I just got in the strangest mood for some ShionXChikaru after writing so much with her and Miyuki. I like that pairing, but I like ShionXChikaru much better in the long run.

Summary: Chikaru corners her childhood best friend after the Etoile election, just before the two of them leave Astraea Hill behind forever.

Breathe in Deep

xXLiStLesSXx

It was so predictable. It was a rush, yes, and there was the exhilaration and the hesitation and the heartbreak for not one girl but two.

But Chikaru had known it would happen in the end. Because Nagisa wasn't meant to be with Tamao- Tamao had much greater things awaiting her in the real world, and one day she'd be greater than Shizuma ever was, and Nagisa would want her, one day, but it would be too late. Miyuki…she wished she could say there was a happy ending for her. She wished she could say there was a Prince Charming waiting to steal her away from her evil Mother and Father, but there was no prince, and, in the end, there was no future. That fairytale was reserved for Hikari and Amane, the new Etoile, but even that hadn't been so pretty and painless, because behind Hikari stood Yaya, forever watching, forever pushing until she realized that she was pushing her the wrong way and tried to pull her back too late. And behind her stood a small, loyal pinkette who would remain by Yaya's side forever, even if she never left the cave she'd buried herself in.

And then there was Shion; tall, proud, noble Shion dabbing at her eyes with her handkerchief because all of her dreams had finally been realized. It made Chikaru feel sick to her stomach. There were flashes of when they were younger, when they'd been inseparable, and once upon a time, Shion had pledged her loyalty to Chikaru, her princess. Once upon a time, politics was the last thing on their minds and Shion was her knight in shining armor, protecting her from bullies and boys. But now they were just Chikaru and Shion, and now Chikaru was the one watching Shion, waiting for her to be ready. Waiting for her to remember.

But she never did. Even after years of subtle glances and innuendo hidden beneath sweet, innocent smiles, Shion never remembered her princess, and all that remained were the gray-scale memories and the one kiss that Chikaru still tasted on her lips.

Was it worth it, Shion-koi?

Was it worth it, kaichou?

"Touching, isn't it?" she said aloud, her gaze resting on Shion, who was still quietly sniffing. The Spican's head swiveled to face her and Chikaru offered her a sweet, innocent smile. It was too easy, this pretending. "Your wish has been granted, Toumori-san."

Shion frowned slightly- they hadn't talked outside of the council room in what felt like forever. "Well, yes," she said after a moment. She had a strange feeling that Chikaru was baiting her. There was something about the way she smiled that struck a chord within Shion, something that told her she'd be better off if she left while she could. "But I should really go now."

Chikaru's lips formed into a just barely-there pout as she took a small step closer to the blonde. "Leaving so soon, Shion-koi?" she asked, her eyes taking in Shion's reaction. The Spican's eyes widened at Chikaru's unfamiliar tone and use of her childhood nickname, and she took a step back, unconsciously wetting her lips. "Always somewhere to be, always someone to meet…" Chikaru continued in that same gentle, unhurried tone, her eyes flashing with something that she almost recognized, though Shion felt a little more trapped with every step she took.

"Um," she began lamely, "is there something wrong, Minamoto-san?"

Chikaru's eyes flashed once again at Shion's words. "Minamoto-san," Chikaru murmured. She raised her chin to look into dthe Spican's eyes, just barely registering the question she had been asked. "Wrong…I wonder…"

Shion's brow furrowed in confusion. "Maybe I should go," she began, the nerves in her body pricking at her skin with tiny electric shocks, the way they always used to whenever…

"Won't you kiss me before you go?"

A smile, a giggle, and kind amber eyes flashed with happiness and energy as a pair of arms was thrown around her neck.

"Won't you kiss me before you go, my prince?"

It was soft and awkward- a foreign sensation against the young girls' lips.

"That was weird."

"Yeah."

"Want to do it again?"

"Chikaru," Shion choked out as the memory rushed, unbidden to the surface of her mind. "Not now." She'd forgotten it all- forced it to the back of her mind with the coming of high school and her stepping into her father's shoes, preparing to take on his legacy. There was no time for silly childhood games. And there still wasn't.

And yet…

"When, then?" Chikaru asked, tilting her head ever-so-slightly. "We're leaving the day after tomorrow- surely there won't be a better time."

"Never," Shion said coldly, turning so that she was facing the chapel doors. "It was a long time ago, Minamoto-san. The time for games is over, at least for me." But the thought of Chikaru playing those 'games' with someone else made her feel as though acid were eroding at her stomach. So she hadn't forgotten enough. "I have to go, Chikaru."

Chikaru smiled her usual serene smile, but her eyes glistened with an unspoken sadness. "Why is it," she began softly, stepping forward until she was only a foot from Shion, "that you always have to go?" She looped her arms around the frozen Spican's neck, staring into Shion's eyes and watching as they darkened from lavender to a deep violet, her lips quirking up into the smallest of smirks when she saw the blonde unconsciously lick her lips. "But you don't want to go, Shion-koi," she murmured, sliding her hand down Shion's collar and easily unbuttoning the top few buttons, pulling away her bow tie, leaving a small amount of fair, flawless skin exposed.

