I wasn't really sure I would do it, but... well, turned out I did and wrote a TMGS 3rd Story fanfiction. I don't know if it's good or not, so I'll let you be the judges of that.
So, on with the usual premise. This is supposed to turn into a pretty long story, but of course how long it will be depends on various things, not least my inspiration. Still, I think it will be longer and more linear than my previous one, without me jumping from event to event like a crazy. Also, while I'm pretty obviously going to focus on the Sakurai Brothers, this time I won't say what's the canon coupling of the story and keep a little bit of suspense about it... even if I think it will be pretty obvious after a while. Or even almost immediately! Another thing I should probably warn you about is that the heroine (who's name here is Nomura Misaki) is the cousin of the heroine of my previous story, so there will be references. Still, they won't be heavy references and they won't make it hard for you to read this even if you haven't read my previous work. After all, it's a different story!
Oh, and another thing! I probably don't need to say this, but this story contains spoilers, especially on the Sakurai Brothers routes, so if you haven't played the game and don't want to be spoiled, don't read. But I guess you wouldn't be reading this, if you didn't play the game.
Well, that's it! Author's Note is over. I hope you'll have fun!



I lost my way

It was a warm spring afternoon. The sun, still up in the sky, was neither too weak or too hot, making it pleasant to just let its rays caress the skin, without the risk or getting baked as a crisp.

The boy who was lying down on the roof of the church knew it well.

It wasn't a big church: more like a chapel surrounded by trees. It was in an high school ground, but a little far away from the modern building, so that it somewhat looked like another world, a world where fairies, dragons, princes and princesses still existed. The scenery around the little church was amazing, but the boy knew it already and was somewhat used to it. That was the reason why, despite the fact that he wasn't really sleeping, he didn't open his eyes and just stayed there like a lizard, letting the sun draw highlights on his blond hair and caress his skin, so much that its already white colour seemed to melt with the white of his sweater. Wrapped in the light and surrounded by that scenery, he looked almost like a forest god, so much that the birds, usually shy around people, landed around him without being bothered by is presence at all, as if he was somewhat one of them. The boy himself didn't seem to mind, keeping his eyes closed in the act of sleeping, even if his mind was actually spinning around, chasing down far memories of a time long gone.

That church and the ground around it was once his playground. His, his brother's and... that girl's.

A lot of time had passed since then, but he still remembered everything as if it was only the day before. When he and his brother were alone, they used to play dodgeball, soccer, or they played games based on the heroes they saw on TV, but when that girl was with them, since she didn't know anything about that stuff, their usual game was hide-and-seek. His brother was always the demon, while he and the little girl used to go hide. Even if they knew the demon would find them more easily that way, they always hid in the same place.

Maybe it looked stupid, but they weren't alone.

The boys lips curled in a faint smile as he remembered the thrill when his brother voices started counting and the feeling of the girl's hand in his when he grabbed it to go hide. Even if all those years passed, he still remembered their voices echoing around the church.

''Are you ready?''

''Not yet!''

Then, at times, without a real reason, the little girl used to ask him:

''Why are you sad?''

He wondered why and how she managed to read behind his smile, how could she know, even if he was already so good at hiding his sadness behind that smile, but he never found an answer. And, as much as he would have liked to ask the girl directly, he couldn't... because she wasn't there anymore.

That place used to be their playground, but it was also the place where they said goodbye. She left and didn't come back.

Yet, he never forgot about her, about the time the three of them spent together playing hide-and-seek in front of that church. Certainly, that was one of the reason he was there in the first place. And maybe his brother remembered too, even if he knew he wasn't the romantic type who would carry on those memories.

Just imagining his brother think about those melancholic memories made him smile. No, he definitely wasn't that type of person. That was his role. If he went and talk to his brother about that kind of things, he'd probably say he was an idiot, living in the past like that.

He was right. The time passed, that girl never came back, the two of them weren't kids anymore.

His brother was definitely right. But that was also one of the reason why he didn't want to go home. One of the many reasons...

«WHAT IS THIS SUPPOSED TO MEAN?» the girl's voice thundered throughout the room, as she stormed inside like a tornado holding a slipper in her hand as if it was a sword.

