Angels, Monsters and Eavesdroppers.

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Shigeno Shuichi. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Summary: Takumi has a chance encounter with Mako and Sayuki while on a Project D expedition.

Note: I haven't seen Initial D: Extra Stage. I apologise if there are any mistakes.

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Sayuki observed her best friend she drove. As always, she looked completely at home behind the wheel. These days, driving was the only thing that seemed to lift the gloom that surrounded Mako. It wasn't obvious because Mako was naturally quiet and shy but Sayuki could tell. She suppressed a sigh; what type of a friend was she if she couldn't help Mako get out of her slump?

"It's rude to stare you know." Mako interrupted her thoughts.

Sayuki grinned wryly.

'I'm all right. Really I am. You don't have to keep looking at me like that,' Mako continued, still watching the road.

Sayuki didn't answer. She looked out the window. Who's she trying to convince? Sayuki wondered. Me or herself? It was obvious she was still thinking about that guy. It baffled Sayuki that she could love him so much when she didn't actually know him. It baffled her even more that he'd dumped Mako. Any guy would be lucky to have her as a girlfriend. It had been better when she had had that crush on Takahashi Ryousuke, she thought. At least she hadn't gotten her heart broken. And Sayuki had no idea how to help her. All her attempts to set her up with a guy had ended in disaster. Apparently none of them measured up to Iketani. Sayuki was more than ready to hate Iketani. Only something didn't seem to add up. She'd met the guy; he'd seemed likable enough and he certainly looked quite struck with Mako. It didn't actually make sense that he'd dumped her.

Maybe she could set her up with Ryousuke, Sayuki thought idly. Right! That'll happen! But still, that guy was so gorgeous. He really did seem to have everything – looks, talent, brains, money. And what a brilliant racer he was. She remembered the first time she saw him race. She had been so awed. It was no wonder that Mako was completely infatuated with him; it was hard not to admire him. Sayuki had thought it was impossible for anyone to beat him.

And then, Fujiwara Takumi stormed into the street racing scene. She couldn't help the smile that crept into her face. He came out of nowhere, all shy and unassuming and reserved and oh-so-cute, and proceeded to systematically demolish all his opponents. When he raced, he seemed to stretch the limits of what was humanly possible. A maverick. A monster. He fascinated her -the boy who defeated them on their home course despite the fact that it was the very first time he had driven on the course and then brushed off the compliments.

Her smile widened. She remembered Takumi could hardly look at her without blushing next day at the pool. He was so shy it was adorable. The more time she spent with him, the more she liked him. She couldn't really explain it but there was something oddly charming about him that made him irresistible. He was-

Her thoughts came to an abrupt halt as something caught her eye. A white van that bore the legend 'Project D' and a group of people standing next to it. Was that…? Think of the devil!

'Mako! Wait! I think that's Takumi-kun!'

'What?' Mako asked, startled but slowing down nevertheless.

'Back there, in front of that restaurant. And the rest of the Project D team, if I'm not mistaken. Come on lets go say hello!' Sayuki's eyes were shining with excitement.

Mako looked unsure. 'Er...you think we should? I mean we don't really know him…I mean, we do but not really…er…he's probably not expecting us…'

Sayuki looked at her as if she was mad. Mako flushed. She attempted to explain herself, 'it's just that….' It's just that he's Iketani's friend and I'm scared I won't be able to resist asking about him. I'm terrified I'll hear something I don't want to hear. And I don't know what exactly I want to hear. God! Why can't I just get over him? I should be angry with him and all I can feel is crushed that he obviously doesn't like me the way I like him. And I was so sure I had read the signs right. I waited for hours but he didn't come…he never called…why? Why?

Sayuki looked at her archly. 'Don't tell me it's because of Ryousuke-san. I thought you were over him.'

'What! Oh, no…it's not that.'

Sayuki looked at her suspiciously. 'Ok, if you say so.' She continued earnestly, 'Come on, Mako. It's ridiculous. We can't just drive off without saying anything to him.'

Mako sighed. She was right. It was stupid to avoid talking to Takumi because of Iketani. 'Let's go back, then.'

