In one of the larger rooms of the traditional Japanese manor, a young man slowly sipped his cup of tea while glancing at the view from his open window. A couple of lavender colored strands escaped from the band that tied his long hair into a ponytail. As his amber eyes gazed upon the luminous full moon, his attention was actually diverted to something else.

Or rather, to someone else.

A certain someone with long layers of crimson hair and a smile that could brighten even the darkest depth of his grim heart. She would always wince at the sight of him, turn scarlet whenever he teased her, and totally drove him out of his mind. His life before he encountered her was bland, but she had added something he could look forward to when he wakes up.

Did he love her? Now that's a hard question to answer. Well, that was because Yunoki Azuma didn't know what love really was about. Nor did he really care.

But one thing's for sure.

He finds her amusing.

He enjoyed her presence, and how she had given more color on his stale existence. And he didn't care for her to be away from his side. Of course he was constantly jealous of how she was always cheerful around his best friend Hihara, how she confided her thoughts to Tsuchiura, how she respected Shimizu's passion for music, and how she admires and looks up to Tsukimori. He had always been exasperated by her density for not realizing the hints that those four guys had been giving her. (Well, in Hihara's case, his hints were not really as subtle).

He chuckled fondly at the memory of how he kissed her head with all those rivals of him watching. It was a spur of the moment, but he savored her flaming red cheeks and totally flustered look afterwards.

Yunoki then remembered what happened a few months earlier, when he was about to comply with yet another of his esteemed grandmother's orders. That time the order was for him to move to England. In an irritated feat, he had gone up to the rooftop that day, as it was his favorite spot. Away from those aggravating trio of worshippers. It was also the best place to see the whole academy, the place that he would soon leave.

To his surprise, he had encountered her –of all people. Perhaps it was then that it hit him. He was going to leave her. And when he imagined his life without her, those words just escaped his mouth without warning. For the first time, he had let his guards down and had let his emotions take control.

"Will you come with me?"

Those were his exact words to her. He had said it in a moment of sheer stupidity. He didn't know what kind of answer that he should expect from her. But still, he found it strange that there was a tiny place in his heart that had rooted for her to say yes.

Strange.

Was it… hope?

Or was it something more?

Well, whatever that feeling was, it didn't matter because she had declined. He smiled as if he was just teasing her at that time, but why was it that he felt a sharp pang on his chest when she said that?

He was too proud to admit that she had gotten so much space on his head, but still it hit him at that moment that she didn't hold any special place for him in her heart.

Yunoki smirked bitterly at the memory. That was why he had held that 'last dinner'. She just thought that it was the called the 'last dinner' because he was going to leave for England.

How dense, Yunoki tsked. She really has no class. To actually presume that my way of thinking is that simple. I was letting you go, Kahoko.

And that day, he had really said goodbye. Like he always did, he let the things that mattered most of him go.

It was the best time to do it anyway. Should that grandmother of his found out that Hino Kahoko's existence had caused him to break free from the matriarch's iron grip, then who knows what will happen to that dense violinist? He had to cut her from his life, before it was too late.

And she wouldn't stand a chance either if she had chosen to go with him, and take the place to be by his side. She would be crushed in no time, and that intriguing smile of her would slowly disappear. She would hate her existence as much as he did now.

In a way, you could say that he was protecting her.

But why? Why was he trying to protect her? He didn't understand it either.

He didn't know what to feel, what to think, or even what to do. He didn't know which emotions rumbling inside him were real, and which were created from all the denial that he had been living with all his life. And furthermore he couldn't seem to get her out of his head.

Just as always, Kahoko. You are annoying.

He strained a smile and took the flute by his side. Slowly he stepped outside to the garden until he reached a pond that reflected the moon's lonely existence on the starless sky. As he breathed life to the slender brass instrument, a tune washed over him. His long delicate fingers danced skillfully as it created a familiar string of melody. It was the same song that he had played on the first day he showed her his darker side.

Albionini's Adagio.

Memories of her came rushing to him, and he allowed himself to drown in the melancholy mood of his own flute. It would be the last time that he allowed himself to think of her again. He knew that he wouldn't have any regrets.

Just having her blush uncomfortably every now and then when he was around would be enough.

Just her annoying existence is enough.

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Midori's Note: This is my first fanfic for La Corda. Thank you for bearing so far till the end of the story and to even spend some time on reading this lousy notes of mine Please review! I really appreciate honest and constructive feedback. If you're still interested in a continuation for this story, then I'll post a sequel. This chapter was initially created for a prolog for that story anyway.