Despite the fact that she was short and thin like a pixie and her dark brown hair tied in short pigtails that made her look like a child, in that moment she looked like some vengeful goddess came out from a Viking legend.

The other girl sitting on the carpet with a white kitten on her lap raised her head, looking at her with a puzzled and a little scared expression.

«Nami, what...?» she asked, worried, before noticing that she was talking at her cellphone... and what she said right after solved the mystery without need for her to enquire.

«That's not the problem, Teru! The problem is that you promised you would help me!»

''Ah, that's it'' the other girl though with a smile.

The kitten on her lap, that was actually the other girl's pet, looked up at her with a perplexed expression in his big blue eyes and mewed softly, as if to ask her what was going on with his mistress.

«Nami is quarrelling with her boyfriend again. Don't worry about it, Nyaa. Soon it will be over» she explained in a whisper, chuckling and scratching him behind his ears. The kitten purred innocently: he was so cute that, if she didn't know better, she wouldn't believe that he was actually a Killer Cat with the bad habit of scratching to death every male in sight.

«What does it mean ''I can be the one being late for once''? It's not like I'm always the one being late...»

The girl called Nami, who had kept storming around the room like an hurricane, collecting everything she might need in the process, suddenly stopped dead on her tracks, her eyes shining dangerously.

«No, I'm not!... I'm not!... I told you I'M NOT! It's you who are always too early!... What do you mean ''Compared to you the whole world is always too early''?... I'M NOT A SLOWPOKE, YOU JERK! ...Oh, anyway, the problem is not if I'm late or not, or if you're late or not usually. The problem is that you're late now! And I need you now!»

Despite her furious expression, the girl on the carpet didn't look worried at all. That wasn't an unusual scene: the first time it happened, she was a little bit scared, but then realized it was normal and got used to it. Right about now, she even found it kind of cute.

Nami was three years older than her and she was her cousin and her next door neighbour too. She hadn't seen her in a while before she moved back in Habataki City, but she hadn't changed at all: she was always the same bright and slightly crazy girl she remembered, even if now she was going to start university soon. About a month before, she started ''officially'' dating with a schoolmate of hers by the name of Saeki Teru... and that was when the Endless Bickering Contest officially started. They did nothing but bickering and picking on each other like two little kids, but apparently there was no way to tear them apart. They were just like this.

Finally, after a while, Nami calmed down.

«Are you absolutely sure?... Okay, then. I'll wait for you... No, don't worry, my parents are not there, so Dad is not going to shoot you from the window when you arrive... Yeah, Nyaa is here, but Misaki is playing with him. She'll take him upstairs when you'll come. There's nothing life threatening, so hurry up!... Yeah, yeah, I'll do it. See you in twenty minutes then. ...I love you.»

She said the last sentence in a whisper, probably hoping she wouldn't hear it, but she heard anyway. Misaki lowered her head and let her reddish-brown bangs partially cover her face, so that her cousin couldn't notice her smile.

They were just too cute!

Finally Nami hanged up and put the cellphone back in the pocket, sighing.

«I'm seriously starting to hate him» she said. «Sorry you had to hear that, Saki-chan.»

Misaki shrugged with a smile, scratching Nyaa behind the ear.

«Don't worry, it's always funny to listen» she said. «But if you really need help packing up, I can do it too.»

Her cousin shook her head.

«No, that's not the point. You're already helping me by not letting Nyaa near my suitcases. What I need is someone to carry the heavy stuff, since Dad isn't here and all. These are the good point of having a boyfriend, my dear cousin! Take note of it!» she added with the naughty grin she was infamous for.

Misaki laughed and raised an eyebrow.

«And what would the bad points be?» she asked.

Nami sighed again.

«Having to stand that evil TSUNdere of Teru when he's in a bad mood is enough of a bad point; and he's almost always in a bad mood!»

Her cousin didn't answer, because she probably had no right to. Her family moved back in Habataki City less than two weeks before, so she still didn't know all the people that entered her cousins lives while she wasn't there. Other than Nami, she met her other cousins, Miki and Tsukushi, and happened to see Miki's fiancé, Kei, from afar, but that was it. As for Nami's new boyfriend, she met him once only because she was the one showing her around town. He didn't stay long though: only enough for her to swoon at how handsome he was. Still, he didn't look as evil as Nami said.

