Disclaimer: The plot is mine, the OCs are mine, but alas I still do not own TMM…

A/N: Okay I know I've taken like forever to update this despite the fact that I had this chp plot in my head since I wrote chp 17 (snickers guiltily) and I know that saying my other fics esp my Inuyasha ones were getting major reviews and pleas that I had to update asap isn't much of an excuse, but note this…I temporarily abandoned the Inu fic with the biggest hit so I could focus on this and give my readers what they've been wanting for so long, plus school work has been piling up on me like mad so even if I didn't concentrate on the others, I still had one more major hindrance. Nonetheless I've made the time and necessary sacrifices to do this so here it is ppls, the chp 18. I really hope u like it as much as I did writing it. Arigato ;)

P.S: I should've mentioned this since chp 16 but yeah, got side-tracked. The summary for the sequel to this fic is posted on my profile for all those interested in checking it out.

Chapter 18

The school week was moving quite slow, too slow for Ichigo's liking; she just wanted Friday to come so she could finally spend some time with her Kish without interruptions or 'looks' from anyone, but sadly she would have to wait.

Today is Wednesday, which usually meant that Yokomori-sensei was planning to surplus them with home-work. For once, this was a good thing as it meant Ichigo could use this as an excuse for Sakura to allow Kish to come over, if just this one day for the week, and help her dear otome with the tedious Algebra. But it wasn't like Ichigo was doing this solely to see Kish, for Buddha alone knows how she needs the help!

The period ended with the bundle of work, as expected, so Ichigo decided it best to tell Kish of her plan immediately as well as their dinner date Friday. Yes she still had to inform her parents about the exact date, but she only had two days left before she was to go to the movies, it should be obvious by now.

"Kish, matte (N.B matte: wait) please," Ichigo cried out scurrying after Kish who had left the classroom already.

"Hai Ichigo-chan, what is it?" he said as he whipped around upon hearing his name.

"I've got some good news for you," she beamed, "another way for us to see each other more often."

Another plan huh, koneko you never cease to amaze me!

"So shoot, what are you thinking?" he asked casually though he was brimming with excitement about her unsaid proposal.

"You know how much I suck at Math—"

"You don't suck," he interrupted, but quickly shut up as he was met with a skeptical glance. "Okay, you suck," he yielded.

"Right. How would you like to help me improve?"

"How do you suggest I do that?"

"Tutor me every Wednesday till my grades stop looking like letters of the Greek alphabet," she chuckled.

"Will your parents allow it?"

"Why not, it's for my benefit. But you have to promise me that we're going to do work, not just fool around."

"Again with the promises koneko-chan," he sighed mockingly. "That reminds me, I found a reason why I could call you koneko-chan."


"Because you're as feisty as a feline, yet so adorable you can't stay angry with you for too long," he replied affably and softly cupped her chin with his fingers.

"Kish…that's too sweet," she said with such love in her eyes she clearly gained the attention of those passing by.

Ah screw it, they're gonna find out come Monday that we're an item!

"Oh before I forget," she said as the bell rang signaling the start of the next period, "walk with me whilst we talk; my mom said I can go to the movies with you guys on Saturday, but before I can go anywhere with you specifically you have to come over for dinner so they can formally meet you."

"Sure, why not," he smiled back.

"I say better sooner than later if that's okay with you. Of course, I'll have to run you thorugh the protocol of Shintaro 'do's and don'ts' if we ever want to make a good first impression."

"Most definitely. I guess we'll discuss this later today then," he said as he motioned the entry of their teacher.

"Yeah," she whispered as she took her seat in front.

"Ohayo Gozimasu!" beamed Mrs. Hajame as she began her history class.


The period flew by for a surprisingly slow week, and unfortunately they were having so much fun; Mrs. Hajame had dressed up as Marie Antoinette and even got another teacher involved in her reenactment of the many highlights of the French Revolution.


"Everyone take your seats quickly and as you do so, please pack away all books and leave only your writing materials, it's time for a pop quiz," Mizushima-sensei bellowed as his laboratory began filling with his students. With that greeting he was met with many sullen faces and one most definitely stunned blonde.

"POP QUIZZ! But I'm not ready, I can't do this I'm gonna fail…I…," she babbled until a reassuring hand grasped her trembling shoulder.

"You'll do fine, just remember what we went through and you'll pass. Panic now and you might as well hand Mizushima-sensei a blank paper. I believe in you," Kish said ever so earnestly it made Moe's heart soar and soon she believed those words herself.

I can do this, especially if Kishu-chan thinks I can!

A more confident Moe now took her seat and prepared herself for the exam.

"You did a good thing there," Ichigo praised Kish.

"Ah, well any self-respecting person would have done the same," he replied nonchalantly as they too took their respective places.

"Begin," cried out Mizushima, his voice resounding through the entire lab.

It took about 45 minutes to do the test, and 20 minutes to correct them. Apparently the class did atrocious seeing that Mizushima was able to give a test, correct it and hand it back to his class of 20 within no time at all, but there were a select few that did well.

"Miss Momomiya," he gently addressed as he handed Ichigo her paper.

