Unspoken Attentions
Chapter 1

Sae and Takeo were standing in the school yard, staring at each other. They had
spoken just a few words, and suddenly the only sound in the area was that of the
wind rustling the leaves of nearby trees. Most of the student body had left
already, and both of them were glad for such a thing. Sae bit her lip, her eyes
downcast as they filled with tears, her body trembling as she spoke. She was
filled with dread, with sadness. However, this situation could not be helped. It
was not her fault, truely. Not anyone's fault. It was simply the way the heart
went. Surely it happened to everyone at least once in their life?

"I'm sorry. I'm not in love with you."

Takeo fell to the ground in shock, his eyes wide open as he felt his heart break
at Sae's words. He had been certain that she had feelings for him. The others
had always hinted toward it, and she had always been so close to him. Now, he
had finally gotten the courage to tell her how he felt. Only to be rejected.

Sniffling, Sae turned her gaze away. "I'm so very sorry, Takakura-sempai. I
don't know what to say in this situation. You have always been the person I look
up to. However, I have feelings for someone else," she said softly.

Standing, Takeo tried to keep his composure. However, when he tried to speak, he
only made an indignant sound from his throat. Clearing it, he turned. "I'll see
you at the Magic Club meeting tomorrow," he said quietly, then quickly ran away.
He couldn't stand to see her right now. Couldn't stand to be around anyone. He
just wanted to find a private place where he would be able to release his pent
up sadness and frustraition. He had made an idiot of himself, telling Sae of his
love for her. How could he believe she would love him anyway? All at the same
time, Takeo was angry, jealous, sad, defeated, and most of all ashamed of
himself for not having the love of the person he cared about.

Walking on stiff legs into their club room, Takeo froze when he saw Aburatsubo
standing by the window. The two of them were best friends, despite Aburatsubo's
unusual attentions toward him, but he didn't feel up to having anyon'es
attention at this time.

"Um, I'm going home now," he said. It would take a long time to get there, and
he had wanted to break down right away, allow himself to express his inner
emotions, but he couldn't do such a thing in front of Aburatsubo or anyone else.


His friend's voice made him stop before he had left and Takeo came into the
room, trying to make himself look as ordinary as possible. "Yes?" he questioned,
unable to meet the other's eyes in fear that he would see his upset.

"Well, I just wanted to congradulate you. You got a good score on your test
today and I know how hard you were studying," Aburatsubo said quietly, not
turning from the window as he spoke.

Takeo's head shot up as he studied the other's back. He had received an
eighty-two percent mark on his test that morning. He hadn't told anyone about
it, even though he was extremely proud. He wasn't very good at English, and had
been studying for weeks for this important test. Once again, Aburatsubo had
figured something out about him that he hadn't been expecting anyone to know.

Suddenly, Takeo frowned deeply. 'He is in the same situation as me,' he thought
to himself. It was true enough, if one ignored the gender difference. Aburatsubo
loved him. He loved Sae. Sae loved someone else. He had overheard that Nanako
was in love with Aburatsubo. They were in some kind of strange pentagon where no
one had the attentions of who they wanted. Aburatsubo would understand the
situation he was in. Could it be that he had caused this same pain in his best
friend that Sae had caused in him?

Not liking the turn his thoughts had taken, Takeo hesitated a moment at the door
before turning to leave once again. "Thanks. See you tomorrow," he said quietly.

Aburatsubo leaned over and rest his head against the glass. Again, he hadn't the
courage to ask Takeo what he'd been wanting to ask. Why did he always have to
chicken out? Especially when they had a moment for themselves. Recently, since
the defeat of the Bell, the Magic Club had been especially active. They had two
new members and Akane had begun to attend more often. There was rarely a moment
where he and Takeo could talk by themselves. Despite his usual lack of
embarrasment for his feelings, Aburatsubo did not want a large group when he
asked Takeo this particular question.

Hearing the door open once again, Aburatsubo turned to see Sae standing by the
door, tears in her eyes. "Sawanoguchi," he said, surprised. He hadn't seen the
young girl in tears for a long time. Now that he thought about it, he realized
that Takeo had been acting very strange as well. What had happened between them.