«If you are not happy, you can still hand him over to me» she joked. «He's not bad.»

Immediately forgetting about the fact that she said she hated him, Nami glared at her.

«Don't even think about it. He's my personal jerk, so I'm not handing him to anyone!»

Misaki laughed again and lifted a purring Nyaa in her arms, cradling him like a baby.

«Anyway, I'll have to work hard to find a boyfriend as attractive as yours or Miki's fiancé. Or are all the guys in Habataki City like that?»

Now it was Nami's turn to laugh.

«I don't think so. There are a some of my ex-schoolmates that aren't bad, though. Most of them will start the university this year, though... but wait, there's this junior of mine who's will start his third year in Hanegasaki High this year. He's very cute, even if a little devilish at times...»

Was she speaking seriously? Judging by her face, yes: she looked really concerned about the idea of introducing her a possible boyfriend!

«Nami, I was joking. I'm not really interested!» she quickly turned her down. «Also, I'm not going to your same high school, remember?»

Nami sighed and pouted slightly.

«What a pity, though! Why didn't you enrolled in Hanegasaki High? It's not inferior to Habataki High in any way... and our uniforms are cuter!»

Misaki didn't answer immediately, playing thoughtfully with one of her short, reddish bangs. It was hard to answer, really: there wasn't a real reason. At first she was more inclined toward Hanegasaki High, since the other looked a little too elite for her and she was scared she wouldn't fit in. But then she visited both schools and just fell in love with Habataki High. She was drawn to it, as if there was a little voice whispering in her ear that she had to go there, that it was her destiny. And who was she to discuss the destiny? So she enrolled there and the following day she would finally start her high school life.

Still, if she said that she did it because of her destiny, Nami would probably laugh at her.

«No reason, really. I just liked the clubs more, and I heard from Miki a lot of interesting stuff about the teachers and the subjects, and she said I can borrow some of her old notes if I need them...»

Nami glared at her again, pouting even more.

«Basically, you're choosing Miki over me! I'm jealous, you know? Or the true reason is...». Her expression changed so quickly that it was almost scary, and she jumped beside her, hugging her shoulders in a confidential way. «...that you hope to find a cute little Sleeping Beauty Male Version like Kei-san there? You can tell me, you know?»

While she was saying this, she hugged her with so much strength that Misaki almost choked to death.

«Ahh! Nami...cough cough... You're killing me! Cough!»

«Tell me the truth or I'm not going to let you go!» she chanted, and started tickling her without mercy.

«Ahahah! No! That's not the...ahahahah!... reason! Nami, let me go!» Misaki gasped, raging and kicking between the laughter to make the cousin stop tickling her. She was raging so hard that Nyaa, still cuddled on her lap, got scared and ran away, jumping on the low shelf nearby and, from there, out of the window.

«Oh, crap!» the two girl exclaimed at the same time, while they saw the round, fluffy ball of fur jumping out of the window like in slow motion.

«Damn it! Nyaa has never been outside before! Stupid me! Why did I left the window open? What if he's run over by a car?» Nami panicked, quickly getting up and running at the window to check on her cat.

''Or what if he attacks every male he meets on the street?'' thought Misaki, who had more trust in the kitten ability to survive, but less in his infamous hate for all males, with the only possible exception of her uncle and her cousin Miki's fiancé.

She reached for the window too, looking outside from over Nami's shoulder. Since they were on the first floor, Nyaa of course wasn't hurt, but he was still running like a crazy along the walkway and his furry figure was already disappearing from their sight.

«I'll go get him, Saki-chan! Wait here!» Nami immediately said, starting to reach for the door.

Misaki stopped her by grabbing her wrist.

«No, I'll go. Saeki-san will be here soon, right? You stay and wait for him. After all, I was the one who had to take care of Nyaa!»

Nami hesitated, looking at her little cousin determined face with a little bit of worry.

«Are you sure? You still don't know the city very well: won't you get lost?»

As an answer, she just laughed it off.

«Don't worry about me! I'm already fifteen, you know? I can find my way around. Also, Nyaa is just a kitten: he won't be able to run forever, right?»

Still not completely convinced, Nami gave up.

