Chapter 9: Make My Heart Stop Beating

I couldn't sleep that night. My heart was thumping rapidly each time I replayed Niou's words in my head. The whole idea of him stopping by my house to say those words left my heart in a rapid state ever since. It's a complete shock to me and a complete shock to my brain, thus, leading to my insomniac night. I couldn't help but playback what Niou had told me. It wasn't like me to analyze the situation but here I was, trying to understand it. There were three reasons that came straight to my head.

a.) Niou felt sorry for being a pawn in Yagyuu's plans

b.) He was playing a trick on me or

c.) He likes me.

I like to think that the last one is the correct answer. But in the words of Yanagi, letter B has at least a 90% possibility of being correct. But what about me? Why was my heart thumping like crazy? The last time this happened was when I found out I liked Yagyuu. And what triggered that feeling was because Yagyuu was being so kind to me and always helped me with my home works. He always cared. I guess, that's a valid reason for liking Yagyuu. To fall in love with Niou makes me look like a masochist. I mean, seriously, anyone who wants to go in a relationship with Niou is bound to get hurt more than once. That's just utter pain. Basically, I wouldn't fall for someone who keeps playing with me.

Obviously, my heart beating fast doesn't mean I like him.

It probably just means, I was freaked out by his words and I can't get it off my mind, therefore, I've concluded that this is a nervous feeling.

I didn't sleep at all. And once again, I left the house earlier than usual with a glum look on my face. Instead of walking around aimlessly, I went straight for school.

A bad idea, obviously.

Going to school early meant, I'll be seeing the tennis boys for early morning practice. At least, I didn't have to pass the tennis courts to get inside school. That's a relief, right?

Unless of course, someone like Yukimura notices you and feels that he needs to talk to you. No one can obviously say no to that. And well, of course, that's what happened.

"Sai, you look so gloomy this morning." He said with a small smile on his face. I really like this guy, but seriously, I can't really tell if he's a nice boy at all or not. He looks so nice but, I just can't explain it myself.

I tried to put a smile on my face, but failed, "Lots of kendo practice for the nationals. I'm beat."

"Well, we have a lot of practice going on, too. Would you want to watch?"

I don't really understand if the offer is supposed to brighten up my day. Based on my experience, watching the Rikkai boys practice their tennis skills is like watching a pack of guys get beaten up by tiny yellow balls. It looks more like brutal to me. I twitched a little before answering, "It's fine. I'd rather go upstairs and study a little." A lie, obviously. I don't study, I sleep.

His smile faded, instantly. "Actually, I was wondering what you told Hiroshi-kun."

Oh. So, that's the real reason why you're here. I shook my head and replied, "I haven't given him a reply."

"Is it because of Niou?"

"What about him?"

He moved closer to me, "Sai, is he telling you what to do? Maybe to say no to Hiroshi?"

A captain always knew his soldier. "No, he isn't telling me to do that." I lied. "And it's not because of Niou. I just felt a little confused when he asked me. A little lost, probably. I just..." I didn't finish. I didn't know how to finish.

"You can just be honest with him." He interrupted, and placed a hand on my shoulder. "Everything will be fine if you do that. I promise."

Yukimura made lots of promises, and usually they came true. I guess, this time, I should listen to him and make that promise happen. If he says everything will be fine, everything will be fine.

I smiled. "I'll try." I walked passed him. I headed straight to my classroom where I slumped on the table and fell asleep until the bell rang. I found Yagyuu right in front of me. He didn't turn his back to look at me but I knew that I had to tell him. I just had to.

Before everyone went out for lunch break, I forced up all the strength within me and tapped Yagyuu's back. He turned around right away, while pushing up his glasses. He looked as brilliant as usual. But somehow, I didn't turn pink when I saw him. Nothing. Nothing came up in me. I motioned for him to come follow me outside so we could talk. He complied and walked silently.

I could sense a few people watching us as we left the room. Sanada was one of them. He, too, must have known why I wanted to talk to Yagyuu. I didn't bother with the people watching. I faced forward and walked outside.

Yagyuu leaned on the wall behind him while I stood up straight in front of him. Mustering all my strength to speak, I breathed out and began. "I'll be honest with you. I liked you. I used to. A year ago, for a long time, I really liked you. But, things have changed, I guess. You changed. Or well, I may have never known you properly. And when you tried that whole confession plan with Niou, I realized something wasn't right anymore. I don't know how and I don't know why. I just lost my feelings for you. And I'll be selfish If I say I don't want to hurt myself, by being together with you even if I don't like you but I would also hurt you in the process." I looked down, "And what I'm trying to say is that, I'm sorry, I can't accept your confession."

Yagyuu instantly covered his face with his hand. "I knew it." He brushed his hair and said, "I guess I should blame Niou for stealing you, huh?"

I looked straight at him. I was utterly confused. Stealing me? That wasn't even happening. "What do you mean?"

"You don't know?" He pushed up his glasses, "Playing with you a little too much. Tricking you whenever he wants. He's doing too much, Tanaka-san."

"What does that have to do with anything?" I blurted out.

"Aren't you hurt just a little bit?" He suddenly raised his voice while grabbing my shoulders, "He knew I liked you and he knew you liked me but he never took a chance for both of us to be together. He just kept taking you away from me. He's crazy. You don't deserve to be treated this way."

Then suddenly I remembered why I was being treated that way by Niou. "It all started a few weeks ago, Yagyuu." I began, "It wasn't something I wanted to talk about and so, I kept a secret between me and Niou. He helped me with something that almost cost my dignity and I repaid him by being his slave in a few things here and there."

