Lessons in Self-Discipline and Pseudo-Human Behavior




{another fanfiction by dreamsofdestiny, who is writing Spiral! for azalee-happy birthday!}
(watch out for the sparse dialogue, short dribblets, and various allusions/pairings/randomness that is necessary in any cross-generational fic.}
{sorry for the fanon!moments-I'm really rusty when it comes to spiral}
{19 moments in time, for 19 years of win and awesome~}



Sawamura is a nice guy, he knows he is. Sure, it's a little bit cloudy right now in the afternoon and all, and maybe he actually does have a couple errands (namely: a job) to run. However, in the face of beating that one bastard of a genius detective, he doesn't want to sacrifice too much. Or anything at all, really.

It is, of course, the delusion of a teenager.

"Put your heavy thoughts aside," Amanae suggests sweetly, and Sawamura turns to look at her. She continues with, "It is my birthday, after all, and you have promised to take me somewhere, right?"

"Of course," he readily replies, because at times like this, he's no better than any other teenage boy.

"Good," Amanae says, taking his hand in hers, "I've bought tickets to a nearby festival; I've always wanted to go to one of those."

And she smiles and he smiles and they walk forward in the utterly wrong direction.

Amanae has the most adorable giggle, but it's really rather embarrassing, especially when she happens to be laughing at him.


"Okay, Imari, what dastardly insane plan have you got up your sleeve this time?" Kousuke hisses. He would put his hands on his hips and look more scolding, except the low bush that they're hiding in does not make for very good cover.

"It's not insane!" The certifiably out-of-her-mind girl retorted. Kousuke winced at the volume, making a hand motion for her to lower her voice which was, of course, utterly ignored, "It's perfectly logical; we just follow them to the festival, and then for every single game, I'll beat Amanae and then Sawamura-sama will see that I'm clearly the better choice of girlfriend!" Of course, her eyes were practically luminous while she declared this.

"How does that make any sense at all?" Kousuke needs to ask, even though his question falls on deaf ears.

"Look! They're going! We have to follow them!" Imari grabs his arm and he winces because it's a vice-grip after all and it reminds a bit too much of a certain other girl would be-

"Kou~u~suke..." a voice from behind the corner growls out. Contrary to popular belief, he does not immediately recognize the owner of said voice, namely because he's too busy not jumping out of his skin in sheer instinct.

"Who is that?" Imari asks, "Come out! Show your face, you coward!" she demands, naturally having no sense of grace or self-preservation.

"So this was your 'very important' meeting, Kousuke?" Ryouko hisses, stepping out the corner. Kousuke feels that as a mere middle-schooler, he should not have to deal with such high blood pressure on such a daily basis. "You're out consorting with girls!"

"One girl, actually," he feels the need to clarify.

"Ah! Ryouko-chan!" Imari brightens, "Surely you can help with my brilliant plan more than Kousuke!" And instantly, she trades her iron grip over Kousuke for one over Ryouko. The creepiest part about the whole exchange is that Ryouko doesn't even take notice of a bear trap around her arm.

"Hurry up, good-for-nothing!" Ryouko calls as she's somehow twenty feet in front of him.

Kousuke shudders, before jogging to catch up. Why were all the girls around him so freakin' scary?


"Kiyotaka-san..." Kirie tried, only to be silenced with a floppy wave of the current costume's hand. A couple seconds pass in overly-serious silence, before she tries again, "I understand the need to keep tabs on Sawamura and Amanae, but must we really follow Kousuke-kun and Ryouko-chan all the way to the festival?"

"What are you talking about, Kirie-chan?" The internationally-acclaimed detective asked with a strange gleam in his overly-large eyes, "I'm just a lost panda bear, that's trying to get back to my delicious mochi-cakes, so that the festival will be saved in time!"

"...Right." It would be a lie to say that she was unused to his strange form of logic.

"Oh, Kirie-chan," Kiyotaka had the gall to chide her, "You should take life a little bit slower, a little bit easier. A truly wise man once said-" and then he whipped his black-and-white head in almost a complete one-eighty, practically squealing, "I just saw panda-shaped balloons! Balloons, Kire-chan, balloons!"

