Chapter 19: The Rumored Feeling of Love

The bunch of us exited Christmas Corporations calmly with heaving breaths coming occasionally from the side due to our battles. Everything was over. Everything was done. It was kinda hard to believe, now that I thought about it. Hadn't it been just awhile ago when Chika had just transferred over?

Now that I thought about it, it had been just awhile ago when Chika transferred over. It had just been awhile ago when everything was, well…normal. No abnormal masses of X-Eggs. No need to live the double-life of heroes of the world (well, that just sounded real cheesy) and normal high school students. No need to…to…

Stumble through the messes of my mind caused by no other than one purple-haired mastermind.

And now that I thought about it, not everything was over. What about…me and Nagihiko? What was gonna happen? Would he forget? (Maybe. It was really climatic and suspenseful during Amu's speech, that maybe he forgot). Would he approach me about it? (Wouldn't that be the best thing in the world?) Unless…he was approaching me to reject me. (Which would definitely be worse than him forgetting).

"Rima-chan?" a familiar melodious voice came from my side. I didn't stop walking as I continued pacing forward. I was really in no mood to turn around and face him. What if he was approaching…to reject? Rejection was too big of a risk. I really didn't want him to. Please, go away. "Rima-chan! Rima!" the voice came again, more urgent and more impatient. I stopped, realizing my childish behavior of running away. Now I'm the one forgetting about the confession. I'm the one running away from the truth. I turned around and faced him properly.

"Yes?" I questioned eerily, secretly hoping he would get my hint that I was waiting for him to talk about the subject of me and him. He smiled nervously as he caught up to me. As he kept walking, I took it as a signal for me to not stop walking. Pacing side-by-side with him, I managed to control my flinch as his hand brushed past mine.

"Rima? Nagi? Hurry up, you guys are lagging behind," Amu's voice came from up front. "Mhmm," I responded as I picked up my pace, not quite caring about Nagihiko's own pace. However, soon enough, he caught up with me and the rest of the crowd.

The group of us walked out of the building rather silently, too exhausted and tired to strike some small talk. Eventually, as we walked, we reached crossways for specific people to leave.

"Awh man, I really don't wanna go home," Kuukai complained as he walked towards the right and the rest of our group went towards the left. "I'm so certain my brothers are gonna kill me…" he complained. Utau chuckled weakly. "Or are you afraid of the dark?" she suggested. Kuukai flinched.

"A—afraid of the dark? Are you kidding me, Utau? Out of all the phobias I could have, you think I'm scared of the dark? Haha! You're joking!" he exclaimed airily. We all raised a suspicious eyebrow at him. "I—I gotta go home! See ya!" Kuukai exclaimed, dashing off down the road faster than when attempting to pull me on his dashes. Utau blinked and smiled evilly.

"Now I know something to challenge him to…" she smirked, as the group continued down the road.

"Hey, our turn," Ikuto jerked his thumb towards the right side of the road while talking to Utau. Utau nodded. "G'night, guys," she said, walking off with her brother. "G'night," we chorused back. Nadeshiko raised an eyebrow at Ikuto.

"Ikuto? Aren't you gonna say goodnight to Amu-chan?" she asked curiously. Ikuto smirked while Amu blushed. "T—there's no need for the stupid perverted cat to say goodnight to me—" "As Amu-koi said, there's no need, since I'm gonna go see her the moment I drop Utau off," Ikuto said smoothly. Utau rolled her eyes. "I'm not eight anymore, Ikuto," Utau pointed out, as Ikuto shrugged. "And you're not thirty yet, so shut your trap until you are." Utau growled but walked towards the right with Ikuto following after her.

Kairi and Yaya surprisingly lived close to each other. "Kairi, let's go!" Yaya exclaimed cheerfully, dragging her boyfriend's hand as the two eagerly walked home. "I'm leaving here too as well. Good night, everyone," Tadase spoke politely before attempting to catch up with Yaya and Kairi (I'll bet you he didn't). Finally, we were left with me, Nagihiko, Nadeshiko, and Amu.

"Nagihiko, let's—" Nadeshiko began until Nagihiko quickly shot her down with a glare. He smiled innocently and turned towards me and Amu. "Ah Rima-chant! I just remembered that you left something at my house! You know, from the sleepover?" he said, as I cautiously peered into his caramel eyes. They were slightly nervous, dancing with anxiety, and—what, I don't know! I'm not a mind-reader!

