Someday...I'll Tell Her

-Hi, Rocketshipper here. Yep, another fanfic . Maybe I should just accept that they are inevitable and deal with it. This time around I'm doing things different. This fanfic is a spure of the moment decision, I came up with the idea for the story THIS MORNING! I decided to right ASAP so that I wouldn't lose my enthusiasm Normally I get excited by a fic and have fun writing for a while, but soon I get bored and I end up having to force myself to finish. Hopefully this time that won't happen because I'm starting early and because this fic should be pretty short (I hope ). Anyway, this is an Ai Yori Aoshi fic. I decided to write it because Taeko is my favorite character in the series and I thought it was really depressing that she loved Kaoru so much but didn't know that he'd already chosen a girl, plus I was watching the show again recently and I started thinking that Taeko might go well together with Sato. There really isn't any evidence for it in the anime (other than the fact Sato enjoys having her cosplay while he takes pictures) but I thought I'd write a cute one-shot about it anyway. I hope you enjoy it. I'm sure everyone knows the drill by now, I don't own Ai Yori Aoshi or any of these characters, this fanfic is just for fun. sigh You'd think that by now people have written enough fanfiction that the disclaimer would just be implied. oh well. Ikimasho! Oh and forgive me if I mess up with the suffixes. I'm trying to stay true to how all the characters refer to each other in the anime, but I don't remember everything, so if Sato calls Tina just plain Tina, when he's supposed to call her "Tina-san" or something like that, don't kill me. This takes place soon after the Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi anime.-

"Hanabishi-sempai I...I..." she began, her hands clutched in nervous fists in her lap. The multicolored explosions of the fireworks above were reflected in the round lenses of her glasses and the light danced through her long reddish-brown hair, which she had tied in her traditional single braid. Her violet eyes were full of emotion and vulnerablility as she stared up at her at her older classmate, who was sitting next to her in the grass on the hill. I felt a brief pang of jealousy and sadness as I watched them. How I wish she would look at me that way, just once. I knew I shouldn't be watching them, shouldn't be eavesdropping on their conversation, but I couldn't tear my attention away.

"What is it, Taeko-chan?" asked Kaoru Hanabishi as he glanced sideways to look at his fellow photo club student. We were all at the local summer festival as a club field trip. It was just me, Suzuki, Hanabishi, and Taeko; Tina and miss landlord weren't able to make it. We spent most of the day taking pictures and browsing the many food and gaming booths that had been set up. After nightfall we all settled down on the side of a grassy hill to watch the fire works. Suzuki was sitting at the base of the hill by himself and I was farther up near the middle, while Taeko-chan and Hanabishi were both near the top. Neither one of them realized I was watching them, that I could hear everything they were saying. Taeko drew in a nervous breath and looked into Hanabishi's eyes.

"...Remember a few years ago when we saw the fireworks together at the festival? Just the two of us?" She asked nervously. I felt my insides twist into a knot. I knew what was coming. Hanabishi just smiled and nodded.

"Yeah, of course I remember. It was really fun wasn't it?" he responded.

"Yeah, it was great" Taeko replied shyly, her cheeks turning a light shade of pink. She took another deep breath and I couldn't help breathing in with her, my heart racing almost as fast as I imagined hers was. "Back then there was something I wanted to tell you, Hanabishi-sempai but...I couldn't then...because..." She twisted her hands again out of nervousness. Hanabishi smiled gently at Taeko and turned his full attention to her.

"What is it Taeko-chan? I'm listening." He asked. Taeko blushed a darker shade of red and looked down at the ground. For a moment I almost prayed that she wouldn't say it, that she'd chicken out, but then she took a final deep breath and spoke.

"Sempai, I…I…" For a second it looked like she really might give up out of nervousness, but then she quickly blurted it out, and my stomach crashed into my feet. "I really like you, Sempai! A lot." She blushed furiously but forced herself to look Hanabishi straight in the face. Hanabishi continued to look at her with the same kind expression.