Sayuki grinned.

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As Takumi finished this can of coffee, he wondered idly how Keisuke-san managed to listen so patiently to Kenta's rubbish. He immediately felt guilty for thinking that; it wasn't like Takumi was the brightest crayon in the box. But Ryousuke-san never laughed at any of his questions, was never condescending and always answered them patiently. He tossed the empty can into the trash can. Takumi glanced at Ryousuke; he was talking to Matsumoto. He's really something else, Takumi thought. He was infinitely grateful that he was part of Project D. Oyaji had even made an offhand comment that he wasn't as bad as before. High praise indeed! Takumi would deny it to the grave but hearing that from his dad had made him feel ridiculously proud. Oyaji thought he was getting better. That was even better than Ryousuke-san praising him!

His brows knit together as a car pulled into the parking lot. A very familiar looking blue Sil80. Takumi watched as Mako and Sayuki climbed out of the car. Next to him, Kenta paused abruptly to stare. Takumi took a few steps forward, smiling. 'Mako-san. Sayuki-san.' He barely heard Kenta hissing, 'you know them!'

Sayuki and Mako were grinning broadly. Takumi was trying very hard not to ogle at Sayuki as she sashayed towards him, looking ridiculously sexy in her scarlet mini dress and high heels. She looked hotter than he remembered and the last time he'd seen her, she'd been wearing a bikini of the same colour. He gulped. Not a good time to be thinking about her in a bikini. The mini dress showed her voluptuous figure to perfection and he tried not stare at the way her dress fell about her thighs as she walked. Keep your eyes on her face, idiot! he hissed at himself.

And then they were standing in front of him. They beamed at him. 'Hello Takumi-kun', they chorused.

'Mako-san, Sayuki-san. What are you doing here?' His voice sounded dazed even to him.

'We were passing by and saw you and thought we'd say hello.' Mako smiled. 'It's good to see you, Takumi-kun'.

'Yes, and I see you're still terribly polite as ever.' Sayuki observed dryly. Her expression became mischievous. 'Is it my imagination or have you become cuter?'

Takumi felt his face turn pink. 'Er…I…I'm not sure.' He never knew how to react when she teased him like that. How did one respond to a comment like that?

She laughed.

The rest of the Project D team watched with ill-concealed interest, or in Ryousuke's case well-concealed interest. The girls noticed them looking and nodded a 'hello'. The team nodded back.

'Project D has another challenge, I suppose.' Mako commented.

Takumi nodded.

'We check out the Project D website sometimes. You're really becoming an incredible racer, Takumi. Everyone's talking about you. You're becoming famous. Project D's undefeated downhill ace and all that.' Sayuki said. Mako nodded.

Takumi scratched his cheek in embarrassment. 'Well, I don't really do anything. I just follow Ryousuke-san's instructions.'

The girls smiled at each other. 'Looks like you haven't changed all that much.' Sayuki said, shaking her head.

'You're so lucky to be involved with Project D.' Mako lowered her voice in case she was overheard. 'Ryousuke-san is pretty amazing, isn't he? You're so lucky to be working with him. He's such a brilliant racer.'

Takumi nodded. 'He is,' he said seriously. 'Now, that I'm part of D, I'm realising just how brilliant he is. I've learned so much from him. The races are getting tougher and without Ryousuke-san's instructions, I don't think I would have been able to win those battles. I have to work really hard; I don't want to let the team down. I just…' he shrugged, 'I just try not to disappoint Ryousuke-san.'

'Wow.' Sayuki breathed for lack of a better response.

'Now I really want to race with you.' Mako smiled.

Sayuki grinned. 'Yeah, and this time it won't be easy like the last time. We'll beat you Fujiwara Takumi.'

Takumi looked at her in disbelief. 'Easy? I was struggling to keep up with you. It didn't even feel like a victory.' He grinned. 'I wouldn't mind a rematch, though. And it'll be different this time; I'm no longer stupid enough to race without having driven on the course before. I'll make sure I'm familiar with the course.'