And then the most brilliant man of the twenty-first century took off at a lopsided gait towards said balloons. In a panda costume.

Tsuchiya Kirie's job description consisted of three things: helping Kiyotaka-san run various errands, keeping the files on the Blade Children (and all their 'important' acquaintances) up-to-date, and doing damage control if everything fell to pieces in the end.

She snorted; they were all just overly-fancy terms for 'babysitter'. And of a completely-grown man, no less!


"And who might you be?" Yuizaki Hiyono felt the need to ask. After all, it wasn't everyday that she was accosted with a sulky middle-schooler who seemed clearly out of his element lurking around in bushes.

"Nobody," the little kid said calmly, intent on ignoring her-and the world, to be truthful.

Hiyono rolled her eyes; teenagers. (Thank God she was never one of those!)

"Well then, Nobody," she continued, willing to play a game (she had no plans today, after all), "What would you be doing, hiding behind a bush?"

"None of your business."

"Hmph!" She grumbled, repressing the urge to boot the severely-irritating child.

"You're annoying," the kid flatly said.

"If I am so annoying," Hiyono started with a rather mischievous grin; two could play at this game, she thought, "Then I suppose you wouldn't mind if I screamed your location at the top of my lungs, now wouldn't you?"

"You don't know my name," the boy countered.

"Nope; but I can easily find out-EEE!" She shrieked at the top of her lungs, "There's a PEEPER in the BUSH-mmph!"

"Shut up would you!" the middle-schooler admonished.

"Only if you tell me your name!" Hiyono replied with a grin.


"Ayumu," she repeated, "Well, that's a cute name; I'm Hiyono. Hiyono Yuizaki."

"You're older than me, don't be so creepy."

And then she had to kick him.


"Shhh! Kitty!" Rio hissed to her stuffed animal. There are a million and one issues with constantly looking like an elementary schooler. However, one of the benefits was being able to say cutely: 'My mommy's in there, can I go in too?' at any entrance.

"Piece of cake," she said to no one in particular once the festival staff had let her in. Ryouko had said she wanted to go to this festival, but Rio didn't have time to find her. She shrugged; no matter, Ryouko did have Kousuke-baka after all. The lights, the sounds, the in-general merriment and mayhem-this was what festivals were all about.

"And I just had to lose my wallet yesterday!" She very nearly wailed.


"I love Japan!" Kanone declared. In English. "There are so many cute cat plushies! And real cats! And the games are so entertaining!" His bag currently contained fifteen stuffed animals of sizes ranging from tiny to medium. Eyes held another bag, with three more stuffed cats. "Eyes," he remarked cheerily, "I'm so jealous of you! You manage to come here every other month, don't you?"

"Mmm," Eyes replies noncommittedly, "But Great Britain has quite its share of festivals as well."

"Right!" Kanone agreed, "But we don't have masks!" He grinned, taking a cat one and fastening it over Eyes' face. It hung lopsidedly, like some bizarre political statement. "And we don't have all these games!" He waved his hand with a flourish, much to the shopkeeper's dismay. Kanone hurridly dug into his pocket for a couple spare bills; Eyes noted that his friend had easily overpaid for the mask.

The shopkeeper was delighted; gave Kanone another mask for free.

"And the people are so nice! Even if they don't understand you!" Kanone continued, regaling in the festivities of the afternoon, "I don't know, maybe I'm romanticizing the whole thing too much," and then he laughed, "But not like it matters, right?"

"What do you-" Eyes tries to ask, only to be cut off by Kanone snatching his hand (the one that isn't preoccupied with holding the bag of stuffed animals) and running towards the dart game.

"Look!" the brunette grins, almost-fanatically, pointing wildly at a bobbing cat head that couldn't be called cute even on a foggy alcohol-induced day, "It only costs 500 yen to play! And I only need to hit four targets in order to win!"

