He loves me… Botan twirled the red flower around and around in her fingers, wary of the thorns, watching a petal float down to the soft grass below her feet. She sighed and plucked off another petal.

He loves me not. A smile graced her features for only a moment at the childish game she had started to play, and she shifted uncomfortably on the cold, concrete bench.

She hadn't known when or how she had started to love him, only that she did. And now, sitting in the park, alone, she found herself thinking about him once again. In that moment, she had decided that her favorite color of all time was to be red – the color of his hair. Not that it really made much of a difference, but to her it did.

He loves me… She neared the last few petals, slowing down, not so she wouldn't have to see the answers, but to relish in the feeling of that last petal. Whether it was good or bad, she didn't know. Or care. But still. A pale hand reached out for another petal.

He loves me not. Two more left. Breathing in the nighttime air, she was reminded of the smell of roses. Of course. But perhaps, only because he smelled remarkably like them. Perhaps it was the flower she was holding. Perhaps it was a little of both. If she were to close her eyes, standing next to him, she would only know he was there because of the smell of roses.

He loves me… She wished that was true, but there was only one petal left.

He loves me not. Letting the now petal-less rose slip to the ground, she stood up, the darkness swooping down upon her like a thick, black, blanket, and walked away.

A while later a tall figure approached the very same park bench. Tucking a lock of scarlet hair behind his ear, he kneeled down to inspect the fallen rose petals.

The air surrounding him smelled remarkably like a familiar ferry girl, he had noticed, and it looked as if she had been playing a game his mother had told him about after he found her doing the very same thing in his garden when he was little. Plucking petals off flowers to determine whether someone loved you or not… in his opinion, though he held high regards towards plants, he thought it was all a bit fake.

Most people, though, didn't use roses when playing the game. They used daisies and (when available) sunflowers, or something to that extent. Some flower with large and few petals, easy to pluck off. Roses had a large quantity of petals, each wrapping around another again and again until you reached the center. And to the holder of such a fragile thing, beware the thorns.

Looking back at the soft petals as he stood up, starting to walk past the bench to some unknown destination, they reminded him of the ferry girl, and he realized how much he loved her.

A Note from the Author's Desk: Thinking back, I've had this on my mind for awhile. I had wanted to try my hand at a Kurama/Botan story, so this seemed perfect for it. And editing this today I had this idea for a sequel…so if you'd care to read it, tell me, ohkee? This would be the first fan fiction I've ever put up here so constructive criticism is very welcome. Oh, did anyone think this story was confusing? To me it seemed like my mind would twist this to the point where people couldn't understand it anymore! (Maybe that's just me…heh.)