Breathing a sigh of relief, I put my head down on my desk, "Finally... I thought the end of the day would never come."

Tohru laughs at me, "Class wasn't any longer than usual, Amaya."

"Not technically, but it sure as hell felt like it..."

Kyo walks over and lightly hits my head with his knuckles, "Maybe you should try to pay attention in class instead of doodling in your notebook the whole time. You might actually learn something."

My face still against the desk, I mutter, "Says the guy with a C- average..."

He growls, but goes silent.

Yuki comes over with a smirk on his face, "What's wrong, Kyo? Cat got your tongue?"

"Shut up!" Kyo retorts, glaring at him.

I sigh, "Guys, please don't fight; at least not while we're in the classroom, where there are things that can be broken."

Yuki "hmph"s and looks away, and Kyo crosses his arms and does the same.

Uo and Hana show up, the former smirking at Kyo, "Wow, orange-top. I don't think I've ever seen you back down so fast. You got a thing for Amaya here?"

I blush at her remark, as does Kyo, though he tries to play it off.

"No! I just don't need another detention is all! It's damn boring..." he mutters.

I giggle, shaking my head and getting up from my seat. "Well boys and girls, I'm outta here. Kyo, Yuki, and Tohru, I'll see you guys at the house after I bring my stuff to my place." I then head out into the hall, downstairs, and out of the school building. My thoughts seem to hover around Uo's comment. I don't know why I'm thinking about it so much, though. It's not like Kyo would ever care about me. He never paid much attention to me, even when we were younger. Like him, I don't get a year on the calendar, either. You'd think that would bring us together, but it's kind of the opposite. He makes fun of me all the time, and when he's not teasing me for being the fox on the zodiac, he's yelling at me. There's no way...

As I walk, my bag continuously hits against my hip... and it feels unusually light. Oh, shoot! I forgot my textbook! If I skip out on the homework again, I'm dead! With a sigh, I turn on my heel and head back to the classroom.

Kyo's P.O.V.

I watch Amaya leave, mentally kicking myself again. Why do I always feel like an idiot around her!

"Kyo? Is something the matter?" Tohru asks me.

I try to sound convincing. "Do I look like something's the matter?"

The Yankee throws in, "Well, since you never really look right to begin with..."

"No one asked you, Blondie!"

She only laughs and nudges the other one, Hana. "C'mon, let's go before carrot-top here explodes. I don't wanna be the one to clean that mess. See ya Tohru!"

Tohru says a quick good-bye to her friends before she looks at me again. "You were staring at the door when Amaya left." She waits until that damn Yankee and her weird friend leave before she finishes, "...Was Uo right? Kyo, do you like Amaya?"

Aw, hell! Now the damn rat's staring at me, too!

Amaya's P.O.V.

When I get back to the room, Uo and Hana are just leaving down the other hall. I'm about to walk in when I hear Tohru's voice inside.

"Kyo, do you like Amaya?"

I freeze mid-step; why would she ask him that? Is she nuts? Even though I know it's wrong, I can't help myself. I stay just out of sight outside the door, listening to hear Kyo's response.

"Hell, no! Why would you even ask that!"

"Well, you seem to pick on her more than other people. I heard that boys do that to girls they like..." is Tohru's innocent reply.

...I hadn't even thought of that.

"So what! That doesn't mean anything!" he defends, sounding more than a little mad.

Yuki's voice comes next. "If that's true, then why are you getting so defensive?"

"I don't like her, okay! I pick on her because she's easy to make fun of! She never does any of her work, she spaces out all the time, and she's always so happy! It's annoying! Who the hell would like a girl like her!"

And just like that, my whole body feels numb and my chest starts to ache. My mouth hangs open slightly out of shock. I can't believe that's what he thinks of me! I knew he didn't like me, but... I had no idea he thought I was that bad.

Now fighting back the urge to tear up, I try to make it look like I wasn't eavesdropping. Once I think I can handle it, I go inside.

Yuki, being the only one facing me, notices me immediately. "Amaya? I thought you left."

My lips barely twitch at the nickname. "I, uh... left my textbook in my desk." I don't dare to make eye contact with Kyo as I pass him to get my book.

"Maya, what's wrong?" Tohru asks, catching on to my gloomy attitude almost instantly.

I slip the book into my bag and give her the best fake smile in my arsenal. "Nothing. Why do you ask?"

"You seem... different than when you left before."

"I'm fine, Tohru. Honest," I lie, my smile wavering only for a nanosecond when I notice Kyo eyeing me.

"Well, okay. Do you want to walk with us?"

"Uh, actually, I think I'd better get home. I'll be in a pretty deep hole if I don't get the assignments done tonight. My grades are bad enough as it is." I sling my bag back over my shoulder. "See ya tomorrow, guys." It feels like it takes forever to get into the hallway, even though it only takes three seconds. And once I get into the hall, I book it outside, feeling my eyes finally starting to water. I just hope that none of them saw me...

I'm surprised the bathroom-mirror didn't shatter when I looked into it. I'm a wreck. My long hair is a mess, my cheeks are pretty much stained red, and my eyes are pink and puffy from crying. I was so upset by the time I got home, I didn't care what I looked like. My parents are out, so there's no one to question me about it.

I splash some cool water on my face, then go back to my room. After changing out of my uniform into a pair of denim shorts and a red tank-top, I try to rake a brush through my hair. It's been about twenty minutes since I got home. Normally, I'd be at Shigure's by now. It's routine, but I don't know what I'm gonna do now. I hate to admit it, but... I really liked Kyo. Hearing him say those things about me hurt more than it probably should have. I'll be hearing it over again every time I look at him!

