So…I finally remembered to post this! Cats…I wrote this like eight months ago or something…

Note: This is set almost exactly four years before Petals.

The gang (by the way, they're Ham-Human) is around 17-18 ish. I don't know. How old would you be in your senior year of high school?

CN
Unfurling
Chapter One:
Breath Held In Anticipation

"Sixty-two months," she said, closing her eyes as she leaned her head further onto his shoulder.

"Mmhmmm…is that how long we've been together?" Maxwell asked, seeming slightly distracted, as he flipped the page.

"You remembered?" Sandy Torahamu exclaimed more than asked as she oriented her head to look at him, a new shine forming in her eyes. "You know, Maxy-"

"I didn't really remember…62 months is a little over five years ago, around the time I won that regional spelling bee and I know that was around the time we started going out. So unless you're counting the anniversary of me winning the bee-"

Sandy sighed as she pressed her finger onto Maxwell's lips. She adjusted herself back against his shoulders and removed her finger.

"And here I thought you had been keeping track. You sure know how to kill a romantic mood, Maxwell Librius," she teased, although she did know that deep down, this Ham-Human hardly had a romantic cell in his body.

Maxwell, getting the hint, closed his book (he'd have to return to deriving the equation for the magnetic field of an iron solenoid later). He set it down on the park's soft grass and leaned his head against Sandy's.

"What's wrong, Sandy?" he asked quietly as he watched the river before them flow. For a few moments, all that the two teenage Ham-Humans heard was the rushing of the river before Sandy decided to speak.

"It's just that sixty-two months is a long time, Maxy," she said as she started to wring the life out of a corner of her picnic blanket.

"You're not saying that it's been too long, right?" Maxwell asked in a slightly panicked voice as he sat up straight, causing Sandy to lose her support of his shoulder and fall back a little.

"…Sorry!" Maxwell said sheepishly as he watched the girl readjust herself. This time, she decided not to use him as a support.

She brought her knees to her chest and wrapped her hands around them. Her quietness seemed so foreign to Maxwell; this girl rarely ever found herself speechless…except when she was mad… Maxwell could only imagine what was going on through her mind.

"No," she answered at length. Maxwell, fiddling with the grass around him to rid himself of the nervousness, looked up. "Sixty-two months hasn't been too long…Actually, sometimes, it feels like it hasn't been long enough."

"Sandy?"

Sandy dug her head into her knees and sniffled. When she looked up, Maxwell was shocked to see that there were a few small tears breaking from her lime green eyes.

"Maxy, some people hardly last two months…You can do the math, but we've been together so much longer. We have something special….I think that much is obvious, but I don't think you feel the same way I do." As she finished speaking, she turned her head from him and looked the other way.

Maxwell got up and walked to the side that Sandy was facing. He leaned down to her level and smiled.

"If you think a few tears are going to get rid of me that easily, then you're sorely mistaken," he said as he wiped some of the tears from her eyes. "I'm not very romantic, but I don't think there's any way to describe just how much you mean to me in mere words."

Sandy bit her lip as she tried to hide her smile. Why couldn't she stay mad this boy for long?

"Maxy…that's so…"

"Romantic?" he asked eagerly, happy to see her smile.

"Not exactly."

"Surprisingly articulate?"

"Well yes, but not what I was looking for…"

"Adorable?"

"Corny." She giggled a little, and by doing so she let out a small hiccup, which just caused Maxwell to laugh.

"You're right, though," Maxwell started to say as the two watched the pink and orange clouds blend into the sunset's canvas, "most people can hardly keep a relationship up for a few weeks, let alone five years-"

"Five years and two months," Sandy corrected as she leaned her head against Maxwell's shoulder.

"Right, of course. I mean, look at your friend Bijou. She went through how many boyfriends before she settled on Daichi?"

"That's just Bij. She's just picky like that, but she and Daichi have been going strong for a while, and I just want her to be happy…"

Maxwell looked down at Sandy and found himself being mesmerized by the way the rays reflected on her brilliant eyes.

"You're amazing, Sandy."

She snuggled closer to him.

"I know."

At that very moment, a few miles away at the local high school, a white-haired Ham-Human paced the stage of the auditorium nervously.

Bijou Ribon was not in a good place at the moment.

"Oh zutzut zut zut…The induction's in an hour and the food hasn't arrived…oh zut zut zut."

"Bij, stop pacing and relax. The food'll arrive any minute and the French Honor Society Induction will go off without a hitch," Pashmina Mafura assured from one of the seats before Bijou.

"I don't know, maybe I should call the caterers again," Bijou said as she stopped pacing and looked at her purse, at one corner of the stage, in which her cell phone was just calling out to her.

"Maybe that's not such a good idea." Pashmina mused as she stood up at headed towards the stage.

