Please Teacher is not my property. It belongs to Bandai or Please.

("I") Denotes dialogue

("I") Denotes thought

Chapter 17: Standing Still

Mizuho and Kei were at a loss for words. Melani stared at them, wild-eyed and frustrated, trying to make sense of the situation. However, no matter how hard she stared, Kei and Mizuho's confused expressions did not change.

Melani spun around and kicked a panel of the wall, denting it a great deal. She yelled in frustration and dug her hands into her hair. "Damn you, Moshi!"

As Melani wallowed in her anger, Mizuho felt a metallic object in her hand, which she quickly hid behind her back.

A flash grenade…

She looked at Kei, who nodded at her. He looked back at Melani, and Mizuho followed suit. Melani turned back, her hair slightly tangled from having yanked it in her hissy fit. She approached the couple again, hunched over with he wild eyed stare again.

"That's fine…. I'll just make the repairs myself. We'll be here a little longer than planned….." she said, trailing off. Melani immediately straightened up and tried to untangle her hair. "But, hey, think of it like this. A least you two will get a little more alone time with each other before being torn apart forever."

Melani began to chuckle. Mizuho put on a serious face and squeezed Kei's hand. Without a word, she hurled the grenade at Melani's feet. Melani looked down non-chalantly, and was about to curse out loud as she realized what the grenade was. However, she wasn't given that chance.

Moments later, Melani rolled on the ground, screaming at the top of her lungs and clutching at her eyes. She sat up and blinked, everything still white and blurry. Frustrated, she tried to stand up but immediately fell back down. "Ahhh!!!!" she yelled.

Mizuho ran out of the docking bay of Melani's ship, gripping hold of Kei's outstretched hand.

"Come on, Kei! We're almost there!" Mizuho called out, a smile on her face. She looked back as Kei stumbled and fell to the ground. Not hesitating, Mizuho picked up her fallen husband in her arms and turned back towards the light of the outside.

Kei looked up at Mizuho. "Mizuho….. I'm sorry." He said. Mizuho stepped out on to grass and looked down at Kei. "There's nothing to worry about, Kei." She replied, leaning down and kissing him on the forehead. Kei's vision went a little blurry. He wasn't sure if he was crying or if it was something else.

Mizuho looked around after taking a few steps. "Where's Mother…." She pondered.

"There you are!"

Mizuho turned around to see Melani rushing blindly at Mizuho. Melani swung her fist at Mizuho, but her attack went wide, and instead, slammed into Mizuho with her body. Mizuho gripped on to Kei as she skidded back and fell to her knees. Melani blinked, her vision returning.

"Heh, I thought so." Melani said, a smirk on her face. She advanded towards the kneeling Mizuho and shook her head. "I guess we found out who wore the pants in this relationship."

Melani reached for Kei, who's eyes were beginning to flutter. Mizuho smacked away Melani's advancing hand and glared at her. "Leave him alone!" she yelled, clutching her beloved tighter in her arms.

Melani nodded at Kei. "Seems like something's wrong here." She said. Mizuho looked down at Kei. Kei's stare had become blank. Mizuho's eyes widened in horror.

"No! Kei!!!" she screamed. Kei could barely hear her voice, and the view of her was becoming fuzzy.

No…Not now…

Mizuho felt Melani's foot connect with the side of her head and flew to the side, dropping Kei from her arms. Mizuho, blood now trickling from her lip scrambled on all fours and reached for Kei, only to get kicked in the head a second time. Mizuho fell prone, sobbing slightly.

Melani reached down and picked Kei up by the neck with seemingly little effort. She looked over Kei and shrugged. "I don't get it, Mizuho." She said. Melani turned and looked at Mizuho, who was slowly recovering. "How could you fall in love with this man? He can't even take care of himself!"

Kei tried to speak but Melani shook him vigorously. "See? He isn't even trying to fight back." She said. "What kind of a man is he if he can't even stand up to try and defend his 'loved' one?"

Melani turned to face Kei again. "Not that it matters."

For the past minute or two, Kei had been fighting to stay in with this reality. Fighting against his own body, which was trying to shut down. The voices of Mizuho and Melani were being drowned out and he could barely understand anything they said.

Not another one… But… it's been so…

Mizuho reached up for Kei, only to have Melani push her foot onto Mizuho's head and push her back.

Mizuho tried to crawl back. "Kei…. No…. Don't…"

Melani looked down and laughed. "It's over, Mizuho. I'm going to sever the only link you have to this planet." She said, looking back at Kei. Melani slowly drew back her fist. "I'm going to take the only thing you have left."

Kei could make out Melani's fist, and tried to make his body do something. Anything. Mizuho's scream seemed silent as Melani drove her fist directly into Kei's chest. Kei's body flew back and struck the ground, rolling somewhat before stopping on his belly. Kei could see his wife, tears in her eyes, yelling something, screaming at the top of her lungs.

But he couldn't hear anything. It was as though Melani had stolen every bit of life from him with her last punch. He couldn't move, he couldn't blink, he couldn't breathe, he couldn't think. His vision went blurry as he saw Mizuho get grabbed again.

Then, it all went black.

He felt the blades of grass brushing against his face. The wind kissing his skin. The warmth of sunlight washing over his body. Kei sat up and his eyes bolted open. He looked around, bewildered. He wasn't in the forest. Rather, he was in an endless field of tall grass, with a light wind blowing and the sun shining overhead.

Kei stood up immediately, looking for any sign of Mizuho. He ran as fast as he could through the field, but the scenery didn't change, and his wife was no where present.

He fell to his knees and looked up at the sun. "MIZUHO!!!" he screamed. His voice rang out through the field and went silent. Only the wind and rustling grass could be heard.

Kei slumped down, tears beginning to run down his cheeks. "No…." he muttered. "At a time like this. I can't be here…."

He then felt a warmth spread from his shoulder. Kei looked over and saw a taped hand softly gripping his shoulder.

"At least we can agree on that."

Kei looked behind him and saw the grinning face of Moshi.

"Moshi!" exclaimed Kei, wiping his tears away. Moshi pulled his hand away and offered it to Kei, who took hold and was helped to his feet.

Kei paused. "Wait a minute…" he said. "If you're here, does that mean I'm-"

"Dead?" Moshi interrupted. "Nah. You're about as healthy as….. er…" Moshi reached up and rubbed the back of his neck. "Well… you know."

Kei paused. "So…where are we?" he asked, looking around. Moshi shook his head. "In your head, I guess. You did go into a standstill, after all."

Kei spun around and stared at Moshi. "Wait….. how do you…"

"At this point in the relationship, Kei, if you still don't think I know more than I let on, you're a bit of a naïve fellow." Moshi replied, chuckling. "I've just known. But that's not the issue here, Kei. Mizuho's in danger."

Kei sighed. "What can I do?" he said, slumping down a bit. Moshi stamped his foot into the ground and pointed at Kei with his taped hand. "Well, first of all, you're gonna straighten up!" he said, a stern look in his face.

"You're gonna break out of the standstill, and I'm going to help you do it."