the angry expression on her friend's face and patted him sympathetically at the back.

"Don't you worry Domon, a time will come when your idol will win." Domon was about to say thank you, but before he could do so, Fuuko added, "But I bet now's not the time." She scampered away as Domon almost erupted with rage. He was getting ready to throw a chair at the TV when his boxer fell on his knees, but Fuuko's attempts to calm him down were effective.

Mikagami Tokiya let out a sigh. He had been sitting on one of the couches at the living room, trying to read a book, with no avail. Noise here and noise there. How could he concentrate?

He thought of going to the kitchen to help Sakoshita Yanagi with the food; Recca's mother and father were taking long at the groceries so Yanagi volunteered to make a meal. Tokiya have already predicted that Recca's parents were stranded somewhere out there. But, judging on how his companions were too busy and too happy with what they were doing, he had also predicted that they didn't have plans of fetching the elders. They were, after all, having the time of their lives.

And even though he wasn't able to grasp well the essence of the book that he was reading, Tokiya was also having the time of his life. Well, sort of.

He smiled inwardly as he watched Fuuko make another leap as her bet continued on his way to victory. His eyes traveled from her lustrous violet locks, to her vibrant eyes, her petite nose, full pink lips, and her smooth, fair skin. He couldn't even deny the fact that she looked very womanly, even with her rough attitude.

Tokiya let out a sigh. He had been alone and cold for years, ever since his sister died. All he wanted then was revenge for his lost love that he hadn't even thought of having friends or finding another love. When he had met Yanagi, the mirror image of his lost sister, he thought that he could finally live again. But he was wrong. And that was because Yanagi belonged to someone else, to Recca, and Tokiya knew that they'd be happy together. Somehow, he knew that he still hadn't found the missing piece of him.

But as he watched the Fuujin wielder dance merrily in front of him, he couldn't help but admire her beauty. There was something that he was feeling inside whenever he was with her, which was still alien for him. And then he wondered – was it what they called 'love'? He shook his head. It couldn't be. But why was he thinking that it was the purple-head who could fill the empty space within him?

His thoughts suddenly vanished as the sight of the lady in front of him was gone in a blink. He could see nothing, but he heard a scream coming from where he thought the kitchen was. Another accompaniment of thunder and lightning called his attention, and it was only then that he was aware of the raindrops drumming on the house's roof.

The time of their lives was awfully gone – the lights had gone out.

Fuuko wailed like a child, complaining about how she would miss her favorite boxer's victory. It could be predicted that Domon was nothing but happy, though he kept his glee to himself in fear that he would piss his Fuuko off if he let it show. Everything was visible for a moment when Recca had summoned Saiha, the fire blade on the ninja's arm glowing brightly.

"I'll be checking on Hime for a while." Recca announced, turning to leave. Kaoru was still sitting on the floor beside him, still pressing the buttons of the play station controller as if it was still functioning.

"Domon, I think there a flashlight somewhere in my room upstairs. Kindly get it for us as well." Recca gave the big guy a grin and went off into the kitchen. The room was again engulfed by darkness.

Domon faked a cry like some sissy. "I don't want to go alone." He implied, waiting for anyone to volunteer on accompanying him upstairs. He howled some more, his cries irritating his friends' ears.

"Stop it, will you?" Fuuko snapped at him, and instantly he stopped like a robot. "Come on, let's get the flashlight so it wouldn't be freakin' dark here." The sound of the girl's light footsteps echoed in the room, to be joined by the sound of heavy footsteps coming from the huge guy. After some time, the sounds had vanished.

Kaoru let down the controller after several minutes, as if it was only then that he realized that the game had gone off. He crawled in the dark until he found himself sitting in front of a cabinet. He opened it slowly and tried to identify the things inside. There were hardbound books, magazines, some toys, a basketball, and others. Kaoru raised an eyebrow in confusion as his small hands found a pouch, which seemed to be full of small things. He opened it and realized that it contained puzzle pieces, and a lot of them to be precise. He wondered where the frame was, and after some more groping in the dark, he found it between the cabinet and the table where the play station was placed.

"Hey, Tokiya-niichan, are you there?" The boy asked the darkness before him. He could make out a 'hn' after several seconds, and then he continued, "I found something that we could busy ourselves with!" He sang, but just as he was about to drag the frame along, he was stopped by a scream, then a crash, then a thump. And add a frustrated 'ouch' to that. And probably a curse.

