Count On Us

Night had fallen. The moon hung low in the sky, a barely visible thread, just after the full moon.

Mr. and Mrs. Motamiya walked past Daisuke's room. "Daisuke." His mother slipped into the room, but it was so dark, she looked like a gray shadow on the wall. "Goodbye Daisuke. I love you sweetheart." She walked over to her sleeping son and kissed him on the forehead. "Goodbye…" She wiped a tear from her cheek. She rushed into her daughter's room to say goodbye.

"Honey." Her husband said, before she entered Jun's room. "We have to go. It was our dream to get away together."

"I know Tyler…but I have to say goodbye to Jun first. I already said goodbye to Daisuke."

"Well, I can't stop you. Go ahead Emma."

She walked into Jun's room. "Jun?" Jun was asleep as well, hugging a stuffed animal she'd been given the day she was born. "Jun, I'm going to miss you…but you've got to take good care of everything. Your dad and me have a dream to go away together, and we just have to. I'm counting on you to take care of everything." She began to cry even harder and fled the room. "I love you Jun!"

They made up their minds, and they started packing

Left before the sun came up that day

An exit to eternal summer slacking

But where were they going without ever knowing the way?

"Morning Daisuke!" Chibimon said, bouncing into the air.

"Hey Chibs. Hey you don't happen to know where I put my homework do you?"
"No…"

Daisuke got up and got dressed. He ran into the hallway. "Mom! Where's my homework?"

No answer. "Dad? You know where my homework is?"

Jun came out of her room; tears were streaming down her face. "Daisuke look at this." She produced a slip of paper.

Daisuke took it and read;

Dear Jun & Daisuke

You father and I have wanted to go away together, forever, for a long time. Now's our only chance. If we don't go now, our responsibilities will be too much to leave behind. So, we took the car and drove away. We're not coming back.

I love you both very much, and I'm confident in your ability to take care of things. I'm very sorry. Be good, take care of yourselves. I'll send money.

I love you…my babies.

Love, Mom

"They left?" Daisuke asked. He started to cry to.

"Yes. I can't believe this. We're orphans now, Daisuke." Jun had a tendency to be overly dramatic.

"The just left us…" Daisuke whispered. "They didn't even say goodbye."

"I know. How could they just go…?"

They stared into each others crying faces for a few minutes. "Mommy and Daddy left us…" Jun said

Daisuke stared at the blackboard, unable to focus on a word the teacher said. "Daisuke, could you kindly pay attention?" Ms. Soruki, the science teacher said angrily.

"Oh, I'm sorry Ms. Soruki."

"That's all right. Just pay attention. Now, would everyone please hand in their homework?"

Daisuke panicked. He knew if he didn't have his homework one more time he'd get detention. And he had done it! He just couldn't find it. If mom had been there, she would've been able to tell him instantly. She always seemed to know. But she wasn't…she had just packed up and left.

They drank up the wine…and they got to talking

They now had more important things to say

And when the car broke down they started walking

Where were they going without ever knowing the way?

"Daisuke, everyone's handed in there homework but you. Where is it?" The teacher demanded.

"I did it, but I lost it."

"You lost your homework?" Ms. Soruki's eyebrows were starting to twitch. "Alright then. Detention for you. Four hours after school. I am fed up with you."

"I told you, I did the homework!" Daisuke crumpled up a drawing he'd been doing in his notebook. He held it tight in his fist. He'd never been so mad before. Since when did he care about homework?

"I don't care. You don't have it."

Daisuke stood up, tears streamed down his face. "I did the homework goddammit!"

TK, who sat next to him, said, "Daisuke, its just detention. You've been to detention a thousand times. So you go again. Who cares?"

"That's not the point…that's not the point…" He fell back into his chair and sobbed pitifully.

"Well then what is?"

"Would you just shut up!?"

"Okay, okay…"

"Um…Mrs. Miliko?" He asked the school secretary. "Can I make a phone call?" He really needed to call his sister. After what happened, he knew she would be more then terrified if he didn't come home on time.

