D/C: I don't own Shugo Chara.

Whoa...I really forgot about this fic. I mean, I knew there was something I'd forgotten, but I couldn't quite figure out what it was, but then I was checking my account and I saw this story and..."D'oh; that's what you'd forgotten, dummy." Hehe.

Proximity

Chapter 3:

Amu climbed into the backseat of her mother's car and closed the door. She then locked it for extra measure. Sighing, she leaned back and rested her head against the leather seat. The hospital was finally discharging her today after a week of confinement. During her stay, the other Guardians visited her every day, but they were the only ones she'd allow to visit. She didn't want any of the other students to see her like that. She didn't trust them enough.

Her body had healed quite well, but she still felt broken. She doubted anything would be able to heal that. She doubted she'd be able to forget what had happened to her that night. The memory was just burned into her mind.

Her parents were always by her side, comforting her, supporting her. They tried to assure her that everything was alright, but even they didn't seem convinced. Her mother would hurry out of the room at odd times and Amu would hear her crying outside. When her parents weren't there, her charas remained by her side. They would try to joke around in order to cheer her up, they would talk about the most mundane things to take her mind off of things, but nothing worked. Nothing ever worked.

But the one person she wanted to see the most...the one person she believed would help her the most...he never came along. The thought of him always made her tear up and she would bite down her tongue to stop herself from crying.

Ikuto...

Her mother climbed into the driver's seat. She looked around at her daughter and gave her a big, hearty smile which didn't quite belong to her. "We're going home, darling," she told her. "I've made you all your favorite dishes. And desserts, too! Chocolate cake, biscuits, truffles! Everything you could ever want!"

Amu returned her mother's big smile with a strained smile. "Thanks, mom, but I just want to get home and sleep," she replied.

Her mother's expression drooped. "Oh," she said. Then she smiled again. "Well, you can always eat when you wake up, right, Amu-chan? We'll all have a big family dinner tonight. It will be quite wonderful, dear!!"

Amu only nodded before closing her eyes. She didn't want to talk anymore, and she hoped her mother would take the hint. She didn't want to eat and she didn't want a big family dinner; all she wanted to do was curl up in her big bed and sleep forever and ever. She wanted to be in her bedroom, in that room where Ikuto would always come to visit her. She was secretly hoping that he'd come and see her again.

As the car started to move along the road, Amu opened her eyes again. She glanced out the window at the passing surroundings; buildings, cars, people...everything looked fine. Everything looked absolutely great, but of course they would. They didn't go through what she went through. They weren't violated. They were still okay. They were fine.

Amu wanted to be okay again.

"We're here!" her mother announced after a while. "Welcome home, Amu-chan!"

She just nodded again and climbed out of the car. She trudged to the front door after her mother, who had hurried ahead to unlock the door. Her little sister, Ami came rushing to greet her, but Amu just walked past her without a second look. As she made her way slowly up the stairs, she heard her crying and heard her mother trying to comfort her. She placed her hands over her ears and rushed up the remaining steps. She dashed inside her room and slammed the door shut behind her. After a moment's hesitation, she turned the key in the lock.

She flung herself on the bed and pulled the sheets around her. Then she buried her face in the cushions and sobbed. Her sobs sounded muffled, and for that she was grateful; she didn't want her mother rushing up to check on her. Amu didn't know how long she stayed like that; she just drifted off to sleep and woke up to find that the sun had set and it was quite dark outside. Amu sat up and looked around blearily; it took her a few moments to register that she was in her room.

Trying to stifle a yawn, she swung her legs off of the bed. She had forgotten to turn on the radiator before dozing off, and she shivered as her feet touched the cold floor. Wrapping her sweater tightly around her, she padded over to her dressing table. She hadn't taken a look at her face since she'd been admitted into the hospital. Everyone had told her that she'd healed quite nicely and all her bruises had disappeared, but they would all say anything to cheer her up.

She squeezed her eyes shut for a moment, and then opened them suddenly, as if the act of doing that would lessen the effect of the shock. Her reflection blinked back at her. Her reflection looked quite normal; no black-eyes, no bruises, no scratches or cut. They hadn't been trying to deceive her; she did look alright. However, at the same time, she felt quite...hideous. She didn't want to look at her reflection. She wanted to shatter each mirror in the house, but she doubted her parents would let that slide.