"Watcha get Ichi?" asked a more than eager Moe from across her side of the lab table.

"Ha, I actually did well, I got an 88!" she shone. "Now if I can only score like this in Algebra…"

"Miss Takani," Mizushima said as he returned to Moe the fruit of her labor. "I must say I was highly impressed at the improvement. Excellent work from you too Mr. Nagasaki," and too gave Kish back his paper.

"What did you get?" Ichigo whistled out to her friends. Moe was too stunned for immediate words, but when the message processed a smile graced her full lips and turned into a huge grin as she practically screamed out her score.

"94! I GOT A 94!!!" she shrieked out, almost crumpling her paper in her hand with all the excitement.

"Congrats! And you Kish?"

"Eh, nothing really," he replied dryly.

"Oh c'mon Kishu-kun I know you couldn't have done bad. Just let me see what you got," Moe said as she reached for his paper, but Kish held it up in the air away from her grasp.

"Give it to me," she cried out as she all but climbed on top of him to get it.

"No, it's nothing," Kish affirmed, still keeping it out of reach. Ichigo most definitely did not like what was playing before her eyes; it was innocent enough, yes, but Moe's voluptuous self was rubbing against her Kish and the more she stretched, the higher her breasts got to his face. With envy blazing in those chocolate orbs of hers Ichigo stormed across and snatched the paper from Kish. Her anger soon dissipated as she saw that her beau had a perfect score.

"Nya, Kish!" she beamed as she hugged him tightly for his job well done.

"Let me see, what did he get?" Moe asked as she climbed off her lab stool and hurried over to Ichigo's side. As she got a glimpse of the triple digit she too beamed with zest and embraced him on his good work. "What were you ashamed of, you did so good?"

"I didn't want to attract any attention," he scolded behind clenched teeth as sure enough everyone was peering in their direction.

"Thank you Miss Momomiya and Miss Takani for you interest in your classmate's accomplishment. It might as well be said, Mr. Nagasaki here was the only one to score a perfect 100. Excellent work again," was all Mizushima-sensei could utter before the bell rang and students flooded to Kish's table.

"Let me see…"

"He really did get 100!"

"Bastard…to damn smart for his own good…" These were just a few of the comments Kish could muster coming from his colleagues.

"I think it's about time we save him, don't you?" Moe asked Ichigo as Kish was no longer visible amongst the crowd that built around him.

"Excuse me, pardon me, friend of the genius coming through," Moe said as she squeezed her way through the mass. "C'mon," she told Kish when she saw him as she extended her hand for him to grab on to. With a swift pull she managed to free him and the trio high-tailed it for the cafeteria before the crowd caught up with them.

"Hey guys, why the flushed looks?" Miwa asked her comrades as she took her seat at their lunch table. They just watched her with exasperated looks of defeat and soon plopped onto the table in unison.

"We made a scene in class today," Ichigo finally stated, her head still embedded with the hardwood.

Miwa took a bite of her sandwich and swallowed before asking, "How so?"

"Kish score 100 and we unintentionally let the whole class know," Moe replied, her head too still resting on the table.

"Okay, and how did that create a scene?" Miwa asked still puzzled.

"I was the only one," Kish scowled as he raised his head for a more audible response.

"Oh, well…yeah that would cause a scene. Congrats though," she remarked cheerily.

"Arigato," was his monotonous reply. Eventually they all rose from their resting spot and placed their respective meals in their stomach.

"So, how did your play go?" Ichigo queried remembering that Miwa's exam piece was due today.

"85. Fair enough for a first try I will say, so next time I expect to get higher now that I know my directorial flaws."


Lunch ended quietly and soon everyone was returning to their lockers, ready to tackle the last class of the day. Moe though pulled Kish aside from the group before heading to her locker.

"Oh Kish, you really did so well I must commend you for the umpteenth time, and if it wasn't for you I would've never scored so high on my test, so I insist that I treat you out today!"

"Uh, thanks for the offer Moe-chan, but I'm not quite sure I should be spending your money when I have of my own," he said solemnly declining her offer.

"Hey, you treated us to ice-cream the last time and I did say 'my treat' next time."

"Yeah, well…"

"Well what Kishu-kun? You deserve it! Besides, you could use my little shopping spree as an excuse to get a super hot outfit for you dinner date Friday. I mean, you've got to make a first impression on Shintaro, why not a stylish one?" Her eloquence was enough to persuade him to let her take him out, though he wasn't quite sure if he'd regret it later on.


At the mall, Moe tagged Kish along almost every designer store to find the perfect outfit. They saw suits from Dior to Armani and eventually they both agreed on a Ralph Lauren semi-casual pale blue shirt with navy blue pin stripes. She also bought him a pair of metro black jeans to go; he looked gorgeous.

Now, it was her turn.

"Will you help me look for something to wear for Saturday please?" she begged with beady hazel eyes. He simply couldn't refuse.

"Why not, after all you did help me look for an outfit for my dinner date."

They searched both upper and lower floors of the designer section and found nothing that Moe considered worth the money, which said a lot seeing that Moe comes from wealth; her father a successful businessman in the petroleum and oil industry, and her stepmother, a former model-turned-designer for Chanel. Eventually, they stumbled upon a department store where Moe found some clothes that did appeal to her hazel eyes.

