I must extend my thanks to Different Child, who inspired me to get off my lazy butt and write this! In thus, this fic is dedicated to her.

Disclaimer: I don't, and never will, own Furuba.

The playground only had two living souls in it. The blood red sun was drowning in the leafy trees as they swung on the swings. No conversation transpired between Kisa and Hiro, yet there was a comfortable atmosphere wrapped around them. The only sounds were their gasps of air and the pound of their feet on the dusty ground beneath them.

Hiro snuck glances at the beautiful girl with eyes the color of toasted almonds. He was reminded time and time again how much he adored her orange hair. If only he could rake his fingers through it just once… He envied the wind, which curled her silky hair into the air. The wind could kiss her hair, her forehead, yet he couldn't.

"Kisa," he said.

She turned her large eyes to him. "Yes, Hiro-kun?" she asked.

He turned his head to the direction of the setting sun. "If you close your eyes and try to reach your feet to the sun, it feels even more like you're flying."

Kisa's little legs extended into the golden sky. He smiled as her eyes became concealed by her eyelids and a grin decked her mouth.

Hiro pumped his legs with shut eyes as well. He adored swinging on the swings, the motion of going forwards, then backwards like a pendulum. It was a paradox because he hated it as well. He wanted to go only forward, to go higher and higher, not be pulled back.

Back and forth. Gentle rocking. If he closed his eyes, he could pretend he wasn't afflicted with the curse. He could envision himself marrying Kisa. Hiro, above all, was free from Akito's wrath in his fantasies. The head of the Sohmas was a constant threat, an omen of worse things to come, perpetually controlling their lives by stepping on their dreams and reducing them to dust.

His legs grew weary, so he halted pumping them. Kisa mirrored his actions.

"Has…anybody been bothering you?" he asked. She usually replied with a "no", but he made it a point to inform about her well being. After all, he wanted to protect Kisa.

A strand of orange hair was twisted around her finger. Kisa examined it before saying, "No."

This answer was a lie. Hiro detected it immediately. "If someone's bothering you, I want to know about it. Please tell me so I can help." Peace-loving Kisa wouldn't want to know of his plans of him pounding the bully within an inch of his life, so he omitted that part.

"…A classmate, Issa-san, made fun of my hair."

"Again?" The shade of Kisa's hair was an ongoing war and the subject of ridicule among her peers. "If they saw Kyo's hair, they'd know that's the hair color that should be ridiculed. There's nothing wrong with your hair!"

She stared at him. "If I dyed it, no one would tease me, would they." His eyes enlarged when she added, "Then you wouldn't have to defend me anymore."

"Kisa….You shouldn't do that!" He shook his head emphatically. "That's letting them win! We'll battle them together!"

Hiro was baffled by their ridicule. If they saw her hair through his eyes, they'd be hesitant to tease her again. Kisa's hair was like a blessing. The healthy sheen of it, the way two sections of it gracefully swung by her shoulders was entrancing to him. Her hair was the color of sunshine, of golden dreams. It reminded him of something warm and comforting.

"I love your hair!"

Kisa gave him a trembling smile, as if doubtful of his words. "Why?"

"I love it because it's yours, Kisa! It's the color of," he displayed the golden sky with a hand, "the sky when the sun sets."

The wind stirred her hair, making it seem to be a part of the sky. Tears gathered in her eyes as a blush stained her cheeks. She jumped off the swing and threw herself into Hiro's arms.

"This is why I love you, Hiro. You always know how to make me feel better!"

His hands were plunged into the strands unconsciously. His fingers feverishly stroked her hair as if it would be the last time he would. Silky to the touch, Hiro fell deeper in love with her hair.

He fell even more in love with her hair and its possessor.

"Kisa, I--" His proclamation almost popped out of his mouth. He was half-afraid of the impact of his words, yet wanted to say them so much.

"--love you," she finished for him.

Worry swam in his tea-colored eyes. "But I'm--"


Hiro laughed despite his growing dread. "We know each other so well. You're already finishing my sentences. But..." What will happen after we leave this playground? What will Akito do to you, Kisa? Will it be like last time? He loved Kisa more than anything, but if any harm were to come to her...It would be selfish to put her in danger. He couldn't be with her if it had to come to that.

"Don't be afraid, Hiro. It's like you said, right?" Her index finger was raised to her chin. "In the same way that if I dye my hair, the bullies'll win, if we deny ourselves what we want, Akito'll win! Let's defend our love together. I want us to be happy, not scared. We deserve to be happy."

Hiro's face, which once held confusion, dissolved into a smile. Kisa was brave, even if she doubted herself. She was willing to go against Akito for his sake. For both of their sakes.

"You're right," he said as he placed his cheek on the substance he adored so much.

Both held each other with their eyes closed. Hiro smiled, feeling as if he were in flight despite not rocking back and forth on the swing.