This might be a long read, but I do thank you all for reading through it!! I do not own any part of Pita-Ten's characters and concept. Some of this is mine, though, such as the characters that are neither in the book nor the anime.

I have not watched the anime, so the story is based from five years after the ending of the manga.

Ch.1

A Cloud's Shadow

Kotarou watched Shino as she walked towards her elementary school before heading for his own. Lately, Shino has become distant and quiet. She won't open up, keeping all her thoughts and problems inside, hidden from her friends. It reminds Kotarou of his younger self from five years ago. He hopes that Shino won't follow his path. He had gone through it and knew how tough it is on others around him and how it hurts to be unhappy and lonely.

With an air of calm and quiet around him, Kotarou looks much happier than he was five years ago. He has grown taller, but not much stronger. Kotarou still looks a bit of a weakling, but strength comes from his eyes and face. He smiles much more often than before.

Kotarou's high school was coming into view and he once again silently thanked Misha and Shia. From their time together, Kotarou was able to change and become a better person; one who no longer worries his friends, has learned how to accept things and be happy. Back then, he was trying to get into a good middle school. Though he gave up on his first choice and had to settle on another middle school, Judai Middle, he was accepted and it was close to the middle schools where his friends were going to. This time around, he was able to get into his first choice high school with Ten-Chan, Koboshi, and Dai-Chan.

Heh, it might be because I was actually able to study. Without Misha around, I was able to concentrate on passing my high school entrance exams…

Laughing to himself, Kotarou goes back to five years ago, remembering the events that had happened. He knows that Misha is always watching after them. Shortly after her leave, Ten-Chan's father miraculously got better. With his dad able to work again, and his grades, Ten-Chan was able to afford to go to the same private school with his friends.

Next, Kotarou's father got a promotion, which gave him more vacation days and time to be with his family. The raise couldn't have arrived at a better time; Shino moved in with Kotarou and his dad and they needed extra money to support an extra person. Kotarou's dad had decided to put the money their grandfather Taro had left for them in a college fund.

In the courtyard, Kotarou scanned the crowd of early students for his friends and immediately spotted Koboshi who was surrounded by her many friends and admirers. She glows with confidence now, a change that came with her new hair style. Koboshi did grow taller, but she was still rather small. She has become, like she had predicted, "the hottest girl out there". Sometimes Kotarou gets jealous of her popularity, but he's also happy for her. Koboshi saw him and came over, carrying a load of packages in her arms which she dumped on the bench next to Kotarou.

"Want some? I got a lot of chocolates today." Koboshi plopped down next to Kotarou and pulled out a large heart shaped box out.

Taking a toffee piece, Kotarou eyed the pile of candy.

"How are you going to carry it all around? The chocolate's going to melt and attract ants, and it looks like an obstacle to carry it all."

"Still the gloomy one, aren't you, Kotarou?" Laughing, she picked up most of the chocolate boxes and handed them to a group of passing freshmen.

"There, that's solved. These I'll keep."

"Whoa, watch it with the sweets! What are you trying to do, grow an extra chin?"

"Ten-Chan!" Angrily, Koboshi shoved a large piece of fudge into his wide open mouth while he was still laughing at her.

Ten-Chan's still popular with the girls, but he's also the star athlete now. He's grown much taller, but a relaxed and carefree air is still with him, except now it's real, not a front he puts up. Ten-Chan's father's recovering health and better home life seems to have helped, but when he resigned to going to a public school, separated from his friends, Ten-Chan had already began to change and mature.

"Whoa, this stuff is good!" Ten-Chan said through the mouthful of fudge.

"Mmmm! Did you make it yourself Koboshi?" Ten-Chan started for the tupperware with the fudge.

"Of course it's good!" Koboshi quickly snatched away the tupperware. "But you just made fun of me so no more fudge for you." Turning to Kotarou, Koboshi said sweetly (while still giving Ten-Chan a mean look), "But you can have some Kotarou."

"Oh fudge." Ten-Chan looked truly disappointed.