"Well I like you too, Taeko-chan. You're a great friend." I flinched at Hanabishi's words. I knew what effect they must have had on Taeko, I could relate. I watched the expression on Taeko's face carefully. Disappointment and sadness were already started to creep across her face, it was easy to guess Hanabishi's feelings now, but she pressed forward one last time, putting all her feeling forward. Her voice came out as barely a whisper, I had to strain to hear her over the sound of the fireworks.

"Sempai…what I really mean is…I…I love you…as more than a friend. I…" I saw a tear role down Taeko's face, and suddenly it felt like my heart was being ripped out. I could barely stand to watch. Hanabishi's face now showed surprise and sadness, yet it still showed kindness. It was a look that said "I'm sorry. I don't want to hurt you…but…" At that moment more than anything I wished I could spare Taeko what she was about to face, that I could somehow protect her, but I couldn't do anything but watch.

"Taeko-chan. I…" Hanabishi began. As he spoke he reached up and gently brushed the tear away from Taeko's face "I'm sorry but…" Taeko reached up and took Hanabishi's hand in hers. She swallowed once and smiled; she was trying to be brave in front of Hanabishi, but I could still see the disappointment and sadness on her face, behind her smile.

"But you can't return my feelings, right?" She asked, putting up a cheerful front. A slightly guilty look passed over Hanabishi's face, but he continued to look at Taeko with compassionate eyes.

"I'm sorry, Taeko-chan" he replied. After a second he turned and looked up into the sky, but his eyes seemed to look past the fire works out into the vast sky. "My time at the Sakuraba-mansion with all of you has been the best time of my life. I've made so many happy memories over the past few years. You, Tina, Chika-chan, Mayu-chan, Aoi-chan, Miss Miyabi, your all like family to me. I care about all of you deeply, and I wouldn't want to do anything that would hurt you." I felt a tiny spark of anger inside myself when he said that. Regardless of what he wanted, no matter how good his intentions were, he was hurting Taeko right then and there, I could see it as plain as day. Taeko sniffed once but continued to smile.

"Family" she began as she wiped the corners of her eyes. "I guess that's not the worst thing I could be." Hanabishi reached out and put a comforting hand on Taeko's shoulder.

"You're a really great girl Taeko-chan. You always put your whole heart into whatever your doing, and your always so optimistic, no matter what the situation. Any guy would be lucky to be with girl like you. I'm sorry, it's just that…" Taeko waived her hand dismissively, cutting Hanabishi off in mid sentence.

"It's ok Sempai; you don't have to keep apologizing. I understand". She stood up, still smiling, and walked forward a few paces, so she was standing in front of Hanabishi, facing away from him. For a moment her face changed, and it looked like she was about to burst into tears, but after a second her cheerful composed expression returned. "So Sempai, who is it that you like, if not me?" She asked, trying to sound curious and unaffected. Hanabishi's expression changed to one of surprise; Taeko's question had obviously caught him off guard. He blushed and laughed nervously as he looked at the ground.

"Taeko-chan, wha?…don't be silly. There isn't…" Hanabishi stuttered out lamely. Taeko glanced back at him and shook her head knowingly.

"You can't fool me Sempai, I can see right through you. I know that you care about somebody, so tell me who it is." She said as she looked back towards the fire works. Hanabishi coughed and didn't answer, he just continued to sit and look at Taeko with a nervous and slightly guilty look on his face. Taeko dropped her gaze to the ground and her eyes where hidden from my view by shadow. For a second I thought I saw the sparkle of a tear falling from her face to the ground but it may have been just my imagination. The awkward silence between the two of them seemed to go on forever, before Taeko finally said something. She spoke quietly, so quit that I could barely hear her, and her voice was filled with sadness but also acceptance. "It's Miss Aoi…isn't it?" She asked. This time Hanabishi was more than surprised, he looked like someone had hit him over the head. His jaw hung open and his eyes were wide. His expression was all the answer anybody would need. I was shocked too. I had never suspected that Hanabishi might like his landlord, Miss Aoi Sakuraba, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it wasn't that much of a stretch; the two of them did seem to spend a lot of time together. Taeko turned back to face Hanabishi. He could already tell that it was too late, and there was no point in denying anything.

