Make It Sparkle

Rating: T
Warnings: Eri/Shiki, some implied Neku/Joshua.
Disclaimer: I don't own The World Ends With You, and am not making a profit off of writing this stuff.
A/N: This is pretty much the first big idea I had for Eri/Shiki, and has sat around on my computer for months while I've written other things, because I didn't really know how to write the story's progression. Here is my best attempt. For that reason, concrit is really appreciated.
Thanks to Chel for the beta.

Shiki hobbled her way up the stairs, looking around to see who else was in the station, and if they knew her. Nobody so far. Good. She didn't need to be seen like this, not after what just happened. Oh god. Word was going to spread. Everybody at school would know how stupid she was, how she didn't even know how to have friends, how she couldn't even understand if somebody liked her. How she showed up at Shibuya station with makeup running down her face and a broken high heel.

She breathed in, breathed out. Shiki, she told herself, nobody's going to say anything. And he's not going to tell. She's slipping back into her old self, thinking that everyone's eyes are on her, worried when they're not. And even if Neku had any friends besides her and Beat and Rhyme and (ugh) Joshua, Neku wouldn't tell. He probably didn't hate her. Maybe he didn't like her anymore, though... she didn't want to consider the possibility, but it really had been very awkward.

She could blame Eri. Mostly it had been Eri's idea, but Eri really did seem to have a point. All the time Eri's been spending with Daisuke lately has made her sort of an expert in romance, and Shiki probably didn't see the signs correctly herself. And she didn't want to blame Eri. Eri could sometimes get carried away, but she meant well. This stupid outfit (no, the pretty outfit, the one that looked so stupid and unflattering on Shiki?) Eri thought it would be "sexy", would "give her more in the way of hips," spoken like a true fashion designer (without any regard for the girl having to wear that ridiculous thing.) The makeup? Eri thought it would bring out Shiki's eyes. And of course she needed the high heels. High heels brought her up to kissing height, Eri had explained, stretching herself up as tall as she could get, and blowing kisses at the air above Shiki's head. When Shiki put on the heels, Eri applauded, then swung back up onto her toes and gave Shiki an exaggerated kiss on the cheek. A long time ago, before, it would have been an embarrassing thing. This afternoon, Shiki just giggled. Eri was just so... Eri. The thought of Neku acting like that was hilarious, and maybe Eri only met him once or twice, but she had to have known he wasn't exactly... like that. If he kissed her, it wouldn't be funny.

She remembered now, the thought of kissing him had scared her. Eri told her it was just the butterflies. Maybe it had been a bad idea. Of course it had been a bad idea, look at how it had turned out. But she couldn't blame Eri. She couldn't blame the girl that left her with the lipstick smudge on her sleeve. Besides, it's not like she had friends to spare.

Her feet hurt. The theater wasn't very close to the station, and it had been bad enough walking there in intact shoes. One of her legs, the one with the broken high heel, stood about regular Shiki height, and the other was a good three inches taller. And then after she got off the subway, it was another few blocks to the bus, and then a couple more to her house. And then she'd have to explain the shoes and runny makeup and short skirt to her mother. "Were you at Eri's again?" her mother would ask. Her mother liked Eri enough-- everybody's mother liked Eri enough. It was just the clothes and the makeup and the way Eri seemed to just flutter through life that made them want their daughters not to be Eri. It was fine on her, but on Shiki? Her mother quite consistently disapproved. Not to mention what Shiki heard when her mother asked, "Were you at Eri's again?" It seemed to mean a combination of "Were you at Eri's again, instead of trying to pull your grades up?", "Were you at Eri's again, playing with makeup and acting like kids?", and "Don't you have any other friends?"

