A little piece about what might have been going through Ikuto's head when he called Amu that night.

Disclaimer: I don't own Shugo Chara

She sounds good.

Healthy, upbeat, active.

She sounds like she always does around you, a little bit flushed and a little bit scared (you tease her so), and just the tiniest bit giddy.

(or maybe you're just hearing what you want to hear. maybe you paint that tone into her voice to satisfy yourself and your own wishes. you've always been selfish like that)

She doesn't recognize your voice at first, and that hurts, just a bit (more than a bit; more than a lot. how can she forget your voice, after the hours you spent teasing her and prodding her and whispering sweet nothings into her ears as she slept? she let you into her bed, the little darling, and you were just selfish enough to smell her hair as she slept and tell her all things you know she'll never believeif she's alert enough to hear them when she was too drowsy to care.), but you move on and feign hurt and think that maybe, it's a good thing you called when you did.

(remember my voice, you think as you talk. remember the sound and the tones and music of it. remember the voice that echoed on your balcony and soothed you to sleep and pushed your buttons every time we met.)

(remember the voice and then remember the man.)

And then she says your name, half in shock and half in something else and (oh god of gods, let it be joy or longing or want or hope) you hide the fact that your heart skips a beat at the childish way she reacts and the way your names sounds on her tongue (oh please, let it be the same things you're feeling right now, as you press the phone closer to your ear and hear her unsteady breaths and pretend she's right next to you).

" Are you doing well?" You almost purr, and you think about her in her pretty little uniform, bouncing about and laughing and smiling and (don't think of the Kiddie King holding her hand or touching her face or trying to kiss her because those things, loving, tender things, belong to you and you alone, and didn't you leave him that message? didn't you kiss her cheek right before you left and let him know exactly who you'll be gunning for?) talking with her friends without a care in the world.

Amu, do you miss me? But that's far too needy and you don't let it slip out from under your tongue. Let her tell you, even though you want to hear her say it so bad it almost hurts. You want to know that your absence does something to her, twists her up inside the same way being away from her does to you. You want to know you mean something to her, and you want to hear her say it of her choosing. And you want the rest of the world to hear it too. You want the rest of the world to know that you mean something (everything, that's the word you want to use) to her.

" Sure. Well..." There's a hesitation in her voice and you can hear hurt, and it might just be you being selfish, but it could be that she's really hurt, and that thought makes you sick.

" Well what?" You laugh because that's the only way you keep the promises of pain to whoever hurt her down. You've always been a bit of a loose trigger where she's concerned. (you've put yourself in mortal danger more than once just to see her smile. are you a romantic hero or just a poor sod so hopelessly in love you don't care anymore? maybe a bit of both).

" Tadase dumped you or something?" You tease a little, and wait for the angry barb she'll hurl at you for even thinking of taking a stab at her prince (ah, but aren't you her pirate? after all, you transformed together, and no one ever said Helen didn't love Paris in the end).

All you hear is stunned silence.

" Seriously? " You're stunned and you have a right to be stunned. You wonder if Tadase is stupid or crazy or maybe just scared by how amazing Amu can be when she puts her mind to it (she cleaned your wounds and offered you shelter and trusted you not to peek as she undressed with you on the other side of a frosted glass shower door. no one's ever placed that much trust in you).

She laughs like she thinks she can fool you and you wonder if Tadase has just gone blind or something. Really cute, you scoff. There's no one cuter than Amu, and you've seen your share of girls. There are girls who are sexier and girls who are cooler and girls who handle a little teasing so much better, but no one in the world out-cutes Hinamori Amu (well, maybe you're a little bit biased, but that's okay, right?)

She can pretend she doesn't care and she can pretend that she isn't all twisted up inside with little pieces of glass stabbing at her from all directions, but you know better because you know her, and sometimes, you wonder if she knows you. And then you remember her arms around you and her voice calling you back from the edge of insanity and the warmth of her body and her light as it engulfed you. (and when you came back out, you had a flowing cloak and gleaming sword and the courage to go after everything you've ever wanted and dreamed of.)

So you whisper into the phone like a lover whispers into the ear of his darling (the image of pressing against her back and murmuring in her ear comes back to you, but your mind paints her awake, red and bright eyed but happy with your presence and the thought makes you shiver in the good way and then in the very good way and for a split second, you pretend you can get away with it without being called a pervert or being told she loves someone else) (he broke her heart, he doesn't have any right to lay claim now, gods, but you want to be with her right now.), and tell her there are things you'd like to do with her (hugs and kisses and everything else. You feel her blush and it makes you warm and you don't say that it's only really half true. you'd console her, sure, but your way. and your way, you think, would be to hold her to you and kiss her senseless and steal the air out of her lungs with your touches. you'd hold her so close and so tight it would be hard to tell where you end and she begins and for some reason that makes you ridiculously happy. it's pathetic and it's stupid and it means something – everything – to you, and the first time you realized that, you knew you were in trouble.)

(a twelve-year-old making your heart stop, what nonsen-oh dear god, she beautiful and perfect and you want her like a dying man wants water, so bad it makes you tremble right down to the core, because she makes you want things you've never wanted before. she makes you want freedom so you can chose her. she makes you want the stability of knowing someone's at home, waiting for you. she makes you want to protect things and rescue fallen hearts and just sit beside her bed and hold her hand to soothe away nightmares.)

(she makes you want to be better.)

You hang up with her sputtering in your ear and a fond smile on your face, and, in this moment, you can think of her like a kid sister you like to tease. And then you remember the way she looked as her four charas came together and she was dressed as a bride, filling your arms with misty lace and soft silk and sweet Amu, and the idea flies out of your head (because no matter what persona she is, she's Amu. Amulet Heart is a peppy Amu and Spade is just an Amu who can draw and Clover is the Amu who can cook and Diamond is the Amu who sings and looks like the angel Amu really is.)

(and Amulet Fortune is a princess bride, dressed up in her flowing veil and her rippling dress and fitting perfectly in your arms, like she was made just to stay there forever. then you remember the bouncing cheerleader and the fidgeting artist and the twirling homemaker and shove that thought aside. maybe she can just stay by your side, not in your arms, and you could be happy with that.)

You can almost see her red face from across oceans and continents, and you smirk to yourself because, even this far away from her, you can still greedily suck up all of her attention and make her forget any other guys ever existed.

(you leave the conversation hanging in order to keep her interested, you tell yourself, but you know the truth. I just wanted to hear your voice really badly sounds lame, even in your head.)

You walk towards the elevator and wonder when you should call her again.

Just so she doesn't forget your voice, of course.

(remember this voice. it belongs to the man who loves you.)

Yay, Amuto! That's right, I read girly, shoujo manga and not just Naruto! I have more to me than enjoying ninjas beating the heck outta each other. *coughSasukecough* Shocker!