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'So this is where you've been hiding, huh…' Kazuma thought bitterly as he stood at the street corner, closing his cellphone and pocketing it again. With his cellphone's GPS system, he was able to determine where his tutor was hiding all this time... The idiot. Keeping him waiting, and for what? Kazuma had a determined look on his face as he stormed towards the alley in between two buildings where the GPS had pointed out to be Shigeru's location… or his cellphone's location at least, but Kazuma knew that the other never left without his phone so he completely trusted the findings. Hell, he wasn't that Shigeru's motorcycle leaning just outside? Oh, he was going to give the idiot a piece of his mind…

"Kanmuri-san?" He called out to the alley but stopped short when he saw what was happening. Indeed, he found his tutor, but it was in the most unexpected predicament…

Shigeru was a bloodied heap on the sullied ground… And then there were two unknown men with him, one of which was holding a bloodstained knife ready to strike… Worse, the man with the knife was standing just beside Shigeru… Scratch that, the man was moving to strike Shigeru!

Kazuma never knew what made him move… He never knew how he had managed to move so quickly… It just might be his instinct… or maybe even some kind of adrenaline rush… but the next moment, he found himself kneeling on the ground, arms wrapped around Shigeru's body in a protective manner… He was trembling at the sight of the injuries on his classmate's form, mostly due to the fact that blood that was still flowing from the open wounds. The pink-haired teen's skin felt cold… He was deathly pale… But even before he could continue, a searing pain made itself known to him.

"Aaaaarghhh!!" The tearing of fabric accompanied the pain-filled scream.

The brunet's eyes shut tight in pain as a burning sensation spread from his shoulder to his left arm. The scream left him breathless as he held Shigeru's unconscious body closer, hands holding on tightly with no intention of letting go. His auburn-brown tail curled up beside him in fear.

Greed's eyes went wide, quickly pulling back his hand and his knife… Where did that kid come from?! Shit. He was about to deliver his final blow to the bastard kid but some unknown idiot suddenly comes along and instead of hitting his target, his knife cut into the new guy.

"Shit. What do you think you're doing, jackass?!" The leather-clad assailant spat. He expected the kid to cower in fear and maybe even beg for mercy but the brunet looked up at him determinedly, taking him aback.

"Why are you doing this?" Kazuma asked, ignoring the pain and doing his best to maintain a steady voice.

Greed cast quick glance at his companion in the shadows and saw that Envy had his lips pursed, still indifferent. He turned back to the brunet, "You have no idea what you're dealing with kid, so better stay the heck out of this!" he warned. He never wanted to include innocent idiots in his wrath but the kid was just asking for it.

"I won't let you hurt him!" Kazuma said defiantly, meanwhile his mind was on overdrive… From here, he couldn't find an escape route… if he got out his cellphone there'd be a fat chance that he'd actually get a chance to call someone for help… even so, if he was able to call for someone, it would take too much time… he and Shigeru would most probably be dead by then. If he screamed… he probably won't even get out a single word before the man with the knife got to him and silenced him… His heart was pounding… the man didn't even look like he was negotiable.

"Well if ya wanna be a saint so badly, why should I stop you?" Greed stated, a devilish grin on him… The kid had caught him in the act; it wouldn't do for him to just let the guy go freely… "Hell, I'd even help you get to the afterlife faster… Ain't this just grand, eh?"

The leather-clad man stepped forward, and despite his resolve, Kazuma flinched backwards. He was honestly scared to death… He could feel his heart beating up in his throat… "I'm sorry", he whispered as he bowed his head, holding onto Shigeru's beaten form. The footsteps stopped just in front of him, and Kazuma shut his eyes tight, holding back tears.

"Oi! What's going on there?" A loud commanding voice came through, accompanied by the shining light of a flashlight.

Kazuma's head snapped up along with his cat ears, he couldn't be mistaken; he knew that voice! A spark of hope was ignited within him… He inwardly thanked all gods that was watching over them right now…

Greed turned to face another intruder; he was quickly getting pissed off… He suddenly froze as he recognized the newcomer's clothing… it was a uniform… a police uniform…

"What are you doing there?!" The voice sounded nearer as footsteps echoed in the alleyway.

"Greed! Let's go!" Envy called as he turned away and made a run for it. His companion however, was rooted to the spot.

"Hughes-san!" Kazuma cried out in recognition of the man.

"You're not going anywhere!" the man declared. He was quick to disarm the brazen man and put the man's arm behind him, securing them in place with a pair of shackles. But Greed simply wouldn't allow himself to be taken in so easily. He kicked and moved and basically trashed around. However, Hughes' grip was solid and the leather-clad man was simply unable to escape.

"Azuma, can you take care of yourself and your friend?" Hughes asked.