"What do you think of this?" Moe asked Kish as she displayed the outfit before herself. It was a black and red strapless corset top complete with a scarlet miniskirt with black trimmings to go. For a couple extra yen you could've gotten the black and white stripped leggings and sleeves, along with leather belt-and-chain to complete the look.

"Uh, I don't know much about fashion, but I'd say that's a no considering the setting.

"So right, I look like I'm going to a punk-rock concert," she giggled as she placed it back on the rack.

Next was a fitted navel breaker long sleeved top, patterned with a different colour for each part of the clothes, that is, one sleeve was a lavender, the other pale pink; half of the top was lime green, the other black. All these colours were swirled into an array of patterns for the matching skirt, very retro if you ask me, and would look very nicely with the right pumps as shown on the manikin.

"I don't think I'm going to a disco, so I'll pass on this no matter how cute it looks."

Kish thought they were never going to leave, until four outfits later Moe found one she could live with.

"I'll be back!" she shrieked as she took the outfit with her to the dressing room. When she emerged onto the display platform Kish's jaw dropped a bit; he'd never seen her in anything but her school uniform, so this transformation here was more than breathtaking—she looked magnificent!

"Well, what do you think?" she asked nervously as she saw his dazed expression. The midnight blue shirt snuggled neatly onto her bossom, with the ends of the shirt exposing a minor portion of her lower abdomen under her navel. The sky-blue miniskirt with its lavender boarders had a pattern of minute pink and lilac butterflies on one side which flew up the fair maiden a shapely stature, and drew yearning eyes to the sight of perfectly toned legs. She looked like a goddess tainted with a lustful beauty, a true Aphrodite.

"When I accessorize it will look much better. You think it's appropriate for the movies Saturday?"

Snapping himself out of his reverie Kish finally found the words to respond.

"Yeah, of course, but won't you feel cold?"

"I'll bring a jacket," she replied simply.

"Then by all means, buy it."

"Great." As she came off the platform to purchase her find, she misjudged her step and braced herself for the impact of the marble floor greeting her face. Of course, with Kish there she never met the ground as he caught her in the nick of time. Shock yet gratitude filled Moe's face as she tightened her hold on him, and unsure what to do at that point, Kish returned her embrace.

"You saved me," she whispered in his shirt, tears threatening to spill over.

"Anytime," he replied in that same soft intonation. His words were heart-felt and Moe instinctively did what she thought to be the best way to thank a man who saved you; she kissed him.

A/N: well that's it for this chp. I know I promised to do the whole dinner thing but I thought this was a better way to…wait, plz tell me readers you didn't ACTUALLY think I was going to end it there?! If you did, shame on you (waves index finger at readers) tsk tsk I thought you thought better of me hehehe! Just wanted to say this quickie also; I gave Moe a last name cuz I've got not a clue what it is or if they even gave her one, so unless there's anyone out there that would like to inform me of it plz do, otherwise I hope u like. Now that I've had my fun, on with the story!!!

Why she did it still puzzled him. Why he'd let her lips linger on his baffled him even more, but he'd let her kiss him nonetheless, and now it needed to end. Unfortunately for him he stopped it too late as a certain yuujin of Ichigo's saw this act as it happened whilst cashing in an item, but they chose to say nothing and carried on…for now.

As Kish slightly pushed Moe away from him, the young blonde looked up starry eyed at first, then as the realization of her actions seeped in, shock overwhelmed her flushed expression.

"Dear Buddha what did I just do," she whispered to herself. Tears began choking her at the thought of what Ichigo would do if she ever found out. She began shaking her head madly as though trying to erase the events that took place when Kish held her firmly and tried to console her.

"Listen, I don't exactly know what was going through your head just now, and neither of us should have allowed it to happen as it did, but it doesn't matter once you're sorry for it," he said solemnly. The distraught girl could only do but shake her head in understanding, staring blankly at him the entire time.

"Good, then I think its best for us to put this aside us and tell—"

"YOU CAN'T TELL ICHIGO!" she jumped in, holding him by his collar roughly as those eyes that showed a nothingness now filled with desperation and sorrow.

"Why not?" Kish asked confused and angry as to why she would want to keep something like that secret from Ichigo.

"Because she'll never trust me again, especially when I'm with you; what good would that do any of us? Please Kishu-kun, I promise this will never happen again, I truly don't know what came over me just now." The water works began spilling over as her hazel eyes now took on a hint of honey.

"Fine," he alas relented, "I won't mention any of this to her. Let's just leave now if you don't mind."

"Yeah, sure, just let me put this back on the hanger and pay for it," Moe replied softly and proceeded to change. Kish then turned his attention to the cashier as he thought he saw someone watching him from there, but it seemed as though they left before Kish could make them out.

"Let's go," Moe said a while after with shopping bag in hand as Kish escorted her from the mall and home.


"Yay, it's finally Friday!!!" Ichigo yelled to the top of her lungs when her alarm clock went off denoting the dawn of a new day and if all goes well, the start of a new beginning with Kish. It didn't take much for Sakura to welcome the dinner date Friday, but Shintaro, after much deliberation, too allowed Kish's presence at their dining table.