As irony would have it, Eyes is glad for the mask over his face. It would not be good if someone recognized him, as those fans were crawling everywhere. Furthermore, it would be even worse if Kanone caught him smiling (heaven forbid!) at something the other boy had done, because then Eyes fears that he would never stop smiling.

"Eyes?" Kanone asks, cat-mask pushed over his bangs so that his sheepish face is in the sunlight, "Do you happen to have a couple spare bills?"

If it weren't against his very nature, he would have rolled his eyes. Only Kanone would be able to spend five thousand yen in a mere thirty minutes, and unabashedly ask for more.


"It's really a wonder we managed to make it here before the gates closed," Amanae feels the need to point out. Sawamura refuses comment, which simply causes her to giggle in her hand, again.

"It was just four left turns!" He feels the need to exclaim, against his better senses (namely: common sense).

"Four left turns makes a practical square; we made five full circles before we found the festival," Amanae replies. Sawamura inwardly curses her logical nature (not to mention impeccable sense of direction). "But no matter," she amends with a smile, giving his hand a light little squeeze, "We're here right now and that's all that matters, right?"

"Mmm," Sawamura agrees. Mainly because the same exact green-light in still running through his head. Fourteen times. He'll never be as good a detective as Kiyotaka, much less supass him, he feels the need to angst.

"Let us not embroil ourselves in the past," Amanae remarks, before pulling him towards the classic balloon-bobbing game.

It is with pride that he manages to win one water-filled balloon, and by that time, his girlfriend (the one that he loves to the moon and back, even though she is constantly making him feel emasculated) has won thirteen.


"How is that possible?" Imari rages, after having spent almost a week's allowance in an attempt to win a second water-balloon. "I'm so much more athletic than her! I mean, look at my muscles and my... my balloon-catching abilities!" She groaned at yet another empty hook, digging through her bag for more coins to play, "I can't believe Amanae managed to catch twelve whole balloons!"

"Thirteen, actually," Kousuke dryly puts out.

"Idiots who can't catch more than five don't have a right to talk!" Ryouko declared, chopping him on the head.

"What does that say about Imari who can't catch five as well?" Kousuke yelped back, only to be silenced with another 'playful' thwack to the shin. "So abusive..." he grumbled out.

"Whatever!" Imari exalted, "Balloon-catching is for idiots!" And then she ran off in the direction of Sawamura and Amanae, presumably to 'challenge' Amanae in even more games.

"I agree!" Rio pouted, appearing out of the blue.

"...Rio?" Kousuke questioned, blinking his eyes in disbelief (the pain from Ryouko's kick forgotten) "What are you doing here? And how did you manage to get in without any money?"

"Oh, that was easy, I just-" and then she paused, a glint in her eyes, "Kousuke-kun," she started sweetly, an extremely wide grin upon her face, "How did you know that I didn't have any money?"

"Oh, well, that is..."

"Kousuke!" Ryouko near-shrieks, "How dare you go stealing money from younger girls!"


"Look at me! I'm a cute panda! I'm a panda that is very cute and oh so cute that you'd just like to hug me and never let go! Because I am a very cute panda!" Kiyotaka sang. Kirie tried to pretend that she just happened to be in the vicinity.

"...Kiyotaka-san..." she started, only to wince again, because a grown man should not be able to hit such high octaves, "You're scaring the children away from the festival."

"Don't be silly Kirie-chan!" Kiyotaka admonished, probably genuinely surprised at the thought of his panda costume being anything but adorable and lovable, "They're just running to get their parents so that they can take a picture with me!" And then he twirled-and bounced, and Dear God, she wished she was assigned to someone else (like Professor Sheffield, if it must be so), anyone else.

"Kiyotaka-san, they're more likely calling the police."

"Don't be silly! Then they should have called me! After all, I'm your friendly neighborhood police panda, who can also dance!" And then he glamorously struck a pose that looked entirely too obscure to be panda-esque. "Come on Kirie-chan, loosen up a little!" And he grabbed both her hands between her paws, whirling about.

