Disclaimer:

Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou belongs to other people -- Masami Tsuda, Gainax and Right Stuff. I only borrowed these beloved characters for a short time. I promise to return them right after I'm done.

Across

dementedchris

I think I can pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with him.

There were no fireworks, no orchestral music, no flowers in full bloom -- just a busy intersection filled with busy people hurrying with their busy lives.

I had stood on the corner of that intersection wondering how my life could change in just one minute. I stand there now, years later, marveling at how it did.

School had just ended then, and I had doggedly followed him everywhere. Oh, I had a pocketful of excuses – "Arima, won't you play with me today?" or "Arima, you promised to treat me to an ice cream sundae!" It was all part of the patented girlish charm.

Funny, how after all that time, I had never found the voice to tell him my real reason. "Arima, I don't want to be left alone."

Looking back, I don't think I had to say it. When he looked at me, I felt that he was drawn to that part of my being, recognizing the loneliness in me, as if it were a long-familiar friend. Maybe that was why he tolerated me for as long as he could, because in some strange way, we were kindred.

We had stood on that busy sidewalk, two kids in an adult world, nearly getting trampled from all sides. Then he had reached out his hand to me and spoke. It was then when I knew.

"Don't let go. Don't ever let go."

Of course, he had done it because we were going to cross a street, but I held on to his words as if they were my lifeline. His hand was warm and gentle over mine, leading me across. I had felt so safe that day.

We had reached the other side of the street, but I still hadn't let go. I had let Arima weave his way through the crowd, pulling me firmly after him. "Oh, what a cute doll," I heard a woman coo in the background, but I had ignored her. I kept my eyes firmly focused on the boy walking in front of me. That day, I would have followed him anywhere.

I never asked him his story. I guess I never want to. It was enough that we understood each other, knew where we stood in each other's lives.

Now, that same intersection is just as busy and crowded as ever. I am still just as petite, looking very much like the little girl I was all those years ago. I still hear the same praises for my looks, the same comments, and still I ignore them.

Arima had gotten me across. In those empty days, he had kept me safe.

"Tsubasa?"

I turned to the sound of the voice, smiling as a tall blond guy with a spiked collar walked to where I stood.

"I was looking all over for you," he continued. In the silence that followed, we waited for the light to change, a signal for us to go.

"I've been standing here all along, Kazuma-chan," I murmured.

The light changed, and Kazuma took my hand in his.

Arima may have gotten me across, but it was Kazuma who waited for me on the other side.

End