Alright; my little surprise project is finally uploaded! ;D I've had this planned for months, actually, but I could never get around to writing it. I got into a really serious Shu x Bouquet mood the day before yesterday, though, and I couldn't shake it… So, rather than write another oneshot, I thought I'd finally get this thing up and rolling. Anyway, let me explain about this story a little bit: basically, it's just a collection of oneshots and drabbles, all of which with a pairing. It covers both the first season and Tenkai no Shichi Ryuu; in the case of certain pairings, it might also have references to some of my other stories. The main thing about this, though, is that you, the readers, request whatever pairing you want. :D In fact, this thing operates almost entirely on requests; if you don't request a pairing, I can still figure something out (it'll probably be one of my favorite pairings), but it works out much better with requests. :) Feel free to throw any unusual pairings at me – uncommon ones, Shadow pairings, or pairings with people that never even meet! I'd actually prefer a more unique pairing, because I'm aiming to challenge myself with this collection. But, by all means, request a more common pairing if you want – I certainly won't mind, because the more frequent pairings are often some of my favorites. ;) You can also request a pairing that I've already written – for example, the drabble below is Shu x Bouquet, but if you want another Shu x Bouquet, I'll write one. Oh, and when you do request, please avoid yaoi or yuri pairings! I'm not really a fan of either, so I don't think I could write one properly anyway… I also have an important note for someone:

FOR PRINCE OF TENNIS' SHAMAN: An, if this is too close to Sakura Matsuri/Tsukaimono, please let me know! I've had this idea for a while, but I didn't really know when and where to ask… I don't want to take your idea, though. I'll take it down and break up the oneshots individually, so just tell me if it's too similar.

Okay… I think that's all I need to mention. I promise that the next author's note for this fic won't be so long; that's another one of the goals for this story: to have very short author notes. XD Also, this will have a little "profile" like in Untold Tales. So, after that, read on and (hopefully) enjoy! :D

Name: Brightness
Date: December 15th, 2009 – December 17th, 2009
Type: Drabble
Time Period: Season Two; directly after Episode 8
Characters: Shu, Kluke (mentioned), Bouquet, Noi, Marumaro, Andropov (mentioned)
Pairing(s): Shu x Bouquet
Words: 806
Spoilers: Possibly light spoilers for the end of Episode 8

Going back to the beach was much harder than going to Kluke's house. The terrain seemed harder to get through, somehow. Probably, mostly, because his heart felt heavier.

When he's finally made it back to the shore, he drags his feet in the sand. He only looks up when he hears a cheerful laugh.

Bouquet is in the water up to her ankles, wearing that same bathing suit from yesterday. She's trying to coax Noi into the water, but he staunchly refuses each time. Marumaro stares at passing girls, occasionally looking over his shoulder to call Noi a chicken, along with the ever-present "maro".

He lowers his gaze again. He probably shouldn't even go over there; he would only put a damper on the good mood, and Bouquet always gets upset when he talks about Kluke anyway.

The splashing stops. When he moves his head up to see, Bouquet is staring straight at him, stunned. He's too far away to hear, but he sees his name form on her lips.

And then she's running towards him. "Shu!!" She stumbles on the sand, and when she rights herself, he thinks he sees a glimmer in her eyes, something moist. He tells himself that it's only the sun and water from the sea.

Before he knows it, she throws herself into his arms, making him stagger back. Her head is on his shoulder, and he feels a warm wetness soaking through his shirt sleeve. Tears. He swallows past a lump in his throat, putting his arms around her shoulders (considering what she's wearing, he doesn't know if it's appropriate to put them anywhere else).

She fists his shirt in her hands as she whispers, "I thought I was mad at you... And maybe I am... But when I saw you... I realized that mostly, I was worried about you..."

His heart starts beating so loudly that he can hear it in his ears. He closes his eyes and tilts his head towards her hair, feeling the softness of it and taking in the smell of that flowery shampoo she always uses, not caring if Marumaro or Noi see him do so. He can't bring himself to, not at this moment. His voice is just as low as hers was when he speaks. "I'm sorry."

Shu sighs. He doubts that it will cheer him up, but for her sake, he's going to try.

He unties his bandanna, then starts pulling up his shirt-

"Wait." Bouquet holds out a hand. Her voice sounds strangely constricted. "What are you doing? What about... you know, a bathing suit?"

Shu simply shrugs. "My shorts are pretty much the same. There's hardly any difference between them, so I might as well just wear what I already have on."

Before she can make anymore protests, he yanks his shirts over his head in a single motion. With the clothing not obscuring his vision, he sees that Bouquet has turned away with reddened cheeks. It seems odd to him. He can't figure out why she's behaving that way.

... He decides, after thinking about it, that it might be better that he doesn't know.

He jumps a little when his foot goes into the seawater; while he's dipped into rivers before, he can count the times he waded into larger bodies of water on the fingers of one hand. So, accordingly, he isn't quite accustomed to the temperature.

Bouquet lets out a gleeful squeal. "Oh, I knew I was going to get you to come into the water with me!"

"Probably only 'cause you guilted him into it, maro." Marumaro calls from the shore.

"Oh, shut it." Bouquet scowls at the Devee before turning back to Shu with a hopeful look. "You wanted to come in with me... right?"

Her eyes are so pleading, so hopeful, he can do nothing but force a smile and say, "Sure." He tries not to think about the things that Andropov said to him about Kluke a few hours before.

She lets out another happy sound, taking hold of his hands. "That's my Darling!"

He can't say what it is; she calls him that all the time, but... Somehow, this time affects him more. He feels a flush spread across his face.

Her eyes are closed, and she's laughing again. He realizes it with a start - she's happy just to be near him, just to hold him.

... He thinks he might know now what it feels like to melt, and he can't say he completely dislikes it.

Her eyes open, colored the violet of gems, her smile as bright as the sun. "I'm glad you finally came back."

"... Me too, Bouquet." And at last, at long last, he finally smiles for real, because whenever she's with him, it seems like he can never stay unhappy for long.

And it's done! :D I had some trouble with it, but… I think it turned out kind of okay. I don't think I captured Shu quite the way I wanted to, but… Hopefully it was cute… sweet… something… Anyway, if you can, please review and let me know what you think of it! :) When you review, that's also where you can request which pairing you want to see next. I'll do the requests in order of the reviews – from the first to the most recent. This story will not go onto the poll at any time, so it has no impact on the poll results. After 10 hits, I'll try to update this; I have a lot of other stories going, but these usually won't be very long, so it shouldn't be too hard to keep it going. So… That's all; see you soon! :D