Pinch Me For I Must Be Dreaming.

Zettai Karen Children

…..This was rare….

One very, very, rare moment indeed. For once, in the lapse of a good couple of years, it was actually a quiet, oddly peaceful, and empty Sunday morning which belonged all to Karou that meant only one thing…

Karou smiled with excited euphoria behind her magazine after waiting for Shiho and Aoi to finally scatter out of the house in a rush to be on time for their different appointments that would steal them away for the entire day. Shiho was on her way to an all day soccer tournament to watch some boy that begged her to come and Aoi was on her way back to Kyoto to meet an old childhood friend. They were gone, all gone for the whole day and Karou lifted her head in the air towards the ceiling with a sure thought that someone up there in heaven was smiling down on her.

Now, it wasn't like Karou had nothing to do today either. Lately in high school, Karou has developed into quite the boy magnet and doesn't have a single moment throughout the day that love letters don't flood out from her locker. It was quite normal now, for her and her two best friends, that high school has become the highlight of their popularity. Guess there was something about ESP teenage girls that just attracted boys like crazy.

Karou plopped her magazine down on the couch after patiently waiting out thirty minutes, just in case Shiho or Aoi would run frantically back through the apartment to get a forgotten item, before getting up to lightly skip into the kitchen beaming. Even with all the popularity Karou has directed at her in high school, she has learned to avoid it all the best way possible; even if that meant hiding in the bathroom stalls at times. She refuses to have anything to do with any boy because lately she has been focused on a different goal. Well, not quite lately, technically for the past seven years, her heart has belonged to someone else and till this day reserved for one person alone. For the time being she has been waiting patiently for that person to just be able to open his eyes and realize it.

And what more to this perfect situation was that certain person was all alone with her in the empty house as well today…..

Gently cracking the door open to Minamoto's room Karou smiled warmly at the young man who slept, bed ridden from a fever and a bad cough, late into the afternoon. Quietly slipping through the cracked open door Karou lightly walked in to kneel down by the bed that was centered in the room where Minamoto slept soundly. Karou smiled as she dipped a wash cloth in a bowl of cold water and wringed it out to gingerly dab the dampened cloth across Minamoto's forehead, wiping away his matted down bangs. Karou sucked in a breath as Minamoto softly moaned and rolled his head towards her, his hot rattled breathe hitting her face that had somehow migrated closely near his.

Gulping, Karou reeled back afraid that she had woken him up and released a deep breathe, relieved watching his body heave up and down slowly that meant he was still peacefully asleep. Karou slowly crawled back by his bed side to gently press the cloth against Minamoto's warm forehead and smiled as her fingertips playfully brushed his long, tangly, bangs away from his eyes. She loved watching him sleep like this, so safe, sound, and serene, the way she wanted him to be like always. Yet, due to his job, there were rarely moments for him to rest because he was in constant action.

But today, Karou vowed that Minamoto would do nothing but rest, because it was finally her turn to be able to take care of him. A small smile tugged at her lips as she sat hovered above the ground watching Minamoto softly snore, his face perfectly still, and his tussled black hair more of a mess than ever.

Karou couldn't help but giggle as she watched him sleep; the picture of it was too cute and he looked so different without his thin metal rimmed glasses. She actually thought he looked better and contemplated ways of convincing him into getting contacts but she knew through it all Minamoto wouldn't budge. He didn't like the idea of inserting his finger into his eye when all he had to do was pick up his glasses and go.

"Karou?...",a raspy voice broke the silence that almost sent the vibrant red head flipping backwards from surprise.

"M-Minamoto-han! I didn't know you were awake!" Karou stuttered, cheeks red with embarrassment that she was caught watching him sleep….again. She was usually caught watching him do a number of things like getting dressed, shaving, showering, bathing, making dinner, secretly dancing, singing, you name it, in some way or form Karou has been peeking around watching and has received a good screaming or chunked item thrown in her direction. But this time, it felt more awkward than before that she was caught. Flustered, she quickly went to help sit Minamoto up against two pillows against the headboard of his bed so he could be supported up.

"Better?", Karou asked as she inserted a smaller pillow for the back of his head to lean against.

Minamoto smiled weakly at Karou as she straightened out the jumbled blankets that barely covered him now.

