Liquid Memory

"I know it's here somewhere…" A hand fumbled around the top shelf of a closet, shifting dust and exploring long forgotten regions. But there was nothing to be felt except the fuzzy surface. Suddenly the hand reached further back and came in contact with a square-shaped something. Unfortunately, this was not the object sought after; but it was pulled down anyway.

"What on earth is this?" Blue-green eyes were now examining the gray box. Sliding the rectangular lid off revealed photos, and many of them at that. The hand now flipped carefully through them, while the eyes noted a very distinct similarity; the photographs were arranged chronologically, older ones in the front, newer in the back and each had the same two people in them. In the front they were toddlers, a little boy with dark brown hair, and a girl with golden blonde. The last picture was of the same two people, but now it was a woman in a timeless wedding dress, with her husband beside her. Suddenly, the woman looking at the photos hopped up and again explored the top shelf, only this time a little more to the left.

It took little time for her to pull down a pink box that looked much the same to the previous one. Sliding this not-so-dusty lid off also revealed photographs, and rosy lips smiled recognizing the two people that they were centered around. A hand picked up the first picture, and there was an obvious recollection of the time that picture had been taken. The little girl had bright red hair that hadn't been brushed since she got out of bed, the same blue-green eyes, and wore a simple pair of jean shorts and a yellow tank top. Beside this girl stood a boy about the same age; he had black hair that also looked like it hadn't been brushed in ages, since it stuck out almost every direction imaginable. His shirt matched his hair, and he wore a pair of well-worn jeans.

Slipping this back into place, she pulled out the last photograph in her box. This varied drastically from the last photo in the previous box. Instead of a just married couple, it was of her and this man, both full grown, sticking their tongues out at each other in front of a church. A smile formed on the woman's lips, remembering that scene at her eldest sisters wedding. Still grinning, she replaced the lids on both boxes and stuffed them back where they had been, then exited the closet, apparently forgetting all about the hair spray she'd gone to get in the first place.

Nonchalantly she flipped through a magazine while waiting for dinner. Every other page was an ad, and it must've taken her a good three minutes to find the cover story. But right when she read the first sentence, the microwave started beeping, announcing that dinner was done. Just as she was removing the plastic film from the top of her TV dinner, there were two knocks on the door, and then it burst open.

After barging in, he launched into a full-bore sprint toward the couch. Just as he was about to smash his shins painfully into the side, he leaped up, spun 180 degrees and landed on his back. Then, adjusting his head on the arm of the couch a bit, and stretching his legs out past the opposite arm, he closed his eyes. A woman then walked into the living room, carrying a TV dinner in one hand, a fork and glass of water in the other. "You know, it would be awfully nice if you knocked, or at least said 'Hi'."

He didn't move, but just answered, "Hey, I knocked, and I'll say 'Hi Kasumi' if it really makes you happy."

Kasumi sat down in the armchair just across from the couch, placed her hands contents on the coffee table and sat between the two. The man that was still lounging on the couch suddenly popped up and sat down normally, dragging the food, drink, and eating utensil over to his side. "Great! Dinner!"

Kasumi shrugged then stood up and headed off towards the kitchen again, "Yea, just for you. I'll go make my dinner now."

Around two minutes later Kasumi entered the living room again, carrying her dinner, a glass of water, and a fork just like before. She sat down in the armchair again, took a bite, and then glanced over to the man that was again lounging on the couch. The cardboard tray that once held 'his' dinner was now completely empty. "Satoshi, those dinners say they are meant to cook in three minutes, not be eaten in three!"

He opened one eye, glancing at her, and replied, "You know I've always been a fast eater."

Kasumi just sighed and continued eating her meal, pausing once to take off her shoes. The man on the couch continued to lie there, looking quite content and barely moving. Kasumi attempted to wake him with some conversation. "So, any interesting clients today? Or were they all just those 'I don't have any money, but I'll show you what I purchased from Victoria's Secret' kind of people?"

