[Pardon me if I use names wrong, I tried to research as much as I could to see what they called each other, but.. Yeah. Sorry if it's wrong. ^^; Oh, and I might go into other's perspectives once in a while, but Nina's the star. X3]

The urge to smile and giggle didn't last long, and not just because I knew it would hurt. As the two fought beside me, I felt my eyes begin to droop. I blinked them open again, but then it drooped, this time staying down a second or two before opening. I heard the voices stop, and I tried to look over at them, but my eyes refused to do anything but close. I heard someone's voice get louder, as if they were moving closer, but I couldn't see or hear who it was... My hearing began to fade along with my sight as my eyes closed, and I fell... into... a deep... sleep...

"...she needs to go to a hospital!" Zero shouted at Ichii, his eyes blazing. Ichii narrowed his eyes. "You aren't thinking straight, Zero. Human doctors do not know of these things," he said. Zero clenched his jaw, but didn't fight back. He closed his eyes for a moment, then looked at Nina, and was suddenly hit with fear as he realized her eyes were shut. "Nina!" he yelped, jumping to her side. "Nina, stay with me, Nina! Nina..." Zero picked Nina up gently, but urgently, holding her in his arms as they ran to the car.

* * *

Nina woke to the sound beeping. She was instantly reminded of hospitals and those things they put on you, but when she opened her eyes, nothing was even similar to a hospital. It seemed like a normal bedroom, in fact. Nina pulled herself up with a grimace, biting her lip as she did so. She looked around for the source of the beeping, despite feeling lightheaded and dizzy, and she did: An alarm clock.

Before she could process the information, someone came into the room. "Will?" she tried to ask, but it came out as a croak. She winced, expecting the searing pain, but it didn't come. Or, at least, not in such a great pain, just a minor twinge and a little pain. He looked up from a notepad in surprise, but smiled as he saw her. "Nina, you should be resting, not trying to sit up," he said. She looked at him in puzzlement, and he recognized the questioning glance.

"Zero and Ichii brought you here yesterday. We couldn't get the pearl out-" The PEARL? "-but your throat seems to be healing just fine. You'll be out of here by tomorrow at worst," he said cheerfully. Nina looked at him, her eyes wide and panicked, but Will had already turned off the alarm, set down a cup of water, and left.

What was this? I was wailing inwardly, sinking down into the bed again, dejected at what Will had meant. Surely... I couldn't have swallowed the crystal pearl AGAIN? Really, the world didn't have it out for me that bad... did it? I wanted to cry and rejoice at the same time... Rejoice because I could at least be with Zero and Ichii, but cry because, well, I would be targeted the whole time!

As I was thinking these thoughts, I heard some shouting about a few yards away, then a voice, and another. What's happening? I thought, scared for a moment. What if someone was hurting Will? I was about to get out of bed to see what was going on, but as I set my feet down on the ground, Zero came in, slightly out of breath. I stared at him, mouth open. It felt like I hadn't seen him in so long... I got up to greet him, but in a flash he was by my side, pushing me down. I gave a small gasp of surprise as he did some, blushing slightly

"Nina," he said seriously, "You're supposed to be resting." I turned my head, blushing madly. He took the cup of water and put it to my lips, tilting it forward a little. I opened my mouth obediently, aware of my dark blush and rapidly beating heart. Then he set down the cup, the one blushing for once.

"I... um, wanted to see you. Are you alright?" he asked me, looking down, avoiding my eyes. I nodded, but he couldn't see it, as he was looking down, so I leaned over and tapped his chin, encouraging him to look up. I hadn't realized how close we were until he looked up, his nose almost touching mine. I blinked and started to pull back, vaguely aware of his hand coming to my face. He was the one to touch my chin this time, urging my face towards his. My eyes widened as he did this, but still I moved closer until his lips brushed mine. Then, a whole crowd of people piled into the room, making Zero and I jump, blushing.

"Nina~! For-chan and I are glad you're all right!" San-chan said first, which gave to the others saying similar things. Their words overlapped, making them hard to hear, and my head ache more. "Nice to see you guys too!" I mouthed wordlessly, to avoid pain, although I doubt anyone was paying attention. Zero somehow ended up behind me, I found as I looked around the room for him. Everyone had shown up: San and Forte, Rokka and Gou, Nanase and Yakumo, and they were all crowding the already small room. I saw Ichii and Will in the back, shaking their heads. I was happy to see everyone, too, but why were they here...?