"Why not?" Bijou asked indignantly.

"Incase you don't remember, you're forbidden from talking to anyone on the phone since you nearly bit the caterer's head off last time," she answered as she climbed the steps of the stage and approached her friend.

"Well the caterer's cutting it awfully close!" the French girl cried indignantly. "Maybe I should just go over to the bakery and…" Bijou was suddenly cut off by a new voice entering the stage from a side entrance.

"That won't be necessary. I just talked to the caterer over the phone. He's on his way here," Crystal Donaldson explained as she stepped across the stage, her heels making a very professional clicking sound as she walked.

Bijou looked as though a huge weight had just been kicked off of her.

"Merci Crystal!" she exclaimed as she ran a hand through her hair. She sighed with relief as she looked around: the auditorium, decorated with red white and blue ribbons and banners with French sayings scribbled all over them. It wasn't easy setting up everything, and there was still the food that had yet to arrive…

Setting up the induction ceremony for the French Honor Society was so not fun, especially when the so-called French teachers left all the work to one person because she was the only one in the school who was a native French speaker! Bijou rolled her eyes as she thought of the laziness of her teachers.

She then looked at Pashmina and Crystal.

"I can't thank you guys enough for helping me with this. I mean, I know how picky I can be…"

"Yeah, believe me, we do too," Crystal said under her breath just loud enough for Bijou to hear.

"What Crystal means is that we're happy to help," Pashmina explained. "And, as long as we're promised free French food, I see no reason to complain."

"Yeah, it was either go to another one of Daddy's board meetings or come here, so no brainer really," Crystal explained. Just as Bijou was about to respond, the ringtone to Crystal's phone went off.

"Oooh! That's the caterer!" She said excitedly as she grabbed her phone out of her pocket. "He said he'd call me when he arrived," she explained as she flipped the phone open and put it to her mouth. "Uh-huh…okay…gotcha! Be right there!" As she closed her phone, she spun around on her heel.

"Are they here?" Bijou asked anxiously. "I should go see if all the food made it-"

"I think the caterer would rather I get the food…seeing as how you screamed your head off at him when he ran five minutes late," Crystal spoke as she looked over her shoulder. "I'll see you later!" she cried, before Bijou had time to protest, as she walked off the stage and out through an adjacent exit.

After Crystal left, Pashmina and Bijou stepped off the stage. They walked down the auditorium's aisles until they finally settled upon a row and sat down.

Bijou, leaning back and relaxing for the first time in a while, kicked off her high heels and massaged her sore feet. She looked over at Pashmina, also relaxing with her back pressed against her chair, and noticed that the brown-haired Ham-Human was smiling.

"What's so funny, Pashy?" Bijou asked. In response, Pashmina just shook her head and closed her eyes.

"Can you believe that girl is complaining about having to go a board meeting?" she asked as she slowly opened her eyes and looked over at Bijou. "I mean, people work their whole lives to get promoted to a high enough position just to attend a board meeting! I love Crys, really, but cats I hate that girl for having it so easy."

Bijou bit her lip and looked down at the floor for a second. At Pashmina's words, she seemed to fall into a reverie. You wouldn't know, Pashy…

"..Bij? You listening?" Pashmina asked as she noticed the glassy look in her friend's eyes.

"Quoi?" The French girl asked as she snapped her head back to Pashmina. "Desolée…I just can't keep my mind off the Induction Ceremony," she lied.

"That's ok, it wasn't that important, anyway," Pashmina said. "It's just that, I'm not like shallow or anything, but I wouldn't mind living her life."

"Really?" Bijou asked, titling her large head to the side.

"Oh right, forgive me for forgetting," Pashmina started to tease, "You might not be an heiress, but you live in a house the size of two of my blocks! Oh, and can't forget that car you got for your sixteenth birthday…or that handbag collection that's worth more than my college fund!" Pashmina leaned her head back further. "Geez, you and Crys make Sandy and me feel like we're living in cardboard boxes!"

Bijou laughed a little too nervously to sound sincere, but Pashmina must not have noticed. "I told toy: Lots of dead, rich uncles, that's all," she explained as she turned her head to face the stage.

"Not too much longer til the Induction Ceremony begins, hmmm?" Pashmina asked.

Bijou looked at the clock in the back of the auditorium. "Yeah, actually. The inductees should be arriving any minute!" Bijou immediately stood up and started shuffling her way out of the row of seats.

"Relax, Bij! We've gotten everything taken care of," Pashmina reminded as she also stood and started following the French girl out of the auditorium.

Bijou stopped walking just as she got to the auditorium exit. She turned around and faced Pashmina.