Satoshi sat up, grinned, and ran a hand through his thick black hair, "Luckily I haven't had any of those since last week! But you know I just refer them all to Takeshi." The red-haired woman grinned, knowing exactly who he meant, and took a quick sip of water while he continued. "But actually there was something interesting, some farmer came in claiming that his prize chickens were stolen, and some 'axe murderer' had taken them. I tracked the guy down today and it resulted in a real 'high speed' car chase." Kasumi looked up, more attentive now, but Satoshi just laughed and reassured her, "I'm just kidding! It was actually some senior citizen that I chased at around 25mph."

She glared at him for this, but it quickly softened into a smile. "Don't do that to me! You could actually get into some real trouble, you know!"

Satoshi winked at her slyly then relaxed back in his usual form, while Kasumi just shook her head, and continued eating.

Time for another search; Kasumi yawned while she walked into the closet again, a towel wrapped around her head. The hand went up to the top shelf again, brushing past the boxes this time. She took her hand down once to brush off the caked dust, but it soon went back to searching. Her middle finger suddenly came in contact with something partially hard and rubbery…? Standing on the tips of her toes she managed to snatch whatever it was and yank it down, blinking quickly as the gray fluff fell. Now why on earth had she kept her old pair of tennis shoes? The red canvas was faded, and the laces stained off-white, but there was no mistaking her shoes of many miles. They brought back memories just like the pictures; she smiled remembering one time in particular:

She had been walking along, minding her own business, and was actually in the midst of a pleasant daydream when a backpack was snatched from her shoulders. It took longer than usual for her to react, and by that time the culprit was a good six yards ahead. But she took off into a sprint nonetheless, knowing exactly whom she was tailing: Satoshi.

It had probably been a good half mile run, when Satoshi abruptly stopped and held the backpack high above his head, just tempting her to snatch it. And she tried; only managing to grab his elbow and yank it down. But he quickly put the pack into his other hand, giving her a smile. This obviously caused her anger to rise, so with a running leap she grabbed onto his shoulders and hung on. Satoshi stumbled at this, and continued to do so since his arms were still in the air and he had an awkward weight to hold. It wasn't much of a surprise when he fell down backwards, right into a puddle of mud. Kasumi gasped and rolled off him into the brown puddle, giving him a good, reprimanding slug in the shoulder. He responded by yanking her hair down, giving the red strands a good coating of rich brown.

Kasumi slid her fingers over one of the shoelaces, reflecting on everywhere they'd been. But when she tilted her head slightly, the towel dropped into her eyes and reminded her of a pressing appointment; work. She quickly stuffed the shoes under her bed, snatched up and clasped her fine gold I.D. bracelet to her wrist, and rushed to the bathroom.

A small finger twirled around, barely penetrating the surface of the water. The eyes that stared forlornly into the empty fishbowl stood out against the girl's red, puffy face. There was a slight sound as a boy approached, peering into the empty bowl, then to the girl.

"Don't cry Kasumi, there's many more fish in the sea."

A shutter clicked; a frozen memory.

"Kasumi! You look awful!" Friend and co-worker Furura commented as Kasumi sat down at her desk.

"Tell me about it. Satoshi kept me up late watching a movie." She yawned briefly, and then started sorting through the many memos stuck conveniently to her desk. Furura shook her head, "Does he ever not? And why on earth does he always come over?"

Kasumi took awhile to answer, "I really don't know. And there has been a couple days that he hasn't come over, but those are few and far between."

"Well, do you want him there?"

She sighed, pondering, and then finally answered, "Satoshi is a good friend, but I really don't enjoy seeing him every day, so no. Not really."

"Then ask him why he comes over so much, and ask him not to. You really need to Kasumi, cause you can't continue like this!" Offered Furura, reprimanding slightly with her eyes.

"Alright. I guess I will."

The hat didn't do much good, for taming his hair that is. If anything the black locks seemed to stick out more. But the huge grin on the boys face showed, undoubtedly, that he didn't care.

Moving in an overly joyous lilt he poked his head around, staring into blue green eyes. "What do you think of my hat?"

A shutter clicked; a frozen memory.