"Taeko-chan…how did…?" He began as he got to his feet.

"Tina-sempai told me she thought the two of you might like each other, and I've sort of had a feeling about it for awhile" Taeko replied. She turned away again, and looked down at the ground. "I still hoped that maybe, just maybe, you might really like me the most. I had to find out for myself. I guess Tina-sempai was right" She took a deep breath, and I could tell that she was trying to hold back her emotions again. After a moment she started walking down the hill towards the path at the bottom. Hanabishi followed after her.

"Taeko-chan wait, where are you going?" He asked with concern in his voice. He caught up to her at the bottom of the hill. Suzuki got up and came over to see what was going on and I quickly jumped to me feet as well and jogged down the hill towards them.

"Hey Minazuki, you leaving already?" asked Suzuki as Taeko reached the bottom of the hill. She turned around to face all three of us and gave us her best most cheerful smile.

"Yeah, it's been quit a long day for all of us, and I should probably get home now. I've got a lot of work to do around the house tomorrow. I had a great time guys" She bowed politely to us and started down the path that led out of the park and towards the train station. As she went she called back a final farewell over her shoulder. "I'll see you back at the house Hanabishi-sempai. See you at club next week Chief, Vice Chief. Have a good night!" She turned and quickly hurried down the path until she was out of sight. Suzuki looked from me to Kaoru with a puzzled expression on his face.

"I hope nothings wrong, she looked kind of upset to me" He said. Hanabishi gazed of in the direction that Taeko had gone with a guilty expression..

"I think she'll be ok" he said, although it didn't look to me like he believed his own words. I looked down the path in the direction that Taeko had gone and I was suddenly hit with a feeling of sadness and loneliness. I knew what Taeko must be going through right then, and I also suddenly knew that I had to go after her, I had to find her. Without another thought I started running down the path, going in the direction Taeko went a few minutes before.

"Hey Sato, where're you going now? You ditching us too?" I heard Suzuki call over my shoulder as I ran.

"I'm gonna go find her" I called back. A few seconds later I rounded the turn of the hill and left my two friends behind.

-

I found her sitting on a bench a couple of blocks from the park. She must have decided to stop and gather herself on the way to the train station, and it's a good thing she did, because I probably wouldn't have caught up if she'd just headed straight for the station. The fake cheerfulness she had displayed back in the park in front of us was all gone; she was now crying openly, tears flowing down her face and falling into her lap. Her beautiful eyes were turned down to her lap and her hands, which was why she didn't see me approach. I quickly reached into the back pocket of my pants and pulled out my handkerchief. I reached the bench but Taeko still didn't look up; she didn't notice me until I finally summoned the courage to speak.

"Here" I said as I held out the handkerchief and smiled. Taeko jumped a little as she looked up, her eyes growing wide with surprise.

"Vice Chief? What are you doing here?" she asked. I reached up and scratched the back of my head, a nervous habit, and blushed.

"Well, I was kind of worried about you, actually. You left so suddenly and I thought something might be wrong" I stuttered out, feeling my face grow warmer. "I'm sorry for startling you" I held the handkerchief out towards her again. "It looked like you could use this". Taeko visibly relaxed and smiled at me. She reached out and took the handkerchief from my hand.

"Thanks, Vice Chief. Yeah, I guess I do need it" she said with a small laugh as she began to dab her eyes. I stood there for a few moments, watching her in silence. After a moment I began to feel awkward and took a few steps towards the empty part of the bench.

