Disclaimer: This isn't my sandbox, I'm just playing in it for a while.

Notes: I stole these prompts. You hear me? I stole them like the dirty thief that I am. This is the 1st prompt (the ring's on the other hand) from the Delta List at 30_kisses on LJ, and I haven't properly signed up for a challenge there, I stole the list because I needed something to get my creativity going. Additional inspiration taken from "Balloons" by Julia Nunes.

This chapter contains spoilers for the end of the series, implied Keiko/OMC, is a slight AU, and is written in present-tense third-person because I had a weirdo moment.



So this is fucking weird, Yuusuke thinks, fist clenched in his jacket pocket. Keiko's hair's gotten long - it looks good on her, as does the school uniform from that girl's school she's going to. What he's having problems with is the ring.

A ring he gave her.

On her left hand.

"Who's the lucky guy?" He asks finally. Keiko glances down at her hands.


"The midget from gym class Keitaro?"

"He's not a midget, Yuusuke, you are so - " She stops, half-smiling. He's tricked her into an old rant. Damn him. "Yes. That Keitaro."

"That's a nice ring he got you."

"That's some nice subtlety you're showing." She fidgets with it, turning it around and around on her finger. "He was in the middle of proposing, Yuusuke, I couldn't very well stop and say 'Oh, my ex-boyfriend who I've kind of been pining over secretly gave me that ring, mind not using it to signify our intent to live together 'til death do us part?' Total moment-ruiner."

"I'm not seeing the problem here." Keiko sighs, running her right hand through her hair.

"Three years is a long time, Yuusuke. People change."

"I see that."

"It's not that I didn't wait, it's just - "

"It's just that you didn't wait long enough. I get it, Keiko, really. Congratulations." He forces the word out and turns on his heel, marching steadfastly away from her before he does something stupid. He can just barely hear her mutter - idiot - before the sound of her shoes on the pavement moves away from him, fading rapidly as other people move in her wake.

It's only when her echo is gone completely that he slams his fist into the nearest light pole, bending it and sending sparks flying. "Sorry," he growls at the (understandably surprised) man on the bench. "I'm kind of having a bad day."

Post-note: I like Keiko, I promise. This is an AUish-type thing where she was just a tad bit more impatient than she was in the series.

Reviews are greatly appreciated.