Whew! So I've been sitting on this fic for a little while and decided to start posting! : D I might change the title later, but I really like it for now.

Please enjoy!

Chapter One
"I'm not Ryuuko."

Those were the words he had uttered that night. The words spoken on a heavy breath, drifting in the air. The pain he felt was reflected in those blue eyes, which darkened with sadness as he spoke.

"I'm not Ryuuko."

The gentle touch and familiar warmth lingered, and that soft voice spoke hesitantly, "I know that."

But he felt like he had to continue repeating it. The words stuck in his throat, and choked him as tears painted their way down his face. He whispered it desperately as fingertips traced his lips, down his side.

"I'm not Ryuuko. I'm not Ryuuko."

"I know that –"

"I'm not Ryuuko!"

He jerked awake, sitting straight up, as the words tore themselves from his throat. Sharp grey eyes flashed to the bedside table – 3:11 in the morning. With a long sigh, Akira fell back into his pillows, his gaze now fixated on the ceiling. Outside, he heard a low murmur of voices as two people – probably a couple – passed three levels beneath.

It was strange to think he was continuing to see that night in his dreams. It had been just the next day his parents had come home and told him the good news – his father had landed a six-month job working in Greater London. Akira had accepted it without a second thought, but looking back, he hadn't been thinking of much since he had spoken the night before. They had packed everything they needed for those six months and were on the plane within two days.

"You're really leaving," Aya had said disbelievingly his last day at school. "Really, with things still like this?"

Akira had merely nodded, still not speaking.

"Akiraaaaa," Kengo sobbed. "Don't go, Akira!"

"There are still Kokuchi… please tell me Shirogane-san is going with you, Akira!"

He had turned and left without another word. Shirogane had left when he had screamed the painful words. Remembering his expression was a shot to Akira… but it was better this way. He didn't want to see the Shin.

It had been five and a half months since he had boarded the plane and come here to London. He had hoped, somewhere inside of himself, that his parents would decide to stay here. He didn't want to go back, not when he had fled so selfishly. He didn't want to go back when he had never said good-bye. It wouldn't feel right.

But he was facing it. He supposed that's why he was recalling those heavy, almost-silent moments that he had broken.

His mind slipped back again. Aya and Kengo had tried to call, tried to e-mail, but he had ignored them. Kou had come by, once, and sought Akira out at school. Unable to think of a way to avoid him, Akira simply met him at the gate and looked up into Kou's angry, dark-and-gold glare.

"Aki."

Not a word. For some reason, his throat had closed off. He didn't flinch as Kou landed a rough blow to the face, merely turned his head with the force.

"Aki! What the hell is this?! Turned tail and fled like an injured dog? Why did you do this? Do you realize what you've done?! I haven't seen Shirogane this lost since –"

The teenager had just pushed past and left Kou standing there, numbly finding his way home. There he couldn't find rest either – Kou was in his room, arms folded over his chest, and had instantly demanded, "Aki, what happened? Why did you leave like that?"

He didn't want to talk about it. He forced himself to say, "It's none of your business."

"Did Shirogane do something to you?"

Akira felt his throat closing off again at the mere thought of the shin… those blue eyes and his gentle touch, his warm sweet breath. Kou had warned him… was that why? The Rei was watching his expression carefully.

"Aki, what happened?"

A thought struck him suddenly. Kou was only here because he was Ryuuko. If he wasn't Ryuuko… no, if he didn't even look like Ryuuko, then Kou never would have saved him. The reminder of the Rei King, the thought of the ulterior motives, filled him with rage. He whirled and shouted, "Get out! I don't want to see you!"

"Aki!"

"Out! Don't you dare come back!"

His eyes had met Kou's, and after a long, tense silence, Kou bowed his head, then crossed the room to the window and was gone. Akira had stood, glaring out the window for as long as he could stand it before he had violently pulled the curtains shut.

The memories flitting in front of his eyes… he rolled over and looked at the clock again. 3:20 in the morning. Nine minutes closer to returning to Japan, to the people that had never been his. He curled up under his covers, vainly trying to fall asleep. His mind couldn't come to rest because of the fact that repeated over and over.

It was all due to Ryuuko… Kou's friendship, Shirogane's love, even his own life... none of it was his. It had never belonged to him.