She didn't want to go home. She wasn't even sure she could manage the walk home at this point. She looked around for a bench, and sat herself down on one of the far sides. Maybe it would be easier if she broke her other shoe, but after reaching down and trying to pull off the heel, it still stayed firmly in place. Maybe it wouldn't have helped, anyway. Eri wouldn't have had such a horrible time asking a guy on a date. The outfit would have fit her perfectly (it was, after all, Eri's dress), snug instead of sagging, most notably in the chest. Eri's makeup would have stayed nice and neat, and of course, she would have gotten a "yes." She wouldn't have heard the guy tell her, in awkward, stammering fragments, that he liked her, really, but he didn't like her that way, and in fact, there was sort of someone else that he kind of sorta liked that way, not that he didn't care about her as a friend, of course, a best friend. The guy would be nothing like Neku, and he would have had at least some social experience in getting a confession from a girl, and wouldn't have flopped about all over the place telling her how important to him she was... platonically, to the point where if she hadn't been so mortified, if she hadn't been quiet little Shiki, she would have thrown up her arms and told him that yes, she got it. And if this had happened to Eri, there would have been no way, absolutely no way, that the jerkass that nobody but her prospective boyfriend managed to tolerate would prance out of the theater and back into the lobby, telling him to get finished with this business and come back into the theater, dear. Or aim a condescending look directly toward her, and her runny makeup, and her ill-fitting dress. No way in hell would any boy's tag along have told Eri to "Oh, stop crying, now, lots of fish in the sea," with a smile that could have cut glass.

And even if this all had happened to Eri, bad clothes and bad makeup and rejection and Joshua... well, at least Eri wouldn't have broken her shoe.

Eri got her into this. Maybe Eri could help. Shiki fished around in her bag for the phone, opened it up to see the same picture of Eri and herself as always. She smiled, if only for a second. It was nice to be around Eri, even if it was hard sometimes. It was easy to decide not to be jealous anymore. But ripping away every shred of envy, pushing it aside every time Eri had something that Shiki wanted and couldn't get? Eri had a boyfriend. Eri had lots of friends. Even Shiki would sometimes stop and stare and hurt for a moment, Eri was so pretty. She couldn't imagine how guys saw Eri. Eri was... desirable, so much more than Shiki could ever hope to be.

Part of her had hoped she could be desirable, too.

But she loved Eri, even through the jealousy. Eri had put the makeup on her, and picked out the dress and shoes, but she didn't trip Shiki or make Shiki cry or reject her. And she needed Eri now, Eri who said "Call me if anything goes wrong, okay?" and told her that she'd keep her phone on all night, just in case. And if there had been a second that Eri looked hopeful as she described how Shiki could rely on her always, if there had been a second that Eri looked sad or didn't meet Shiki's eyes when she talked about how great the day would go, Shiki chalked it up to her imagination. Eri hadn't wanted this to happen.

She punched in the number, waited as the phone rang.

"Hello?" Eri said. "Shiki, is that you? How did it go?"

"E-Eri?" she whimpered. "Can you come get me? Please?"

Eri was the kind of girl who was good in a crisis, the kind that wore the same size shoe as Shiki and didn't mind bringing an extra pair along to the station when there was a shoe crisis.

"Shiki, there you are!" came her voice from between businessmen and office ladies just getting out of work. "You look so... Shiki, what happened? What went wrong? Our plan was perfect!"

"He liked somebody else," Shiki replied. Eri didn't ask about the shoe. She just pulled her favorite pair of sandals, the ones with the canary yellow straps, out of her bag. They didn't match with Shiki's dress that well, but the dress didn't match with Shiki. And besides, Eri loaning out her favorite shoes was a gesture of goodwill.

"How could he like somebody else when you're there?" Eri asked as she wiped away the tear-trails of makeup from Shiki's face with a napkin she'd stored in her purse. "If I knew who that other girl was, I'd make sure nobody in school would ever talk to her again." She said it jokingly, but the truth was that Eri probably meant it. People had gone from well-liked to outcasts suspiciously soon after making fun of Shiki's shoes, or telling her that her stuffed animals were childish. She'd never directly connected Eri to any of it, but she didn't need to, and she wouldn't really be mad if it were true. It wasn't a nice thing to do, no. But it was good enough to have Eri on her side that it didn't really matter if it was a nice thing to do or not, as long as Eri did it for her.

Even if it wasn't Neku.

"Don't say that. Maybe there isn't even another girl," Shiki replied.

"You mean...?" Eri asked suddenly, grabbing Shiki's hand.

"No," sputtered Shiki, once she figured out what Eri meant. "I don't mean! Not... not that, all I'm saying is that he could have just made her up to be nice to me."

"Not that she's, you know?"

"A he?" Shiki asked.

"Yeah. I mean, those guys won't like you no matter how hard you try." Eri said. She giggled. "Maybe he is, you know? I don't see how he could like another girl better than you. You're all the things guys look for in girlfriends." Eri started to count on her fingers. "You're pretty, you're sweet, you're smart, you make him things, you..."

"I'm not pretty," Shiki replied. "Not even when you dress me up. It's like... like I'm in a costume or something."