"And you allowed that to happen?" He loosened the grip but he was still holding on to me.

I shrugged. "I had to."

He let go and turned around to walk towards the room. "Just be careful of that guy, Tanaka. He's known to break hearts."

I whispered softly after he returned to the room, "He already did."

I didn't follow Yagyuu back into the classroom. There was only one place I wanted to go. Home. And that's exactly what I wanted to do. Go back home. If only it wasn't for Sanada, who suddenly popped out of nowhere to tell me to go back inside the classroom. I could always say no and tell him I wasn't feeling well, but his stern, strict and scary voice made me fear leaving the school.

I got back in the classroom, and daydreamed throughout the whole next four classes. Kendo practice was a lot more rigid because nationals were coming in close. And I was happy to see that I left after the tennis team was gone.

But somebody was there waiting for my by the entrance.

"Tanaka-san." It was a Yagyuu's voice. The darkness was covering his face but I knew his voice. I always yearned for his voice to say mine. But now, I wasn't too excited anymore. "Let me take you home. An apology for freaking out on you awhile ago."

"It's fine, Yagyuu-kun. You don't live in my direction, anyway." I said while passing him. He walked slowly behind me.

"Tanaka, I already waited this long, let me just take you home. It's already getting dark and anything can happen at night."

I turned back to look at him. I suddenly remembered the day Niou saved my life. I felt like Yagyuu knew but that was clearly impossible. He was just worried, like a true gentleman that he was. I nodded my head in reply then whispered, "Fine."

He walked to my side. It began as a silent walk until he started asking about school. He started asking how I was, how my grades were, if I was doing well with all the nuisance that's been distracting me. He was talking to me as if none of that outburst had happened during lunch time. But it looked like something as bothering him. I just couldn't tell what.

"Yagyuu-kun, is something wrong?" I asked.

He turned to me then said, "Why did you reject me? Was it because of the way I brought in Niou as a way to confess to you?"

I shook my head. "No. The whole confession thing has nothing to do with it. I just realized something."

"Be honest with me, Tanaka. Is it because of Niou?"

I stopped walking. "Why does everybody think it's because of Niou? Is it because I'm always together with him? Is it because everyone thinks that since he's playing with me, I've fallen right into his trap? What if I tell you that yes, it's because of Niou but not because I was gullible enough to fall for all his tricks. But it's because, probably deep down that sure-fire trickster has a personality and character that's beyond others and that I understood that part of him. Sure enough, he's been playing with me. But he's done a lot more than I think any guy has done for me. And that's enough for me to make me realize that there's nobody else like him. And I can't let that guy go."

I covered my mouth instantly. I spoke too abruptly. I didn't even know what I was saying. The words just spilled out without my brain applying the right words to fill up the sentences. Now, I've probably just said something that I may never remember but will make a huge mark on Yagyuu. This is bad. This is really bad.

Yagyuu pushed up his glasses, "Are you trying to say you like him?"

Was that what I was trying to say?

He moved in closer. I took a step back. "Are you, Tanaka-san?"

Do I actually like Niou Masaharu? I felt my heart beating faster and faster. I couldn't tell. I just couldn't tell. I'll admit, Niou is a scary guy. I couldn't imagine falling for him. Is that what happened? Is that why I ran after him when Yagyuu was right in front of me?


"I don't know." I yelled. "I just really don't know."

"Then why did you run after him when I was with you? Why?"

I shrugged and looked down at the cemented ground, "I don't know either. I just had questions in my head, it was just so unlike Niou to do that."

"But now you say you know him more?"

I nodded, confused a little bit. Did I actually know him more?

"However, you don't know your own feelings?" He moved back and removed his glasses. "You're an odd character, Sai-chan."

I looked up instantly. Only one guy called me that. And it annoyed the heck out of me. Niou. He stared right at me, wig and glasses in hand.

"It's been a long time, puri." He tied up his hair and dishevelled it a lttle. "It's good you rejected Hiroshi. But really? You know me a lot more now. I wonder what that means."

My heart was beating rapidly. My cheeks were turning red. I could feel my eyes burning in tears. I was scared, angry, mad, and frustrated.

"Why? Why did you do that? Why do you keep playing tricks on me? Why do you have to hurt me so bad that it could tear me apart?" I started yelling. The tears wouldn't stop now. "Why do you think you could do that to me? I'm not a toy for you to play with. I'm a human, a girl, with a heart, with feelings, with emotions. What are you anyway, Niou? What are you?"

He moved closer to me and I didn't move back. He rested his hand on my head while I looked down at his feet.

"I'm a human, with a soul and a heart, who's in love with someone this body has hurt."

A/N: Didn't see that coming now, did you? Or did I get too cheezy. I'm running out of ideas, my love signal is slowly dying inside me. aaaah...

Another update from a busy LYNX. Hey guys! From here on to the next chapter will be another looooooong break. My second week of college just started and the first week is hectic enough for me to make an update. So, once more, thanks for all the reviews, story-alerts, favourites. They keep me going, breathing and writing. I'm happy to know that I'm inspiring a few of you to write again or that I'm giving you one heck of a great time. Just keep supporting me and I'll update no matter what. Don't forget to share this story to your fellow Niou addicted friends. And reviews can keep this story going a looong way and it can help me get better, too! If you want that click on the review button below and send me some love! :D