"So what are we going to do with that girl?"

"-I feel so sorry for her…"

"So they all passed away?"

"Yeah, her entire family."

"What's to happen to her then."

"-most likely she'd go to the orphanage."

The whispers in the room continued, though silence would have been more fit for a funeral. The little girl with pink hair tied in a ponytail to the side, sat motionlessly, her heart already numb from the loss of her parents and new born sister. She bit her lips, holding back the tears that was about to burst from her eyes. She was scared, really scared. She had no one left but she didn't wish to go to a orphanage either. The whispering from the adults in the room seem to blur into a mass buzzing that made her feel uneasy.

"RIGHT - is that her over there? The one with the pink hair - is she Amu Hinomori?" a voice suddenly shouted.

Amu looked up to see a young boy. He was very noticeable with his navy blue hair that matched his set of indulging eyes.

"Ikuto - what are you playing around here for?" a man called out, "get out."

The young guy named Ikuto entered further into the room and stood opposite Amu, "hey, you are 13 aren't you?"

Amu nodded.

"Then you can make your own decisions can't you?" he asked again.

Amu gave a nervous glance around the room of adults. "Yes I can," she replied weakly.

Ikuto smiled, stretching his hand out towards her, "my name is Ikuto Tsukiyomi. Nice to meet you, I know you are Amu Hinomori."

Amu took his hands and shook it gently. His smile seemed so warm, she felt that he was a good person. "How do you know my name?"

"Doesn't matter," Ikuto replied, "this is the main question I'm going to ask you. Make sure you think carefully before you answer. Do you understand Amu?"

Amu nodded again.

"Do you want to come and live with me or would you rather be sent to the orphanage?"

Amu opened her mouth in slight shock. She didn't think anyone would want to take her in but, Ikuto was not a adult.

"IKUTO - what are you doing?" the same man from before shouted.

Another joined him, "Ikuto we discussed this over. Your still young and going to school. You think you can handle taking care of a child?"

Ikuto threw the two men a disapproving look, "Amu is 13 - old enough to make her decision, I wouldn't entirely call her a child. I've decided to adopt her so I won't back off, besides I'm 17 and can work for money. Its not an issue."

"There is," the man continued, "why are you taking her in. She's not related to you."

Ikuto smirked, "you need not to know that now do you? Amu… have you decided?"

Amu stared around the room. The adults were whispering again. Certainly Ikuto had a point. She could make her own decision at her age though still very immature and young. She studied each of the adults, non of them seemed like they were nice enough to offer her a home. But she has only just met this guy, was he trustworthy. Wouldn't going to an orphanage… that place was a nightmare for her, she vowed if she could she'd never return to it. She cleared her throat, "Ikuto… I'll go with you."

Ikuto smiled as everyone else in the room started throwing disapproving remarks and the whisperings just got louder. Amu took Ikuto's hand and the both of them left the funeral.


"IKUTO, hurry up and wake up already," Amu shouted as she frantically shook the sleeping Ikuto, who tried to cover himself with the pillow. "YOU'LL BE LATE FOR WORK."

Yawning, Ikuto stirred, "you brat… I really shouldn't have adopted you."

Amu twitched, suppressing her anger, "well you were the one who suddenly showed up and said you wanted to adopt me. Over the past 2 years you haven't told me the reason either so don't complain about it."

Ikuto got up from bed, his hair messy. "You reckon I could chuck you back into a orphanage now?"

Amu grabbed the nearest object to her and whacked Ikuto over the head, "HURRY AND WASH YOURSELF."

Several minutes after, Ikuto with a toast hanging out his mouth locked the door, waving goodbye to Amu as he went of to work and Amu headed for school.

It had been a happy 3 years for Amu. Thinking back, she was glad that Ikuto showed up and adopted her. She couldn't imagine life without him around anymore. It was awkward between them for the first month but he tried so hard to communicate and care for her, it touched her heart. They quickly got along with each other - maybe because Ikuto was somewhat young as well and not like a adult who was strict. They developed a rather peculiar relationship though. Ikuto insists most the time that he's the parent or guardian and would sometimes act very strict with Amu, giving her curfews and telling her to do the house work. "I bet he just wants a slave," Amu couldn't help but say what she thought out loud. Other times Amu is the more mature one and ends up taking care of Ikuto. Really, who is taking care of who?

