Started: February 25, 2001
Finished: April 6, 2001
Revised: January 9, 2005

"You Know It's Love"
Part 3: Lovers

A week passed before Ken Ichijouji and Daisuke Motomiya saw each other again, remarking quite bluntly to each other that they would never work together as a Cupid duo. Ken remarked with a sigh that there was definitely a reason neither of them had ended up being the Child of Love. Daisuke jokingly replied he would work with Iori Hida if the need to play Cupid again ever struck him, which caused Ken to punch him in response. Another week passed before either talked to the other again.

Osamu Ichijouji and Jun Motomiya were a different story entirely, however. The two young teenagers were unable to keep away from each other, spending every free moment together. They were openly going out, holding hands and Jun introducing Osamu to all her friends. It got out quickly that the elder of the Ichijouji brothers was now taken, and Jun found herself being talked about in every other way that she could have dreamed of. Ken was also faced with a change; whereas he formerly had thirty to forty girls fawning over him, he now had nearly eighty swooning fangirls awaiting him at his soccer games.

Three weeks after The Shed Incident, as the four now referred to the fateful event on that rainy day, Jun was being dragged to Daisuke's latest soccer game against Tamachi. Of course, the girl was more than happy to be dragged off; it gave her a reason to see Osamu again without seeming like an obsessed adolescent. She skipped happily, making flighty small talk with her little brother all the way across town. As they reached the soccer field, they couldn't help but stare at the large gathering of girls, ranging from their preteens to their late teens, screaming and squealing about something in the heart of the chaos.

"No doubt that Ken's in there somewhere," Daisuke sighed, scratching the back of his neck as he neared.

"Gods, those two are natural girl-magnets," Jun whispered, unable to resist the urge to shake her head sadly. And you've snatched one of them, you lucky girl…

There was a chuckle from behind them. "No kidding."

The two Motomiyas swung around, almost bowling over the person who had snuck up on them. Daisuke blinked hard, then immediately began to apologize. "Agh, sorry Koushiro! Geez, are you okay??"

Koushiro Izumi dusted off his jacket and grinned. "I'm fine; don't get strung out, Daisuke." He looked at Jun and bowed in greeting. "I'm Koushiro Izumi, Osamu's best friend. I take it that you're Jun?"

Jun smiled. "The computer whiz of Odaiba Junior High! I hear you know more about computers than Osamu-kun!"

The short redhead shrugged modestly, looking past the two to see Osamu and Ken wrench themselves from the crowd of crazy fans. Jun turned and ran to the older of the two, throwing her arms around him and smiling triumphantly at the girls that looked her way. Ken smiled nervously, noting the suddenly-predatory looks he was getting from the large mob.

Daisuke dragged Ken down the stadium steps quickly, sweatdropping profusely as a wave of girls followed after them. "My God, Ken, why didn't you bring a stick with you!?" he growled, breaking into a descending sprint.

"For what!?" demanded the older boy, barely balancing himself out as he pulled out of Daisuke's grip.

"Beating the dang fangirls down, of course!" hissed his best friend, reaching the bottom of the steps and charging out onto the soccer field. Ken suppressed a scream as the parade of girls followed right after them, waving notepads and flashing cameras all the while.

The three teenagers watched from a safe distance away, Osamu whistling lowly as his little brother and Daisuke bowled through the four defense players from Odaiba's team, running along the edge of the soccer field with the girls still hot on their heels. Daisuke's wail of outrage was audible from where the three stood. "I've never seen the fangirls act that aggressive…"

"Well, one of the Ichijouji brothers have already been taken," shrugged Koushiro, looking on as the Tamachi midfielders became the next victims of the spectacular chase. "The battle is on for the other one."

Jun looked absolutely astonished by the scene. "Wow… I've never seen Dai move so fast in my entire life…"

x x x x x

That day, Odaiba and Tamachi tied. Again.

After running for their lives for nearly thirty minutes, both Daisuke and Ken were rescued from their pursuers by their older siblings and a group of adults consisting of their coaches and the referees. As it turned out, the two star players were in no condition to begin the game; something between a tragedy and a blessing for the two coaches. Both of the teams lost their major scorers, which led to a desperate struggle to gain the advantage throughout the game. It was a dull game with an ending score of 0-0 -- a new and incredibly sad low for both teams.

Osamu and Jun didn't even bother cheering.

Jun grumbled as Daisuke wearily climbed the steps, followed closely by Ken. "You two should be ashamed of yourselves!" she huffed, arms akimbo.

