I don't own these characters or profit from them. I also spend my time writing fan fics, so suing me would just be a waste of time.

But I did see Shuffle this week and had no intention of writing a fan fic about it until I saw that &*&%&%ing ending! They just HAD to leave the possibilities open ended. They just HAD to include another complicated relationship in the end. So I'm writing this.

Two things before we begin. 1. If you don't like yuri, stop reading now. In fact you probably wouldn't like most of my other fics either. And 2. If anybody knows who the heck that blond girl with the book and a ribbin like Asa's was in the café at the end, please tell me. (Not the Oolala girl, the other one that nobody seemed to notice.)

Finally, I would once again point out that I do not usually do much editing and spell checks on these fics, mostly because I'm not getting paid and because it's a pain in the butt with Japanese names and words vs Spellchecking. If you like my writings though I do have 13 published books available on Amazon and a few other book purchasing sites.

Shuffle Episode 25: Asa's choice. ..The girls' love… Rin's fate.

By, Clayton Overstreet

Rin groaned as the last bell rang and slammed his head on the desk. He had been working hard in the early morning to deliver papers to pay for his apartment. Since the girls had found out that Kaede had made him a cup of coffee and most of them lived on the route, he had to move extra fast to get the papers delivered before they could come out and force feed him various home made breakfasts every morning. Which made him fall asleep in class which earned him extra homework which in turn cut into his rest time. But at least today he managed to stay awake durring class.

A moment later the teacher screamed, "Rin, get your crap and get out so I can lock up!"

Rin sat up and saw the teacher glaring at him. Out in the doorway were his friends, smirking openly with a combination of amusement and empathy. The clock showed that class had ended almost twenty minutes before. He yawned and stood up, shuffling papers into his book bag. "Sorry." He hurried out of the room. "Did I keep you waiting?"

Nerine shook her head. "No, not really. We all have afterschool things to do."

Asa grabbed his arm, pushing her body against his. "You need to work something out Rin. You're killing youself with all this homework." They all knew he was hoping to get into the same college as Asa, but with his grades it was not likely.

Primula said, "You're getting worse than Kaede."

Rin blinked and counted heads. "Speaking of which, where are Kaede and Sia?" The girl and the goddess had been absent from the group a lot for the last week. "Now that I think about it I haven't seen the two of them together at the same time in days."

"You're right," Asa said frowning. "Now that I think about it even when they do show up at the same time they keep making excuses."

"Do you think something is wrong?" Nerine asked. They looked at Primula.

The younger girl shrugged. "I don't know. I thought Kaede was acting weird, but when I asked she said she was fine."

Rin frowned. "That sounds like Kaede. She wouldn't complain if she had a shard of glass stuck in her skull."

Nerine said, "I can ask Sia about it when I get home tonight. But if something is wrong she might not tell me."

Rin said, "Then I suppose I'd better ask Kaede." The two of them had grown up together and were best friends. The fact that Kaede was in love with him had been awkward, but since he had told the girls his decision to date Asa, things had gone pretty well. Nobody was denying any of their feelings and all still seemed to want him, but boundaries were in place and kept to.

Asa asked, "Should I come too?"

"No," Rin said. "If something is wrong she might only talk about it in private."

"Then I'll take Primula out to get some dinner so you can talk to Kaede," Asa said.

Rin smiled and kissed her cheek. The other girls tried to look like they did not notice and the other two pretended that they succeeded.

Kaede was home already, cleaning up the house and cooking dinner. When she heard a knock at the door she was surprised. "Primula?" She put down the duster and heaeed for the door. When she opened it she was surprised. "Rin, what are you doing here?"

"I came to check on you," Rin said. "You and Sia have both been avoiding everyone lately and we're kind of worried."

"Sia has too?" She asked, looking down.

"So you two aren't doing anything together?"

"No!" She said quickly and loudly. Then she covered her mouth. "I mean… no. Nothing like that."

"So, do you want to talk about it?"

Kaede bit her lip. Then she said, "Are you asking Sia too?"

"Nerine is," he admitted. "But we aren't going to push. That's why Primula went out to dinner with Asa. No pressure, we all just want to know what's wrong."