There was a slight struggle to get in, juggling a small bag of groceries, the mail, and her purse, whilst trying to turn the key. But eventually Kasumi managed to enter her house without dropping anything. She quickly dropped both the groceries and the mail then sunk down onto the sofa, looking completely exhausted. There was a magazine on the coffee table, and she pondered reading it, but eventually even just the thought of moving brought a headache, so she decided to just lay there, sluggish. Eyelids closed, and she relaxed for the first time in days, almost drifting asleep when there were two short knocks, and the door handle rattled.

"Who is it?" Kasumi called, grinning at her own brilliant idea to lock the door.

"Who do you think? It's Satoshi!" She giggled slightly, twisted the lock, and almost immediately the door flew open, Satoshi running by and performing his usual acrobatic stunt towards the couch. He then smiled back at her and said "Hello Kasumi!" so gleefully you'd assume that everything was right with the world.
And in direct contrast with this, Kasumi asked, "Why do you come over here every night for dinner, without even asking? For heaven's sake, you're a private investigator! It's not like you're poor or anything!!"

Satoshi sat up, removed his black jacket, making himself look even more at home, and replied casually, "I guess I like your cooking!"

She scowled at him, and raised an eyebrow forming a puzzled expression. "But, I rarely ever cook."

"Well, whatever you make, it's good!"
Kasumi shook her head while walking into the kitchen and taking out two bowls. She then shook some flakes into each.

Meanwhile, Satoshi was nonchalantly flipping through a magazine and reclining perhaps a little too comfortably. But he quickly got up when Kasumi placed two bowls on the coffee table, and actually waited until she came back with two spoons and glasses of water. She immediately started eating, but Satoshi looked a little puzzled. "No milk?" He also noted that her bowl seemed to be properly wetted with the white liquid.

"I forgot to pick more up at the store today, so no."

This didn't seem to faze him though, he picked up his glass of water and poured it onto the cereal, flakes sopping it up and turning soggy almost instantly. He then took a large bite and seemed to make a spectacle of the chewing process. Kasumi stared almost awestruck, and appeared to gag once or twice. But this attitude soon changed to one of disgust. "Do you take anything in your life seriously?" She asked, tapping the rim of her bowl with the spoon.

Satoshi for once paused, and looked at her while pondering his answer. "Yes. I take my job seriously…" Both hands went behind his head, and Kasumi instantly remembered this as a sign of nervousness. She too became a little uneasy seeing him this way, because this attitude was rare; he, for once, was serious.

It looked like he wanted to continue, but she interrupted him with a question of concern, "Satoshi…did, did something happen at work?"

After some slight hesitation he finally put his hands back down to answer, "Well, something did, but it's not that important." Kasumi gave him a stern reprimand with her eyes; not only was he to continue, but tell the whole story. "Alright. I got a threat from a former client, and not just one letter like the ones I typically get, but around 40. I got phone calls too." Satoshi paused, shifting slightly on the couch. "He was a client quite a few years ago, wanting me to track down someone, but in the process I found out that he himself was a criminal, and had him prosecuted." He sighed, "I suppose he was less than thrilled with me, and now is vowing to 'make me pay'."

Kasumi didn't hide her cringe and concerned expression; "I think you should take this to some higher authorities. You don't want to mess with people like this!!"

But he seemed to brush it off, taking another bite of the soggy mush before answering, "I get these so often, and rarely does anything ever come of it. Don't worry Kasumi!" A quick drink of water washed down the flakes, "I will be fine."

Satoshi didn't lie.

Her feet were planted firmly on the chair; problem is the chair wasn't set firmly on the table, and the table wasn't very sturdy to begin with. Arms outstretched at their fullest, the woman attempted to reach a forlorn knickknack, perched lazily on the topmost shelf. But, try as she might, she still wasn't quite able to reach. Heels slowly lifted off the chair, leaving only the balls of her feet to be connected to the ground in any way. The item almost in hand, things began to shift, as balance suddenly fled from the obscure structure. With a slight gasp the woman fell backward, cringing for the split seconds in which she awaited the ground. But that didn't come; instead, arms wrapped around her shoulders and beneath her legs, while her ear heard a faint grunt. Smiling, she flicked the worn hat off his head, dark hair springing upwards and out, before joining him in laughter; what a spectacle it must've been.

A shutter clicked; a frozen memory.