There was times however, when Amu felt slightly uncomfortable about Ikuto. The first thing that was always in the back of her mind was why he knew her name back then, her age to add. Why he wanted to adopt her? And the most mysterious thing ever… why did Ikuto insist for her to go to sleep every night at 7:00 - no later than 7:20. She was not allowed out her room after 7:20. It was a strict rule Ikuto set for her. She tried one night, going out her room after that time and ended up having Ikuto shout at her. The next morning he almost took Amu to the orphanage, but forgave her after she said sorry. That happened during the fourth month she started to live with him and she would never forget it. Still, Amu couldn't help but wonder why she couldn't step out her room after that time.

"AMU," someone called from behind, breaking Amu's thoughts.

Amu turned to greet her friend, "Nadeshiko."

She gave Amu a light slap on the head, "did we not say you should greet me very formally. Say Good morning Miss Nadeshiko Fujisaki."

Amu repeated after Nadeshiko and the both of them laughed. "So Amu, how are you and that father of yours?"

"Ikuto is doing well I suppose. I do wish he could wake up earlier in the mornings though," Amu replied.

"You still not allowed to go out after 7:00 are you?"


Nadeshiko frowned, "Amu you know your 16th birthday is tomorrow. Why don't you try and convince your dad to let you stay up longer, it won't harm you or anyone. 7:00 sounds ridiculous to me. Almost like a Childs curfew."

"No, I do stay up for much longer but I'm stuck in my room. I'm just not allowed to leave my room or make any noises," Amu corrected.

Nadeshiko stared at Amu, "not allowed to leave the room at all. Are you a prisoner or what? Its unfair. Reason with him. Amu this is a order from me, tell your dad to remove that unjust rule."

Amu nodded considering Nadeshiko's order, "maybe. I guess it'd be nice if I could go anywhere."

"Great, then go and talk to him tonight," Nadeshiko said with a smile, "that stubborn father of yours needs to change his thoughts."

Amu forced a smile onto her face. She did want that rule removed, she really didn't understand the need for her to be trapped in her own room for hours. But she couldn't bring herself to say it, she still remembered that incident and at the minute, she needed more time to think things through.

The day went on swiftly. School ended and Amu found herself eating dinner back at home with Ikuto, who like an old man complained about the hardships of his job and how when she got older, she needed to repay him by giving him back all the money he spent on her.

"So hurry up and grow up," Ikuto said finishing chewing on the rice, "you'll have to pay for all our living expenses and I can retire early and enjoy life."

"Quit talking as if your already 70 years old," Amu said back, packing the dishes and washing them.

"Well you'll understand the how hard it is to raise a child once you have one of your own," Ikuto said yawning. He looked at the clock on the wall, "Amu, it's almost 7:00."

"Yeah, I know," Amu replied, knowing where she'd be spending the rest of the night. She finished cleaning the dirty dishes, wiping her hands she walked towards her own room.

"Amu, tomorrow's your birthday," Ikuto suddenly bought up.

Amu smiled, "I thought you forgot."

Ikuto rolled his eyes and smiled back at her, "let's eat out tomorrow. I'll pick you up from school."

"Ok," Amu said, excited that Ikuto was taking her out again, something he hadn't done recently. "I want to tell you something tomorrow as well."

"Go ahead but get to your room now," Ikuto ordered.

Amu closed the door behind her. She could hear Ikuto opening the TV and flicking through the channels. She placed a hand over her beating heart. She was happy and excited about tomorrow, wanting to know whether Ikuto has prepared a present for her. At the same time, she was nervous. She had finally decided to negotiate about the issue of having to lock herself in her own room every night. It was her birthday and she only hoped he would allow her more freedom, but there always is the possibility that he wouldn't agree. There is also the possibility it would ruin their current relationship with each other, a happy and one that shouldn't be ruined…