Disclaimer: All the characters belong to Minami Maki :)

To my favourite couple in S.A.

Simple Equations

Tadashi liked things simple.

Obey Mom, no bungee. Disobey Mom, bungee. If you're hungry, eat. New place, explore. 5th and above, safe.

The rules were simple, straightforward, clear cut, and without any unnecessary frills. There was no room for uncertainty, and the answer was always singular and clear.

At least, it had always been this way until Akira.

With Akira, those clear, simple rules became distorted, and necessarily complicated

If it's delicious, say it is - that you love it, and are sure that Ryuu's furry ferret friend would love some too. If she's dressed up all nice and pretty, tell her like it is - and that she's as irresistably cute as a snivelly third-grader on dress-up day.

Maybe you like her; maybe you don't. Maybe she likes you; maybe she doesn't. What effect should her feelings for you have on your feelings for her? Or perhaps it's actually the other way around?

If she's to go for a matchmaking session, wish the best for her and ignore the painful clenching of your heart. If she sits near Takashima and laughs at a private joke - however rare this action may be - find out what's so funny, laugh along, and deliver that withheld fist in a punch to a tree nearby when no one's looking.

Hold back. Think twice. Lie when it suits you; lie even when it doesn't suit you.

Think for her. Think for yourself. Think for her.

She's being truthful. She's playing a game. Her words are honest and true. She's hiding something from you.

Bring her to a place you love. No, bring her to a place you know she loves.

The options increase by leaps and bounds, and Tadashi's forced to rethink every decision, to reconsider every choice, and review every flicker of emotion that passes over her brown eyes and that dimpled cheek.

He keeps up the farce, since Akira's grown used to it. "Hey Akira, what's with the giant Christmas bauble you're wearing? It's all glittery and absolutely be-OWwwwW!" (That dress and you, simply takes my breath away). And he earns, always, his just rewards of a punch, a holler, a scream or some rock hard cookies.

Tadashi dances around his words, and is constantly torn between blatant honesty (which might actually give her a scare) and speech littered with fragments of lies. It tires him sometimes, but any form of affection - violent or gentle - will do. He tries different ways to get a rise out of her, finding a kind of pleasure in the knowledge that he can get under her skin that easily.

It confuses him that Akira could possibly like him when all he seemed to be doing was irking her to no end (was she actually a masochist?). Irritating Akira is easy; even Takashima Kei could do it within a fraction a second. But to get Akira to smile that beautiful goddess smile - that is hardly straightforward. Or so he thinks, until Hikari - full of kindness and wisdom - pulls him aside one day and tells him quite plainly:

"Akira loves you, you know. You make her really happy."

Then he realises that the answer is actually quite straightforward.

The answer is Akira. And no matter what he does, if it brings him back to her - scowling or smiling - then he is content.

It's Akira, he's happy.