*DING-dong*

Oh, come on! Why does someone have to show up now! I sigh; maybe if I stay quiet, they'll think no one's here.

*DING-dong*

Grrr, that's just my luck today! "Coming!" I finish brushing my hair quickly and hurry downstairs. I don't even care that I probably still look awful. I just want this person to leave! I slide the door open; who in the world is-

...What the hell? "What are you doing here?"

Kyo shuffles his feet a little, looking off to the side. "I... I wanted to talk to you."

I'm barely keeping my cool. "...Something wrong with the phone?"

He still won't look at me. "I didn't want Yuki or Tohru listening. ...Can I come in, or what?"

No, you can't come in! Turn around and go home! I don't want to talk to you! "Yeah, I guess." Mentally kicking myself, I lead him into the house. Even after what he said, I can't bring myself to yell at him.

Kyo kicks his shoes off at the door and follows me to the living room.

I avoid looking at him. Instead, I look down at the floor. "So, what is it?"

"I wanted to ask..." he stops, choosing his words. "...What happened when you left?"

Oh, hell! He must've seen me run off or something! "I don't know what you mean."

He doesn't ease up. "Yes you do. Why did you lie to Tohru? And why are you lying now?"

Why the hell is he so curious? "I didn't..." My argument sounds weak.

"If you're gonna lie, at least be convincing about it. That face you put on back in the classroom was so fake, and you're not backing it up very well."

He's right. I'm barely putting up a fight. "Why do you care?" I snap, finally looking up to glare at him.

That stops him cold. Whatever he was going to say gets cut short as he stares back at me. "You were crying..."

Damn it, my eyes are still red! I forgot! I look away and start past him for the stairs. "Forget it, okay? You're wasting your time. Just... go home."

"What the hell is wrong with you!" he yells at me; I actually flinch away at the harshness of his voice. "Something obviously happened to you; I try to find out and you bite my head off!"

Something inside me just snapped. "Why do you even care, Kyo! You don't even like me! I'm just the annoying space cadet who slacks off in class, right! Why does it make a difference to you if something happened to me!"

He looks like he's been slapped in the face. "You... You heard that?"

"Loud and clear! Next time, be a man and say it to my face! Just-" No, no, no more tears! Go away! "Just get out and leave me alone!" As the tears start falling again, I retreat up the stairs and lock myself in my room. Oh, that was horrible. He'll probably never come near me again after that. But... why would I want him to? This is his fault!

I hear the front door slide closed, and it makes the pain in my chest worse. I lean back against my door, slipping numbly down until I'm curled against it. It's not fair! Of all the boys I could've fallen for, why did it have to be him! I pull my knees to my chest and bury my face, trying to stop the tears.

*Shnick*

What the-

*Thud* *Thud* *Thud* Footsteps?

I look up and gasp.

Kyo.

He came back; through the window. Why didn't he just leave? "I told you to go away..." I whisper, looking back down at my knees.

"And since when do I take orders from you?" He doesn't sound harsh. It's more like he's joking. How can he joke about this? Can't he tell how upset I am?

"I don't want to talk to you."

"Then don't." He sits down right in front of me and crosses his legs. "Just listen."

Is he serious? "I think I heard enough earlier."

"Amaya... I didn't mean it, okay? I just wanted to get the two of them off my back." He looks down at the floor. "You're not... I don't think you're annoying. And I'd rather you be happy than be like this."

My eyes are stinging from crying, and they're probably puffy and red as hell, but I can't tear them from Kyo. I can't even blink. "...You mean it?"

He barely nods, still not looking at me. "I just didn't want that damn rat to think I liked you. I'd never hear the end of it."

So, he doesn't like me, then. I guess I already knew that.

"You weren't supposed to hear any of that, but even if you did, I didn't think you'd care so much."

Uh-oh. "Well, I-I... Even though we argue sometimes, I still consider us friends. To hear you say that stuff about me... I dunno, it hurt. You shouldn't have-"

"I shouldn't have said it; I know," he finishes. "I'm sorry, okay? I really didn't mean it, and... I definitely didn't mean to make you cry. ...You know I'd never do that on purpose, right?"

I nod, wiping my eyes again. I think the waterworks are finally done. "Thanks."

He gets up slowly and reaches down a hand for me to take.

With an itty-bitty smile, I let him help me up from the floor. When he does, I get a really stupid idea. "Um, Kyo?"

"What?"

"You don't have to, but... Can I hug you? ...Please?"

His eyes instantly align with mine; God, I love his eyes. "...Why?"

I tug on my hair, looking off to the side nervously, and shrug. " 'Cuz I want to. I've never hugged you before, even when we were little." I drop my hand back to my side. "I won't tell Yuki, if that's what you're worried about, but like I said, you don't have to." I really wish he'd stop staring at me like that.

"Hell, I don't care anymore. Go ahead."

Yay! Smiling even wider than before, I slip my arms around his middle, letting my head rest against his shoulder.

To my surprise, he hugs back. His arms encircle my shoulders, and I feel him rest his chin on the top of my head.

All I can really think about now is how warm he is. That, and how glad I am to finally be this close to him.

"Hey... Maya?" He's so quiet.

"Hm?"

He hesitates, making me nervous. Did I do something wrong? "...You don't have to ask next time."

And now I wonder if he can feel how fast my heart is beating. I nod against his chest and murmur, "Thanks, Kyo."