Title: One Certain Word
Fandom: DearS
Rating: Apart from the occasional light swear word, suitable for all.

Authors Notes: First non-romantic one-shot I have done for a long while... and yeah, I am impressed with it. Ell oh ell my ego has gone through the roof.

Ah... DearS. A fandom I have always loved since reading the first volume of the manga yet a fandom that generally gets no love. Seriously! -le sigh- I create boards on forums asking if anybody elses likes this fandom and i'm usually told to bugger off and stop liking such "pathetic shojo". Urgh... people like that get on my wick. I'll like what I like and if you cannot take it then piss off. Simple as that.

Anyways. I have only read up to volume seven of the manga... nothing what-so-ever of the anime... and I keep re-reading a certain chapter of the sixth volume. Chapter 31 to be precise, as it heavily features the pwnsome China, who is tied with Nia as my favourite character. I was gutted at her sudden ending so with One Certain Word I tried to make it a bit more meaningful and tried to capture how she was feeling with what was happening. I hope I did that.

I will gladly accept any constructive criticism and all reviews in general mean much love from me. Fingers crossed that you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it! -insert China style cheesy grin here-

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The English language is made up of countless words of varying lengths, all with a different meaning, all with a separate feeling of power behind them. They do say that sticks and stones can break your bones but names can also break you in a way that cannot be seen until you make it so... a term that is known as mental, rather than physical. However there are certain words that can also play with your mind like those designed to insult and degrade you... these words are a struggle to conjure up and require a lot of courage to say, yet once said can send huge waves of relief surging through you.

One word has that power more than most.

Five letters strong and as common as encountering the darkness that night brings, this word has one sole purpose; a purpose that can alter things in a stronger way than most people realise, a purpose that can complete or shatter a person depending on where and when it is said and who it is said to. The only downfall of this word is that people refuse to utter its two syllables out of fear of being seen as weak or because they don't see why they should back down. It's short, it's sharp, it's to the point yet its hold is so... powerful.

This was noticed by one being, who was contemplating everything about this word carefully and considerately. While thoughts were going into overdrive, the doe eyes of a lavender hue were also constantly watching the two others in front of the being, a preteen female attired in a long-sleeved black dress that clung like velcro onto the hips and finished just past her small bottom, which left the lower part of her knickers exposed to the public eye. She fiddled tentatively with one of the four extensive strands of her orchid coloured hair, eyes still not moving from the two males in front of her and thoughts still thinking about the word that was constantly running through her mind like a chart record on repeat... yet eventually she came to a conclusion. She was going to say this word.

When push came to shove it was the only thing that could make everything better, the only thing that could give her back some of the credit and respect she lost, the only thing that would give her a better piece of mind and to stop her imagination flying in all sorts of wayward directions.

There was no other way.

Taking a short breath, the youngster confidently flicked her hair away with the back of her hand and opened her mouth to speak...

"As we expected, the recovery of Sample A2 has failed." was the blunt statement of one the males sharing the same room as the female. His arms were folded limply and his gaze was faraway and distant, yet his words rebounded of the walls of the room with such aggression nothing could make it disappear into the far distance.

The other male in the vicinity turned his head slightly so part of his gaze could be directed at the other man, right thumb stroking his chin lightly. "We shouldn't be surprised you know..." he spoke with the same sharp tone as the first to speak, rolling his eyes to add an effect to his words. "Sending out a zero number despite all the DearS we have encapsulated here with us to look for it. It was a..."

"Mistake. A mistake to put our hopes on a defective product." the first man concluded for his partner, causing both men to nod their mutual agreement upon this statement and turned so both of their backs were fully exposed to the female, who was now dumbstruck with her hands clasped over her mouth to ensure that not even a little gasp emitting from it could break the deadly silence that had bestowed itself upon the room.

The plan was not supposed to be like this. By now what was supposed to have been said should have been out in the open and everything up until this point to be forgiven and forgotten, giving the preteen female another chance to succeed with the mission that she was given. Yet that chance was wiped as quickly as a click of a finger; it seems that the two males in front of her cannot and will not want to know what she wanted to say and it took the hard way for the female to realise that.

Yes, she knew that she failed in capturing the still elusive Sample A2, another member of the race she is a part of... the alien ethnicity known collectively as DearS... yet while thinking about it more observantly, she was only given two days to search a city whose entirety is gigantic, with many back streets and other nooks and crannies. Beforehand she was vastly ignored for being one of the zero numbers, for being one with problems, for being defective... so why now will the two older men, the scientists that helped with the creation of her and only want to know about the surroundings of the city and the progress of certain DearS, would want to hear what she has to say?

