Kaoru let out a slow and deliberate deep breath. Today he was working on concentration training. Since both he and Clarisse signed up for the competitions, her father was doubling down on their training. The fights were about a week from then and they both couldn't be any more excited about that fact.

Clarisse sat beside him, completely at peace with the exercise, seeing that she had done it many times in the past it was to be expected.

Kaoru, on the other hand was a bit distracted. He had been getting a small nagging feeling for the better part of a week now and it wouldn't go away. It seemed like he was forgetting something that was important or just simply uneasy about something that he couldn't put his finger on. After explaining it to his body guard, she had chalked it up to nerves and Kaoru, knowing that she probably felt the same way with her first competition filed the feeling away to a case of the butterflies.

But that didn't mean that he wasn't feeling it anymore. If anything it kept growing stronger with each passing day.

At the end of their meditation, Clarisse's father excused them but asked Kaoru to stay behind so he could talk to him.

Kaoru sat down in front of his sensei and took another quick deep breath, ""I know that I wasn't really in the zone of this exercise and I apologize for that." He was about to continue but stopped when the man held up his hand.

"Kaoru, I sense that you are feeling troubled about something but you do not know what it is, am I correct?"

The student nodded and stared at the floor in front of him, "Yeah, and it's really bugging me that I can't figure out what is wrong." Kaoru regarded the man as another father figure, and he liked to think that he was a type of son for the man, living with someone whose intent was to make you a best person that you could be tended to do that. He ran a hand through his red hair before sighing through his nose.

The man simply smiled and placed his hand on the boy's shoulder, "Everything that we feel happens for a reason, and everything that happens is for a reason. Now whatever you are feeling doesn't seem life threatening does it?" At Kaoru's decline he continued, "Then face the future how you can and know that you are going to come out better for it." He patted his shoulder again before standing, "Now this old man needs some food, would you care to join me?"

Kaoru nodded in the affirmative and stood up smiling, "You can count on that sensei, and food sounds amazing right about now." He followed out the door and relaxed a bit, his mind more at ease than it was a few moments ago.

Maybe he was right. Maybe this was something that had to happen to help him grow.

"Dude I can't tell you how great it is that you could come with me." Tomui was sitting next to Hikaru waiting his turn to fight. He had drawn number four and the second match was in progress at the moment, "Although I'll definitely feel bad if whoever I am facing is better than me and I get kicked out after the first round." He laughed and rubbed his arm.

Hikaru laughed at his friend and shook his head, "I'm sure you'll do fine and either way, it's still really cool that you're doing this!" The Hitachiin glanced back at the match which just ended and pushed his friend towards the standby area, "Go get 'em."

Tomui laughed and nodded, "Sure thing!"

The red head leaned back and let his mind wonder. A thought about his twin passed through his mind like it does every day. Hikaru often wondered where Kaoru was, what he was doing and when he was coming back. The teen let his gaze drop to the ground in front of himself.

What if Kaoru never came back? What if he somehow died where ever he was?

Sure that letter had said that if anything was life changing, the other twin would be notified but what if he got that message tomorrow? Next week? Hikaru would never be able to apologize for what he did. He would never be able to hold his other half in a tight hug again.

Feeling tears start to prickle behind his eyes, Hikaru forced those thoughts away. He lifted his head up to the two competitors and took a deep breath. Where ever Kaoru was, he is fine.

He had to be.

Hikaru waved to Tomui as he stepped into the area and focused on the fight in order to get his mind off of the depressing thoughts that had started to plague his mind. He was here for a friend, not to think about next to impossible 'what ifs.'

"I won Clarisse! I won!" Kaoru all but tackled his body guard in a hug. He pulled back and started jumping around in circles, "I can't believe it! I won my first competition! I get to go to the next phase!"

The brunette smiled at the boy and nodded, "That's great Kaoru-san. I'm really happy for you." She lightly giggled at the teenager's antics and placed a hand on his shoulder, "If you use up all of your energy you won't be able to fight next week."

As Kaoru calmed down enough to sit he covered his mouth, still in shock that he had won, "I won Clarisse." He said again, quietly through his fingers. There was a small weight on his shoulder and he looked up. There she was smiling at him.

"And you will win the next round too."

Happy tears started to gather in the corners of his eyes as he jumped up and hugged her again, "I really can't thank you enough."

The French girl laughed again and patted his back, "It's really nothing Kaoru."

"But it is." Clarisse went quiet, waiting for him to explain, "I'm strong enough to protect myself and I'm… I feel… free." He said quietly in complete happiness.

Clarisse pulled away from the hug and look him in the eyes, "And I am so very happy that you have found yourself Kaoru."

The red head's smile was almost too big for his face. Tears had started to stream down his face and he laughed bashfully as he wiped them away, "Now I feel like such a sap." He heard her giggle quietly and laughed as well.

He was okay now.

Look another chapter! I put up two because of the fact that I haven't updated in a very long time. You guys deserve a finished story, and it should be done in a few more chapters. Thank you for hanging on for as long as you have.

And I only have time for updating as of this moment, sorry Inu I'll reply as soon as I can.