Shivering, Kasumi crawled into bed, pulling the excess of covers up to her nose. A small lamp that sat on her nightstand dimly lighted the room, causing a halo of light to form on the ceiling. You could tell she was tired, by the 'off in the distance' look in her eyes, but she didn't turn off the light and drift to sleep just yet. Instead she chose to use this time to ponder, think, and just debate with herself in general. Mainly, why was her life considered so perfect?

Sure, she had a successful job, a home, friends, and was still young, but was this perfect? Everyone else complained about troubled love lives, money problems, or difficulties finding decent babysitters, all the while telling Kasumi how lucky she was. Well, she had her share of problems too! There was the occasional leak in the kitchen sink, that dog of the neighbors that constantly yapped, and…well, Satoshi.

What was Satoshi anyway; a friend, problem, acquaintance? He was just always there, like a childhood pet that didn't die. But he was human, and probably considered equally as 'lucky' as her. Success didn't matter though; it was the fact that he didn't act normal. Most friends call, or come over occasionally, but he came day after day; invited or no. But then again he'd never really been the 'normal' one, pursuing odd jobs, and his talent of annoyance always getting in the way. Eventually he harnessed this though, and managed to partially eliminate it; except when he was around her.

She didn't mind him in general, and his 'unique' personality didn't seem to faze her either. About the only way she could properly describe him was to say that he was Satoshi, period. And when he wasn't around her, he acted quite respectable; Furura even threw herself at him once, exclaiming way too loudly that he was 'Quite Cute'. That's the thing; he was cute. Black hair, deep brown eyes, and a well-toned body; anyone would go for him. So why didn't he settle down? She had a reason not to; her work was her life, and there wasn't any room for dating. Satoshi on the other hand controlled his schedule and could make time.

This seemed to puzzle her even more, and all the thinking was starting to make her eyelids drop lower. Finally giving in, she flipped off the light and was quickly engulfed by sleep.

A couple more words were apparent as lead ran across the paper. But this pencil clattered beside it soon after. Red hair sprawled over the desk as she rested her forehead against it, sighing.

"Take a break, Kasumi, you deserve it."

Two hands rested on her shoulders.

A shutter clicked; a frozen memory.

Satoshi knocked twice, and then twisted the handle to the door, flinging it open. But instead of taking his usual sprint to the sofa, he paused. The whole atmosphere of the house was eldritch, even the air seemed positively eerie. He slowly walked in and shut the door, suddenly noticing a few small puddles of blood on the floor. This sight caused him to reach for his gun, holding it ready as he followed the path. Shimmering caught his eye a few feet away, and as he neared, the broken links of a once gold chain grew apparent. The I.D. plate of the bracelet was nestled in it's own pool of blood, and the cursive engraving of 'Kasumi' was filled with the sticky substance, causing it to almost glow. After prying his eyes from this foreboding sight, he allowed the drops of red liquid to lead him to the kitchen, where he gasped, finding Kasumi.

Almost instantly the gun clattered to the floor as he rushed to her side. She sat propped up against the cupboards, clutching her left arm and shaking because of the loss of blood. There was a long gash from her shoulder down to her elbow, and it still bled, causing her red hair to take on an even more apparent shade as it hung down past her shoulders.

"Kasumi…what happened?" He brushed the tangled strands of hair from her face, pressing his hand on top of hers and adding pressure to the wound. She winced at this, meeting his eyes with her bloodshot ones.

"He said he was a friend of yours, so I let him in." Her voice was shaky, "Then he attacked me, saying 'Tell Satoshi that it's revenge'…all the time…"

His eyes narrowed, as it suddenly clicked, but he kept his strong and caring composure, wrapping his free hand around her shoulders, "You'll be fine, he could've done much worse by the looks of it. Let's just get you to a hospital."

He carefully scooped her up, carrying her outside to his car. Through the car ride, the hospital visit, and returning her home, an inferno of anger burned inside for the known culprit; Shigeru.

A couple days later Kasumi was working and functioning at home in her normal fashion. The only evidence of her ordeal was a bandage on her left arm, and the fact that she used it less. Satoshi had been sleeping on the couch each night, saying that he would until he caught Shigeru. With such a comparatively minor wound inflicted, there was no doubt in his mind that he would attempt a second and more severe attack.

