It wasn't like her declaration of love for Akira should have changed anything. Sure, they'd been close friends for a while. They shared nearly everything. But she said herself, she would never do anything that made her uncomfortable. So why was it awkward? Why haven't they spent the night at each others houses for some time? Fumi caught onto what appeared to be a silent treatment, and came to the conclusion that though Ah-chan said she didn't mind, she secretly was disgusted with Fumi.

Why else would they stop being so familiar with one another?

The speculation that her closest friend despised her made her eyes turn acerbic, and would often cause her to tear up during classes. It's been haunting her for nearly two weeks now, and something had to be done eventually. She has to confront Ah-chan again to clear things up. Selfishly enough, Fumi felt that their friendship isn't worth it if Ah-chan didn't want part of it…

Hardly sleeping at all Sunday night, Fumi ended up being late to the train station, leaving her hair down as she found no time to do it up. It was a cold morning, expected though, as it was a little over half way through winter. However only about 10 minutes late, there was still a waiting period of about 20 more due to the train tracks being affected by last nights lake effect. After about 13 minutes of waiting, Ah-chan showed up, with he usual bright and cheerful greeting.

"Ohayo, Fumi-chan!" Akira parked herself next to her friend, her nose pink from having to switch between a brisk walk and a jog to get here in time. Her brothers car wouldn't start, also due to last nights weather.

"O-ohayo, Ah-chan.." Fumi returned the formality. Stuttering because she was either nervous or the cold was actually getting to her. A few moments passed before she formulated her question well enough.

"Aaa…Ah-chan, are you…busy after school today?"

Akira exchanged a look of surprise with something more calm and smiled. "Nope."

Fumi expected the opposite, but was slightly pleased with her answer. "Oh, then would you mind coming home…with me?" Fortunately for her, the cold weather could be a reason for the blush on her face, which it wasn't. Akira nodded pleasantly and shivered a bit. The train pulled into the station and the rest of the day dragged on. Clubs after school were cancelled due to the recent snow storm warnings' being issued on TV's and radios. And the ride back took longer as it was snowing throughout the school day.

Fumi tried her best to keep a normal composure about Ah-chan, conversation seemed like the usual, and nothing awkward came up. Fumi questioned whether she should really interrogate Ah-chan over something as small as why they don't have sleepovers anymore. But if she didn't, she'd have little chance at being herself any time soon.

The time came when they arrived at the Manjoume residence. Fumi exchanged little interactions with her mother, as Chizu and her husband were there, making it distressing and awkward considering Ah-chan now knew about Fumi's past relationship with her. How they used to have sex on occasion. Fumi and Akira only spent a few minutes in the kitchen to fetch some hot chocolate before retiring upstairs to Fumi's bedroom.

After exchanging whatever meager conversations they had hovering in their minds, there was silence, and more silence. Fumi traced the circular formation of her mug with her index finger, awkwardly glancing around, meeting Akira's expectant gaze, as if she knew what was coming. Her eyes, Ah-chan's eyes, their beautiful dark color made Fumi lightheaded whenever they met her own green optics.

A few more minutes, and Akira leaned closer a bit, though a table still between them, Fumi could tell she was going to press her for answers.

"Fumi-chan, I have a sinking suspicion that you didn't just have me over for light conversation today…" She spoke in a depleted tone. In Akira's mindset, the reoccurring thought that the girl downstairs, Fumi-chan's cousin, actually had sex with her best friend, while she herself had never even dated...

Does Fumi ever have thoughts? Thoughts about doing those things with me? Touching, kissing, and…

She did her best to exterminate the filthy deliberations. She simply watched Fumi as she furrowed her brows into a less vibrant setting. Fumi fumbled with her answer. How is she supposed to respond to such a blunt assumption? While Ah-chan was right about her hidden intentions, she wasn't as prepared as she thought for this.

"We don't…spend as much time with each other…as we used to." Fumi paused, looking down at her hot chocolate, still full and room temperature. "Like, we don't spend the night at each others houses, and—" She couldn't go on, she already felt the stupid tears welling up in her eyes and had to remove her glasses to wipe them away before they could travel freely down her face.

Akira awkwardly smiled. She dug into her pocket, withdrawing the familiar handkerchief before worming her way around the table to her best friend. Handing over the cloth, Fumi had a hard time accepting it this time for some reason. As if she'd never be able to return it, because Ah-chan might finally reject her and leave, forever, but she was there, even after her 10 minute sob fest.

"…A-are you disgusted with me, Ah-chan?" She sniffled a bit and ran the cloth under her eyes every so often, trying her best to control the waterworks in her face, but to no avail.

"Of course not, Fumi-chan. I was just…trying to give you some space, since…I thought you were just…confused?" It seemed hard to choose her words, since truthfully she didn't know why they weren't having sleepovers anymore. She didn't see a reason. A clear one anyway.

"Are you sure?" For some reason, Fumi found it hard to believe that Ah-chan wasn't a least a little uneasy with her.

"Absolutely." She smiled undauntedly. "But if you don't believe, I'll stay over tonight."

Fumi half smiled. This wasn't enough for Akira, however.

"And the night after that, and the night after that, and the whole week. Maybe I should just live with you then." Akira prodded Fumi in the stomach teasingly, in an attempt to clear the misunderstanding, and make her smile more, which worked.

"You don't have to stay, I was just—"

"I'm staying." Akira pointed out as a matter-of-factly. She grinned and took Fumi's now cold hot chocolate and attempted finishing it but ended up choking half way through. After coughing for what seemed an eternity on Akira's end, Fumi couldn't be more convinced that their friendship wasn't in jeopardy, and she was just…paranoid. They shared cheerful laughter as Ah-chan wiped away the chocolately substance from the bit that got on her school uniform.

A knock. Apparently Chizu had been watching for a bit as she leaned against the door frame, smiling. It wasn't smug, nor challenging, just genuine. Fumi went silent, alone with Akira. Fumi had a clear reason, but Akira couldn't quite place her finger on her basis. This girl. Fumi's cousin. Was recently married, and it caused such devastation to Fumi. At the time, she didn't know the deep seeded reason behind it, and now that she did know, it was all too awkward.

"I'm heading home now, Fumi-chan." Chizu's voice ringed. All Fumi could muster was a nod, and an awkward silence that followed. "You two stay out of trouble, now." Smiling, she was gone. What did she mean by 'Stay out of trouble?' Did she think they were…together? The two waited until they knew she was down stairs before resuming any form of conversation.

"Ne, Fumi-chan, do you have clothes I can borrow for tonight?" She cautiously sipped on the cold hot chocolate, not wanting another fit.

"Aaa, aa…yes." Fumi blushed slightly before getting up and rummaging through her dresser. Withdrawing a plain, pastel blue t-shirt and white sleeper pants, she turned to give them to Ah-chan, only to be caught off guard. She was already removing her shirt. It shouldn't be a big deal, since she was wearing a tanktop underneath, but she couldn't help but feel hot in her face. And selfishly, she was dropped her shirt on the floor, accepting the new one from Fumi and putting it on. It was longer on her, because of the height difference, but she didn't complain.

Akira was about to remove the other component to her school uniform when it occurred that it might be different now that…well…

She looked at Fumi questioningly, who was slightly red in the face. They never had a problem getting undressed in front of each other in the past, but should she be more cautious now…?

- Author Note :o

; ? Review maybe..?

-sigh- I should really be doing my requests on deviantart…=_=; But I'm so into Aoi Hana, Hayate x Blade, Kannazuki no Miko and Simoun I just don't have the ambition. :F