"Sure Daisuke. But I'm sure your mother would guess you're in detention if you don't come home."

"Well, the situation at homes a bit shaky, and I should call."

"Is anything wrong? Can you tell me?"

"Nothings wrong. Really. Everything's fine." Mrs. Miliko was mystified, but decided not to push the issue.

"The phones over there." She pointed to an old style phone. Daisuke went to dial his sister at work. His finger got stuck in the dial.

Anyone could see the road that they walked on was paved in gold

It's always summer they'll never get cold

Never get hungry, never get old and gray…

You can see the shadows wandering off somewhere

Won't make it home, but they really don't care

Wandering the highway,

They're happier there, today…

He managed to remove his finger, and after ten minutes, dial the number. It rang a few times, and then someone picked up. "Hi, can I talk to Jun Motamiya?"

"Da, I don't know what your talking about! Stop calling me!" Apparently Daisuke had dialed the wrong number. He tried again.

"Can I please talk to Jun Motamiya?"

"Yeah, sure kid. Are you another one of her stalkers?" Jun had become quite popular recently. A lot of boys liked her, and stalked her as she had stalked Yamato. She was no longer interested in him.

"No. I'm her brother."

"Yeah, that's what they all say."

"I'm serious. I am. I'm Daisuke Motamiya."

"That's exactly what everyone else says. You can talk to her, but if you turn out to be another stalker, I'm tearing the phone out of the wall."

"Okay…"

Jun was called to the phone. "Hi? Who's this?"

"It's Daisuke."

"Oh, hi Daisuke. Whats up?"
"Just letting you know I'll be home late."
"Oh? Why?"

"I got detention because I couldn't find my homework."

"Oh. Well see you later. I'll be home when you get back. Bye-bye."

"Bye-bye."

Daisuke sat at his usual desk in the detention room. Usually he caused trouble. Right now he didn't want to. He just wanted to sit and brood. His friend, Sioberi, walked up to him. "Daisuke, why aren't you throwing spitballs and screaming at the top of your lungs? Are you feeling okay?"

"I'm fine." Daisuke mumbled.

Sioberi didn't seem to believe him. She put her hand on his forehead. "Well you don't have a fever."

"What is with your sudden interest in my health?"

"Well that's the only reason I can think of that you would be all quiet and inanimate like this." Inanimate was Sioberi's word for 'not moving.' She was a very active person, and couldn't stand staying still for a minute. "If you're like this, my immediate thought is you have some deadly disease. And you don't. That's good, but what is going on?"

"Nothing Sioberi. I'm just not in the mood to do much right now."

"Does Kari have something to do with this?"

"No. It's a family problem."

"Tell me about it?"

"No, not now. Sorry Sio."

"Daisuke…" She sighed and flopped onto his desk. He blond stringy hair was all spread out, and the goggles she wore, fell onto her eyes. She had gotten her goggles at a gift shop, meaning to give them to Daisuke, to replace his broken ones. But he had new ones. She wore these for herself. "You couldn't tell to look at me, but I'm an observer, and a worrier. I get worried about what I see, especially if it concerns people I care about. I care about you; you're my best friend. And I'm worried about you. You might be fine psychically, but it doesn't seem like you are emotionally."

"Really…Sioberi, I'm okay."

"Okay…I'll take your word for it. But you can always talk to me."

"Right. Thanks Sioberi."

"Your welcome Daisuke." Sioberi jumped onto her own desk and started throwing pencils at her sister Kwan. "Eat lead Kwan!" She screamed, laughing joyfully.

The children woke up…and they couldn't find 'em

Left before the sun came up that day

They just drove up and left it all behind 'em

Where were they going without ever knowing the way?

Daisuke got up robotically when the teacher told him to go. He walked home, barely noticing the cars in the street as he crossed the red lights. Drivers yelled curses at him, telling him to go to hell. He did not respond.