Both eleven-year-olds straightened in bewilderment. "What?!" demanded her little brother as he pulled a familiar pair of goggles from his bag and put them on. "What the heck is that supposed to mean?!"

"You two should've been out there!" Osamu joined in, arms crossed as he stood next to Jun. "We didn't come to watch you two warm the bench!"

Ken and Daisuke traded aghast looks before Ken sputtered a reply. "B-- but you saw what happened! We couldn't have played--"

"'Couldn't' is such a harsh word, Ken," Koushiro chuckled, an impish grin growing on his face. The three teens laughed as the two boys gaped indignantly.

"We came here to watch you beat each other up!" Jun laughed, smiling widely as Daisuke's eyes continued to grow larger. "It's so much fun watching you two battle it out!"

"No kidding," Osamu agreed, watching Ken's eyes begin to twitch. "Like that slide tackle last game, Ken! You wiped Motomiya out for the whole play!"

"He did not," defended Jun. "He got up again!"

"And then tripped!" retorted the older Ichijouji.

"… … So what?! My bro could kick your bro's butt!"

"I'd like to see him try! My brother can outsmart him any day!"

"'Try!?' He will! Just you wait, Ichijouji!"

"Will I get to see it in this lifetime??"

The two teenagers' younger siblings gave each other determined looks, then shouted in unison, "Did it ever occur to you two that we don't want to kill each other!? We're friends too, you know!"

Osamu and Jun stopped their argument, blinking at their little brothers. Grinning at their accomplishment, Ken and Daisuke gave each other a high-five and began laughing. Koushiro joined in their laughter, leaving the young couple to blush by themselves.

x x x x x

Jun held Osamu's hand as they walked through downtown Odaiba, glancing at her surroundings with a newfound appreciation. In the past, she had always been too wrapped up in chasing boys to pay attention to her surroundings; finding a steady boyfriend opened up a whole new world for her. I kinda like this…

"Hey, I just want to let you know that, as your boyfriend, I'm supposed to shower you with gifts," Osamu said, breaking the silence between them. He turned those wonderful violet eyes on her. "I really can't do that, though, since I don't have a job and my parents hide all the money I make off of doing commercials…"

The red-haired Motomiya laughed and hugged her boyfriend's arm. "I don't need gifts from you, Osamu-kun," she cooed. "Your cute face is enough for me!"

Osamu grinned, the slightest hint of a blush making its way to his face. He bent down and kissed the girl on the forehead, then resumed walking. They remained this way until a pair of blondes appeared in the distance. Jun straightened, blinking as she recognized the older of the duo. She smiled and waved with her free arm. "Yamato!"

Yamato…? Osamu tensed at the name, remembering how Koushiro had described the boy. Her crush?

As the two groups met, Osamu got his first look at the other fourteen-year-old. He grudgingly admitted that the other boy was good-looking, with his hair stylishly gelled and with an aura of coolness that would probably send girls raving. At his side was a younger boy about Ken's age, wearing a hat and smiling jovially -- as if nothing could go wrong with his day. From their appearances alone, Osamu was able to tell the two were related.

"Hi, Jun," greeted Yamato Ishida. He was able to be calm around the girl now, seeing as she was attached and no longer chasing him. His eyes shifted from the girl to the indigo-haired genius standing next to her. He didn't fail to notice the glare he was receiving. "Osamu Ichijouji, the prodigy of Tamachi. I've heard a lot about you." He held his hand out in greeting. "I'm Yamato Ishida. This is my little brother, Takeru."

Osamu managed a thin smile as he took the boy's hand, shaking it and squeezing it firmly. "A pleasure," he said mildly. "I've … heard about you as well, Yamato."

"Osamu-kun, Yamato is the lead singer of the band Teen-Age Wolves," explained Jun, not noticing the wariness in her boyfriend's eyes. "I've had a crush on him for a long time, but I've moved on."

Yamato smiled, a bit surprised by Jun's statement; she had openly admitted that she had had a crush on him in the presence of both him and her boyfriend. He watched as Osamu's eyes slowly softened. "… Is that so?" the violet-eyed boy said, adjusting his glasses as if to see Yamato in a whole new light. "So you're a singer, Yamato?"

"Only as a hobby and part-time job," replied the slightly-older boy with a shrug. "I'm pretty good at it, but there's not much of a future in it."

