"Ponyo!" Sosuke shouts. He's grinning as she downs her ham—his eyes filled with an everlasting wonder that had stayed even after her lost magic. She looks at him, and there's a pause as she swallows heavily.

She returns the favor, her mouth turning even wider.


Ponyo's hands slam onto the table, leaning forward-- peering into his eyes without another word. They don't need words, of course. They never had.

Her flaming red hair brushes over her eyes, and Sosuke has the mind to push it past her ear. His hand twitches. Her eyes widen.

"--Time for school, Sosuke, Ponyo!" Lisa calls from outside the house. Sosuke reaches for his backpack and ignores the warm feeling in his chest—both children putting on their 'determined' faces—as he shakes his head.

"Ponyo doesn't like school!" She declares. Sosuke would rather not go either, but Lisa always became disappointed when the two would lie by the sea instead, or played in the sand, and he disliked that feeling more than anything else (besides disappointing Ponyo, but that rarely ever happened).

"But I'm going to be at school, Ponyo. Come on,"

He pulls her hand, and she comes along willingly. Her eyes are almost dancing as she smiles, but he doesn't notice.

Neither does she notice the way he doesn't let go until they get to school. And the way he'd rather not.

"You didn't forget your lunch again, did you, Ponyo?" She says, as Ponyo holds high a plastic box proudly. It's ham.

"Good," She smiles, ruffles both their heads, "I love you. Have a good day at school!"

Ponyo ponders the word 'love'. Lisa had never told Ponyo that before, and Sosuke hadn't, either, as he replied the same to her. She didn't quite know what it was, but she liked it.

"Ponyo loves sosuke!"

He looks at her, and even though Lisa had just told him the same a moment before, it makes him blush.

He remembers finding Ponyo in that jar—saving her. He remembers the way she leapt into his arms (hardly, though, it was more like his face) when she had first became a human. He remembers the magic she once had—realizes the magic she still has, the spell she's cast on him.

There's a beautiful recollection of disarrayed memories pouring into his mind, as she takes his hand.

He doesn't hesitate.

"I love you too, Ponyo!"