He was really trying not to let his parents leaving get to him. But it hurt. The sadness of it went into every crevice of his mind, filling him with loneliness. His own mother and father had just up and left him and his sister all alone. Jun was barely a teenager, and he was still a little kid. They expected them to fend for there selves. How could they do that?

And they didn't love him. They didn't love him or Jun. At least not enough to stick around while they grew up.

It was freezing out. It had started to rain and the wind was icy. Great. He wasn't even wearing a jacket, and it was winter-coat weather. He had to get home before he froze.

His building loomed in the distance and he ran inside. The doorman greeted him. "Hello Daisuke. How are you today?"

"Fine. You?"

"Bored, but fine. You have detention again?"

"Yeah…"

"Try to do better."

"I will, I will." Daisuke couldn't believe that he could tell him to do better in school when the people who were supposed to tell him that had left him. He ran up to his apartment. He fumbled for his keys and opened the door. "Jun? Are you home?"

"Yeah." Jun comes to the door. "I came home about fifteen minutes ago."

"And I don't suppose mom and dad are here, are they?"

"No. They're not. They're not coming back. You have to realize that."

"I know. Just a little flicker of hope that's all." Daisuke threw his stuff on the ground and kicked off his shoes.

"Daisuke, your completely soaked."

"What do you expect? It was raining."

"It wasn't raining when I got in."

"It started when I was going home."

"Well, go get on some dry clothes."

"No."

"Why not? You'll get sick. Don't act psycho Daisuke. I can't handle you acting dumb. Mom and Dad can, but I can't."

"Mom and Dad must of left because they want something bad to happen. They want us to mess up. So why don't we just screw up?"

"That's insane." But Jun could see the light of his deduction. Maybe Daisuke was right.

"We can do whatever we want. Mess up. If they find out what's going on, they'll come back."

"Daisuke…" Jun smiled. "That's a brilliant idea. Forget what I said. Keep the soaked clothes." Jun walked into the kitchen. She carried two cartons of unopened ice cream. She threw one at Daisuke. They began to eat.

"This is great. Mom and Dad leaving isn't so bad." Jun said. "We can do whatever we want. And they'll find out how much we're screwing up, and come home." But both of them knew that their situation was not so great. They had no idea how they could make it on their own.

They finished the ice cream in silence.

"Daisuke!" Chibimon yelled. "Wake up! It's time for school!"

Daisuke woke up. He was asleep on a chair. Jun was smoking a cigar.

"Jun, what-"

"Daddy had some cigars left over. I'm trying one."

"Okay…"

"Get yourself breakfast, okay?"

"I'm not really hungry."
Jun looked at Daisuke. "You look terrible, do you realize that?"

"I do not. I happen to be very good looking."

"No, no you look sick."

"I'm perfectly fine." But that was a lie. In reality he felt awful. "Okay, so maybe I'm not."

"Your damn right your not. Your sick."

"So what?"

"So…I don't know. Mom would probably have you stay home, right?"

"Yeah."

"Naturally, that means you go to school. We're trying to screw up here."

"Right."

"Daisuke?" Sioberi whispered to him on his way to English class. Sioberi was in that class to, so she followed him. "I want to talk to you at lunch, okay?"

"Sure…what about?"

"I just need to talk to you okay?"

"Okay. We have to get to class." Daisuke hurried to escape his friend. But she was in his class, and sat next to him.

"Now, you are sick." She said, smiling playfully. "Why are you at school?"

"Reasons."

"Whats reasons? Why are you acting so mysterious?"

The teacher, Miss Anchee glared at them angrily. "Stop flirting and tell me how to say cha in English."

"Tea?" Sioberi said.

"Correct. Now Daisuke, can you tell me how to say hidoi?"

"Violence?" He said.

"Correct." Miss Anchee droned on and on.

"So, Daisuke?" Sioberi whispered. "Sit with me at lunch."

"Okay. So what is this all about?" Daisuke asked his friend.