She wanted to say that one certain word to the scientists seeing as they were the people who gave her life... but thankfully she knew that it would be a waste of time at the right moment. This word does not deserve to be muttered to people like them, people who even refuse to give her and her fellow zero numbers a decent name...

"Sample B7." a dark voice broke the current train of thought from the female, who came back to reality in one sharp moment. Lavender eyes blinked away an oncoming tear and the female let out a hardly audible sigh.

"Y-yes, professor..." she finally stammered, looking up at the scientist who referred to her by her code name, a name she actually now detested with every fibre of her being.

"Return to your capsule, you are of no more use to us..." the first scientist spoke with equal disrespect while the second started to prepare to open the female's clear, cylindrical cage.

This time, a tear managed to succeed in avoiding the eyelashes of the zero number and proceeded to make a single, translucent trail down the youngster's cheek, causing her to wipe it away suddenly and turn away from her creators.

"Yes... professor..." came her quiet words.

Keeping her back away from the scientists as they prepared for the capsule to click open its door the preteen decided to let the tears stream down her cheeks in a waterfall of sorrow and misery. She was trying hard to remain optimistic despite the ever increasing chance that once she climbed into her capsule she would never see the light of day again yet once again new thoughts started to wallow in her mind and slowly consume her past thinking processes. There it was, a devil, telling her that she was worthless, a piece of trash, someone who did not deserve to be created... scraps of information that she was starting to believe herself.

However on the opposite side an angel was willing her to remember what she was thinking about before. She was not worthless as she didn't have enough time to complete her search. She was not a piece of trash otherwise the scientists would have ditched her a long time ago because of her being a zero number and she did deserve to be created for she was a girl on a mission and is still on one, she has just been delayed and the two people making her get back in her capsule were in fact the ones who were pointless pieces of crap.

That was all she needed to wipe more of her tears away and look upon the item located on her right shoulder.

Picking it up and analysing it, the zero number carefully guided a finger along its features. The material was soft and coloured a glorious sunshine yellow, save for a ring of midnight black around what was the item's right eye. A triangle of rose pink material made the tongue that stuck out of its mouth and in that instant upon seeing it, all thoughts contained in the girl's mind suddenly transformed into more positive, optimistic, carefree thinkings. Squeezing the cuddly dog close in the realisation of that, the girl formed a small smile. Yes, she was still on a mission and yes, it was being delayed yet there was also another determined thought.

She still wanted to say that one certain word.

As the scientists struggled to get her capsule open, the female zero number casted her mind back to when she was given her assignment, to find and return the DearS simply known as Sample A2. For the best part of the first day the search was fruitless and she remembered sitting atop of a building watching her surroundings... and smelling something delicious, something that she couldn't ignore, something contained in a gigantic bag that she had to climb in.

It was the start of twenty four hours of childish mayhem for the zero number and the two people she was about to face.

She remembers the first person extremely well. A tall male that appeared to be in his late teens, with scruffy black hair and choosing to dress in plain t-shirts and jeans, topped off with beaten old white trainers that were starting to look brown. A bit of a natural hothead, yet was someone who would never hit somebody, would back down if he knew he was in the wrong... yet was also someone who clearly cared for the people in his life and would do his best to protect them, look out for them and most of all, listen to them. Things that she found out for herself within the space of an hour.

The next day was spent with his male and the second person, although it was the male who she predominately spent the most time with. At the end of it all she received a kiss on the forehead to show his appreciation and respect towards her and while she did indeed have a fantastic day with him there were also a few problems that she was concerned about.

For a start the bag that she climbed into was in fact his night time meal for himself and his companion, a meal that she greedily gobbled up without a trace of a crumb left. Then she also decided that she would be crashing at his apartment for the night and also harshly rebuffed his suggestion of a name for her... a name that she eventually grew to love but a name that she wishes she could have loved from the beginning.

As the next day dawned there were also a few worries and niggles. To begin with there was her insistence that this guy should play make believe and pretend to be her master, as she never had one and it's always a part of the DearS destiny to be eventually assigned one... she wishes that she now left that to her own accord. There was also the instance of using her erratic moods to get what she wanted from him throughout the day, including the plushie that she has kept close to her... she felt bad about making him use his money. Then of course there was her pressuring him to kiss her, as for a DearS getting a kiss shows how unbreakable the bond is between a slave and his or her master. As the day slowly transformed into night he did appear to be happy from the events that occurred, yet she wondered if that was down to her being a spoiled brat or down to him actually wanting to. Either way, she still wanted to speak that word to him.

She wanted to say that one certain word to Takeya, who seemed to be the only human caught up in the situation that was slowly starting to form together like pieces of a jigsaw... and the guy who was her master, even if only for the best part of a day.