"Well I guess you'd better come in then, but it's kind of complicated." She stepped back and he came inside. Kaede closed the door behind him. "You see it all began durring the credits to the last episode…"

Over at Sia's house the two girls were in Sia's room. Their fathers were both cleaning up massive headwounds caused by a combination of a large chair and an attempt to listen at the door.

"You kissed her?" Nerine asked.

Sia blushed bright red and shook her head. "It was kind of an accident. And it wasn't really.. .me."

"Oh." Nerine knew that Sia had a split personality, though she had rarely seen the "other" Sia. It was not something they talked about much. Like when someone has a sister that lives somewhere else.

"We were doing makeup," Kaede explained. "I'm not very good with it so Sia was helping me. She put some lipstick on me and then… I don't know, her voice got a little deeper and she told me how good I looked. I didn't think much of it. And she grabbed my hand and was going to show me how I looked in the bathroom mirror, but I tripped and fell on her and we kind of accidentally kissed."

"I've had that happen," Rin said in total understanding. "It was an accident, right?"

"Right," she said uncertainly. "But after a minute or so neither of us had moved. I just kept staring into her eyes and she looked at me. All I could hear was us breathing and I could still feel her lips. I think… I liked it. A lot."

"Oh, um…" Rin blushed. "Uh, that's okay Kaede."

"So we stayed like that for a minute, but eventually we had to move so we sat up. And then it was like her whole face changed. She looked shocked and scared and started apologizing."

"I told her I was sorry and didn't mean to," Sia said. "And it's true. But my sister she… liked it. Wanted to do more. I mean she's only ever hit on Rin because she wants me to be happy and I'm in love with him. And she didn't say anything, but I think she wanted to stay with Kaede."

Suddenly Sia's face hardened and her eyes narrowed. "Maybe a bit, but it's not important."

Nerine recognized the change. She said, "You know, you two claim to be different, but it's funny."

"What is?" The other Sia sneered.

"How alike you two are. How neither of you thinks you can be happy unless the other is." Sia turned away.

Kaede shrugged. "I don't know what to do. I can't seem to talk to Sia and she's been avoiding me too, even when we come home from school."

Rin said, "You two need to talk this out."

"Maybe," Kaede said. "But I was thinking that eventually we could just pretend it didn't happen. It was an accident, right?" Kaede suddenly smiled at him. "As long as you're here and Primula is eatring out, how about I pack you some food? I know what your cooking is like."

"Right," Rin said with a smile. "I suppose. Are you sure…?"

"I'll be fine," Kaede insisted, getting up. She quickly left the room and began moving around in the kitchen.

Nerine left Sia's house just as Rin was coming out of Kaede's front gate. Her father had already gone home and Sia's dad was out on the back porch drinking. She walked forward while Rin waited, a wrapped box of delicious smelling food dangling from his fingers.

"So did she tell you?" He asked.

Nerine nodded. "You?"

He nodded. "She said we could tell the others. But something tells me it'll take some time before they can work this out. It wasn't Sia who kissed Kaede was it? It was the other one?"

"You know about that?"

"Yeah. They told me a while ago. I try to just imagine that they are twins. I mean, I'm just human. I can't even begin to imagine how this sort of thing works with the gods."

"It happens sometimes. Combine magic, immortality, and emotions and all kinds of things can happen." They reached Nerine's house and she bowed to him. "See you tomorrow Rin."

"Later Nerine," he said with a smile and walked off.

Asa and the others met up with him the next day at lunch. Kaede and Sia were both nowhere to be seen. But on asking around Asa had found out where they were. "Kaede's been eating in the phone booth near the cafeteria. And Sia's under a tree near the track."

Rin sighed. "Isn't there anything we can do?"

"Should we ask her dad?" Nerine wondered.

Primula snorted. "I doubt he'd have anything good to say. The first words out of his mouth would be something about how Rin should marry Sia."

Asa sighed and elbowed Rin roughly in the ribs. "Ow!"

"Well you come with a lot of baggage buddy," she said.

Rin frowned at her, rubbing his side. "You're one to talk."

"Everyone has something," Primula said, sipping her juice. "I mean look at our friends. Asa, me, and Mayumi are all part demon. I'm half god too. Nerine and Sia's dads are rulers of their whole worlds and Asa's mother is just like me. Rin's got a ton of girls in love with him, including all of us." She sighed and played with the straw. "And lately I've been thinking about what that all adds up to."