"I want to know what's going on with you. You were so depressed yesterday, and I heard you went berserk because you got detention." Sioberi said, looking at him with a look of true concern on her face. "Did someone die? What happened?"

"No one died."

"Good, that would be awful. But what did happen?"

"My…my parents." He whispered.

"What? I didn't hear you."

"My parents left."

"So? What to Africa? The store?"

"No. I don't know where they are. They left for good."
"Oh god…this can't be good, can it?"

"No. Jun and me have a plan to get them to come back. We're going to screw up. If they call, or write, we'll tell them how bad everything's going. They'll have to come back."

"That's a good plan. It's a fun one to."

"I know."

"So you've got it all under control?"

"Yeah…"

"Is this why you came to school even though you are, obviously, sick? To screw up?"
"Yeah. Duh, do you think I'd normally skip a day off?"

"No. But you've been so weird lately I don't even know."

"Sorry about being a weirdo."

"S'okay. You know, sooner or later you won't be able to eat anymore. You'll have to take advantage of school food."

"Hope it doesn't come to that."

"Me either. Anyway, peace be with you. I got to go kick the boys butt in soccer."

"Remember, I'm on the boys team!"

"Oh you're playing? Well prepare to be beaten!"

They ran outside and began to play soccer.

It was raining again. It always rained in the afternoon. It had been doing this all month. Oh well, what did Daisuke expect anyway? It was April after all. An abnormally freezing April, but April all the same.

He walked into the building. The doorman was there. "Hello Daisuke. How's school?"

"Fine Pete, just fine."

"You have a lot of homework?"
"Just studying for some test. I'm putting it off 'till the day before."

"I don't think that's a very good idea Daisuke."

"Pete, would you do me a favor?"

"Sure."
"Shut up." With that, he stomped up to his apartment.

He came to the door and let himself in. Once again he was completely soaked. Good. The more they messed up, the better. They had to get Mom and Dad back, whatever the cost.

He went over to the Nintendo and began playing against Chibimon. He won, as usual. He was a pro at Nintendo.

Hours later Jun came home. She was crying. "Daisuke, I have really bad news."

"What is it?" He switched off the Nintendo.

"I got fired. We are nearly dirt poor. Mom and Dad took almost all the money. We are broke. And we have no way of making any money."
"We could have a garage sale."

"A garage sale? Are you insane? A garage sale. That's rich Daisuke, really rich. Oh, and guess what? I just got the bills."

"So? We don't have to pay them Mom and…" He trailed off; knowing what he was about to say was ridiculous.

"Mom and Dad always paid them. But Mom and Dad are gone. We have to pay."

"How are we going to do that?"

"I don't know!" Jun was getting hysterical. "You know what? We'll do the garage sale. We might make a few dollars for dinner tomorrow! That ice cream was all we had left, except for two slices of leftover pizza! Mom and Dad took everything! Why don't you sell that ratty blue doll of yours?"
"Why don't you sell Vanille? Your French teddy-bear?"

"I've had that thing since I was born!"
"Yeah, and my 'ratty blue doll' has the exact amount of value!"

"Why are you so attached to a toy?"

"Just forget it Jun. I'll arrange the garage sale. We can use the building garage."
"Even though someone might drive in and kill us and any customers."

"Okay, okay, we'll use the fire escape!"

"The fire escape. That's great, really great. Like anyone's going to come onto our fire escape."

"We live on the second floor. It's not so hard to get there. We can advertise."

"Okay, fine. We'll skip school tomorrow and set it up. I'm going to go heat up that pizza."

"This is awful. How old is it, ten years?" Daisuke said in disgust.

"I do recall leaving pizza in the fridge for that long. All I know, is, it's all we got." Jun said, biting into the prehistoric pizza.

"Are we going to have to eat out of dumpsters? I saw on the news, this kid who's parents left, and now he lives on the street and eats out of dumpsters."

"That's not going to happen to us Daisuke. I promise."

"I wish I could believe you."