"I have to go and greet the inductees and pass out the schedule of events and-"

"Ok, Bij, breathe," Pashmina ordered as she placed her hands on Bijou's shoulders. "Before you get all panicky again, just let me take care of it."

"I have to be the one to greet them," Bijou protested. "So thanks but-"

"I think the inductees would rather be greeted calmly than by you, no offense," Pashmina explained as she let go of her friend.

Bijou looked around. "None taken."

Pashmina smiled. "Kay, now just walk around until it's time for the ceremony to actually begin…I'll take care of the rest."

"I love the fall," Sandy exclaimed as she practically twirled down the sidewalk. "I mean the colors, the first puffs of cold air when you talk, and of course, the shopping for all the new sweaters!"

Maxwell nodded as he examined the colors of the leaves around him; since it was the first week of October, the leaves were just starting to turn from green to the more common colors of fall.

"It is indeed a beautiful season," he agreed.

As the two Ham-Humans walked down the path together, Sandy placed her hand into his.

"Hopefully, we'll spend a lot more seasons together," she said softly as she leaned her head against his shoulder.

Maxwell smiled. "Now you're the one who's starting to sound corny-oww!" he cried after receiving a slightly strong punch from the girl on his arm.

"It doesn't sound as corny when a girl says it," Sandy explained in a matter-of-fact voice.

"Yeah sure, keep believing that-oww! Stop doing that!"

The couple continued walking down the streets of the neighborhood until they reached Maxwell's house. They stopped at the mailbox in front of the house for a large bunch of mail was practically bursting out of the box.

"Looks like you got a bunch of mail," Sandy said as she tapped her fingers against the metal of Maxwell's mailbox.

"It's just from a bunch of colleges that want me to apply," Maxwell explained as he started flipping through al the college letters.

"Too bad all those colleges don't know that you're not interested." Sandy sighed as she leaned against the mailbox.

Maxwell, who had been listening to Sandy, suddenly stopped at one letter in particular. All it took was one look at the insignia and the return address of the letter. He couldn't believe it.

La Sorbonne

"Huh? What?" Maxwell looked up upon noticing that he must've been staring quite strangely at that letter.

Sandy rolled her eyes as she leaned over to look at the letter. "Never mind, just what letter are you staring at?" as her eyes casually scanned the envelope in Maxwell's hands, she didn't seem so nervous. However, as she saw the insignia and the return address, she felt a sudden tightening feeling come upon her.

"Sorbonne? Isn't that in France? You didn't request information from them, did you? You're not interested in applying there, right?" Cats, she felt like Bij by getting so worked up, but this was no small matter. She looked at Maxwell, her eyes shaking ever so slightly, and her breath held in anticipation.

"N-no! Of course not," Maxwell lied. "I get tons of letter from schools," he reminded, shaking the mass of envelopes in his hands as proof.

"Yeah, but it's kind of weird, isn't it? I mean…it's a foreign school, all the way in France. That's like the other side of the world from Japan, Maxy." Just by the sound of her voice, Maxwell could tell that Sandy was getting distraught.

"I don't want you to go that far to school," Sandy added quietly as she cast her eyes downward.

Maxwell bit his lip as he looked at her. Of all the letters from all the colleges he had received so far—and he had received many—the letter from Sorbonne was probably the most exciting one he had received.

He knew the type of education he would receive from this world-renown university…and to see that Sorbonne was interested enough in him to actually send a letter from halfway around the world…

He laughed nervously, and Sandy looked up. "Relax. I told you that I get letters from everywhere. It doesn't matter if it's from the local community college or the most prestigious university in Europe: If a school's interested in you, they won't stop bugging you."

Sandy let out a sigh of relief. "Sorry…I don't know what got into me. Maybe it's just that you're smart and I know you probably want to go to one of those top-notch schools…Just look at the bright side, Ham Sapian University is a pretty good school itself!"

"Ham Sapian University?" Maxwell asked, wondering how that school came up.

"Yeah…I mean, I'm pretty sure I'll get in, and you'll definitely get in, and it's only about half an hour from here…it's the perfect school," Sandy explained. She raised her eyebrows and looked at Maxwell quizzically. "We've talked about this, haven't we?"

Maxwell wasn't sure what to say. "Umm…yeah, sorry, it slipped my mind momentarily." Desperate for a change of subject, he immediately started speaking again. "Hey…let's go inside. My mom's making her apple cider tonight, and I know how much you love her cider."

Sandy nodded her head and, lacing her fingers with his, walked with him into his house.

"Ribon!"

Bijou winced as she heard that sound. Here she was, trying her best to relax and kill time before she had to read her opening speech, in the lobby of the high school's auditorium, and all of a sudden, this voice had disrupted her thoughts.

Well, not so much the voice as the person behind the voice, actually…

Bijou turned around and faced the orange and white-haired Ham-Human coming up to her.