"What do you mean Primula?" Rin asked.

"Well you're human Rin. Kaede is too. Even if Asa is human she miht be immortal too." She frowned. "Since I started to feel my emotions again I guess I'm kind of worried about our family. What happens to us when you three die?"

Nerine put a hand to her mouth. "I never thought of that."

Rin said, "I forgot about that."

Asa looked down. "I have. Because of my mother. You've seen her Rin. She still looks only a few years older than me. Growing up sick the way I did… well you can't help thinking about things like that. Even when I got well I knew that I was probably going to grow up and get old while my mom watched it happen."

"That's one of the reasons Sia and I wanted to marry Rin immediately when we got here," Nerine said, looking down. "Immortality is not a gift to be given lightly and there are strict rules… unless you marry into the royal families. Then they can use a process similar to the project that created Primula to make you either a god or a demon."

Rin reached over and took Asa's hand. "Nerine you know how I feel. I made my choice and I'd rather live and die as a human than to live my life forever without Asa."

"They know that," Asa said, squeezing his hand. "They love you too Rin."

Rin looked down. "I know. But I… there's nothing we can do about it. It's how the mortal world works after all."
Primula sighed. "Now I'm all sad." The others nodded too.

Mayumi snuck out of her seat not far from Rin and his other friends. Itsuki was with her and they headed out the door. The others did not notice them. When they were outside though Itsuki stroked his chin. "So, Kaede and Sia have a bit of girl on girl action going on. How intriguing."

Mayumi frowned at him. "That would be the part you focus on pervert. Does it even bother you that your friends have a serious problem on their hands?"

"What problem?"

She frowned. "Immortality dumbass. Believe me, I know. I stopped aging when I hit sixteen."

"Really, cause I would have said eleven going by your chest."

He was suddenly thrown sideways by a swift punch to the face. "You are such a jerk!"

After he picked himself up off the ground Itsuki said, "So what? Unless you happen to have some strange ability to grant immortality that I don't know about there isn't much we can do."

"No. I can't do anything like that. It takes all kinds of special magics and sciences to do something like that. Like they said, unless you are marrying intot he royal family there is so much red tape that to get an approval takes longer than a human being can live." She frowned and looked down. "Just ask my mother."

Itsuki sighed. "Sorry Mayumi, I forgot."

She shook her head and made a fist. "Never mind! There is one thing we can do for them." She smirked and said, "And it should appeal to your perverse side too."

Itsuki smiled. "Really? Tell me more."

After school Kaede was walking to the edge of campus slowly, to make sure she did not catch up with Sia. She really wanted to talk to the goddess about what had happened to them. Hearing from Rin that she had been avoiding everyone too meant that Sia had felt something. But what that something was could be anything and the possibilities prayed on Kaede's mind. She would have gladly talked it out, except that she and Sia had both been avoiding even looking at one another durring class. It was like a wall was there and there was no way to get through.

Suddenly Mayumi was there and she grabbed Kaede's arm. "Hurry up, you've got to come quick."

"Why, what's wrong?"

"Rin fell asleep in class and had to run laps again. But he slipped and hurt his foot."

"Rin is hurt? Where is he?"

"Just come with me," Mayumi said, pulling her through the halls.

They raced out of the school and to the equipment storage locker nearby. Mayumi dragged her over to it and pulled open the door. Kaede paused, looking into the dark shed. "Why are we here? Where's Rin?"

"Yeah, about that…" Suddenly Mayumi slammed her hand into the small of Kaede's back, pushing her into the shed. The door shut behind her, leaving Kaede in the dark.

Turning she began to pound on the door. "Mayumi! Mayumi let me out!" There was no answer. Kaede stpped back and tripped, falling into a basket of balls.

While she was try8ing to get out there was a flash of light and she heard another voice say, "Itsuki, you said Rin was hurt. Why would he be in here?"

"There's no time," Itsuki said. "But one question Sia. Do you remember when the teacher said that if you or Nerine blew up school property again, even if your dads fixed it, that you'd have detention for the rest of the school year and have to do summer school?"

Sia snorted. "Yeah. That was totally unfair but the principal agreed with her."

"Just cheking." There was a startled cry and the light snapped out again.'

"Hey!" Sia banged on the door. "Let me out!" Light blossomed again, flickering like lightning. "I'll blast my way out!"

