Disclaimer= I do not own Clannad.

A/N= This isn't a sequel to the first Observe and Protect.

The city was changing for everyone. Grandparents had it a certain way, parents saw the city a certain way, and now the children were now going to see their own way. Schools were changing as well. Sunohara Youhei and Kyou Fujibayashi were just two of many students that graduated high school in their year. Their lives were going to change forever once they grabbed the diploma and shook some hands. The graduates did their thing once they were officially proclaimed as such, tossing caps and hugging relatives. Sunohara worked his way through the sea of students to get to the front, where the Fujibayashi sisters, Tomoyo, and Yukine were chatting it up. "So I'm thinking we should have dinner over at Ryou and I - -"

"YES, WOOHOO!" was the shrill Sunohara put out to get their attention. "Sorry about my introduction, but I'm just happy as you all are to be graduating." They all nodded in agreement, excitement noticeably lost. "Where are we all going to - -" Sunohara narrowly missed a dictionary impalement. "WE aren't doing ANYTHING with YOU." Kyou had to be restrained from some serious slapping action. "You're still a pest. I would think that this last year in school would change - -"

"Sorry to interrupt your power trip, but something DID CHANGE?" Sunohara pointed at his hair, which had changed from blonde to brown. "Everyone chimed in with their nice hair comments… everyone but you. It would've been great to hear your sweet voice say something nice to me that did not involve yelling or dictionaries; but hey, a guy can only dream right?" That comment quieted the group and the few remaining members of the student body. Kyou went from angry to remorseful; any attempt to quell the shellacking was futile because the damage had already been done. With Kyou about to cry, Sunohara quickly shooed the other girls away, closed the curtains and held her. "I'm sorry for all of the times I was a jerk to you. You are much too beautiful to waste time paying attention to whatever someone like me has to say," he whispered into her ear, "go on and live a very prosperous life, complete with financial and emotional success." Sunohara handed Kyou a box and told her to not open it until she was in absolute dire straits. Blushing deeply and thus not able to part like that, Sunohara kissed Kyou on the cheek and turned around and started walking away. "Have a nice dinner… and a nice life."

Several years later, we find Kyou letting out her students for the holidays. The little kids immediately began to roll around even though snow hadn't fallen yet. After a while, Kyou found herself all alone as the sun began to set. During the years after high school, Kyou tried dating, but that did not go anywhere. While it didn't show on the outside, the insides were terribly ravaged. The loneliness was so bad that it bordered on depression. Her body was wobbling with every step, Kyou collapsed on the ground and fainted. She woke up on the same ground with white on her; snow had begun to fall. Remembering what she was told to do, she called Guu-chan to fetch the shovel. After an hour or so of shoveling, Kyou found the box in her hands. Eagerly opening it, she found a piece of paper and read its contents:

Don't ever think you are alone because you are not. Even if you're on the ground or in some other dire strait, you'll always have me to protect you.

Enough strength returned to Kyou that it allowed her to sit upright on the ground. The words on that paper truly comforted her. Many inches of snow had begun to fall down, and Kyou was finding herself shivering. Luckily for her, her saving grace threw on her one of them husky coats to keep warm. "You should be warm enough now to walk."

"Thank you so much eh… YOUHEI?" Sunohara had come out of nowhere to place that coat on Kyou, who hugged him tightly. "Save your energy for walking to my place for a cup of chocolate.


They get to his room for some delicious hot chocolate and some warm air conditioning. "Hope the chocolate isn't too hot - -"

"Its perfect… thank you once again for - -"

"I saw you sitting on the ground and I just knew I had to help you." They set their mugs down and talked for a few hours about how their lives were going. "I see you're a teacher… that must be paying well."

"Despite all the good money that job pays, it eventually takes its toll on you."

"How so?"

"Once everyone is gone and you are alone, the loneliness starts kicking in and it kicks HARD." Sunohara could relate because he was in his room all the time while not working. "Was that piece of paper useful?" Kyou jumped over the table and hugged Sunohara. "Of course it was! Those words really did comfort me. You wrote them?" Sunohara jumped on his bed and layed on his side, facing away from Kyou. "That wasn't the real box."

"You mean to tell me that for the past several years, I waited for just that piece of paper?" Kyou got angry again and was in the process of leaving when Sunohara called out to her. "CATCH." In her hands was the actual box and so she tucked it under her arm and left the room. Sunohara fell asleep for an hour and tried rolling around to his other side but was unable to because of the girl that was staring at him lovingly. "I'm sorry for not being able to say what I felt back then. Being comical was the only way I could get your attention - -" Kyou hushed his lips and kissed them. After a bit of kissplay, they layed in bed cuddling in each other's arms. Kyou finally spoke after the long period of silence. "You were there for me all along and I didn't even realize it."

"I'll always be there for you Kyou. Oh and about the rose - -"

"I love you too."