"Plenty of guys like girls with glasses," Eri babbled on. "It's not like they make you ugly. You pull them off well enough. If glasses didn't look good on you, I'd have had you in contacts by now. Neku just must not like girls." Eri seemed to completely forget the fact that she did try to get Shiki in contacts, a long time ago. Shiki had said no. She wondered now, though, whether contacts would have been a good idea. Perhaps Neku wouldn't have told her no if she was wearing contacts. Maybe she should have just taken off her glasses. She wouldn't have been able to see, but she'd have been prettier, and besides, did she really need to see in order to hold his hand? To kiss him, even, maybe?

No. Odds are, she'd have just gotten a blurrier rejection.

"It doesn't matter," Shiki said. "I'm not that pretty. And Neku isn't, okay?" She thought of Joshua for a moment, all silver curls and sharpness. Dear. No. It couldn't be, not somebody like that. Half the time, Neku couldn't stand him. But then again, the other half of the time, Neku was trying to push Joshua into the group, to integrate him in when the others really couldn't care less, when Shiki and Beat and Rhyme couldn't stand him either, and not just half the time... Neku did care about Joshua. Neku probably cared about Joshua more than he cared about her. He had to not care about her, to treat her feelings like he did, to brush her off like she wasn't important to him at all... platonically. What a word. What a world.

"Okay, fine, he's not," Eri replied. "Never mind that we've never seen him have any interest in women, like, ever..."


"I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it!"

"Eri..." Shiki murmured. "It's not girls, it's me. He didn't like me."

"If it's any consolation," Eri said, almost brightly, "Daisuke and I just broke up. So it's me, too."

"Really?" Shiki asked. "I thought he was crazy about you."

"So did I," said Eri, "but he called just after you did, and, well, yeah. It's over."

"Aren't you upset?" Shiki asked. Eri had just been dumped, but she was still acting pretty upbeat. Why wasn't she sad? She liked him, right? Shiki couldn't understand why Eri just... wouldn't care. Having a boyfriend meant a lot of things. Losing a boyfriend meant that you weren't worth it, that you weren't any of the things that having a boyfriend meant. She thought, for a moment, that Eri must have already known what she needed to know about herself, that she didn't need the proof.

But she'd really liked Neku for Neku, hadn't she? She'd asked him out because she wanted to be with him, not just to have a boyfriend. Right? She always had a good time around Neku, especially now that he was learning how to open up to people. She liked his music, and the way he'd put the headphones on over her ears to show her a song he thought she'd like. She liked the way he drew, when he'd sketch a design to paint somewhere on a wall, and the lines shifted from aimless scribbles to shapes she knew well. Faces, people, places in Shibuya that they knew together. Once he'd worked Mr. Mew into one of his graffiti designs, just for Shiki, and she just about shone with pride. She liked him, a lot. So why did she feel a twinge of shame when Eri wasn't hurt about Daisuke? Why did she feel that it was so much about boyfriends and so little about Neku?

"Hm, not really," Eri mused. "I mean, now I'm going to have a lot more time to work on design with you, right?"

"But he was your..."


Never mind.

The subway to Eri's house came soon enough, and now that Shiki had Eri's yellow flats, it wasn't so hard to keep standing. Eri stood behind her, hand on her back, and though Shiki still wanted out of the minidress, she looked quite a bit better. She felt a lot better, too. The stress had been too much, but now Eri was here. Eri would take care of everything, take her home and help her figure out what to do next. Give her the kind of affection that comes from a best friend, the kind that's needed when the men aren't loving up to par. Stupid Daisuke, stupid Neku. (Could she really think that? Could she really be mad at him instead of hurt?)

She found herself on Eri's couch, in Eri's comfortable Sheep Heavenly pajama pants and tank, her nails covered in wet pink polish. A stupid movie was playing in the background. That was what Eri called them-- movies for when you needed mindless entertainment instead of something to make you think. Comfort movies. This one was about a girl in a pink dress who had to choose between a sophisticated city boy and her childhood friend, an awkward kind of guy who had loved her all along. Shiki could have seen the ending coming from a mile away, even if she hadn't ever seen the movie before. It was an American movie with Japanese subtitles, but neither of them were really paying attention enough to read them.

