All right, next installment. I don't really have much of an author's note about this chapter. Um… enjoy?

Oh… if anyone was wondering… the order this series should be read in is….

To hold back the shadows

Haruka's closet

A candle lit dinner

The drive home

Snow day

Test anxiety

Lunch with mom

An afternoon drive

Advice

There… that's the order this series happens in. Enjoy!

A question…

By Michael Treiber

Haruka grit her teeth, angry that she was so afraid of asking her best friend one little question. The two were having a quiet dinner in a local restaurant, relaxing from a long day of school, and all Haruka could think about was what would happen when she asked Michiru the question that was weighing on her mind. She just hoped that Michiru didn't notice.

She hoped in vain. Michiru could tell that something was bothering her friend, but she had no idea what. Finally, the tense meal ended.

"Haruka?"

"Hmm?"

"My parents are having a business dinner tonight… do you mind if I come over to your place for awhile?"

"That… might be a good idea…" Haruka said slowly.

'And just what is that supposed to mean?' Michiru mentally asked herself.

When they entered Haruka's home, her mother was sitting in the living room, watching the TV. As her daughter entered, the older woman raised a questioning eyebrow. Haruka shook her head, furthering Michiru's confusion.

"Well," Haruka's mother said, rising from the couch, "You two make yourselves at home… I'm going to visit Chizura next door."

Michiru smiled at Haruka.

"Well… just us then, eh?"

An hour later the two were sitting in Haruka's living room, studying. But the normally studious Haruka was distracted. Finally, as Michiru dug in her bag for another eraser, Haruka managed to speak.

"Uh… Michiru? I.. need to ask you something."

The aqua haired girl looked up at her and smiled gently.

"Finally going to let me know what's been on your mind all day?"

"Willyougotothedancewithmethisweekend?" Haruka rushed out.

Michiru blinked in confusion.

"What was that?"

Taking a deep breath, Haruka repeated her self, in a more controlled manner this time.

"Would you like to… will you go to the dance with me this weekend?"

"Well, I really wasn't planning on going, but if you're offering me a ride..."

"As my date." Haruka cut in. As soon as the words were out of her mouth, however, she blushed and dropped her eyes.

Michiru took a moment to respond.

"As your… date. Haruka, do you know what you're asking me?"

"Yes, I do."

Sighing, Michiru reached out and took Haruka's face between her hands, laying her palms on the blonde's crimson cheeks.

"Haruka, you know how I feel about you. Or, you should, anyway… I think I've been pretty clear about it. But do you feel the same way? You've never been involved with another girl before. Are you sure you're not just feeling… confused?"

"Of course I am! I've never been more confused in my life. I don't know if you're 'just a friend' or if I'm falling in love with you. Hell, I don't know if I'm really physically attracted to you, or just lonely. But I do know this… you make me feel special. No one has ever done that before."

Michiru was speechless. She'd had no idea Haruka felt this way. True, she had hoped for it, but the reality was still blowing her mind. But she had to be sure.

"Haruka… Think about this. I want to you be absolutely sure about it. You see the kind of crap I go through at school? Well, you'd be in on it too. And just think how the other girls in our class would treat us if they found out we were a couple."

"I've though about all of that." Haruka said in a completely serious tone of voice. "And I've decided that I don't care. That's in the future, and I can deal with the future when it happens."

"Alright. But what about the dance itself? That's not exactly in the future. And I'm sure that plenty of people there wouldn't be to happy about seeing to girls as a couple. Hell… some of the teachers there might throw a fit about it."

"But…"

Michiru cut Haruka off.

"No Haruka, let me finish. You probably had to hype yourself up quite a bit to get up the nerve even to ask me. Its clouding your judgment. Think about this for a couple of days, and if you're still sure…" She smiled at her friend. "Then I'd love to go." With that, she stood and left.





Ok… another short one. This series is getting pretty far along… I still don't know how I want to end it. Oh well… I'll find out sooner or later.