It hit me as I swallowed, the pain in my throat reminding me of what had happened the day before. They were here because of the 3rd advanced magical exam, and since they couldn't get the pearl out of me, they must be waiting for me to get better! Just the thought made me want to cry, but I knew… I knew they were actually my friends, not just waiting for me to get better so they could get on with the exam!

That brought me back to the other problem: Why couldn't they get the pearl out? I mean… there was that potion… or would it come in fragments, like last time? If so, how? By my heart beating quickly? I squeezed my eyes shut at the thought; it wasn't exactly a good memory, with me having to (temporarily!) break up with Zero.. But now that I thought about it, there were plenty of good memories mixed in, too. Like-

"NINA! Are you all right?" A loud voice interrupted my thoughts, and I opened my eyes to see Rokka, staring at me, eyes narrowed almost into slits. I jumped, yelping in surprise, which did nothing good to my throat. "Rokka…" I heard Ichii say from the back. In an instant, Rokka was in the back, looking up at Ichii with fluttering eyelashes. "Ichii-sama3~" That was when I noticed most everyone was gone from the room, and I could hear clamor in the kitchen, and familiar sounds of china.

"They're… having a tea party," I said, almost dumbfounded. I shook my head slightly, smiling a little. "That sounds fun." Then I noticed Zero, sitting next to me still, looking at me, almost as if he were studying me. He looked away as I caught his gaze, and stood up. "Do you feel fine enough to walk? I can help you," he offered, holding out his hand. I smiled shyly and took it gingerly, standing, but instantly putting all my weight on his hand, extremely overestimating my ability to walk. As a result of this, I fell like a rock to the ground, dragging Zero down with me, much to my dismay.

"Aah!" I cried, falling to the ground, and feeling Zero's weight on my left side. We both groaned, but I couldn't ignore his weight, despite the pain. He seemed dazed, and probably was, since he didn't instantly roll off of me. My heart was beating even faster than before, not knowing what was going on inside of that boy's head… After another moment, Zero realized where he was, and got off of me, blushing furiously and avoiding my eyes again. I rubbed my head, wincing as I touched a tender spot. Zero got up and dazedly walked off, leaving me on the floor. Anger filled my brain, blocking out pain and any other feelings. I got up, weakness in my legs ignored, pain in my head and throat forgotten. I stormed out after Zero, shouting, "Zero! You idiot!" And from there I stormed out of the house, not seeing any of their stares. Especially not Zero's.

The pain seemed to disappear temporarily, but not for long. Not even passing the gate of Will's home, my throat was burning and my legs felt like jelly. I wouldn't go back, though. Not when Zero was willing to let me fall down and not help me up. What kind of boyfriend was he, anyway? Just thinking about it made my legs feel stronger, reinforced with anger, but also weaker, since I didn't really want to stay mad at Zero… But until he apologized… I wouldn't forgive him!

Surprisingly, I got a somewhat long distance before I realized that I had no idea where I was going, or that I didn't recognize anything. No one followed me, either, I noticed. I didn't feel good… Oh, why did I go from Zero and Ichii again? My brain was lagging behind me as I half-walked, half-stumbled blindly on a path that looked similar to the one I was following before. My breathing became ragged with effort, my eyes were beginning to blur. Surely, a sore throat couldn't this much damage…..?


Ah, darn it, it was all my fault. Everything.. If I had been listening to Nina more, I would've seen that stupid object and caught it. And now she was somewhere out there, alone. And I couldn't find her.

"NINA!" I shouted, after the initial shock of her shouting wore off. I ran outside, but she was nowhere to be seen. "NINA!" I shouted again, looking around wildly. Where was she? I couldn't lose her, not now… not ever.


I had entered a forest by now… It was funny, though, since I couldn't remember there being any forests around here, except for the one behind Will's home… But I would have noticed if I had back tracked, right? Anyway, right now I couldn't take much more of this. It was hot, my eyes were already blurred without sweat dripping into them, as well as tears filling them.

I was hardly aware of what was happening until I saw a pond. Water! That would be good to splash on my face. I approached the pond without a second thought, only seeing the monster at the last second. I screamed, jumping back from the snapping teeth. W-what?