"Ready for top coat?" Eri asked. The girl in the pink dress started to sing. If Shiki had checked the subtitles, she would have known that it was about the girl discovering that there was more to Henry than just the townie boy she had known as a little girl, and how she should have just dated him all along instead of going to the city and breaking another man's heart in the process. Shiki never understood the way that the movie ended, even if it was obvious-- it was obvious in the movies, but did those things happen in real life?. If she started out liking one boy, how could she just as easily found out that she was in love with another? Boys weren't interchangeable. She got along with Neku differently than she got along with, say, Beat, and she had never had any desire to date the latter. Not even if Eri had a boyfriend, and she didn't. Not even if she found herself feeling jealous again, inferior, like somebody no boy could ever like.

Eri had no concept of personal space when she was alone with Shiki. Shiki sat on her side of the couch, while Eri sprawled over the rest of the cushions on her stomach, head nearly lying on Shiki's lap, legs kicked up over the end of the couch. With Ai or with Mina, or any of the other girls they knew, Eri could stand at a respectable distance, maybe give a quick hug, but stay separate, her own Eri. With Shiki, the lines between them blur. They're part of a whole, one person who together has enough friends and talent and looks to be human, and Shiki's not sure she likes it better than being just part of a person all by herself. She flicks at a fingernail. The polish doesn't smudge.

"Um... it's probably dry enough now," she says.

"Top coat, then!" Eri picked up a little bottle and began to paint the clear polish over Shiki's pink nails. She lay back down, head even closer this time. They watched Henry in his worn, patched suit and Mary in her pretty pink dress duet.

"He's an idiot, you know," Eri said, after a while.

"Yeah, but that's just part of his charm, I guess," Shiki replied. "I don't get why she chooses Henry, either."

"Not Henry," said Eri. "Neku. For not picking you."

"Over the other girl that doesn't exist?"

"Over all the other girls. All the other boys, too."

"What are you, in love with me?" Shiki said. "Can't we drop this? I don't want to talk about Neku anymore..."

Eri did drop it, for a few hours. The movie ended with Mary and Henry's wedding. Eri put in another DVD, this time a drama series, and wrapped a blanket around Shiki's shoulder. Shiki wasn't cold, but she didn't protest. After Shiki had been properly bundled up, Eri fished around for her sketchbook in a pink flowery bag, and, upon finding it, started drawing a dress. Once she was satisfied by it, she set it to the side and looked over at Shiki.

"Have you ever kissed a boy at all?" Eri asked. She sat up, shuffled over, and leaned close to Shiki. Their knees touched. Eri's hand rested on Shiki's shoulder, and her bright red hair dangled down, tickling Shiki's neck.

"Eri, what are you..." Shiki started. Eri was uncomfortably close. She liked the closeness, but it wasn't normal, not even for friends as close as they were. It was different from usual Eri, not closeness, but this amount of closeness. This closeness so breakable they'd need to come apart or push together even closer, and Shiki couldn't tell which was the scary part. Which was scarier-- both were change. Both made Shiki feel afraid.

"But have you?"

"You know I'd have told you if I had," Shiki said.

"Have you ever kissed anybody?"

"What do you mean?" Shiki said. Eri was being crazy. There was no way Eri wouldn't know if Shiki got her first kiss. Eri had, in fact, just been told seconds ago that Shiki hadn't kissed a boy, and she was still asking about it. "What are you talking about? You just asked if..." Oh.

Just like what she was saying about Neku, Shiki thought.

"Would you want to?" Eri asked. "Kiss someone, I mean."

"Yeah," Shiki said, "I think so." Then, before Shiki could tell what her best friend was about to do (although she really should have known better), Eri leaned forward just a little bit more, and then the distance between them broke.

"Eri!" Shiki cried, but she didn't stop her. There was something that felt good about this, Eri's soft lips pressed against hers, just lightly. This was Eri, but she didn't want to stop her, didn't want to push her away. Eri was warm, her shoulders, her lips, her back... Shiki moved her hands experimentally over the back of Eri's camisole, trying to find a place to put them while they kissed. She didn't know what to do, so she tried pressing back against Eri's lips. Something to tell her not to stop.

What am I doing? she asked herself. Here she was, rejected from a date with a boy, and now she was on the couch kissing a girl, and what was more, that girl was Eri of all people. Eri, her best friend, her secret jealousy, her partner in almost everything... well, she hadn't been around for the Game, for one, and Shiki never thought that Eri would become her partner in this...

Eri pulled away. Shiki smiled at her weakly.