«Okay, then. You go.»

Misaki smiled and nodded, then quickly dashed outside, running in the same direction where she saw Nyaa disappear, raising her hand to cover her eyes from the sun rays.

Finally she spotted the familiar furry figure hiding under a car and sighed in relief. See? She was right. He didn't go too far away.

«Here you are, Nyaa. Come here, cutie! Let's go home.»

She crouched beside the car, reaching out to him with her hand... but before she could touch him, he suddenly hissed like and snake and ran out of his hiding spot, still scared and confused about that place he had never been before.

«No, Nyaa! Wait!» Misaki panicked, seeing how the cat was now running in the middle of the street, risking to be run over by a car for real.

She immediately ran after him, but right then a car suddenly appeared in front of her. Nyaa made it unscathed on the other side, but she managed to avoid it only thanks to the driver brakes and her good reflexes, that made her jump on the side one second before being run over. She fell hard on the walkway, scratching her hands and tearing the fabric of her jeans. And to make things worse, Nyaa was now even more scared than before, and ran as if a demon was following him.

«Damn it!» Misaki muttered, ignoring the pain and standing up again to run after the fugitive kitten.

Soon she found out that she undervalued Nyaa's resistance: despite him being just a few months old kitten, he was fast and could run for very long time without stopping. Also, he was already scared and the fact that Misaki was running after him certainly wasn't very calming. Still, she couldn't just stop following him, or she'd lose sight of him. So they both kept running, Misaki hoping that eventually his strength would wear off... possibly before her own. She didn't think about were they were going, focusing only on keeping her eyes on the furry white figure in front of her, until she realized that she didn't know where they were anymore. Even then, she didn't stop. She was pretty sure she could still find her way back and she couldn't afford to lose sight of Nyaa: Nami loved her cat and she didn't want her to suffer because she wasn't strong enough to keep up the pace with a kitten.

Still, as much as she wanted to catch him, eventually her energies wore off. She was out of breath, her heart was pounding as if it wanted to break throw her ribs and her vision was starting to get blurred. Of course Nami loved her cat, but she was pretty sure she loved her more and she wouldn't want her to have an heart attack and die. So she stopped running and stood there, panting and gasping to recollect her breath, while a still full of energy Nyaa jumped between the trees on the roadside, disappearing from her sight.

Feeling all the weight of the failure, she waited until her lungs stopped hurting and then recollected herself, determined to find the cat all the same. She looked around... and gasped in despair.

Where the heck was she? Of course she already realized she was venturing in an unknown area, but, as long as she was in a place full of people, she could always asks someone to tell her the way. There it was a deserted area. It didn't even look like she was in the city anymore! There weren't houses: only the road that kept going down in a deep slope. Looked like she was on some sort of hill from where she could see the sea while, on the other side, there were a bunch of trees, so thick that, as far as she knew, it could even be a forest. And what's worse was that the sun, that was still high when she left Nami's home, was quickly setting and the sky was turning more orange for every second that passed.

She was in trouble. She was indeed in trouble.

With a noisy sigh, she looked toward the trees. She was sure she saw Nyaa going that way and, despite the situation, she still wanted to find him. After all, even if she tried to get back, she'd have no idea where she was going, so she could as well make a last try to find the cat. Maybe, now that she wasn't running after him anymore, he would calm down a little and let her get him.

So, recollecting all of her strengths, she ventured between the trees and soon found herself in what looked like a small forest. She didn't know how big it was, but it didn't looks at all like a simple bunch of trees planted by men: they looked like they had been there for centuries!

«Nyaa! Where are you?» she called, looking around in search of that familiar ball of white fur that was Nami's cat. Still, she couldn't find it anywhere. There was nothing white around: only green and brown, and again green and brown.

«Nyaa, I'm begging you! I'm tired and I want to go home. Nyaa!»

She kept calling and calling, but there was no answer... until suddenly she heard something: a faint mewing sound coming from her right.

She sighed in relief and smiled, feeling a little bit of angst melting away.

«Nyaa! Wait for me! I'm coming!» she called again, quickly walking in the direction where she heard his voice.

Every time she called his name, he answered, as if he wanted her to find him. She wasn't an expert in the psychology of animals, but somehow it looked as if he was scared. Maybe he suddenly realized he was in an unfamiliar place again and was calling for help.

