This took about 8-9 months to finish. Thanks to Mel for beta-reading!

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Title: First Love
Genre: romance/friendship
Summary: She never realized how much he felt towards her…. KamuixEmi

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She didn't fully understand why he always acted so strange around her or even at the sight of her. He had been acting like that ever since their first meeting, and even after they became good friends. His face would turn beet red like a tomato and stutter out fragmented words from his mouth, to her confusion, of what he was trying to say. He would always try to impress her in the Vanguard card game along with his two friends eagerly wanting her to cheer him on. She had watched all of his matches of him doing his best. She admitted he was a good player even though he lost to a girl named Nagisa at the regional tournament. He didn't seem pleased of the girl who clung to him and claimed him as her "future husband". Emi, on the other hand, would chuckle at the thought of it being cute.

Kamui would always boast whenever he eats anything Emi makes saying how delicious it was; and that was the honest truth. Emi would laugh inside, glad of what he thought. While she offered him homemade goodies, he would mostly be there for her to teach her a few pointers in Vanguard. It surprised Kamui that Emi was his opponent during the second shop tournament, which ended with her winning due to the boy holding back. She once asked him if she could battle against him for a rematch which surprised the youth a little, although he would quickly accept her offer.

Since then, seasons changed. Spring to summer; summer to fall; fall to winter, in a life cycle. Things altered that would form a person in many ways, children growing older, and the time of leaving home. It was also the time when Team Q4 and friends had to separate. Its happening was bittersweet with everyone going their own separate ways.

A sudden chilled air whisked over the lake and a bridge crossing over it. The town in the distance was slightly covered in an icy fog, the sky gray with no blue in sight. The trees nearby were still and bare. The citizens of the town wore comfortable warm coats and scarves as they passed by to a certain destination.

Overlooking the lake at the bridge stood a tall, dark spiked-haired teenage boy with a ponytail reaching down to his chest in length. He was leaning against the railing with his arms for support while he gazed out into the distance. A seagull called as it flew over the lake. He kept his sights forward with a wistful smile, thinking of past memories. He was soon snapped out of his thoughts when…

"Kamui?"

The dark, spiky-haired teen turned from his view of the lake to the owner of the voice. His crimson's eyes widened slightly at the sight of a young woman who seemed to be the same age as him. Her apricot-colored hair gently flowed to her mid back; her sapphire eyes gleamed like the sparkles of the lake in the tenderest season. Somehow in his gut, he thought he had seen this girl somewhere. He released a slight, awkward cough. He spoke, curious wanting to know who this girl was before blurting out his assumption.

"You are?"

"It's me, Emi Sendou," the girl smiled. She then chuckled at his shocked expression, mouth agape.

Emi-the childhood crush he would always fawn over in the past-now stood in front of him. And he had to admit, she had grown absolutely beautiful like a Goddess he had always thought of her to be. Joy had filled his heart at the sight of her; not just seeing an old crush, but also an old friend he had not seen for so long.

"How… have you been?" Kamui asked, gaining his composure, but with a few butterflies fluttering in his stomach.

"I've been well and expect to graduate high school this year," Emi remarked.

"That's great! Congratulations!" he chimed. They both knew they go to different high schools, with her going to a private one while he goes to a public school. "I'm…. expecting to graduate high school as well…"

"Congrats to you too!" she chirped.

Kamui rubbed the back of his neck lightly. "Emi-san…want to…get some hot cocoa?"

"Sure! Maybe we can catch up on things on the way," she said. He grinned, agreeing with her. "And please call me, Emi."

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Bare hands cupped the plastic cup before it was held near her lips. The scent of rich chocolate filled her nose and her taste buds sparked with ecstasy. Emi took small sips enjoying the hot beverage as it warmed her body. Kamui quickly shook off his daze in watching Emi.

"So…. How is O-niisan? Er… I mean Aichi?" he inquired. Even though time has passed, he still valued Aichi as an older brother.

"He's doing fine," Emi replied lightly, setting down her cup on the table. "He hasn't thought of what to major in, but slightly considered of becoming a fiction writer or an artist."

"Eh?" Kamui gaped slightly in disbelief.

Emi gave a sheepish smile. "It started when he was in freshman year in college," she said, thinking Kamui wanted to know when Aichi became interested in writing and/or art or anything other than Vanguard. Her smile then turned into a frown, her sapphire eyes averted to the side as if she was worried.

"Emi, what's wrong?" Kamui asked with concern as he nibbled on a marshmallow.

