I didn't know people were so interested in the Ami/Hyuga thing. It was just a throwaway to my infamy of being a fan of his. Anywho, that Mirei thing was something that was unintentional. Reo had did his half of the collaboration when I was halfway through writing the ep.3 portion of Life and Times. I figured what the hell and structured some of the later chapters to allude to what happened.


Picking up Pieces

When I finally woke up, I realized I was in the medical wing of Clad 6. My body felt exhausted all over. It was a hassle to even think.

I saw a hand mirror at the table so I grabbed it.

I sighed in relief as I saw that my body was back to normal. I did look nice as a Newman, but I rather not have any more body altering experiences.

I noticed there were a couple of Parunian Lilies sitting in a white vase right at my bedside.

"Ami!"

"Emilia?"

"Thank goodness you're awake. We thought the worse down there."

"How long was I here for?"

"A little past a full day. We hadn't heard from you or Reo in hours. Then some girl named Khaled was able to comm your location with a request for a medical team. Hyuga was so relieved that there was some sort of contact that he didn't even question how she got in there without proper clearance."

"Khaled was her name? I need to send a thank you note to her. She saved my life."

"What happened down there? You two are some of the best we have."

I was close to admitting everything.

It wasn't my place though.

"We faced a hostile dragon-like creature. Reo took a critical hit meant for me."

"So that's why he's in ICU."

"He's in ICU?"

"Yep, seriously injured. The doctors say he'll make it. Thank goodness."

"I'll need to see him, it's my fault that he got in there."

"You'll go after you get discharged."

"Fair enough."

It was getting hard to keep my eyes open. My body demanded more rest. Emilia could see that.

"Go back to sleep. The doctors said that you pushed yourself past your body's limits."

"Oh...sorry."

"You're not gonna be good to anyone if you make that a habit. You're lucky that you didn't suffer any permanent damage."

"I won't. I learned my lesson."

"Good."

"Emilia, one more question?"

"Hmm?"

"Those flowers, who are they from?"

I swore Emilia smirked when I asked that.

"They said you'd understand."

I just nodded my head.

I was too tired to even argue with her on the issue.

It was early evening when I woke up again. I felt a lot better. Emilia had visited again, and helped me with my discharge from the center.

To be honest I was glad I was out.

It was starting to remind me of my stay at Parum again.

Even though I was medically cleared to undergo missions again, I opted to not go back in so soon. Not only because I wanted to be sure that I was fully rested. It was too fresh of a memory to go back down there. Thankfully I wasn't pressed to go down there afterwards.

About two days later, Emilia appeared in my room. Even to my dismay, she still uses the master code to get into my room without asking. I was finishing up some papers from school I had neglected to do while away.

"Ami, what are you doing holed up in here?"

"I was finishing school work before you came barging in here."

"You're taking a break."

"Shouldn't you be out overseeing the Clad 0 mission?"

"Not today."

Emilia was persistent in getting me out of my room, so I obliged. Chelsea had thought it was an opportune time to open up her own café during this mission.

So that's where we headed.

Despite my initial reluctance, I was glad that I was going out somewhere. It's hard to keep a neutral attitude with everything that had happened.

It was then I started to see why Emilia wanted me out so much.

"Oh, Ami~ how are you? I heard you were in the hospital, yes?"

"I'm fine now Chelsea. I had exhausted myself. Your café looks good."

"Ah, thank you. It was very very hard work!"

"It's good to see that you're out of the hospital now Ami."

Over at the counter was Hyuga.

I swear since I told Emilia my feelings regarding Hyuga, she's been trying to match us.

I know she means well.

Speaking of Emilia, how mightily convenient that she's gone now.

"I swear I'll kill her."

"What?"

"It's nothing. Anyway what brings you here? I thought you would be overseeing the mission?"

"Not today, the researchers need today to do more calculations. Emilia should have told you that."

"She just told me she was off. But she didn't say that it was because of that."

"I see. Anyway, sit with me. It's been a long time since we've talked and we weren't on a mission."