No amount of home-work or spiteful teachers could spoil her day, she refused to let them. When lunch came Moe told Ichigo about her shopping spree with Kish, minus some adverse details of course.

"I'm glad you had fun, and I trust that you picked out something Shintaro approvable," Ichigo chuckled.

"Would I do anything less? Oh, before I forget I have something for you too."

"What is it? You know you didn't have to get me anything."

"No, I didn't, you have Giselle to thank for that. She came home yesterday from her trip to Milan, fashion week of course, and as always I got a bundle of clothes to add to my 'still to be worn' collection. I swear that woman doesn't know enough is enough," Moe sighed as she pondered upon her closet full of unnecessary clothes and shoes, no matter how cute they were. "But it doesn't matter, 'cause all it means it that you guys and the less fortunate can benefit from them."

"Thanks, I think."

"I didn't mean it in a bad way Ich, c'mon. Anyhow, I think she bought this outfit with you in mind."

"Let me guess, it's pink."

"You got it!" Moe winked at her. "But it's très adorable nonetheless, and I believe it will suit you better than me."

"Okay, I believe you," she replied sincerely.

"I'll have Vincent drop it off for you this afternoon 'cause I can't tear you away from your house today. Are you cooking or we're leaving it to Sakura?"

"Uhh, I think it's best if we leave the work to the professionals, won't you agree?" Ichigo chuckled weakly as she thought about the last time she tried to cook for someone (Masaya) and almost burnt the kitchen to a crisp.

"I could make the dessert for you, if you like that is. I dare not impose on Sakura's cooking," Moe suggested.

"Why not, it's good practice for you. Besides, even my mom agrees your desserts are the best for someone of your so-called 'amateur' level."

"Cool, so I'll have Vincent bring that over one time then." The resounding of iron pounding against iron told the girls it was time to end their conversation and hurry on to their next class.

One more period, then I'm free to see my Kish this evening…


The hallways soon flooded with the buzz of teenagers eager to get home and start their weekend or go out with their friends later that night. For one special Mew, tonight was one she looked forward to whole week and greatly hoped will turn out seamless.

"How was class today?" she asked Kish as he walked her home.

"It was okay. Watanabe-sensei didn't give us much work really, and we have a class trip to the zoo next week, whatever that is," he replied coolly.

"You don't know what a zoo is?" Ichigo asked surprised yet amused, as always, of her love's ignorance.

"Care to tell?"

"Well, it's basically a huge place where they keep a variety of animals on display so that the average citizen can learn about this variety of animals from all over the world."

"When you say on display, what do you mean exactly, like in a box?" He recalled his recent trip to the mall where he saw the manikin in glass boxes wearing some of the clothing items found in the store.

"Well, not a box so to say, more like cages," she replied uneasily. She saw how Kish's interest in the matter grew from pure curiosity to anger and disbelief at what he was hearing. "But don't worry, we take good care of them. A lot of times they're there to protect the species because it's endangered or on the brink of extinction." The thought of keeping such creatures captive didn't appeal to Kish one bit, but if these humans were doing it for their protection, then by all means he would accept this 'zoo' as a conservation method.

"Alrighty then." Soon enough they had arrived at Ichigo's house. "What time should I pass by?"

"Umm…dinner should be served at seven, so come for the latest quarter-to the hour."

"Okay. Ja ne koneko-chan," he said and blew her a kiss farewell.

Opening the door Ichigo was immediately met by a cunning grin from her mother, who was clearly holding back the urge to scream until she saw her otome enter.

"Someone has a boyfriend!" Sakura teased, flushing Ichigo's face the reddest of red.

"Reidou, please!" she fought back, but the smile she held back soon crept its way onto her face.

"Alright, your face said it all anyway, I'm done. Now c'mon, we don't have much time to prepare if you are helping with the meal." Ichigo went upstairs quickly to wash up and scurried down to aid her mother.

"So what exactly are we making? Oh before I forget, Moe said she'd make the dessert for us, if it's okay with you."

"Of course, less work!" Sakura giggled as she reached in the pantry to gather her necessary seasonings and other cooking items. "I was thinking of miso soup as an appetizer, and as a main course tuna sashimi salad, or we could go with regular sashimi and sushi."

"Hmm…we've never had tuna sashimi salad before, why not try it?"

"Then tuna sashimi salad it is," Sakura said as the girls began their cuisine. An hour later Vincent, Moe's limo driver, came with Ichigo's clothes for Saturday as well as the dessert.

"Arigato Vincent, take care on the road," Ichigo said as she bid the driver goodbye.

"What did Moe make?" Sakura asked whilst she commenced the dressing for the salad.

"Let's see, it looks like…mango sticky rice, yum!" Ichigo shrilled as she placed the container with the dessert to her nose and smelt the juices from the fruit envelope her nostrils.

"Hey, get that nose out of there!" Sakura mildly scolded. "Now, shall we have it hot or cold?"

"Cold, fruit always tastes better cold!"