Mako and Sayuki grinned at each other. 'You're on,' Mako said, the familiar excitement rising in her. Her eyes gleamed. 'I'll look forward to when we'll race again. And when we race next time, we won't hold back. We'll do our very best.'

Takumi looked at her square in the face, a smile hovering around his mouth. 'Please do.'

They held the look for a couple of seconds. Sayuki was amazed. Sugoi! She could feel his aura crackling around him as he stood there spine straight, chin out, smiling that strange half smile. There was an odd glint in his eyes. She could feel the fine hair on her arms and at the back of her neck stand at an end. What is this feeling?, she wondered. Why am I feeling so intimidated? What is he? She suppressed a shiver. She couldn't remember feeling more intimidated or more impressed. She stared at him in complete amazement. She didn't delude herself into thinking that they could beat him; they were thoroughly outclassed. Sugoi. Looking at him, she could see no traces of the shy, unassuming boy-man. What is he? She wondered again.

Mako smiled suddenly and the spell was broken. Takumi blinked and the gleam faded from his eyes. He reverted back to his diffident self. He scratched his cheek. 'Well, actually I'm very busy now with Project D. As much as I'd like to, I won't be able to race any time soon,' he said apologetically to them.

Mako nodded. 'I thought as much.'

Sayuki sighed dramatically. 'Oh, that's too bad. The sooner we race, the sooner we get to spend time together afterwards.'

'Er…' Takumi started. He had a bad feeling about where this conversation was heading. He never knew what to make of half the things she said.

Her voice became huskier and the look in her eyes was teasing. 'We had fun last time, didn't we Takumi-kun?'

She said his name like a caress. Takumi felt his face go up in flames. He felt completely out of his depth when she flirted like this. It was like he was completely incapable of doing anything but blush and stutter like an idiot. 'Er…er…yeah' She was obviously talking about the day the spent at the pool but the way she said it seemed to imply something entirely different. He thought he heard someone behind him choke at that last comment but he didn't dare look.

'We should do that again sometime.' She continued mercilessly, her voice still hopelessly intimate.

'Aa,' Takumi managed to nod, flushing even more. Could the rest of the team hear what was being said? He hardly knew where to look. He settled for looking down and scuffing his trainers on the floor as he cursed himself for being so gauche and blushing so easily at every stupid thing. I bet Ryousuke-san and Keisuke-san would be all suave and not act like an utter fool. He groaned inwards. Crap! Why can't I act normal around her?

Sayuki was grinning wickedly at Takumi who wouldn't meet her eyes. Honestly! He makes it too easy. He's so adorable.

Mako looked at Sayuki in exasperation. Honestly! She was embarrassing the poor fellow. A shy person herself, she could guess what Takumi was going through. She knew her friend was well and knew that Sayuki was perfectly capable of eating him alive. Takumi wouldn't know what hit him. 'Sayuki, stop teasing him.'

Sayuki looked at her friend in surprise. 'Eh?' This was the first time Mako had said that to her.

Mako put up a finger and said firmly, 'He's too young for you to be flirting with.'

Her friend looked incredulously at her. 'He's 19!'

'Well...I suppose…' Mako faltered. 'But you're making him uncomfortable.' Mako lowered her voice to a near whisper. 'Oh Sayuki, ease up on him a bit. He's still younger than us and you know he's not half as experienced as you.'

Sayuki's face darkened ominously. 'What do you mean experienced?'

Takumi watched helplessly as they bickered to and fro in a way only really close friends could. He wondered if he should be offended because Mako said that he didn't have any experience. He didn't particularly like the sound of that word. Not to say, that he didn't know a thing or two. Ok, so maybe he knew a little more than that. But then, Takumi could be a very quick learner when he wanted to and Mogi was a fabulous teacher.

Sayuki now had her arms folded while she glared at Mako who was trying her best not to wilt under her gaze. Takumi tried valiantly to keep his eyes from drifting down to her chest. She was so different from the other girls he knew. He didn't ogle like this at every pretty girl he saw. But then, Sayuki wasn't just pretty- she was seductive, sensual, utterly feminine. And damn! She had great breasts!