"Look at me! Look at her! I'm a panda! And she's a girl! We're spinning and twirling and it's so joyously joyly and we're best friends!"

Kirie was two nanoseconds away from wrenching the panda head off of Kiyotaka's head.

Three verses later, and she was completely ready to just wrench off Kiyotaka's head as well.

"We're spinning and twirling, so prettily, so prettily~"


"...Is that your nii-san?" Hiyono felt the need to ask.

"Y-Yes!" Ayumu responded, trying to tear his eyes away from the rather grotesque scene before him. Hiyono felt for the boy; he was only in middle school, and already being witness to such... to such unspeakable atrocities.

"I mean," she tried again, "Is your piano genius brother the one that's in a full-body panda suit, belting out lyrics to unpopular children's songs while kidnapping various little children to dance with him?"

"That's my brother," Ayumu repeated, eyes growing wider and wider with each prance of the terrifying dance.

"And that's me! Your friendly neighborhood policy panda!" Kiyotaka delightfully proclaimed, holding hands (or was it paws?) with the various perturbed children around him.

"...That's not my brother."

"Your steadfastedness is entirely understandable," Hiyono sympathizes.


Poink. Poink. Poink.

It was with a bored sort of accuracy that Kanone was able to shoot the various figurines off of the highest shelf. And they were the ones that were loaded with rocks, Eyes dully noted. The shopkeeper of this particular booth was having trouble keeping his jaw within five inches of of his nose, what with the random foreigner's prowess with air guns.

"Yes!" Kanone practically squealed as he knocked off the fifth and final figurine (the one that was a rock) from the shelf. "I managed to get them all off!" And then he turned to Eyes and grinned, "Will you tell the kind shopkeeper to give me the biggest cat plushie?" And his eyes practically shone as he pointed to the oversized stuffed animal; it was easily half his height.

"That one... if you please," Eyes said in flawless Japanese. The shopkeeper, sensing a chance to save his most-sought-after prize, motioned his hands to the one stuffed animal right next to the huge cat. Eyes pursed his lips, before striding forward.

"What?" Kanone asked.

"Nothing much," Eyes replied, in English, "The shopkeeper is simply a little confused about which sutffed animal you'd like."

"Ah," Kanone replies, cheery smile upon his face.

"Listen here," Eyes murmurs to the shopkeeper in Japanese, "My friend here is as good with a real gun as he is with an air gun. And the fact of the matter is, he paid more than enough to buy the toy off of your hands, so I would... appreciate it if you did not make a whole fuss out of this." The shopkeeper's face is a bit paler than normal, but that's mainly because of the steady grip Eyes has chosen to keep over the man's wrist.

"The cat, if you will," he politely intones.

It is with trembling hands that the shopkeeper hands the huge stuffed animal over, but the smile of absolute delight which Kanone rewarded him with after being given the cat made the whole unpleasant incident worth it.


"It's nice," Amanae says. And she means: this, you, us-we.

Sawamura agrees, and their hands find one another, even with the setting sun. These are the moments that he stands to lose if he happens to end Kiyotaka's world-he understands this. But there's that promise of a higher truth and it is undeniable in its beauty, and he cannot ever resist the call. However, for now, this is enough. The swing of tree branches, the entertwined balloons (fourteen of them; for their fourteenth date), and that quiet understanding which his parents would have called 'love'.

And then the forever-loud and never-acquiescing Imari bursts out of the bushes, and the moment is ruined forever.


"Yukine Amanae!" Imari shouts out in the face of the music and laughter of the festival, which is rapidly approaching the fire-lighting ceremony, "I challenge you to a fire-breathing competition in order to win Sawamura's heart!" And with her finger pointed, and almost all of her two months' allowance wasted on various games (all of which she managed to lose), Imari still does not look like a loser.

"Imari-chan," Sawamura tries to placate, "I know that you've said that-"

"It is with the greatest pleasure that I accept this challenge," Amanae cuts him off. Sawamura's jaw drops, and he knows that supercool and absolute genius detectives do not go around looking like dead fish, but did she just accept?