"Much, thank you. You always seem to take care of me." Minamoto said warmly with a chuckle that made Karou smile to herself.

"That's all I want to do for you…"

Minamoto then patted the side of his bed for Karou to come sit down which she quickly obeyed. Tugging down her skirt so she could sit without her thighs being exposed too much, Karou gently sat down with one leg crossed over the other in front of Minamoto who continued smiling weakly at her. He still looked drowsy as ever from the flu medicine that knocked him out this morning.

"Tell me." Minamoto began gently pressing his hand on Karou's foot that was resting on the bed, "Why are you still here? "

Karou avoided his gaze so he wouldn't see her cheeks that flamed with color at first from his touch and then the question she couldn't seem to answer right away without spilling the fact that all she wanted to do was be around him.

"Um…well, because you're sick! I can't just leave you here dying by yourself!" Karou finally spluttered out, her eyebrows pulled together as she could feel her face getting hotter. " Just look." She pressed the back of her hand against his cheek and forehead. " Your burning up!"

"I'm not dying Karou…." Minamoto replied his eyes narrowed glaring at her from the ignorant comment but then gently smiled at her again noticing where the back of her hand lingered against his cheek. He sighed and grabbed her hand that made her immediately snap back to attention.

"I've got an idea. Why don't we watch a movie in the living room, your pick?"

Karou glowed pulling her hand away from his quickly when jumping up from the bed in excitement.

"Really? Okay, I will call you out when it is all set up then!" Karou gleamed running out of the room. From his room, Minamoto immediately saw her ESP powers being put to use as she began levitating objects in her direction to set up the room with the least labor as possible.

It was definitely not every day when Karou and Minamoto could sit on the couch together to watch a movie of her choice. All of this felt just like a date and Karou had to pinch herself again as she beckoned a blanket from the closet towards the couch for the two of them to share (which she mentally grinned at the thought of) just to make sure all of this was really happening.

"Geez", Minamoto grinned, shaking his head" that girl…" Really, it was unique moment for him to have some alone time or have Karou actually acting calm where they could just spend time without any negative interruptions from evil organizations, competitions with the other girls fighting for his attention, or villains knocking at their door for one day.

"Minamoto-haaaaan! Come here!"

"Coming!" Minamoto shouted back starting to feel a little excited about the situation. He didn't understand where the feeling came from though and it half worried him yet the other half pushed the negative feeling aside.

Minamoto smiled as he heaved himself up to walk out at first a little awkward from his head feeling incredibly light and then on pace rounding the corner to see a made up couch with two pillows, a blanket, and two cups of tea all set out neatly with Karou already sitting on the couch smiling with remote in hand.

"Movie time!" Karou said with glee that made Minamoto laugh.

"You really went all out didn't you?" Minamoto grinned as he took a seat next to a blushing Karou as she pushed her long red hair over one side of her shoulder.

"Not really…." She mumbled as she grabbed the blanket and draped it over the both of them and then carefully, and hopefully without being noticed (even though it didn't go unnoticed), scooted closer to Minamoto to where her head almost leaned on his shoulder while she leaned back into the couch.

"Comfortable?" she asked shyly which Minamoto found incredibly cute about her when she acted like this around him. So careful and timid which was a total turn opposite of her when she was ten and dangerously rambunctious. It was amazing how much she has changed in the past years and, in ways, how much she seemed to have drifted away from him which he found, in all honesty,….heat breaking. Minamoto had ran through the reasons why in his head but then came to the conclusion it must have been the way he treated her. He was so much more aggressive towards her than the other two girls but he only did it out of care for her safety and some other unspoken reasons too.

Today, Minamoto clearly decided, was the day he was going to make up for it.

Hoping not to be noticed as well (even though he definitely didn't go unnoticed) , Minamoto scooted a little closer towards Karou until her head was resting on his shoulder and then leaned over to tuck Karou completely under the blankets, first around her feet, and then her body, before leaning back into the couch with a satisfied smile directed down to her.

"Now I'm comfortable. You? " Minamoto grinned, pushing his glasses up that slid down to the bridge of his nose, as his cheeks lightly rosed over looking down at Karou who stared up at him, completely red now, with large shocked eyes.