"Mind if I sit down?" I asked tentatively. I didn't want to seem too forward; to be honest I was a little worried about how Taeko might interpret my actions. I hadn't always acted like a gentleman towards her, a fact I had been regretting for a long time. But Taeko just smiled at me again.

"No, I don't mind. Go right ahead" She said without hesitation. I quickly sat down on the bench, close to her but not so close that she would think I was going to hit on her or something. I sat and watched her for a few minutes as she got herself together, all too aware of my racing heart. After a few more moments Taeko looked over at me and smiled cheerfully. "Thanks Vice Chief, I really needed that. I feel a lot better now". She took off her glasses and cleaned the lenses with the edge of her shirt, then put them back on and smiled at me. I looked at her skeptically.

"Are you sure you're alright Minazuki?" I asked with concern in my voice. She smiled at me brightly and nodded her head.

"Sure" she replied, a little too enthusiastically, "It's nothing really, you shouldn't worry about me at all. I'm completely fine." She casually glanced down at her watch. "I should probably get going now if I want to make it to the next train" she said as she turned to me. I guess she expected me to end our conversation there and say goodbye, but I could see through her fake cheeriness. She was hiding her emotions again; she didn't want to cry in front of anyone. I knew how hurt she must really feel to have been rejected by the person she loved, and I knew how hard she must be working to make sure she stayed strong in front of everyone. I wanted her to know that she didn't have to hide her feelings in front of me and the others, that we were her friends and she could tell us if there were things bothering her or if she felt sad. In the back of my mind I hesitated, afraid of what she might say if I told her those things, but at that moment my feelings bubbled up and before I could stop myself I'd spoken.

"Minazuki" I said in a gentle voice, looking her in her eyes, "You don't have to pretend you're alright just for our sakes. Suzuki and Hanabishi and the others, we're all your friends and we care about you. If there's something that's bothering you, you don't have to hide it in front of us." I looked her in the eyes, so she'd know I was sincere. Her eyes grew wide with surprise and I saw tears begin to form in them and my heart seemed to skip a beat. Had I offended her in some way? Had I said something wrong? I was on the verge of apologizing when she turned away from me and looked down at her hands. Her surprised look collapsed into one of acceptance and sadness, as the tears slowly began to trickle down her cheeks.

"You're right, Vice Chief" she said, her voice filled with sadness and regret, "I was hiding my feelings, and I know I shouldn't, but it's just that…" Suddenly she burst out crying again. Tears streamed down her face and fell to her lap. "I'm sorry, it's just that….I love sempai so much; I worked so hard to make myself someone who could be worthy of being with him. I hoped with all my heart that he would return my feelings. And…it hurt so much when he turned me down" She wiped her eyes with my handkerchief again, closed her eyes, and took a deep shaky breath before continuing. "But…no matter how I feel I can't bring myself to get mad at Sempai. I tried to act alright with the situation because I didn't want Hanabishi-sempai to worry about me, and I didn't want to make him feel guilty." She paused and wiped her eyes again, then continued. "Miss Aoi is such a wonderful person. She's always so kind and gentle and elegant, and she's a wonderful cook and perfect with the house work and…" She paused again and sighed before turning to look at me. She smiled, and this time it was a smile of acceptance. "If Sempai chose her then I can't be mad, it's not even surprising that he fell in love with her. I care about both of them and I want them to be happy. That's why I was trying not to trouble sempai or any of you." She smiled and looked back down at her hands in her lap. She laughed weakly and continued to cry silently. "Still…I can't deny that it hurts to be rejected."