"Okay, I guess it's not a guarantee. But we're going to try our hardest. We're not going to live on the street. We're not going to die. We're going to get Mom and Dad back. Somehow…"

"Yeah. And somehow I'll sprout wings and fly."

"Daisuke! I know the situation seems hopeless, but we have to do this. We have to get mom and dad to come back."

"I know Jun, I know." Daisuke was trying not to cry. "I'm going to bed now, okay?"

"It's only 8:00. Your usually off with Sioberi somewhere."

"I'm tired, okay?"

"Okay, go ahead."

It was morning. Daisuke was still sick. He felt terrible. "Daisuke!" Chibimon yelled his usual wake-up call. "It's time to get up sleepy-head!"

Daisuke just went back to sleep.

"Daisuke? Are you okay?" Jun was yelling in a terrified voice.

He fully woke up. "Yeah."

"You have a huge fever Daisuke."

"I do?" No wonder he felt like crap.

"Mmm hmm. I think maybe it's all that staying in wet clothes thing. I knew that would make you sick!"

"Well, we want to mess up."

"I know! But I'm scared. I don't know what's wrong with you, and I don't know what to do!" Jun was crying. She was terrified.

"Just let him sleep." Someone said, walking into the house.

"Mom?" Jun said hopefully.

"No. It's just me, Sioberi."

"Oh…" She sighed. "Hi Sioberi. Shouldn't you be at school?"

"Yeah. But I thought I'd drop off some stuff for your fire escape sale."

"We can't take it. We need money, and if we take your stuff…"

"It's okay. I don't want money. I know your situation. I want to help. Daisuke's my best friend, and him getting kicked out of the house and starving to death just doesn't set right with me."

"That's sweet. Thank you."

Sioberi lugged a huge shopping bag filled with old junk. "Here."
"Thanks. Now go to school."

"No. I'm playing hooky. I'm going to help with the sale. Daisuke's sick, so he can't really do much. And you can't organize it alone by 5:00!"

"You'll get in really big trouble."

"I don't care."

"Okay."

For the next hour or so, Jun and Sioberi fluttered in and out putting things in a box. "Daisuke, can we sell the Nintendo?"

Even though he loved the Nintendo, he agreed. "Okay. And sell the TV to? So we don't have a cable bill."

"Good idea." Sioberi ran to the living room to set up the TV and Nintendo on the fire escape. She came back, browsing through Daisuke's books, seeing what they could sell. "Can we sell 'Dragonsdawn?'"

"Go ahead. I read it once, that's enough."

"Red Azalea?"

"Sure. Take whatever you want."

"Okay."

"Sioberi?"

"Hmmm?"

"Thanks for helping out, even though you know your going to be in trouble for cutting school."
"This is much more important. I really want you guys to pull this off. I want you to be able to pay the bills, to have dinner to eat tomorrow. I want to help you. You're the best friend I ever had, and that's what best friends do. Help each other."

"I never really helped you with anything."

"That's because I never needed it. When the time comes that I do, I know you'll be there for me."

"Your right. I will. I'm sorry I'm not doing anything here. This was my idea, I should be carrying it out."
"Daisuke." She walked over and sat on his bed. "You my friend, have the best excuse in the world, to be a lazy bum. Your sick. You'll get sicker if you don't rest. You were a little sick yesterday, and today it's worse, and the goal is for it to be gone by tomorrow. So you're not moving from this spot until your better."

"But I have to go to the bathroom…" Daisuke said with a goofy smile on his face. The both laughed.

"You'll hold it!" Sioberi left the room, carrying the books and laughing.

Sioberi was really a good friend. And she was so pretty.

Jun came in hours later. "Daisuke! We have the first customer! We sold the TV for $50!"

"But we got it for a lot more."

"I know. But it's used."
"Oh."

"By the way, how are you feeling?"

"Better."

"Good. I was scared."
"Scared? But I wasn't that sick."
"Yes you were. You had a fever of 105! You've gotten much better, but I was really scared. If you…I'd be all alone."

"I'm really fine Jun."