"Oh, right. That," I spoke evasively, understanding that he had something he wanted to sa. Thankfully, Amu didn't pick up on anything suspicious about our discreet rhetoric. "Alright," she said, "but I need to go home now. See you guys tomorrow!" she exclaimed cheerfully as she turned around and continued down the road without me.

Nagihiko then turned towards his sister. "Nadeshiko, don't you have something to do?" he hinted. Nadeshiko smiled innocently—and evilly, as I noted. "Nope! Let's all go home together!" she exclaimed cheerfully, beginning to skip down the road. Nagihiko sighed irritably. "Nade…" he spoke, almost begging like a cute little puppy—

Whoa. When'd be become a 'cute little puppy'?

Nadeshiko giggled. "Alright, alright, I'll stop bugging you two. Have fun, you two lovebirds!" she teased, skipping off towards the pitch black darkness. I watched her plum-colored ponytail swing right and left until the darkness completely swallowed her whole.

"Should we go for a walk?" he offered. I responded by taking the lead and pacing towards the nearby park.

The two of us walked in complete silence. Neither of us wanting to kill the moment—the moment of complete silence, of the tranquility and peace of the town at midnight. The occasional cricket chirp and bird cry startled me, but besides that, the midnight silence was soothing.

Soon enough, we got to the park. I walked towards the swing and rested myself on it, my feet lightly kicking off the ground. Nagihiko took the swing next to mine as the two us silently swung…on our swings.

Guess who broke the silence? One word: not-me.

"It's rare to have moments like this," he spoke up. I shrugged, mostly to myself, as I kicked on the ground some more.

"What moments?" I questioned.

"Moments," he insisted, "like this. Where everything's quiet between you and me. No fights, no arguments, no teasing from the rest of the Guardians…" he trailed off. I had to agree with him on that—there were rarely quiet, peaceful moments between the two of us.

"Mhmm…" I mumbled agreeably, not having much to say. I soon realized I'd stopped the conversation he'd managed to strike and sighed to myself.

"Something wrong?" he questioned, referring to my sigh. I shrugged, again, to myself. "No. Not really. Maybe. Perhaps," I responded as I heard him slightly chuckle. What was so funny, jeez? "You're funny," he said, as I decided not to go all 'Goddess of Comedy' on him. Somewhere deep in my gut, I had a feeling that'd ruin whatever moment we were having now. I decided to trust my gut feelings for once.

"So…" I started, trailing off mindlessly when realizing I had no clue what I was gonna say. "So…?" he mocked teasingly as I growled at him. He laughed again, his swing picking up its swinging pace as I did so as well.

"What did I leave at your house?" I asked, deciding on an indirect approach. Though he didn't (or maybe he did?), I could almost hear his amused chuckle. "Apparently, Amu-chan is still the same as always," he remarked, as I rolled my eyes. "She always will," I commented.

Silence. Crickets chirping. The creaking of the rusty swing set's chains.

"Was it true? The stuff you said back then," he questioned eagerly (or so I hope). I turned away, facing the right side of the swing and the pitch black darkness, attempting to trace the outlines of the trees with my eyes. "What stuff?" I responded, deciding again to go in circles. I could hear him give an irritated grunt as he adjusted himself on his swing (assumingly, according to the noises from his side).

"Do you really want me to repeat it?" he asked astutely as I growled under my breath. "No," I hissed as I imagined his gloating grin. "Then would you answer my question? Was all that true?" he asked smoothly, his voice like velvet that I just wanted to run my hands through.

Did that sound strange? Perhaps that's what love does to people.

"If you answer my question, I'll tell you," I responded. I imagined him perking his ears up, like what Yoru does with Ikuto. "Hmm? Sure," he replied, amused by my antics. I took a deep breath and turned around, staring at his face.

"How do you view me?" I asked sincerely. I could see a familiar smile appearing on his face. "What do you mean, Rima-chan? You're my friend," he responded almost robotically. I could only hope he was suppressing his feelings of some sort. That was my only hope.

"I don't mean that. You know what I mean," I frowned at him indignantly, hoping he'd get my point. His smile disappeared as he looked at me solemnly. "Do you mean…if I like like you or not?" he asked. My face flushed at the mentioning of like like (which, in whatever case, sounded rather secondary-school to me) as I lowered my eyes to his shoes—notably, shiny, brand new Nike Airs. Rich freak.