"Then put it in the fridge, we don't have much time left." As Ichigo passed by her mother, her senses caught hold of the fresh fish, and regrettably her tail popped up eager to snatch a piece of fish from Sakura's clutches. Realizing what had just happened, Ichigo shoved the dessert into the refrigerator and ran into the living room, trying her utmost to contain her gene there.

"Ichigo, are you okay?"

"Uh, yeah mom, I'm just…I'm just gonna give the living room a quick vacuum, you know, neaten the place."

"Okay, you do that. Can you give your father a call though and remind him that dinner is at seven and that we are having a guest over."

"No problem!" Ichigo squealed as she finally got her tail subdued.


Within a half an hour's time the door bell rang, and inevitably it was Kish arriving fifteen minutes before dinner was to be served. Sakura answered the door as Shintaro had yet to arrive and Ichigo was still dressing.

"Ah, you must be Kishu, welcome to our household!" Sakura beamed at her handsome guest.

"Arigato for having me over," Kish replied ever so civilly as he entered. Sakura smile pleasantly, making mental note of her daughter's good taste in men.

"Ichigo will be down in a se—" but her sentence was never finished as her attention was drawn to Ichigo as she came down the steps, graceful as a swan. Kish was flabbergasted; she was as striking as ever. Donned in her mother's sapphire earrings, bracelet and necklace set that made her milky skin gleam like ivory, Ichigo wore a long-sleeved backless light blue dress, its flowing self ending about mid-thigh. Her hair was sinuous in an assortment of wavy curls, a plain white headband dressing it, and on her feet were simple white pumps.

"Konbanwa Kishu-kun," she said sweetly as she ended her descent down the stairs. "Pleased you could make it."

"The pleasure my dear Ichigo," Kish began as he took her hand in his, "is all mine," and he gave it a quick kiss causing both mother and daughter to blush at his propriety.

"My apologies for my tardiness family—oh, who do we have here?" Shintaro said as he hurriedly entered his home and caught a glimpse of this stunning stranger by his daughter and wife.

"Nagasaki Kishu sir, pleased to finally meet you Mr. Momomiya," and Kish extended his hand to greet the elder man.

"Pleasure," was Shintaro's mere reply to Kish's gesture.

"Okay, now that we're all here I think we should head to the dinning area. This way Kishu," Sakura said as she guided them all to the feast.

"Lovely décor Mrs. Momomiya," Kish sincerely told the woman as he took his seat. Slightly blushing at his remark, Sakura thanked him, whilst her husband grunted to himself.

If he thinks he's gonna suck up to me the way he has been to my wife and daughter, he's dead wrong!

After the appetizer was served, Sakura decided to get the conversational ball rolling; the silence and tension between father and boyfriend was sickening and needed to be broken.

"So Kishu, tell us a little about yourself; how old are you exactly?"

Shit, I forgot to tell Kish what he should and should not say…eek!!!

Ichigo began mentally chastising herself for her carelessness, and prayed to the gods that the right words would come out the right way.

"I'm 19 years of age ma'am."

"Who are you parents, and what do they do?" Shintaro asked next as Sakura went to the kitchen to serve the next meal.

"My adoptive parents are Nagaski Pai and Yamamoto Retasu and they are both educators; I was told my birth parents died in a car accident when I was about two," he responded serenely.

"I'm sorry for your loss," Shintaro replied empathically.

"Thank you sir, but alas I cannot fully accept your condolences as I am unable to grieve for that which I do not know."

"Understandable." He seemed quite articulate, his apparel was as sharp as Masaya's when he first visited, and he was polite, yet it still wasn't enough to convince Shintaro he was better than Masaya for Ichigo.

"Dinner is served," Sakura sang as she placed the tray with the main course onto the table.

"Domo arigato reidou," Ichigo said in response as she took Kish's plate and proceeded to feed her guest of the night.

"Arigato gozaimashita," Kish said as he took his plate from Ichigo and gave her a courteous nod.

"Dou itashimashite," she replied, returning his gesture. Sakura was teeming with joy and excitement. She had really taken a liking to Kish; he was truly everything her daughter needed and more, but across the table from her she saw the serious face of her husband and knew he still didn't accept Kish as Ichigo's potential boyfriend.

"So Kishu, I hear that you've recently transferred to Daikan High. Tell me, what are you studying there and what extra curricular to you do or intend on doing as you've just started," Shintaro said, breaking the silence that began to loom over the table once again.

"My subjects include Algebra, History, Chemistry and Geography, and as for extra curricular, so far I've joined their soccer team; I've never played before but it seemed interesting enough, and I was thinking about joining their Kendo team—"

"Kendo you say?" Shintaro immediately lit up upon hearing his topic of expertise.

There's no way this punk could be better than Masaya here; I've got him right where I want him.

"Hai sir."

"What level are you?" Shintaro said with a glint in his eyes, his posture straightened giving Kish his undivided attention.

Oh shit, Buddha help me please! Ichigo sighed as she braced herself for Kish's response to this subject. She knew once he said 'Kendo' he'd dug a grave 6 feet under for himself.

"Kyu level sir. I've only recently started training."

"How recent?"

