Natiro was sitting underneath a tree, reading, when Rio approached him.
"How do you fix unrequited love?"
Natiro glanced up at the silver-haired boy, furrowing his eyebrows.
Rio refused to make eye contact with Natiro, his blue-grey eyes instead finding the ground much more interesting. "I keep thinking that maybe it's like a computer glitch...like, I can fix it with a patch or something. But...I don't know."
Natiro sighed, even more confused by the other boy's computer terminology. "What the hell are you talking about?" He hoped that his attitude would drive the boy away.
It did not.
"Rui," Rio suddenly said, and Natiro snapped to attention. "What? What about Rui?" Even though winning over Rui had made him (somewhat) nicer, Natori was still as jealous and protective as ever.
"Rui didn't love you at first, right?" Rio said. Natori twitched at the memory.
"So?" he grit out, trying his best not to lose his temper at one of his girlfriend's closest friends.
"Well, then you've experienced unrequited love. And you fixed it. So...you could help me." The computer nerd became quieter and quieter with each sentence.
Natiro pondered this for a moment.
"...What? You want me to...help you? Why would I do that?"
Rio looked frustrated. "I don't know!"
Natori smirked, a bit of his old, cruel self showing through. "If I had 10 yen for every time you've said that..."
"You'd have 20 yen. You're rich." Rio interrupted him, glaring.
Natori just looked amused. "You're as impulsive as ever, Rio."
"You know what? This was a waste of time. I'll just leave you to your reading," Rio snapped, turning to walk away.
But then Natori said something that stopped him in his tracks.
"Is it Azumi?"
Rio froze in mid-step, his entire body shaking. "My pills..." he gasped, recognizing that he was about to go haywire. He quickly searched his pockets for the tiny capsules, and popped them into his mouth.
Taking long, deep breaths, Rio slowly turned around to look at the other boy. Natiro was no longer smirking. He looked serious, and almost concerned. Almost.
Rio didn't even bother lying. "Is it really that obvious?"
Natori shook his head. "Nah. The only reason I know is 'cause of Nagumo. Strangely enough, he's very good at reading people from behind those lenses of his."
They were silent for a moment. Then, Rio spoke again. "Azumi is in love with Rui." It was simply said, but even 'heartless' Natori could sense the pain behind it.
"Yeah, believe me; I'm not happy about it either." Natori said, nodding.
Rio chuckled dryly, glad that someone else at least was sharing his pain.
"...And that's why you came to me?" Natori said, raising an eyebrow. Rio stared at the ground silently, shrugging.
Natori sighed. "What the hell did you think I could do?" Rio looked up at him.
"Well, how did you get Rui to fall in love with you?"
"Sorry to sound like, well, you, but I don't know." Natori said. "I...was trying so hard, but it didn't work. So...I just tried showing her my true self."
"I'm still scared she'll leave..."The noir admitted, looking away. "But...I don't really know what made her pick me. I do think that confessing to her helped though." he looked pointedly at Rio until the silver-haired boy met his gaze. "Maybe you should try that."
Rio shook his head wildly. "No! I can't do that!
"Why not? You've got nothing to lose." Natori said, his annoyance creeping back up.
Rio slid down to sit on the ground, hugging his knees to his chest. "I know he'll reject me."
"How do you kno-"
"I know, okay!" Rio cut Natori's response off. "And I don't want to hear him say it. Not out loud. I couldn't take it."
Natori looked at the other boy pityingly. "Keeping it inside won't help either."
"I know." Rio mumbled, burying his face in his knees. "Believe me, I know."
For a moment the only sound was the wind blowing through the trees, and lonesome leaves being blown along with it.
"Hey Natori!" Rui's cheerful voice cut through the silence like a knife. Rio stood up quickly, and turned to leave, not wanting Rui to see his heartbroken face.
"Oh hey Rio!" Rui said, smiling at the sight of her friend. "What are you-" She stopped as Natori gave her a serious look and shook his head.
"Um, see you, I guess..." She finished quietly, confused.
"Think about what I told you, Rio." Natori shouted to the boy's retreating back, and Rio stopped. He turned around to look at the both of them, so painfully happy, and smiled sadly. "I will."
But they both knew he wouldn't.