-shifty eyes- Drugs? What drugs?

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Ai Da To Shinjite

Chapter III

Themes 14: Radio-Cassette Player

The next twenty-four hours passed all too quickly for Tamao, and soon enough, she found herself and Yoh-sama sitting alone together at the bus stop, waiting for Anna-sama to arrive. Tamao was practically trembling after she realized that there were only mere inches between Yoh-sama and herself, and had to fight the urge to spring up from the bench and squeal out an excuse to relocate herself away from her crush.

Yoh-sama, of course, was completely oblivious to Tamao's discomfort. His orange headphones were clamped tightly over his ears, blocking out any and all noises from the surrounding world. The beat of an unfamiliar song drifted out into the bus stop, but one wouldn't really notice it unless he or she was trying to hear it. It was so loud, however, that even if Tamao had let out a wail, Yoh-sama probably wouldn't have noticed. And for that, Tamao was thankful. She let out a delicate sigh, slouching the tiniest bit on the bench. She wasn't exactly thrilled to see Anna-sama, but she couldn't say she was dreading it. Anna-sama had a way of making Tamao feel inferior to her, but not too inferior, if that made any sense.

Suddenly, the noise that didn't make its way into Yoh-sama's ear canals stopped abruptly. The brunette's eyebrows shot up for a moment, then he began to dig through his pockets. A few moments later, he produced a dark green cassette player; it looked like it had just barely survived a hurricane. He shook it, then pressed a button or two rather roughly. He licked his lips in frustration, then slid off the headphones with a frustrated sigh.

"Batteries're dead," he informed Tamao as he set the cassette player onto the bench next to him. She blinked.

"Oh," was the only reply she could muster. She felt rather dumb at the moment, sitting on a bus stop bench with the love of her life, face red, fingers twiddling wildly, and feet kicking up dust. Silence reigned supreme for a few minutes or so, and as every second passed, Tamao felt the need to speak. But what could she say? Surely Yoh-sama wouldn't be interested in any of her thoughts or opinions.

Yoh-sama sighed again, taking a quick peek at a watch Tamao hadn't noticed he'd been wearing. Then he picked up his cassette player and flipped open a little door on the side. After some prodding, twin batteries plopped out into Yoh-sama's palm.

"Do you think they're really dead?" he inquired curiously, looking up from his palm to Tamao's face. "Or could they just be sleeping?" Tamao flapped around mentally for a response.

"I-I don't know," she stuttered. "What do you think, Yoh-sama?"

"It's possible," he replied with a shrug. "I mean, I've been using them almost nonstop since I got on the bus yesterday morning, so I guess they'd be all tired out. I mean, I'd be tired if I'd been running since yesterday morning, too." A joke. Tamao forced herself to smile, but a nervous giggle popped out instead. But instead of squirming around uncomfortably, the pink-haired girl just went with it.

"What's so funny?" Yoh-sama asked, a grin appearing on his face as he flicked Tamao's nose lightly. "I was being serious." At the slight contact, Tamao's giggle disappeared and her face flushed a bit. A hand went up to cover her coy smile, and she glanced down at her feet.

"Gomen nasai," she said, a hint of a giggle still in her voice, as well as a few nerves. "It's just that I've n-never heard anything so silly b-before." Yoh-sama grinned, then put a finger up to his lips.

"Shhh, they're tired," he said, pointing at the pair of batteries that rested in his palm. "You'll wake them up if you keep laughing." Tamao's laughter returned, but she tried to muffle it with her fingers.

"They need their goodnight kisses," Yoh-sama continued in a whisper. He lifted his palm to his face, then gave a loud smooch to each of the batteries. Then he extended his hand out to Tamao.

"Nani?" she asked in genuine confusion, insides fluttering a bit. Her face reddened considerably.

"They want their kisses from 'kaa-chan, too," he said earnestly. Tamao broke out in a cold sweat. Was Yoh-sama implying that he was 'tou-chan and that she was 'kaa-chan? No, Anna-sama was 'kaa-chan, of course. Tamao could never be 'kaa-chan. At least not to Yoh-sama's children. Not even to Yoh-sama's sleeping batteries. But before Tamao could respond, a bus pulled up to the meager bus stop.

Moments later, the Holy Terror of Izumo clomped off the bus, making one heck of a racket as she ordered the bus driver around as he unloaded her luggage.

"Be careful with that!" Anna-sama barked at the blanching bus driver. "Hey, that not mine; leave it there!"

"Yo, Anna," Yoh-sama said eventually as he tipped the bus driver generously for putting up with his fiancée for hours on end. She appeared to have been one of about four people on the entire bus, and Tamao knew she'd given everyone else there one absolutely fun-filled excursion into the countryside.

Before the bus could even pull away, Yoh-sama had been converted into something that resembled a pack mule, and he began struggling down the path that led back to the Asakura residence. And as she struggled with a large stack of what appeared to be sun hats in boxes, Tamao glanced over her shoulder. Laying on the bench where she and Yoh-sama were sitting just moments ago were the batteries, along with the dark green cassette player. She stared woefully for a moment, shifting the boxes around in her arms. Finally, while Yoh-sama and Anna-sama were bickering like an old married couple about something or other, Tamao managed to grab the beat-up cassette player. She shoved it into her pocket. Tamao knew for certain that Yoh-sama would be glad. After all, what other distraction did he have from Anna-sama's nagging?

End Chapter III.

A/N: Definitely not as cute as the first two chapters, but what can I say? My life's not as cute as it was when I started this fic. -sweatdrop- And what's this preoccupation I have with batteries, anyway?