"I know. It was just scary, that's all. I've got to go help Sioberi."

"Tyler?" Emma said, pressing her neck against her husbands as they sat on the cliff. "Do you think the kids are doing okay?"

"Of course Emma. They're probably doing just fine."

"We shouldn't have taken all the money and food. That was selfish. They need it."

"We need it more. Travel is costly."
"What if they're not okay?"
"Then we'll find out. Sweetie, don't worry about them." He rubbed his wife's neck. He put on a song on his Walkman, and took out the earphones so Emma could hear to.

'They made up their minds, and they started packing

Left before the sun came up that day

An exit to eternal summer slacking

But where were they going without ever knowing the way?

They drank up the wine…and they got to talking

They now had more important things to say

And when the car broke down they started walking

Where were they going without ever knowing the way?

Anyone could see the road that they walked on was paved in gold

It's always summer they'll never get cold

Never get hungry, never get old and gray…

You can see the shadows wandering off somewhere

Won't make it home, but they really don't care

Wandering the highway,

They're happier there, today…

The children woke up…and they couldn't find 'em

Left before the sun came up that day

They just drove up and left it all behind 'em

Where were they going without ever knowing the way?'

"See, honey this song talks about how happy people can be when they get away together." He said, trying to take Emma's mind of the children and onto him.

Emma smacked him. "Ty, the story behind that song, is the husband and wife are found dead."

"They were? I didn't know that."
"And that one line really gets to me. The children woke up…and they couldn't find 'em. It doesn't matter if we are in eternal bliss here. Children aren't capable of taking care of themselves. They still need us."

"Jun isn't a child."

"She's fourteen! She's barely started being a teenager. And she has a younger brother to take care of!"
"She can do it, if Daisuke helps her."
"Neither of them should have to do this. They need their parents to be with them. They still need us to take care of them."
"This could be an independence test for them. See if they can make it on their own."

"And if they can't they'll die. Starve to death, or wind of begging for pennies for the rest of their lives!"

"That wont happen."

"Maybe. But it might."

"The fire escape is packed!" Sioberi shrieked excitedly. "You guys have made $500 already!"

"That's great. I'm going out and seeing what's sold." Daisuke said, getting out of bed.

Sioberi shoved him back into bed."Really? Are you better yet? Because you're not getting out of this bed until your 100% better."

"Well I feel much better then before." Sioberi put her hand on his forehead.

"Your still hot. I'm sorry, but you're staying right here."
"Aww…"

"Well, I'll tell you what got sold. The Nintendo, all your games, most of those books, a bunch of videos, that plant Jun cant get to grow, your soccer trophies…need I say more?"

"Yes. How much did you sell the trophies for?"

"$10 each. I figured they were worth about that much."

Daisuke pulled his blanket over his head. "You of all people should know they're worth more then that. You know how it feels to win them. You put everything into winning a game, and then you do. It feels so great to win the trophies."
"I know. But the people who bought them would never have bought them if they're price was based on sentimental value. Plus, you'll win more."

"Yeah, I know. But they were important."

"Sorry Daisuke. I sold mine too. They were in the shopping bag I brought over. Someone bought all the trophies."
"Why would someone want other peoples trophies?"

"I don't know. But someone did. Now go back to sleep, and maybe you'll be better when you wake up."

It was morning. Jun was sitting at Daisuke's desk, filling out bill forms. She was in his room because she was waiting for him to wake up. Sioberi was sitting on the floor, twirling around and around. "Doesn't that hurt?"

"No. Should it?"

"Yes."

"Well, it doesn't."

"Sio, maybe you should call your mom and tell her where you are."
"Aw, alright." Sioberi walked into the living room and dialed the phone. It rang and her mother picked up. "Hi Ma?"

"Sioberi, is that you?" Her mother said. She sounded as if she'd been crying.

"Yeah Ma, it's me."

"Where have you been? The school called and asked why you weren't there, and then you didn't come back…I thought something awful happened. Are you okay? Where are you?"

"I'm at Daisuke's."

