Series Two;
inspired by the things spread across my desk;
because I have no life.

1. Advanced Placement (thirtysix.)
He would be accepted in that course. She stares down at the Honors scrawled across her class request sheet; very, very smoothly, she scribbles it out and forges AP in her teacher's handwriting. They'll never notice.

2. cookie cutter (fortyseven.)
Their love isn't perfect; the edges aren't nice and neat and straight, and the icing isn't smooth, and there are no sprinkles (except maybe one or two accidentally dropped on the edges). But she's never been perfect, either. So it will be enough, for her; for him.

3. hello kitty (fiftythree.)
There is a cat that lives in the alley in the town they are staying the day at; it is thin and it is tired, but it stares at her with yellow eyes, lethal and wary. She loves it on sight, and the first time she reaches out to it, it scratches her.

4. snoopy (seventyeight.)
Yuya doesn't like dogs; they are too simple, she thinks. It is a terrible thing to think, but it is true. There is no challenge in getting a dog to love you. You do not have to work to gain its trust, little by little. It loves you on sight; reassuring at time, depressing at others. Cats, she believes, are the truly beautiful animals. They require love and dedication, loyalty and time. And she can give them that.

5. chococat (fortyseven.)
Yuya has always wanted a cat. Every town they pass through, she watches the pet stores and the alleys, searching for the perfect one. It is not until a long, long time later that she begins to look at what has been before her the entire time.

6. aqua pod (thirtytwo.)
She collects lids for a second grade boy who needs dialysis, and leaves a box with the soccer team for after games. He is always the one to return it to her.

7. butterfly (sixtyfive.)
She always used to try to catch them; her pudgy little fingers crushing flower petals moments after the butterfly had left, snatching at air that had, so short a while ago, been occupied. Her brother tells her, though, that butterflies are delicate. Are fragile. That they will break if touched; that she will weigh them down and stop them from flying. She never believed him.

8. ribbon (sixtynine.)
The ribbon in her hair is long and frayed at the ends; an odd shade of green, somewhere between puce and emerald, with the better qualities of neither. She carries it religiously, though, in her bag, if not in her hair. He never asks her where it's from, because he was there when it was given to her. Kyoshiro, he snarls, mentally, but never asks her to remove it.

9. workbook (fortynine.)
He passes hers down the row to her, and for a minute she considers brushing her fingers against his - just to know what his skin feels like against hers. She doesn't though, and takes the workbook demurely from him, fingertips carefully on the opposite side of the book.

10. flashlight (fortyfour.)
The ball of light bounces before her, and she reaches out to it with trembling fingers from her position on the ground. Tired, she moans, and then he is there, words as harsh as ever, arms gentle as he lifts her from the ground.

11. cookie (seventyfive.)
Yuya can cook, surprisingly enough. It is her one feminine trait, her one redeeming skill as a wife. (Being able to shoot and kill and fight and run forever isn't enough, apparently.) She never has time anymore, for fancy food and fun dishes, only for noodles and onigiri and such, but she dreams, still, of the feeling of dough under her nails and watching them bake and crack and smelling them, fresh from the oven.

12. coupon (fortyeight.)
When she was younger, her mother always set her to snipping coupons out of the magazines and newspapers, teaching her to read through memorization of symbols and words and letters. Now, she does it for herself, staring fastidiously down at the papers rather than across the empty table.

13. valentine's (seventytwo.)
Every year, she makes him a card. She doesn't know why, but she does. She can't help it; like, clockwork, the week before Valentine's Day, she digs out the paper cutters and scissors and lace, the tissue paper and the construction paper and the ribbons, and she makes him a card - every year more elaborate than the rest. She hopes that, someday, she will be able to give them to him.

14. card (thirtyone.)
She will never look twenty-one; she is too slender and too long-legged, too short and small. But they never ask her for her identification at the bar she frequents, sitting on the stool and staring out at the crowd. Onime no Kyo, the sign reads out front.

15. magazine (sixtysix.)
She always carries one or two around: cooking magazines and fashion magazines and news magazines and sports magazines, brightly colored, with pictures and large, elaborate fonts splashed across the front. Every day, she has a different one, from the same kiosk. She tells herself she does not buy it because she finds the salesman cute. She is furthering her education, one inane magazine at a time.