:) I've seen a couple of authors writing for NatsuRuka. THANK YOU. And well, please enjoy another sad story from me.

"Hey." Ruka greets.

"Hey." Natsume replies.

Ruka and Natsume's friendship is imperfect; therefore, it is strong. Their friendship had a good balance of love, convenience, hatred, and understanding. It is imperfect; in a way that their bond can fight off anything that comes in the way. Nevertheless, this kind of relationship isn't easy.

"Natsume, do you want to go to the party on this coming weekend?"

"Naah. Go by youself."


Natsume does his all to keep a good distance from Ruka; have him too close, it'll be hard to let go; but have him too far, they'll lose each other. It's for the good of them both, they quietly agree. Take no risks and you'll lose none. On the other end of the string, Ruka completely understood. He accepts this way of logic, and does his fair share of pulling Natsume closer, although know that he changes nothing.

But it's painful, isn't it?

Natsume is forced to keep his best friend away even though he wanted him to be by his side always, to be together on times of storms, and to share every little victory they make. He wanted to be selfish about him, but he can't. The pain in his heart builds up even more whenever he pushes Ruka away; whenever he hurts him. He convinced himself that his sacrifice would protect the both of them.

And well, Ruka's case is different. He isn't forced; it's already natural for him to care for Natsume. He is stuck to continuously pulling Natsume closer to him. Two loving hands would, instinctively, always reach out towards his imprisoned friend; those hands already expect rejection and disappointment, but also somewhat hope that Natsume would acknowledge the gesture.

The day will come when I won't be able to see you anymore. I don't know when that would be but I pray that we both be given strength.

Ruka left. He said that he'll never leave, but he did. Natsume felt nothing, that is, he didn't feel regret, not even sadness. It was perhaps because of the effort he's put in for them not to get too close. But it's wrong, isn't it? It's wrong to not feel sadness when someone you're with for years just suddenly left. No, Natsume didn't feel 'nothing'; he felt guilty.

Natsume slipped into his bed, it's cold now, unlike before when Ruka would secretly heat it up with something Hotaru made. It doesn't matter if it's cold; he's used to it before so why complain now? He closed his eyes to sleep, he just dived into one of those dreams that didn't make sense. Ruka was there, right beside him as he usually was. "Did you want me to leave?" he asked.

Natsume doesn't have an answer. Do I? Of course, not. "It's alright if you don't want me here." And Ruka started to leave, going somewhere else — into the dark, farther and farther. Natsume was frozen, he didn't stop Ruka; he didn't tell him to stay. But this is just a dream, and nothing's going to change really.

Why did you have to leave?

A tempting smell of scrambled eggs and toasted bread woke Natsume from his deep sleep. His eyes suddenly opened wide, he got up, and in a scared and hesitant voice; he called out, "R-Ruka?" It should be him, because-

What a disappointment; instead of seeing the baby blond shade of Ruka's hair, he only saw Mikan with a sad smile on her face, as she looks out from Natsume's kitchen. "Ah, sorry, Natsume-kun," she laughs bitterly, "I know what it feels like to lose a best friend... and I-uh... Before Ruka-pyon left, he asked me to cook breakfast for you once in a while." She stepped closer to the bed and placed a plate (of, yes, scrambled egg and buttered toast) on the bedside table. "It- It may not be like how Ruka-pyon does it, but... well, I tried my best."

Mikan went ahead to leave, not wanting to give Natsume anymore trouble. She knew how rough it is (and I don't really want her here :P).

Natsume didn't notice it at first, but his tears streamed down his face; when he tried to push them away, it was already too late... he had shed so much. Feeling that he can't cover it anymore, he went on crying, with every tear punching a hole on his heart.

How could he forget; Ruka had always insisted on making him breakfast whenever Natsume's too sleepy to go to the cafeteria. It was annoying at first, but as time passed by, (even though he doesn't show it) he began looking forward to wake up to the smell of Ruka's cooking — although they only range from fried fish, scrambled eggs, toast and other breakfast food. And that he looked forward to eating together on his bed and just listening to Ruka's rants and stories.

Natsume, as he wipes his tears again, began to laugh, thinking about the first time he saw Ruka in an apron, about the first time he saw the terror on those blue eyes when he cooked pork chops, and about the first time he got a small burn on a finger 'cause he wasn't careful.

Ruka didn't really leave, did he?

He's still here, in the minds and hearts of everyone, changing, somehow, the way things were.

He looks at the meal Mikan just cooked. It certainly doesn't looked as appetizing as Ruka's , but well, it's another crazy idea of his so it'll do. Happily taking a bite, he silently thanked Ruka for being his friend.

Did Ruka know that Natsume will seclude himself from the others when he leaves? Did he know that if it wasn't for him, Natsume wouldn't really like having friends at all? And did he intentionally went and tried to make things easy for everyone to live without him?

Natsume isn't happy at all knowing that Ruka just left; but there were only good memories to remember, and Ruka was tricky for that.

He smiled. Hey, you idiot, how am I supposed to live with HER as my cook now? I'd rather drag myself to the cafeteria.

"I'm sorry, Ruka. I was only thinking about myself." He muttered to himself. "I know you only want me to be happy." And yet, I pushed you away, believing that I can protect us both.

But really, thank you, everything you did meant a lot to me.