A collection of short stories based on the anime Looking up at the Half Moon.

Full Moon

Phase 01: Speed (NatsumexAkiko)

The night was silent and peaceful as a couple walked down the streets of Ise. She had flaming orange hair and a fiery attitude to go with it. The young nurse stopped in front of her white sports car. The vehicle was her custom made pride and joy.

The young doctor who was with her, paused. "Akiko..." He was always reluctant to get into a car when his girlfriend was behind the wheel and she always insisted on driving.

In her honest opinion, her beloved drove like a snail. Then again, anyone drove like a turtle with slowga compared to her. She remembered his expression when she first gave him a ride to work.

He walked to work from that point on, until his own car was out of the repair shop, he didn't care if he had to get up four hours earlier. Sometimes, Natsume's wasted sleep hours were recovered at work. Those times he was scolded more often for sleeping on the job than he was for smoking.

The still silence remained untouched as Akiko smiled mischievously. She could make any passenger, brave or foolish enough to ride in a car with her; scream. It was something she took pride on.

Akiko remembered when a patient called Yuuichi had stepped into her car. He found the multiple seat belts to be odd, but he soon learned that they were a necessity, if he was to remain seated during the entire drive. Who ever said teenagers love adrenaline had never seen the boy's frightened expression that time. But Yuuichi wasn't a coward, he was in fact a very courageous fool in Akiko's opinion. Natsume however, was just a fool.

"What's wrong?" Akiko was enjoying it. She was enjoying every deep shallow breath Natsume took. She was enjoying how his eyes went wide and his pupils became small. She enjoyed his doubt and his worry, as long as they were hers and only hers. With a mock bow, she unlocked and opened the passenger door. Her house keys clicked together with a race car shaped key chain as she turned her car key. "Your chariot awaits."

"Isn't that my line?" Natsume would hold the door for Akiko and drive her anywhere, if only he could keep out of her street races. Unlike the irresponsible yet miraculously capable doctor; the nurse, also skilled in her job, was an active street racer and one of the best.

Natsume might have been known to do some crazy things when he was drunk and promptly forget them soon after, but he wouldn't get involved in a street race with Akiko, even as a passenger no matter how drunk he was, which he currently was. However, not even the excessive amount of alcohol he drank could erase the trauma that woman and her car had carved so deeply in his mind.

"Quit being a coward and get in. You're in no condition to drive when you're that drunk." She had a point, but then again so did he.

"You're never in a condition to drive, especially when you're sober." That remark cost him a solid hit to the head with a shoe. He should have expected it.

The street light above them flickered, calling their eyes to look up curiously, only to be distracted from the light by the moon. It was a full moon, shining brightly.

It was not a half moon, not a quarter moon or a crescent moon; it was full, bright and beautiful. One's fate and future are not things to be given and taken, or even accepted; they are things to be built.

While Natsume was admiring the moon and trying to think of something romantic to say, if only to see the look on Akiko's face when he spoke such words so out of character for him, he was caught by surprise and shoved into the car. The door was closed after him and Akiko made her way around to the other side of the car. Natsume dared not attempt to escape.

"Tomorrow," Akiko opened the driver's door and seated herself. "We should go somewhere fun." She began to fasten her seat belts, sending a glance Natsume's way that told him he better do the same.

Natsume fought with the seat beats until he was finally able to fasten them tightly. With the way Akiko drove, he would need it. "Do you mean a nice hike up the mountains? Is that what you had in mind for tomorrow?" He would be in shock for three days if she said yes.

"No, not that..." Akiko grinned once again, as she inserted the keys into the ignition and heard the engine of her precious car come to life. "That's no fun." The mischievous smirk never left her face. "I was thinking about going out with my old gang. Those slow pokes will get even slower if I don't beat them in a race every now and then. My motorcycle is upgraded. I've been working on it every chance I get."

"I'll cheer for you then." Natsume finished his silent prayers and took a deep breath while he still could.

Akiko changed the car's setting and slammed her foot into the accelerator. The car started to speed down the street, faster and faster at an alarming rate. "You're coming along for the ride."

Natsume stared at her with wide eyes. "Sure, I just need to find a motorcycle to use and I'll be right behind you. Probably far behind."

"No, that will not do, that will not do at all." He thought he caught an evil glint in her eyes at the moment when she delivered the news of her true request. "You'll be right behind me alright, but you better not be far behind, because that could only mean you fell off, and that's going to leave a nasty bruise. Or more like a few broken bones, if you're lucky."

The red light traffic light came on ahead and Akiko stepped on the brakes making, the doctor jolt forward. The nurse however, appeared unaffected by the sudden stop. Luckily, Natsume was held in place by the seatbelts. "Then..."

Akiko looked at him and nodded. "Even with the extra passenger, it'll be fast. I can go over a hundred easy. So you better be prepared to hold on for your life!"

The traffic light changed to green and once again the speed obsessed nurse hit the gas, leaving the doctor to fear for his life. But tomorrow he would fear so much more.

Phase 02: Here For You (YuuichixMiyuki)

"Yuu-chan."

