"I see now. The mew aqua is inside me..."Masaya was walking around.

"What?" I asked. He knew about the mew aqua?

"If I use this, what I've destroyed will..." he began, "well, Tokyo will be back to what it was before." he was looking away from me, and it hurt so bad.

"Masaya, what are you saying?" he can't mean...

Two arms wrapped themselves tightly around me. "Just a little bit more... let me hold you for just one second more." What does he mean, he'll use the mew aqua? He can't possibly be thinking... no if he does that, he'll die!

I was thrown back as Masaya battled with Deep Blue inside him. Masaya, to protect me, encased me inside a ball, but that isn't what I want. Why should I be the only one to be protected. The girls, Kish, Masaya, everyone... they can die just so I can live? Even when the attack seemed to stop and Masaya reappeared after being deleted from Deep Blue's consciousness, I didn't want to be protected.

Why?!" Deep Blue screamed, "your role is over now. So why don't you just disappear? Masaya!!"

"I can't disappear yet. Now I know... what to do for Ichigo." he said quietly. His voice sounded as though it were being spoken by a being no longer alive.

'What?' I thought.

"I'm going to release the mew aqua inside Deep Blue. Then hopefully, the world will get back to what it was before."

"Stop talking nonsense!" Deep Blue screamed. It was evident to all that he was terrified to lose his life.

"No!" I pleaded, "Don't Masaya!! Please, no!! It'll kill you if you do such a thing."

He ignored me. "I love you, Ichigo... more than anyone." As he brought the sword down upon his own heart, I have finally able to break out of the barrier protecting me. But it was too late.

Masaya smiled as he fell, the mew aqua releasing itself as his life's blood drained from his body. I clutched him o me, tears falling upon his limp form. As I held him to me, Masaya faded into mist and vanished. As he faded, so did the intense pain filling my heart over the loss of my love. But it didn't hurt the same anymore. I felt as though I'd lost a friend, but the love I had once felt for him disappeared as Masaya did.

- - - - - - - -

Disclaimer: the above comes directly from book 7 as I interpreted. From here on out the ideas are purely my own with a few exceptions, and the charcters aren't mine either.

- - - - - - - -

To celebrate the victory and to mourn Masaya's death, all the mew mews spent the night at the cafe. Every year on that day this is what we have done, in order to honor the memory of Masaya Aoyama. Even after six years, we've never not done so. We all slept on the floor next to each other, even Ryou and Keiichiro. We were just a mess of bodies beneath a few blankets. Ryou and Mint were on either of my sides, Pudding at my head, Lettuce and Zakuro were next to each other at my feet, and Keiichiro slept near pudding at my head.

That night, it wasn't surprising that I couldn't sleep well. I awoke in the middle of the night, and quietly tried t make my way out of the jungle of bodies surrounding me. On the second floor of the cafe is a balcony window, and it was there that I stood for the longest time. I never noticed when Ryou came up beside me.

"Can't sleep?" he asked softly. I knew what he thought. He was sure I was bottling up my emotions and was refusing to cry over the loss of my love.

I shook my head. "Nahh, I was just thinking."

"Hmm? What about? You've gotten up every year. You always come up here, don't you?" He scooted in closer to me so that our arms were touching.

"Yeah. I think about Masaya." I answered simply.

He nodded. "I thought you would be. I'm sorry, Ichigo."

Smiling, I shook my head. "You're wrong. I'm not sad about his death. Well, I am, because he was my friend, but that was it. As he died, my heart didn't hurt the way it should. I've realized why I was so attracted to him." I turned to look at him. "All of us were attracted to one of the five mew aquas. It called to us. Masaya was my mew aqua, and as he vanished, so did my attraction to him. It was the mew aqua calling to me, not him. He was in love with me though, but that may also be because he was the mew aqua. We were bound to each other through that, but now that he's gone, I know that was all it was, all we would be."

Ryou just stood there next to me. For the longest time neither of us said a thing, instead just enjoyed the night and the other's company.

A sudden breeze blew on us, making me shiver. Ryou, who seemed to be fine, looked at me. "You all right?" he asked.