"About a year ago sir. Kendo isn't my area of expertise, I specialize in other forms of martial arts."

"Care to explain which ones?"

Damn, thought I had him with this one!

Before he answered, Kish took a bite of the salad and complimented the chef once more on her seemingly flawless meal before turning his attention back to Shintaro.

"Let's see, my specialties are in Tae Kwon Do, Jujutsu and T'ai Chi. But enough about me sir, I'd like to hear more about you. From what I've heard you were near becoming a Kendo Shodan, am I wrong?" Kish inquired.

"Well I won't say Shodan," Shintaro brushed off, highly flattered by that given title.

Bulls-eye! Kish silently thought to himself and mentally smirked at finally being able to break through Shintaro's ice fortress.

"C'mon daddy, tell Kish how you almost defeated your rival, Hitori," Ichigo prompted loving the fact that dialogue was now warming up between them.

"Almost defeated sir, is that even possible?" Kish asked with genuine interest.

"Trust me, everyone says the same thing. It was a lucky hit, and only because I sprained my ankle during the match…" and he reminisced in his days of glory, telling the tale as excitedly as the young boy he was then.

The night continued with hearty laughter and the dessert Moe made was splendid as ever. Sakura made note to get the recipe from her youngest rival. Alas it was getting late and time for Kish to take his leave.

"It was lovely having you for dinner Kishu," Sakura smiled as she waved him goodbye by the door step.

"I enjoyed myself too Mrs. Momomiya, thank you for the delightful meal," he replied courteously.

"Take care then Kishu," Shintaro waved off.

"Same to you Mr. Momomiya, enjoy the rest of your night." The parents then left their daughter to bid her date goodnight in the privacy of their porch. As soon as Kish sensed they were gone he swooped down and captured her mouth in his, their tongues dancing about feverishly in each other's sweet cavern.

"Hmm…that felt nice," Ichigo said dreamily as they broke the kiss for air.

"I just couldn't wait to do that all night, you look so beautiful," he replied huskily. Just then, he froze sensing someone was watching them.

Damn it, I should've been more careful!

From the corner of his eye he saw Sakura briskly move from the window and return inside to tell Shintaro of what she saw.

"So, what happened?" he asked when she sat back down on the sofa next to him. Cuddling in his arms she replied carelessly, "they kissed." Shintaro was always amazed at how casually his wife took things like this, but then after tonight and the talk they had about 'letting Ichigo go', he too settled in her warmth and let nature take its course. After all, had they not done the same thing when they were young?

"What's the matter Kish?" Ichigo asked confused as to why his face became so grave.

"Your mother saw us just now," he replied solemnly.

"Oh no," Ichigo sighed tiredly.

"Will you get in trouble?" he asked concerned about her and the well-being of their relationship.

"I don't think so, but I guess its better that you probably leave now."

"I guess you're right. Oyasuminasai koneko-chan," Kish said as he held her palm in his once again and softly kissed it before leaving at last. When she returned inside, she saw her parents seemingly watching television.

"How was the kiss?" Sakura asked upon hearing her otome enter. Too embarrassed for words, Ichigo scampered upstairs to get ready for bed. Sakura simply smile that devilish motherly smile of hers and continued watching the program with her beau.


"Moshi moshi, Ryou speaking," the handsome blonde answered drearily, wondering who on earth in their right mind would call the demanding businessman after hours.

"Hey Ryou, its Ichigo," the strawberry mew beckoned into the receiver. Her voice was so cheery Ryou immediately shook himself out of his dazed state willing to hear what she had to tell him.

"Yeah, how can I be of service?" he asked in his usual cavalier tone.

"Do you have any plans tomorrow, around evening time?"

"After the café closes, no, none that I can think of. Why?"

"Well I was wondering…would you like to go to the cinema with me…"

That was all Ryou needed to hear.

"Hai, of course I would," he replied concealing his excitement.

"Great, Moe would be so happy to see you—"

"Wait, Moe? Ichigo now I'm lost."

"Moe, my friend, the blonde one. I don't want her to be the odd one out when we go out." As the memory of the girl flooded his mind, he briefly recalled seeing her at the mall the other day in a very passionate moment with some hot shot who seemed uninterested in her offering of love. Wait…

Wasn't that the same boy that was with Lettuce the day she visited the café?

"Doesn't she have a boyfriend?" he jumped at her.

"Oh, um, no. Why, are you interested?" Ichigo teased.

"Ichigo, please," he reproved.

"Sorry! Why'd you ask then?"

"Curiosity got the better of me. So, who are you going with?" Ryou asked realizing now that Ichigo hadn't meant for them to go together, but for him to accompany her friend.

"Umm, a friend. You'll see him tomorrow okay. Thanks again Ryou, I owe you one," and she hung up.

A 'friend' huh? Does that mean she's given up on that green-haired freak, I wonder? Feh, doesn't matter now, come tomorrow I'm gonna prove to Ichigo that I'm the one for her!


Saturday, 2:45 pm.