"Alright."

Even after all this time, I still get nervous.

I guess that part of me will never change.

When I glanced at Chelsea she seemed really happy that I was out and being social on an informal level. The only people I had been like that around was Emilia, Nagisa, and Reo. Though, in all three cases we have a special bond.

Though, I guess you could count that Hyuga and I have a bond too.

Just one not as known as people think.

Anyway, the talk between us was just like any normal one. It was mostly catching up on the years we had no contact. He did seem a bit put off that I never contacted him, but once I told him that I was in the midst of finding what I wanted to do with my life and then getting swept up by Little Wing he seemed to understand.

I never told him about how my bond with Emilia through Mika.

Emilia can tell him that if she wants to.

"Hmm, it seems I need to thank you Ami."

"What for?"

"During my treatment from the virus"

"Didn't you already thank me?"

"Yes, but I have to thank you again. Lumia and I talked a bit after the mission in Parum. She told me how hard you worked to get me back."

"It's nothing really. I do care even if I can't show it properly."

"I know. Thank you. And thank you for those lilies."

"Lilies?"

"Lumia told me that it was you who sent me those lilies. I'm so used to sending flowers but that was the first time someone sent me one."

He laughed.

Not like one of those charming laughs

But he genuinely laughed.

I like it when he laughs like that.

"Did you see the lilies on the table?"

"That was you?"

"I was only able to visit for a short time, but I bought some lilies. I told Emilia and told her you'd understand that I couldn't stay longer."

"I see, she didn't quite word it that way"

"Hmm?"

"Never mind. Anyway thanks for those."

Chelsea seemed excited over talking on the communit. She had this big smile on her face.

"Oh this is good news!"

"What is it?"

"I've received a message saying that Reo's out of the ICU. Good news indeed!"

"Ah thank the Holy Light."

"I need to go see him."

"Ami?"

"He was after all my partner."

I didn't go into detail as to why the sudden rush to see him. But I had to.

It was more to confirm that what happened, actually happened.

I've been through a lot of things, but that was one of the strangest.

I flashed my ID and got quick directions as to where his room was. Oddly enough I wasn't nervous. I guess my need to know was greater.

I really should have knocked first.

I came into the room, he was in a single room, which was going to make the conversation easier. But for a moment, I blushed.

He had his hair down.

In all my years of knowing Reo, he always had his hair pinned up.

He actually looked quite attractive.

...I won't ever tell him that to his face.

"You actually look vulnerable."

"Oh! Ami, hello."

"It's good to see that you're okay now. With everything that's happened. It did happen right?"

"Unfortunately."

"Well at least I know I'm not crazy."

"I'm sorry about that."

"It wasn't you."

"I tried to kill you."

"And what's new? I was a Guardian and I'm a part of Little Wing. Accepting the fact that I could die while I'm out there is part of the job."

"You shouldn't talk like that."

"I know, I know. I don't understand why that happened. But I know you. You wouldn't hurt me intentionally. Much less kill me. As far as I'm concerned, that dragon wasn't what you wanted to do in your heart."

Reo and I talked for a long while. I explained to him how Mirei ended up in my body and my recollection of the events. As I talked, things began to make sense in my mind. Sometimes while we were on missions, Reo would remark that I looked like Mirei. Maybe the reason why he thought I looked like Mirei was because he was 'seeing' her and not me.

And Mika knew...

She was telling me that as she faded away

After the talk, I think we became closer. I think because we shared this event, I was able to better understand him. Mirei's memories were so strong in my mind. Sometimes it's almost as if it was my own.

He told me that he was going to be discharged today, so I decided to help him.

"Let me pin your hair, it's weird seeing it down."

"O-okay."

...His hair is really soft.

Like seriously

I don't really know why I felt the urge to do that. I had a brief image of this being done before. Mirei's memories? Probably so. He needed comfort from what happened. I could tell he was still a bit guilty about almost killing me. Even though I never blamed him for it. If this can help him a bit, then I'd gladly do it.