"Yeah," I nodded, "it just got a little colder all of a sudden."

"Do you want to go back downstairs?" he offered.

Shaking my head, I smiled at him. "Nahh, I want to stay up here a little longer." His eyes stared at me intently, seeming to be staring into my depths, wondering what I was thinking.

He moved, and I could feel his arms wrap around me from behind. He just held me to him, his warmth sinking into me. "Then I'll keep you warm," he whispered into my ear. Slowly, he pulled my back from where I was, over to where the balcony was close to the wall. He leaned against the wall, pulling me into him. My arms, which had been hanging loosely at my sides, went up to touch the sides of his. My cheeks were flaming, and my body was warm all over. I looked up at him, and found him still staring down at me intently. His eyes were pulling me into them, his gaze so intense.

I could see nothing but his eyes as they seemed to be moving closer to mine. When his eyes closed the spell was almost broken, but now I could see he had gotten closer, and my own eyes drifted shut as his lips found mine. I joined him in the kiss, and turned around in his arms to wrap my own about his neck, closing the gap between us further.

His lips were soft, and seemed to cover mine perfectly. I could feel something wet going along my bottom lip and opened up to ask him what it was. Ryou seized the moment to push his tongue into my mouth, and my eyes shot open. One moment I was feeling his body covering mine, the next I was falling, and a shocked Ryou was scrambling to catch me.

I was caught and brought up against his body again, but he was so much bigger than me. Darn! I thought angrily to myself, I ruined the moment by turning into a cat!

Burying my head into his chest, I was certain he could tell even in my cat form that I was blushing like none other. Snickering was heard above me, and upon looking up, I saw Ryou laughing his head off.

"You idiot, that isn't what you are supposed to do!" I meowed indignantly at him.

"Well, how was I supposed to know what to do?!" I mewled. "You're the one who kissed me!"

Softly he slid to the floor, taking me with him. The space was kind of cramped, so his knees were up against the balcony. I perched on his stomach so that I could see his face. He stopped laughing, but he still smiled. Softly he began to pet my back, drawing circles in my fur. Slowly, he bent down, and touched his lips to my furry ones. A moment later and my human ones were joined with his, and the hand he'd had behind my cat neck was still behind my once again human one.

The kiss was soft, like the one before. Once again his tongue traced my bottom lip, begging for entrance. Now that I knew what he wanted, I gladly opened up to him, and soon joined my own tongue into the little battle waging inside our mouths. We were locked together, and all was forgotten as we just kissed each other, over and over again.

We were out of breath when the kiss actually ended, but I didn't move from my spot. When I had become human again my legs went on either side of Ryou's lap, and my arms became snaked around his shoulder's again as we kissed. My skirt had risen and lay disheveled on my upper thighs, and I sat purely on him. I was only all too aware of what was between my legs. Ryou, who had been stroking my neck ad back, let his arms fall lower, so that his hands grasped either side of my waist.

We just stayed like that for the longest time. When it seemed an eternity had passed, Ryou spoke. "What about me? Are you attracted to me for me, or for some other reason? Don't tell me you aren't. You wouldn't kiss me back if you don't feel anything like that for me." He'd pulled me away from him so that I looked directly into his eyes.

"Ryou..." a cough to our sides caused both of us to look up at a bemused Pudding. She had her mischievious grin in place, and both Ryou and I knew we were screwed!

Both of us clambered up andbegan chasing pudding around the cafe as she sang loudly "Ryou and Ichigo sitting in a tree..." and so on. By that time everyone else had awakened and were watching with amusement. When Ryou and I ran out of energy we were bombarded from the others. Keiichiro took him over to the other side while the girls surrounded me.

"Just what have you two been doing?!" Mint asked, "getting it on this early in the day??"

"They were! They were! Naughty girl!" Pudding shouted happily.

"My ..." was all Lettuce said on the matter.

Zakuro still had the blank expression she usually held, but asked sensibly "Are you all right?"