"I'm so LATE!!!" cried out an anxious Ichigo upon glancing at her digital clock. There was no way she was going to make it to Masaya's match on time and finish all her chores. Why hadn't she asked Kish to meet her here and they walk down to the school, or better yet, teleport so she wouldn't have to look so flustered when she arrived. After completing her tasks she took a quick shower and practically threw on the outfit Moe gave her, carefully yet hastily applied some strawberry lipgloss to those pillows of hers, and fought up trying to tie her black boots. She was all but done; she'd forgotten for the briefest of seconds her hair.

"I don't have time for this!" she grumbled as she ran the brush through the tangles and left her hair tidily out.

"Nice, now all I need is a ride," she said sardonically to herself.

"Did someone ask for a ride?" a voice from behind responded. It was Kish of course, perched upon her windowsill ready to whisk his love away. He wore the same black Armani shirt and pair of blue jeans Lettuce had given him as most of Pai's clothing didn't fit him as well as he thought. Most definitely he'd have to ask Ichigo this time to take him shopping.

"The gods have answered my prayers!" Ichigo cried out as she ran to greet him.

"Yes, yes, I know I'm heaven sent already, you can stop with the compliments," he replied cockily, though all in good fun.

"Ha ha, just teleport us there already? But wait, how did you know I needed a ride?"

"Koneko-chan, I know you well enough to know when you're going to be late. By the time half past two came I knew tardiness was around the corner, so I told Moe I'll call you and find out where you were. Why call when I can get you myself I thought, so here I am. Now let's hurry before they realize that I'm gone too," and he grabbed her by her waist as they teleported to the school dojo where Masaya's match was almost ready to get going.

"Ichigo, you're early!" cried out a sarcastic Moe upon seeing her friends rushing towards the dojo's doors.

"Moe, behave. Cute outfit Ich!" Miwa complimented her yuujin. Only when she said that did Kish take a second to appreciate his fiancée's attire.

His eyes moved from top to bottom savoring each sight of pink perfection. Her top conformed to each curve of her torso, dignified enough though to leave the imagination wanting more. Her shoulders, not graced by the fabric, bore to his own hungry eyes as if daring him to touch them. His eyes lowered to her skirt; they didn't have to wonder far, as they black short material left him breathless, cut just long enough to leave him begging to see higher. With every sway of her hips, the skirt teased him as it moved inch by inch higher only to be dropped to its previous length. Below that her legs seemed to go on forever; they appeared to him to be perfectly shaped for his hands alone, and he yearned to prove it. His vision ended on her calves, where her black boots outlined each one, covering more than he liked and only tempting him more to remove them along with everything else.

"Yeah, you do look divine," the spellbound boy exhaled, releasing a breath he didn't realize he was holding.

Simply delish…

She smiled sweetly and silently thanked him for his compliment and proceeded along with everyone else to enter the dojo where the match was just about to start.

Across the stands from where Ichigo and her party sat a kaleidoscope of colourful banners and posters of encouragement could be seen with Megumi, Masaya's number one fan, leading the pack of Aoyama supporters of course.

"Go Masaya!" shouted one girl amongst the crowd.

"You're the best, you can do it!" yelled another.

"Can you believe almost all these supporters here came to see Masaya?" Moe addressed the group.

"What can you say, the boy is good," Ichigo sang back. Kish spotted the twinkle in her eye when Masaya at length came out donned in his bogu and hakama, holding his shinai like a true samurai. He emulated strength and power, much like the force he is to be reckoned with in the classroom, but this time there was haughtiness to his stance; he'd predicted the outcome of the match in his mind already, replayed it several times till he'd completely convinced himself that this match belonged to him. He was that determined to win, and win he would.

She still has feelings for him, but our love his stronger. If Masaya knows what's best for him he will respect what we have.

The shiai was about to begin. Both kendoka took their stance and geared up for the final bout of the tournament. Masaya was fearless, and so was his opponent. This would prove to be a worthy fight.

Five minutes had past, but to spectators it seemed like an eternity. The blows delivered were nerve-wrecking, but at last when the judges signaled the end of the fight, the winner was declared none other than Aoyama Masaya, and he deserved every point he earned.

"Alright Masaya!" Ichigo beamed as she rushed to the center of the room to congratulate him. She swung her arms around his body not caring how much he dripped of sweat, which with his victory never smelt sweeter.

"Domo arigato Momomiya-san," he replied affably. Their affectionate display yanked on every nerve in Kish's peripheral system, and the green-eyed monster of envy wanted nothing more than to show Masaya that despite how nice Ichigo is to him because of their friendship, she still belonged to him and forever will.

"Masaya, congratulations are in order," Kish said civilly, his sudden presence startling Ichigo a bit.

"Arigato Kishu," Masaya nodded politely. On that note Ichigo left Masaya's side and stood by her lover in hopes of stopping any friction that may develop between them. "Are you planning on going out today?"

"Um, well—"

"Hai, to the movies actually with Moe and Miwa and some others. Care to join us for a celebratory film?" He said it with such sincerity and curt you almost thought his words were genuine.

"Alas I'll have to pass on this venture, for I doubt I'm dressed properly. Besides, I believe Megumi and her friends are throwing me a party tonight as they almost always do after my triumph."