Pulling a chair out, she sat down, placing a cup of tea on the table before her. After taking a couple slow sips she sat up, eyebrows coming down in a concerned expression.

"Smells like something's burning…"

The man across from her jumped up, toppling his own chair in the process of dashing off towards the kitchen. After giving the oven a good spray with a nearby fire extinguisher, he looked back, only to find a woman standing there, laughing bubbles in her tea.

"Please tell me this is a normal part of the learning experience…"

A shutter clicked; a frozen memory.

Kasumi had retreated to her bedroom, leaving Satoshi to lounge on the couch. All the lights were off, leaving it to be lit only slightly by the street lamps outside and any moonlight that felt inclined to drift in. Silence was also present, save Satoshi's breathing and a gentle hum that came from the dishwasher in the kitchen. But this soon changed as a gentle knock was heard on the door. Black hair being brushed back anxiously, Satoshi yanked his Ruger 25 semi-automatic from the coffee table, walking up to the door cautiously as the handle rattled.

"Who is it?" He called, in an uncharacteristically low voice.

There was a surprisingly quick answer, "It's just me, Takeshi. You said you were staying here at night so I thought I'd drop by."

The gun was lowered and it seemed that all Satoshi's muscles relaxed, now well aware of who had come to call. He unlocked the door and opened it; in walked a man significantly taller than him, sporting well-styled brown hair along with a noticeable tan. After re-locking the door, Satoshi joined the new arrival on the couch, sighing as he sat, and slouching his shoulders.

"You know, I just can't believe how dense I've been; never realizing that she could be in danger." Satoshi drooped even lower, if that was possible.

"There was no way for you to predict it!" Takeshi offered a friendly slug on the shoulder, "Cheer up, man!"

But he didn't. In his same monotone state, he placed each elbow on a knee and slouched forward. "Easy for you to say. You haven't endangered your best friend just by being around."

"It's not really your fault though." Takeshi then started to chuckle, "We just need enemies that aren't so smart, ones that go for our throats," His laughter subsided, suddenly turning serious, "instead of the ones we love."

Satoshi rested his head in his hands, raking through his black hair with slightly shaky fingers. He stayed silent, nodding lightly in agreement, when there was a sudden gasp followed by a gunshot, and the distinct sound of glass shattering. The two men bounded up, and rushed towards Kasumi's bedroom, the source of the sounds, guns in hand.

The door slammed against the wall, being opened so quickly. Kasumi was lying on the floor, shards of glass along her back and all around her body. Above her was what remained of the window, which now resembled more of a gaping mouth, lined with jagged and abstract teeth. One of the large canines suddenly dropped from the top, hitting the windowsill and causing even more glass to rain down on the carpet.

Both of them ran into the room, Takeshi stopping and kneeling beside the woman, while Satoshi continued toward the window. Glass crunched under his shoes, causing even the larger pieces to be broken up. He didn't stop until he reached the now open window, stretching both arms through the square jaw. He shot once, twice, and then leaped through the window, ripping the shin of his black cargo pants on one of the many teeth, drawing blood. After running about 40 yards he caught up with the limping enemy.

Shigeru was dragging a twice-shot limb, but wasn't succeeding in moving very fast with this injury. His face felt the dampness of the grass as Satoshi tackled him to the ground, roughly pulling each hand back and securing handcuffs around each wrist.

"You should've known better to mess with me, let alone Kasumi!" Satoshi dug his knee into the enemies' back, while he attempted to grumble a response. What came out sounded like, "I've got more guts than you…" But it was so muffled against the grass you couldn't make it out properly.

Satoshi didn't give him much time to reply anyway, growling, "You know what? I don't want to hear it." Before slamming his fist into the back of Shigeru's head. His body went limp as he was forced into unconsciousness.

His hair blended perfectly with her dress as he laid a head on her shoulder. Every sob was undeniably apparent as his back heaved up and down jerkily.

"Cry Satoshi, she was an irreplaceable fish in the sea."

A shutter clicked; a frozen memory.