"No, don't!" Kaede said, dragging herself out of the balls. Sia turned to stare at her. "You'll get into trouble."

"Oh, it's you," she said softly. The ball flew up, lighting the room. "Was this your idea?" Kaede shook her head. "Those jerks. Locking us in here."

"I um… sorry."

"It's not your fault." She sat down on a nearby bench. It was the only seat there and she had to push off some clip boards. After a moment Kaede went and sat next to her. "So…"

Kaede swallowed. "Rin said… that you've been avoiding everyone."

"Nerine said you were too."

"Yes, I have."

"Avoiding everyone, or just me?"

Kaede blushed. "I don't want to. I… you're…" She stopped talking.

Suddenly a voice from outside said, "Unless you two talk it out you're not getting out of there!"

"Mayumi! Itsuki! You're going to pay for this!" Sia said.

"It's for your own good," Mayumi said.

"Jerks," Sia muttered. She saw Kaede playing with the edge of her skirt. "I guess we don't have any choice."

"Not really." Kaede swallowed.

Sia sighed. "So should I appologize or…"

"Maybe I should."

"But you didn't do anything wrong."

"Neither did you." They got quiet again. Then Kaede continued. "It was an accident."

"Right." Sia swallowed. "But you didn't try to move."

"Neither did you."

"Uh, not exactly me." She looked away. "I mean I like you and all but I don't… like girls like that. And I'm still in love with Rin."

"Me too," Kaede said quickly. "But… I kind of…"

"Liked it?" Sia asked. Suddenly she was taliing in a slightly deeper voice. "Me too, I liked it a lot." She reache dout and took Kaede's hand.

Kaede turned and stared at her. "Sia, what are you doing?"

The girl next to her, smiled playfully. "What does it look like?"

"But you just said…"

"I didn't say anything," Sia's mouth replied. "Sia doesn't like girls. I do."


Suddenly Sia frowned and let go, standing up. "Sorry. I knew this sort of thing would freak you out."

"What sort of thing?"

"I'm not… Sia. Not the Sia you know. Look, I'll just let her explain it."

"Wait, just talk to me," Kaede said. "I don't understand."

The girl sighed and ran her hand through her hair. "Sia, the one you know, isn't the only person who has this body. I'm… sort of her sister. It's complicated."

"Oh," Kaede said. "So Sia…"

"She loved Rin. And I want her to be happy. More than anything."

"But you don't?"

"Hey Rin is a great guy. And in the realm of the gods we always go for multiple wives and lovers, so hope springs eternal. And Sia's a little bit of a push over."

"You're not though.'

Sia looked at Kaede and frowned. "Look, I'll just let Sia explain…" Kaede grabbed her hand.

"No, if that was you that night, then you're the one I should talk to."

"It's not that simple," Sia said. "I mean she was the one who did your makeup. I'm hopeless at that sort of thing."

"But you're the one who told me that I looked good. You're the one I tripped, right?"

She sighed. "Yes."

"And Sia's the one who apologized for you?" Sia nodded. Kaede pulled and Sia took back her seat. Suddenly Kaede squeazed her hand tightly. "Sia you're one of my best friends. And one of my worst enemies." She took a deep breath, marshalling her thoughts. "I like all of you. But since you and the others came into Rin's life you all slowly tore him away from me. I understand why. I love Rin. You love Rin; or at least the other you does. And you love your sister so of course you gave her a push.

"I really envy you that."

"What? Why?"

"To have someone you can talk to, to encourage you to act. I was so shy. If I had someone to support me I might have been the one with Rin instead of Asa. I had all kinds of chances."

"So did Sia. Heck, I took over and did a bit for him. Rin isn't an easy catch. You didn't do anything wrong."

"Then neither did Sia," Kaede said. She looked up at Sia's face. It was easy, now that she knew, to tell the difference between this Sia and the other one. The eyes were narrower and held a kind of challenge. Like a fugutive in a movie staring down a cop. She could almost hear the words "You'll never take me alive"., "And neither did you. We fell, we kissed, and it was an accident."

"Right, an accident." Sia turned away.

Kaede licked her lips. "But…"

"But what?"

"You liked it, didn't you?"

"Well, I did. And that scared Sia. I can't… Sia shouldn't be scared or unhappy."