"What do you want me to say, Rima-chan?" he questioned back. I looked up again and glared at him. "Stop turning the situation around and asking for how I feel for you! I want your answer, and I want it now!" I exclaimed. I slightly heaved from my infuriated speech as I watched his face change from the previous smirk to—again—solemnity.

"Rima-chan…" he began in his 'let's-talk-this-out' tone but I hopped off my swing, unable to take his infuriating antics any longer. "Stop trying to change the topic!" I exclaimed, enraged by his confusing behavior. "I just want you to answer the frickin' question! However, you just keep on trying to avoid the topic. Stop 'Rima-chan'-ing me, it's not working! You and your stupid, freaking charming smile can just drown in the school swimming pool!" I blurted, rambling about the first things that came to mind. I could see the corners of his mouth curl up in amusement but quickly drop again, seeing my state-of-mind.

"For God's sake, Nagihiko, it's always been like this!" I exclaimed, turning away from him and pacing on the ground a little. "Whenever I ask you a question, you're always responding with vague answers, like,' What do you want me to say, Rima-chan?' or 'Nothing, Rima-chan. Nothing. By the way, blah blah blah blah blah blah BLAH.' And if none of these work and I still persist for my answer, you somehow always manage to make me so mad that I'm the one who stomps away from the conversation! You're always avoiding me whenever I ask you something about your life! Well, I'm sorry if I'm intruding, but if you haven't noticed, I do disclose such information to people like you! I expect just as much back! I want you to trust me, Nagihiko!" I blurted.

"You remember Amu's speech just now?" his voiced hung in the air. I could almost see his gloating smile.

"There you go again!" I exclaimed, whirling around and pointing my finger at him accusingly. "We were talking about you avoiding the topic! And there you go, changing the topic right in front of my face! Dear God, Nagihiko! Even if you're going by Amu's speech of 'doubting not trusting,' there's gotta be a certain limit to that! You can't just doubt everyone—that's the same as trusting everyone!" I pointed out, even surprised by my own philosophical discovery.

"Nagihiko, please," I beg the purple-haired freak, "can you just answer my question so we can both move on with our own freakin' lives?" I could feel my eyes going dry and sore. I could feel the tears about to come up. Shame how I can command my tears to fall anytime but I can't control them and hold them back.

"Well?" I snarled at him, infuriated once more by his silence. Was this his last tactic? The silence treatment? I was about to snap and turn off and runaway until he stood up from his swing as well.

"I—" he began awkwardly, cutting himself off. "I'm sorry for avoiding all that stuff," Nagihiko apologized sincerely. I rolled my eyes at his behavior. "Whatever. You're changing the subject again," I pointed out mercilessly. He smiled awkwardly—sadly, sorrowfully, unsure of himself. "I apologize for that as well," he responded smoothly as I snorted. "If I wanted you apologizing, I could just blackmail you with pictures of you cross-dressing as Nadeshiko," I pointed out. "Answer me. Now," I demanded. He took a deep breath.

"Yes…" I could barely hear his whisper in the breeze. Unnervingly, I peered at him curiously. "Now, are you lying?" I questioned suspiciously. There was not a hint of joking around or goofing off in his eyes, just pure emotion and solemnity. It was for real.

"No," he answered so sadly that I wanted to go over and smack him out of his state of melancholy state. "Well, that's great to hear," I said sarcastically, turning around and beginning to walk off. "Wait!" I heard him cry, as I turned around. "Yes?" I questioned icily.

"Now what's wrong with you?" he demanded hotly. "I've just accepted your confession and now you walk off like nothing happened?" he questioned, almost panicking. I bit the bottom of my lip as I completely turned around. "What do you want me to do?" I asked him. "I don't know what I'm supposed to do! I—I—I actually expected you to reject me," I admitted. "There was no reason for you to accept me."

"But I have," he pointed out like a desperate child. I snorted.

"And the world does not revolve around you, purple-haired bastard," I growled. "Didn't you remember what I said? 'Just answer my question so we can both move on with our own freakin' lives.' I'm moving on. I—I don't wanna go anywhere with you. I don't," I blubbered.

I—

I—

I was afraid.