"Takeo-kun isn't here," he added, wondering if he was the reason why she had

Heaving a breath, Sae suddenly ran into his arms, crying against his chest. "I
feel so bad for what I said to him. I know Takakura-sempai has had feelings for
me, but I didn't realize he was in love with me. He told me, but I don't love
him. You should of seen his face. I feel so horrible for causing him pain.
Still, I can't pretend. I'm in love with someone else and even if they will
never love me back, I can't date someone else," she exclaimed with one huge

Despite his dislike for her, caused by Takeo's emotions for her, Aburatsubo
wrapped his arms around her. Now both of their behaviour made more sense. His
heart went out to both of them. Both Sae and Takeo were suffering through the
same situation which he and Nanaka were in. It was almost rediculous, the near
incest in their group. It caused so much pain for everyone.

Sighing, Aburatsubo pulled her away once she had finished crying. "Don't worry,
Sawanoguchi. It would of hurt him more to lie to him. You have done the right
thing. Why don't you go home, or go over to Nanaka's house and spend some time
with a friend?" he suggested.

Sniffling, Sae nodded. "Thank you, Aburatsubo-san. I know you don't like me very
much, but I'm glad you will help me when I need it," she said quietly.

Smiling, Aburatsubo shook his head. "Don't worry about it," he replied, patting
her on the head before chasing her out of the room and pushed her in the
direction of her locker. Locking the door, he pocketted the key then made his
own way out of the school and toward his appartment.

Sae made her way home with dejected steps. She felt horrible for what had
happened between herself and Takeo. For the years that they had known each
other, she had always respected him, looked up to him. He could use magic with
such a skill that even now she was still amazed by his talent. She wanted to be
able to use magic just as he always could. However, now that seemed impossible.
How would she be able to face him tomorrow after what had happened today? She
had rejected his love, and it had affected him greatly despite the fact that he
hadn't stayed around long enough for her to see his reaction. Part of her wanted
to accept it, to tell him that she cared for him in return. At least that way he
wouldn't be in such pain. Still, she could not betray her heart. She was deeply
in love with someone else and knew that there was no way she could just forget
that person in order to ease Takeo-sempai's pain.

Pausing a moment on the sidewalk, Sae noticed that she was not very far away
from Nanaka's house. She could really use her best-friend's presence right now.
Nanaka always knew how to make her feel better. It was almost strange, as though
the other girl was intuned to Sae's sadness and knew how to remedy it. Not only
that, but perhaps being around the person whom her heart belonged to would help
ease the sadness she felt for Takeo.

Her mind made up, Sae made her way toward her friend's house. She felt excited
all of a sudden, and it was though the unpleasantness of the last hour had
suddenly vanished all together. Knocking on Nanaka's door, Sae felt a small
smile form on her lips. Sae knew perfectly well that Nanaka was in love with
Aburatsubo. However, she knew that love would never be returned, and remained
hopeful that maybe one day Nanaka would notice her.

The dark haired girl answered the door herself, a smile on her face as she let
Sae into the house. "How are you, Sae-chan?" Nanaka questioned.

Taking a deep breath, Sae grimaced. "Well, truthfully, a lot has happened today.
I hope you don't mind if I tell you," she said quietly.

Instantly concerned, Nanaka quickly pulled Sae up to her room. "You have to tell
me everything!" she exclaimed.

Knowing that there was one fact she still had to keep secret, Sae began to tell
her story. Carefully, she worked past the parts where she admitted to loving
another and instead admitted she didn't feel the same for Takeo as he did to
her. Nanaka listened without interrupting, compassion in her eyes. Once again,
Sae realized how much she loved this young woman.

Nanaka turned onto her side, looking at Sae. She was staying the night, despite
the fact that they had school tomorrow. Her tears had long ago dried, and her
face was peaceful in sleep. Nanaka was too puzzled to join her friend in
slumber. The story which Sae had told her was sad, and she couldn't help but
feel sad for both Sae and Takeo.

Still, something about the tale bothered her. Nanaka had always thought that Sae
had feelings for Takeo. It didn't seem right that she would refuse his love
unless there was something else going on in her friend's mind. Nanaka knew there
was more to the story than what Sae was telling her.