"Alright!" Imari cheered, pumping a fist into the air, "Well then, the fire-breathing competition begins in about a half-hour! I have to go run around and get my lungs burning, just so I can beat you and win back my true love!"

"And then, I too, shall follow you in an effort to invigorate my lungs," Amanae replies, and Sawamura cannot find himself believing her. And then she looks to him, smiling in that enigmatic way, before taking his hand and kissing him softly on the cheek.

"Wha- Buh- Wahtdoyu-" Imari sounds about as articulate as Sawamura feels. "I'm definitely going to beat you in the fire-breathing competition!" She promises, red-faced and furious and promising plans of revenge.

"Friends are truly wonderful, are they not?" Amanae notes, before jogging off after her less-mature classmate. Sawamura wordlessly sits back down on the bench; he blames this entirely on Kiyotaka.


"Rio-ow! Stop pulling my hair, dammit, Ryouko!" Kousuke ground out. It was ridiculous how well his plans had a tendency to go awry. Today was supposed to be a relaxing day, free of trouble, strife, or anything to do with Kiyotaka. And then Imari has shown up ringing his apartment doorbell and managed to drag him in with (another) one of her crazy schemes.

Which was perfectly alright, because at least Imari didn't physically abuse him, and then he was reintroduced to her vice-grip and Ryouko was just around the corner, seeing him with yet another high school girl. But Ryouko by herself was okay, particularly because she looked pretty in those rare moments she smiled-and heck, the three of them were going to a festival, after all.

"This is definitely your fault, Kousuke-baka!" Rio whined, flailing her arms uselesly and wondering if she could crawl all the way to the trashcan, where she had stashed a couple ounces of explosives. At least then, she would be able to blow most of Kousuke away from her immeidate vicinity, and then he would-

"What are you talking about this being 'definitely my fault'?" Kousuke demanded, "You're the one that wanted to eat cotton candy and bbblegum at the festival!"

"You're the one that refused to buy me any with my money!" Rio shot back. She would have pointed a finger, except Kousuke was still attached to her hair and thereby, impossible to actually point down. "And then you managed to make Ryouko-chan mad, and now she's not going to save me because she hates you!" She pounded her fist in a truly childish manner. "This is definitely all your fault, Kousuke-baka!"

"You guys!" Ryouko called, "I'm back!"

"Oh great-" Kousuke rolled his eyes, "It looks like you iddn't bring anything to untangle us from this horribly gloppy mess. Great job, Ryouko; you're just so helpful." And he would have clapped his hands too, if Rio had not promptly elbowed him in the ribs.

"Well, actually..." Ryouko trailed off, looking guiltily. Kousuke, who was not facing the girl at the current moment did not know why Rio just up and shrieked, and would have ran as far away as possible from Ryouko, if she were not currently attached by-the-hair to Kousuke.

"No no no no Ryouko-chan! Please, don't," Rio begged, voice reaching an unnaturally high and helpless pitch, "It's really not that bad, we really don't need that, please don't do that Ryouko-neechan, please please please don't!" And her hands flailed and Kousuke was feeling a heightened sense of impending doom and Ryouko was just laughing.

"Don't be so scared Rio, this is just a part of life!"

"No No No NO...!"

"It'll be over soon enough," Ryouko attempted to reassure.


They more or less made it out alive, although Kousuke looked like more of a fashion wreck than Rio. Definitely Ryouko's fault. It was entirely unfair; that even though Rio had way more hair, and way longer hair at that, that Ryouko had purposely chosen to cut off more of Kousuke's hair than Rio's. He very nearly cried when he looked at his crudely chopped locks in the mirror; the pink of the bubblegum and cotton candy did not, on the contrary, go very well with his naturally magenta (not pink, he would argue to his dying days) hair.


"Mou~" Hiyono grumbled, waiting for Ayumu to finish whatever silly circus game he was currently embroiled in. "All the normal boys will play with knives and guns; and he just wants to win a chess match," she complained to no one in particular.

But of course, God is always listening.

