Very little could be said about her life at the moment. She talked with the same people day after day, went to the same places on her nights out, and spent her weekends shut up at home, doing what her father couldn't. Writing teen love stories. They were usually just short stories compiled into one book, but they sold well enough, and she was proud, if only a teensy bit embarrassed, that they were under her own name. Of course, when she was out of ideas for her own novels, she did some ghost-writing on the side, but she felt that they never turned out quite as good the others.

Even though she could barely admit it, being too kind to outright flaunt the fact, she was becoming tired of her lifestyle and friends. There was nothing wrong with them of course.

Bantaro was still delightful, in his own dimly bright way, and the monkeys provided intelligent, pithy conversation; Kita was entertaining, and it was nice to see how much more he smiled, even though a time when he didn't was long gone, and Shiro still attempted to ask her out every now and then, which she politely sidestepped. Because while it was amusing and sad at the same time to see him struggle to get his words past his mouth, to see his body go completely rigid with concentration, she couldn't bring herself to break his heart. And she couldn't bring herself to say yes, lest she cause damage to her and Bantaro's friendship, or worse yet, cause a rift between Bantaro and Shiro.

Thinking on it, she realised, as she fell backwards onto her bed, that the only person she hadn't seen in a long time was Freesia.

The name hung languidly on her lips. How long had it been? She wondered. A year? Two? More than that even? Or perhaps less. Her face flushed as she realised that she couldn't remember the last time seen her friend, let alone spoken to her.

She wondered how long you could consider someone your friend when you never contacted them. In the way that thoughts do when you're not paying attention, she thought of Mikage and wondered how long she and Mick had been married. She wondered if Mikage ever planned on having children. It reminded her of awkward kisses after school, Bantaro's hands beginning to creep underneath her blouse, and that crawling, prickling feeling she got when he did that and how it always prompted her to stop him, because while she thought she liked him she could never bring herself to push it further.

She missed the easiness of her childhood. Lazy days spent with Freesia, who always called her Jiyu, and never Jubei. Although, of course, at the time she hadn't known why, she still found it endearing.

She'd never really planned to kiss Bantaro, near the end of her high school years. It had just happened in the way that some things do, and then it just ... kept happening. After school or when they went out with friends and somehow found themselves alone, they'd end up kissing, or at least as close to kissing as Jiyu felt she'd ever gotten. But Bantaro had never asked her out, and they'd never talked about it, or defined if they were boyfriend and girlfriend or not. Jiyu wondered what the big deal was with that. Boyfriend and Girlfriend. What did that specify, really?

And then came that day where, when his hands had insistently risen beneath her blouse, she had decided she was tired of pushing him away because this really didn't mean anything, and because she didn't really like him as much as she'd thought she might. So she had told him to stop. And he'd looked at her with such shock, like he really thought this was something. She'd told him how she felt, and that she thought that, even if he made an effort to have them be boyfriend and girlfriend, it wouldn't really end up anywhere, or lead to anything.

Later he had told her, when they were in the presence of friends who were too busy talking to each other to notice his words, that he understood; that he'd misconstrued his own feelings of brotherly protection for something deeper, and that she'd helped him understand who it was he really wanted. Who he'd actually been thinking of when they kissed, reluctantly mustering the passion meant for someone who wasn't there.


Her heart soured at the memory of hearing him utter her name. The reverence in his voice had made it sound like he was caressing it rather than saying it. She knew better now that that burning, vicious feeling that had scorched in her chest had not been random jealousy at Freesia for being able to hold Bantaro's affection, but had been jealousy of Bantaro, for having more of a chance at having Freesia then she ever did.

Jiyu sighed, the setting sun dipping beneath her window, and she felt the soft hairs along her arms raise in quiet protest against the coolness of the shade. The only problem, she thought, was that now she finally knew what Freesia had been trying to tell her, the beautiful blonde was gone. Had been gone for quite some time.

Jiyu remembered while Freesia had still lived with her, had still insisted on sharing the same bed, and still awaited her occasionally with that ever playful "come to me, my Jiyu". She remembered clinging tightly to the other girl, burying her face in the nape of her neck, and marvelling at how fast the other girl's heart beat, even though she appeared to be asleep.

And she remembered, in a moment of curiosity, looking down at those pink tinted lips, and wondering how soft they were. She remembered lightly brushing her lips against Freesia's, tentative, hesitant, and trying oh so hard not to wake the blonde from her slumber. Her heart had leapt and choked in her throat, trapped in the rush of ecstasy that that small touch had brought her. Yet nothing clich├ęd happened. Not like in the little novellas Jiyu now wrote. Freesia hadn't woken up and been horrified by Jiyu's seemingly inexplicable interest in her, nor had she kissed Jiyu back and confessed her love. The world just didn't work like that.

Freesia had slumbered on, only subconsciously aware of being alone because of the lessening warmth caused by Jiyu persistently stopping herself from returning to Freesia's side, tempting though it had been, and instead had gone to sleep on the couch.

And now, here she was, Jiyu thought bitterly, with only that one memory to clue her in as to what she was missing out on.

'Well screw you world! Screw you and your stupid way of making me unhappy!' Jiyu growled in frustration at her ceiling, 'If you ever care to try and make it up to me, just make Freesia come back ... She doesn't even need to love me anymore' Jiyu's voice cracked and petered out

'Just have her come back to me...'