"Can... can we do that again?" Eri asked, off her guard for once, rough instead of glossy for once, skin instead of fabric, but this was real. She was real, a real person instead of just something to kiss, and the idea scared Shiki so much that she nearly felt herself shiver.

"Okay," murmured Shiki, looking down. She leaned toward Eri, who leaned toward her in return, until they met in the middle. Eri was bolder this time. Shiki tried to picture Neku in her mind as she closed her eyes and let herself enjoy the kiss, but it felt different, too different, too strange and rough and wrong for something sweet and gentle like this, and Shiki really did shiver this time. No. She didn't want to kiss Neku. Strangely enough, once she let the kisser be Eri again, it was better. Eri's kisses felt natural, pretty, right.

"Shiki, you're trembling," Eri murmured.

"It's okay," Shiki said back, her voice barely more than a whisper. "Please, don't stop."

"Shiki," Eri breathed. Mouth on mouth, Eri kissing Shiki kissing Eri, and was that Eri's tongue moving at her lips? She didn't know what Eri was trying to do, but it felt good, so she opened her mouth. Shiki hadn't thought much of Daisuke so far, but he'd certainly shown Eri how to kiss. Or perhaps Eri hadn't learned this from a boyfriend-- perhaps she'd been the one to teach Daisuke.

She didn't want to share Eri with Daisuke. She didn't want to share Eri with anyone right then, whatever it meant. She didn't want to be second place anymore, but she didn't know how to give to Eri what Eri was giving to her. Eri knew how to kiss. Shiki didn't. Eri could kiss her and kiss her and kiss her, and all she would know how to do is react. Their friendship had taken that route so many times before. Eri had decided to become a designer, and Shiki reacted by becoming a better seamstress to sew her clothes. Eri had got herself a boyfriend, and Shiki reacted by trying to get one, too. She wanted to act upon Eri. She wanted to get Eri on her back, to kiss her like she kissed Shiki, to push her further off her guard to silence. To kiss her and kiss her until she felt so good she'd be as much of a wreck as Shiki was right then. Shiki couldn't speak. She couldn't kiss. She could only react.

She shivered again. It wasn't like when she thought of Neku, not at all. It wasn't... it wasn't a bad shiver. This was terrifying (wonderful, but terrifying) but she wasn't... what had that feeling been? Eri's tongue exploring her mouth felt so good, the shiver had just started through her body and passed everywhere, up to her hair, down to her toes, before it stopped. She hadn't known it could be like this between her and Eri, that it could have been like this all along.

"You have no idea," said Eri, pulling back, "how long I've been wanting to kiss you, Shiki," and Shiki tried her best to ignore it because it scared the living daylights out of her.

"Please, don't stop," Shiki murmured. She meant to tell Eri not to stop kissing her for anything else, not to stop and talk and tell her how much this meant to her, not to scare her like that. The way her voice came out, she sounded like there was nothing she wanted more than to lie back against the arm of Eri's couch and be touched and kissed and loved, and she wanted to say something else, tell Eri she didn't need her, until it dawned on her that she did.

Without Eri, she'd have nobody's designs to sew. Without Eri, she'd sit alone at lunch and have nobody to pass notes to during class, nobody's hand to hold when she was upset or excited, nobody to show her somebody thought she was pretty. Nobody to encourage her when she needed to push herself. Without Eri, she'd have nobody to come get her on the subway when she'd gotten herself into some kind of huge mess, nobody to take her home and paint her nails bright pink. Nobody to make it better. She couldn't let herself rely on Eri, not completely, but maybe she could learn to let herself trust her. Trust your partner, she thought. Maybe I should have taken his advice. Eri had never played the Game, never had to fight for her life every minute for seven days straight, never had to trust a stranger, never died, but Shiki and Eri were partners just as much as any pair of Players could be. Maybe Shiki could trust her. Could let Eri be a part of her, could let the line between them blur.
Eri shifted her weight onto her hands and knees, and Shiki found herself on her back, pressing into the couch cushions. She could feel her heart pounding, or maybe it was Eri's. Maybe it was both of theirs.

"Is this okay?" Eri asked.

"Yeah," Shiki said, too flustered to say anything more, if she knew what she wanted to say at all. She thought she was getting the flow of how to kiss, the way it worked and how to move her lips. She tried to initiate and found that Eri had already leaned in to kiss her again, sweetly but harder.

Eri acted upon Shiki, and Shiki reacted.