He had black sweat-soaked hair, and a black tee shirt; his loose cargo pants were also the exact same hue. A five-inch gash was apparent on his right shin, and was still bleeding, although the flow was slowing. This time, the man moved carefully through the window, crunching the glass on the other side when he stepped. His head hung low along with his shoulders, giving the overall appearance of a mortally bruised being.

"Satoshi…" A female voice called to him, as if from a long distance, when in reality she was only standing a few feet away. His head moved up at the sound of his name, and when he saw her, unharmed, looking as graceful as ever, his eyes showed nothing but relief.

Takeshi then spoke up, answering the question that was obviously on Satoshi's lips, "She got down just in time. The bullet never even hit her."

The solid blue nightgown that was draped over her form swayed while she walked toward Satoshi, "Don't look so surprised," She attempted to lighten the moment, "I know better than to stand there and get shot."

Brown eyes never left her face as he took a couple steps to her, placing a hand on her shoulder and whispering, "You don't have to worry anymore."

Glass crackled yet again under his shifting weight.

Potatoes, carrots, and parsley bobbed up as the liquid they were steeped in was stirred. A lid was then placed on the pot, allowing the contents to simmer while waiting to be eaten. Kasumi then procured two bowls from an upper cupboard, placing them carefully on the small table near the kitchen. After finishing the setting with spoons, napkins and glasses, she sat down on the sofa, awaiting his arrival.

It had been a full five days since that eventful night, and much had to be done to get her life back to normal. But finally her window had been repaired, and the glass had been cleaned up, along with a short hospital visit to make sure that there weren't any pieces lodged into her skin. Now it was time for things to get better, to return to her 'perfect' life.

A good half hour had passed, and still, no Satoshi. She kept expecting those two familiar knocks, and the handle rattle, but it never came. Finally, growing hungry herself, she served up the soup, eating while staring at an empty bowl.

"It's been a full week." Kasumi explained to Furura, looking a little uneasy. Her brown-haired, blue-eyed friend replied perhaps a little too quickly, "Maybe he's just busy," She paused, licking and sticking a stamp on an envelope, "I've had boyfriends disappear for months, then call back pleading for forgiveness."

Kasumi gaped, flabbergasted at the poor attempt at comforting words, "Well number one, he's not a boyfriend, and number two, this just isn't like him!" A red strand of hair dared to get in her face, but it got it's punishment, being swiped back furiously, "You've never seen the goofy smile he gets right after he flings himself onto the sofa, or the way he eats my pathetic excuse for dinner with such style you'd think he was enjoying it!" Kasumi flew her hands up and began babbling in a sort of hyper twitterpation.

Furura stayed calm though, placing a hand on her shoulder and staring her directly in the eyes. She enunciated her next words, as if talking to a small child or someone from a foreign country, "Kasumi, call him."

The wall had an accusing finger pointed directly at it; well, perhaps it was at the writing 'Happy Birthday Kasumi', that was scribbled in dark blue crayon.

"So, you mean to tell me that a five year old just happened to sneak in, find a crayon, and know it was my birthday?"

A full-bore chuckle was heard.

"No! I told him it was your birthday!"

A shutter snapped; a frozen memory.

Papers and sticky notes floated to the floor as they were picked through, one by one. None of them held the phone number she was looking for though, so they continued their quest to the carpet.

It was funny; she'd known him all her life but had never purposefully initiated a conversation. Was that a bad sign? Was it a sign at all?

A plain white sticky note was in her hands now, a phone number apparent in blue ink. Sure enough, it said 'Satoshi'. She snatched up the nearby phone, staring at both the number and the receiver before finally pressing the proper buttons.

There was only one ring before the phone was picked up, a voice saying "Hello?" on the other end. Kasumi was a little startled, but finally squeaked out, "Is Satoshi there?" Immediately regretting it, when noting how stupid it sounded.

"This is Satoshi."

Of course it was, he was the only one living in his house.

"Hi! This is Kasumi." Again, she took note of how idiotic it sounded, but just listened to the reply.

"I don't think you've ever called me before." He laughed half-heartedly.