"Oh master, I wonder how you are doing..." the zero number found herself saying in a very sorrowful tone of voice, squeezing the cuddly dog closer to her as if she was trying to force the last breath out of it.

"Sample B7."

"My name is China..."

"WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?"

China, the preteen zero number who has been delving into her memories since returning to the main spaceship of the DearS race, sharply turned around to face the two scientists, both looking highly frustrated at what they believed to be an attempt to rebel from her eventual fate. She quickly looked down at the plushie and once again got another train of thought to leave its station... this was her chance to bite back, gain freedom and see Takeya so she can say that one certain word to him... yet she also knew that the two in front of her were not only blocking her only means of escape but they also had the ability to wipe away her existence at the blink of an eye, something that she really could not afford to lose.

Much as she wanted the former, she knew she had to deal with the latter as it would be better in the long term.

"Nothing, professor. It was actually a deep sigh, nothing more." China finally said, trying her best to hide the fear in her voice and also doing her best not to say that word as she still believed they didn't deserve to hear it.

"Good." was the monotone reply of the scientist, his companion deciding that glaring at the zero number was a good means of intimidation just in case she did have a plan in mind. "Get in your capsule this instant and wait." then came his strict command.

"Yes, professor..." China stated somewhat placidly, as if she was a stuck record having saying those two words so many times.

Taking care to make sure that her dress would not expose any more of her knickers than what was already on show, China steadily climbed into the capsule and watched the scientists fumble with the preparation to lock the capsule and start the artificial hibernation process. She felt another tear trickle down her cheek despite the optimistic feelings she was currently harbouring yet as she went to wipe it from her porcelain coloured skin, one of the scientists glared directly into her lavender eyes.

"What is that?"

"What is what, professor?"

"What is that piece of junk?" the first scientist practically shouted at her, making China yelp in surprise. The scientist who then asked the stern question proceeded to walk towards the zero number, making her clasp her left hand around her mouth just in case she was about to face another horrific twist to her destiny. The two were now just centimetres apart from each other and China closed her eyes as a means to not see what was coming to her yet all that she felt has a sharp tug from her hand as her cuddly dog plushie... the one that Takeya won for her on his first go on the arcade machine... was snatched from her in one quick movement.

"Mmm, how pathetic..." the nonchalant voice of the scientist muttered, staring at the plushie as if it was a bomb set to detonate at any given moment. "This soft piece of scrap shall be disposed of immediately... shame the same cannot be done for you."

Walking away from her in such a confident manner it was like he committed mass murder and successfully gotten away with it, the scientist returned to where his colleague was and effortlessly tossed China's precious cuddly toy in the nearby trash can, an action that made the zero number mentally seethe with increasing rage. She knew that she had completely failed in her assignment and she knew that it soon wouldn't be long before she was frozen again in a false sleep yet there was absolutely no need for her to be treated like mud on a person's shoe... boy, was she glad that she didn't say that one certain word to them about fifteen minutes ago.

Yet it got her thinking again... another train of thought that took off from its station and started to chug along at a merry pace.

China started thinking back to the moment that she was in that bag of delicious food that she was contently eating, when she was in Japan searching for Sample A2. She was hearing a series of very different noises yet before long she could only make out two definite sounds; a pair of human voices. China waited patiently until she heard the voices getting closer to the bag before unzipping it and springing out of it in one flowing movement, startling the male, Takeya, yet getting a blank response from his companion. Even when accusing this seemingly apathetic friend of actually being Sample A2... an accusation that turned out to be false before of a major difference in a certain area of the upper half of the body... the mouth did not move and the eyes stayed expressionless.

This aggravated China immensely and all she found herself doing was staring angrily at Takeya's companion; a female of the same height as him, with large doe-like ruby red eyes and long hair coloured in a turquoise that could easily be located in the sea. She was dressed in an erratic catsuit with areas exposed to reveal certain parts of the body and an apron was tied around her waist... said apron drowning under her very large bust, the part of the body that made China see that she was not Sample A2.

"Pah." China found herself muttering out loud at this female, who like China was a member of the alien DearS race. The preteen felt herself wanting to whack this older females bust to see if there was a chance that one of her breasts would clash with her head and knock her out yet before she could act upon that chance the other DearS had fallen asleep in Takeya's closet, causing China to let out another groan of frustration.