Amu wanted company, and didn't want it. She wondered where her charas were; they had disappeared after her mother came to pick her up and hadn't reappeared since. What could they possibly be up to? She didn't want people to talk to her, she just wanted to feel their presence around her; it made her feel safe. But no-one understood that; they all assumed that talking made things better. Her charas always sensed when she was up for a chat, and when she was not.

Ikuto was another person who could do that. She wanted his company.

Where are you, Ikuto?

-----

Uh...why do you want to get the embryo? What is Ikuto's wish?

At the time when Amu had asked him that question, he had a definite wish in his mind. But at this moment, he felt like altering that wish. If he could get his hands on the embryo right then and there, he would wish to find the guy who hurt Amu so that he could kill him. Even better, he would wish that the man had never even hurt Amu.

"What are you thinking?" Yoru piped up from Ikuto's left shoulder.

Ikuto grunted.

"I see, I see," Yoru murmured. He scratched Ikuto's face, and the latter yelped. "Don't ignore me!"

"I'm not ignoring you," Ikuto protested.

"You are! You're not talking to me!" Yoru said angrily.

"I'm sorry, but I'm thinking," Ikuto replied dully.

"You just told me you weren't!"

"I didn't say anything. If I recall correctly, I just grunted, which could mean either yes or no."

"Liar."

Ikuto just sighed. He couldn't handle Yoru at the moment. He wished his chara would just leave alone, but Yoru was stubborn; he would prefer to stick to Ikuto rather than go and take a dip in...say, a tuna fish pool. It had its pros and cons; Ikuto appreciated the loyalty, but sometimes he missed the privacy. At times when Yoru would start talking and nagging, he would just tune out and lose himself in his thoughts.

He kicked a pebble as he walked down the street. He wasn't headed anywhere; he was just taking a stroll. Cats always liked strolls, especially at night time when the moon light was just pouring over the roof tops. He was secretly hoping that he'd just come across this man who'd hurt Amu...that by some chance, he'll come across a man who was bragging about the time he'd spent with some underage girl, and he would know right away that it was Amu, and...and then what? Would he really kill him? He was always running from things, so maybe he'll just run away from this man as well...

I'm just pathetic.

"Ikuto..." Yoru whispered.

"What?" Ikuto snapped, losing his cool.

The chara didn't say anything; it was just gazing at something. Ikuto followed the direction in which he was looking, and felt a lump rising in his throat when he saw where his feet had dragged him. He was standing right in front of Amu's house. He gazed at her bedroom window, and saw that the lights were on.

"She got discharged today," Yoru answered his unvoiced question. Ikuto raised an eyebrow at him. "Miki told me."

Ikuto looked back at the window. He could almost see Amu in there...maybe sitting in front of her dressing table, pulling a comb through her hair. Or maybe she was lying on her back on her bed, staring at the ceiling. Or maybe she was just huddled up in a corner, hugging her knees to her chest. In all three pictures, he could see the tears rolling down her cheeks. He caused those tears. She was crying because of him.

"You should go up to her," Yoru suggested. "I'm sure she would like to see you."

"She hates me, Yoru," Ikuto retorted. "You saw how she flinched when I tried to touch her back at the hospital. She knows I'm the reason why all this happened to her and she hates me for it."

"She was still in shock, Ikuto; she was probably just taken by surprise. You did come in through the window, after all," Yoru reminded him.

"That's just bull."

As much as he yearned to touch Amu again, he would just not do it. For her sake. So he just turned and walked away from the house. Yoru tugged at his ear and yelled at him to go back, but Ikuto had long since tuned out.

He didn't want to think about her anymore.

----

A/N: Wewt, all done. This chapter was also about reflections and stuff, but I promise there will be more...erm, action in the upcoming chapter, which I promise I won't be forgetting about anytime soon! So...I hope you liked this chapter! I would really appreciate reviews, thanks!

- S. N. B.