Cuxie: Quick! Somebody...what am I updating?

Ichigo: I claim this chapter in the name of TMM!

Cuxie: Yeah, yeah, whatever. But what story?

Ichigo: Um...what are you most likely to get killed over if you don't update?

Cuxie:...Chaperone it is! Let's roll!

Ichigo tapped her foot impatiently. "Can we go already?" Parked directly outside of the restroom where Tae&Co. were "restoring" themselves, Ichigo, Ryou, and the rest of the girls had been waiting for approximately twenty minutes. Which, according to Ichigo, meant that Tae probably wasn't even halfway done spackling makeup onto her face, let alone fixing her hair. "Ms. Honaka's gonna kill us if we miss lunch."

The rest of the girls murmered quietly in agreement. Ryou thought for a moment. This was the perfect opportunity to lose Tae and her friends. They were entirely too clingy and fake for his taste, but on the other hand he was enjoying the silent war waging between her and Ichigo... "Alright. I guess we should be going. They can probably find their way to the food court." Maybe, he thought. Assuming they can read the signs.

Ichigo smiled triumphantly. Pushing the bathroom door open, Ichigo stuck her head inside. Tae, for some reason, was shirtless while her minions appeared to be holding something under the faucet in the sink. All three looked up, freezing. Tae glowered at her. "Uh..."

"Tae-chan threw up and it got all over her shirt," Hanae offered by way of explanation.

"Shut-up, Hanae!" Tae shrieked. "I don't want to hear your voice for the rest of the day!"

Her blonde follower lowered her head.

Ichigo rolled her eyes. "Whatever. We're leaving! We'll be at the food court! Oh, and when you get there? You might want to look for your real group."

"Momomiya-" The door swung shut, cutting off whatever catty coment Tae was aiming at her.

"C'mon you guys," Ichigo said brightly.

"You're perky all of a sudden," Ryou observed. Ichigo shrugged. "Do you think they'll be alright getting to the food court? I'm not sure if you guys are allowed to go anywhere without a chaperone."

The pinkette cut her eyes at him. "What, are you worried about them or something?"

Ryou could tell she couldn't help the sour note in her voice. I had no idea she was the jealous type... But he seemed pretty glad to have discovered this fact. As they headed towards the food court she seemed much more at ease now that Tae wasn't around.

The food court consisted of several independent shops all clustered around the same area. Some sold pizza, others hamburgers, hotdogs, icecream, etc. Looking around, Ryou noticed several of what thought were Ichigo classmates. Not that he knew any of them, per se. But several faces looked familiar. Including...

"Hey, Ichigo, heads up," he heard a girl whisper. "Ex-boyfriend, three o'clock."

He glanced at Ichigo, who didn't bother to turn her head. She shrugged quietly. Out of his peripheal vision he noticed a certain dark-haired boy his waitress had spent weeks past daydreaming about. Sitting at a picnic table, the kendo star otherwise known as Masaya Aoyama sat with several other guys and one girl glued tightly to his side.

"His girl of the hour," Ichigo's blonde friend said reproachfully.

When Masaya saw them he made a point of waving to Ichigo, who pretended not to see. Ryou could tell on-sight who had dumped who. It was also obvious that a certain someone was still miffed about it.

"Oh, he's such a jerk. Right Ichigo?"

Again, she shrugged. "I'm starving," she said offhandedly, then wandered off in the direction of a pizza place.

Against his better judgement, Ryou decided to follow her. Knowing his strawberry, he decided it was best to wait until she was ready to speak if he hoped to gain any kind of response. Even at her maddest, she could never stay quiet for long. In fact, she seemed to be loudest when she was mad. Glancing at her again, she didn't exactly seem mad. Upset, clearly. Hurt, maybe. It was some mix of emotion that he didn't have a name for. Which only made him more curious. Ichigo pointedly ignored his presence until they had ordered and were left standing next to each other, waiting for their food. "Go on. Say it."

