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Ryou pointed behind Takeru and what he saw when he turned around almost made his heart stop.


Takeru's eyes widened and he, too, slowly turned. A floating square greeted them with yellow eyes and curiosity. The levitating trash bag looking object could not speak, but instantly the two men knew what that meant. That square was Kuon.

"Is that even possible?" Takeru glanced at Ryou with the corners of his eyes,"Are you seeing what I'm seeing?"

Ryou, just as dumbfounded, nodded in response. He said nothing, but Takeru knew what he was thinking. They both had only one thought on their mind. Each with the same name, and equal in mind and body. How much had they changed? Would the girls recognize them? Would they even recognize the girls? Where had they been all this time? Did Kuon hovering in front of them mean that their lives were going to take a turn for the worst or the best? All over again, just like it was before...

As quickly as Kuon appeared, he went higher and higher until he was almost gone from sight.

"Follow him!" Takeru started his bike and left Ryou to himself. Takeru was too wrapped up in what he thought could be, he forgot all about him. Ryou stared at Takeru's back as he pursued the so called "Kuon". He thought they had both changed so much; he had even begun to think about moving on completely. This stage of his life was supposed to be over. He and Kimi had adjusted now again to the life they had lived before Akari. Not just a mental journey of discovering had changed Ryou, but physical changes had taken place too.

Takeru still sported his spikey haired appearance, but had added highlights at persuasion from classmates. Of course they had both gotten taller, their voices deepened, and the typical development into a man, but they had individual differences. Ryou had the same hair, and had not changed as much as Takeru. Takeru had started wearing this black sweatshirt with strings that flew every which way every time he talked. He, unlike Ryou, was quite animated. Ryou tended to keep to himself. On the outside, he would respond if spoken to, of course. That's only polite. But if he were in a social situation he was not used to, he would either keep silent, or leave. His mind was the only safe place to be.

In his mind, he could dream of Akari. He could pretend everything was like it was. On the outside, he went with the flow with Takeru, Mari, Kimi, and their old classmates... They had no idea what sort of storms occurred in Ryou's mind. When Ryou was alone in his room, he was either in a dreamy state or his hell of a mind. Now, not for anyone to get the wrong impression of him. Ryou was certainly not depressed, so he assured himself. He missed Akari, that part was obvious. He tried not to let it interfere with his daily schedule. Send Kimi off, go to work, come home, be pleasant, be pleasant, be pleasant, be pleasant! He was a pleasant person, wasn't he?

There was no reason for him to be depressed. Akari. She had to have been eleven years old for goodness sakes! Maybe she was twelve. He had been. fifteen. Fifteen year olds do not typically check out the eleven or twelve year olds! But later down the road, that age difference is not really anything to speak of... A hell would go on in his head. Arguing with himself about what was right and wrong. He did not do anything and did not intend on doing anything...physical. He could not help it if he was emotionally attatched, could he?

Lost in his musings, he had forgotten all about Takeru and Kuon. What was he doing? Standing here like an idiot! This is why she would not want to see him in the first place! Who would? A maniac standing in the middle of the road on a nice spring day thinking about aliens! Preposterous! Absurd! Insane...Actually, he was quite normal. Driving oneself mad in the field of love is actually quite typical. He was not crazy after all, or so once again he assured himself! Maybe assuring himself he was not crazy so many times was crazy, who knows? Love IS crazy! Wait a minute!

Ryou paused and looked at the ground. Love? He had to see if this was true or not. Were they here? What about their physical form? They had none before; this thought excited his imagination. He mentally kicked himself. Takeru was probably on the other side of the planet by now. He rushed back and his bike and darted in the direction Takeru had sped off in.


Their bodies were destroyed. What would they look like? Would they even be there? How he longed to just see her. Ryou's mind began to process images of Akari's smiling face. Kuon. That thing followed her everywhere. She HAD to be here! There was no denying it, she just had to be. Here it comes, Ryou gulped, the turn on the road that led down a hill into the woods... Those woods.

Heart beating in his throat, he tried to ignore the sensation that waved over him as he tried to quell his shaking leg. He was nervous, and had every right in the world to be. Most people in his predicament would have gone "completely" insane. He was close, but he was not gone yet. Someone else would have already been in a mental institution, but not him! His leg was really bothering him, it would not stop shaking.

The guard railing was bent slightly as he hopped off his bike and almost fell to the ground in anticipation. There was Takeru! He was down at the foot of the hill. Ryou could not find the voice to call his name at the stupefied shock he was experiencing at the sight of Takeru's face in the ground and a man in his late twenties with a long, dark black braid halfway down his back, standing over him with a sword; the hair covering most of his face. Ryou could not get a good look at him before he dissipated into a blinding light. He was knocked to the ground in a violent display.


Took a while, yes, but here's some more for you all to chew on!

Oh, and thank you to those that reviewed! I appreciate your time, and hope you continue reading.