She shook her head lightly, her locks of apricot whisked to her movements, and gave a light smile. "It's nothing. How are you and Nagisa? You two seemed close since the last time, which was years ago." She gave a light chuckle at the thought.

Kamui grimaced at the memory of Nagisa tackling him when they were young kids. He chewed on one marshmallow to calm himself before replying flatly, "I did go out with her some time ago and then our relationship didn't go any farther so I broke up with her."

"How did she take it?" Emi asked, taking a bite out of a marshmallow.

"I guess she handled it okay." The memory of seeing her astonished face before a wistful smile appeared on her face. A bit of guilt slapped his heart at that memory. Nagisa had wished him the best and agreed to just be friends with him. She was sure her older brother would understand.

It was silent for a moment between the two for a moment. The only noise that enveloped them was a mixture of orders called and Christmas music that matched the décor around the shop. Kamui glanced at the small plate with a smile gracing his lips. He picked up the marshmallow and held it out to Emi.

"You can have the last marshmallow," he said, a tint of red hue on his face. Emi stared at him for a moment before returning a smile. She took the sweet treat between her fingers.

"Thank you."

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The streets of town echoed holiday music to boost one's Christmas spirit to shop for loved ones before that special day of Christmas. People made their way on the sidewalks, passing by and entering shops. Colorful lights and Christmas decorations hanging outside the shops and on the poles matched the holiday cheer. Even though night had dawned, the Christmas lights and lights from the shops kept the town bright as day.

Emi had wanted to go shopping to look for a present for Aichi, her mother, and her best friend Mai. She told Kamui of her plan, which caused the boy to wonder if she would look for something for him.

"Oh, I just remembered there will be a Christmas party at Card Capital on Christmas day," Emi said. "Maybe I should look for something for Misaki-san…." She smiled, thinking she couldn't wait to see everyone again and Aichi to come home. She bet he felt homesick living in a dorm miles away from home.

"Ah! I'll look for something too! For O-niisan… " Kamui chirped before grinning. And something for Emi… He was soon brought to reality as something caught his eye. He grabbed Emi by the hand and rushed towards the center of town. Emi called out where he was taking her, while Kamui grinned with she'll soon see as they passed through the crowds.

They stopped as they reached that certain destination. Emi's eyes shined in awe. A huge Christmas tree that was decorated in a prism of lights and unique ornaments of different sizes stood before her. The tree was situated in the middle, while around it a toy train ran around on the tracks. A gate surrounded the area to prevent any intruders that dare to ruin the installation.

"Dance with me? Emi," Kamui invited. Emi glanced at him idly. Her blue orbs averted to her sides a bit anxiously. She felt a bit nervous about dancing in public especially if it were just the two of them. She then looked at him, his red orbs were almost like a child pleading yet somewhat poised. It would be okay…she guessed reading his expression. A smile curved her lips and she gave a nod of approval.

Kamui and Emi positioned themselves: his hand on her waist while the other in hers; her other hand was placed on his shoulder. He led them as they twirled around in circular motion. Giggles and a squeal were released after a moment from her; just hearing those sounds made his heart flutter. He grinned at the thought of them having fun. It came to the point when if felt that no one was around when there actually was, and it was just them two. They danced along with the melody played through the speakers.

As they stared into each other's eyes, they could only reflect upon their past and what they felt towards one another.

When Kamui first saw Emi, it was love at first sight. Just thinking back made him admit he was childish when trying to get her to notice and like him. He realized it was affection, just puppy love. There were times he got her mad. He mentally sighed at the thought of does he really deserve her? He wished to know about her, to know everything about her. He hoped she would let him have this chance.

Emi didn't know what to think of Kamui during the early stages of their first meetings. She thought Kamui was silly, quite childish but he was young then. She was grateful that he along with the others made Aichi happy. Aichi had something to look forward to; the game Vanguard. And seeing Aichi and Kamui together was almost like they were brothers. It had made her a bit envious, but mostly happy for Aichi. Kamui was a nice guy, she could admit, and maybe even cute. Whenever she would watch his matches, without hesitation she would cheer him on. She was there for him. Even if he lost, she always thought of him as a strong and cool person.

Her mind slightly returned to present looking at Kamui with concern. Their steps had become slower now. She asked if anything was wrong. He didn't feel he should continue to hide what he felt, and only whispered. "Please, one chance with you?" She smiled kindly at him as a response.

As they stared into each other's eyes, no words needed to be said for they knew; they could feel and partially understand just how much they felt for the other. Their movements had completely come to a stop as they gently closed their eyes. Lips puckered as they drew in close. Just as their lips met, a gentle snowfall floated down from the heavens above.