"Fuuko-chan, are you ok?" The worried voice of Domon could be heard, followed by loud footsteps from where the staircase was. Fuuko groaned. "I'm not ok, you big maniac!" She shot back, followed by a moan of pain. Then she was visible as white light appeared.

"I'm sorry." Domon said, holding the flashlight up to examine Fuuko's ankle. It got twisted, but it wasn't that bad. It could heal eventually if she'd rest it for a while.

Tokiya and Kaoru appeared beside them and Recca and Yanagi emerged from the kitchen, their faces showing worry, except Tokiya's, that is. Upon interrogating, it was found out that Domon had made good use of the time he had with Fuuko in the dark, and attempted to kiss her. But before he could do so, the girl's foot slid from where she was standing and eventually, she fell. After much shaking of heads and scolding, Recca and Yanagi returned to the kitchen, and Fuuko, Tokiya and Kaoru sat themselves on the living room floor. Meanwhile, Domon went for the bathroom, still feeling guilty.

For several minutes, the three youth in the living room busied themselves with the puzzle that Kaoru had found, with Tokiya as the least enthusiastic, that is. So far, they had made out the roof of an elegant house, and some rose bushes on the lawn before it. They haven't even finished half of it when Recca and Yanagi appeared, the ninja holding a tray with bowls of steaming soup. Kaoru had jumped up immediately to greet the food.

"Kindly get me one too!" Fuuko shouted at the young lad, who nodded in reply. He handed Fuuko one hot bowl, and the girl sniffed the aroma completely. All the others got their own bowls as well.

"Where's Domon?" Recca asked in query, when he noticed that the guy was not present. As if on cue, the owner of the Dosei no Wa arrived from the corridor that lead to the back door, dripping wet and hugging an equally drenched cat near his chest. He smiled sheepishly at his friends.

"Sorry, I just heard her making noise outside when I was in the bathroom, and I thought of bringing her in." He spoke his apologies, although none of his friends seemed mad at him at all. Yanagi even looked worried.

"Poor kitty…" The brown-haired lady remarked, patting the cat gently on its back as it purred. "Come on, I'll make you feel warm." She smiled an angelic smiled as Domon gave her the cat, which she cradled in her arms protectively. She was making her way to the kitchen when Recca called her.

"Yanagi-hime, I'll be accompanying you." He said as he finished his soup and ran to his princess' side. He looked back at Domon, and commanded with a grin, "Go change."

Domon nodded, but he was afraid of going upstairs alone. Still, knowing that he had to, he motioned to leave.

"Hey, need company?" Kaoru asked, concerned. Domon nodded rather sheepishly, and the young boy hopped to his side. "Just don't go trying to kiss me." He joked, showing his fangs, and the older guy nodded, taking the joke seriously. Before they were completely up the stairs, Kaoru shouted to the two who were left behind, "Go finish the puzzle, ok?" And then they were gone.

And so, as told, Fuuko and Tokiya continued the puzzle, without much conversation. Every now and then, Fuuko could feel Tokiya's eyes on her, but she really wasn't sure. And she didn't have plans on making sure. If she caught him staring, what would she do next? Get blushy-blushy like a girl? Tease him? She really didn't know.

But against her will, her eyes suddenly shifted to him when she felt him staring at her again, and indeed, he was. He was completely caught off-guard that he quickly shifted his gaze down to the puzzle pieces on the floor.

"You were staring at me." Fuuko stated, with a tone that asked 'why?'. Tokiya was immediately defensive.

"I wasn't." He simply stated, not even looking up. An amused smiled made its way to the girl's face. What's the use of denying, anyway? It wasn't like she'd faint like some fan girl if he admitted that he was indeed staring at her.

"You were. I saw you." She remarked in a completely teasing voice. Tokiya could feel his heart racing in his chest. Wait, why was he getting nervous anyway? He cursed himself inwardly.

"So, what will you do if I was?" Tokiya asked, dropping the piece that he was holding as his fingers shook uneasily. / What's the problem with you? / He mentally scolded himself, trying to be cold and collected again but failing miserably.

"I'd ask you why." Fuuko answered, her smile growing wider. She just loved it when Tokiya loses his composed self. He looked rather cute.

But, he was composed again all of a sudden. Fuuko's smile vanished when the Ensui-wielder smirked. "I just wanted to see how a monkey thinking over a puzzle looks like." He was glad of having returned to his cold self. On the outside, that is. Inside, he was still nervous.