"Poor Hiyono-chan!" Narumi Kiyokota chastised, appearing predictably out of thin air. Hiyono would've jumped a couple feet, except for the fact that she was rather getting used to his less... ordinary tactics of appearance. Still in a full-body panda costume, he sympathetically wrapped his arms about her shoulders, "He's a little cold at times, but he's a good boy all the same, so please be as nice to him as you are to me, okay?"

Hiyono knew that she needed more alone-time when she could not only hear but see the hearts that were coming from Kiyotaka's words.

"Of course," is what she says instead, "Although I don't treat you very kindly, Narumi-san."

"Ah ah ah," he chides her, wiggling a monodextrious paw, "I'm not 'Narumi-san' anymore, my dear little brother is 'Narumi-san' now, right, Hiyono-chan?" She nods her head, namely because he's now speaking with stars and horseshoes (and is that even possible?). "Also!" he remarked brightly, though he could only see the bobbing of the panda head, "I was wondering if you could tell Kirie-chan something-she's the agent that's posted near the hanging trees and the playground! Anyways," he hummed a bit, as if to remember his plan, "Please tell her to hurry over to the fire-breathing competition, or else she'll be late!"

And then he swooned, dramatically, of course, before picking himself up from the brushed leaves.

"So cruel, Hiyono-chan!" he cried out, "You didn't even attempt to catch me!" And then he waves farewell, mainly because Ayumu ('Narumi-san' she must get used to calling him; 'Narumi-san') has finally finished his 'intellectual' pursuit or another.

"Was that... my brother?" he asks her, incredulous to say the least.

"Yeah!" Hiyono grinned, "He's pretty charming once you get to know him," a lie if she ever told one, "But more than that, he told me to give you a message about Kirie-san."

And then she relays the message and he looks slightly annoyed, muttering something about having fallen into yet another trap of Kiyotaka. But then she rolls her eyes and he tosses her a water-filled balloon (the kind that she didn't know he noticed her looking at the entire time) and even though the color is wrong and the string is loose, a gift is a gift is a gift.


In the end, it was actually Kirie of all people that convinced Kiyotaka to enroll in the fire-breathing competition. She didn't know what would have made him stop harrassing the children and their parents otherwise. On the plus side, she had also seen Eyes and Kanone somewhere in the crowd, and the entering of Kiyotaka in the competition would inevitably draw their presence closer as well.

So all in all, the entering of the fire-breathing competition was like a two-for-one deal. Of sorts, of course.

"Look at the happy panda policeman~" Kiyotaka hummed. Kirie would have turned around to smack him, except a quick glance around revealed that Kiyotaka Narumi was actually nowhere in sight.

Although that realization was relatively... terrifying... in itself, there was an entirely more terrifying realization dawning in Kirie's mind. If Kiyotaka was not there, and she was distinctly hearing that horrible song being hummed in the vicinity-and in the same tune and pitch as Kiyotaka would have hummed it... There was only one conclusion to draw, really.

"I have to kill him," she managed to growl out, before lightly thumping her head against a nearby tree. She casually entertained thoughts of death by ritual seppuku-something ridiculously oriental or another. And then she rolled her eyes, and tried to forget ever thinking such thoughts, because it was clearly all a certain police detective's fault.

"Why is it that all of nii-san's secretaries end up attempting to kill themselves?" a somewhat bored voice asks from the corner of playstructure. Kirie whirls around, only to come face-to-face with what she could only say was a carbon-copy of a fourteen-year-old Kiyotaka Narumi. She swallowed; she had heard of reports of a little brother-she had also totally scoffed at the idea of identical siblings.

"I think you happened to scare her," the girl right next him remarks with a grin. Kirie's eyes widen; her face is familiar, but more importantly:

"Narumi Ayumu-kun, what are you doing here, in the festival?" she asks. He is nonplussed at the fact that a complete stranger knows his name, and then she's left to wonder if she really is a complete stranger to this middle-school boy (who is the spitting image of Kiyotaka).