It looked like a crocodile, but with evil looking red eyes. It was eyeing me hungrily as I scooted back, trying to clear my eyes by wiping them. It sort of worked, but everything was still distorted. I shouldn't have shouted at Zero.. I thought. Really, I must control my temper. And now because of that, I'm here, ready to be eaten by a crocodile, for any matter! I couldn't do that… I couldn't throw away my life for some stupid anger problem. I let out an ear-piercing scream, shouting, "Zero! Ichii!" They would come. I knew it. And as soon as he did.. I would apologize. That I knew for sure.

My scream made the monster scoot back a little before, but now it was advancing more than ever. I jumped up and ran, but that turned out to be a bad move, since the crocodile monster thing, that was before on its belly, stood up on its hind legs, showing its rippling muscles. My eyes widened, and I made a run for it, looking behind me, which was also a bad move, since I soon ran into a tree.

I fell, my breath getting knocked out of my stomach as a result of running into a tree. I could already see the monster approaching. I closed my eyes and let out another scream, "ZEROO!"…

Birds from the tree she hit flew out of their resting spots, alarmed by Nina's loud shout. At this time, Zero and Ichii were scouring the land from above, trying to locate Nina, already hearing her first scream. "There!" Ichii said, seeing the birds, and not to mention, the giant monster crocodile getting ready to devour Nina.

They descended rapidly, and landed in front of Nina, almost to the point of where they were standing directly above her. Ichii yelled out, "Defensive magic!" just as the monster was hurling toward them. "Nina! Run! We'll take care of him," Ichii said to her without looking back, his eyes already closed with concentration. Zero joined him, yelling out, "Destructive magic!" pointedly keeping his head turned to the monster. Nina smiled at them and ran, trusting them.

"B-but, wait… I don't know where I'm going!" she said, turning white.

"That's okay, Nina-san.. We know where to take you!" said a voice. Nina turned, and jumped when she saw the giant owl in her face.

"Oh, San, thank goodness you've shown up," she said, relaxing when she saw who it was. "Can you make sure that Zero and Ichii are all right?" she asked. She didn't doubt their power, but still, she would never forgive herself if something happened to them!

"I think you misunderstand…" San said, her face darkening. "We mean to take you! Come now, this time our plan is foolproof! We will pass the exam yet~!" she said with a smile.

"Sorry Nina…" Forte said, looking slightly flustered.

My eyes widened at this. "S-san, Forte! Surely you don't…" San shook her head. "Nina, you mustn't be mad. But you seem in good health now, and this is the perfect opportunity to have the upper hand." I stared helplessly at them, but I suppose I could understand it. A little.

"Well, still…" I said. "All right, I'll go with you…" San looked happy. "But first.. THIS!"

I had no idea what I was doing, I was just grasping at something, to gain the advantage again. I ran off as fast as I could, but soon, Forte's tantalizing magic made me feel sleepy… I tried to fight it, but I was no mage. I quickly succumbed to it, slumping down with sleepiness. Then I heard, "Defensive magic!" and I vaguely saw Ichii and Zero's silhouettes through my closing eyes. I fell asleep with a small smile. They'd come.

"Zero! Get Nina! The exam has officially… non-officially begun!" Zero nodded at him, scooping up Nina. She looks so peaceful when she's asleep… he found himself thinking. Ah! I can't be distracted, he thought, gritting his teeth, and quickly getting over to the vehicle, jumping in the back, Nina partially leaning, and mostly laying on Zero, still unconscious. Ichii was there almost as soon as Zero, and then they were off.

"C'mon, we have to outdistance them!" Zero said, turning in the seat to look behind them. By now, everyone was chasing them, not just San and Forte. They rose above the trees, and into the skies, San and Forte close behind them. Zero grunted and cast destructive magic quickly. "We're not giving her up so easily!" he shouted with a mischievous grin as the other team crashed down to earth, their means of transportation dazed by the force of Zero's destructive magic. Now they quickly gained ground from the other teams, and landed at Nina's house once again.

As they approached, Nina stirred, blinking as her eyes adjusted to the light. She jumped as she realized she was practically on top of Zero, sliding her legs off of his lap. "I don't mind." Was all he said, his head turned away, but then finally turning toward her with a confident grin. Nina smiled back at him, cheeks heated, slightly surprised, but happy nonetheless. They got out, both ignoring Ichii's playful grin and the shake of his head.