"Neither should you. When you care about someone and they care about you, the only way for either of you to be happy is when both of you are. Rin taught me that."

"Rin is a smart guy," Sia said. "But this isn't like I can just… do what I want."

"Oh yes you can," Sia said. Kaede was watching closely so she saw the change. Wider eyes, glistening with tears. "Don't you dare blame me!"

"It's your body!"

"It's our body!"

"Sia cut it out. I'm only thinking of you!"

"And I'm telling you to do what you want!"

As Sia argued with herself Kaede watched, fascinated. The weirdest part was, that while both of them looked like Sia, somehow Kaede could tell them apart. In her mind she remembered a thousand times when this other Sia had been there. Something had been different, but until now she had not realized how different. Like when twins fools their friends by swapping places.

Sia frowned and snarled, "Just stop trying ot sacrifice yourself for me!"

"Then do something for yourself! Forget about what I want! What do you want?"

"To make you happy!"

"Then you have to be happy! What will do that?"

"Yes," Kaede said. "What would make you happy?"

Sia's face looked stricken. "I want… I want Sia to marry Rin. I want you to be with Rin… all our friends who love him. I don't…" Tears fell from her eyes. Not the tears of empathi the original Sia might cry. There were hue blobby tears of someone who is being torn apart. "I want… I want… I want…"

Kaede stood up and grabbed Sia's face, looking deep into her eyes. Just like that night. She stood close, body pressed against Sia's.

Sia's face changed again, taking on the softer look of the original. She smiled at Kaede and nodded. Then she spoke, but not to Kaede. "Go ahead." Kaede leaned in and kissed her.

The kiss was different at first. Every night she had played the feel of Sia's lips over and over in her head. That kiss had been accidental, but there had been feeling in it. A forcefulness that this Sia lacked. This Sia was not into it. She wanted Rin and saw Kaede as nothing but a friend.

Then it all changed. With a moaned Sia's body pushed against her. Lips pushed roughly to Kaede's, forceful and not hesitant at all. Kaede felt soft hands reach around and grasp her butt, making her jump forward, her chest pressed against Sia's. Long red hair brushed her face. Kaede's eyes widened and then closed, her own hands grabbing onto Sia's shoulders. Their breath mingled, growing in pace against one another's cheeks.

Suddenly the door opened and a camera flashed. Mayuki and Itsuki both whooped happily and the two girls split apart. Then they noticed the evil grin on Sia's face as she lifted a finger, pointing to the still flickering ball of lightning. "Uh oh."

A second later after the blast, Sia and Kaede stepped over the twitching bodies of their friends. Sia kicked Itsuki as me commented on her panties and the two of them walked off.

Kaede and Sia were welcomed back by their friends the next day. Everyone pointedly did not bring up what was going on with them, so naturally it was the full topic of conversation a few minutes later.

Primula said, "So do you two not like Rin any more?"

"Sia still loves Rin," Sia said.

"So do I," Kaede said. Then she swallowed. "But I read something somewhere. I think it went 'The light of love is not made less bright by shining through two windows'."

"It's a quote from my world," Sia said. "In the realm of the gods we have a lot of wives and husbands."

Rin kept his mouth shut, not sure if there was anything to say to that. Nerine smiled, clasping her hands in front of her. "That's a beautiful saying."

"And actually I wanted to say something about that," Asa said, "Now that we're all together."

Rin turned to look at her. "What do you mean?"

"We're almost out of highschool," Asa said. "Pretty soon we're going to have to start out in the real world. Fromw hat I know that's a pretty scary place to be, all by yourself." The others all nodded their agreement. Asa reached out and took Rin's hand. "And seeing Sia's other side and Kaede made me think of something." She looked at Primula. "And also what you said the other day, about how some of our friends are immortal and we're not." She took a deep breath, "I've lived with the prospect of death my whole life. Sicknessm, accidents, or just time can strip away everything a person cares about if they don't do everything they can to fight back.

"Which is why, here and now, I wish to propose marriage.,"

Rin gulped. "Marriage? Aren't we a little young?"

"You love me," she continued, ignoring him. "You'd die for me."

"Well yes." He was blushing and rubbing his wrist, the one he had slit to force Asa to use her magic.

