MBP: So, this is kind of just… well, I'm calling it a chapter, but it's just what happened between Chitose dragging Megumi off and bedtime. It's not really something I wanted at the beginning of a chapter, but not really what I wanted at the end of the last one. I liked how the last one ended.

Rini: ….You really enjoy tormenting him, don't you?

MBP: Shush! It's not that bad, I promise! Anyways, please enjoy!


Chapter Three

Megumi sighed quietly, relaxing as the warm water rushed over her chilled body. Chitose had dragged her to get yet another uniform fitted for her before ordering her to take a shower and warm up.

It was one order Megumi had been more than happy to obey. Humming a little, she turned the heat up to where it was almost burning her skin. She'd always liked her showers just a little bit too hot… just like her mother.

Megumi froze, leaning against the wall weakly. Sometimes, no matter how hard she fought against it, everything just came pouring back in. The memories, the grief, the feeling of being torn apart… Shaking slightly, she forced them back.

She was strong. She would not break down, she would not start crying. For once, she would be the capable one, the one that didn't need to lean on anyone else. This time, she would be able to take care of herself… and she wouldn't rely on someone else.

()~~()~~()~~()~~()

Megumi pulled on the shirt and pants that had been provided for her, checking her phone for a reply from Ryuu. He hadn't been pleased when Megumi had texted him her plans about staying the night; in fact, he'd threatened to come over and drag her out if he had to.

She had quickly replied that she was fine, and even sent texts to Jun, Hikari, and Kei to make sure that they didn't let Ryuu out of their apartment. From the replies she'd gotten back from those three, Megumi could assume that Ryuu wasn't coming anywhere near the Saiga mansion anytime soon.

Megumi peeked out from the bathroom, surprised to see Chitose waiting outside for her. 'Master Chitose?'

Chitose was blushing, looking at the ground and shifting his feet. "Y-you don't really have to call me that," he muttered, shoving his hands in his pocket. "I was just joking."

This was a huge difference from how Chitose had treated her since they met; Megumi had to admit, she liked this Chitose more, even if it was strange and sudden.

Smiling, she held up her board again. 'Have you eaten dinner yet Chitose-kun?'

His face reddened even more as he shook his head, muttering something about waiting for her to finish. He frowned, turning his back to her as he gestured for her to follow. She was different; even Chitose had noticed. But… why was he having such a hard time looking at her without turning bright red?

Megumi followed easily, the thought of food propelling her just as much as the little boy's insistence that she do so. She tensed immediately after walking into the dining area, staring at the only other person in the room.

Yahiro was eating his food absently, reading what looked like a report from work as he did so. He didn't notice the two until Chitose ran up to him.

"Yahiro-nii-san!"

Megumi didn't even flinch when the older boy sent an irritated look their way, but Chitose visibly deflated and retreated back to Megumi. Megumi frowned at Yahiro and placed her hand on Chitose's shoulder, making him smile again in seconds.

Yahiro did not like this. Pretending he'd finished with what he was doing, he put the report in the briefcase he had by his side. "Nice uniform, Megumi-chan," he teased as the two sat down across from him.

Actually, he recognized what she was wearing. They were some of his old clothes from when he was younger. The thought that Megumi was wearing his clothes, working in his home… His thoughts were moving into dangerous areas that Megumi had no right to be present in.

Coughing at his own stupidity, he noticed that she hadn't responded, but was putting food on a plate for herself and his brother.

That was something else that Yahiro didn't like. She was working as his brother's maid. What possessed her to work for Chitose? She hated Chitose!

However, at the moment, she and Chitose seemed to be best friends. Megumi was smiling at Chitose, holding her board up and announcing that Ryuu couldn't force her home, so she was staying the night to make sure Chitose was alright after their incident on the boat.

"Megumi-chan, I'll be fine!" Chitose muttered, having no intention of telling her that getting all her attention like this was making him happy. It was a nice change from having her turn into a pile of mush when his brother was in the room. "I don't need a nursemaid!"

'I want to stay!' Megumi wrote stubbornly. Yahiro recognized that look on her face, but Chitose didn't. It was the look saying that she was going to fight to get her way, and not back down. 'Chitose-kun, it's either me, or I'm calling your doctor to tell him what happened so he can give you a shot.'

Chitose visibly paled. He hated needles, and every time he went to the doctor, he got a shot… even when nothing was wrong. It was a low blow for Megumi to use it, but it worked. "Fine…"

Megumi beamed, having won the argument. Chitose had turned bright red, and Yahiro groaned inwardly. This was just his luck; after all the new thoughts he was having, the girl starring in those thoughts was staying in his house… and she was still wearing his clothes.