"Why should you care?" he asks with a defiant shrug, "It's near the end of the school week, and I just feel like going out."

"And what about you?" Kirie asks of the girl. She looks surprised at being addressed at all, before smiling mysteriously.

"I'm simply the heroine-to-be of this story~" she declares with a wink and wave of her hand. Kirie is reminded-a bit too strongly- of Kiyotaka, and speaking of which, where is the man and does he even know that his little brother is wandering around the very place where the Blade Children (along with Amanae Yukine and her boyfriend) are loitering for the time being.

"Nii-san said that you would be waiting here," Ayumu continues without reproach, "He told her," and he jabbed an accusing (and somewhat... envious? Kirie noted with bemusement) finger at said girl, "That he was already at the place where the fire-breathing competition was held, and that if you wanted to attend the competition at all, you better come over soon."

The crisp night air of the festival is punctuated with a sharply-spoken swear word. Ayumu raises an eyebrow and Hiyono outrightedly laughs; it's just so out-of-character that Kirie would be able to do nothing crazier.


"Woah..." Kousuke whispered.

"Did she just...?" Ryouko tried, and failed.

"Awesome!" Rio exclaimed, delighted, "Kirie-neechan! Kirie-neechan!" She ran over and practically hugged her idol of the hour, "Will you please teach me to breath fire like that? And will you also teach me to throw Kiyotaka-san into the sky like that? And even pull his silly panda mask off?" Her eyes were sparkling, joyously, and Kirie did not have the heart to say no.

"Rio," it was Eyes who provided the voice of reason, "I believe that Kirie-san is tired." And he managed to say this with no inflection whatsoever. Kousuke snickered and Ryouko doubled over in choked laughter; the cat mask was askew, but even more out-of-place was the huge cat plushie perched on his shoulders.

"Then will you play with me, Eyes-kun?" And she sparkled, running towards Eyes... or the cat, really.


"I'll play with you, Rio!" Kanone cheerily declared, "I've been having a lot of fun today, but I figured that I shouldn't slack off of practice for a whole day, right?" And he has that gleam in his eyes that makes Rio pale just a bit.

"I think..." Kiyotaka Narumi begins, stepping out of the foliage with an entire bird's nest in his hair, "That that's enough excitement for one day, don't you think so?"

"NO WAY!" Imari shouts out, an equal amount of grass and twigs embedded in her choppy locks, "I mean, I haven't beaten you in fire breathing yet, you stupid oversized panda!"

"Has she still not realized that the panda isn't Amanae?" Kousuke feels the need to hiss at Ryouko. She promptly stomps his foot.

"I definitely want no further part in this," Narumi Ayumu declares, proving once and for all that he is clearly brilliant for his age.

"Ah!" Hiyono cries out, "Wait for me, Narumi-san!"


"This was..." Amanae begins, and could end it in a variety of adjectives which Sawamura would all too readily supply. Crazy, insane, absolutely ridiculous, horrifying, traumatizing, too-terribly-typical, the worst date of the century?

"This was nice," is what she says instead, and Sawamura wonders about the other less lucky teenage boys out there, whose girlfriends would be upset at the lack of a brand-name bag, much less delighted over every wayward homicidal maniac in the near five miles coming to their supposedly 'private' date. And then he laughs, and nods his head; it's as close to agreement as he's willing to give.

"We should do this again," Amanae continues, and Sawamura hears: 'before it's too late.'

"Happy Birthday," is what he says, when what he really means is-

It's the perfect scene for some romantic movie, he'll later think. Fireworks are lazily crawling up the sky, popping with vibrant colors, only to fall back down seconds later. The lights are on full, for the sun has set completely, and the festival is in its dying hours. For once, they're holding both hands, as opposed to one, and ever-so-carefully, Amanae Yukine leans towards him.

There is a loud explosion nearby.

"Rio!" Ryouko shrieks, "What do you mean you planted grenades in every single trashcan in the festival?"

"Next time, we'll definitely come without the children," Amanae adds, before closing the distance between them.

Sawamura unabashedly forgets to close his eyes.