She looked around the group. "And the rest of you. We all care so much about one another. But we're also different. Mortal and immortal. Gods and humans, and demons. Being together with you all, it's the happiest I've ever been. We're all family. And even with Rin's love without our friends things would never be as good."

"We feel the same way," Nerine said. "Sia is like a sister to me. We grew up together. So is Primula, Kaede, and you Asa."

"So I hearby propose marriage…" Asa said. "To all of you."

They all stared at her, blinking in surprise. "What?"

Asa clung to Rin's arm, grinning hugely. "Don't get me wrong. Rin's still my guy and I totally expect to he his number one wife. But think about it. If he and I get married, go off to college, and live our lives together, what do we get? Maybe thirty years together before one of us dies, most of that time spent working our butts off to pay for a small apartment or maybe a house.

"On the other hand, if Rin and I marry all of you you get to be his wives too. We get to be immortal. We get to rule the gods and demons as royalty and will be rich and…" She smiled hugely. "And all of us can stay together. Forever."

"But… but Asa…"

She looked up at him. "Rin. I know you love me. I know you picked me over everyone else. You don't feel it's right to string them along when you love someone else romantically and consider them friends. But I… I want this." She looked at the other girls. "If you say yes."

Kaede looked at Sia. Sia looked at Primula who in turn looked at Nerine. Primula spoke first, "I can't live without my friends. Or Kaede's cooking."

Sia said, "I already told you in the land of the gods this sort of thing happens all the time. Though I have to warn you Asa, I'll do my best to be Rin's favorite."

Asa laughed. "Bring it on."

Sia's face hardened and she slid and arm around Kaede's shoulder. "I'm in."

Kaede blushed and looked down. "I… I suppose I would like to see what iot's like living in a castle. And I'd like to take care of… all of you."

"Each other," Nerine said firmly. "People who get married take care of each other Kaede.

Rin groaned and covered his eyes. "Do you have any idea how complicated our lives would be? You five fighting over me forever. Not to mentiont he responsibilities of being royalty of two worlds. I think the stress would kill me."

"Then it's a good thing we'll be immortal," Asa said. She stepped back and posed sexilly, cupping her breasts and then letting them drop and bounce. "Besides, my boobs are way too big. If we stay mortal then I'll get old and they'll sag down around my knees." She moved forward and put her hands on Rin's chest. "And you'd turn into a dirty old man before you hit thirty."

"I don't know… are you sure Asa?"

She smiled and patted his cheek. "I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that if you marry all these girls I'll start wondering if you really love me." Rin did not exactly say no or yes, looking more like a deer in the headlights of a truck. "Which is wy you will all marry me."

"Oh, well okay then." He kissed Asa and the girls cheered, hugging happily. Kaede was swung around and into Sia's arms for a kiss of her own.

"We can still go to college after we're immortal," Asa pointed out. When they finally walked away in a big group Asa said, "It's a good thing this is real life."

"Why is that?" Nerine asked.

"Because I hate it when anime shows do stuff like this. They can't make up their damned minds about who should marry who so they just arrange some kind of group marriage. It shows a total lack of originality and decisiveness. I mean the writers who pull that stuff are complete pussies, you know?"

Author's Note

Normally I would agree with Asa on that. For example if you read my Tenchi Muyo fics you'd know I think he should get with Ryoko. Mihoshi and Kiyone as a couple. They definitely should not all marry each other, like those girls in Tenchi GXP did.

But with Shuffle it's different. About half way through the main character picked the girl he wanted and everyone handled it like mature adults. A rare thing in anime. And it was fairly clear that they could make a group marriage work. Or so Sia kept insisting.

In addition, durring the end credits there really was an accidental kiss between kaede and Sia that both girls seemed to like. Originally that was going to be the sole focus of this fic, but then the whole immortality thing dawned on me and I couldn't imagine them not taking it if they had the option. This ending was designed as more of "And they all loved happily ever after" moment.

I also considered having Sia's dad marrying the teacher and Nerine's dad marrying Asa's. Unfortunately I could not actually remember either woman's name. I just watched the show about 5 minutes before starting this fic and have cranked it out in three hours. Another problem is that with this ending there are too many possibilities for the future and I can't write them all. So I leave that for the rest of you to figure out. Since this is a dating series and there really is no "bad guy" I personally can't think of anything else interesting to do with them.