This got Kotarou laughing. Uncomfortably put between Ten-Chan and Koboshi again, Kotarou said no to the fudge.

"Hey, Koboshi, that really did taste delicious. Did you learn it from Kaoru?"

"Yea, she still teaches me how to make confections sometimes. Oh, hey! She's coming over with Dai-Chan right now."

Kaoru, the younger sister of Dai-Chan, is in the 11th grade while Kotarou, Koboshi, Ten-Chan and Dai-Chan are seniors. Instead of the measuring tape she had as a bow in her hair, she has her hair pulled up in a bun and wraps the measuring tape around it. A crochet and knitting needle are stuck in it, among other sewing equipment that is on her. She has safety pins in her skirt, spools of thread on her fingers like rings, and a thimble on her thumb. This is a typical outfit for Kaoru ever since she became a renowned designer. She's often modeling her latest project on Shino. Right now, she's dragging her brother towards them. Her crush on Ten-Chan hasn't faded, but it's less dramatic than before.

"Oh, Ayanokoji-Sama! Have you tried your Kaoru's special fudge recipe yet? I must say that Uematsu –Sempai is a very good cook. Not as good as me of course!"

"Yeah, it's good, but she won't let me have anymore!"

Immediately Kaoru shoved a wrapped jar into Ten-Chan's arms.

"You like it? Then feel free to enjoy your Kaoru's fudge anytime, Ayanokoji-Sama!"

"Guess I don't need your dumb fudge anymore Koboshi." Ten-Chan was already digging into Kaoru's jar.

"Whoa, these are a hundred times better then Koboshi's!"

At this, Koboshi stuffed hers away and stuck her tongue at Ten-Chan.

"Of course Kaoru's cooking is better than any of you peasants'." Dai-Chan was on his old high horse again.

Koboshi, defending her cooking, "How dare y..."

"Yea, don't you make fun of Koboshi's cooking 'til you taste some of it, Poops."

"Can't you find another insult besides 'Poops' you unimaginative fool?"

Ten-Chan and Dai-Chan were at it again, arguing and bickering. Dai-Chan gets easily frustrated when Ten-Chan calls him "Poops". They seem to do this everyday.

Dai-Chan still has his bowl cut which he refuses to budge from, and the air of stubbornness. He has already begun studying for when he takes over Mitarai Corps. This doesn't go to his head, though. Dai-Chan has matured and got a bit more humble. He works hard to keep the Mitarai family's pride, honor, and reputation intact.

Dong Dong Dong Dong

"Oh, that's the first bell! I've got to go somewhere first, so see you guys in homeroom!" Koboshi left in a hurry, taking the remaining pile of chocolate with her.

"I thought Koboshi gives away most of her chocolate she gets. Why did she keep those?" Ten-Chan then said something about going to his locker and took off.

Kotarou, Ten-Chan, Koboshi, and Dai-Chan have the same homeroom. But even without it, they were able to stay close after elementary school, meeting at the Tricot Café every week. Ten-Chan still works there, and Dai-Chan is more comfortable with going there since Shia is gone.

Shia.

Kotarou never told them about Shia's death. What they do know now is that she was a close relative of his.

I remember Ten-Chan's face, filled with hope. He thought I could tell him where she was. But he seems to know something too, because when I told him that I didn't know where Shia lives, he didn't ask or talked about it anymore. At least he knows that I'm not trying to hide Shia away from him.

"Higuchi! Hurry up or I shall leave you behind. No Mitarai should wait for a commoner!"

"Huh? Oh, sorry."

Dai-Chan had woken Kotarou from his daze, and together they went inside the school. Before they went in, everything suddenly got dark. Kotarou noticed that a small dark cloud had blocked the sun. It was a stray cloud. The rest of the storm clouds were on the horizon. He hoped that it won't rain when he goes home because he left his umbrella home.

When he and Dai-Chan got into homeroom, there was still plenty of time before the second bell. Ten-Chan and Koboshi had not arrived yet. The sky was still dark outside when they did.