"P-perfect." Karou choked out as she tried to keep herself calm as she trembled lifting the remote. "Let's watch that movie now!" Karou stammered quickly changing the subject.

"What is it about?" Minamoto asked with curiosity as Karou clicked the play button.

Karou snuggled into Minamoto's shoulder raising the blanket to cover her nose as the opening began to play.

"Um….just some story about this girl and guy falling in love with each other against all odds and obstacles. Interesting plot I must say.", Karou answered laughing nervously when she fully knew the reason why she chose this movie on the pay per view channel.

"Oh…I see." Minamoto monotonously replied as he raised his arm up and around so it could drape over Karou's shoulder "Should be interesting."

Karou, with her cheek now pressed against Minamoto's chest, was trying very diligently to not explode with steam as she felt her heart pumping faster and her cheeks becoming severely hot. Was this really happening, her and Minamoto were snuggling..? Karou again, for a third time, pinched herself on the arm to make sure this wasn't a dream and then carefully looked up to see Minamoto's face who was smiling, his brown eyes soft, his cheeks feverish, and his gaze focused on the movie.

Karou turned back down and pressed her side of her face more into his chest where she could hear his heart. It pumped with a fast tempo and she smiled when she testfully snaked her arms around Minamoto's waist to see if his heart beat would change from the touch. She mentally giggled when she could feel his heart pump frantically from her touch.

" Oh…I see…" Karou smiled with wonder, her experiment becoming increasingly interesting.

Karou looked back up again with curiosity to see Minamoto's face, his eyes now a little more nervous, and his cheeks more feverish than before. Karou mentally squealed but knew at the same time knew this situation could get her into trouble.

Karou sighed and slowly began to un-snake her arms around his waist, "Sorry, you seem to be getting warmer, maybe I should-"

"No!" Minamoto quickly interrupted, his cheeks now glowing. Coughing nervously, Minamoto averted Karou's surprised gaze looking away as his cheeks and now ears glowed red while pressing Karou back into him.

"Your right where your suppose to be." Minamoto mumbled as Karou sucked in a breath as Minamoto gently maneuvered Karou where the both of them were laying on the couch, her body curled into his while he propped his head up with his hand and his other arm wrapped around her body where his finger tips lightly touched her open palmed hand.

Karou laid in shock, her whole body tingling, as she concluded this had to be a dream. That Minamoto basically had just told her that she belonged right where he was, like him like this, had to be another some sort of wild fantasy of hers, but now in life form.

" Much better now", Minamoto smiled as his fingertips continued to linger on her palm to where it almost tickled.

"Uh…um…mhhm." Karou nodded, speechless as her face fumed red. She could no longer pay attention to the movie, just to his warm breathe that hit the back of her head and neck that sent chills down her spine and goose bumps on her body.

But at the same time, this was perfect, the way she always she imagined to hopefully be with him one day.

Just not today, she definently did not expect all of this today…I mean what was next? A k-

"Kiss! Kiss her!", Karou urged vehemently from Minamoto's side that almost ripped the blanket off from the two of them as she shook her fist in the air.

It was now almost heading to the climax of the story ad Karou had been so sucked into the movie she completely forgot her embarrassment of lying with Minamoto. A tall brunette in the movie was standing in the rain waiting for the tall male with jet black hairwho clung to her, to kiss her after a long and in depth confession.

"I swear if you walk away now, you'll regret it!", Karou half shouted at the screen as the movie panned into the girl's anxious face looking into her partner's face who seemed still hesitant about what he was going to do.

"Argh!! Do iiiiiiit!!!", Karou growled as she shook both her fist violently that now shook the entire couch.

"C'mere! Your ruining the movie with your craziness!" Minamoto growled, pulling Karou more into him and grabbing one her hands to thread his fingers through.

"Have you not heard of the term patience? You have to give the guy some time. He is unsure of what he wants to do because he doesn't want to hurt her. He cares for her so much that he is willing to wait until he feels the time is right for certain things to happen. Even if that's not what the two of them want to do."

Karou gulped as she looked down at her hand that was pulled close to her and threaded together with Minamoto's hand. Plus, what he just said, was there something he was trying to say for her to read between the lines of. These were the days that Karou wished she had Shiho's abilities to read other's minds by just simple touch. Well, if that was the case and Minamoto wanted to play the, 'read through what I am really saying' game, Karou was fully prepared.