This was going to be a long night…

()~~()~~()~~()~~()

Chitose had gotten comfortable very quickly, realizing that even if Megumi was yawning and looking like she was about to collapse from exhaustion, she would stay up just as long, if not longer than he would. As it was, before he could think of sleeping, he had double-checked that she really did like the guest room, that if she needed anything, she'd make sure she woke him up, and that she wasn't going to disappear in the middle of the night.

Megumi assured him that she liked the guest room (lavender was one of her favorite colors), that he would be the first to hear if she needed anything (which wasn't likely; she wanted to sleep), and that she would still be here in the morning (she'd checked with Jun; Ryuu was being scolded by Hikari about letting her work in peace).

However, before going to sleep herself, Megumi let herself into Chitose's room next door to check that he was alright. Smiling, she noticed he had thrown off his covers in his sleep, and he was snoring lightly. Moving quietly, Megumi pulled the blankets over the boy, brushing his hair out of his face before retreating back to the door.

Making sure she closed the door quietly, she kept her back to the hallway as she pulled it shut behind her. The sensation of someone blowing on her ear made her jump, falling into the closed door as she turned.

Yahiro was smirking at her, one of his hands resting by her head as he leaned over her. "Hello Megumi-chan."

'Master Yahiro? Did you need something?' Megumi scribbled quickly, trying to calm her racing heart. He had scared her, coming out of nowhere. Vaguely, she wondered if there were ghosts in the mansion, and decided she really didn't want to know.

The girl only got more and more annoying. First, he couldn't get her to leave him alone, and now he can't even get her to talk to him. She needed to decide what she was going to do, so she didn't throw off people's routines.

"I need you…" Yahiro leaned in closer, wondering why she wasn't reacting when his own heart was racing for a reason he wasn't fully ready to admit to himself… even though he didn't have a choice. "To tell me why you're working for my brother. If you're trying to get to me…"

'Chitose-kun offered me a job.' Megumi wrote the answer slowly, as if trying to make sure he understood completely. 'This had nothing to do with you Master Yahiro.'

Megumi gave him a moment to read the words, let them sink in. Then, she flipped the page of her sketchbook and scribbled more. 'May I go to sleep now?'

Ducking under his arm, Megumi went into her room, locking the door behind her. Closing her eyes, she took a few deep breaths to calm herself… because this really did have nothing to do with him. Nothing to do with him… and everything to do with her.

And Yahiro had never really cared about her before. Megumi didn't want him to start now.

()~~()~~()~~()~~()

Yahiro's hands clenched into fists by his sides as he stared at her door. She had just… walked away.

For some reason, his heart was hurting more than it ever had with Akira. It wasn't just that she wasn't talking, though he would never tell her that he was happy she only ever talked for him. It wasn't that she wasn't reacting to his teasing, or acting like the Megumi he knew.

It was the fact that she was treating him like they'd never known each other.

He continued staring at the door, tempted to go in there and demand answers. In fact, he knew exactly where he could get the key to that room. It would be so easy to go in there, act like the jerk he knew he was, and force her to give him what he wanted.

The problem was… he didn't know what he wanted.

Answers; yes, he wanted answers. He wanted to know why she wasn't talking to him, why she was doing this when she didn't need to. He wanted to know why when he looked at her, even if she was smiling, her eyes seemed withdrawn, lacking the spark he'd always noticed and secretly admired.

He wanted to know if her heart would race like his if he pinned her to the wall, acting out on the fantasies he'd been starting to have. He wanted…

Yahiro growled, running a hand through his hair in frustration. This was a perfect time to be realizing that he didn't want Megumi to stop caring about him. Just perfect timing on his part; the moment she doesn't care, he realizes he wants her to.

I'm an idiot… Yahiro thought, forcing himself to walk away to his own room. He wasn't going to let Megumi know he wanted her, not if she didn't… Yahiro flinched inwardly at the thought.

But he wasn't going to make the same mistake he'd made with Akira. They could be friends at least. It would hurt, it would suck, and it would be tempting but… he couldn't lose her completely.

And maybe, just maybe… he could bring the light back to her eyes.


MBP: I noticed, I always have Yahiro just blurt out right away that he loves her. I didn't want to do that, because I realized that after Akira, he might be a bit more hesitant to risk losing someone again… especially if it looked like Megumi didn't care anymore.

Rini: GO YAHIRO! I'M ON YOUR SIDE!

MBP: Rini… go find Taru please. I need him to find Kio.

Rini: They're at Michi's, enjoying some college level fic torment.

MBP: Go play with them then! Anyways, hope you enjoyed! Please review and tell me what you think!