Fuuko was about to punch him square in the face for what he said when she found out that she still couldn't move much. She cursed as pain shot from her ankle, and Tokiya helped her place it comfortably on the floor. After much arguing and more teasing, they decided to continue working on the puzzle.

The rain drummed steadily on the roof, a little lighter that time. The wind howled gently outside as the thunders started to cease.

Fuuko stifled a yawn before looking back at the puzzle frame. There was only a piece left to place, which was bound to fill in the last rose that was missing on one of the rose bushes.

She and Tokiya had been working on the puzzle for almost an hour, without even signs of the others. They had predicted Domon and Kaoru to have fallen asleep upstairs, and Recca and Yanagi to have been spending quality time alone in the kitchen. Well, actually, they didn't care much.

Fuuko reached out for the last piece on the floor, and Tokiya reached out as well. His hand rested on top of hers accidentally, and suddenly their hearts started to race in their chests. Tokiya turned his gaze towards her, only to be captured by her deep, questioning eyes. He was lost in her eternal vibrant orbs, lost in her touch, lost in her scent…

/ I need to tell her, how much I love her…/

Fuuko gulped as Tokiya's grip on her hand tightened, and his face inched towards hers. She saw his eyes closing, and could feel hers getting heavy as well, much to her surprise.

/ Fuuko, what's happening to you? /

She felt his other hand circle her waist, and she ran her free hand through his silky hair unconsciously. / Oh my gosh… / She murmured in her thoughts as she felt his breath against her lips, his nose slightly touching hers. / …am I… dreaming? / She thought, as she felt his lips brush lightly over hers and…

Suddenly, the lights went on.

Fuuko's eyes opened and met Tokiya's bewildered ones, their lips mere millimeters apart. The Ensui wielder moved away from her and made his way upstairs, not even looking back. His heart was thudding loudly in his chest.

/ What did I do?/

Downstairs, Fuuko was in trance. Her hand traveled to her lips, touching them lightly.

/ What had just happened? / She asked herself, wondering if she had just been dreaming. Her thoughts were gone when the front door clicked open, two slightly drenched adults stepping inside with shopping bags in tow.

"Fuuko, you're still awake?" Shigeo asked, and then he saw the puzzle frame on the floor. "Oh, I see that you've finished the puzzle!" He remarked, as he and Kagero both made their way to the kitchen to keep the goods in the fridge.

/ Almost…/ Fuuko thought to herself, as she listened to how the aged man and his son chatted. But, she had retrieved her attention from them when she felt that she was still holding on to something. Opening her hand, she saw the last puzzle piece, a lone rose greeting her with its beauty.

Fuuko smiled, placing the last piece on the puzzle frame. Contented on what they had done, she turned the puzzle frame upside down, the falling pieces making an audible crash on the floor.

Upstairs, Tokiya smiled to himself as he listened to the soft crash from outside the room. He really didn't mind if Fuuko kept the pieces once again; he was planning to detach them as well, actually. He closed his eyes and smiled as what had transpired between them played in his mind yet again. Soon, he would find the time and the courage to tell her what he really felt. He loved her, and that was for sure.

Finally, he felt complete. He had found the missing piece of him.


Yehey, I finished it! I h0pe it's n0t late f0r the deadline, th0ugh. Anyway, d0 y0u think it's g00d en0ugh? Then please v0te for it at h t t p : w w w . w h i s p e r f i c s . c j b . n e t / (kindly rem0ve the spaces). And, if y0u're kind en0ugh, please leave me a review. I'd truly appreciate it! ü

Anyway, here is the general idea of the fic, as stated in the current challenge's requirements:

Challenge: Some characters (your choice) are stuck in a rainstorm in someone's house. The lights go out. Someone finds a flashlight, and to let time pass, they all decide to put together a jigsaw puzzle in the dark. It's really difficult, but there's nothing else to do. When the lights are back, did they finish the jigsaw puzzle or not? There's a cat making a lot of noise outside, should they bring it in? On top of everything, someone wants to confess his/her love to someone else.

S0, that's it. I know my fic didn't meet the requirements fully, but I'm satisfied with my w0rk anyway. Please be kind, v0te for this piece, and leave a review! I h0pe th0se aren't t00 much t0 ask. G0d bless y0u. ü

- yuki ü -

Started: December 2, 2004, 9:56 AM

Finished: December 3, 2004, 11:45 AM