Summary: They knew they couldn't be together, no matter how hard they tried. So cherishing the moments they had together before their separation was all they could do. Wonrei X Li-En.

This is just a quick one-shot I thought of after watching a certain episode of Zatch Bell/Konjiki no Gash Bell. -cough cough- Anyways, I hope you enjoy it. It's supposed to take place some time before everyone heads out to the final battle against Zofis. I'm not quite sure what episode it is, because I just started to watch this show because of my addicting to Wonrei & Li-En, but I know it's before episode 137. I know the anime is that far, but there are only Mandarin subtitles or no subtitles, so it's pretty hard to find the episodes.

Well, anyways, enough of my rambling. Here's the story!

Disclaimer: I do not own Zatch Bell/Konjiki no Gash Bell. If I did, Wonrei and Li-En would have a bigger part, and the ending to the series would have been a little different.

The Path They Chose:

The sun was setting, causing the sky to change from a blue colour to orange and red. Even the clouds morphed from gray to pink, reflecting the warmth they salvaged when it was cold. The wind weaved through the opened doors and windows, singing of the tragedies that struck the town. The streets were empty, mostly because the town had been evacuated so everyone could hide from the enemies. Milordo-Z, or Zofis, as he was called, planned to become the Mamodo King by any means necessary. It was up to a small group of people left, book owners and Mamodos, to stop him before he succeeded.

They had all just finished a meeting, where they discussed the final battle they would begin the next day when everyone was prepared. Kiyo explained that everyone was to get out alive, no matter what. But Wonrei countered, saying how the most important priority was that Zofis was destroyed. He continued, stating how the Mamodo must protect the humans, because the humans would die, while the Mamodos would be sent back to the Mamodo World. Kiyo went to interrupt, but Li-En subtly shook her head, motioning him to stop. Kiyo, being the only one who saw the gesture, obliged and decided it was best.

The door to the patio slowly slid open, squeaking as if to inform everyone else someone was walking outside. Li-En slowly closed the door behind her and let out a breath of relief when she realized nobody heard her. She changed her clothing from the red dress and light pink pants. Instead, she wore a red chinese top with yellow lining and baggy red pants, with matching red slippers. Her hair remained up in the same two buns, covered by pink and red (A/N: I don't know what they're called. So sue me). Her bangs fluttered in the wind, tickling her forehead. Li-En knew she was going to be alone eventually, and she knew she needed to get used to it. But she couldn't, because she had the temptation. She knew he was there, and both of them knew he would find her and help her when she needed it.

Wonrei was a Mamodo, only there because he needed to destroy and burn the books of other Mamodos to become the king. When his purpose was over, he would leave her and return to his world. She knew that. He knew that. There was nothing the other could do to change their destiny. They could pray as much as they wanted, or wish on a shooting star or on a birthday candle, but everything was in vain. Their paths were set, and they could not escape it.

"Li-En," Wonrei's voice came, as chilling and cool as the air. "Are you okay?"

Li-En slowly turned around and smiled, trying to hide her worry. "Of course," she replied in her usual chirpy voice. "Why are you out here?"

"I didn't feel like sleeping, so I decided to come out here," he replied casually. "I didn't know you were still awake as well."

"Mmhmm," she hummed as he walked up to the balcony and leaned on his crossed arms. Li-En bent over and placed her elbows on the ledge, cupping her cheeks with her hands.

Wonrei raised an eyebrow. He knew Li-En for a long time. He could tell when she was lying, and when she was telling the truth. He didn't want to pry, because he didn't want her to break down like before. Every time she shed a tear, he felt something crush his chest; every time they remembered their undeniable destination, he felt the walls cave in. "Li-En," Wonrei said uncomfortably, unsure of how to continue his sentence.

"Are you worried about tomorrow?" she cut in softly, delicately tracing circles in the wood with her right index finger. "Please be truthful."

"Honestly, I am worried about tomorrow," Wonrei answered truthfully. "Zofis and the other Mamodo are extremely powerful, and we must be physically and mentally prepared for everything. But the thing I am worried about is losing you." He clenched his fists and lowered his head so his eyes were covered by shadows. "If my book is burned, I'll be sent back to the Mamodo World. End of story. But if you're gone forever, and your life is over. I don't want to do that to do. I don't want you to die because I got you into this competition."

"It was my choice," Li-En insisted, grabbing one of his closed fists warmly. "I wanted to fight by your side, and I still do. Because I love you, Wonrei. You made me feel like I was worth something, so I owe you back dearly."

This only made Wonrei feel even more guilty. Knowing Li-En would just throw her life away like that to make his dream come true made him feel even worse. "You don't have to do this, Li-En. You don't owe me anything." Because it is I who owes you everything, he inwardly added.

"But I want to stay by your side, Wonrei!" she said sternly with a serious look on her face. "Without you, I would just be having a normal life. A life where boys would keep dumping me after they found out who my father was. A life where nothing was worth it, where I was living a lie, alone."

Both had thought about what it would be like if neither had met each other. Wonrei thought Li-En would have a happier life, a safer life, where she would live as normal people do. She wouldn't have to be afraid of getting hurt, or leaving her family to go on a dangerous journey. She would find another man to marry, and have no problems. But most importantly, she wouldn't have fallen in love with someone she could never be with. She wouldn't have her heart broken in a way that it could never be repaired.

Li-En thought of her life as hell if she didn't meet Wonrei. Of course, she wouldn't know what she was missing, because she wouldn't have known he existed. But still. And she had no regret whatsoever about meeting him. Even if her heart was to shatter in millions of fragments, she was happy to have experienced love as pure as what they shared than to have experienced nothing.

But neither told the other of the reflection.

"It hurts, though," Li-En said suddenly, her voice blatantly cracking from the strain in her throat. She choked back her tears that one time, because there was really no point in crying. Her crying would become more painful as they shared memories together, which was the hardest part. Happy moments caused them pain, but they couldn't help themselves. "We won't be able to be together."

And for once in his life, Wonrei was the one to embrace Li-En. He brought her into his strong arms, and she buried her head in his chest, silent tears dropping onto his blue chinese top. "As long as I live on in your heart, I will be happy," he said softly, fighting back tears of his own.

"Thank you, Wonrei, for freeing me from my cage."

They stood there for what seemed like an eternity, embracing each other and counting the seconds. He brought her in even closer, as if shielding her from anything that would come.

And he did...because the next day...

Wonrei died, protecting Li-En.

I don't want to spoil anything that actually happens, so I won't say what parts I made up and what parts are actually from the anime. I hope you liked it! (I think this is the shortest Author's Note I've ever written! -throws confetti-)

Review 3!