Chika rubbed her fingers together against the cold. It was freezing today, and the sky was overcast. She was forced to wear the school uniform, but she'd forgotten to bring mittens, earmuffs, a scarf, or anything else that could vaguely fight the frost. But she kept telling herself that if she kept moving, she'd warm up eventually. She hoped...

"Chika!"

She turned to see Masaru rushing towards her. Or, as most called him, Macharu. "What's up?" she responded characteristically.

"Haruna's got stuff after school," he replied vaguely, "so do you wanna walk home together?"

No. "What about Atsu? Don't you usually go home with him when Haruna's unavailable… and don't you bike?" Anything but walk home together. Oh, god.

"Atsu's got a date, and my bike broke the other day," he shrugged. "C'mon. Whaddaya say?"

And then he made that adorable monkey face of his… "Fine," she gave in. He beamed and she continued her way home, the monkey by her side.

She could feel her heart beating rapidly, and she was positive that Macharu could hear it, too. She'd hid it well, but there was nothing she could do now. People were going to find out her secret crush. For the sake of things, she'd given the impression she'd crushed on Atsu – which was perfectly reasonable and, for the most part, unquestionable. But to crush on Macharu? Haruna Aizawa's boyfriend? The "baby monkey" of the group? It was unheard of.

"Hey, Chika!"

His sudden exclamation made her jump. She turned to look at his gorgeous, baby face, and gulped. "Yeah?"

"You're not wearing mittens or earmuffs or a scarf or winter boots or a coat!" His long, run-on sentence didn't do anything but state the obvious. She raised an eyebrow.

"So?"

"So!" He scoffed and slipped off his coat and gloves, before giving them to her. "Here! I'll be good for awhile!"

She stared at his outstretched hand, and shook her head, flushing. "No! I couldn't accept this…! It's…" It's something only a boyfriend and girlfriend do…!

"Nah, it's fine!" Macharu promised, grinning. "I can keep myself warm! Besides, you need it more than I do! You live farther than I do, right?"

"Wait – so you're giving it to me until tomorrow?" What? That was even more preposterous!

"Of course! Come on, Chika!" he pushed it to her again. "I know you're freezing! You're shaking!"

And so, with a small sigh, she reluctantly slipped on the clothing. It was warm, and smelled like him… "Thank you," she whispered, touched.

"Haha, it's nothing!" And honestly, he didn't look bothered by the cold. "You can keep 'em if you want. I got other coats and mittens at home, since my mom worries I'll lose one or two."

"Really? You'll give these to me?" Her eyes widened. This was incredible. Did he really like her that much?

"Of course." The smile he gave her was soft, and warm. "It's a gift. Take it, okay?"

She was awestruck, and all she could do was nod. For a moment, this was all there was to her… just the two of them, walking side by side…

…It was time.

"M-Macharu?"

He blinked and looked at her. "Yeah?"

"I, uh, I know you… you're going out with Haruna, but… w-would you like to go out with me Saturday?"

She said it. Her face burned, and she quickly restated, "Never mind! That was a joke, haha… I got you, didn't I?"

"Chika…"

His face was serious – more serious than she'd ever seen it before. "I like you, I do," he began, and her hopes crumbled. "But I'm in love with Haruna. I mean, out of all my girl friends, you're number two… So let's just be friends, okay?"

"O… okay…" She winced. Rejection hurt. "D-do you want your coat and gloves ba – "

"No way!" he interrupted. She jumped. "I'm giving you those because I want you to have them. I don't care whether you have a crush on me or not. You need those, so I gave them to you. Got it?"

"…All right."

They approached his house. "Well, here's my stop," he looked to her and grinned. "I liked walking home with you. It was a nice change of pace, and your softer side is kinda cute."

She flushed. Cute…?

He started to walk inside, but then she called out, "Macharu, wait!"

He turned. "Yeah, Chika?"

"I promise you, even though I may be only your number two right now … someday I will be your number one."

He looked her in the eye… and grinned.

Because that was a vow of the heart.

Disclaimer: I in no way own Monkey High!, which belongs to Shouko Akira and its publishing company, Shojo Beat. I also do not own Masaru or Chika.

A/N: I've only read up to volume three, so I'm sorry if any of this information is proven false in later chapters. This was inspired by the last chapter in volume 3, where Chika looked so cute next to Macharu. ~heart~