Narrowing her eyes as her cheeks burned red, Karou twisted her body to look up at Minamoto. "Well, what if that girl doesn't want him to make her wait? No matter how much he cares about her! Because if he really knew her feelings, he would know that all she wanted, and maybe what was best for her, was having him at that moment and not a second later. Why must guys make everything so much more difficult when all girls simply want is to know that the feelings that they have for that special other is going to be returned in the same way for them too. All she wants to know is that she is loved."

Minamoto looked down at Karou carefully, studying the emotions that danced in her eyes. Karou sighed after a long moment between them and began to turn back around until Minamoto caught her chin with his two fingers to turn her gaze back on him.

"But she is loved. There is neither question nor doubt about that. Must that girl really be reminded of that, is it not that clear?"

Karou blinked a couple times before starting to comprehend where this was going. The vibrant red head slowly began to have a bashful smile tug at her lips as her amber eyes sparkled with curiosity. Turning her body completely around where she could look at Minamoto face to face, Karou gently removed his glasses that had slid down his nose again and levitated them towards the ground with a soft thud.

"Girls always need to be reminded of it. And if they are truly loved, girls always need to be proved of it as well."

Minamoto's brown eyes expanded by the look he received from Karou, her eyes more mature than before, and his body began to quiver from his nerves.

"Oh geez, what have I gotten myself into? I knew I shouldn't have crossed this line, I knew it!"

Minamoto swallowed at the dry spot in his throat as he could feel his entire body heat up watching Karou stare at him patiently for some kind of response.

Tenderly, Minamoto brushed his thumb across the side of Karou's face to tuck a loose piece of hair behind her hair. His fingers continued to run through her hair until he cupped the back of her head where he gently pulled her forward where he could lean his forehead against hers.

"Why Karou…", he breathed his eye lids drooping over so he could just concentrate on the warmth that traveled up to Karou's face.

"Why must you be so darn stubborn?", Minamoto finally smiled that made Karou immediately look up at him in shock before cupping both sides her face to softly press his lips on her forehead.

"You are, you know?", Minamoto grinned as he slowly removed his hands and straightened up as Karou continued to lean forward with her eyes squeezed shut and cheeks a red so bright that it almost matched her hair.

Minamoto stood up to stretch and began walking to his room with a deep chuckle. " So, so stubborn…" he laughed to himself as Karou continued to sit on the couch in pure shock.

"He…" Karou began, her amber eyes popping wide open. Karou sucked in a sharp breath as gently pressed two fingers to her forehead. "He kissed me!"

"We're Hoooooooooome!"

"Minamoto-haaaaaan!? Where are you, I missed you all day!"

Karou slumped down to the ground as Aoi and Shiho came bustling past her and towards Minamoto's room where he feigned sleep.

The girl with semi long white blonde hair held a finger to her lips towards the taller girl with long jet black hair and glasses that impatiently tried getting through into the room.

"Shh! No Aoi! Minamoto-Han has been sleeping all day! We need to leave him be."

"But-", Aoi began to whine in protest till interrupted by Shiho finding Karou slumped on the ground with her fingers pressed to her forehead.

"Karou! Whats the matter, you look like your in shock!"

Aoi pressed a hand to Karou's cheek and quickly retrieved it back. "And, she is burning up too! Oh great, she must have caught whatever Minamoto-han has. Let's get her to bed."

Aoi and Shiho both took Karou's arms and heaved her up to drag her to their bed since Karou was still stunned to the core from what had just quickly had happened to her and ended like it never did occur.

Turning off the light after being tucked in Aoi and Shiho both whispered a goodnight to a Karou that sat staring up at her white plastered ceiling.

"This must have been a dream…had to be…"

And for the final time, Karou pinched herself on the arm to feel that twinge of pain to know she was really awake before going to bed with a smile on her face.

"Maybe some dreams can be true then…"


Finally had time to write again (more like inspired). I love, love, love this manga and I love the characters even more. Expect more stories from me in this area and I hope you guys enjoyed since I finally returned after almost (of what I think) two years.-Detectivegirl2005