-insert disclaimer here-

Author's Ramble: Well, howdy! T'is been a while since I last wrote something.

Behold! Sei Honou's current project: Stars and Strings. A collection of High School one-shots and drabbles that... seem to come to me like stinging bees. I dunno when it'll end, (probably when I graduate) so expect more pieces coming in. :)

So here we go! I hope you'll enjoy the fics.

-end author's ramble-

You'll find the first two pieces quite familiar because they're very much in the same AU as As I See.

Drabbly, teenage angst. You've been warned.


Best Friend

It hurts being such a giver. It hurts when you're such a good friend, too.

There are times when my best buddies' emotions matter more than my own. After all, I'm the toughest one. Just like tempered glass. I'm the one whose supposed to defend the four of them.

'Course Xiao agrees. Jules agrees. Lili... begs to differ. And Chris... she would just smile.

It hurts being such a giver. It hurts when you're such a good friend, too.

There are times when my best buddies' feelings matter more than my own. After all, I'm the strongest. I am Venus and Heracles rolled into one. Not only am I amazingly strong, I'm really cute, too!

'Course Xiao agrees. Jules would think of another Greek god or goddess to twist my statement. Lili would shake her head in disapproval. And Chris... she would just smile.

It hurts being such a giver. It hurts when you're such a good friend, too.

There are times when my best buddies' lives matter more than my own. After all, I'm the savior. I wouldn't mind stepping into a pit of fire and battle some purple devil if it means I'm saving my friends.

'Cours Xiao agrees. Jules would try to digress and think of an even better topic than my heroic exploits and yada yada. Lili would raise an eyebrow at me. And Chris... she would just smile, like she always does.

It hurts being such a giver. It hurts when you're such a good friend, too.

During that one recess time, a word spread like a wild fire. The whole world suddenly fell quiet. Everything stood still.

Linked little fingers. He and Christie were walking in the cafeteria, their little fingers linked to each other.

Me, Xiao, Jules an' Lili were a bit behind from them, keeping distance since they were a couple.

One of us has fallen. Unfortunately.

In a way or two, I feel genuinely happy for my best friend. C'mon. She's in love with him since we were in sixth grade.

'Course I feel happy for her. Yeah, I'm not really the one whose vocal and gets perfect grades in Expression conveying 101. Not that we have that subject in high school, but what the heck. I've never seen Chris so happy before.

It hurts being such a giver. It hurts when you're such a good friend, too.

You're invincible, Asuka.

Right.

You're a superhuman.

Is that the case?

You told me before that you hate guys, right?

Yeah, I did.

You're my bestest friend, Asuka!

Is that so?

I love him so much, Asuka. I hope he's okay.

He's so charming and sweet and lovable and oh so romantic.

He's the one for me. I'm sure of it!

It hurts being such a giver. It hurts when you're such a good friend, too. It throbs. It stings. It bleeds. To. No. End. At. All.

Just because I'm superhuman... doesn't mean that I don't get hurt too.

You're my bestest friend, Asuka!

An' so I won't let some guy get in the way of our friendship. I swear. I won't let my emotions get the best of me. I'm not a whore. I'm a steel-fisted lady who's ready to drill her knuckles on the face of any guy who breaks her friends' hearts.

Come on. Freaking break my heart, but don't fucking hurt my best friend.

...I'm a pretty good liar.

Christie lets go of him for a moment to buy a snack. Xiao waves at him. I grin. He's walking towards us. Julia takes hold of my hand. She whispered to me, "You're our Asuka. You're strong. No matter what."

And that's our Jules. Always backing us up whenever needed. I could use some of her spirits now.

"Hello, ladies."

Xiao, Lili and Jules smiled at him. I remained pallid, fighting back the selfish green monster inside me. Best friends, I repeated like a Buddhist . Best friends.

"Take care of her, superstar. Break her heart, I'll break your neck."

Steve smiled at me. He gave my head a gentle pat. "You're a good friend, Asuka."

Am I? Am I really that good? I felt Julia's grip on my hand tighten. I turn to her. She nods.

So I face him once more, smiling. "Make her happy."

And it's like you're making me happy as well.

Christie's my best friend, after all.

When he and Christie were far behind the four of us, Julia smiled at me. "Asuka, this time, we'll be the one to protect you."

"No need, Jules. I'm impenetrable. Unstoppable."

I'll take the needles without the cushion. I'll take the fall without the parachute. I'll dive without the vest. I'll take the hit without the guard. I'm a superhuman. There are times when my best buddies' feelings matter more than my own. I'm with them because I'm the most powerful. I'm the shield. I'm the sword.

She gives me a skeptic look. "Really now? Okay then. But we'll still be here for you."

"Thanks," I mutter, grinning.

It hurts being such a giver. It hurts when you're such a good friend, too.