"Say what?" he asked innocently.

"Say how you knew from the beginning he was a jerk, and I was an idiot to fall for him. Go on. I know how much you love to say 'I told you so'." Her voice was emotionally detached. It bothered him.

"Yeah," he responded casually. "You're right about all that." Ichigo sighed. "But if it makes you feel better, you're definitely not a bigger idiot than he is."

Ichigo looked surprised. "Why do you say that?"

"Well, look at him." Ryou folded his arms, eyeing Masaya as if he were a particularly annoying type of parasite. "He traded Tokyo's most famous superheroine for...that." That's not to say the girl with Masaya was unappealing, exactly. But she most definitely wasn't Mew-material cute. In Ryou's opinion, she looked quite plain. Then again, he found that most girls did when compared to Ichigo.

Ichigo giggled. "Thanks, Ryou."

He shrugged. As their pizzas came up, Ryou carried their food to a table where their group was clustered. He sat down across from Ichigo, sliding her plate over to her. "So what's our next objective?"

Ichigo bit into her pizza and chewed thoughtfully. "Well, we won't have much time left after this. Maybe one small ride and then we'll hit the souvenir shops?"

"Sounds good." The other girls agreed.

An irritatingly familiar voice quipped behind them, "That sounds like a fabulous idea." Tae&Co. had caught up fairly quickly. Tae looked about half as put together as she had before the rollercoaster. Unfortunately, this look seemed to be working for her. Her shirt was damp and see-through and her hair had been transformed from hawk's nest to artfully mussed.

"Are you allowed to walk around like that?" Ichigo asked blatantly, referring to Tae's quite visible bikini top showing through her shirt.

The older girl smirked. "I don't see why not." Dropping a plate of salad onto the table, she proceeded to cozy up next to Ryou. "I think we should do souvenirs first. Today's been so exciting I need something to remember it by."

"Oh, I don't know," Ichigo replied pleasantly. "Shamelessly throwing yourself at guys and puking up half your internal organs. How's that any different from your regular routine?" The rest of the girls howled with laughter, and Ryou tried to surpress a chuckle of his own. He wasn't used to Ichigo being so...catty. It was fun to watch.

Tae clearly didn't find her as funny.

Sensing the approaching storm, Ryou decided to intervene. "Does anyone have any ideas for what ride you want to get on before we leave?" All the girls had different ideas, and Tae was still gunning for souvenirs. "Ok, how about you guys can each go on your own rides as long as you have a partner with you?"

"That's a fantastic idea," Tae gushed. "Where do you want to go Ryou?"

He responded immediately, "Wherever Ichigo wants to go."

A hush fell over the table as everyone turned to look at Ichigo. Her face flushed. Reaching out, she grabbed a drink, Ryou's drink, and took a long sip to avoid responding.

Tae frowned. "But, Ryou...what about me-I mean, us?"

"Maybe you should find your own group. I'm sure they're worried about you."

She started to protest, then thought better of it, attempting to save herself some dignity. Getting up, she quickly scanned the surrounding area. Almost immediately, her eyes locked onto something and she smirked to herself. Motioning for her entourage to follow, she left without another word.

...And walked directly over to Masaya's table. Slipping in between him and the girl he was with, she nestled up to him, tossing Ichigo a quick wink over her shoulder.

The ruby-haired girl took another long sip of soda, feeling defeated. "Unbelievable," she muttered.

Ryou, who'd been watching (along with everyone else at the table), took the drink out of her hand, "Let it go. They deserve each other," and very deliberately took a long sip.

Cuxie: Heehee! I feel clever~X3

Mint: I bet you do, working that indirect kiss in at the end.

Cuxie: That would be my favorite part. ANCIENT is this story, huh?

Mint: Archaeic.

Cuxie: I know! I typed the beginning AGES ago and just now wandered across it. I can't apologize enough for my infrequency. I'm working on becoming more reliable. R&R if you have faith in me!