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Meanwhile, the rest of the Project team were watching with great interest. If they listened carefully they could just about make out what was being said. Well, for most part anyway. Ryousuke was putting up a nice act of not looking interested. Keisuke nearly rolled his eyes. Who did he think he was fooling anyway?

'Are they really the best racers in Usui, Keisuke-san?' Kenta was asking him. Ryousuke had informed them earlier the girls were, in fact, Impact Blue. He had never seen them race, but they were quite good by all accounts.

Keisuke nodded. He had been startled when he heard that Fujiwara had beaten them even though it was the first time he had driven on the course. He had glanced at his brother and saw his eyes widen with surprise for a second before smiling wryly. He could almost see the thoughts in his brother's head. Ryousuke probably took this as further proof of Fujiwara's genius and was probably wondering why he was even surprised he had pulled off a victory like that; nothing less from Fujiwara. Keisuke's jaw tightened. He felt the familiar swell of emotions rise in him- awe, jealousy, respect, fear and iron-clad determination to beat Fujiwara, to be faster, better. His brother often said that while Fujiwara was an exceptional racer, he thought that Keisuke was as good. Does he really think that? Keisuke wondered, not for the first time. He had no reason to doubt his brother's sincerity, except Fujiwara could be so overwhelming sometimes.

He watched Fujiwara. He bit back a grin. And at other times he could be such a shy, clueless dolt; a curiously likable shy, clueless dolt. Keisuke wondered at how easily he blushed. He noticed Fujiwara didn't quite hold his gaze when he talked to one of the girls. He didn't know her name so he dubbed her Venus; he thought it suited her. She had a fabulous figure. Her friend was prettier but she didn't have the verve Venus seemed to radiate. Keisuke, with his fondness for bright colours and vitality, found her very attractive. And judging from Fujiwara's behaviour, he wasn't the only one.

Keisuke frowned suddenly. He watched as the mere mention of a challenge changed Fujiwara's posture and aura. He wasn't fumbling anymore; there was no trace of his habitual shyness and diffidence. Fujiwara probably had no idea how chilling that look of his could be. The fact that it was such a deviation from his usual attitude made it all the more unsettling. He smiled grimly. He might not realise it but he was already playing mind games. Then the moment passed and he was back to his shy self. If Keisuke didn't know better he would've thought that he that imagined the change.

He took a sip from his soda. And promptly choked when he heard what Venus said and the tone she used; she had a secretive smile playing around her lips and she was looking at Fujiwara through half lowered eyelashes. She was flirting with him! His eyes widened comically and he exchanged glances with the rest of the team. She didn't mean what I thought she did, did she? The sentence sounded innocuous enough, but how the hell had she managed to make it sound so intimate? So suggestive? Keisuke wondered. And the way she said his name, it sounded like they had been quite close once.

Keisuke's eyes narrowed. Fujiwara was blushing furiously and was mumbling something. Keisuke thought he looked guilty as sin. His mind boggled. Fujiwara and Venus? That girl was so incredibly hot and she was obviously older that him, and Fujiwara was so…so…well, diffident. Keisuke's scowl deepened. More evidence that guy's not as timid as he looks. Keisuke couldn't actually say why he was annoyed. His thoughts were jumbled but one thought stood out starkly. He has a full time job and he obviously has time for fun and still manages to surprise us all with his skilled driving. Here I focus almost single-mindedly on Project D and I still struggle to keep up with him? Why can't I seem to pressure him the way he pressures me? What the hell makes him so special? Keisuke felt betrayed for some reason. God! That boy was so annoying

He stopped obsessing long enough to hear Kenta gasp, 'Did she mean…..!' Kenta had finally managed to make his throat work. Fumihiro shrugged, wide eyed.

Keisuke was still scowling. 'I don't know why you're all so surprised. That Fujiwara's proven that he's quite bold under that whole quiet exterior of his. I just hope he doesn't let this affect his racing and Project D.' He knew he sounded snide and although he knew he was being stupid and childish, he couldn't help it.