Kazuma nodded, still stuck in awe.

"Good, I'll just take this to the police station." The taller man stated, forcefully leading Greed away from the two.

"This isn't over yet!" the brazen perpetrator growled, still fighting back but it was to no avail.

Back at the alley, Kazuma allowed himself to let out a sigh… Caramel eyes looked wearily at the unconscious teen in his arms. Tanned hands softly wiped away strands of cherry blossom pink hair that framed the teen's fair face.

"I'm sorry, Kanmuri-san… I didn't know…"

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His head was throbbing… His body ached… Damn it, what happened?

It was bright… might be just around midmorning…Sitting up, he realized that he was on a bed… the soft covers and pillows only but helped him to figure it out. His vision was bleary… raising his right hand, he attempted to rub his eyes but he froze the moment his hand made contact with his cheek… Something was different… He rubbed his eyes… since when did his hand feel so different… Wait, it wasn't his hands… something was on them… Blinking rapidly, amethyst eyes found bandages wrapped around his pale hands… following the trail, he realized that the bandages continued through his arm… unto his shoulders… his chest and abdomen were no exception… His left cheek also felt… heavier… and touch of his hand confirmed that there was a band-aid set upon it… What was up with all the bandages?! Hell, he was even wearing a different set of clothes… clothes that he wasn't even aware of owning…

As he tried to move, searing pain spread through his body, most of the pain coming from his arms… Dammit, what happened? He couldn't remember… Looking about the room, he was faced with familiarity… but it wasn't his room… It was then that his eyes landed upon a sleeping figure just on the edge of the bed…

A mop of unruly brown hair was set upon crossed tan arms, auburn cat ears laid flat on the teen's head, and it was only the upper body that was on the bed… The body moved in a steady rhythm, making him assume that the person was asleep.

Pulling off the covers, he moved towards the figure… The teen's face reflected serenity, as his soft breathing continued… Something glimmering caught his eyes and he noticed a steel basin of water not far away, a red-stained white cloth hanging on its edges… He stared at the red… it was spread quite abundantly on the white cloth… Red… What on earth could it be…? There was also a white box next to the basin… a white box… with a red cross on it… again, red…

Suddenly there was movement… but he sure as hell was still… His attention turned to the sleeping figure who seemed to be waking up… The brunet sat back and yawned… He looked at his own, bandaged self and then at the teen… The other's eyes fluttered open and his amethyst eyes met with pools of golden honey… There was a moment's silence, and then…

"Kanmuri-san, you're already awake? Are you feeling well?" the tanned teen asked him, his cat ears rising to attention.

Shigeru's eyes widened as he recalled what had happened… Greed… fighting… then there was a knife… blood… and then Azuma… Azuma! He lunged forward and grabbed the brunet by his shoulders…

"What happened?! Where's that bastard Greed?! Tell me where he is!"

"K-Kanmuri-san…" the brunet was quite in shock at his companion's agility, given that he was still badly injured from the night before. Nonetheless, he replied in a weakened voice, wincing a bit as his friend's grip on him was a tad bit too tight… "T-The guy who assaulted you… he was taken to prison by Hughes-san… h-he's the chief of police here at Amestris…" Amethyst eyes bore into Kazuma, making the tanned teen feel quite quaint… "H-He can't hurt you anymore…" the teen added in something just above a whisper… somehow, knowing that fact made him feel albeit lighthearted…

Shigeru stared… Was this guy serious?! It couldn't have been that easy… but at the same time, he felt glad knowing that now that Greed was gone, he didn't have as much to worry about… The fair teen's disbelieving look slowly melted away as he stared into reassuring caramel eyes… A genuine smile was just about to finally break free from him when he suddenly caught something off… Contrasting against Kazuma's tanned skin were white bandages… Strips of white cloth coiled around the brunet's left arm and shoulder… Why were there so many bandages?!

"What happened to you?!" the pink-haired teen burst out, his eyes now glued to the brunet's left shoulder. He didn't remember seeing Kazuma get any previous injuries… What could've happened? Damnit, he hated not knowing anything…

His companion's outbreaks were honestly surprising the brunet more and more… But at this point, Kazuma was suddenly unsure of what he could say… He didn't want to sound as though the wound he had was any of the other's fault… Kazuma looked away, his cat ears flattening on his skull as he did so… How should he put this…?

Growing impatient, Shigeru quickly scanned the brunet's physique looking for any more bandages… And he breathed in relief when he saw that other than the one on the other's shoulder, there was not another wound on the brunet… Turning back to face his classmate, Shigeru couldn't help but get instantaneously pissed off at the brunet's lack of response…

"I said, tell me!" the amethyst-eyed teen ground out, his grip tightening drastically. "Did Greed do this to you? Did he? Answer me, goddammit!"