Nyaa's voice was neared and nearer, and she thought she finally made it, when she suddenly found herself in front of... a wall. Yes, nothing but an old wall made of red bricks. And Nyaa's voice came from the other side of it.

«Nyaa, what are you getting me into...?» she whispered, desperate, running her hands through the wall.

It was too high for her to just climb it and the trees nearby weren't close enough to use them as a ladder... not even for a cat. But, if Nyaa's voice came from behind it, he must have entered somehow. There had to be a way!

She started walking beside the wall, looking for a way to enter: a ladder, a gate, something... until she finally found what she was looking for. There was a hole in the wall, big enough to let a person go throw. That must have been the place Nyaa used to go in.

Without thinking about it twice, she crouched and sneaked throw it. When she looked around, she found herself in a space without trees. Nyaa wasn't in sight, but in front of her there was a little building that looked like a small church. The back side of a church, to be exact. The door wasn't in sight from where she was, but she could see the back side of a stained glass window. The images on it, that on the inside must have been coloured, looked grey on the outside, but she still could distinguish the figure of two people. From how they were dressed, they looked like a prince and a princess. From the inside it must have been really beautiful...

Without thinking, she looked around, looking for the entrance, but, as if it read her thoughts, a voice suddenly called out to her.

«You can't» it just said in a very calm, sweet tone.

Misaki, who thought no one was there, jumped in surprise, and she was even more surprised when she realized the voice came from... upside!

She quickly raised her head to look up and she saw that indeed someone was crouching on the roof, looking down toward her with a somewhat amused expression.

It was a boy around her age. His blond hair, long up to his shoulders, shook lightly in the breeze as he leaned down a little to look at her with his sharp, amused dark eyes. His smile was both angelic and a little naughty in the same time and he had the prettiest face she had ever saw in her whole life. Also, he wore a white sweater and the light of the sun setting behind the church made his clothes, hair and skin look even more fair, as if he was some sort of supernatural creature. The first thing that crossed Misaki's mind was that he had to be an angel protecting that church.

«...Eh?» she only managed to say, completely stunned by his sudden apparition.

He pointed down at the church with his finger.

«You wanted to go inside, right? You can't. You need a key to enter the church.»

While he talked, he kept smiling and his voice didn't change at all: the same calm, sweet, amused tone from before. He certainly didn't look angry, or annoyed or anything, yet in his words Misaki could read some sort reproach, as if he was implicitly scolding her for something.

Only then she managed to shake herself a little out of her own surprise to realize what the situation was. She sneaked inside without having no idea where she was entering. Of course she didn't know if that was private property of something. How stupid of her! And that evil furry ball of Nyaa was at fault! Ah, if only she could get her hands on him...!

«I-I-I'm sorry!» she blurted out, blushing from her toes to the peak of her hair. «I didn't mean to cause troubles, but I lost my cat... well, he's my cousin's cat, actually... and then I got lost and...»

As she panicked, trying to explain the situation, the unknown boy listened to her silently, possibly even more amused then before. Then, after a while, he interrupted her calmly, narrowing his eyes as he spoke:

«Why are you apologizing?»

Misaki's voice broke and she stared at him in surprise, completely confused.

«...Wait a second» she said when she finally got her voice back. «You're not one from the church, then?»

The boy shook his head slowly.

«No. I just lost my way home... kinda like you.»

He said that so sweetly that he looked like a kid, and Misaki couldn't help but smile, even if a part of her wondered how could he be so calm if he really lost his way.

«Then we are...» she started, but before she could go on, he suddenly leaned forward and, before she knew, he was falling down.

«Be care...!» she screamed, covering her eyes and waiting for the sound of the impact.

It came, but a lot more softly than she imagined and when she opened her eyes again, instead of the gruesome mixture of torn flesh and broken bones she was expecting, there was the boy, unscathed and completely at ease, as if jumping from the roof of a church was a perfectly normal thing to do. Well, it was true that the church wasn't all that big anyway, but still!

«Are you okay?» she asked, approaching of a few steps, her heart still pounding like crazy because of the scare.

He straightened up as if nothing happened and grinned brightly.