I looked up at her. "Huh? Why do you ask? Do you mean about Masaya?" she nodded. "You don't need to worry about that anymore. I've known I wasn't really in love with him the day he died. I was only attracted to the mew aqua inside him. I'm still sad because he was my friend, but I'm not depressed. I've moved on. And been in love with someone else for the longest time now." I stared over in the direction of Ryou. He had a serious expression, and so did Keiichiro.

Mint slapped me on the back. "So long as you're happy, lovebird. But don't let this guy die! We'll be out of a job!"she joked.

We all laughed, and soon the two men had joined us again. Ryou touched my shoulder. "Come see me later, all right?" he whispered, "I have something to tell you. It's important." I nodded, and he walked over to talk to Lettuce and Zakuro. Keiichiro stood next to me.

"I wish the two of you happiness, Ichigo." he smiled at me softly. "Protect him, please." he left and soon I was being dragged around by Pudding to learn a new trick with her. The seriousness with which Keiichiro had spoken bothered me, but I didn't pay any mind to it just then. I would talk to Ryou later, and when I did, I would tell him that I loved him. I hadn't even been sure of it until tonight. When he had come to stand with me on the balcony, I had longed for him, and realized just how deeply I was in love with him.

- - - - - - - - - - -

That night, after everyone else had gone home after work I slipped behind, going silently up the stairs to Ryou's room. I didn't have to worry about being home late anymore. I was eighteen and out on my own.

I knocked lightly on the door with my left and. My right held a plate of onigiri for us to share.

No one answered, so I let myself in. The light was on in a room attached to Ryou's main bedroom. I could hear the shower water running as I gently crossed the room to his bed. In all the times I'd been in there, it had never changed, holding only his bed and a desk with a computer atop it.

I put the plate on the desk and sat myself down on his bed to wait. It wasn't long until the water had shut off and his door was opening. Ryou stepped out of the room wearing only his pants but he had a towel around his neck. The only other thing adorning his body was the choker he'd been wearing ever since I met him.

"Ichigo..." he said with mild surprise, "why am I not surprised?"

"Hmm..." I amswered, "maybe because you told me to see you?" smiling at him, I stood up to go to him.I snuggled into the arms that wrapped around me.

"Ryou..." I murmured. His body was warm from having just taken a shower, and slightly damp still. I didn't care that the shirt I was wearing was getting wet from being pushed up against his bare skin. After only a few moments Ryou's stomach growled, and his cheek, which had been resting on my forehead grew warmer.

"Sorry," he mumbled, "I haven't eaten yet.

I giggled. "I know. I brought some onigiri for us to share." Gently I pulled away but grabbed his hand as I led him to the bed. As he sat I picked up the plate and set it on the bed in between us.

"You always have made the best onigiri," he said. He took one of the small balls and bit into it, leaving a large chunk missing. I took one as well and ate slowly, letting the majority of the pile go to Ryou. We didn't talk much while we ate, merely watched the other. When the plate was empty Ryou replaced it on the desk. When he came back to the bed he sat up close to me, taking one of my hands in his.

"Ichigo," he whispered. Softly, he placed a chaste kiss on my lips, but didn't hold it. "I love you, I really do. I need to know if you love me, too."

My face flamed at his sudden confession, though I had half expected it. After those kisses earlier and the last comment before Pudding had walked in on us. "Me, too, Ryou, I love you ,too. And I planned on telling you now anyway. But what is so important? Why are you and Keiichiro so serious about this?"

"Because I'm about to die..."

- - - - - - - - - -

Now that has got to be one hell of a cliffie. Don't worry, I won't leave you with it for long. The next chapter will be up soon. By the way, same rule with this fic as I have with the others. I will NOT update until I've gotten five reviews, or if I'm tired of waiting on you guys. My reason for this rule is that on my most popular fics, they have around twenty reviews, and a few thousand hits. My most popular has I think just under fifty reviews, and over 2500 hits. Now isn't that ridiculous? I write for the people, not for myself. So if you like it, tell me, if you hate it, tell me what you hate, and I'll try to fix it if I'm able. Or if you're just a turkey and tell me you hate it for no reason, well, 'nuf said. But no one has hated my stuff yet, so I thinkI'm doing good. I hope you enjoyed this, the next chapter will hopefully be out soon.