I came to a realization then.

I loved him

It isn't a passionate love. Not like what he and Mirei had. No, it was lighter. Platonic? I think I said earlier I saw him as an older brother.

In some ways, he reminded me of Dad, just after Mom passed.

In another life, we might have been a couple.

Anyway, I helped him to his room. His room had a bit of a Neudaiz theme. It reminded me a bit of how my room in the Guardians used to look.

He has a lot of Rappy related items in his room.

You know, seeing him surrounded by rappies wouldn't be too far of a stretch.

I noticed the photo of Mirei on his bedside. I didn't need to host her spirit to know that he loved her very much. It's tough, to not be with the one you love anymore.

I wonder how the two would have lived if she was still alive.

"I'm probably the last person to be saying this, but no one would be mad at you if you moved on."

"What brought about this?"

"I guess you can say a residual of Mirei wanted me to tell you this. It could be a part of me too. I think I know what you're going through. This brought back open wounds about Mirei. Seeing the Seed did that to me with my mom. But we have to learn that we can't go back and change what happened. We can only move forward."

"Amimi?"

"Never mind. Just take that into account. I'll be your friend always so you know you have my support and blessing. Unless it's something that's illegal or harmful. I would beat you up so hard if it was."

"I wouldn't want that..."

"Of course you don't. Anyway, I have to get going. I have work to catch up on."

Before I could fully let go of the event, I had to straighten out one item.

"By the way..."

"Hmm."

"That kiss. Didn't happen."

He smiled.

Or was that a smirk?

"My lips are sealed. Though, you should really save that kind of passion with a guy you actually love."

Out of embarrassment I grabbed the nearest thing and threw it at his head.

It happened to be a Rappy Doll.

It even made that 'squee' sound when it made contact.

"S-shut up! That wasn't even me!"

I was embarrassed beyond words. But I couldn't help smiling at his antics.

The trek back to my room was silent. My room wasn't that far, just at the end of the hallway. I should probably send Hyuga a note apologizing for leaving so early. And probably talk to Emilia. She was probably trying to set up a date and be discreet about it. Now that I thought about it, I hadn't spoken to Nagisa since before the mission. She was normally in the café in Clad 6 so I should just pop in to let her know I was okay now. I was making my way to the main lobby of Clad 6 before I saw Reo running out ahead of me.

I swear I don't know how he's so fast.

I wanted to call out to him, to see what was up. But he was already gone. Probably another mission. He healed pretty quickly so he was able to participate in missions immediately after his discharge. Probably because of whatever in him that caused that dragon to emerge.

I was stopped by Emilia on my way to the café.

"So?"

"So...?"

"Your lunch."

"I know you mean well Emilia. But please don't force it. My feelings for Hyuga are...complicated. "

"What's so complicated? You do love him right?"

"Of course I do?"

"You want to spend your life with him right?"

I paused.

Did I really?

"I, don't know. But I have this feeling that I want to protect him. Even if he never sees me the way I want him to. I want to be near him, always."

"After everything that you've done, it's okay to want more."

"I know. But I'm okay for now."

"If you say so."

"Anyway, have you seen Nagisa? I meant to tell her that I was out of the hospital."

"She should still be in the café."

"Oh okay. Emilia?"

"Hmm?"

"Thank you for looking out for me."

"It's the least I can do."

I made my way to the café. I was about to call out for Nagisa, but I saw that she was talking with someone at one of the booths. When I looked closer, it was Reo. I wonder why he was talking with her. The two have been on missions a lot before the whole Clad 0 incident. It could be that they were partnered up for a mission again.

"...I love you, Nagisa."

I couldn't help the smile on my face. I decided to slip out as quickly as possible so I wouldn't get noticed. If I got spotted, I would probably complicate things.

So I took a trip to Parum.

After a quick visit to Dad, I hung around the shopping district of Holtes City. I was happy with everything that has turned out afterwards. But I had began to think about myself. Maybe this was more than saving Gurhal. Maybe it was a sign for me too.