«Yes, I'm fine.»

Without the light of the sunset coming from behind him, he looked a lot more human, but he was still very good-looking. At the same level of both her cousins' boyfriends. Maybe, in terms of prettiness, even more. And, what's more, he kept looking at her curiously, as if she was some kind of new animal specie he had never seen before. Misaki blushed and looked down, desperately looking for something to say but completely unable of concentrating because of his gaze... until a bush nearby suddenly shook and a familiar furry ball came out of it meowing weakly.

«Nyaa! Here you are!» she exclaimed with a relieved smile, as the cat walked slowly toward them.

«Ah, is that the cat you lost?» the mysterious boy asked, turning toward Nyaa and walking toward him.

Right then, Misaki remembered Nyaa's bad habit of attacking every male in sight and quickly walked toward them, trying to avoid something terrible to happen.

«Be careful! Don't go close to him! He goes ballistic every time he sees a...»

Her voice broke again in surprise as she saw the most incredible thing happen, something she would never expect to see and that, if someone told her, she wouldn't believe it. Not only Nyaa wasn't attacking the mysterious boy, but he was cutely rubbing his back against his legs, purring gently.

«...man» she finished the sentence in disbelief, looking at the scene with her mouth comically opened.

Maybe her first impression was right. Maybe that boy wasn't a human being, after all. How else could he elude Nyaa's Anti-Male Radar?

He gently lifted Nyaa from the ground and held him in his arms, carrying him back toward her.

«How did you...?» Misaki stammered, as she took the cat back from his arms, still purring noisily.

He shrugged and looked up thoughtfully.

«Maybe he mistook me for a girl.»

From all the possible answers she could expect, that was probably the only one she didn't see coming. Moreover, the way he said it was so serious and thoughtful, that she couldn't help but start laughing.

He looked at her with his eyes opened wide, the perfect portrait of innocence.

«Why are you laughing? I'm serious! It wouldn't be the first time it happens. Who knows why?» he added to himself, looking seriously concerned... and Misaki laughed even more, so much that Nyaa mewed in protest.

It was a curious thing. She was usually shy around strangers, especially if they were attractive, but somehow she didn't feel unease around him. It was as if...

No, it was a stupid idea! It just wasn't possible.

By the way, she didn't know his name yet! She opened her mouth to introduce herself, but, before she could say one word, he looked up at the sky and talked.

«It's getting late. Let's go: I'll walk you home.»

Misaki blinked, surprised.

«Eh... but I told you I don't know how to...»

«That's why I'm walking you. Let's go!»

«But how can you know...»

But before she could finish the sentence, he was already passing through the hole in the wall and, afraid to remain there alone, she immediately followed him.

They walked side by side in the middle of the trees, Misaki holding Nyaa in her arms and following blindly the boy's guide. For one who said to have lost his way home, he seemed to be perfectly at ease. Was he just a very calm type, or was he lying before? Either way, she just hoped he wouldn't make her lose her way even more!

Anyway, if it was because they were lucky or because he really knew his way around, the road finally appeared in front of of them like a long, silver ribbon. Once there, Misaki though they would separate: after all, it was impossible that he really knew where her house was... but, instead, he kept sticking with her, guiding her along the street without a trace of insecurity, until they found themselves in front of her house, next door to Nami's.

When he stopped in front of her gate and asked ''Is this it?'', Misaki was literally staring at him with her mouth opened, completely mesmerized.

That couldn't be luck. Somehow, he must have known! But, but... HOW?

A lot of possibilities passed through her mind, one more improbable than the other. Was he a stalker? No, impossible: their meeting was too casual to be planned. Was he one of her neighbours? No, of course not: she would surely notice someone like him if he was in her neighbourhood. Had she known him somewhere before? No, she was positive it was the first time she met him.

In the end, the most probable option was that he really was a supernatural creature and knew it because of that! Her guardian angel, perhaps?

«How did you know this was my house?» she asked, stunned.

As an answer, the boy just smiled mysteriously and looked up thoughtfully.

«Nice question. Who knows?»

Then he gazed back at her, flashing that seraphic and stunning smile of his at her once again.

«Try to think about it.»

«Eh? But...!»