"Minamoto-san," Shion began in a warning tone, her body rigid, but from her close embrace, the president of Lulim saw the nervous gulp, felt the acceleration of her heart. She pulled Shion closer with her right arm, allowing her left to slip down, her hand poised at the base of the smooth column of the Spican's neck. Her thumb rubbed the warm skin rhythmically as she buried her face in the crook of Shion's neck, pressing the lightest of kisses to her collarbone and reveling in the barely perceptible shudder that the Spican gave. "Stop, Chikaru," Shion said, her voice significantly lower as her eyes fluttered shut, her words, a final plea.

"Won't you kiss me, my prince?" Chikaru whispered, her breath unbearably hot against Shion's exposed shoulder as her left hand slipped further, caressing the Spican's taut shoulder blade. "Won't you kiss me before you go?"

Chikaru felt the intake of breath more than she heard it, and her lips curled into the first real smile she'd displayed since her first year at Astraea Hill. But the moment was short-lived, because in the next, a firm pressure drove her further into Shion's arms and the Spican had leaned down to her left and captured Chikaru's lips in her own, her thumb massaging the small of the brunette's back in an almost possessive embrace. Chikaru tightened her hold on Shion, melting into the warm, familiar feeling. Shion had always been so possessive over the things she cared for the most. Chikaru remembered teasing her about it- remembered the way Shion had looked at her like she was crazy that day.

"If I don't hold onto them, they'll be taken from me. That's how it works in this world. Nothing's ever fully yours, and the things that are are taken from you all the same unless you hold on."

They broke apart to take a breath, chests heaving. Chikaru rested her forehead against Shion's, content in the moment, content in the arms that she'd missed so dearly. But she'd woken the insatiable beast residing within Shion, the one she knew all too well, and before she had a chance to react, she was pressed against the back wall of the stage, directly beneath the beautiful stained glass window she'd always loved so much, Shion's hands around her wrists in a vice-grip.

"I told you to stop, Chikaru," the Spican whispered, pressing a trail of rushed, heated kisses down her neck, pulling her sweater down past her right shoulder, her hands balled up in the light fabric. "I told you…" She frowned, staring down at the ground, her eyes wrought with a cross between lust, desire and guilt. "I…"

"You told me, Shion-koi," Chikaru whispered softly, causing Shion's head to snap back up. She gazed lovingly into the same confused violet eyes that she'd fallen in love with that day by the lake, with that first kiss. "I was the one who wouldn't listen."

Shion's eyes cleared, if only by a little bit, and she needed no further encouragement. The blonde let go of Chikaru's arms only to feel those delicate hands instantly clamp down on her shoulders as she held the brunette possessively by her hips, kissing, sucking, biting until Chikaru let out a shallow moan and sunk to the floor, dragging Shion down with her.

PGBR

It was so predictable, Chikaru thought six years later, the way she had expected that one night to magically change anything- to bring back her prince, and, more importantly, her best friend.

But of course it hadn't.

Tamao had gone on to become a world-renowned author, her face much more recognizable than that of Shizuma Hanazono. She'd heard through reliable sources that Nagisa had appeared on her doorstep one night, sobbing because she'd only just realized that Shizuma didn't love her at all. Tamao had held her, cooed soothing words into her ear, but in the end, it was too late, and love couldn't be remembered again after it had been forgotten. Miyuki was married to the heir to a modest electronics company, and her smile did not reappear until she gave birth to several beautiful children, who became the sole joy in her prearranged life. Hikari, of course, had gone on to marry a man, and still had her fairytale ending in him, while Amane had become a world famous horseback rider known for her stoic, reserved nature. Yaya never did fully get over Hikari, although the brunette was known to become quite feisty when somebody looked a bit too long at her pink-haired shadow.

And then there was Shion, just as tall, proud and noble as ever, far and away from even her most formidable opponent as the CEO of the Toumori Mega-Corporation that she had inherited from her father.

Where, then, did that leave Chikaru? It wasn't as though she was lonely in any sense- her sparkling personality and large heart had earned her many loyal friends, and her fair share of lovers. But she never had fallen in love again, just as she never did understand why Shion had needed to leave her- to leave everyone- behind. Surely she was above shallow rumors and petty phobias.

There was no use on dwelling in the past, not when it showed no signs of ever appearing in her life again. Chikaru knew this.

But there was still that one night- that one memory that remained, the only comfort that Chikaru had left.

Because somewhere in the world, her prince still loved her, even if it wasn't obvious at first sight. That day she had cornered Shion, provoked her, because how could she leave without knowing if there was something there? If there was still a chance that one day, maybe, her prince would come back to her? And she still remembered the words she'd whispered to Shion before she left the sleeping Spican alone in the chapel; before she'd run from the heartbreak rather than face it because she was a coward despite it all.

"One day, when you're famous and everybody knows your name, breathe in deeply and think of me, Shion-koi, and if you need me, I'll be waiting."