I couldn't believe it! Zero finally looked at me, instead of looking away! I mentally fist pumped, filled with a love for him. I just wanted to kiss him then and there… Ah, I couldn't think such rash thoughts… But all the same, I didn't banish the thought, glad of the blush that was already there to cover my tracks. I'd almost forgotten… I tapped his shoulder, feeling somewhat ashamed of my earlier actions.

"Zero, I.. I'm sorry for yelling at you. It wasn't your fault.." He just looked at me strangely and said plainly, "Iiiidiot, that doesn't matter anymore." and broke into a smile. I smiled gratefully at him, hugging his arm tightly.

So I suppose Zero and Ichii would be staying in my closet for this exam, again. It may sound weird, but they have a third dimensional portal from my closet to my room, so they have their own separate room, and at the same time can keep an eye on me… My parents still didn't know about this, and well, probably never would. Ugh, how embarrassing. It wasn't like they didn't know about Zero and Ichii, though, I'd introduced them last year. They didn't exactly know about the nature of our relationship, and not just the pearl/exam one. They'd have to find out sometime, right, but… I didn't know how to go about it. For now, we just pretended they went home… I would deal with them when it came to it.

We went inside, me (rather reluctantly) releasing Zero's arm, and instead walking beside them. My mother and father were by the television, turning to see how came in. "Oh, Zero and Ichii!" my mother exclaimed with a smile. They both smiled and waved, charming as always.

"Nina.. You didn't tell us your friends were coming over…" said my father. Mother shot him a warning glance, and said to us, "Shall I make you some dinner? You must be hungry…"

"Yes, please, mom. I haven't eaten in a while…" I said wearily, frowning at my growling stomach. "We'll be in my room!"

I collapsed on my bed, feeling drained. "Agh, I'm tired," I said with a yawn, and Ichii nodded, walking to the closet. "I think I'll go to bed.. It's kind of late. Zero?" he asked. Zero shook his head, and joined me on the bed, sitting beside me, looking strangely quiet. As Ichii left, I sat up, looking at Zero with some alarm. "Is everything all right?" I asked, since normally Zero wasn't shy or quiet in the least. He seemed to be thinking deeply, so I left it there, leaning back onto the pillows, taking the silence to think as well.

What a tiring day it had been! First a sore throat/body/everything (which, thankfully, had seemed to disappear somehow…), then a crocodile monster, then an attempted kidnapping, and finally at home. At least I can relax, now…

"Nina?" I opened my eyes, and saw my mother, standing in the doorway, holding a tray of tea and snacks. I jumped up, smiling. "Thanks mom~" I said happily, taking the tray. I set it on the table as she beckoned me to the hall, quickly turning to Zero, but he still seemed like he was in a trance. "Nina, where did Ichii go?" she asked, looking slightly worried. Nina mentally questioned this, but said, "Uh, he went home."

"We didn't see him…"

"… through the window.."

My mom looked at me strangely, but I just smiled. She just shook her head. "Well, I don't like you alone with a boy, Nina.."

"With one, instead of two?" I asked, letting out a small snort and a smile. She didn't smile back. "Careful, Nina." was all she said as she went downstairs. That was weird… I thought, but I didn't think too much of it. When I returned to my room, Zero wasn't lost in his thoughts, but staring at the doorway intensely, waiting. He softened his expression when he saw me, but patted the bed next to him. "Nina, you know I'm not exactly… A fan of talking about this stuff, but it needs to be done sooner or later." I stared at him in surprise. ".. Well, it's fine," I said, although I was wondering what it was he was talking about. I sat next to him obediently, somewhat thrilled to be sitting close to him, not expecting what was coming next.

"D.. don't you think that your parents.. Should know about… us?" he asked, turning beet red, and I soon followed. "Er… Well, I suppose they have a right to know," I said uncomfortably. "Yeah," he said. Silence followed, filling the room with an awkward air. He jumped up and pretended to stifle a yawn. "I guess I should go, then," he said. "I-I guess… Good night, Zero." I managed a smile through my uneasiness and, seeing this, Zero kissed the top of my head. "Good night, Nina…" he said quietly, and then he was gone, disappearing into his and Ichii's room. I sighed and laid back on the bed, my mind still on that short, extremely awkward conversation. Did he really want that..? I suppose his family knew about us, so why shouldn't mine? I dwelled on the thought for a while longer, but finally I closed my eyes, sleepiness claiming me.