Her mother didn't speak for a while. "You're kidding. You didn't…please tell me you didn't. Your eleven Sioberi! Way to young!"

"Ma! It's not that! I came over to drop off some stuff for Daisuke and Jun's fire escape sale."
"Well that's lovely. But why didn't you go to school, and why did you sleepover there? I want to speak to Mrs. Motamiya."

"If you know where she is you can talk to her. She left the day before yesterday."

"Then I want to speak to Mr. Motamiya."
"He left to."

"Vacation?"

"No, ma, they left forever. They left Daisuke and Jun all by themselves. The fire escape sale was so they could pay the bills, and get some food to eat. I gave my stuff to them to sell. They need it desperately. I also helped them set it up. It was really late when it was over, and I forgot to call. Daisuke and me never…we're just friends Ma. And even if we became more then that, we would never do that! I was with Jun most of the day anyway. Daisuke was sleeping most of the day."

"Sleeping? Shouldn't he be helping you girls out? What a lazy child!"

"He was sick Ma. He wanted to help, but I wouldn't let him. I had to spend half and hour calming Jun down. She was really scared because she didn't know what to do."

"He's okay though?"

"Yes, he's much better now."
"Good. Honey are you sure you two…"

"I'm sure Ma!"

"It was very kind of you to help them out like that. But next time call me!" Sioberi's mother wanted to offer help to the Motamiya children, but she'd been so beside her self with worry for her daughter she couldn't think strait. "Come home soon sweetie."

"I'll come back when I know they'll be fine on their own. Okay?"

"Okay, great darling."

"Ma, schools today. Shouldn't I just go to school?"

"No. I want to see you home. If you skipped school yesterday you can today."

"Okay. Bye Ma. I love you."

"I love you to." They hung up. Sioberi walked back to Daisuke's room. She resumed her place on the floor, and began to spin some more.

"Good morning guys…" Daisuke said, waking up.

"Morning. Glad your up. How are you feeling?" Jun said.

"Great."

"Good."
"Um, Sioberi, what are you still doing here?"

"I fell asleep here. It was too late to go home when the sale was over."
"Does your mom know where you are?"

"Yeah. Oh, and Jun, Daisuke? I hope you guys don't mind, but I told my mom that your parents were gone."

Jun had a sick look on her face. "You did?"
"Yeah."
"Sioberi, beg your mom not to tell anyone. If she does, we'll be in foster homes for sure! Separate homes!"

"That'll happen?"

"Yes. Please, beg on your knees to your mother, please."

"I will. It would be awful if you were separated. I won't let that happen."

"Thank you Sioberi!" Jun hugged the girl in a crushing hug. She was crying.

"Whats wrong?"

"I know, my emotions are a little messed up for this-for everything. I freaked when Daisuke got sick. I've been sicker then that. But I was scared. Mom and Dad always knew what to do when anything went wrong. I'm scared we'll mess up to bad. We'll starve, or be kicked out of the house. If anything bad happens I go nuts."

"It's okay. Jun, it's fine. I'd be scared to. You guys have to take care of each other. Your Daisuke's mom now. He's your dad."
"That's a nice way to think of it."

"We should all get to school."

"Your right. I have to finish the bills first; I'll be to late. We're all too late by now. It's ten already."

"Lets just not go then. We'll hang out here."

"You should go home Sioberi. Your mom will want you back."

"Yeah…but I want to hang out here."

"Okay, okay, stay."

"We want you to." Daisuke said. "We're to shaky alone. Jun is to upset. And I don't know how to handle her." He started to laugh.

"Thanks." Sioberi said. "Glad to know I'm wanted."

"Daisuke." Jun said, getting up from the desk. "Are you sure your better?"
"Yeah, I'm sure. I feel fine."
"Let me check. She went into the bathroom to get the thermometer. "I'm going to take your temperature."

Daisuke groaned. "Okay fine…" Jun stuck the thermometer in his mouth. The red line went up for a while, getting to body temperature. It read normal.

