The first few times Naota tried the guitar, the string would snap and hit him in the face. It wouldn't rev. It wouldn't pulsate, like it had the time he'd grabbed it by the neck and pushed somewhere in his head to send that thing home, made it all safe; hit it out of the park for the dreamy little nontown of Mabase as machine-parts scattered in the face of his rage and flew.

And then his anger grew, his it's-not-fair secret anger, the anger that he nourished with memories of that kiss - and really, that HAD been Haruko, hadn't it- ('superior' my ASS, he thought)- nobody else would have done something so DIRTY with him.

And leaving him was the bigger insult. Left him right there trussed hand and foot in plain view, guitar (well, it was a Vespa then, but it changed) resting ackwardly along his hip.

And right at the moment when his anger grew biggest, like a sick Christmas miracle in July, the guitar THRUMMED. The string sang and the world ran for cover, hid under the blankets. The guitar wailed reverse-birth and twisted back into the Vespa with a single perfect note, sat there in the middle of the room in hot eye-hurting yellow, engine stuttering but sincere.

To the chord of Fadd9 (it'd been a hard day's night) he leapt onto the Vespa. The ears that sprouted weren't as bad as the bunny suit, but he figured this was Haruko's last joke on him, DAMN HER...


First base.

And up there in Greater Deeper, a billion miles away in the cheap lounge where only the bad people go, Haruko's bracelet (the one that pointed the way) began to rattle.

Her mouth moved slightly. A smile sort of but more dry, a touch of a twitch.

"'bout time," she said, and finished her drink.

- - -

A/N: Written after reading the second compilation of the FLCL manga.