"Nina, it's morning," said an impatient voice.

"Good morning, Nina," said a cheerful voice.

Both voices were so close, I sat up, eyes wide with alarm. Then I saw Zero and Ichii's confident faces. "KYAAA!" I screamed, scrambling out of bed. I glared at them. "Can't you wake me up like a normal person, with a tap on the shoulder or something?" I complained, although I couldn't help but smile. "Nina, stop shouting so early in the morning!" I heard my mom call, her voice reaching my room barely. I waved them out of my room, and hurriedly got ready.

Soon, I was ready, and walking out the door. "Good bye!" I said cheerfully, waving as I exited. Zero and Ichii were waiting outside, Zero muttering, "Finally." I glowered at him, and we walked to school. Yeah… They were transferring to my school again. I wondered how many times that this would happen, with a smile. The school didn't seem to mind-or notice?-them coming back and forth. As soon as we set foot into the school grounds, screaming girls surrounded them, popular as always. I stumbled back again, somewhat used to this pushing. Whenever they came, they were greeted with.. Open arms, to say the least. Nevertheless, my jaw clenched at the sight of girls crowding Zero, my mouth sliding into an annoyed frown. However, Zero and Ichii had pushed their way from the center of the crowd to me, Zero saying, "You coming?" I grinned and nodded, "Of course. Let's go." The other girls fumed and glared at me, the older ones recognizing a similar case from last year. I put them out of my mind, happy with Zero and Ichii, and determined not let them spoil a good mood.

As expected, the other six examinees had wormed their way back into the school, but I couldn't help feeling weepy. "Another potentially good school year… Gone," I moaned, although I actually preferred this to hardly seeing Zero and Ichii the whole time… Zero and Ichii took the desks beside me, as always, bringing more unwanted attention to me from girls who hadn't seen them join me in the courtyard. It was kind hard to concentrate with most of the girls shooting venomous glares at me, but somehow I managed to get through it. As we went out of the class, Zero and Ichii turned the other way as me. "Hey, class is that way," I said, looking at them in surprise. "Oh, yeah, we don't have all the same classes as you… but you can manage one or two classes, right?" Ichii said with a smile. I stared at them, but they were already leaving. Whaatt?

I carefully moved to my next, glancing left and right whenever I turned, paranoid. Finally I made it to the next class, letting out a sigh of relief as I got to the class room. "Stop!" someone said, stopping me in my tracks. I turned, glancing behind me. "N-nanase?" I stammered, remembering what he did the past years of the exam with his troublesome magic; one year, Zero and I switched bodies, and another, he made me as small as a doll. "I should probably go into class…" I said, touching the door frame. Nanase smirked. "Not before I do this, though.." he said, and then, "Amulet magic! Animal metamorphous!"

Some kids looked out of the door, their expressions puzzled. It was strange… They were so much bigger! Agh, don't tell me I was small, again? Nanase smirked at me, and grabbed me, but it wasn't like the time that I was a small person. His hand was curled around me, still, though. I tried to speak, but all that came out was, "Squeak! Squeak squeak!" And I spotted my hands-no… They were claws! EH?

Nanase showed me myself in the mirror. I was a reddish brown RAT. "What the-? Nanase, you made me into a rat? Of all things, a rat!" Or at least, that's what I meant that. It came out more like "Squeak squeak squeak!" My glare came through clearly, though. Nanase cackled/laughed and ran to another room. Ugh, was he going to try to shake the magic pearl out of me again? Before he could do any of that, I instinctively sank down my nasty teeth in his wrist, and scratched at his hand. He cried out and relaxed his grip. I fell to the floor, the wind getting knocked out of me temporarily, but I was quickly on my feet, and scampering down the hall, away from that crazy guy.

I had to find Zero and Ichii quickly!

[Ooh, a new development! And I don't know about you, but I've always wondered about her parents knowing about Zero and Ichii, and Zero and Nina. X3 I hope you liked it, I'll try to continue soon. :3]