At that moment my feelings for her felt overwhelming; I wanted to hold her close to me and tell her that it was alright to cry, that it was natural to feel hurt in this kind of situation. I wanted her to know that I was there for her. But she didn't feel the same way about me. She probably thought of me as just the chubby pervert who helped run the photo club, and I admit I didn't do much to discourage that image. I like the female body just as much as any normal guy, and I admit that when I first invited Taeko into the club my motives weren't that pure; I was looking for a cos-play model and Taeko was one of the most physically attractive new students on campus that year. At first she was just an attractive girl for me to take pictures of, but after I got to know her better I realized how great she was as a person and my feelings for her matured; but she had always liked Hanabishi, she'd never think of me the same way. I continued to watch her cry softly as I struggled to come up with something to say. I still felt a strong urge to reach out and hold her, but that would definitely scare her away. I raised my hand and started to move forward to touch her shoulder, to show her that I was supporting her, but I hesitated, and then backed off. Still, I had to say something; the moment was getting awkward again.

"It's natural to feel sad when someone you like doesn't return your feelings. It's ok to express those feelings, and I don't think Hanabishi or anyone else is going to think less of you for it. It's best to just let all your feelings out instead of hiding them, that way you'll eventually be able to move on." She looked up at me and for a moment I again worried that I had said something wrong. Had I insulted her by saying she should move on? I was on edge until Taeko smiled, a bright genuine smile, and nodded her head.

"Your absolutely right, Vice Chief." She wiped her eyes one last time with the handkerchief and put it into her pocket, then she suddenly stood up, turned towards me, and bowed. I blushed slightly. "I'm sorry that I worried you by running off so suddenly. Thank you very much for offering to listen to my problems. I really feel a lot better now." She said to me, still bowed. I got to my feet, my face still red.

"You don't have to be so formal." I stuttered as I rubbed the back of my head again with embarrassment. "It was no problem at all." Taeko giggled a little as she straightened up and the weight on my heart lightened a little. It was great to see her smiling honestly about something again.

"It really is getting late, I should start back home soon." She said as she glanced at her watch. My heart beat faster in my chest and I fought back nervousness.

"Do…do you mind if I walk you to the train station?" I stuttered out, feeling my ears grow hot. Taeko smiled at me, oblivious to my own nervousness.

"Of course not" she replied sweetly. I blushed some more and rubbed my head again.

"Well then…" I raised my hand and gestured in the direction of the train "after you". Taeko nodded and the two of us set off side-by-side towards the station.

-

The two of us sat side by side on a bench in the station, waiting for the next train to arrive. Our walk from the park to the station had been pretty uneventful except for the fact that I was a nervous wreck; I was shocked that Taeko didn't notice; I felt so obvious. We walked side by side in silence, and I kept wondering if I should try holding her hand; I even started to reach out a few times, but then I would lose my nerve and pull my arm back behind me before she could notice. Part of me wanted to be forward, to just come out and tell her how I felt, but the other part knew I shouldn't rush things, that I should give it time. We didn't talk much on the way over, and now we sat in silence. Taeko didn't seem to mind the quit, but I was feeling awkward. I looked around the station and spotted a vending machine on the wall behind us and to the left.

"Hey, you want to have a drink while we wait for the Train, Minazuki?" I asked, turning my head in the direction of the machine. "I've got some money, it will be my treat." Taeko glanced over her shoulder at the machine then turned back to me and smiled

"Sure, I am kind of thirsty." She replied. I got off the bench and started walking.

"What would you like?" I asked as I headed towards the machine. I paused and turned back to look at her. She thought to herself for a second and then replied.

"I'll have a C-Lemon please" She said. I smiled back and flashed her a thumbs up.

"No problem" I said as I turned and continued towards the machine. I quickly fed enough coins into the machine to buy two drinks and hit the button on the front. The two drinks rolled into the tray at the bottom and I picked them up and started back to the bench. I sat back down on the bench and handed Taeko her drink. She thanked me and promptly popped the tab and took a long gulp. I popped the tab on my soda too, but I didn't take a sip, I was too busy watching Taeko. After a second she lowered the can and sighed with satisfaction.

"Boy that really hit the spot! I didn't realize I was so thirsty until just now" She said, and then promptly took another deep sip, finishing the drink off.

"That was fast" I said, although I wasn't that surprised. Takeo could really knock back the drinks sometimes. She giggled and smiled.

