First off, I apologize for taking more than a year to update. A lot of things had happened. I fell in love with Avatar: The Last Airbender and TophxZuko. XD So yeah, sorry.

I also got busy reading Kryalla Orchid's fanfiction. She's really good! You should take time reading her fics.

I also changed my style of writing. I hope this doesn't change the flow of the story. I'm just starting this style and I hope you'll like it.

Well here's chapter 13. Dedicated djyxa and sOrbetes: the two who had been there to read and review ever since I started this fic. Thanks, guys! :D

Insert witty disclaimer here. :P

Chapter XIII: What's right?

The cheer from the crowd was deafening. Usui Pirika smiled brightly the moment she finished her short program. It was flawless; each move was the incarnation of the song she chose.

She was Japan's bet for the Olympics along side Asada Mao who was currently in first. But not for long,her fans all thought. She'll surely be first.

She sat at the 'Kiss and Cry' booth beside her coach and her brother, waiting for the judges to post her scores. The anticipation was building when her eyes met those liquid-gold ones she wished she could let herself drown in once again. His face, like all Tao men before him, was void of all emotion. But his eyes burned through her, beckoned her, begging her.

She shook her head as she struggled to concentrate on the voice of the announcer: "5.7, 5.7, 6.0, 5.9, 6.0, 5.8, 5.8, 5.9." She felt a lump forming in her throat as she heard the marks for the technical aspect of her performance. She breathed deeply, willing the lump to disappear. She wasn't sure if what she's feeling is: a) happiness, because her scores are saying she's better than Asada technically or b) sadness, because she now had a sure shot at the Olympics.

"For presentation," the almost robotic voice of the woman announced once more. "5.9, 5.9, 6.0, 5.8, 6.0, 6.0, 5.9, 6.0." She felt her coach hug her close and her brother telling her how proud he was. She was now at the top spot after the short program, beating out Asada by 2.3 points.

But why does she felt like crying? She was confused. Shouldn't she be happy? She was at the top, the Olympic dream within her reach. Why did her heart felt like it was going to break?

She stood up robotically, half-heartedly waving at her supporters. As her brother led her through the tunnel of the stadium down to the locker rooms, she met his eyes again. She clutched at the stuffed panda in her arms, pulling it tight to her chest. It was a gift she picked off the ice, no doubt from one of her admirers. What now? She thought, looking away, whispering the same words to the toy she held.

What now? If she gets the gold, she'd go to the Olympics. What about after the Olympics? What would she do then? Continue being a figure skater? Join every competition until she reached 25? What next? Joining ice shows for a living?

Or should she throw this competition away to be with Tao Ren? Leave behind her friends and schoolmates to get home-schooled in the Tao Estate in China? To be trapped in a gilded cage while Ren was busy with his responsibilities as Clan Head?

Why was she being all negative about everything?

She was in the locker room now, her brother leaving her there to change and get ready to go home. But she sat on the bench, staring at her open locker blankly.

Slowly, she began to untie the laces of her boots, her mind recalling his words…

Then I'll be alone.

I can renounce my birthright.

I don't want anyone else.

He promised there would be no one else. Did he really mean it? Could he really give up the Tao Clan's fortune and power, if she denied him?

Then she thought about it. He could still be clan head, but it would be Jun's offspring who will inherit the clan when the time came. But he would be alone.

Why was she thinking this far off in the future? She huffed in frustration. She should be thinking about now! About her long program tomorrow! She shoved her boots into her gym bag angrily before standing up to get out of her dress.

"Amazing, Piri-chan!" Hao exclaimed happily, taking Pirika's hand and twirled her. They were at the Funbari Onsen, the Asakura's had closed the Tea House to celebrate Pirika's victory. "You were so beautiful out there!"

"Thanks, Hao-niisan," her smile never reached her eyes, Hao noticed, as she spoke to him. She took her seat in between Anna and her brother, opposite to where Hao took his seat.

The heir to half of the Asakura fortune looked to his brother's best friend, noting that the Chinese man was still staring at their azure-haired young lady. All the while, he knew she pretended not to notice. He gave Ren a nudge.

"Hn?" Ren replied, not bothering to look at him.