"To see you twice in one day, it must be luck."

"Oh, hello Hyuga. Again. I'm sorry about earlier."

"No worries, I know you two are close friends."

"Yeah. You're going home for the day?"

"I was, but I think I'll stay here for a little while longer."

"You wouldn't go changing your plans because I'm here?"

"Maybe."

I couldn't help but blush at that statement.

So we pretty much left off where we was earlier. As we spent time together, I couldn't help but think of what I told Reo earlier and what he told me. Maybe I should follow through with what I said for once. But there was so many what ifs. There's a history that spans across our parents.

Was I even ready to handle a rejection?

"Ami, what's wrong?"

"What do you mean?"

"You have this sad look on your face. And you're tearing up."

I didn't even realize that I was doing that.

"It's nothing, just over thinking."

"We're friends right? Why don't you tell me what's bothering you?"

"It really is nothing."

"You've been acting like this since we met back in GRM. It's almost like you've been avoiding me."

"I haven't."

"Is it because I'm a Duman?"

I was silent

How did he get such a claim?

"What the hell are you talking about? That's not it."

"I'd understand if it-"

"It's not it. I don't care what you are. I didn't care when you turned into a Seed-form. I lo-"

I stopped myself

I didn't think I was ready to admit those feelings to him.

Not yet, if ever.

"Ami?"

"Sorry. I was saying that I consider you a good friend and I care about you. No amount of mutations or racial changes will make me feel differently."

"Thank you."

"I should smack you for making such a claim. You'd actually think I would think less of you because you became a Duman? You're the same slightly bragging womanizer I remember from when I was just out of the Academy. Even if you did get a bit taller."

"You wound me."

It was silent for a while. I was a bit embarrassed about my near accidental admission. That and everything that has happened over the past few days. Like I had said, the past couple of days had been the strangest in my life.

"Are you sure you're okay Ami?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah I am."

"You know you're a horrible liar."

"I'm not lying...not really. It's just a lot to take in right now."

"Do you want to talk about it?"

"I wish I could, but it isn't my place."

I wished that the answer would satisfy him for now.

It seemed like it did.

"You need to take it easy in the future Ami. You've done so much for Gurhal already, don't think you have to do it all alone."

Or not

"What? Where did that come from?"

"Ami, we've known each other for years now. Everyone worries about you. What are you trying to prove by doing everything alone? You almost killed yourself out there pushing your body like that. It was the same thing on Rykros. I know it's hard since your mother died. Can't you lean on us more. Can't you lean on me more?"

I was speechless. I never knew how much this affected him too.

I hadn't realized it at that moment, but I teared up.

"I'm sorry Hyuga. I never knew. It wasn't my intention to push myself like that. It just happened. I was being stupid and not consid-"

"Ami, it's okay. Even if I'm a bit angry about your actions, I understand you wouldn't do it maliciously. I overreact sometimes."

"It's fine, I know you do this in my best interests."

"You probably still feel a bit weak, I'll leave you to your thoughts."

I didn't want him to leave. Not yet.

What Reo had alluded at the start of our mission had started was playing in my mind.

"Ami?"

I didn't know I had reached out and grabbed his hand.

It felt a bit warmer than the last time.

Maybe his Duman cells make his temperature higher?

"It seems a bit out there. But I remember when I was a rookie you had asked me to go to Commune with you."

"You're collecting on that now?"

"Yep. It's the least I can do. Well maybe not Commune, I've been there enough times. Somewhere where you take your dates."

"Hmm, I don't know. If Shion found out-"

"Dad doesn't have to. Besides, you said yourself you haven't had that many dates since you became a Duman. Now you're second guessing since a girl is offering? You really have changed."

"Ami you've gotten so blunt."

"Someone told me that it's okay to go for more."

My heart was pounding so much

I've never been this forward with a guy before and it wasn't work related.

But he smiled at me.

"You have yourself a date then Ami. I'll call you later."


Updates will probably be a bit slow now, since I've caught up to all my documents.

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