"Yeah, probably all the practice I get drinking at our photo club parties" she replied. I took a small sip of my own drink as I watched Taeko crumple her can and toss it towards a nearby trash bin. The can fell into the bin perfectly.

"Nice shot" I said.

"It was nothing" she replied as she reclined in the bench and let her gaze travel across the ceiling of the train station. The silence from before returned as I tried to think of something to say. Her mention of the photo club made me start thinking about back when she'd first joined the group. She'd been interested in photography and I'd told her she'd be on the way to becoming a real photographer if she joined the group and become a model for us. In reality I wanted her to model cos-play for me because she was so attractive. A wave of guilt passed over me; things were different these days but it still didn't change the fact that I'd taken advantage of her back then. My thoughts must have shown on my face because Taeko turned towards me with a concerned look on her face.

"What are you thinking about, Vice Chief?" she asked. I looked at her and tried to figure out what I could say.

"Well…it's just…" I stammered, trying to gather my words. Finally I decided on how to approach the subject. "Minazuki, you like being in the photo club right?" Taeko looked at me with a puzzled expression.

"That's sort of a strange question" she stated, looking confused. I rubbed the back of my head from embarrassment as I struggled to come up with a reason for asking. But before I could Taeko answered. "Of course I like being in the club!" she responded, her voice filled with sincerity. "Being in the photo club has been one of the best experiences of my life. I wouldn't trade it for anything."

"Really?" I asked, a little surprised by her enthusiasm. Taeko nodded and then looked wistfully up into the sky.

"I've had so much fun, taking photos and doing modeling shoots and stuff, and made so many wonderful memories with you guys that I probably couldn't count them all. I've learned so many things, about photography, life and friendship, and made such awesome friends!" She closed her eyes, and sighed, as if remembering some wonderful memory, and then continued. "Plus, if I'd never joined the club I'd never have met Hanabishi-sempai or Tina-sempai, and I'd never have got my job at the Sakuraba mansion, and I'd never have formed such strong bonds with everyone. Hanabishi-sempai, Miss Aoi, Miss Miyabi, Tina, even miss Mayu, they are all precious family to me. And I probably would have never met them if I hadn't joined the photo club." She turned and gave me one of her dazzlingly beautiful smiles. "I don't remember if I've ever said this to you but…" suddenly she bowed to me, and I felt my face grow hot with another blush. "Thank you for inviting me into your club Vice Chief!" I didn't think it was possible, but I felt myself blush with embarrassment even more.

"Y…Your…welcome, Minazuki" I stuttered out. Inside I felt a small bit of relief wash over me. I hadn't accidentally offended her or caused her to secretly hate the club or something. But did she have any idea of the real reason I'd asked her to join? Would she forgive me if she knew? My feeling of relief didn't last long as I pondered these questions, and what Taeko asked next didn't help.

"So, why did you want to know if I like the club?" she asked, giving me a curious look. I felt my face begin to flush with embarrassment again as I looked back at my feet once again.

"Well…you see…" I began, my brain running at double speed as I tried to figure out what to say. Before I could respond, we heard the sound of the next train rounding the final curve before the station. I signed with some relief, but I also felt disappointment that Taeko would now be going. We both stood up and stepped closer to the edge of the platform where the train would arrive. "Well…" I began, as I smiled "I guess I'll see you next week at club?"

"Yeah, I'll be there" Taeko replied. She absently stuck her hand in her pocket and a look of recognition came over her face as she pulled out my handkerchief. "Oh, I almost forgot." She politely bowed again "I'll be sure to wash it and return it to you as soon as possible" Blushing slightly because of the bow, I slowly shook my head and smiled warmly at her.

"You can keep it, Minazuki." Taeko looked a little surprised and unsure of my offer.

"Are you sure Vice Chief. It wouldn't be any trouble for me to wash it. It's the least I could do after…" I cut off her sentence with a wav of my hand.