"No, I haven't." Kasumi paused trying to decide how to continue, "Um, I wanted to invite you over for dinner. That's…that's why I called."

There was a long and uncomforting silence on the other end, before his voice came back with an answer, "Alright. There is actually something I needed to talk to you about anyway."

She too took a long pause, wondering and fearing what he could mean. "Well I'll see you soon then, I guess."

"Yes. Bye Kasumi." There was a slight click as he hung up. She did the same, but scowled slightly; there was something different about him.

Two knocks were heard, but no rattling door handle. An apron clad Kasumi unlocked and opened the door. Sure enough, there was Satoshi, but he waited for her to step out of the way and invite him in before entering.

"Hi Kasumi." He greeted plainly, walking over to the sofa and sitting down normally. She followed, sitting on the opposite end.

"Dinner should be done in about twenty minutes."

He nodded, turning to her, "Kasumi, I won't be coming by anymore," She looked stunned and was about to interject, but he continued promptly, "I have so many enemies, and seeing you every day just gives them the opportunity and victim they need to hurt me."

She couldn't believe it, here was the 'normal' man she wanted, saying himself that he wouldn't be coming by every day anymore. This was the friendship she had longed for, one that was minor and typical. But here it was, and now the prospect sickened her, almost to the point of anger.

"No." She started, unaware of tears forming in her eyes, "This isn't like you, this isn't how you are!"

Scooting closer he placed a hand on her knee and tried to meet her eyes, "I can't bear it Kasumi. It's dangerous."

"There you go again!" She stood up, "Acting all serious and concerned!" Satoshi followed suit, standing and narrowing his eyes as if observing something while she continued to rant, "Why never before? Just answer me that!" Slender arms were thrown up and her eyes watered, "I thought you'd be better this way…" Satoshi then started slowly walking towards her, while her voice began to soften, "But no, you'd leave…" He was now about two feet away, staring into eyes that were wandering from his face to the ceiling, the sofa, carpet, and back again. "Just like a…lemming." Satoshi placed his hand under her chin, making her look at his face.

"A lemming?" He asked. "Those follow."

Kasumi sniffled, and shook her head. "I don't care…"

He smiled back, then moved down and prevented any more ranting on her part by covering her lips with his. Closing her eyes she grew relaxed, almost in a sleepy state. She sunk back down to the sofa with him, parting lips soon after.

"Why never before?" Red hair contrasted with his black shirt as she rested her head on his shoulder.

"You never asked before."

Her eyes remained closed, yawning, "I haven't ever asked."

"You did just then. Maybe not out loud, but I could tell by the look on your face." Glancing down he watched her head move up and down slightly with each breath taken, "But when you compared me to a lemming, I knew for sure."

Kasumi sighed, "Messed up pretty good there, I guess…"

"Nah, I'd follow you off a cliff."

"Come on! It's like a fairytale romance; best man and the maid of honor!"

Brown eyes, and aqua ones peered at each other questioningly before simultaneously sticking out their tongues, clearly defying anything that others may have wanted to happen.

A shutter clicked; a frozen memory.

They now had ample reason to call her life perfect. The only problem left was the occasional leak in the kitchen sink. And that could be fixed by what used to be her second problem. But unlike what people commonly think, so called 'perfection' isn't come by with ease, it's much like the smell of the world after a rainstorm; you have to fight through the problems before you get to the sweet scent of success.

But success, as we know, is short term, and she'll find many more problems to ponder over while looking at the halo-glow on the ceiling. More significant faults will be found in Satoshi, along with new strengths. Her life will be better, but change also brings hardships. Put simply, it's literal fiction; playing with irony back and forth. Take it as truth, take it as lies; either way you'll get to the end.

Kasumi slipped a last photo into her pink box; now it matched the gray one perfectly. A shutter clicked; a liquid memory.


Authors Notes: I have no idea what possessed me to post this. It's really, really horrid, and actually written for a Creative Writing class. I got a good grade for it, but so what! I don't like it. :p No need to review, I know how awful it is.

This story is © Rainflower
Thank-You to Nintendo and Game Freak for letting me use their characters (even though they don't know it).
All original Pokemon characters, etc. are © Nintendo and Game Freak, not me!