There could have been an argument the next morning. There could have been screaming and yelling and shame. Shiki could have accused Eri of taking advantage of her right after she'd been rejected. Eri could have been crushed, or maybe she would have fought right back. She could have told Shiki that she'd been a willing participant, too, and that just hours ago she'd been pursuing somebody else. The friendship would have been destroyed. Perhaps Shiki or Eri would have tried to reconcile, but there would have been nothing to say. They'd have passed each other plenty of times in the school's halls, Shiki alone and Eri surrounded by friends. Maybe they'd both turn around and go another way. Maybe they'd pass by each other, holding their breath until the other one was gone, only realizing it when Shiki wasn't around anymore, or Eri was gone, and they both could finally exhale.

Or maybe there wouldn't have been an argument. Maybe there would have been silence in the morning. Maybe Shiki wouldn't have said anything, and Eri wouldn't have said anything, and they'd have both done their best to forget what happened that night. They'd be best friends, still, but they'd stop touching each other, even the little touches that friends gave. Eri would learn how to give Shiki a proper amount of personal space, and Shiki would know not to let Eri hold her hand, even when Eri reached out and brushed their fingers together. Maybe the subject would be attempted a few times. Shiki would bring it up and suddenly, Eri would have good news about a boy she was pursuing. Eri would try to bring it up, and Shiki would act like she hadn't said anything at all.

But this is how it happened: Shiki woke up pretty gradually, realizing over the course of a few minutes that Eri was pressed up against her, arm around her waist. She didn't know how it had happened. They'd started out on opposite sides of the bed, once they decided to get off the couch and go to sleep.

Shiki was scared. She didn't want to lose Eri. Staying with Eri, too, was scary, but she wanted to. At the moment, she wanted it more than anything. She felt pathetic, needing Eri so much. And then there was the simple matter that Eri was a girl-- she'd never felt that way about a girl before, even if the reason was because she'd never gotten that close to anyone before. And then there was everything she ruined with Neku...

She rolled over and saw Eri stirring, smiling weakly.

"Eri?" Shiki asked.

"Yeah?" Eri replied. Her voice was afraid. Shiki suddenly realized that Eri was just as worried of rejection as she was.

"I think I like-like you," Shiki whispered.

"Not Neku?" Eri asked.

"Not Neku," said Shiki.

"Normal girls get boyfriends," Eri replied. Shiki thought for a moment.

"That's okay," Shiki said. "I don't think any guy will have me."

"So I'm the only one that'll have you, that's why?" asked Eri, playfully.

"Stop it," said Shiki. She knew Eri wasn't being serious, but she needed to answer the question for herself. She wasn't just rebounding from Neku's rejection, right?. "I liked it when you kissed me. I like being with you. Is that... is that good enough?"

"Okay," said Eri.


"Okay." And Eri leaned over to kiss her again. But Shiki was ready this time. No, she wasn't just rebounding. Yes, this was what she really, honestly, truly wanted.

Shiki acted.

After a little while, Eri ended up confessing to Shiki that the breakup with Daisuke had been slightly different than she'd describe it, namely that Eri had been the one to do the breaking up. She explained that she didn't want a boyfriend if Shiki couldn't get one, either.

Shiki, hearing this explanation between kisses, didn't seem to mind, but didn't believe that it had even that much to do with boyfriends at all.

And after a little while longer, Shiki ended up leaving this message on Neku's phone: "Hey Neku. This is Shiki. I'm really, really sorry about what happened. I... I got jealous again and I wanted a boyfriend because Eri had one, and I thought of you because I really like you a lot... you know? But I don't think I like you like that, either. Can we just forget this ever happened and stay friends?"

If she was good enough (pretty enough? smart enough? kind enough? cute enough?) for Eri of all people to want her, there had to be something likable inside of her. Neku would call her back, and then they could talk. She hadn't found what she was looking for where she thought she was looking for it. Nevertheless, she'd found it, or maybe she'd found something close enough the difference didn't mean anything. She turned her attention back to Eri, who was explaining the dress she'd drawn yesterday. It looked nice, but Shiki thought it could use some more detailing around the hems. She took the pencil out of Eri's hand, gently.

"What about this?" she asked, drawing in her part of the design.

"Shiki!" Eri exclaimed, almost looking surprised. "It's beautiful! We have to put that in, we just have to..."

Sometimes it was hard to be a team with Eri, sometimes surprising and sometimes wonderful, sometimes just like always and sometimes something new. Shiki wouldn't have it any other way.