"I don't blame them, for you are Daikan's number one kendoka, iie?"

"Unless of course someone defeats me," Masaya chuckled with a sweet smile.

"Okay boys I believe it's time for us to go now. Moe's stepbrother should be here in a while to pick us up and—"

"Do you mind if we have a battle of our own, now, and test that theory of yours?" a curious alien inquired cutting Ichigo short of her sentence.

"Kish," she grumbled under clenched teeth.

"Why would you want to do such a thing?" Masaya asked highly bemused.

"Afraid of a challenge," was Kish's smug reply.

"Kishu-kun, behave now and let us leave," Ichigo reprimanded, but Masaya stopped his in her tracks by extending his hand clearly accepting the offer.

"If you want to sweaty yourself in vain, by all means Nagaski," was the icily smooth response, a similar grin painted on the alleged gentleman as both glares and handshakes were exchanged.

Damn you Kish and your covetous streak, and damn your narcissism Masaya!

Ichigo stormed off onto the stands and puffed out, her arms roughly folded across her chest as she impatiently waited for the little boys to end their play. Sensing the heavy aura coming from her friend, Miwa scurried across to inquire on her welfare.

"What's wrong Ichigo, why such a sour face?"

"Ask the bakas on the floor," she spat out still glaring at the scene before her as Kish began putting on the necessary protective wear and clothing.

"Wait, are they having a match, now?" asked a more than bewildered Miwa. Ichigo merely shook her head in agreement, still fuming at their arrogance.

"Are we ready to…what's got her panties in a bundle?" Moe said as she approached a scowling Ichigo and baffled Miwa.

"Kish and Masaya are going to have a little showdown now," was Moe's simply reply.

"Why, especially when we have to leave now?"

"I don't know, but it's about to happen." As the yellow-haired girl took a seat she found the reason herself. No words were spoken, but she felt it, saw it when she looked at the warriors. It was a battle for Ichigo. Masaya's eyes shook the earth with their determination and passion about the battle to come. Kish's however shone like a brilliant sun, the vigorous golden flames engulfing the white interior; he will fight in anger, but they both will fight for love.

"Ready?" Masaya hissed out to Kish as he held out his shinai and positioned himself.

"I was born ready Aoyama," was the conceited reply as Kish too took his stance. As furious as she was her stomach did more back flips than an Olympic gymnast, gearing up for the battle that she knew all too well was her doing.

I should've never hugged him…wait, what am I saying, Masaya's my friend of course I should hug him for a job well done! Why my fiancée had to be such a jealous prick, that's the real question.

Brown orbs of fortitude met golden balls of fury as they danced the dance of samurai when the match began. Kish was the first to deliver an oshomen, which is a downward cut aimed at the center of the forehead, but Masaya was too swift and flawlessly avoided the strike before sending one of his own. Since this was an unofficial fight there was no one to keep score; this was to be played out as if in the real battlefield, this was one to the death, minus the gruesome bloodshed.

They continued as such, Kish striking with Masaya cleverly evading each and every blow.

"Had enough yet Kishu?" Masaya asked with a conceited grin. The alien was loosing his temper with each stunt missed, and surely his energy was going too, but he couldn't let Masaya leave with the satisfaction that he's won because of his opponent's fatigue, especially when he was the one who'd fought a hearty match before this.

"Is that you're excuse for saying you're tired?" Kish replied fluidly, flashing a cocky smile of his own. The composed samurai was now vehement with anger as he allowed it to make better judgment of his strategy and he went forth to attack Kish. Just as the alien hoped, Masaya let his emotions cloud his mind, but not for long as he regained his serenity and fought with the honor of a true warrior of the 'way of the sword'.

A migimen, diagonal cut to the right side of the face mask, was given to Kish but he blocked it with his sword efficiently enough, however Masaya has struck with such force piece of the strudy bamboo let loose a splinter flung at Kish's face. If it weren't for the protective mask he would've received a nasty wound to his eyes.

The standard five minutes had passed and they were still at it, this time with both men battling it all out.

"Enough now you two, end it now!" Ichigo cried out from the stands.

I heard you koneko-chan, and I will end it now!

This match is for you Momomiya-san, I will win it!

The tension seared though the air; it was chokingly thick. The young kendoka made small circles around each other, keeping the other's distance, taking it slow before the last blow was to be delivered.

"I will be victorious!" they cried out in unison as they charged forward with all their might, prepared to take out the other with full force, all for the heart of the strawberry-haired girl.

Author's note: finalement, the chp is over! Who had won, only chp 19 can tell, but before anything more is posted you know what you have to do…R&R and give P.O.J.A some love XD ur support will forever mean the world to me, esp for this chp as it has been delayed on several occasions, even in between typing it I had to leave the comp (for a week mind u) to focus on dreaded Pure Mathematics (which is like Algebra and Calculus crammed into one HORRENDOUS syllabus, and my teacher is a prick so that helps…plz) So now more than ever I could do with some feedback, if u like, hate, or think it should stay as it. Thanx again all u lovely readers (and to anon. Ichigo for the 'shopping spree' idea even though it was with Kish and Moe and not Kishigo) till next chp…