"What do you want, Haruna?" She asked as she started to massage her temples, knowing the type of headaches Hamtaro Haruna caused every time they ran into each other.

"Well, is that anyway to talk to your lighting crew manager?" he asked as he came up to her.

Bijou resisted the urge to roll her eyes. "You're the lighting crew? I hope you know you're late by over an hour!"

"Cats, loser, relax," a third voice piped. Hamtaro and Bijou turned to see Sparkle walk into the lobby.

"And I hope you know you're late, too, Sparkle," Bijou said angrily. "Why did you volunteer to perform at the Induction Ceremony if you weren't even going to come on time?"

"Geez. Is that any type of gratitude? I'm performing for free for the loser Spanish Honor Society inductees-"

"It's the French Honor Society," Bijou corrected. "Remember, you were inducted last year, although I'm still not sure how exactly you got in."

Sparkle gave Bijou a sarcastic smile. "I'm a girl of many talents. Anyway, Hamtaro," she turned to face the boy and put her hand on his shoulder. "Be sure to keep the spotlight extra bright for me, ok?" she asked in a sickeningly sweet voice as her hand ran up and down his arm.

"Of course, Sparkle," Hamtaro said.

"Get to the lighting booth, Haruna, and go to the sound crew, Sparkle, and get yourself a microphone," Bijou ordered as she came between the two Ham-Humans.

"Whatever, loser. I'll see you later, Hamtaro," Sparkle said as she started to walk away. "Adoo!"

"It's adieu!" Bijou cried as she watched the brown-haired pop star walk into the auditorium. She turned around and saw Hamtaro shaking his head.

"Didn't I just tell you to get to the lighting booth?" she asked.

"I have my freshmen crew members taking care of the lighting," Hamtaro explained.

"Well shouldn't you be supervising them or something?"

Hamtaro shrugged. "Eh..they'll be fine."

"Then why did you even show up? Are you going to release mosquitoes into the auditorium? Are you going to switch my lip balm with glue again?" Bijou asked, listing off a couple of the many pranks he had previously pulled on her.

"No, Ribon…you should know by now that I never repeat pranks. I just came because I know how worked up you get over the smallest details. It's kind of amusing to watch you go all panicky," he explained.

"Bite me," Bijou hissed.

"Gladly," Hamtaro replied. "Cats you're easy to tease. You'll never make it in the real world with that sort of attitude."

"She will if she has people who care for her to support her," a new voice said. Bijou, upon hearing this voice, smiled while Hamtaro rolled his eyes.

A black-haired, golden-eyed teenager, almost a full head taller than Bijou, came into the lobby. He came up to Bijou and put his hands around her waist.

"How're you doing? You told me that you were feeling a little stressed," the boy asked as he looked down at the French girl in his arms.

"I'm fine, Daichi," Bijou replied as she leaned up and kissed the boy's cheek. "You're so sweet for coming all the way here."

"He's not bothering you, is he?" Daichi asked as he nodded in Hamtaro's direction.

"Relax, Aito," Hamtaro said. "I was just about to leave anyway."

With that said, Hamtaro turned around and quickly left the scene. He wasn't very fond of either party in the lobby at the moment.

Bijou glanced at her watch. "I better go, too. The ceremony starts in a few minutes."

"Mother, I told you, colleges like it if I have activities other than singing on my application!" Sparkle explained into her cell phone as she paced up and down one of the sides of the stage. She felt like snapping her cell phone shut, but her mother would just come down to the school herself and drag her out of there.

"I told you, Sparkle, that a singer like you does not need college! So stop wasting time at this silly induction ceremony and get to your sound check now!"

Some members of the sound crew were walking in, so Sparkle lowered her voice.

"Just let me do this mother, please…"

Bijou walked into the auditorium after checking the buffet (which Crystal had setup so beautifully that Bijou practically cut off the girl's circulation when she hugged her in thanks), and she realized that she had left her purse on the corner of the stage.

She walked across the stage and picked up her purse, and that's when she realized her cell phone was vibrating. She opened her purse and dug out the phone. It was a message from Maxwell.

"Hey, what do you do when you want to go to a school but you know that it will break your girlfriend's heart?"

Daichi Aito- my own original character. Literally, his name translates into Great wisdom and Affection.

This chapter just focuses on the snippets of what's going to happen in the story.

The main plot is basically what happens when Bijou gives Maxwell advice and what it does to Sandy. Not only that, this story focuses in on a secret that Bijou's been keeping for as long as she's known everyone.

In reality, this is more of a Sandy/Maxwell fic and a Sandy/Bijou friendship story than anything else. It's really not a Hamijou at all (but that's the point of Petals anyway).

So tell me what you think!

-CN