"Would you stop drooling for a minute?" Hao smirked, leaning back in his chair, still the Tao stared. He looked at Pirika, too, as she conversed with Anna. Hao loved only four women: his mother was one. Tamao was the sister he never had. Anna, but of course, his brother loved her and he loves his brother. So, he gave up on the blonde, his love for his brother winning out. And when he finally gotten over his attraction to Anna, it was too late, Pirika had fallen in love with his brother's best friend. "Just get a move on, Tao."

"I already know what she's going to say." Ren frowned, stabbing the meat on his plate with the steak knife.

She was going to tell him to wait. Wait until what tomorrow brings. Wait until she breaks his heart by skating a clean program. Wait until she stops spinning to the music that embodied the tragic fate of the star crossed lovers that Shakespeare created.

"What if she changes her mind?" Hao lifted his glass to his lips, taking a sip of sweet raspberry juice. He looked at Pirika through the bottom of his glass; she kept her attention to Anna, speaking in hushed tones. He smirked, setting his glass down, when Pirika lifted her eyes to Ren, and then quickly looked away, blushing when she saw that he was still staring at her. He had to stifle a chuckle when Ren started sawing away at the steak on his plate. He lifted an eyebrow at the Tao Heir, "You'll end up with beef paste if you keep doing that."

"Shut up." Ren snapped, causing Hao to laugh out loud.

Ren thought, would he be unfair if he left again before letting her finish her program? He didn't want to be there when she won. It meant she would shut him out of her life. And he would be alone. But would he be even more unfair if he just outright demanded that she come with him and that she had no say what-so-ever?

Yeah. He'd be a jerk if he did that.

He looked to the end of the table, Lyserg and his girlfriend, Jeanne Iron, were lovingly feeding each other Tamao's super special strawberry cake. His brows furrowed.

He looked across him; Yoh passed the chocolate sauce to Anna for her ice cream. She took it, smiling lovingly at him, a rare gesture from the usually uptight woman. His eyes narrowed.

He finally turned to Pirika's other side; Horo gave Tamao's hand a squeeze as she gave him a slice of cake with a scoop of caramel pecan ice cream. He snorted.

Were they doing this on purpose?

He looked at Hao when he stood, signaling to Chocolove who proceeded to play a slow, romantic song. Ren frowned as the long haired 19-year-old took Pirika's hand and pulled her to the inclined area of the Tea House, then held her waist and swayed to the rhythm of the music.

That did it. Ren stood up suddenly and took long, stomping strides as he stalked out the door.

"He's only here for you, you know?" Hao told her as they both watched Ren storm away.

"Don't, Hao-niisan," she huffed, a scowl marring her face. "Did he ask you to speak for him, too?"

"He didn't ask me to speak for him." Hao stated a matter-of-factly. "I just happen to know how happy you'll be when you go with him."

"Know?" She looked up, her blue eyes curious. "How would you know?"

"I know everything." He smirked. But then turned serious again, "I can see the way you look at him, Piri."

"How do I look at him?"

"Like how you looked at him at prom two years ago." He smiled tenderly at the young lady before him. He still loves her. He could've easily made her his when Ren left. But he knew she'd never love him like she loved Ren. So he decided he would treat her the way he treated Anna and Tamao, his little sister. "He was the only one who could turn that blue fire of your eyes into a deep, serene ocean."

"I never pegged you as a romantic, Hao-niisan," she smiled, knowing fully well that he was telling the truth. She did melt when she was around the proud Tao.

"You have much to learn about me, my little imouto." He told her mysteriously, giving her a spin and halted the dance. "But there is also so much you need to learn about our grumpy friend. And I also know for a fact that you want to know more about him than me."

"I don't know…" she trailed off. She gave a yelp as Hao poked her forehead.

"Just do what you think is right, Piri," He gave her a hug and left her on the floor as he walked out after Ren.

Do what's right? She mused, fingering the bracelet around her wrist. It would be easier if I knew what's right…

Before all you of you go hating on me, I love Hao. The other person I can see Pirika with is Hao. You have to thank Micelle for that. Hehe. I like the innocent, perky girl with the bad boys. *wink wink*

I would appreciate critique about my new writing style. :P