Turnung onter her backonce more, Nanaka vowed to herself that she would get to
the bottom of this. Closing her eyes, feeling a new sense of purpose, Nanaka
fell into a dreamless sleep.

Aburatsubo was surprised to find Takeo sitting outside of the club room. He
looked all right this morning, just more tired than normal. The girls wouldn't
be here for another hour, and the youth blushed when he realized he would have
Takeo's company for himself this morning.

"I don't have the key," Takeo said as a greeting, embarrased.

"Don't worry, I have them," Aburatsubo replied, smiling at the club president.
He looked so cute this morning, all flustered about the keys. He had to resist
the urge to pull the other boy into his arms and hug him. Instead, he unlocked
the door.

Grimacing, Aburatsubo noticed that the manga club had moved the seperated wall
over another foot, giving them even less room. He was surprised when Takeo
didn't seem to notice, sitting down on one of the chairs and picking up his
magic wand from its resting place. He studied it for a moment, while the
vice-president studied him.

"I wonder if we will ever be able to use magic without these," Takeo commented.

"It would do a lot for our image," Aburatsubo replied with a laugh. He could
remember the expressions of their two new members, Hiro and Natsuki, when they
had presented the strange objects. They hadn't been too thrilled with the fact
that their magical devices were deformed paper birds on sticks.

Takeo laughed as well, then set the wand to the side. "I think it would be a
good idea to test Hiro and Natsuki's skill at flying today. We'll get Sae,
Nanaka, and Akane to demonstrate their own technique," he commented.

Nodding, Aburatsubo was proud when Takeo's voice didn't quaver much over Sae's
name. He hesitated for a moment, then came to the other's side. "Takeo-kun, I
need to talk to you for a moment," he said quietly.

Suddenly looking very nervous, Takeo glanced up at him curiously. He looked as
though he were about to bolt and Aburatsubo laughed quietly to himself.

"You know that I have feelings for you," he started slowly. Takeo turned bright
red and nodded slowly. Aburatsubo took a deep breath and looked away, feeling
pain grow in his chest. However, he knew that he could not avoid this an longer.
"I have realized how uncomfortable you are with this. So many painful things
have been going on lately, and I don't want to make your situation worse. I've
made the decision that I'll give up on my feelings. I can't promise that I won't
lo-care for you any longer. However, I will do my best to keep my affections for
you private," he said quietly.

Blinking, Takeo sat up strater, studying him with unfathomable eyes. He was
quiet for a few long moments before he nodded once, slowly, and stood. "I'm
going to get things ready for the meeting," he said, then left the room.

Letting out the air in his lungs, Aburatsubo forced down the stupid urge to cry
suddenly. It pained him enough that his feelings would never be returned. Now,
it felt as though it would slowly kill him inside to have to keep them from
showing. Yet, he would do this. For Takeo-kun. Anything for Takeo-kun.

Truthfully, getting ready for the meeting only meant going down the hall and
grabbing their brooms from the closet. However, Takeo had been unable to stay
put all of a sudden. He couldn't explain the strange sensation in his chest,
almost as though he had lost something important. He refused to believe that
Aburatsubo's words had affected him so much.

For as long as he had known the other boy, Takeo had been refusing his advances
and trying to avoid his touches and flirtatious remarks. He could still remember
how freaked out he had been when he'd slept in the same room as Aburatsubo and
had been subject to listen to the other have a perverted dream about him. The
attentions of another male had made him feel uncomfortable, and he should of
been glad that Aburatsubo had decided to keep them to himself from now on.

At the same time, he felt the same feeling in his heart that he had yesterday
when Sae had admitted she didn't love him. It was as though he had lost someone
all over again. It was stupid to think in such a manner, yet Takeo was unable to
help himself. Perhaps it was selfish, but he realized that he enjoyed the
attention. Even if he didn't return the feelings, it was good to be wanted. Good
to have someone attracted to you.

Grimacing and shaking his head, Takeo wondered where the hell those thoughts
were coming from and pushed them to the back of his mind. This was the way
things were now and he wasn't about to ask Aburatsubo to take back his words,
simply so Takeo could feel important once again.

Things were going to turn out well and it was better this way anyway.