SPICE! Chapter 12

It had only been a day, but it felt like it had been a week since Len had gotten out of bed. He wish he were magic. Poof! Everything would be back to normal. Poof! All the bad things he had done in the past would have never happened. Poof! Shion-Sensei, Miku, and Meiko would be gone. Poof! He and Rin would live in a better place, going to a different school. Poof! Their parents would still be alive. But that wasn't possible. What's done is done. There was no going back.

'You were just playing games with me. Like all the other girls. I thought you had changed, that things would be different for me, but I just fell for the same trap. Why didn't I know?' Rin's words repeated in Len's head like a broken record. He remembered her expression—she didn't look angry, she looked crushed. As if all hope in the world had been lost. He had taken her heart and completely obliterated it.

Why…Rin-chan…why didn't I realize sooner… Len thought, digging through his junk drawer. He pulled out a fat file—a file full of things Rin had given him, from notes to birthday cards to valentines to even an orange leaf she had found and given to him many falls ago. Rin had been trying to get his attention since elementary school, Len had just ignored her.

Len's face felt sticky and gross from crying, his hair was a mess, and he hadn't changed out of his clothes he wore yesterday to the amusement park. He also thought he might have a cold coming on. "I guess I should go and clean up," he said to himself.

Len stared at himself in the bathroom mirror. "I look like a piece of shit," he sighed.

"You ARE a piece of shit. After what you did to Rin-chan? Deplorable," his reflection said.

"You know what? Just shut up," Len snapped.

"Looks like someone is on their man-period," his reflection said.

Len shook his head. He was obviously losing it if his own reflection even thought what he had done was wrong.

Len stood under the stream of warm water coming out of the shower for what seemed like hours. The walls were especially thin between his bathroom and the next apartment over, so he wanted to see if he could hear what Rin-chan was doing. Throughout the day he had heard clattering, as if she was moving things, and right now it sounded like she was on the phone. He couldn't make out what she was saying, but she sounded happy.

Len took a long shower, and didn't get out until the hot water started to turn cold. Just as he was getting out of the shower, he heard a knock on the door. At first he thought it was the apartment landlord coming to tell him to stop using up all of the hot water, but then he heard a familiar "Len-kun."

Len froze. He wasn't ready to face Rin-chan yet. He didn't want to answer the door, but he knew he'd be seeing her at school tomorrow. It was either do it now and get it over with or pretend to be asleep and not answer the door. Len chose the latter.

The knocking became more persistent. "Len-kun, I know you're home. Please answer. I need to talk to you. It's urgent!" Rin cried.

Len remained silent. Rin started to throw herself at the door. "I'm breaking this door down if you're not going to open up. I'm not mad at you, but I really need to tell you this!"

"Rin-chan, I—I'm sorry!" Len burst out. "I—I'm just not worthy of being in your presence!" Len ran over and opened the door before Rin could bust in.

"Len-kun, it's okay—" Rin stopped and looked Len up and down. "You're still in your boxers," she said, blushing slightly, then started to laugh.

"I'm sorry," Len said, bowing his head. He could feel himself turn red. "I'm such a fool. Come in."

Len's apartment didn't have a couch so they sat on the bed.

"I—" Len started.

"I forgive you, Len-kun," Rin interrupted. "For everything. I mean it. I guess I syou hould apologize, too. All those times, I don't know what got into me. I guess—I guess I was just jealous of the other girls and that you—that you were happy. I'm just selfish…"

"I should be the one saying sorry," Len sighed. "I was just stupid. I've been ignoring you all this time, but deep down, I think I knew how you felt, and how I felt, but I kept shutting that out. I was just worried that, if we were together and something happened, it would ruin everything. But I waited too long and look what I've done now!"

Rin was fixated on something across the room.

"Hey, Rin-chan—is it okay for me to call you that? Rin-san—"

"That leaf," Rin breathed. "And those cards and valentines and pictures—you kept them." She started to smile.

"I—I could never get rid of them," Len said.

"You kept them," Rin repeated. "I—I never knew. I thought you'd just thrown them away. I—I'm so happy!" She started to laugh.

Len was shocked. He thought Rin came to strangle him. He thought Rin came to tell him that she wasn't going to help him pay for rent anymore. He thought Rin had fallen in love with Shion-Sensei and came to tell him that she was going away forever. But she was here, and she was laughing. Len started to laugh too. All of this—ever since they had started school at Benibara Academy—it was all ridiculous. Sad. Hilarious. Because weren't laughter and crying the same thing?

Rin and Len sat there and laughed like maniacs for an hour straight.

"This isn't actually why I came," Rin coughed, trying to stop laughing. "I have some incredibly important news."

"What?" Len giggled.

"I'm moving out of here. I'm transferring out of Benibara Academy. I'm going to leave all of this behind," Rin said, her face suddenly serious.

"What?" Len gasped, shocked.

"I'm moving," Rin said. "I'm not joking."