Something had occurred to me. Somewhere in the back of the rational part of my mind, I was afraid of what he could do to me. Even if his eyes weren't lying—he could. What if he were toying me around? That would hurt even more, wouldn't it? What if…he turned out like Kirishima-kun? The overprotective type? I'd have to break it up…but I wouldn't want to. I don't want to get into another crazy predicament. Knowing he liked me was enough…for now. I really didn't know what to do anyways. His answer to my question was the equivalent of him confessing—and I was rather surprised. What should I do?

My rational mind: run. Run (like the coward you are), run away (from the truth and reality), run away (from the possibilities that he could bring you—both happiness and sorrow).

"But I do!" he exclaimed, taking an aggressive side in our conversation. "I want to be with you everyday, every hour, every millisecond, Rima!" he exclaimed. "I want to be able to kiss you and tease you and watch you turn red every time I do," he begged. "I—I—I love you too, Mashiro Rima," he confessed so honestly. "Why—why won't you accept me?"

I…

"I'm afraid. What if you abandon me?" I asked.

"I won't."

"What if you're lying?"

"I'm not, and I will never."

"What if you hurt me?"

"I swear to God, Rima, if I hurt a hair on you, I will personally send myself to hell."

I gulped, surprised by his assertiveness on the situation. Perhaps I could…?

"One last question," I spoke up. "H—how much do you love me?" I asked him. If—if only I could know…though perhaps it was just that fairytale, childish side of me hanging onto the situation.

"If I could answer that, I'd need everything good in the world—and everything more," he answered.

Tears watered up in my eyes and streamed down my probably red cheeks. He walked over with his hands opened, as he hugged me tightly and placed his head on top of mine. I smiled through my tears and felt the warmth of being in his chest—in the arms of the person you love.

"Will you be my girlfriend, Mashiro Rima?" he asked sincerely and truthfully. I smiled at him, secretly pleased with the romantic setting: 4:00 in the morning, crickets playing music in the background, in a public area, yet without a person in sight.

I choked on my tears. "What do you think? Yes." He smiled at me—that stupid, idiotic, yet charming smile of his, and swooped down for a kiss. A sealing kiss. A beautiful kiss. A kiss, full of promise and hope.

Have you ever had those moments when everything didn't matter except who you were with? When you didn't care if the sky were to collapse, the ground was to cave in, or a tsunami was to strike your town right now? When it didn't matter if today was your last day or tomorrow was, or the very next minute, but all that mattered was that very second?

I felt that in that split second.

The kiss was cold—yet warm, frightening, yet promising, beautiful, and spectacular, and everything else good in the world. And suddenly, though the chilling wind bit through my skin, the fatigue from the battle still lingered in my body, and my mother was probably back at home threatening to kill, all was right. All was good. All, and everything on the world, was absolutely perfect. Have you ever had this feeling before? I haven't—till now.

Perhaps this is the rumored feeling of love.


A/N: I'M DONE. DONE. DONE AND DONE AND THROUGH WITH IT. FINALLY. (And it's not a year yet!)

I'll like to thank all of my reviewers and readers for the support given. You all inspire me to write and by myself, I probably couldn't of actually finished such a story. Thank you so much.

Special shout-out to my best reviewers: i-is-anime-freak (who reviewed every chapter in one single blow!), ColinatorGX (who should write a SC! story), the one and only mimi cha (whose reviews make me feel giddy ^^), soccergirl56 (who always encourages me to update sooner and sooner...and i try my best to do [which usually doesn't come out real good]), ThatGirl96 (short, sweet, to-the-point reviews), and Juleskat01 (who makes me proud of the fluff i write).

I'd really like to thank xoBitterSweetox for her constant support and even after I reply to her review, she replies back. She's great inspiration and has a ton of creativity in her. She's a really good author.

Also, the final shout-out goes to my most loyal reviewer...WantingFreedom. Believe it or not, she's reviewed ever since my first chapter and reviewed for every chapter since then. Thank you so much, and I love your stories as well. I promise I won't be so lazy and actually review more. Now I know how people feel when thy get reviews. Thank you so much, WantingFreedom.

And thus concludes Tears of Venus. Y'know, I don't even remember why I called it "Tears of Venus." I think it had something to do with a sad ending I planned originally but took out (cause who likes angst? Good doses are fine, but a final dose sucks). Ah well. I'd change it but whatever. Tears of joy, alright?

I might put an epilogue, but who knows. I'm putting this story under complete though. Thank you SO much for everyone's support, and I hope you'll continue to read my next story (whenever THAT'S coming out).

- Blossoming Hope