"Thank god." Jun said, wiping sweat off her forehead.

"I'm going to see what's across this cliff." Tyler said.

"You can see from where you are." Emma said lazily. She was becoming fed up with her husband.

"I know, but I want to get a closer look."
"Okay, okay." Tyler walked over to the edge of the cliff. A rock stood next to his boot. He slipped on it. He fell headfirst into the canyon.

"Tyler!" Emma screamed, rushing to her feet. She watched, paralyzed, as her husband fell to his death. Tears welled up in her eyes. She loved the man, dammit she did! "Ty!"

She decided then and there, she had to go back home. She wanted to go home to her children. Now there was no reason to stay. Tyler wasn't alive enough to take part in the decision.

She walked over to the car, still crying, and got in. She drove off, as long as she had to, until she arrived home.

The doorbell rang. Daisuke was very scared. He thought it was a truant officer. But the person walked right in, realizing the door was opened. "Daisuke? Jun? Are you guys here?"

"Whoever you are, we're here." Jun said. She, Daisuke, and Sioberi walked into the doorway. It was Mom!

"Mommy!" Daisuke shouted and hugged his mother. He wasn't the least bit ashamed at using this childish name for his mother. "Mommy, I'm so glad your back…" Tears were rolling down his cheeks, and he saw that his mother was crying to.

"Sweetie…" She hugged him for a long time, then released him and embraced his sister. "Jun, how did things hold out while I was gone?" Jun did not hug her mother back.

"It would've gone much better if you'd left us money or food. We sold nearly half the house so we could eat, and pay the bills!" Jun snapped bitterly.

"Hello Mrs. Motamiya." Sioberi said nervously.

"Oh, Sioberi, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be at school? For that matter, shouldn't the two of you be at school?"
"Daisuke slept too late."
"So? Sioberi, that doesn't have anything to do with you."

"I was here overnight."
"Why?"

The children explained what had gone on while she was gone. Jun waited a few minutes, and then asked a question that had been bugging her for a long time. "Did you really not love us enough to leave?"
"No, of course not!"

"But you left."

"I know. What I don't know is why. I love you children so much. I don't know why I left."
"Your note explained."

"Well I wanted to…"

"Never mind. Where's Dad?"
"Your father…your father is dead. He fell off a cliff, and he died."

Daisuke started to cry harder. Jun's face was hard as stone. "I don't care. You guys left us all alone. You don't love us. Why don't you go back where you were?"
"Jun!" Her mother said. "I…I…" But she knew that Jun would never be able to look at her mother again the same way. She was so happy that Daisuke was too young to be scarred in the same way.

"Mother, I'd like to be alone right now." Jun stormed off to her room. Daisuke held onto his mother and cried. Sioberi walked out the door and went home.

"I'm sorry for leaving. But it didn't seem right for me to be there." Sioberi said into the phone.
"It's okay." Daisuke said.
"Did you guys…work things out."
"Not exactly. Mom fell on the floor in Jun's room and begged her to forgive her. She said she'd try."

"I hope those two don't hate each other forever."

"Mom doesn't hate Jun. Jun hates Mom."

"You know what I mean."

"Daisuke, I'm really sorry about your Dad."

"It's okay. It's a sad thing…but…" Daisuke choked back his tears.

"Alright, we don't have to talk about it. But everything in your house is okay, right? I just want to make sure you're alright."
"Everything's fine. Sioberi, I can't thank you enough for helping out Jun and me. We couldn't of survived without you."

"Sure you could've."

"So why did you help?"

"I was afraid I'd be wrong."
"Your really a great friend, you know that?"

"Yeah…"
"So much for modesty."
"Well I've never been very modest. You're a great friend too. I'm not the only one."
"Sio, I never…"

"I already told you. You will. When I need help, I know you will help me. And how do you think I could get through my life with out a good buddy like you? Nobody can get through life alone."
"Yeah, your right."
"I hope I am."

"Thank you."

"Your welcome."