Takeru smirked next to his brother. "He also likes the scores of girls screaming his name," he said innocently. Yamato grinned, hitting the younger blonde playfully before looking back at his fellow teenagers. Takeru laughed. "I'm friends with both of your little brothers."

"Daisuke talks about you sometimes," Jun murmured, nodding in confirmation. "'Can't say all of it's good, but he does talk about you."

Osamu frowned in thought. "I think Ken's talked about you before… You're friends with a Hikari, right?"

"That's right -- Hikari Yagami. We're all in the computer club together."

Jun couldn't restrain her laughter. "Daisuke, in a computer club? He can't get near a computer without breaking something in it!"

Takeru shrugged, glancing away for a second. "Yeah, well, Daisuke's pretty helpful… He's actually done some pretty admirable things for all of us."

Yamato cleared his throat noisily, giving his little brother a pointed look. "We've gotta get going, you two; I have to get Takeru back home before I head for band practice."

The subject changed, Takeru huffed in annoyance. "I don't need an escort."

"Mom seems to think differently, squirt," chuckled the singer, giving a small salute to the young couple. "Sorry to cut the chat short, but I don't want to make the band to wait." He shook Osamu's hand again and smiled at Jun. "Nice to meet you, Osamu… Hey, does this mean that you won't be coming to our concerts anymore, Jun?"

The red-haired girl grinned. "Just because I'm not playing stalker anymore doesn't mean I'm gonna stop listening to your music, Yamato. I'm not that shallow."

x x x x x

Less than a week after the encounter with Yamato, Osamu and Jun found themselves sitting back in front of a now-familiar soccer field. They had arrived ahead of their brothers at Ken's request, who wanted to save himself from the rabid fangirls that would be waiting for his arrival. Presently, a large group of teenage girls blocked the main way into the stands, chattering excitedly amongst themselves as they waited for the younger Ichijouji.

"So, who do you think is going to win?" Jun queried, resting her chin in her hands. Osamu was once again on his laptop, instant messaging Koushiro as they waited for their siblings to arrive.

"I really don't know," Osamu replied as he finished his message to his best friend and sent it. "How many times have they tied now? Three?"

"Four," corrected his girlfriend with a sigh. She hid her face in her hands for a second to groan loudly. "I'm getting tired of cheering at a game that doesn't have a winning team."

Osamu smiled thinly. "Imagine being one of the players," he murmured. He looked behind him, seeing Daisuke walking down the stone steps. "Here comes your brother, Jun."

Jun looked up at that, waving her goggle-wearing brother over to where they were sitting. "Where's Ken?" she immediately queried.

Daisuke scratched the back of his head and made a sound with the back of his throat. "He told me to go on ahead; he wanted to spare me the physical punishment of fangirls." He looked at his best friend's older brother with his arms crossed. "What the heck makes you guys so popular? It can't just be your brains; Koushiro's just as smart as either of you and he doesn't have flocks of fans chasing him across soccer fields…"

The indigo-haired teenager offered a finger for every reason. "Let's see … other than the brains, Ken and I have natural talent and charisma."

"Natural charisma," huffed the shorter boy crossly.

"I'd say it's natural," Jun said, brows shooting up. "How do you get unnatural charisma?"

Waving off the question, Daisuke turned to make his way down to the field. "I've gotta get down there and start warming up. Can you save Ken if he gets mobbed by his adoring fans?"

No sooner did those words come out of Daisuke's mouth did a single girl from the crowd scream, pointing wildly at an approaching figure. As the two Motomiyas and Osamu turned, the army of girls ran down the street. There was an audible scream that struck a chord of familiarity among the three.

Daisuke watched the scene passively, then began marching up the steps. "… . Never mind; I'll get him."

The young couple simply watched, holding hands as they watched three dozen girls fight over Ken Ichijouji. "… Aren't you glad you got a girlfriend before your little brother?" Jun whispered, leaning over to rest her head on Osamu's shoulder.

"Very," confirmed Osamu, looking down at Jun calmly before placing a kiss on her forehead.

-- End --

Ah, light-hearted and kinda fluffy, I guess. I don't usually write like this, but it was a nice change. Romances are nice when they aren't angsty, ne? I really liked this idea; Osamu's presence in Ken's life has created a very different Ken and thus a very different 02 world.

So … who wins that last game between Odaiba and Tamachi? Well, you get to decide. :-P Take a coin -- no trick coins, okay? Anyway, take the coin and toss it in the air. If it's heads, Odaiba loses and Tamachi doesn't win. If it's tails, the teams tie. Enjoy!