The full moon shone in the skies outside. It was a beautiful night, but he didn't care to look at it.

"Yuu-chan."

He knew this was coming. From the very beginning he knew it, yet he still decided to stay. It was like doctor Natsume said, the worse ending. He postponed his plans to go to Tokyo and stayed in the small town of Ise. He had some precious memories to hold on to, but that was all that was left; only memories and pictures, nothing more.

"Yuuichi, open the door."

Rika was gone forever. The day would come when her heart would stop beating. He knew that, he expected it, but he didn't want to deal with it. She had said that she wouldn't be around for a long time, but it wouldn't be short either. She was wrong. It was short, a mere two years after her surgery. The surgery had gone well. The doctor did everything he could. Her body just didn't have the will to live that she had finally gained.

"Please, Yuu-chan."

His friends were worried about him. Rika's death took everyone by surprise, but most of all, him. He had taken many pictures, but none replaced what was real. He had spent as much time as he could with her, but that wasn't enough to save her.

"Yuuichi!"

Her voice was no longer calm like in the beginning. She had used his full name twice. She was worried; perhaps she was the one who worried about him the most. Not even the team work of the great Zebra Mask and Zebra Mask Junior could get him out of his room. Still, she hoped to accomplish it, even if it meant knocking down the door.

"Yuu-chan..."

Her voice was barely audible now. She had spoken in calm support, in angry frustration and now in sorrow.

"Please Yuu-chan, please just open the door."

She rested her head against the closed door. She couldn't hear anything inside the room. No crying, no denial, nothing. Akiko had told her and the Zebra brothers to give Yuuichi some time. It came as a surprise, as they had all expected for the nurse to be the first one to threaten to knock the door down and actually do it.

"Yuu-chan..."

She turned around pressing her back against the door and let herself slide to the floor.

"I'm here..."

That time when she first heard of him having a girlfriend, she wasn't sure if she should be angry at him for not noticing her feelings, or at herself, for not showing them. When she went to deliver the clothes for Rika, there was just the slightest bit of hidden anger, nearly impossible to catch in her expression. He didn't notice and she didn't want him to notice. When she met Rika, she was nice and polite, even going out of her way to help the other girl.

"For you..."

He was her childhood friend. She was supposed to remain his friend and be happy for him if he found someone he liked, even if she had liked him, or even loved him, first. She blamed herself for not telling him while she still had the chance. Besides, Rika was going to die soon and she didn't have the heart to take away that girl's final moments of happiness. She died sooner than expected, which left Yuuichi in a fragile state, even if he knew it was coming. It came so soon he wasn't prepared. Her death was sudden, unexpected, but peaceful, having fallen asleep and not waking up. Her heart failed sometime during the night and her life ended.

"Like always..."

Yuuichi had been spending every minute with the girl who had so little time left. He didn't have time for Miyuki, so she went ahead and moved to Tokyo. Two years later she returned to Ise when she heard the news. Everyone, even Natsume, had attempted to help Yuuichi move on, but it didn't work. Akiko insisted that he simply needed more time; after all, it had just been a week since the funeral, so it was too soon to start the recovery. Miyuki just wanted to know Yuuichi would in fact eventually recover.

"Miyuki..."

She felt the door move back and quickly stood up. He opened the door and stood there for a few seconds before falling into her arms. He appreciated what everyone was doing for him. He wanted to move on for Rika's sake, for his own sake, for everyone's sake.

He wondered what would have happened if he had told Muyiki how he felt. But she was his childhood fiend, only a friend. He would go to Tokyo and the distance would be easier to deal with if they remained friends. If she went to Tokyo too, or if he still felt the same at a later point in life and happened to find her again, he would tell her then, but his plans were interrupted by the coming of Rika.

"Yuuichi..."

She hugged him tightly. He wondered how it would have been if she visited him at the hospital years ago as his girlfriend. What she would have done when she discovered the Tada collection. If she would have been angry or if she would shake her head at him and forgive him. Maybe he would still have the keepsake instead of having to burn it. Maybe she would have thought of it as a keepsake only and nothing more, though she knew him better than that and he knew her better than that as well. Maybe, just maybe, she would allow him to keep the collection boxed up and sealed.

"Miki..."

Such thoughts didn't matter anymore. He thought he wouldn't have a chance with Mikii, he thought he shouldn't be so attached, then he met Rika and one thing led to another. If he was with his childhood friend at the time he wouldn't have gone out of his way so much for this new girl.

Things wouldn't have progressed as they did. Maybe Rika wouldn't have decided to get the surgery and her life would have ended earlier, but at least he wouldn't be in so much pain. What happens to those who get left behind? Even so, he had decided not to regret.

"I'm here for you, Yuu-chan."

Whatever happened, he would continue to move on. He had to, Natsume was right about that and Akiko was right about taking his time. With Miyuki's help and the help of his dear friends, he could do it. Then maybe, just maybe, when he was ready, Miyuki would make some room in her heart for him.

"Thank you..."

End

Disclaimer, I do not own Looking up at the Half Moon. Slowga is a spell from Final Fantasy.

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