This pent up anger residing within China continued to grow the next day, when together with Takeya, her and the other female took to the shopping arcade to look for Sample A2. Developing a brattish streak that should be reserved for toddlers, China heartlessly ordered this female to get her a drink, to which the older DearS dutifully did so. However the drink China received was not what she desired... milk... making the younger zero number get nastier and more childish, clinging to Takeya's arm and barking an order at the older woman to get her milk and get her milk sharpish. However to China's dismay her adversary... who was staring to feel a little tearful upon her harsh treatment... was then surrounded by helpful shopkeepers who offered her various sized bottles and cartons of milk for free. That did not go down well with China, who proceeded to forcefully slap the newly acquired bottle of liquid out of the older DearS hand, causing Takeya to get angry with China and for China herself to storm off in a fit of both anger and depression.

However she knew what it was down to and while she said that to Takeya... who ran to catch up with her and offer her a "date" at the arcade with him... she never said it to the older female, who spent the day gorging on her beloved melon bread. China knew that she was jealous of everything her fellow DearS seemed to possess... friends, loving attention and a master... yet she never said that to her, something that she regrets to this moment.

She wanted to say that one certain word to Ren, the first zero number in the DearS race to descend upon Japan and all of its hustle and bustle... and the girl that she secretly admired, even if she had a very stubborn, brash way of showing it.

Another tear upon this point in time made a clear trail down China's cheek and the young zero number instinctively reached her hand to it and touched it gently. She was trying her very best to be optimistic and positive yet every time she glanced over at the two scientists... who were cursing amongst themselves as to why the process to shut the capsule door was taking a very long time... the fear and loneliness she had before meeting Takeya and Ren came rushing back to her like a lost puppy who had found its owner. The tears were never going to cease yet she knew that one day she could find herself with a second chance and she was determined to do what she had to do... if she did get that chance, that is.

Lavender eyes slowly looked up at the capsule, her home up until a mere three days ago and what was going to be her prison up until whatever time in life she would next awaken. Her hand went from her cheek to the edge of the capsule and gingerly she stroked it, wishing with every fibre of her being that it didn't have to end like this. She really wanted to say that one certain word so much that the determination to say it made her stifle a sob... and as her hands went to cover her mouth the door of the capsule enclosed itself around the preteen DearS, making China shed another small drop of water again as she knew that this was it.

"Success." the silence of the room was broken with the same harsh tone of voice that the first scientist had possessed the entire time that China was present.

"Indeed." was the equally nasty reply from the second scientist, who looked over at a now dumbstruck China. "Let us not waste any more time than we have done."

"I agree completely." the first scientist nodded, getting the same gesture in response. With a sullen yet somewhat grumpy expression upon his face he walked over to where China was encapsulated and possessively glared at a red button to the left hand side of the preteen. With one movement this button was pushed in and the scientist returned to his colleague, who had his arms folded determinedly.

"Preparation for artificial hibernation has now begun; now freezing Sample B7." they both blurted out in miserable unison.

"My name... is China..." the zero number quietly retorted, her vision now starting to be blocked by a suffocating white haze that danced a poisonous waltz around her.

Eyes of the lightest of purples slowly found themselves closing as China could do nothing in her power to not only stop them from doing so, but stop the artificial hibernation process that would eventually leave her dormant. She let her arms hang loosely at her sides as she adopted a stance that made her feet part a fairly short distance away from each other. Gathering up whatever strength that the young DearS had left within her, China started off yet another thought process that she concentrated down to just the one vision, the one image.

In this vision she was in it, standing proudly by the side of the human Takeya, who had his left arm wrapped protectively around her yet also had the other limb around the waist of Ren, who was contently eyeing up a piece of strawberry flavoured melon bread in her grasp. The three of them are all sporting a smile so pure it would make the Heavens open and the angels sing and in turn that made China smile one final time... and also make her think once again of that one certain word.

"Hey, master?" She whispered to herself as the freezing process started to possess her mind and stop her functioning like a regular living being, another solitary tear making a clear track down her pretty yet childlike face. "If I wake up again... if that ever happens... there's something I need to say to both you and Ren and I hope that you believe me once it's spoken..."

As soon as that last word escaped her mouth, the freezing process completely took full possession of China and left her motionless, lips partly open as if she still had something to say and the tear that was making its escape from her eye was now frozen to her cheek like an abandoned diamond. The two professors saw this yet merely shrugged, sharing a mutual nonchalant gaze with each other before heading out of the room littered with umpteen capsules of dormant DearS. The light was switched off and the door was shut with a loud bang, yet it couldn't be heard by anybody residing in the space, least of all by China.

Yet one thing was for definite.

When a mind is frozen it is widely recognized that the memories, the thoughts and the dreams are also lying in that same motionless state, ready to awaken whenever their container is no longer still. It can honestly be said that if and when China does find herself embracing the goings on of the human world again, her mind will still be headstrong on that single important thing.

All she desires is just a few seconds to see Takeya and Ren and upon the first chance she will get she will track down the pair of them...wherever they may be located... and she will say that one certain word.

Sorry.