She tried to enquire more, but he had already turned away and, after a brief gesture with his hand, walked away. He was already almost out of ear-length when she remembered what he said before and called out to him.

«Hey, wait! You said you lost your way home...»

«I remembered it!» he answers simply without turning around, leaving Misaki there to stare his back until he disappeared at the end of the road.

But she had no time to think in details about what happened, because her cousin voice suddenly called her back to reality.

«Saki-chan! Here you are! What happened? You never came back and I was worried... Nyaa, you bad, bad cat! Where did you take poor Saki-chan, you naughty ball of fur!»

She ran by her side and take her cat from her arms, than took her hand to drag her inside. Doing so, she noticed the scratches on her hand.

«What happened? Nyaa scratched you?» Nami asked, worried.

«No» Misaki answered, still a little out of sorts. «I fell...»

Hearing her vague answer and seeing how her eyes kept wandering to where the boy disappeared, Nami's worried face immediately turned into her usual smirk.

«There was a boy with you before. I saw him from the window. Who was he?»

Misaki snapped out of it and glanced at her confusedly.

«Eh... Actually, I don't know, but he helped me coming back here.»

«You don't know? Weird. He looked pretty confident around you» Nami enquired, suspicious. «Anyway, my inner Bishonen-Radar started sounding when I saw him, so he must be quite something... especially if he left you starting at him with that silly smile on your face.»

''Silly smile''? Was she smiling without realizing it?

She quickly touched her face to verify it and found out that indeed she was smiling. She blushed, while Nami's grin grew wider. Still, she probably learned a little bit of delicacy ever since she got together with her own boyfriend, because she didn't enquire more and just took her wrist, dragging her toward her house.

«Come on, come on! Let's go inside! We have to wash those scratches, and then you have to tell me what this naughty cat made you go through, so I can decide his punishment!»

Without resisting, Misaki let the cousin lead her inside. She was actually really tired after all that happened and was glad that Nami gave up on the subject. After all, she didn't know what to think herself! There was a part of her that just didn't want to think about it, because the more she tried to think, the more the answers escaped from her, giving her the headache.

Still, she just couldn't get his words out her head.

''Try to think about it''...

Was it really possible that he knew her? That she knew him? But, if that was the case, when did it happen? And where?

The sky was already dark when he finally made it back. Not like he really put an effort into hurrying up: after all, the part of him that didn't want to go back was still there, kicking and screaming to win over the more reasonable part, the one that made him go back. Still, for that day, he wasn't going to let it win. His heavy heart was light again, and he even found himself humming as he reached for the door.

No more than two seconds after opening the door, he immediately heard his brother's deep voice in front of him, immediately followed by his tall figure.

«Here you are! Where the heck did you disappear to?»

He was trying to sound normal, even a little annoyed perhaps, but he couldn't cheat him. After all those years, he knew him too well to fall for it. He was worried: maybe he thought he ended up into troubles.

Well, it wouldn't be the first time something like that happened. He couldn't blame him if he thought so. But this time was different.

He greeted him with his best ironic smile.

«Is that the way to greet your beloved little brother? I expected a ''Welcome back'' or something. If you keep behaving this way, people will get scared, you know?»

His brother shrugged and smirked, showing his teeth in a somewhat scary way.

«Why, did I scare you, little brother

«Uhmmm...». He passed by his side and stretched his arm to reach for his head, and patted it as he would pat a puppy's head. «No, you looked cute, big brother

He headed toward the window, looking outside with a huge grin on his face. He felt his brother's presence behind him, and he knew that he was wondering what happened for him to come back so pleased. He was probably dying to know it... and he had all the intentions of telling him, first because he knew he would be happy about it too, and second because he really, really, really wanted to go on an on for the whole evening chanting ''I was right, I was right, I was right'' in his ears. That would be funny!

«So, are you going to tell me where you went or not? Because if you don't, I have a lot of things to worry about and don't have time for...»

Not honest as always! Ah, if he just admitted that he wanted to know, everything would be a lot more easy. He would deserve not to be told anything. But he wasn't so cruel to keep him waiting for all that time, especially because he couldn't wait to tell him himself.

So he turned around, flashing his infamous seraphic smile at him as he slowly said the words his brothers was waiting for.

«She is back.»