The others looked at him in surprise at his vehemence, the drama taking place in front of them forgotten. Kenta looked nervously at Ryousuke who had been calmly observing Keisuke. Kenta had seen his brows knit at this last comment. Keisuke hadn't noticed earlier but now he felt the weight of his brother's stare. He looked at him, startled. How long had he been watching him?

Ryousuke favoured him with a long look; his eyes were stern. Keisuke shifted uncomfortably. Ryousuke didn't have to say anything; the look had been enough to make his younger brother feel chastened. He shook his head in amusement when Keisuke offered him a sheepish smile as an apology.

Keisuke's grin widened when he saw his brother's amused smile; all was well with the world again. He turned his attention to Fujiwara. I wonder what I missed, he thought. He saw Fujiwara say something. Keisuke could hardly make out what he was saying. Really, that Fujiwara really needed to speak louder.

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This is getting ridiculous, Takumi thought.

'No… that's not I meant…really' Mako was saying nervously, holding her hands out.

Sayuki continued glaring at her.

'You know I didn't mean that. I wasn't insinuating that you're…well……er…never mind…you know I would never think that' Mako said earnestly. 'I actually envy you. I couldn't even…' She trailed off looking miserable.

Sayuki's expression immediately changed from annoyed to sympathetic. Takumi watched, puzzled. Sayuki caught his look and shook her head sadly at him. It's nothing. Takumi nodded.

'Ano…Takumi-kun,' Mako started hesitantly. She was chewing the inside of her lip and she wouldn't meet his eyes. Takumi watched her, curious. 'Er…is…how is Iketani-san?'

She said the last part so softly that Takumi almost didn't hear her. Takumi glanced at Sayuki. So, that's what it was about! Sayuki offered him a rueful smile. 'He's…he's fine.' Takumi said.

Mako nodded. 'That's good. I'm glad he's doing well.'

But she didn't look glad, she looked miserable. Takumi looked at uncertainly Sayuki but she was looking at her friend concerned. Yet another situation he wasn't good at handling… Should I say something? Mako was biting her lip and she looked suspiciously like she was about to cry. That more than anything caused Takumi to blurt, 'He still talks about you, Mako-san.'

She looked up abruptly. 'What?' She hardly dared to hope. Did I hear right?

'Iketani-senpai still talks about you. He…' Takumi felt awkward but he ploughed on. 'He still…er… likes you. And he's really sad that…er…that it didn't work out.'

Sayuki bit her tongue to keep from snapping "and whose bloody fault is that?" Mako looked at him half-hopeful, half-fearful. 'But he didn't…'

Takumi remembered what the manager had told them about the whole meeting that never happened. He knew Iketani was just as depressed as Mako. 'Er… he'd actually gone to meet to that day Mako-san. He got stuck in traffic and when he got there, you had gone. He was really depressed after that.'

Mako was a mess of emotions. 'Why didn't he call? He could've called….' She trailed off bemused

Takumi gave her a rueful look. 'Iketani-senpai is a great guy but he's not really very confident. When it comes to girls, anyway. He…' Takumi shrugged. 'He didn't think he wasn't good enough for you. He just…he just didn't believe in himself, I guess. He didn't think you could like an ordinary guy like him. He didn't think he could compare to Ryou-' He broke off abruptly. Shit! I nearly said Ryousuke-san's name. He wondered with dread if Ryousuke-san could hear the conversation. He probably wouldn't know they were talking about him even if he did. Or at least, I hope so. He chanced a glance at Ryousuke; he looked preoccupied with his own thoughts.

'Your friend is a complete idiot,' Sayuki stated flatly after a moment.

Takumi didn't say anything.

'But…how did he know it was…?' Mako murmured confused. She hadn't told Iketani it was Ryousuke that she had had a crush on all those years ago; it hadn't seemed important. Her eyes widened. 'The photo!' That stupid photo! I must have forgotten to remove it. He must have seen it somehow.

Sayuki looked at her puzzled. What photo? Then the pieces fell into place. 'Oh Mako! Tell me you didn't!'