"It's ok. Just think of it as a gift." I said. Taeko still looked unsure for a second but then she put the handkerchief back into her pocket and smiled.

"Ok, I'll keep it, if that's what you want." She replied. The train began to pull into the station, and our time together ticked down. Right then Taeko's cheerful demeanor vanished and she just looked tired and vulnerable. And then she did something that I wasn't prepared for; she reached out and drew me into a hug. I literally felt my heart top beating, and my breath caught in my throat. She closed her eyes and held me close for a few silent seconds, before she spoke. "Vice Chief, thanks for everything today. Thanks for listening to my problems, and for worrying about me, and being such a great friend. Thanks for being there for me". My whole body was frozen up in shock, but I finally managed to choke out a response.

"..Any Time…" I replied; feeling as if my face was going to burst into flames from the amount of blushing it was undergoing. Taeko broke the embrace just as the train came to a stop on the platform and the door slid open. She gave me one last look and small smile before she turned and headed to the door. My mind and body were racing with a million thoughts and feelings at that moment. The train platform was almost deserted, and after being so close to her for those few seconds, I could barely control myself. I wanted to hold her in my arms so badly, to kiss her and tell her my true feelings. I had to do something. "Minazuki?..." I started tentatively. She paused right at the door and turned, giving me an inquisitive look. I tried to figure out what to say, I ran the words through my mind a million times. I love you Minazuki. I love you. I wanted to tell her. I needed to tell her. But… "Minazuki, sometime do you think…you and I…could catch a movie together…or something?" I asked. Taeko answered immediately, without having to give it any thought.

"Sure, that would be great, Vice Chief." She answered with enthusiasm. I felt my heart lift again, and I couldn't help smiling from ear to ear.

"Well okay then" I said "I'll see you next week. Have a good night!"

"You too" Taeko replied, just as the train door slid closed. I stood and watched the train pull away from the station. I stood there for several moments, even after the train was far out of view, before I finally turned and headed for the exit. As I walked down the street, back towards the park, I thought about Taeko and everything that had happened that night. Even though I knew it wasn't a good idea to rush things, I was still disappointed at being unable to summon the nerve to confess my feelings to her. "If only I'd had a little more courage, I could have told her at the end" I kept telling myself, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that it was probably better this way.

-

"Hey Sato!" the call broke my trance and I looked up to see Suzuki and Hanabishi waving to me at the end of the street. I'd made it all the way back to the entrance of the park where the festival was being held, without even realizing it. I waved back and quickly jogged forward to meet them. "Hey, where have you been?" asked Suzuki in an annoyed tone "Hanabishi and I have been looking for you and Minazuki for a while?" He looked around as if he just now realized that I was along "Where is Minazuki anyway?"

"She's already on her way back to the mansion. Her train just left." I replied, pointing back over my shoulder towards the train station. Hanabishi still looked concerned and a little guilty.

"So you found her after she left the park?" he asked. I nodded, and Hanabishi seemed to relax a little. "That's good. I was kind of worried when she decided to just leave like that. Was she alright? Was she really upset with me?"

Suzuki nodded his head knowingly. "Hanabishi told me what happened. That kind of thing can be pretty rough on a person."

"Yeah" I said, as the three of us began to walk together, back towards the train station. "She was pretty upset, but we talked a little and I think she'll be ok."

"That's good to hear" Hanabishi said, smiling with relief, "I would feel really bad if Taeko-chan couldn't continue being herself because I was unable to return her feelings. I tried to let her down as easily as possible, but I knew she'd still be hurt a little, no matter what I said."

"I think you did the best you could Hanabishi" added Suzuki. "You had to be honest with her after all. It's natural for someone to feel disappointed if the person they like can't return their feelings." I nodded along and thought about my own situation.

