(Disclaimer: No I do not own any of the wonderful story that is Now and Then Here and There.)

(AN: Enjoy, these are going to be a series of shorts more or less connected to each other. Please review! Reviews are like dope for writers.)

Shifting his weight from foot to foot, Shu Matsutani held his body in a tense stance. Staring through the mesh-net mask, he was prepared for any sudden movements. Oro stood across from him, holding the bamboo katana at the ready and circling experimentally. Shu's eyes caught every motion, from Oro's shifting to his right foot, to the natural movement of his sword that accompanied his breathing.

In an instant Oro was on him, lunging forward with his right foot to add to the momentum of the katana. He called out Shu's right arm and swung with all his might. Shu turned his body, taking his right arm out of Oro's wring and replacing it with a solid block. The air rang with a clear crack! of wood hitting wood.

However Oro immediately drew back his weapon and struck again and again at every place Shu left unguarded. More loud cracks! sounded as Shu barley held off against Oro's swings and thrusts. Suddenly, Shu spied an opportunity and jabbed at Oro's chest. Oro broke off mid-swing to deflect Shu's offensive.

The combatants stepped back from the close engagement, Oro now on the defensive and Shu circling him dangerously. Shu was on the attack, he began by feigning a swing at Oro's forward foot but broke off as soon as the target was hurriedly adjusted for safety. She readjusted quickly and brought his sword down towards Oro's head.

Oro barely had enough time to block. A frighteningly loud crack! resounded about the gym. The force of the blow sent tingles down Oro's arms and into his spine. Any normal person would have stopped to recalibrate from delivering such a fearsome blow but what Shu lacked in wisdom he made up with in sheer determinations and will of the soul. He brought his katana down again crying "men!" at the top of his lungs. Oro raised his sword to block again. He felt true pain now as the shock of the blow rattled his body and stung his joints. But he was able to block this one as well. He was sweating heavily and very sore, his mind raced "This is Shu!? Why is he so tough for me to beat?"

Shu brought his katana back and prepared for another head-strike, much to Oro's dismay. Another loud crack! rang out. This time Oro's arms gave way, he could no longer hold up a solid defense. The katana came down on his mask-piece hard. Oro stumbled backwards, dazed from the strength of the blow. He tripped over himself and passed out cold.

Shu wasn't a germ-a-phoebe, so putting his mouth on the public faucet to catch all of the water was no concern of his. After a few good chugs, he stuck his head under the the running water, relishing in the good feeling of the cold liquid making its way down his hair and tickling his belly.

The kendo gym slid open and Oro, using his right hand to cover an ever-growing bruise on his forehead, emerged. He sat down next to Shu and stuck his sister's towlette under the faucet. Then he held the soaked cloth against his bruise. He drew a sharp breath and winced as the towlette touched it. After the sharp pain had passed, he turned his gaze towards Shu. Extending his hand he said "That was a nice match"

"Not Slapstick anymore?" said Shu with a laugh.

"About that, I'm sorry. I was being… arrogant."

"Don't worry about it." Shu took Oro's hand and shook briefly.

"No really I am!" Oro insisted. "I was wrong to judge, everyone's got their own style."

Don't worry I said!" Shu smiled. "You've gotta lighten up a bit."

Oro sighed. "I know, my mother says I'm way too serious and that I act way to old for my age. I've already got some worry brows… well you smashed one of them." He said pointing at his forehead.

"I've got em' too" said Shu.

Oro leaned in and examined Shu's brow thoroughly. "Oh wow!"

"What put those there?" he asked.

"You don't want to know." Responded Shu, his smile flickering ever-so-slightly.

"Yeah I don't, after all nothing could possibly get you down." Oro said with a grin.

"Nope, nothing!" said Shu triumphantly, shaking a fist at no one in particular. The both burst into laughter.

The smile slowly faded and Shu stared at the faucet with a look of thoughtfulness.

"We should be pals" concluded Shu.

"Friends?" said Oro, as if weighing the word on his tongue.

"If you don't mind my saying… you're a bit anti-social."

"WHAT!? Nuh-uh! I'll prove it! WE ARE FRIENDS!" said Oro forcefully, taking Shu's hand and shaking it vigorously.

(AN: Well thats it, hope you enjoyed, I have another short being written and I promise that will be up within a week if lots of people enjoyed this. I DO intend to expose some of the effects his war-time experience has had on him more blatantly in future chapters. I am also weighing the possibility of re-introducing La La Ru, because I personally do not think she died.)