Kazuma faced the fair teen, startled and apprehensive… He had never seen such ferocity in the other's eyes before… Never had he felt so much hesitation before… What could he say? He was afraid of angering Shigeru even more… His fear was probably written all-over his face, for within the next few seconds the fair teen's expression darkened considerably…

Long pink bangs hid Shigeru's eyes in shadow; his mouth turning into a long thin line as he forcibly let go of the brunet. Seeing the fearful expression on the other… it stirred something in him… though pointing it out would prove to be quite a problem… He didn't really need to hear any answer from Kazuma… He just knew that the injury were caused by none other than Greed…

The caramel-eyed brunet shifted uneasily on the floor, his cat tail coiling in tighter as he worriedly looked up at Shigeru's intensely silent demeanor. "Kanmuri-san…?"

"Greed did this to you, didn't he?" Shigeru asked in a low voice. "The guy with the knife… he's the reason why you have all those bandages around your shoulder…"

The brunet's mouth was slightly agape as he fought to find words to reply… Finally deciding that he might as well go along with the truth, he admitted, "I… yeah… He was sort of about to plunge the knife to hurt you and… I… I saw how badly wounded you already were, Kanmuri-san… I just didn't want you to get hurt anymore…"

Hearing the other's response, the amethyst-eyed teen grit his teeth, fists clutching at the jade-hued blankets tightly…"Idiot," Shigeru spat, his eyes remaining downcast, "You didn't have to fucking do that… Do you wanna end your life so badly?"

"Kanmuri-san, what are you saying?!" Kazuma said, sitting up straighter with his cat ears perked up, placing each hand to Shigeru's wrists.

"Don't you understand?!" Shigeru finally lashed out, looking Kazuma in the eyes, shaking off the brunet's hand on his wrists and holding them with his own instead. "Don't you have any idea of how much more trouble you could be into?! You shouldn't have risked yourself just to save a good-for-nothi-"

"Enough of that, Kanmuri-san!" Eyes of golden-honey glazed with determination bore into amethyst pairs. "I've told you long ago to stop the nonsense of degrading yourself! I got off okay, didn't I? What happened doesn't matter anymore! I-"

"Greed could've finished you off, if that police guy didn't arrive in time!" the paler teen retorted. "Goddammit, you could've died back there, you idiot! H-He could've done so much more things to you…He-"

"But, I'm alright, Kanmuri-san!" Kazuma interjected, shifting to a kneeling position to meet up with the other's height. "It's just a scratch… Right now, I'm just glad that you're alright as well…"

"A-Alright?" Shigeru's face seemed to crack up as his lips formed a wry smile. "Do you think I'd be alright knowing that you just went within an inch of death trying to help me? Shit. I never asked for you to help me!" He ended, pushing the tanned teen away from him, his fingers digging deeply into his palm after he did so.

Kazuma told himself that he'd been placid way too long. "Do you honestly expect me to just watch you die right in front of me?"

"I expect you to just save your ass and run away! You never had any obligation to help me in the first place!"

"I don't just leave my friends behind, you know that!"

"Stop butting into other people's business! You know pretty damn well that you have no right to interfere with what I do!"

"I just don't want to see you get hurt!"

"Well then, let me tell you: you won't ever see me hurt ever again! Damn, you know what? Stop being so fucking selfless; think of yourself once in a goddamn while! Hell, I'm through with this shit! You might as well rejoice, I'm out of your fucking life now! I don't want anything to do with you anymore!"

Gold-hued eyes could only stare as the bed's sole occupant, jumped off and marched right out the bedroom door and only moments later, he heard the front door open and subsequently lock shut.

In the eerie silence that followed Shigeru's departure, Kazuma could feel his whole being tremble and it was only with much effort that he managed to lie down properly in his own bed… His back ached due to his previous sleeping position, the wound on his arm stinging every so often, and now…

'Damn it…'

Kazuma rolled to his side, took hold of the nearest pillow, and buried his face into its soft surface.

'Do you think I'd be alright knowing that you just went within an inch of death trying to help me? Shit. I never asked for you to help me!'

"Kanmuri-san…"

'You never had any obligation to help me in the first place!'

"I just…"

'Stop being so fucking selfless; think of yourself once in a goddamn while!'

"I couldn't…"

'I don't want anything to o with you anymore!'

"…I just wanted to be part of your life… Even if it's just the smallest fraction…"

In a sea of deep green laid a lone figure… it was the image of pain and despair… it gave none but the ambiance of melancholy… Softly… as hushed as the sobs that slowly filled the room… clear, warm liquid marked tracks on tanned flesh… And in the soothing sunlight of the November morning sun, Kazuma wept.

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A/N: yeah…