(Another fanfic that was just really old and I may as well post. I can almost write happy stories. :P)

Rage wandered the quiet parts of the city that evening. The sidewalk was illuminated by the sunset, and his shadow trailed behind him at an odd angle. But it wasn't the only thing that followed him; he knew she was somewhere behind him... she always was.

In the Revolution Park, he stopped when he arrived at a bench. He rested there, holding his tempered forehead in his hands, and he sighed. As he anticipated, Devil Zukin descended from the sky several feet behind him. She casually approached the back of the bench.

"What happened, Rage-sama?"

"I'm a hot-tempered idiot," he snapped at her. "And you're as predictable as ever."

"Perhaps I should work on that," Zukin said jokingly. "But that matter isn't important now. I want to hear why you and Emi were arguing back there."

"Maybe I don't want you to know," Rage mumbled.

"Oh," she said quietly. Zukin stepped away from him.

"Or maybe," he continued, "I stopped here on purpose because I knew you'd talk to me."

Her ears perked up, but she tried not to let him notice her excitement. "I would certainly listen to you. I'm afraid I can't try to give you advice without knowing your situation first."

Rage placed his elbows on his legs and used them to support his upper body as he gazed blankly out into the scenery before him.

"Emi was telling me about some punk at her college who keeps hitting on her. She doesn't like this guy or even know who he is; he just seems to think he has a chance with her even though he knows she's already got a boyfriend. I told her I'd talk to him, and I guess her definition of 'talk' is only talking.

"Well, I tried telling him I was her boyfriend and that he should leave her alone. He said something about not believing some stupid delinquent was going out with a girl like her, so I hit him in the shoulder and kicked him onto the ground.

"I wasn't aware that Emi was watching, so after that, she came into the fight and started shouting at me to stop. I wasn't paying attention to who was yelling at me, so I shoved her out of my way. After I realized that, I took my focus off that guy – who ran away from me- and I tried to apologize to her.

"She started telling me that I shouldn't take my anger out on people like that. I said I was sorry again, and I really didn't mean to push her like that, but when she started saying she was hoping that loser was all right, I started going off on her about how he was a jerk and he got what he deserved. And it sort of elevated from there... in the end, she ran off crying, and I got too steamed to follow her. I'm a great boyfriend, aren't I, not even going after her..."

"That conversation was going nowhere," Zukin calmly stated. "You both needed time to think about what you really wanted to say, or at least to cool off enough to come to an agreement."

He sighed. "That guy needed some sense beat into him. I wanted him to be afraid of me. I don't think she understood that that's what I had to do."

"Was it, Rage-sama?" Her tone was respectful but curious. "No, it is true that men aren't easily intimidated until they face defeat, but you must take the blame for scaring Emi. Do you not know that she fears the day when you will beat up another man? That she doesn't want harm to come to others? Would you still pick fights knowing that?"

Rage stared at the ground. "You make a good point," he mumbled in defeat. "But... I did it to protect her. And she knows I'm that kinda guy... right?"

"I'm sure she knows you very well," Zukin said, attempting to hide her bitter tone.

"Gah, why did this have to get blown out of control?" Rage said, shoving his frustrated face in his hands. Zukin turned to him, concerned. "It... scared me, you know? I never saw Emi run off like she did. And crying, even. All because of something stupid I did, and how stubborn I was about it. I didn't mean to freak her out. I meant to give that guy a piece of my mind, but not if it meant making her cry."

"She will forgive you, Rage-sama," Zukin assured. "So long as you still love each other, you will overcome these fights."

Rage forced a chuckle. "She's young... I'm young... it's not like any of us really know what love is like. But me and Emi can probably sort this out... our relationship isn't gonna end 'cause of this one fight."

"Good, then," Zukin whispered, trying to smile to herself, "I wish you the best of luck in talking this out." As she spoke, she began to step in her own direction.

"Hey wait," Rage stopped her. She didn't face him, but she listened.

"Thanks a lot, Zukin," he said. "Really. For being supportive and all, even though..."

She shook her head. "I only want to give you happiness," she said blankly yet sincerely, "like you gave me what I have now... a life, a conscience, feelings. I realized how interesting life can be when you feel. I act on my emotions, and I would expect you to act on yours."

Rage got up and walked to her. "I know, I know... but, well, you're one of my better friends. So don't feel like you're not important to me, all right?"

She turned her head a little to see him out of the corner of her right eye. "I am... important?"

He skipped words and hugged her instead. "I appreciate you trying to look out for me when you do, even though I think you care a little too much."

She tried to make sense out of the words she heard, but she couldn't believe he actually hugged her. It had probably happened once or twice – her memory had failed her at that moment – but this was the most affection he'd given her.

She instantaneously squeezed his waist like her life depended on it, but loosened her grip a second later. "I don't know what I did to earn this, Rage-sama, but thank you."

"I'm just happy to have someone to vent to." He laughed and released her. "Somebody who would let me live this down..."

"Your vulnerability isn't something you like others to see," Zukin said for him.

"Yeah, so... don't tell anyone else about this talk, all right?" he asked with a grin.

"I can keep a secret for you," she answered with confidence. "And... I enjoyed this talk. I hope you come to me with problems in the future."

"You hope I have problems, eh?" he asked playfully. "Nah, I get it. I'm just a little wary of, er... leading you on, since you... still have a thing for me... don't you?"

Zukin blushed, but remained composed. "I don't know what the future will hold, but I still love you, Rage-sama."

He sighed nervously. "It's useless talking you out of it anymore, isn't it? Just... don't hurt yourself, all right?"

She nodded. "Certainly. I'm grateful that you care about me, too... as a friend." She smiled lightly, before she turned around and flew into the sky.

Her leap into the air was out of the ordinary; there was a skip in her step as her large wings flapped widely and with power. Perhaps it indicated he said something right to her this time.

(What will the future hold, indeed? Thanks for readin')