Mako nodded glumly and chewed her bottom lip. Sayuki sighed in exasperation. 'So, now what?' she asked.

'I don't know,' Mako said uncertainly.

'Oh, for God's sake!' Sayuki burst out impatiently. 'Go meet him already! Talk to him and clear up this whole mess.' Her voice softened. 'This is your chance, Mako.'

They looked at each other for a long moment; some sort of unspoken conversation going on between them. Then Mako looked at Takumi, her jaw set. 'Does Iketani-san still work at the gas station?'

Takumi nodded.

'Alright then.' She declared.

'You're going to go meet him?' Sayuki asked. Mako nodded.

They grinned at each other. Sayuki turned to Takumi, one hand on her hip, and said, 'and tell your friend if he breaks her heart again, he'll have to answer to me.'

Takumi nodded grinning. That hadn't gone quite so badly. So, she'd go visit Iketani and put an end to all this rubbish. Good! Iketani was getting really ridiculous, spouting that 'lonely driver' nonsense which he got from Itsuki.

'Thank you, Takumi-kun.' Mako bowed, startling Takumi. 'If you hadn't told me…I'm really grateful.'

Takumi felt a blush rise. 'But I didn't do anything,' he protested.

Mako shook her head. 'No, you've really helped me.'

Takumi shifted uncomfortably. 'No…I just…really, it was nothing… '

Sayuki cut him off with a laugh. 'Takumi-kun, how about you stop protesting so much and just accept the thanks?' Her voice was warm and affectionate.

He rubbed the back of his neck. 'Er…it's just that don't want you to have to wrong impression. It makes me uncomfortable when people have the wrong opinion…I don't want you to misunderstand and think you too highly of me…it makes me feel like a fake.' Takumi paused and continued more firmly, 'I really didn't do anything… it's really nothing great. Please, you have nothing to be grateful to me about.'

Sayuki looked at him for a long moment. There was an indecipherable look in her eyes. She hardly knew what to make of the odd boy standing in front of her. She felt some unnamed emotion welling up in her and washing over her in waves. But he was just so nice. Not smooth or sophisticated or suave. But nice. Such an old-fashioned word. Like humility and modesty. He stood there, looking at them, his eyes solemn, innocent. Maybe that was the secret of his undeniable charm, she thought -that air of unspoiled innocence (so odd on a 19 year old boy in this day and age) and quiet determination. And he was the cutest thing she'd ever seen. Don't change, Takumi. Don't ever change.

Takumi looked at Sayuki, mystified. He couldn't make out her expression. She looked a little out of it. Mako was smiling. She reached for her bag and then fumbled inside. She brought out a pen and small notepad and scribbled something on it. She tore off the page and handed it to Takumi who instinctively took it. He looked at the slip of paper, bemused.

'It's our phone numbers. If you ever need anything, you can call either of us. Anything at all,' Mako said.

Takumi looked at the slip of paper and the looked at her and back at the paper again. Then he bowed, smiling. 'Thank you.' He carefully folded it and put it in his wallet.

Mako looked at Sayuki who nodded.

'We should get going now.' Mako said regretfully. 'Take care, Takumi. Do your best for your upcoming battle.' Mako stuck out her hand.

Takumi turned faintly pink. He didn't think he'd get away with shaking just her index finger this time. And anyway, he didn't want to look like an even bigger idiot in front of the Project D team. He shook her hand, shyly. 'Thanks.'

Mako's smile got wider. Takumi turned to Sayuki expecting her to shake hands him as well. He even had his hand out. To his utter shock, Sayuki shook her head and stepped closer to him. Takumi froze. She came closer. And closer. She was right up against him. Takumi stopped breathing, he stopped thinking, he stopped functioning completely as his senses went into overdrive. Time slowed to a near halt. His face went up in flames. His throat was dry. He could smell her expensive perfume, he could feel her brushing against him, he could hear the blood pounding in his ears. And when she put a hand on his shoulder, he took a step back involuntarily in his confusion, causing her to stumble a bit and fall against him. He caught her arm reflexively to steady her and heard her breathy chuckle. Her perfume was addling his brains and heaven help him, he could feel her breasts pressed against him. His face felt like it was on fire. She leaned up and kissed him on the corner of his mouth. Was it his imagination or did it seem like she lingered for a moment longer? He turned his face towards her fractionally but she was already moving away. He dropped his hand from her arm.

