ALLY

Nanba sat next to Nakao at dinner the day Kitahama temporarily replaced the principal when he broke his leg. "You need to watch your actions and if he reprimands you tell me. As a dorm head I will take responsibility." He didn't notice the questioning looks from his third-year friends at his usual table, he did notice that Nakao was a bit quieter than normal. Half an hour later Nanba returned his empty tray thinking that perhaps he'd eat with them again.

The three met up on the steps by the athletic field to avoid Sano taking Yutaro for a walk and anyone else who may happen to be wandering around campus. Sometimes it wasn't easy having a private conversation on campus. "So what happened after Kitahama called Nanba, Nakatsu and Sano to his office?" Nakao nodded a thank you to Kadoma for the royal milk tea.

Ashiya took a sip of her peach juice before answering "I missed the first part while trying to find a better way to listen through the door. I heard Kitahama say 'Unkempt as it is people will be able to tell there's nothing inside that head.' Then Sano said 'Are you finished, sir?' then Kitahama said 'What type of attitude is that toward your teacher? That attitude is why you can't accomplish anything in the high-jump.' And that's when I opened the door and told him to apologize. Nanba sent us back to class while he stayed to talk to him."

By now Kadoma wasn't surprised she'd go that far to stand up for her friends. Ashiya's example made her more determined to speak out against the additional harassment. "I still think it was Nakatsu's own fault for not noticing Noe's note paper." Nakao tried to explain that people are responsible for their own actions "The Sakura Committee will handle it if it comes to that. Not that I want this harassment to go that far, but Nanba looks so good in his official long coat."

Ashiya decided to change the subject when Nanba was mentioned. "Tomorrow I'm going to contact Rio at St. Blossom and find out more about the winter dance. Kadoma, you aren't going to try to back out of it like you did the class trip to Hokkaido are you?"

"I really don't want to dance with a girl, if you don't mind." Kadoma crushed her empty can wondering if anyone other than Ashiya and Kujo would notice if she wasn't there.

Nakao watched Nanba intently, ignoring Sano and Ashiya sitting together during the dorm meeting. The dorm head was excited about the upcoming dance and swung his left fist at the board listing the titles 'best couple' and 'king' as he demanded that someone in second dorm win the prize. After winning the cultural fair prize of pencils and notebooks no one really cared about Nanba's personal rivalry with Megumi.

Kadoma was at the farthest table in the library working on quadratic equations when Nakao came in with her biology text book. She dropped the book on the table as she spun a chair around straddling it backwards. "Ashiya catch you up, yet?"

Big brown eyes glanced from the square root of b+c to her friend and back again. "Haven't seen him since club training yesterday."

"Rio is convincing the girl in charge of the dance committee that the girl to boy ratio is short by three."

Kadoma checked her answer then erased it. "That's oddly specific."

"I added us and Kujo to the dance committee. Our first meeting is next Monday at St. Blossom." Nakao grabbed her book and put the chair back under the table.

"Thanks."

Nakao shoved her hands in her pockets "I can't believe we're seriously being paid to dress as girls."

"If she thinks money fixes the problem I'm not going to argue." Kadoma glanced over her shoulder at the tall young man heading the other direction.

Ashiya laced her fingers behind her head with a satisfied smile "And I can really use the extra cash right now." Now if only she knew what to get Sano.

"Why did you let that monkey come between you and Sano?"

"Don't the letters n o mean anything to you?"

"You do realize Rio and Sano partnered together could win 'best couple' award?"

"His kiss didn't mean anything to you, Ashiya?"

"Rio even asked you twice whether you wanted to pick someone else to be your partner. Can't you take a hint?"

Ashiya looked stricken realizing the mistake she made by not wanting to hurt Nakatsu's feelings. "Sano will believe I don't want him anymore. I already said something stupid that made it sound like I go around kissing random guys." She ran back to the second dorm demonstrating that she was still the fastest runner on campus.

Kadoma and Nakao nodded to each other satisfied that the silly naïve girl was straightened out, or at least as close to it as she'd ever been.

Ashiya finally found Sano leaning against the railing as he watched the moon and stars. He didn't turn around when she closed the door or tried to get his attention. She leaned against the wall bearing her heart in a last ditch effort "Sano, I don't go around kissing guys and Nakatsu's only a friend. You are the reason I came to Japan and…" how could she make him understand? "I want to be with Izumi Sano, not anyone else."

Sano turned toward her "Why didn't you say that this afternoon?" He stopped directly in front of her, but she didn't meet his eyes "Why didn't you say 'no' when he claimed you as his partner?" Two fingers gently lifted her chin "After all the times I was the one preventing that idiot from kissing you why should I believe you don't want him?"

What would Kadoma and Nakao say? Ashiya whispered "How many times have I woken up next to you? Doesn't sleeping count more than dancing?"

Sano didn't expect that response. Who has she been talking to? He leaned his arms against the wall on either side of her head "Don't say it like that." There is a big difference between sleeping and sleeping. Not that she'd know. He kissed her long and deep then it occurred to him to keep their door locked. That will put an end to Nakatsu's surprise visits.