"I want to keep Nishino safe right now, so, sorry..."

"....Sorry."

"....Sorry."

Toujo Aya was running, running a lot harder than she ever had before. There wasn't really a destination in mind. When she had heard that sentence, something inside of her had seemed to crumble away, leaving a hole that hurt- literally hurting her chest, and every beat of her heart seemed to send a new pulse of pain through her body.

She'd had to reply of course, she'd had to stop and talk to Satsuki. She'd ignored the pain as much as possible, until it grew to a level where she had quickly said goodbye to Satsuki and made a mad dash away from the bench, and away from the school and the bright lights of the school festival.

She had run past couples, not really seeing them, but recognizing their existence..past children and old people and other students she didn't really know. Now she was hurtling along a quiet street, where the only sounds were the chirping of crickets and her own labored breathing as she continued to run, without any real reason at all. She didn't quite know where she was at all. The night seemed very big and large, and the stars were the only thing that kept her from getting scared.

Why had she been running? It was not like it could help...or could you forget a painful moment if all you did was run away?

Despite the somewhat unreal feeling and the pain of rejection, oddly, Aya's thoughts were calm. Her eyes were red and overflowing with tears, her hair was knotted from the wind, and her lungs were burning for air. Her heart also felt like it was about to burst- though she couldn't tell whether it was from the rejection or from the endless running. But her thoughts stayed collected, although they were repeating the same words over again, and the same face stayed in her head. Maybe that was what came of being an author. Her brain was organized just like a story, just like her perfect schoolwork, just like that one notebook that had ultimately brought her to where she was now.

Manaka-kun.

Toujo's legs finally gave out halfway across a park she didn't really recognize, and she collapsed onto her knees, still gasping for air.

You said we would make movies together, always be together. Our big dream is quickly disappearing. Why are you getting so far away?

Her lungs finally stopped burning, and she was able to stand up again- only to slip on the wet grass and fall right back down. That was a pretty normal thing for her, anyway. The normal occurrence of falling down, and the small pain that came when she hit her scraped leg against the ground, made her feel less like it was all a dream and more like it was reality.

Just when you wished it could have been a dream, it wasn't..

Blinking, Aya realized her vision was blurry- both of her contacts had come out sometime while she was running and crying. She dug into her skirt pocket and drew out her glasses, which she put on right away. The world blurred and then went into focus.

Suddenly, she felt a tap on her shoulder. "Hey, are you okay...wait...Toujo? Is that you?"

Startled, Aya turned around. Ah. The uniform, the sandy hair and clear blue eyes..Amachi. He always did seem to turn up at moments like this.

"You're looking beautiful as always." He grinned and sat down on the damp grass next to her.

Aya had to laugh. At the moment with her knotted hair, red eyes and thick glasses, she was far from looking gorgeous. "Ah..how did you find me? This place is kind of out of the way..." she looked at her knees.

"I told you, Aya-chan! There is an unbreakable bond that connects us! No matter where you are, I can always find you and...oh," he said, finally noticing her tearstained face. "What happened?"

"Nothing.."

"Is it Manaka Junpei again?"

Aya's silence said more than her words would have.

"Aya, why do you keep loving him?"

"Ah..." she was silent for a moment. "He always..chases right for his dreams. He made the film club, with his dreams built into it, and he made everyone around him feel like their dreams were within reach as well..." Aya trailed off.

"He's never done anything for you!"

"That, that's not true! He was the first one to notice me, in my whole school..in my whole life!"

Amachi frowned. "I'm sure I would have noticed you, Aya. It's just pure chance that he got to you first, and you can never get him out of your head! It's always about that Manaka! He-"

A tear trickled down Toujou's cheek and Amachi broke off abruptly.

"I'm sorry, Toujou. I shouldn't have said that. Just cry, okay? No one will hear, and I don't care if anyone does."

Hesitantly, he reached out and stroked her knotted hair. It was still soft, despite being windblown. For once, he wasn't pushed away. Toujo didn't have her usual reaction of running away, and also a new thing: Amachi didn't make any comments to her about how she should just choose him. She was grateful for that small thing.

Her shoulders shook, and she covered her face with her hands. "Wa... Uwahhhh!" her whole body shook with the force of her crying, and tears streamed out from between her fingers."

Manaka-kun...Manaka-kun!

Never again.

No more films, no more talking, no more discussing movies and novels. Nothing. I can't reach you anymore.

I can't reach you anymore!

Toujou could feel Amachi's arm circling her shoulders as she continued to cry. It was warm. Much warmer than the tears that were pouring out of her eyes and filling her mouth with a taste of salt. They also were soaking Amachi's shirt, but he didn't seem to care.

That was the nice thing about Amachi. He loved her no matter what.

Maybe she was being greedy, using this love when she had just been rejected by the person she had loved since middle school. But she needed to be loved right now. He could ultimately only be her friend, but Amachi was probably the best one to be there for her at the moment.

When she finally stopped crying, she saw that Amachi's face was tight and carefully wiped of any 'd hurt him with all that crying for someone else.

"I'm sorry." she whispered. His face softened slightly and she leaned against his shoulder, needing a support. All the tears had left her as limp and weak-feeling as a noodle.

"It's okay...ah! You're all tired! You probably dehydrated yourself with all that crying!" Amachi jumped up and looked frantically around for his bag, in which he found a sealed water bottle. He twisted the stiff cap off and handed it to Aya. She gratefully took it and drank a large gulp of the water. She felt better almost instantly.

"Thanks.." she said again.

"Don't mention it... Aya?"

"What?"

"You look really pretty, even when you cry."

- - - - - - - - - -

This is my first real attempt at a fanfiction, so please review! Feel free to be harsh, I don't mind.

For some reason I'm having a creative week, so hopefully I'll get at least one more chapter up here before my creativity runs out, since I only get creative moments about once a year.. =/

Anyway, thanks for reading!