"No, you aren't," Len breathed.

"Yes, I am," Rin said.

"You would never do something like that."

"I'm serious this time."

"You wouldn't leave so late in the term."

"I don't care."

"You wouldn't be able to afford it. And you'd be too scared."

"And how would you know that?"

"Are—are you really serious?" Len asked, looking into Rin's eyes. He could tell she was serious, but he didn't want to believe it.

"Len-kun, I am as serious as death," Rin said, her face ashen. "I wouldn't lie to you."

"When? Where? Why?" Len asked, his voice cracking.

"I found a nicer apartment a couple towns over. It's about three hours by train from here. I've been saving money for something like this. I'm moving as soon as school gets out. I can apply to the local high school over the summer, and find a new job as well," Rin said. "It's just—I need to get away from all of this. This place is poisonous. It's not good for me. And it's not good for you, either."

"Rin-chan, you—you can't leave," Len whimpered. "I—I won't know what to do without you." He had hoped she would suddenly break out into a grin and say, "Just kidding!" or that all of this was one torturous nightmare. This would be the first time they would ever be apart.

"Don't cry, now. I want to you to forget about me," Rin said. "It just wasn't meant to be. I should have realized that a long time ago."

Len was speechless. He was expecting her to say "And I want you to come with me." But she didn't even hint at that.

"I'm going to talk to Kaito-Sensei tomorrow. I think then we can sort everything out," Rin said. "But for now…" Rin trailed off.

"Rin-chan. Please…let me go with you," Len begged. "Please. I—I can't live without you!"

"That's the Len-kun I know," Rin smiled. "Now I know how you truly feel about me. She leaned in closer.

Len let out a sigh of relief. Rin got closer. Just as their lips were about to touch, he felt the press of cold metal against his neck.

"Rin-chan, what—"

"I'm doing this because I love you," Rin whispered.

"Why—"

Len screamed, and everything went black.

Rin shook Len violently. "Wake up, Len-kun! Wake up!" she shouted. "It's just a dream! Wake up!"

"Huh? Is…that…Rin-chan?" Len asked, dazed.

"You were having a nightmare," Rin said. This was the first time Len had had such a vivid nightmare in a long time. The last time he screamed so loud in his sleep was when his and her parents died.

It's all my fault, Rin thought. Yesterday traumatized him.

"Please don't kill me, Rin-chan! Please! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" Len gasped, trying to crawl away from Rin.

"Why would I?" Rin asked .

"I just thought—oh. It was…a dream…" Len sighed. "What time is it?"

"It's only noon," Rin said. "I heard the shower running for a long time and got worried. I found you passed out in there. What happened?"

"I—I don't remember," Len said, scratching his head. He bumped a certain point on his forehead and winced. "I guess I fainted, and I didn't realize…it was weird, my dream continued on with my day, and you came over, and we talked, then you tried to kill me, then you woke me up, and then…you're here..."

"I'm sorry, Len-kun," Rin said. "It's my fault you haven't been taking care of yourself. Have you been eating? Or at least keeping hydrated?"

Len's answer was his stomach growling. He hadn't eaten since they had had lunch at the amusement park. After that, he had been so stressed out, he had lost his appetite.

"I'm so sorry," Rin said. "Let me make you something to eat—"

"It's—it's fine," Len breathed, putting his hand to his forehead. He broke out into a cold sweat, and could feel a massive headache coming.

Rin held her hand against Len's forehead. "You're sick!" she gasped. "You have a fever. You're sick. No, this is all my fault…I'll go to the drugstore and get you some medicine—"

"It's not your fault," Len said. "If anything this is all my fault. I—"

"Shh, you don't have to say a word," Rin said softly, pressing her index finger against Len's lips. "I heard everything in your sleep. You were talking. But I'm sure you really meant it."

"That'll save me some time, then," Len said, laughing. Rin started laughing too. Len wasn't just laughing about his dream, but this whole thing since they had started school at Benibara Academy—it was ridiculous. Sad. Yet it was also hilarious. Rin and Len laughed like maniacs for how long, they didn't know. Weren't laughter and crying the same thing anyways?

"I'm going to get you some medicine," Rin said. "Even with all that's happened, it's no excuse for me to just abandon you. I still care. You're all that I have."

The word "abandon" made Len remember something from his dream. "Rin-chan…have you ever thought of moving away from here?" he asked.

Rin froze in mid-step out the door. "Len-kun…how did you know?" she gasped.

"I guess I just sensed it," Len said, shrugging.

"Don't worry. I'd never leave without you," Rin assured. "But let's not worry about that now. You should lay down and get some rest. I'll be right back. Bye!"

Len smiled. He knew he didn't know everything about Rin, and he still wasn't sure if Rin was a friend, a sister, or something more, but he knew the answers couldn't be far. He was still waiting for the day he could tell Rin those three little words and truly mean it…maybe that day would be tomorrow.

~CHAPTER 12 – END~

© 2010 Ikuto-sama