"Yeah your right" replied Hanabishi "But still…It's hard to see Taeko-chan sad"

"Yes it is" I added. Suzuki and Hanabishi both looked at me with a little curiosity in their eyes, and I quickly turned my attention forward, blushing lightly. Thankfully neither of them seemed to read too deeply into my comment, and we continued on. We walked in silence for another minute or two before once again reaching the train station. Suzuki and I both said our goodbyes to Hanabishi at the front of the station and turned to start back to our dorms.

"Hey, wait a sec Sato" called Hanabishi, and I stopped and turned back to face him. Suzuki stopped for a second, but then turned and kept walking by himself; he must have figured Hanabishi wanted to talk to me in private. Hanabishi walked up to me and placed one of his hands on my shoulder as he smiled at me. "Thanks for giving Taeko-chan someone to talk to. I was really worried about her, but I knew that she probably wouldn't have wanted to talk to me right at that moment. I'm glad you were there, Sato". I blushed and laughed nervously.

"Yeah well…I guess I was worried too" I added lamely. Hanabishi gave me a slightly strange look and smiled some more.

"Did you tell her how you feel about her?" he asked. My heart stopped for a second and my face turned bright red. How did he know that I liked her?

"Um…well…not exactly...no." I stuttered out like a fool. Hanabishi looked a little surprised, but didn't say anything. "How did you know?" I asked, my face still blushing bright red. Hanabishi laughed a little and replied.

"It's totally obvious, Sato. I think Taeko-chan is the only one who doesn't know, and even I'm surprised she hasn't figured it out." I blushed even brighter at the comment.

"Yeah, I guess so." After a short moment, when my body returned to a more relaxed state, I volunteered my reason for not confessing. "I really wanted to tell her" I said somberly "But I didn't want to rush things. Minazuki knows how it feels to have the person you love not return your feelings. If I told her how I felt now, it would only cause problems for her, because she'd worry about hurting me. She'd end up in the same position that you were in, Hanabishi. I don't want to add to her problems like that, so I won't tell her yet." Hanabishi nodded and his face took on a serious look.

"I understand. I tried to let her down easy, she tried to stay calm in front of me." He smiled slightly "I guess we're all just doing the best we can not to hurt each other".

"Yeah" I said and nodded in agreement "We all have to do our best. And someday I will tell her how I feel. Someday." Hanabishi smiled and patted me on the shoulder quickly.

"Good luck. I hope everything turns out ok. You're a good guy, Sato"

"Thanks. I'll see you next week?" I asked. Hanabishi nodded, and replied as he turned towards the Train Station entrance.

"Yeah, see you next week" He called as he headed up the stairs to the platform.

"You too, goodnight!" I called as I turned away and headed off in the direction Suzuki had gone, towards our dorms. As I walked I thought of the conversation Hanabishi and I had had, and the promise I'd made to myself. Someday, I'll tell her. Someday.

-It's done! (dies of exhaustion) this fic is only 11 pages and yet it took my like half a year to write . My enthusiasm for the writing definitely ran out quick. I just really don't like writing. If only my fanfics would write themselves . Anyway, I hope everyone enjoyed the story. Is anyone else out there a Sato/Taeko fan? It's kind of a strange pairing. I hope it's good, while I was writing it I was all paranoid and worried that it was going to totally suck. I didn't really realize it at first, but the plot ended up turning into an homage to CCS. I love that anime. One of the lines is even very similar to something Li-kun said to Tomoyo. Do you readers know which one it is? I also had trouble deciding how to end the fic. It was originally going to end with a conversation between Sato and Suzuki at their dorm, then I got lazy and thought about ending it when Taeko left on the train, but then changed it to its present form at the last minute. I also didn't know if Sato would just take her to the train station or escort her all the way back to the mansion until I actually wrote it. Anyway, I should probably go to bed now, cause it's really late. Once again, I hope everyone enjoyed the fic , and I hope your looking forward to my next one (It will be a Digimon Frontier fic). I probably won't start it for a LONG time though. Have a nice day everybody! See ya! (crawls into bed and falls asleep instantly)-