Her eyes were sparkling with suppressed laughter and mischief. 'See you, Takumi-kun.'

Takumi nodded dumbly, not trusting himself to speak. Mako gave him a part amused, part apologetic smile. He watched in a daze as they sauntered off to their car and drove off. Sayuki had even given the team an impish smile and wave. Takumi started. The team!

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Keisuke listened curiously. It sounded like a tangled love story apparently involving one of Fujiwara's friends. The complicated and messy affair reminded him uncomfortably of his recent experience in that department. What Keisuke couldn't understand was why Fujiwara had abruptly turned to look nervously at his brother in the middle of it. He gave a mental shrug; maybe he was reading too much into it. And anyway, that Fujiwara was one weird kid. Only God knew why he did half the things he did.

He rolled his eyes when Fujiwara hesitated pink-faced before shaking her hand. A moment later Keisuke was startled into laughter when Venus leaned over and kissed Fujiwara, who flushed scarlet. The look on Fujiwara's face was priceless. That girl! She had quite the cheek! She had even given them a mischievous grin. Keisuke had returned it with a wide grin of his own. He liked her. She was just the type of girl that, at another time, he wouldn't have minded getting to know.

Fujiwara was staring after her looking dazed. He had yet to notice their approach. Keisuke exchanged an amused glance with his brother.

Takumi turned around to see whole team grinning knowingly at him. Keisuke, in particular, had an expression of unholy glee on his face. He bit back a groan. Here it comes-

'Nice blush, Fujiwara.' Keisuke drawled. 'Very manly.'

Takumi glowered at him. Everyone laughed. Takumi cursed his infernal blushing. Great! As if I don't get laughed at enough by Itsuki and the others! He shoved his hands into his pockets and looked away.

Takumi who had braced himself for more ribbing about the whole…incident was surprised and relieved when Keisuke pulled out his car keys, and with another smirk at Takumi, made his way to the FD. Everyone took that as their cue. Kenta hesitated before following Ryousuke towards the vans. He looked like he was going to say something but then changed his mind.

Keisuke had the door of his car open but sill hadn't climbed in. Takumi was just about to get into his car when Keisuke said, 'Hey Fujiwara.' He glanced up to find Keisuke smirking at him.

'You might want to wipe the lipstick from your face.'

Takumi heard Keisuke laugh as he flushed and rubbed at his face furiously with the sleeve of his T-shirt.

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Mako glanced at Sayuki. She still had a self-satisfied smile on her face. 'You know Sayuki, for someone in a relationship, you sure flirt a lot,' Mako stated. 'What was with the kiss?'

'Oh, that? I just kissed him on the cheek. It was all very innocent,' Sayuki said airily.

'Yes, I'm sure it was,' Mako replied dryly.

Sayuki looked away to hide a smile. 'So, Iketani and you, eh?'

'Well, yeah. I figured I'd have to do something about it since it doesn't look like he will. I thought he didn't call because he didn't like me...but…that wasn't the reason at all…'

'God! Why are guys so dumb sometimes?' Sayuki asked rhetorically.

Mako smiled. 'I don't want to leave things the way they are,' she continued seriously. 'You're right, Sayuki. I should just talk to him and clear it all up. I want to give it another try.' She gave a secretive smile. 'Besides, we have some incomplete business to take care of.'

Sayuki just nodded and turned to look out of the window. She noticed the smile but she didn't ask Mako about that or what she meant by 'incomplete business'. Instead, she remembered feel of Takumi's calloused hand on her bare arm and how he had tightened his grip when she kissed him and how he had turned ever so slightly towards her. And she thought that perhaps young Fujiwara Takumi wasn't as innocently clueless as he looked.

Sayuki grinned.

The End.